TENNIS – World Number 1 Rafael Nadal swept aside Denis Istomin drooping just one game for 6-1 6-0 at the Sony Open in Miami to qualify for the round of 16 where he will play against Italian top player Fabio Fognini who beat Roberto Bautista Agut. Nadal will be looking to reach the quarter final for the seventh time in a row in Miami. Diego Sampaolo
Rafa Nadal played a perfect match in which he converted six of his seven break point chances. It’s the second time in 2014 that Nadal dropped just one game after defeating Sousa in Rio de Janeiro.
Nadal is bidding to clinch his elusive Miami title after losing three finals in 2005, 2008 and 2011. It’s one of the three Master 1000 Tournaments together with Shanghai and Paris Bercy that he never won.
Nadal broke serve in the opening game of the first set to cruise to a easy 4-0. He saved a break point in the sixth game to wrap up the first set with 6-1 in just 25 minutes. He won 63 percent of his first serve points.
The only time he faced some stiff challenge occurred in the first game of the second set when he fended off three break point chances before cruising to a bagel win in the second set.
Nadal’s next rival in the Round of 16 will be World number 14 Fabio Fognini who fought back from a set down to edge Roberto Bautista Agut with 4-6 6-3 6-3. The Italian reached the fourth round in a Master 1000 for the second consecutive time. Fognini equalled his best result in Miami.
The first set went on serve until 4-4. Bautista Agut held to take a 5-4 lead before closing out the opening set following two costly mistakes by Fognini.
Fognini broke serve in the third game of the second set but he made a double fault to face a break back point chance after a double fault. Fognini broke in the final game to win the second set 6-3.
Fognini broke in the early stage of the third set to take a 3-0 lead before closing out the third set 6-3 on his first match point. Fognini improved his best result in Miami of 2013 when he lost to David Ferrer in the third round. He lost all his previous three matches against Nadal but he came close to beat him last year in Beijing where he led 6-2 4-1 in the second set before losing in the third set.
World Number 3 and 2014 Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka also reached the fourth round after beating Frenchman Roger Vasselin 7-5 6-4. The Lausanne player converted his fourth break point chance at 6-5 to close out the first set after 45 minutes. He build up a 4-1 lead in the second set bt Roger Vasselin clawed his way back to draw level to 4-4. The Swiss got his third break of serve to close out the second set 6-4.
Wawrinka clinched his 15th win in 16 matches this year. He will face a very tough round of 16 match against in-form Aleksander Dolgopolov who had to di deep to overcome lucky loser Dusan Lajovic. Dolgopolov, semifinalist in Indian Wells, fought back after losing the first set.
Wawrinka faced two break points at 4-4 in the opening set before closing out the first set in the 12th game with a forehand winner. The Swiss broke serve in the opening game of the second set and got a chance to take a 3-0 lead but he made a double fault enabling Roger Vasselin to break back. Wawrinka closed out the second set on the second match point in one hour and 44 minutes.
After the match was interrupted by rain at 5-5 in the third set, Lajovic built up a 4-2 lead in the tie-break but Dolgopolov managed to clinch the breaker with 7-5 to book his berth in the round of 16. The Ukrainian player equalled his best result in Miami by reaching the fourth round.
Milos Raonic, who lost against Dolgopolov in Indian Wells, dropped just three games and did not face a single break point to ease past Guillermo Garcia Lopez in straight sets with 6-2 6-1 to set up a fourth round match against Benjamin Becker who has become the first lucky-loser to reach the round of 16 in Key Biscayne after Ivan Ljubicic who qualified for the quarter final in 2001.
Stan Wawrinka edges Danil Medvedev in a five-set thriller to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka reached the quarter final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career with a 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over fourth seed and 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev after 3 hours and 25 minutes. Wawrinka qualified for the last eight for the first time since 2017.
Wawrinka earned his first break in the fourth game, when Medvedev sent his backhand long. Wawrinka did not convert two more break points in the sixth game before breaking for the second time at love to close out the opening set 6-2 after 32 minutes. Wawrinka won 85% of his first serve points and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors in the opening set.
Medvedev broke in the third game of the second set to open up a 3-1 lead, when Wawrinka netted his forehand. The Russian player clinched the second set with three service winners at 5-2 to level the score.
Medvedev broke serve in the seventh game of the third set after a backhand error from Wawrinka and closed out the set with a service winner in the 10th game.
Wawrinka wasted a break point in the fourth game of the fourth set. Both players traded service holds en route to the tie-break. Wawrinka earned an immediate mini-break to open up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. The former Australian Open champion hit a half-volley winner to cruise to a 5-2 lead and converted his first set point, when Medvedev netted a backhand in the ninth point.
Wawrinka broke Medvedev at 15 in the first game of the fifth set and saved three break points at 2-1. Wawrinka went up a double break in the seventh game and forced an error from Medvedev to wrap up the match, as he was serving for the win in the eighth game.
Wawrinka set up a quarter final against Alexander Zverev, who beat Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4. Zverev beat Wawrinka twice in their two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
“That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere. It was really tough to play against Danil. It was really tough to play against Danil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is something special here in Australia. I am finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I am happy with the result”,said Wawrinka.
Thomas Musters Hints At Conflict With Thiem After Sudden Axe From Team
The unexpected move by Thiem has left more questions than answers.
Australian tennis legend Thomas Muster has seemingly suggested that a difference in opinion was behind his sudden departure from Dominic Thiem’s team after just two weeks.
On Saturday the world No.5 unexpectedly confirmed that the former French Open champion has left his team. Exactly 18 days after Thiem said during a press conference at the ATP Cup that the two have arranged a ‘working relationship.’ The announcement followed Thiem’s four-set win over Taylor Fritz in the third round of the Australian Open.
“We ended our working relationship,” He told Austrian reporters in Melbourne. “It did not fit. It’s easy like that. It is just about work. We get along well personally, and we said in the beginning, if anything is not all right we will tell each other.”
Questions are left remaining about what the exact reason for the two to go their separate ways. Especially given their short period spent working together. Both have been coy on the subject, but Muster has shed some light during an interview with Eurosport.
Speaking with fellow former world No.1 Becker, Muster said he was initially expecting to be working with Thiem for a two-year period. Adding to the mystery, the 52-year-old fuelled further speculation when he gave a cryptic insight about the two-time French Open finalist. Who had previously said that his career was to emulate and surpass Muster’s career achievements.
“To be honest, I have seen myself in this role for the next two years.” He told Becker.
“Why he chose differently…l I know why, but I don’t want to say the details.’
“It’s like this. There are houses which look nice from the outside, wonderfully from the outside, but you rarely know who lives inside.”
Speaking about Thiem’s performance on the court, Muster believes there are still areas of his game that requires further improvement. Last year the 26-year-old won five titles on the ATP Tour, including his first at Masters level. Something that was only matched by Novak Djokovic.
“He’s a fine guy and likes to learn a lot,” he told Eurosport.
“But he has also got some shortcomings, he has to work on if he wants to be at the top. He has improved a lot, but he to catch up in the technical, physical and foremost in the mental area.”
Muster isn’t the only former professional with a view that Thiem needs to improve. Mats Wilander recently called on the tennis star to improve his attitude on the court.
Thiem will play fifth seed Gael Monfils in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday.
Injury-Stricken Juan Martin Del Potro Suffers New Blow And An Uncertain Future
There is more bad news for fans of the former world No.3 and his hopes of a return to tennis.
Hopes of Juan Martin del Potro returning to the tour in the coming weeks have ended after it was announced that he will undergo further surgery on Monday.
The former US Open champion hasn’t played a competitive match since June after fracturing his right kneecap at the Fever-Tree Championships in London. The same one he also hurt towards the end of the 2018 season. Shortly after his mishap the Argentine underwent surgery in Barcelona in an attempt to fix the issue and have been undergoing rehabilitation ever since.
Unfortunately for the former top-five player, the surgery hasn’t been a success with him continuing to have pain in the region. In an official press release published on Sunday, it was confirmed that the issue is affecting the Argentine in everyday tasks such as walking up a flight of stairs. As a consequence, Del Potro will have yet another operation on his knee in Miami.
“We want to update you that after long weeks of inter consultations in Argentina, Europe and the United States, most doctors have come to the conclusion that a new intervention in the right knee of Juan Martin del Potro is necessary.” A statement reads.
“After analyzing the options, Delpo trusted Dr. Lee Kaplan to perform the surgery scheduled for Monday, January 27th in Miami.”
“We hope that this is the definitive solution to eliminate the pain that not only has prevented Delpo from playing tennis, but also making it difficult for him to perform daily activities.”
Speculation over the future intentions of the 31-year-old started earlier this week when he withdrew from the Delray Beach Open. The tournament were where he was set to make his comeback next month.
During his rehabilitation, Del Potro has sought various treatments. Including types of diets, training and trips to specialists. All of which failed to deliver the desired outcome and forced him to undergo surgery.
“Thank you for your patience and for understanding that these past weeks we have taken our time before communicating his next steps. The situation is never easy when it comes to the physique of an athlete and, more importantly, the health of a person.” Team del Potro said.
The latest revelation has cast concerns over Del Potro’s future career. Who at one stage said he was unsure if he would be able to continue playing due to his knee injury (prior to his first surgery). It is the latest setback for the injury-stricken player who have also been forced to undergo four wrist surgeries.
So far in his career, Del Potro has won 22 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world last year.
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