Stanislas Wawrinka beats improved Raonic and qualifies to semis - UBITENNIS
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Stanislas Wawrinka beats improved Raonic and qualifies to semis

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TENNIS – Monte-Carlo 2014. Stanislas Wawrinka edged Milos Raonic in a tight first set before rolling to a good 7-6 (5) 6-2 win worth a place in the semi-finals of ATP Master 1000 of Monte Carlo. Giulio Gasparin

 

The Australian Open champion was forced to a first-set tiebreak by the heavy serve of the Canadian and he found himself trailing 3-0 and then 5-3 before finding his best game and close 7-5.

In the second set, with the boost of confidence given by the first set, the Swiss found his trademark shots and after breaking Raonic’s serve on the very first break point of the match, he sailed to a comfortable win.

The world number 10, however, showed great improvements on the surface and it was clear the new prompts given by the coaching of Riccardo Piatti and Ivan Ljubicic are starting to kick in.

Raonic adopted new tactics, trying to avoid baseline rallies by charging the net and this combination of strong serves and net rushes seemed to work, as the Canadian faced no break points in the first set.

Wawrinka remained the best clay courter of the two and his aptness to the surface started to make an impact whenever the rallies began to grow longer.

Nonetheless, the Swiss number one exploited his big and varying serve to keep the pressure off, as much as giving no break points to his opponent throughout the match.

Having had the advantage to serve first, the world number three led the first set from the very beginning, but both times Raonic had to serve to stay in the set, the Canadian found his best serve to give no chances to his opponent.

Wawrinka started the tiebreak in the worst possible way as he was let down by his ground-strokes: first his favourite backhand down the line finished long and after a good serve from the Canadian, it was his forehand to go wild.

Down for 3-0, the Swiss did not let this bring him down and with two good serves and then a stunning backhand passing shot on the run, he got the mini-break back.

An unlucky netcord stopped Wawrinka’s forehand, giving another chance to Raonic, but on 4-5 up, the serve of the Canadian went missing.

The same net that stopped the Swiss’s forehand transformed a return in a winner to even the score, then Raonic sank an easy forehand on the bottom of the net, giving Wawrinka the chance to serve for the set.

The world number three did not let this go unused and with a massive serve he closed the tiebreak.

Raonic started the second set with three big serves to set a 40-0 lead, but the Wawrinka stepped in and by trying to be aggressive from the return, he scored four straight winners to get to the first break point of the match.

Raonic missed an easy forehand again and handed the first break.

Wawrinka started to trust more his shots and got another easy hold featuring one more stunning backhand down the line.

Raonic stopped the leak with two consecutive holds, but there was little he could do in the service games of the Swiss.

In the seventh game of the second set, Wawrinka pushed on the throttle once more and found another break to go serving for the set.

With another big service game, the third seed closed the match with ease, showing a renewed confidence after the worrying weeks on the American hard courts.

Wawrinka will now face the winner of Rafael Nadal against David Ferrer, with Nadal as the big favourite. But both the Spaniards will have to beware, because the Swiss has yet to face a single break point in the tournament and his game seems to be back to the Australian levels.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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Brandon Nakashima shocks John Isner to reach first ATP final in Los Cabos

Brandon Nakashima stunned John Isner to reach the final in Los Cabos.

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Brandon Nakashima (@AbiertoLosCabos - Twitter)

The American became the youngest American to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

 

Brandon Nakashima booked his spot in the final beating an out of sorts John Isner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes firing 12 aces and winning 82% points with his first serve.

“It’s always going to be tough playing against him, It’s always so hard to return his serve and try to get into the rallies with him but I tried to get back as many returns as I could and there was blocking or chipping the return or hitting over it and just try to mix it up a lot while getting different looks and I knew when I had the opportunities and when I got close in games I knew I had to take advantage of that as much as possible so luckily I was able to do it and of course taking care of my service games was important as well”.

For the first six games of the opening set, neither player had an issue holding serve but at 3-3, it was the San Diego native with the first chance to break but was denied by the world number 39’s big serve.

At 5-4, the world number 134 had two more chances to break and he got the crucial break and served out the first set.

Winning the first set seemed to invigorate the 19-year-old and he earned an early chance to break in the first game of the second set and broke to take a 1-0 lead. Once again that one break was enough to serve out the match and seal the victory.

After the match, Nakashima spoke about becoming the first American player to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

“It feels great and it’s a big accomplishment for me and of course all the Americans, we like to play in the US but it’s nice to see that I am playing well outside the US and luckily it’s not too far from my home here so I have been enjoying it here a lot both on and off the court and really looking forward to playing tomorrow again”.

Nakashima will face the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the final and can feel confident as the last time these two players met, the American beat him.

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