Internazionali d'Italia: Tsonga and Dimitrov through to the second round - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d'Italia: Tsonga and Dimitrov through to the second round

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TENNIS – The highlight of the Monday evening session of the first day of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the famous Foro Italico in Rome was the match between Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Alexander Dolgopolov, a match that could have been a final in most of the ATP tournaments. Tsonga won in straight sets with 6-3 7-6(5). Tsonga saved three set points in the second set before clinching the win in the tie-break. Diego Sampaolo

Interviews, results, order of play, draws of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome

Tsonga and Dolgopolov met for the fifth time in their careers. Dolgo led 3-2 in their previous head-to-head matches and won their last clash in Madrid in 2012. Dolgopolov reached the semifinal at Indian Wells and the quarter final in Miami but was beaten in the second round in Madrid. Tsonga reached the quarter final in Monte-Carlo but suffered a second-round defeat against Santiago Giraldo in Madrid.

Tsonga held serve in the first game before breaking serve in the second game to go up 2-0. The Frenchman served very well and backed up his break to go up 3-0. Tsonga pulled away to 5-1 but in the seventh game Dolgopolov earned her first break point of the match and converted it for 2-5.

Tsonga created three set points. Dolgopolov saved the first point but Tsonga clinched the first set at the second opportunity.

In the second set Tsonga saved three break points and recovered from a 1-4 deficit in the tie-break.

In the first game the Ukrainian player held his serve to love. In the second game Tsonga saved the break point to hold serve for 1-1. Dolgo hit his fourth ace to take a 3-2 lead. He held the seventh game to love for 4-3. At 5-5 Tsonga earned two break points but Dolgo won four consecutive points to save it. Down 5-6 15-40 on his serve Tsonga saved two set points with a backhand volley to force the set to the tie-break. In the tie-break Tsonga rallied from 1-4 down before pulling away to clinch the tie-break with 7-5.

Tsonga draws level to 3-3 in his head-to-head matches against Dolgopolov.

The other highlight of the first round was the win of Grigor Dimitrov (the youngest player in top 20) who fought back from a set down to take a 4-6 6-3 6-4 win over Edouard Roger Vasselin. Dimitrov will face Ivo Karlovic who also rallied from a set down to edge Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno Busta.(voted as the Most Improved Player by the ATP in 2013) in the third-set tie-break with 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4)

The major disappointment for the local fans was Fabio Fognini’s 6-3 6-2 defeat against Lukas Rosol. The curse of Fognini continues as he has never advanced beyond the second round in the home tournament. Rosol, finalist in Bucharest two weeks ago against Dimitrov played a great match in which he won 82% of his first serve points and never faced a single break point. Fognini hit just eight winners to 24 unforced errors.

Fognini has continued his period of ups and downs on clay. After losing to Tsonga in the third round in Monte-Carlo, the Italian top-player lost the final in Munich against Klizan and lost his first match in Madrid against Dolgopolov.

Rosol will face Ivan Dodig who beat Federico Delbonis from Argentine with 6-3 6-4.

Giles Simon beat Italian wild-card Filippo Volandri 6-2 6-3 to set up a second round match against Rafa Nadal

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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