Kei Nishikori bounced from the French Open in 1st Round - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori bounced from the French Open in 1st Round

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TENNIS FRENCH OPEN – Kei Nishikori is having a most bizarre year. The 24-year-old has finally made it into the top 10 solidifying his status as one of the premier young stars on the tour, but now finds himself packing for home after losing to Klizan 7-6, 6-1, 6-2. Cordell Hackshaw

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

Kei Nishikori (9) is having a most bizarre year. The 24-year-old has finally made it into the top 10 solidifying his status as one of the premier young stars on the tour. He is playing some of the best tennis of his life but his body is betraying him in the big moments. In Miami he beat Roger Federer for the 2nd consecutive time but had to withdraw from the semifinal matchup against Novak Djokovic. He won Barcelona and got to the final of Madrid but had to retire from the match in the 3rd set against Rafael Nadal. He arrived in Paris with a lot of steam behind him and the probability of getting to the Round of 16, equaling last year’s effort, but now finds himself packing for home. Martin Klizan of Slovakia took out the Japanese number 1 in straight sets 7-6(4) 6-1 6-2. “It’s tough for me, but I guess this is my tennis life, you know. I have to take care of my body and injury will come again, for sure. So I have to mentally, you know, be ready. I have to do whatever, you know, I can do to get healthy” stated Nishikori after the match.

It was clear from the opening game that Nishikori was not 100% as Klizan broke for an early 2-0 lead. Nishikori came back and won five of the next six games. He served for the set 5-3 but Klizan broke back and held serve for 5-5. Though ranked 59th in the world, Klizan is not to be overlooked. He recently won the Munich tournament beating Tommy Haas (16) and Fabio Fognini (14) en route to the title. Sensing the vulnerability of his opponent, Klizan turned up the intensity and forced the issue to a tiebreaker where he took it 7-4 points.

Klizan only needed this 1st set under his belt to then take complete control of the match. Nishikori showed recently that he can play with the greatest of all left-handed players, Nadal. However, it was the lesser lefty player in the form of Klizan who proved to be too much for him. The quality of play in the 1st set was very even as both players had a similar winner to error ratio; Klizan being 10:18 and Nishikori 9:21. Their serving statistics were negligible. The 2nd and 3rd sets were different matters altogether. Klizan was simply relentless, dogging Nishikori on every service game breaking him four times and never once facing break points on his own serve. Nishikori looked winded and no longer able to construct points in an effective manner. He committed 19 errors in those two sets compared to 9 from Klizan. Klizan opened up the court with that lefty swinging forehand for the easy put away shots. Klizan took the 2nd set in 27 minutes 6-1 and then raced out to a 5-1 lead in the 3rd. Soon, Klizan had match point and closed it out 7-6 6-1 6-2.

In the press conference, Nishikori spoke of the lack of practice since Madrid as one of the factors for his loss: “I didn’t have much practice. First time playing points after Madrid, so I didn’t have much rhythm. And also serve, I didn’t hit any serve 100%, you know, before today.” He added “I was really disappointed with my performance…I was playing well on clay in Europe, so it’s very sad for me to lose first round here.” However, Nishikori remains hopeful despite this loss. He is very happy with the progress of his game this year so far as well as his partnership with new coach, 1989 French Open Champion, Michael Chang. Klizan on the other hand will face Robin Haase in the 2nd round.

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Simona Halep Provides Injury Update On Knee Ahead Of US Open

The return of Simona Halep looks a long way away from happening as a knee injury continues to bother the Romanian.

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Simona Halep has provided an update on her knee injury as she faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open.

The former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion’s comeback has not gone according to plan so far as she returned from a doping ban in Miami earlier this year.

However playing time has been limited for the Romanian as her second tournament of the year ended in a first round retirement at a Challenger event in Paris.

As a result of her retirement Halep was forced to miss Roland Garros and Wimbledon as she looked to recover from a knee injury.

The injury is more serious than meets the eye though as Halep provided an update on her knee injury and revealed it’s an injury that has been occurring for the last few months, “I wanted to provide a little health update since I have been away from the court lately. It is not the best news, but I wanted to share all the same,” Halep revealed on Instagram.

“For a few months now, I have been struggling with a knee injury. It’s an injury I have never had before and it has been a tough one to manage, with the pain persisting. It has been a very difficult period (almost two years) mentally and emotionally for me and struggling physically on top of that definitely doesn’t help.

“I have decided to take the time needed to recover properly, rather than training and playing through pain. My instinct has always been to try to come back as soon as possible, but I am not a machine, I am a human being and I need time to recover from everything I have gone through.

“I’ll keep you posted and, as always, want to thank you for your permanent support. I hope to be back on court very soon.”

Halep now faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open which starts on the 26th of August.

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Alexander Zverev Commits To Olympics, Speaks About Miscommunication Between Olympics And ATP

Alexander Zverev is preparing for his Olympic title defence.

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Alexander Zverev has spoken out on the miscommunication between the Olympics and the ATP tour with tennis’ top stars set to miss some big events on the tour.

The German is getting ready to defend his Olympic title that he won in Tokyo as Zverev heads to Paris.

After narrowly missing out on Roland Garros glory, Zverev now has an opportunity at redemption as he aims for a second consecutive gold medal at the Olympics.

However there is a dilemma for big players this year as the same week as the tennis event at the Olympics at the ATP 500 event in Washington.

This is an event that Zverev usually plays but will have to miss it due to playing in Paris.

Speaking out on the miscommunication, Zverev said it’s no secret that the ATP are not best friends on the Olympics but has committed to the historic event, “The ITF or the Olympics are not best friends with the ATP, that’s not a secret,” Zverev was quoted by Tennis Infinity as saying.

Everybody continues their own tour. Yes, the Olympics is one of the, if not the, most important events we have in sports. So, the best players in the world are always going to play the Olympics over anything else, over points and over prize money.

All the top players went to Wimbledon a few years back, despite having no points on the line. It’s about prestige, it’s not about points or money. It’s about winning these kinds of titles and having medals for your country.

That’s what it’s about. I would never choose to play a 500 event over the Olympics. There are no thoughts on that, and I think Washington is going to be quite an interesting 500 event, I would say.

The ATP 500 event in Washington will be headlined by Grigor Dimitrov, Ben Shelton, Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe as they are among those that have chosen ranking points over the Olympic experience.

As for Zverev he is continuing his Olympic preparations in Hamburg where he will face Pedro Martinez in the semi-finals.

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Rafael Nadal Reveals Delight At Setting Up Ajdukovic Semi-Final After Four Hour Victory

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the Bastad semi-finals after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

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Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the semi-finals in Bastad after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion prevailed in a marathon 6-7(2) 7-5 7-5 victory to reach his first semi-final since Wimbledon 2022.

The Spaniard converted ten of his 21 break point opportunities as he reached the semi-finals.

After the match Nadal revealed his delight at reaching the last four and prevailed Navone for his resilient display, “I lost for some moments my concentration, but I was able to hold physically until the end,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“That is so important for me. Let’s see how I am tomorrow, but today I am alive and in the semi-finals, so that’s very important. There were a lot of changing dynamics in every single set. For moments, he was in control. For moments, I was in control. But at the end, no one was in control! That’s true, and I had a good chance in the second with 3-0. Then I was very close to losing the match in the second set.

“In the third [I was ahead] again with 5-2, but he’s a great fighter and he played a great match. I wish him all the very best for the rest of the season.”

Nadal will now play Duje Ajdukovic in the semi-finals as he aims to continue his eight match winning streak in Bastad with this being his first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2005.

The other semi-final will be Nuno Borges against Thiago Agustin Tirante with both players reaching their maiden ATP tour semi-final.

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