Australian Open: Nishikori to face Wawrinka in the quarter-finals - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open: Nishikori to face Wawrinka in the quarter-finals

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – Kei Nishikori beat David Ferrer 6-3 6-3 6-3 to get through to the quarter finals of the Australian Open for the second time in his career three years after losing to Andy Murray in the 2012 edition. The 2014 US Open runner-up will face last year’s Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the quarter finals. The defending champion battled past Guillermo Garcia Lopez in four sets with 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) Nishikori and Wawrinka will meet for the second consecutive Grand Slam after their epic five-set quarter final at the US Open won by the Japanese player. Diego Sampaolo

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Before today’s clash at Melbourne Park Nishikori led 6-3 in their previous head-to-head matches against Ferrer but there were 1-1 in Grand Slam matches. The Japanese player beat Ferrer in the third round of the 2008 US Open. Ferrer beat Nishikori in the fourth round at the 2013 Australian Open.

In today’s match Ferrer was probably too tired after his marathon third round match against Giles Simon on Saturday. He committed 44 unforced errors and hit just 14 winners.Nishikori won the 72 percent of his first-serve points, hit 42 winners and converted on six of his 17 break point chances.

Nishikori broke serve in the third game of the opening set. Ferrer saved two break point chances at 2-4 before dropping serve again in the last game of the set for 3-6. Ferrer broke serve for the first time in the match at the third break point opportunity in the very long opening game of the second set which featured 18 points but Nishikori broke straight back in the next game. Nishikori faced a break point at 2-2 but he managed to hold his serve. The second set went on serve until 4-3 when Nishikori broke serve for 5-3. The Japanese star broke serve in the opening game of the second set and sealed the win on his third match point at 5-3 on Ferrer’s serve.

I played really comfortable on the court. I had a lot of confidence going into the match and I was playing almost 100 percent of tennis, really aggressive, good forehand and serving was also very good”, said Nishikori.

It’s going to be a really tough match because I have seen him play on TV in a couple of matches. Even today he was playing really well. He can hit balls forehand,backhand, great backhand actually. He can hit from anywhere at the back. It’s going to be a tough match. I am in the quarter finals, so no easy matches coming up. Hopefully I can play another good match. For sure it gives me confidence that I beat him at the US Open. It’s not like I cannot beat him. It’s going to be a tough match for sure”, said Nishikori of his match against Wawrinka

Wawrinka who faced a more difficult task against Spain’s Guillermo Garcia Lopez who upset “Stan the Man” in the first round of the 2014 Roland Garros. They previously met once at Melbourne Park in 2010 in a first round match easily won by Wawrinka. The Swiss player held a 4-3 lead in the previous seven head-to-head matches.

Lopez went up a break twice and served for the first set but Wawrinka broke back on both occasions to draw level to 3-3 and 5-5 before winning the set at the tie-break. Stan broke serve in the third game en route to clinching the second set with 6-4 in 33 minutes.

Stan was looking to be cruising to a easy win at 4-3 in the third set but he dropped serve twice. Lopez won the last three games to clinch the third set with 6-4 to force the match to the fourth set. It was the first dropped serve for the Lausanne player.

The fourth set came down to the tie-break where Garcia Lopez cruised to 5-0 and to 6-2. The Spanish player earned four set points but Wawrinka saved the fifth with a passing shot. After escaping the big scare Wawrinka clinched a hard-fought win on his second match point after three hours and two minutes. Wawrinka hit 70 winners but he committed 61 unforced errors.

That level, you can change quickly. I did maybe two mistakes, then he started to play a little bit faster, a little bit more flat. I started to be on my defensive a little bit too much. I am happy to get through. It was important to win that match again. It’s great for me to be in quarter finals and get there. I remember the last time I managed to come back in a tie-break was in Shanghai against Lukas Kubot, losing 6-2 also. It was a bad start to the tie-break. At 6-2 I knew it was close to come-back because I had the wind with me. I had to focus on every point. I knew if I was going to come back at 6-5, he was going to get nervous. I did a good passing shot, along line. They always know I go along line. It was a good one. It was nothing special. I was just focused point after point”, reflected Wawrinka of his fourth set tie-break

I am not focused to win a major. I am taking match after match. I know it’s difficult to do it. It’s amazing I already did one. I am happy to still be there playing great tennis so far. I have the chance to play one more quarter final and see how it’s going to go, Kei is a tough player. He improved a lot last year. I played against him at the US Open. It was a five-set match. I practiced with him before the tournament. He ‘s a great shot maker. He can make winner. It doesn’t matter. He is always taking the ball really early.. It’s always tough to play against him. He doesn’t give you a lot of time. It’s a new year and we start to zero again. Different condition if I have to play him. It will depend a little bit on me and the way I am going to serve, the way I am aggressive from the baseline. If I can play my game, it’s tough for him to always take the ball early. We will see how I am going to deal with that”, said Wawrinka

A lot of players said that surface is faster this year than last year. Wawrinka agreed with that. “It’s quite fast so far. I played only during the day. It’s fast condition and a fast court. We still had some great matches to watch. I think it’s a great Australian Open for people to watch. So far I am happy with the way it goes for me”

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‘I Know How To Get There’ – Karen Khachanov Targets Return To Top 10

The world No.31 has showed signs of his talent this season with a run to the Olympic final but a lack of consistency and changes to the ATP ranking system has hindered him too.

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Karen Khachanov - Credit: AELTC/Ian Walton

It wasn’t that long ago when Karen Khachanov was the highest-ranked Russian man on the ATP Tour and billed as the next big thing from his country.

 

A breakout 2018 season saw Khachanov claim three Tour titles with the biggest of those being at the Paris Masters which remains his most prestigious trophy to date. He also reached his first major quarter-final at the French Open during the same season and scored five wins over top 10 players. Those triumphs helped elevate him in the ranking to a high of eight.

However, since that breakthrough Khachanov has found himself on a a rollercoaster journey. He is yet to win another title since Paris but came agonisingly close at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev. In his nine previous Grand Slam tournaments his best run was at Wimbledon this season where he reached the last eight before losing to Denis Shapovalov.

Now ranked 31st in the world, the 25-year-old is aiming to claim back up the ladder after the ATP changed their ranking logic to the method used prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The rankings turned out to be a big pun, it was frozen for a year and a half, only now normal counting has begun. I am not fixated on this,” Khachanov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. “My main goal is to get back to the Top10. I know how to get there. And the intermediate goals are to be healthy and motivated.”

Khachanov has been ranked outside the world’s top 20 since February and hasn’t been in the top 10 since October 2019. He is currently coached on the Tour by Jose Clavet who has previously worked with a series of top Spanish players such as Feliciano Lopez, Alex Corretja, Tommy Robredo and Carlos Moya.

“He travels with me everywhere, for which I am grateful to him. I trust him as a specialist, as a coach and as a friend,” Khachanov said of Clavet.

Khachanov has returned to his home country this week where he is playing in Moscow at the Kremlin Cup. A tournament he won three years ago by defeating Adrian Mannarino in the final. Seeded third in the draw this time round, he began his campaign on Wednesday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, win over James Duckworth. In the next round, he faces another Australian in the shape of John Millman which he believes will be a far from easy task.

He is a fighter, a complete player, he does everything well, forehand and backhand with good intensity. He does everything at a good level, but the main quality is that he fights till the end, so it will be hard for me,” he said of his next opponent.

Moscow is the seventh tournament this year where Khachanov has reached the quarter-final stage.

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Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.

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Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.

 

Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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