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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France’s Lucas Pouille To Undergo Surgery

The 26-year-old has suffered another setback to his plans for a return to the Tour.

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Lucas Pouille (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Lucas Pouille says he is hopeful that he will be able to play tennis again this season after announcing plans to undergo surgery.

 

The world No.58 confirmed on Tuesday morning that he will be having an operation on his right elbow later this month in Paris. Pouille has only managed to play one match this year on the ATP Tour due to the injury, which was at the Indian Wells Challenger tournament where he lost in straight sets to Noah Rubin.  The issue has been bothering the Frenchman since last October when he shut down his season early after the Shanghai Masters.

“It’s never an easy decision to take, but I will get surgery on my right elbow this month in Paris. After new medical exams, it appeared it was the best solution in order to finally be able to play pain-free. I still hope to play before the end of the season.” Pouille said in a statement.

Pouille initially looked to be on track to making a return to action after participating in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in June. An exhibition tournament created by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou. However, he lost two matches to Feliciano Lopez and Elliot Benchetrit before being forced to withdraw from the competition due to his elbow.

In recent days the coach of the former world No.10,  Loic Courteau, said they will not be travelling to the US Open next month. Although it is unclear if Courteau’s comments were made before or after the decision to undergo surgery was made.

“I will not be in New York, for the good reason that Lucas… is not going to play the tournament,” he told French television.

Pouille has won five ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $7 million in prize money. He is currently the eighth highest ranked French player on the ATP Tour.

Pouille’s ATP titles breakdown

2018 1 Montpellier (Indoor/Hard)
2017 3 Vienna (Indoor/Hard)
Stuttgart (Outdoor/Grass)
Budapest (Outdoor/Clay)
2016 1 Metz (Indoor/Hard)

 

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.

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Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

 

The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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