Master 1000 IW: Harrison spoils Fish's comeback day - UBITENNIS
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Master 1000 IW: Harrison spoils Fish’s comeback day

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TENNIS MASTER 1000 IW – Ryan Harrison had to fight hard to edge Mardy Fish 6-4 4-6 7-6 after two hours and 36 minutes in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, the first of the nine Master 1000 Tournaments. Fish made his come-back from a long break of three years from the ATP circuit due to a debilitating heart condition and serious anxiety disorder. Diego Sampaolo

 

Fish, who was runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells in 2008, made his emotional come-back from three years of absence and he came close to what would have been a fairytale win against Harrison in his first match since he retired from the third round in Winston Salem Open2013 after a difficult period in which he suffered from heart problems and a severe anxiety disorder.

The first set went on serve until the fifth game when Harrison broke serve to love but Fish broke straight back in the next game for 3-3. Harrison broke again to take the 4-3 lead and held serve without problems to pull away to 5-3. Fish won the ninth game for 4-5 but Harrison served out to clinch the first set with 6-4.

Fish failed to convert on three break points and Harrison drew level to 4-4. Fish did not face any problems to hold his serve and took the 5-4 lead. In the 10th game Fish went up 40-15 and earned two set points. Harrison saved the first set point but committed a costly double fault on the second chance and Fish drew level by winning the second set with 6-4.

Harrison broke serve in the third game of the decider to take a 2-1 lead. Fish held his serve in the fifth game for 2-3. While serving 4-3 Harrison committed two forehand errors and faced tow break-back points at 15-40 but he managed to hold his serve with his service winner and his backhand.

Fish broke serve after a 10-minute hard-fought game at deuce

Fish earned two match points at 15-40 in the 10th game of the third set. Both players held serve to force the match to the tie-break where Harrison reeled off three points in a row to open up a 5-2 lead. Harrison earned a match point after a double fault made by Fish and wrapped up up the match with an ace.

The Minnesota native player turned pro in 2000 and won the Olympic silver medal for years later in Athens. He achieved his career-high of Number 7 after reaching the quarter finals at Wimbledon in 2011 and qualified for the ATP Finals for the first time in his career. However he was awoken in the middle of the night in Miami in 2012 as his heart raced violently after losing a match to Juan Monaco. The heart palpitations were so intense, that he thought he would not survive. He was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia. He underwent a procedure to correct faulty electrical connections in his heart. This condition caused him anxiety attacks every 15-30 minutes

It’s probably the only one I would have been able to start with, since it’s close to home. It’s been a good three and a half months now that I have worked my butt off to get back into tennis shape. It’s satisfying because it’s hard work. I didn’t practice much for about a year, but tennis has never left me. I have worked really hard in the past three and a half years to get back into shape. I don’t have any issues during or after a match. I worked extremely hard to put myself in the best position to not have to worry about things when I was there”, said Fish

In the other first round matches Marcos Baghdatis was leading 6-3 1-1 when young Czech rising star Jiri Vesely withdrew. Vesely was broken five times and won only 39 percent of his first serve points. Baghdatis continues his good period of form after the third round at the Australian Open and the semifinal in Zagreb. The player from Cyprus, former Australian Open finalist, will take on Novak Djokovic in the second round.

Vasek Pospisil was leading against Mikhail Kukushkin (winner last weekend in the Davis Cup with Kazakhstan against Italy last week-end) with 6-4 4-2 when the Kazakh withdrew. In the second round Pospisil will take on Andy Murray who recently hired Bjorkman.

Davis Cup her Federico Delbonis, who won the 3-2 final point for Argentina last week against Brazil in Buenos Aires, beat Dusan Lajovic 6-4 6-3.

Adrian Mannarino beat Misha Zverev (older brother of German rising star Aleksander Zverev) 6-4 6-4 to set up a second round match against Fabio Fognini. At last year’s US Open Mannarino beat Fognini 6-3 6-4 6-1. Young Croatian rising Borna Coric beat Austrian Andreas Haider Mauer 6-4 6-4. Another emerging talent Thanasi Kokkinakis overcame German Jan Struff 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. Juan Monaco edged Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3 3-6 6-3.

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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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