TENNIS – Seven-time champion Roger Federer beat Florian Mayer 6-0 7-6 to qualify for his 11th semifinal at this event. He has moved on to the finals 9 times to win it on 7 ocassions. Thirty-six year-old Ivo Karlovic battled past Tomas Berdych in three sets with 7-5 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes in the first quarter of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle to get through to the semifinals. Kei Nishikori had to fight hard to beat Jerzy Janowicz in three sets to reach his second consecutive semifinal in Halle. The Japanese player will face Andreas Seppi who was leading 6-1 1-0 when Gael withdrew from the match after 32 minutes Diego Sampaolo
Roger Federer won his sixth head-to-head match against Florian Mayer with 6-0 7-6. The Swiss legend broke serve three times in the first set to win with a bagel after just 19 minutes. Federer earned a break point in the first game of the second set but Mayer saved it. He could not convert a break point at 4-4. The second set came down to the tie-break where Federer cruised to 7-1 after one hour and four minutes on a closed roof. He has reached the semifinal in Halle for the 11th time. He lost only one of his previous 10 semifinals in this tournament in 2002 against Nicolas Kiefer
“It was a super start. He was able to recover well and it got close. Luckily I was able to play a perfect tie-break
In the semifinal Federer will face Karlovic who hit 45 aces setting a record for a best-of-three set match. Karlovic shared this record of 44 aces with Mark Philippousis. Last February he fired 44 aces in Zagreb equalling Philippousis’ record of 44 aces set in Kuala Lumpur in 1995.
Karlovic got the first break at 5-5 when Berdych made a double fault. Karlovic recovered to draw lvel in the tie-break of the second set after Berdych missed three set points. However, Karlovic could not convert the match point. Berdych won the tie-break with 10-8 as Karlovic hit his return into the net. Karlovic took a 3-1 lead before wrapping up the match with his 45th ace after 2 hours and 12 minutes.
Karlovic scored his second win over a top-10 player in 2015 after beating Novak Djokovic last January in Doha. With his 45 aces he increased his total to 94 aces during the week after his 28 aces against Santiago Giraldo and his 21 aces against Aleksander Zverev.
“I am extremely happy about my record. Hitting records helps a lot. I was surprised when I was told on court after the match how many aces I hit. I didn’t know it was that many. Hopefully I can continue like that in the semifinal”, said Karlovic
Federer leads 12-1 in his previous head-to-head matches against Karlovic.
Kei Nishikori edged past Jerzy Janowicz 6-4 5-7 6-3 in a highly-entertaining match after two and a half hours and a half under a closed roof because of rain to reach his second consecutive semifinal in Halle. Nishikori broke serve at 5-4 in the first set and held his serve in the next game to win the first set.
Nishikori converted on his fifth break point which was also the match point to clinch the first set with 6-4. Janowicz bounced back breaking serve for 2-1. As Janowicz was serving at 5-4, Nishikori drew level to 5-5 but the Pole broke again to clinch the second set with 7-5.
Janowicz entertained the crowd with his aggressive serves and volleys but Nishikori broke serve twice. Janowicz recovered one of the two breaks but Nishikori converted his first match point to take a hard-fought win.
“It was a tough match today because I let Jerzy get back into the match in the second set. In the end I am so glad to be in the semifinals
Nishikori will face Italian Andreas Seppi who was leading 6-1 1-0 over Gael Monfils when the Frenchman withdrew after 32 minutes due to a right kne injury. Seppi will play his third semifinal of the year after Doha and Zagreb
Fabio Fognini beats Guido Pella in straight sets to reach the fourth round in Melbourne
Fabio Fognini beat Guido Pella 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-3 to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. The Italian star converted five of his six break points to close out the match after 2 hours and nine minutes.
Fognini saved two break points in the first set with a forehand and a backhand and held his serve. The Italian star did not convert a break point in a long seventh game. Both players went on serve to set up a tie-break. Fognini did not drop a single point to cruise through to a 7-0 win.
In the second set Fognini earned a crucial break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. He held his serve on the second deuce after saving a break point. The 2019 Monte-Carlo champion sealed the second set with another break with a forehand return winner.
Fognini earned a break lead in the fourth game of the decisive set. Pella broke straight back in the fifth game. Both traded breaks again in the sixth and seventh games. Fognini broke for the third time and converted his second match point with a serve up the T.
He is also the 12th player to come back from two sets down at all four Grand Slam tournaments.
With his five-set victories over Reilly Opelka and Jordan Thompson in the first two matches Fognini made history on Wednesday when the “Come-back king” became the first player to win back-to-back Australian Open matches in final set tie-breaks.
“I am so happy to be in the fourth round again in Australia. Now it’s time to recover. I played a really solid game against a really tough opponent. I am happy with the performance”, said Fognini.
Fognini set up a fourth round match against 2018 Australian Open quarter finalist Tennys Sandgren, who beat Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 52 minutes. Sandgren fended off nine break points and converted just 2 of his 14 break point chances. Two years ago Sandgen beat Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem en route to reaching his first quarter final at a Grand Slam event.
Marin Cilic prevails over Roberto Bautista Agut in five-set thriller in Melbourne
Marin Cilic overcame Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-0 5-7 6-3 after 4 hours and 10 minutes to score his first top 10 win since the 2018 US Open, when he beat David Goffin.
Cilic fought back from losing the first set at the tie-break, but he bounced back in the second set by breaking serve in the ninth game, when Bautista Agut made a forehand error. Cilic held on his serve to win the second set 6-4 to draw level to 1-1.
Cilic cruised through to a bagel win in the third set. The Croatian player got an early break in the fourth set to open up a 3-1 lead. Bautista Agut broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Cilic did not convert a break point chance at 5-5. Bautista Agut earned the break at 6-5 to force the match to the fifth set.
Cilic broke serve in the opening game of the fifth set with a forehand winner, but he did not convert a break point at 4-2. He broke for the seventh time in the match in Bautista Agut’s next service game to clinch a thrilling win, as Bautista Agut fired a backhand into the net.
Cilic took a re-match against the Spanish player, who won their previous head-to-head clash at the 2019 Australian Open in five sets.
“I had an incredible patch. It was a surreal level. Every ball I was hitting was going in. It was coming off my raquet incredibly well. I knew Roberto would always fight and he pushed me all the way in the fourth set”, said Cilic.
Karen Khachanov edges Mikael Ymer in marathon match in Melbourne
Karen Khachanov battled past Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 4 hours and 14 minutes.
Ymer broke serve twice in the second and fourth games of the fourth set to open up a 4-1 lead. Khachanov broke back in the seventh game, but Ymer broke for the third time to take the fourth set 6-3.
Khachanov broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2, but he was broken back in the next game.
Khachanov was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the fifth set before trailing 6-8 in the decisive match tie-break. Khachanov came back by winning four consecutive points to clinch a thrilling win.
Australia’s Alexei Popyrin beat Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 2 hours and 4 minutes setting up a third round match against Danil Medvedev. Popyrin broke twice in each of the first and third sets and saved all four break point chances.
Taylor Fritz came back from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-2. Anderson was leading by two sets and 4-2 in the third set, but Fritz broke back before winning the third set at the tie-break. Fritz cruised through the fourth and fifth sets. Fritz will face Dominic Thiem in the third round.
“That was huge for me. He played a really tough five setter just the other day and then obviously coming back. Going back to back five setters is going to be tougher for him than usual. I felt fresh, so I just told myself that I have to keep running”,said Fritz.
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