TENNIS – Aleksandr Dolgopolov upset Rafa Nadal 6-3 6-7(6) 6-4 at the Queen’s Club event in London. Freshly minted Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka started his grass campaign with a convincing 6-3 6-4 win in 49 minutes over this year’s Australian Open quarterfinalist Nick Kyrgios as Andy Murray beat Taiwanese qualifier Yen Hsun Lu 6-4 7-5 Diego Sampaolo
Dolgopolov scored his second consecutive win over Nadal. The Ukrainian player broke Nadal in the 2nd game of the match and raced out to a 3-0 lead. He then earned three break points for 4-0 but Nadal saved them all. However, Dolgopolov was able to maintain the one break advantage to close out the 1st set with 6-3.
There were no breaks in the second set which came down to the tie-break. Nadal went up a mini-break but Dolgopolov reeled off four points to take a 5-3 lead. Nadal faced a match point at 5-6 but he saved it. Nadal earned the set point with a volley before converting the set point.
Nadal broke serve for 2-1 in the decider. He led 4-2 at one point in the set but Dolgopolov converted his second break point to draw level to 4-4. Nadal had triple break points in the 9th game for a 5-4 lead but Dolgopolov saved them to hold for 5-4. Nadal was again forcing to serve to stay in the match. The Ukrainian player earned his second match point in the 10th game and this time around he did not let it go begging. He unleashed a forehand passing shot to clinch the set 6-4 and thus the match.
“I am not happy I lost a match that I had the chance to win but that’s it. The good thing is that I am positive mentally. I hope to have some good days of practice here and some good rest at home and I gonna come back strong with a good week of practice before Wimbledon,” said Nadal.
The first set went on serve until 4-3 in the first set when Wawrinka went up 15-40 on Kyrgios’ serve before getting the break on his second opportunity after a backhand error from Kyrgios. Wawrinka then served out the set at 6-3. Wawrinka broke serve in the 3rd game of the 2nd set before saving three break back points at 3-2. The Lausanne player closed out the match with his third ace 6-3 6-4.
“I am happy with the way I am already playing”, said Wawrinka, who reached the semifinal at the Queen’s last year.
A much disappointed Kyrgios said after the match: “I just felt uncomfortable the whole time. I was not feeling great. He hasn’t had much time on the grass but obviously winning the French Open he is comfortable. He hit the ball massive, free swinging out there”
Murray beat Lu 6-4 7-5. Lu broke serve in the 5th game with a forehand pass but Murray broke straight back before converting on his second break point in the 10th game after an error from Yen Hun Lu for 6-4.
Lu recovered from 0-40 at the start of the 2nd set before taking a 2-0 lead. However, Lu could not maintain the lead as Murray drew level at 2-2. Murray avoided the danger of a tie-break at 6-5 and earned his first match point with a forehand lob to take it 6-4 7-5. Murray will face Fernando Verdasco in the next round.
Queen’s defending champion Grigor Dimitrov fought back from a set and a break down to battle past Sam Querrey 4-6 6-3 6-4. The match was suspended overnight on Monday and resumed on Tuesday.
Chelsea football coach José Mourinho attended the matches at the Queen’s Club.
Halle Gerry Weber ATP 500:
Kei Nishikori edged past Dominic Thiem 7-6(4) 7-5. Nishikori had to battle hard in the first set when he fended off three set points and had to save nine of the ten break point chances. Nishikori will take on German wild card Dustin Brown in the next round.
Nishikori opened up a 2-0 lead but he wasted a set point at 5-3. Thiem broke back to draw level to 5-5. Thiem earned three set points as Nishikori was serving at 5-6 15-40 but the Japanese star clinched the set in the tie-break 7-4 points.
“There were some ups and downs but it was a good match for the first time on grass. I am happy to win in two sets”, said Nishikori.
In the other matches Gael Monfils beat Lukas Rosol 6-3 6-4, while Steve Johnson beat Bernard Tomic 6-3 7-6(4). Jerzy Janowicz beat Pablo Cuevas 6-3 6-4. Andreas Seppi overcame Tommy Haas 7-5 6-2. Ivo Karlovic fought back from a set down to edge passed Santiago Giraldo 6-7 (4) 6-4 6-4.
(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win
The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.
World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.
“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’
Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.
Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’
“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”
Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)
Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open
Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.
He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.
Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.
Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.
“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.
Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka
Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.
Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.
Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.
In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.
Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.
“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.
Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
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