Gasquet passed Berdych to face Federer in the quarters - UBITENNIS
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Gasquet passed Berdych to face Federer in the quarters

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US OPEN – Richard Gasquet (12) wore down the resistance of the much larger Tomas Berdych (6) to make his 2nd US Open quarterfinals appearance in his career having done so back in 2013 when he made the semifinals. The Frenchman beat the Czech player 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-1 in 2 hours 24 minutes. Gasquet would face Roger Federer (2) in the next round for a place in the semifinals.

 

With their head to head at 6-6, one figured that this would be an even contest and another tough battle on Armstong court as were the two previous singles matches. However, Berdych won their last three meetings and in the opening set, it was very evident why. For a moment, it looked as though Gasquet was going to seize the moment and be the first to break. In the 5th game of the match, the Frenchman had triple break points, 0-40 but he failed to convert any of them and Berdych held for 3-2. Sensing the hesitation from his opponent, Berdych was the one to take the momentum and broke Gasquet in successive service games to take the set 6-2 in just 33 minutes. “I start bad. I was not feeling confident on the court. He was playing great,” Gasquet said after the match.

In the 2nd set, it appeared as though Berdych relaxed and perhaps underestimate the fight from Gasquet who began improving on his service games. Gasquet was then able to create more break opportunities on the return and this time around, he converted in the 5th and 8th games to level the match at a set apiece 2-6 6-3.  “I think the second set was really important for my confidence. I start to return better, serve much better than the start of the match,” said Gasquet. In the 3rd set, both players recognized the urgency of holding serve as it was getting late into the night and securing that 2-1 sets lead was vital to win the match. Of the 10 games played, there was only one single break point and that occurred as Berdych served to stay in the set. Gasquet converted to take it 6-4 and the lead. In the 4th set, Gasquet began to swing freely as Berdych’s resistance was wearing thin. He could not take any of the break points that he had and when he was facing break points on his own serve, he faltered as Gasquet to the final 5 games of the match for a 2-6 6-3 6-4 6-1 victory. This win gave Gasquet a 7-6 lead in their head to head and perhaps some extra confidence going into the next round,  “It was a great match for me and a big victory.” Gasquet is 2-14 v Federer with those rare victories coming on clay back in 2005 and 2011.

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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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