Ivo Karlovic rallies from a set down to edge Stan Wawrinka in Basel - UBITENNIS
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Ivo Karlovic rallies from a set down to edge Stan Wawrinka in Basel

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Ivo Karlovic fought back from a set down to edge past Stan Wawrinka with 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4. Wawrinka looked to be in control of the match until the second set when he was leading 6-3 3-1 but Karlovic turned around the match winning the second set with 7-2 at the tie-break. Karlovic got the break at the start of the third set. Wawrinka saved two match points at 3-5 but Karlovic served out for the match to take the third set with 6-4.

 

Swiss hero Stan Wawrinka, 2015 Roland Garros champion, faced a very tough debut against Ivo Karlovic, who hit 1340 aces this year and broke the record of aces held by his countryman Goran Ivanisevic during the China Open in Beijing. Wawrinka led 5-1 in his previous head-to-head matches against Karlovic, including a three-set win last August in Cincinnati.

The first three games went on serve. Wawrinka held his serve with a service winner in the third game before breaking serve in the the fourth game as Karlovic made two double faults.

Wawrinka consolidated the break by holding his serve in the fifth game for 4-1. Karlovic hit a service winner to win his service game for 4-2. Both players held their next service games en route to 5-3. Wawrinka served for the first set. He saved two break points in the ninth game before closing out the first set with a service winner.

In the second set Karlovic faced three break points. Wawrinka converted his third opportunity to go up 1-0 before winning his service game in the second game. Karlovic managed to hold his serve in the third game for 1-2. Wawrinka won his service game with a service winner to open up a 3-1 lead.

Karlovic won two consecutive games breaking back to draw level to 3-3 and consolidated the break to love to take the 4-3 lead. The break-back turned around the match in favour of Karlovic. Wawrinka won his next service game to love for 4-4. Both players held their next service games en route to the tie-break.

Karlovic got two mini-breaks on the second and the seventh points to take a 5-2 lead and served out for the set forcing the match to the third set.

Wawrinka faced two break points at the start of the third set. Karlovic converted the break point with a forehand error by Wawrinka and held his service game to open up a 2-0 lead. Both players went on serve in the next five games en route to 4-3 for Karlovic.

The Croatian ace record holder earned two match points on Wawrinka’s serve at 5-3. Wawrinka saved both match points with his serve and his backhand winner. Karlovic served out for the match with his third consecutive ace  after 1 hour and 48 minutes.

“I had a poor first set and missed a lot of my volleys but I began improving in the second set and got a bit lucky when I converted my break points in the sixth game at 3-3. After that things started going my way”, said Karlovic

Wawrinka hit 35 winners to 24 unforced errors and converted two of his five break points. He won 82 percent of his first serve points. Karlovic hit 29 winners to 27 unforced errors and converted two of his six break points. He fired 21 aces and made 3 double faults

Karlovic will face Dusan Lajovic in the next round.

Wawrinka has lost for the fourth consecutive year and in eight of his twelve appearances in the first round in Basel.

“It’s never easy to lose a match like that, especially since I felt I played well for two sets. He is playing his best year. so far, he has improved his game a lot. He serves amazing and you don’t get many chances. Today I got my chances and I didn’t take them”, said Wawrinka

Kevin Anderson beat Croatian 18-year-old rising star Borna Coric (last year semifinalist in Basel) 6-3 6-2 in one hour to reach the second round of the Swiss Indoor Open in Basel where he will take on  Donald Young. The South African player did not drop any of his service points and hit 29 winners, including 14 aces.

Marin Cilic, who won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last week, beat local favourite Marco Chiudinelli 6-3 7-6 (7-3). The Croatian player dropped just four of his service points.

Jack Sock defeated lucky-loser Denis Kudla 6-4 6-2 setting up a second round against his compatriot John Isner. David Goffin rallied from a break down in the first set to beat Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-3. Teymuraz Gabashvili overcame a second-set loss to edge Leonardo Mayer 7-5 4-6 6-4.

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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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