Local star Roger Federer made his eagerly-awaited debut against Mikhail Kukushkin in front of his local fans at the Swiss Indoor Open in Basel at the St.Jakobshalle.
Federer won his two previous head-to-head matches against the Kazakh player at Wimbledon in 2011 and in the Davis Cup quarter finals in 2014 in Geneva without dropping sets.
In last year’s edition of the Swiss Indoor Open Kukushkin beat the other Swiss star Stan Wawrinka in the first round with 6-4 6-7 6-3.
Federer won his first service game to love. In the second game he went up 0-40 on Kukushkin’s serve but the Kazakh player forced the game to deuce. Federer converted his break point on his fourth break point opportunity. He saved break point chances to hold his service game for 3-0. After 13 minutes Federer led 4-0. Kukushkin avoided the bagel winning his first game with his forehand winner but Federer closed out the first set in the next game after 21 minutes.
Federer could not convert break points in the first game of the second set. Kukushkin held his serve to take a 1-0 lead. Federer held his service game to draw level to 1-1. Kukushkin saved break points in a 5-minute third game to take a 2-1 lead. Federer hit his 20th winner to draw level to 2-2. Federer earned three break points and converted his second chance for 3-2 after Kukushkin made a double fault. Federer got the double break in the seventh game to pull away to 5-2 before serving out for the match after 54 minutes.
Federer hit 29 winners to 15 unforced errors. He converted only four of his break point chances but saved the two opportunities he faced. He won 91 percent of his first serve pointts 72 percent of his second serve points.
Federer will take on Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round. The Basel native player leads 10-0 in his previous head-to-head matches against the German player.
Kohlschreiber overcame a second-set loss to beat Jerzy Janowicz with 6-4 3.6 6.3.
The Swiss Maestro has won the home tournament six times. Only once in 1998 Federer lost in the first round against André Agassi. The then 17-year-old player from Basel won just five games against the US legend.
Federer will donate his appearance fee in Basel to his Foundation,which helps disadvantaged children and promotes their access to education and sport.
Grigor Dimitrov beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3 6-4 to set up a second round match against Rafa Nadal. Dimitrov, who is now ranked number 28, got an early break in the first set en route to winning the first set with 6-3. The Bulgarian player broke serve in the ninth game to take the 5-4 lead with two forehand passing shots before closing out in the next game.
John Isner beat Ernests Gulbis 6-3 6-4 taking a re-match for his defeat in their previous head-to-head match last week in Vienna. Isner hit 28 winners to 14 unforced errors and hit 19 aces and won 90 percent of his first serve points. Isner broke in the second game on his second opportunity. The match went on serve without break points until the ninth game when Isner served out for the first set. Gulbis wasted a break point in the sixth game of the second set. Isner converted his break point chance in the ninth game
Number 8 seed David Goffin fought back from a set down to overcome Andreas Seppi with 3-6 6-4 6-4. Seppi got a double break in the first and in the fifth games en route to taking a 4-1 lead. Goffin recovered one of the two breaks but Seppi sealed the first set with a third break. In the second set Goffin got a double break. Seppi recovered one of the two breaks but the Belgian closed out with 6-4 drawing level to 1-1 on sets. Goffin got an early break at the start of the second set. Seppi broke back to draw level to 4-4 but Goffin broke again for 5-4.
Richard Gasquet edged past Jiri Vesely 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-4. Gasquet broke serve in the second game of the first set. The Frenchman earned three set points on Vesely’s serve but failed to convert them. He closed out the first set in the next game. The second set went on serve without break points until the break point. Vesely got two-mini-breaks to win the tie-break with 7-2 forcing the match to the third set. Vesely did not convert two break points in the fourth game. Gasquet also had break points in the seventh game but he failed to convert them. In the 10th game Gasquet earned a break point at 30-all. This time he clinched the break to win the decider with 6-4. Gasquet will face Dominic Thiem in the second round.
(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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