Kei Nishikori beats Phillip Kohlschreiber in straight sets, as Ivo Karlovic is forced to withdraw against Federico Delbonis - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori beats Phillip Kohlschreiber in straight sets, as Ivo Karlovic is forced to withdraw against Federico Delbonis

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Seventh seed Kei Nishikori beat Phillip Kohlschreiber in straight sets 6-4 6-3 6-3 to reach the second round on day one of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

 

Nishikikori faced little resistance from the German player and broke serve four times without facing any break points. The seventh-seeded player from Japan, who reached the quarter finals in Melbourne in 2012 and 2015, hit 35 winners and converted four of his eight break point chances.

Nishikori broke serve once in the 10th game of the opening set to clinch the first set 6-4. The Japanese star got a break in the fourth game to take the second set. He never looked back in the third set and closed out the match in one hour and 55 minutes to set up a second round match against Austin Kraijcek who cruised past Chinese qualifier Wu Di 6-4 6-1 6-3 to clinch his second match win at Grand Slam level. Kraijcek hit 29 winners including 13 aces and broke serve six times.

Nishikori had to recover from a set down in the quarter finals in Memphis in 2015 in his only previous head-to-head match against Kraijcek.

“It was hot today but luckily I got finished quickly. It’s very dry here so actually I didn’t sweat much. It wasn’t too bad”, said Nishikori.

“It’s great to play against Kraijcek because we trained together when we were are really young, like when we were juniors. So it’s good to see him at this stage. We played together in Memphis last year. It was a tough match. He is a very aggressive player and has a good serve, comes to the net a lot. It is not going to be an easy one”, commented Nishikori on his next match.

Federico Delbonis pulled off the first upset of the first round when he beat “Ace King” Ivo Karlovic who withdrew from the match after trailing 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 2-1 due to a left knee injury. Karlovic fired 21 aces but Delbonis broke serve in the second set after winning the first set 7-4 at the tie-break.

Tomas Berdych, who reached the semifinals in the last two editions of the Australian Open, struggled in the first set against Yuki Bhambri but he converted six of his eight break points to win in straight sets with 7-5 6-1 6-2. Bhambri broke serve once and played a good match in the first set but Berdych took control of the match dropping just three games in the second and the third set. Berdych hit 35 winners including 13 aces

David Goffin came back from a set down to overcome Sergiy Stakhovsky 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 in two hours and 36 minutes. Stakovsky hit 10 aces and converted five of his ten break points but made 47 unforced errors. Goffin broke serve seven times. The Belgian player set up a second round match against Damir Dzumhur who overcame a five-set battle against 20-year-old British rising star Kyle Edmund with 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 6-1 in a marathon match which lasted over three hours. Dzumhum reached the third round at Melbourne Park in 2014.

Dominic Thiem overcame a third-set loss to edge Leonardo Mayer in four sets with 6-2 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 7-6 (7-0). Thiem won 78 percent of his first serve points, hit 34 winners including seven aces and broke serve four times.

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Botic Van de Zandschulp beats Joao Sousa to reach the second round in Tel Aviv

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Botic Van de Zandschulp cruised past Joao Sousa 6-2 6-3 to reach the second round at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. Van de Zandschulp won 83% of his first serve points and hit 28 winners to Sousa’s six. 

 

The Dutchman will face Liam Broady, who Serbian wild-card Hamad Medjedovic 7-5 6-3. 

Tomas Martin Etchevery edged past 2021 Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev 6-2 6-7 (0-7) 6-4  scoring the biggest win of his career. 

Arthur Rinderknech came back from one set down to beat Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3. Rinderknech set up a second round against third seed Diego Schwartzman. 

Emil Ruusuvuori broke serve five times in his 6-3 6-2 win over J.J Wolf. 

Sebastian Korda beat Turkish qualifier Cem Ilkel 6-4 6-4 setting up a second round match against Maxime Cressy. Novak Djokovic is the top seed of the Tel Aviv tournament, which returns for the first time since 2021.

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Holger Rune reaches the second round at the Sofia Open

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Danish Next Gen rising star Holger Rune edged past Tim Van Rijthoven 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) to reach the second round at the Sofia Open in his first appearance at this tournament. 

 

Both players went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Rune earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

The second set started with a trade of breaks in the first two games. There was little to separate both players in the next games, which went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rune saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie-break of the second set and won the final three points to close out the second set 8-6. 

Rune won his first title in Munich and reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter final at Roland Garros. 

 “I did not want to go to three sets. I had the break and led 5-2 in the second set tie-break. If it had happened, I was going to fight for sure and try to take it in three, but I am very happy to win in two. I am really working hard every day and trying to improve any small things I can. I think today I stayed very focused all the time. I lost my focus one time on serve, when maybe I should not have been broken, but other than that I am very happy with my first match. The first match is always a  bit difficult”, said Rune. 

Australia’s Alexander Vukic beat Fabio Fognini 7-6 (13-11) 7-5 after 1 hour and 11 minutes. Vukic broke serve in the fifth game to take a 4-2 lead. Fognini converted his fourth break-back point to draw level to 4-4 before saving a break point at 5-5. Fognini went up a 6-3 lead, but he wasted six set points in the tie-break. Vukic closed out the tie-break 13-11 on his third set point. 

Fognini earned a break to take a 2-1 lead. Vukic broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2 in the fourth game. Fognini lost four consecutive points from 4-5 30-0. Vukic earned the decisive break on his first match point to seal the second set 7-5. 

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Dominic Thiem battles past Laslo Djere in three sets in Tel Aviv

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Dominic Thiem came back from one set down to beat Laslo Djere 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in 2 hours and 40 minutes reaching the second round at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. 

 

Djere broke serve in the third game to take a 3-1 lead. Thiem broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Djere earned his second break in the 11th game to close out the first set 7-5. 

Thiem broke serve at deuce in the sixth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Djere broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4. Djere earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Thiem did not face a break point in the third set and converted his fourth break point in the third game to seal the third set 6-4. 

“I did not get off to a great start. I got the break in the second set and I was a bit lucky I could turn the match around. The third set was a real grind. I am vert grateful to everyone who came tonight. It is really nice to play in Israel”, said Thiem.  Roman Safiulin came back from one set down to beat Hugo Grenier 3-6 6-4 6-2 in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Safiulin earned his first ATP Tour win since he beat Mikael Ymer in Belgrade last April.

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