VIDEO - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and David Ferrer March on in Auckland - UBITENNIS
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VIDEO – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and David Ferrer March on in Auckland

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in action at the 2016 ASB Classic (image via zimbio.com)

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga kicked-off his 2016 campaign with a solid 6-3, 6-4, win over Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The Frenchman was playing in his first tournament of the year after withdrawing from last week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship due to a forearm injury. Facing the world No.34 in Auckland, the Frenchman experienced little difficulty. As proceedings got underway Kohlschreiber produced a nightmare start after hitting two consecutive double faults in his first service game to grant Tsonga a 2-0 lead. The falter proved costly as the second seed remained strong on his serve to take the opening set after 29 minutes.

Tsonga dealt his next blow to the German at the start of the second set. Applying pressure onto Kohlschreiber’s second serve, Tsonga converted for the second time of the match after he forced his opponent to hit the ball out. The momentum was nearly squandered in the sixth game of the set when the German had a double chance to break back. Kohlschreiber failed to capitalize on the double opportunity as Tsonga clawed his way back to maintain the lead in the match. The sixth game was the only time that Tsonga was in danger. Serving for the match, the world No.10 raced to 40-0 before taking the win due to a forehand unforced error from his opponent.

In his first match of the year, Tsonga produced seven forehand and five backhand winners. On the other hand, it wasn’t a perfect performance from the Frenchman who produced 26 unforced errors in the match. Assessing his performance in Auckland, Tsonga was encouraged with how he performed.

I’m pretty happy with the result, it is the first match of the year for me. I felt great.” Tsonga said during his on court interview.

In the last eight Tsonga will play Fabio Fognini. Fognini saved two match points before edging past Portugal’s Joao Sousa on Tuesday. The world No.10 currently has a 100% record against Fognini after winning all three of their previous encounters.

Top seed David Ferrer was too strong for Australian qualifier Matthew Barton, winning 6-2, 6-4. Barton was playing in his first ATP main draw this week in Auckland. The Spanish world No.8 was dominant on his serve throughout the match, facing no break points and winning 88% of his first serves. Ferrer is bidding to win his fifth title in Auckland this year. The event is special for the 33-year-old, who claimed his first ATP hard court title in New Zealand back in 2007. During his press conference, Ferrer praised the tournament officials.

“I like this tournament a lot, obviously the people [here] enjoy their tennis and have fun,” said Ferrer. ” [I’ve been involved] in a tournament in Valencia and [Auckland] is a great example of how to make a good tournament.” He said.

Next up for Ferrer will be Lukas Rosol. The Czech stunned French fifth seed Benoit Paire 6-4, 7-5. The top seed have played Rosol twice last year in Beijing and Miami. On both occasions he took the win in straight sets.

Kevin Anderson overcame Dutch qualifier Robin Haase 7-6(8), 7-6(5) in a mixed encounter for the South African. Playing in his first match of the year after withdrawing from Chennai last week due to a knee injury, Anderson was at times rusty on the court. Nevertheless, the South African sealed the win with the help of eight aces. Following his first match of the year, the world No.12 gave an update on his knee.

“It’s been playing up a little bit but it’s feeling much better now,” Anderson said.
“I was happy with how it felt in today’s match. It’s always a very tricky and tough match but it gets you feeling more comfortable, especially when you’ve had a pretty long break coming off the off season.”

Next up for the world No.12 will be Jack Sock. Facing close friend and doubles partner Vasek Pospisil, the American cruised to a 6-2, 6-4, win. Anderson has beaten Sock once before at the 2014 Rome Open.

In other matches, Roberto Bautista Agut reached his second consecutive quarter final on the ATP Tour this year after defeating Donald Young 6-4, 7-6(3). Bautista Agut will play John Isner for a chance to progress to the last four. Third seed Isner required over two hours in his match to defeat Sam Querrey 7-6(8), 6-7(4), 6-4.

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Daniil Medvedev Eyes Further Improvement Despite Straight Sets Win At Australian Open

The world No.4 rates his performance so far in the grand slam tournament.

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Daniil Medvedev (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev believes he is yet to reach full throttle at the Australian Open after cruising into the third round of the tournament with a straight sets victory.

 

The US Open runner-up eased to a 7-5, 6-1, 6-3, win over Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez Portero. Who was playing in the main draw of a grand slam for only the second time in his career at the age of 22. Dropping serve only one during the match, Medvedev blasted 19 aces and 40 winners past his rival. He also won 74% of his first service points.

Through to the last 32 in Melbourne Park for the second year in a row, the 23-year-old still believes that he could improve further on the court. Earlier in the week he also defeated Frances Tiafoe, who was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open last year.

“I think there are still some things to improve. I think I could be more aggressive few moments of the match.” Said Medvedev.
“At the same time when you win three sets, you don’t want to discuss too much your level or something.’
“Of course, my next match is going to be completely different, so I’m happy with the win and happy to finally win in three sets without a tiebreak.”

As well as battling Martinez on the court, Medvedev was also forced to temporarily halt his match due to a nose bleed. Which occurred during the second set when he was leading 5-0. The Russian insisted that his bleed was not tension related and is something he has gotten used to.

“Let’s say it happens maybe two times a year or maybe once.” He said.
“I remember it actually happened last year Australian Open in first round. I think it was the only time last year, so it can happen sometimes but it’s nothing.”

Medvedev is one of a group of players who have been tipped to break the dominance of the Big Three in grand slam tennis this year. A group consisting of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Last year he won 59 matches on the ATP Tour, which was more than anybody else.

Despite the high expectations, the world No.4 is playing down the hype surrounding him. Branding the Australian Open as ‘just another slam.’ It was during the last major at New York, where he reached his first final before losing to Nadal in three sets.

“I don’t know about other people, but for me, it’s just another slam where I have to win round by round again and again, where I had two tough rounds in my opinion in terms of games, especially the first one against Frances.” He stated.
“So I just take it as any new tournament, as an ATP one, any tournament I play. I just take it round by round. I try to win my matches.”

This year, Medvedev is seeking to go beyond the round round in Melbourne for the first time in his career.

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Fabio Fognini wins epic five-set match against Jordan Thompson

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Fabio Fognini battled past local favourite Jordan Thompson 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 3-6 4-6 7-6 in an epic five set match to score his five-set win at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

 

The first set went on serve in the first five games. Fognini earned the first game in the sixth game, but Thompson broke back to draw level to 4-4. Fognini won the tie-break 7-4 after saving two set points in the 10th game.

Fognini earned an early break in the second game of the second set with a forehand passing shot. The Italian star went up a double break at 15 to race out to a 4-0 lead and closed out the second set 6-1 on his second set point.

Thompson saved two break points in the first game of the third set before breaking serve in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead. The Australian player saved a break point at deuce in the ninth game and held his serve to win the third set 6-3.

Both players went on serve with no break points in the first four games of the fourth set. Thompson converted his only break point in the fifth game and held his serve at 15 to open up a 4-2 lead. The home player did not look back in the next games to win the fourth set 6-4 forcing the match to the fifth set.

Fognini started the fifth set with a hold at love. The fifth set went on serve with no break points until the eighth game when Fognini earned the first break point of the set, but Thompson saved it at deuce to draw level to 4-4. Fognini earned his first match point at 5-4 with a forehand down the line. Thompson saved it with a big ace down the middle.

Thompson fended off another match point with a forehand down the line before holding serve after five deuces to draw level to 5-5. Fognini earned two consecutive match points, but Thompson saved them to force a super tie-break. Thompson made a forehand error at 1-1, but Fognini  double faulted. Fognini took a 7-3 lead after two unforced errors from Thomson. Fognini sealed the fifth set 10-4 with a backhand down the line after 4 hours and 5 minutes. Fognini will face Argentina’s Guido Pella.

“It was a good fight. It was amazing. It’s perfect. I feel good. I am tired for sure. I was two sets to zero in front. He was playing better, he was serving unbelievable. I had 75 match points, and it is more sweat, because it is tood easy winning in three sets”, joked Fognini.

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Marin Cilic takes the Match tie-break to beat Benoit Paire in Melbourne

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Marin Cilic battled past Benoit Paire 6-2 6-7 (8-10) 3-6 6-1 7-6 (10-3) in the match tie-break after 3 hours and 33 minutes in windy conditions to advance to the third round at the Australian Open. Paire won 82 % of his first serve points, but he made 51 unforced errors.

 

Cilic broke three times in a row to seal the opening set 6-2. Paire rallied from 3-5 down to win the tie-break 10-8. Paire earned a break of serve at deuce in the eighth game to win the third set 6-3. Cilic broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the fourth set 6-1.

Each player saved a break point in the fifth set, but they held on their service games en route to reaching the the match tie-break, where Cilic sealed the win 10-3.

Cilic booked his spot in the third-round, where he will face Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, who came back from one set down to beat Michael Mmoh 5-7 6-2 6-4 6-1 after 2 hours and 44 minutes. The match was moved to the Melbourne Arena after it was interrupted by rain, when Mmoh was leading 2-1 in the fourth set.

Last year’s Australian Open semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the third round, when Phillip Kohlschreiber pulled out of the match due to a muscle injury. Tsitsipas set up a third round match against Milos Raonic, who converted each of his four break points to beat Cristian Garin 6-3 6-4 6-2.

Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics beat last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-4 6-3 after 2 hours and 16 minutes. Fucsovics earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Sinner broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, but Fucsovics earned another break in the next game to take the opening set 6-4. Fucsovics went up an early break in the first game of the second set, but Sinner broke straight back. Sinner dropped his serve at love in the seventh game to lose the second set 6-4. Sinner went up a 2-0 lead with an early break. Fucsovics broke straight back in the third game to claw his way back to 1-2. Fucsovics broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and sealed the win in the ninth game on his first match point.

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