Shock defeats in Acapulco as David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori bow out in the second round - UBITENNIS
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Shock defeats in Acapulco as David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori bow out in the second round

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Sam Querrey gained revenge for his Memphis defeat to Kei Nishikori by winning in Acapulco (image via Zimbio.com)

Two major seeds fell in Acapulco Wednesday, as David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori were both summarily dispatched in straight sets, by Alexandr Dolgopolov and Sam Querrey respectively.

 

Top seed Ferrer was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by the resurgent Dolgopolov, who looks set to climb back into the Top 30 after a long spell outside. Ferrer struggled against the first serve in the opening set, as Dolgopolov won all eleven first serve points, but managed to win more than half the second serve points. Ferrer though averaged only averaged 53% on both his first and second serves,. The result was two breaks for Dolgopolov and one for Ferrer. The second set saw both players improve, but it was Dolgopolov who continued to take control. The Ukrainian broke Ferrer midway through the set and managed to serve out. Ferrer put up a strong fight in the last game, fighting back to deuce from forty-love only to see Dolgopolov hold.

The warning signs for Kei Nishikori were evident even before he took to the court against Sam Querrey. The American gave him serious trouble in the semi-finals of Memphis two weeks ago, and had three career wins over Nishikori prior to their meeting in Acapulco. Querrey also won the Delray Beach title just last week, and is in fantastic form. Querrey employed similar tactics to that semi-final, ripping forehands and trying to keep points as short as possible This time it worked. Querrey broke the Nishikori serve twice in the first (broken himself once), one at the end of the set to ensure he served first in the second. Querrey held Nishikori in the second, dropping just five points on serve, and put the Japanese star under constant pressure, earning seven break points, finally taking one. Querrey could break back into the Top 30 should his run here continue.

Standing in Querrey’s way is the young American star Taylor Fritz, who made short work of a man nearly twice his age in Victor Estrella Burgos. Fritz dropped just one service game, and broke the Quito winner four times, to wrap up the win in just over an hour 6-1, 6-3.

That is as good as things got for the Americans, as Donald Young and Ryan Harrison both saw their runs come to an end. Harrison surrendered what turned out to be a crucial break lead early in the first on the way to a 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 defeat to Illya Marchenko. Donald Young was bested by Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-4.

Bernard Tomic looks back in form following his first round exit in Delray Beach, as he beat Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-4. The Australian has not dropped a set yet this week. In-form Dominic Thiem dropped the first set to tour veteran Dmitry Tursunov, but came through 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. Robin Haase stole the first set by breaking in the last game against Aljaz Bedene, and it would prove important in a 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 victory.

 

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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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