US Open: Wawrinka Edges Nishikori To Enter Third Major Final - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Wawrinka Edges Nishikori To Enter Third Major Final

Wawrinka comes from one set down to defeat Nishikori and qualify for his first US Open final. The Swiss was much more effective on break points

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Stan Wawrinka (zimbio.com)

The Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka will be challenging Novak Djokovic for the 2016 US Open title on Sunday after defeating Kei Nishikori 4-6 7-5 6-4 6-2 in a 3h07 semifinal on Saturday that was played. Wawrinka was eventually more consistent throughout the match and Nishikori paid a poor conversion rate on his break chances (4/15 in the entire match and 1/8 in the second set alone).

 

It took one single break in the fifth game in favour of Nishikori to decide the first set: Wawrinka netted an easy forehand volley on 15-30 and a rally backhand on 15-40 to concede his opponent the first lead of the match. Nishikori was very solid from the baseline, playing with his feet on the baseline and using the backhand slice to mix-up the pace for Wawrinka’s backhand. Some very impressive volley completed the outstanding display of tennis on behalf of the Japanese player, who did not allow any break points in the set and made only three unforced errors.

The trend continued at the beginning of the second set, when a rattled Wawrinka missed two forehands and a backhand to lose his serve at “15” for a quick 2-0 lead by Nishikori, but the Japanese was not able to consolidate and was immediately equalized at 2-2. The two players continued to hold their respective serves for the rest of the set, but not without difficulties: at 3-3 Wawrinka had to come back from 0-40 to stave off to stave off 4 break points, which he did in impressive fashion (one ace, two winning serves and one very well played baseline point). At 4-4 the Swiss got embroiled again in a complicated 12-point service game, where he faced two more break points, but still managed to hold.
But the tide turned a couple of games later, when at 5-4 Wawrinka, three consecutive backhand unforced errors from Nishikori gave the “Yonex man” a set point. But if on that occasion Stan missed a baseline forehand, two games later he secured the second set after a forehand by Nishikori went long.

The third set saw Wawrinka rebuff a break attempt by Nishikori on the second game to go on and take a commanding 4-1 lead thanks to a break on the fourth game conceded by five unforced errors made by the Japanese. But Nishikori, after coming back from two more break points to go down 1-5, started stepping into the court to take the return early and managed to break back Wawrinka and level the set at 4-4, after that at 4-3 the tournament referee Brian Earley decided to close the roof at the first drops of rain. With the roof closed, the playing conditions changed considerably: the oppressive humidity that had been afflicting of New York City was being mitigated by the powerful air conditioning system o the Arthur Ashe Stadium, therefore resulting in a more pleasant environment for both the players and the spectators.
A chance for Nishikori to go and serve for the set at 5-4 vanished when his backhand sailed wide after a 17-shot rally, and from that point Wawrinka won five games in a row to conquer the third set by 6-4 in 59 minutes and take a 3-0 lead in the fourth. A short dip from the Swiss on the fifth game, when Wawrinka found himself 0-40 on his serve, gave Nishikori his last chance, but after breaking back for 2-3, on the following game the Japanese failed to equalize the score when on his game point he started a losing streak of 9 points in a row sending Wawrinka two points from the match.

Wawrinka has won his last 10 consecutive finals (the last he lost was in June 2013 in s-Hertogenbosch to Nicolas Mahut), including the only two Grand Slam finals played, one of which against Djokovic (Roland Garros 2015). On the other hand, the head to head record speaks clearly in favour of the n.1 Novak Djokovic, since he has won 19 of their 23 matches, although if we consider only the meetings they had at Grand Slams on hard courts (i.e. here in New York and at the Australian Open) Djokovic leads 3-1, but one of the matches ended in retirement and the other three all went to the fifth set.

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Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.

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Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.

 

Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.

 

It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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