Dominic Thiem Gets Indian Wells Campaign Underway With Victory Over Jeremy Chardy - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Gets Indian Wells Campaign Underway With Victory Over Jeremy Chardy

Joshua Coase

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Dominic Thiem booked his place in the third round in Indian Wells after seeing off Jeremy Chardy in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 14 minutes.

 

In this, their first meeting, the Austrian made the perfect start as his opponent attempted to go toe to toe with him from the back of the court. Upon an adjustment in tactics, Chardy found more joy and got involved in the contest but could not break the 23-year-old’s serve in set number one. An early break in the second gave the Frenchman real belief, but that advantage did not last long and a poor conversion rate on break point chances proved to be the 30-year-old’s undoing in this encounter.

In the opening game Chardy allowed a 40-15 advantage on serve to slip as he threw in a couple of double faults to hand his opponent an immediate break of serve. After a tough beginning to the match the Frenchman quickly acknowledged that trading from the back of the court was going to be a losing tactic against the Austrian.

In the fourth game Chardy began to mix his game up, approaching the net frequently. Thiem struggled to deal with the shift in play and found himself having to save two break back points. He saved the first with a fierce forehand down the line winner before the Frenchman went after the second serve and missed his return to squander the second opportunity. An erratic forehand from the Austrian spurned a chance to hold before he had to face a third break point. In the rally which ensued it was Chardy who broke down first, failing to get down low enough to return one of the Austrian’s trademark one-handed backhands into court. Thiem managed to come through and hold to move 3-1 in front.

The tactic of coming to the net was proving to be effective for the Frenchman, winning six out of the eight points over the course of the first set as he moved to 0-30 on the Austrian’s serve once again. This time Thiem was able to reel off four points in a row, closing with aces to extend his lead. The missed chances for Chardy came back to bite him as his opponent, seeded eight at this event, struck a stunning backhand cross court passing shot on the run to secure a double break.

The 23-year-old had no trouble closing out the first set, making just four unforced errors compared to Chardy’s 13, as he held to love to seal it 6-2.

The start to the second set was a complete contrast to the first, with Chardy holding with ease before racing to a 0-40 advantage on the Austrian’s serve. In an error-strewn game from the eighth seed, Thiem netted yet another forehand to relinquish his serve for the first time in the match.

After making such a positive start to the set, all Chardy’s good work was undone as Thiem came bouncing right back. At break point down the 30-year-old looked out of ideas as he attempted a forehand down the line winner off a rallying ball. The Frenchman missed the mark by a considerable margin and dropped serve before the Austrian quickly levelled things up at two games all.

After a series of routine service holds from both players, it was Chardy whose serve broke down first at a crucial time in the ninth game. Thiem stepped up further into the court to go after the Frenchman’s serve and it worked as he brought up two break points. After deciding to retreat when presented with the first chance he was punished, but the Austrian drew an error from his opponent in the following extended rally to earn the chance to serve for the match.

The tenth game was a tough battle and Thiem had to rely on firing down aces down the middle when down 15-30 and at break point. The 23-year-old had to face another break point, but once again found a timely first serve which Chardy could not return. After that scare the Austrian only needed one chance to secure victory, hitting another first serve, which went unreturned, to seal a 6-2, 6-4 win.

The eighth seed advances to the third round and now awaits the winner of the match between 29th seed Mischa Zverev and Joao Sousa.

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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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