Grigor Dimitrov And Juan Martin del Potro Reach The Third Round In Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov And Juan Martin del Potro Reach The Third Round In Indian Wells

Joshua Coase

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Photograph of Juan Martin del Potro

Grigor Dimitrov needed just one hour and nine minutes to see off Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-0 in the second match on Stadium 2 to reach the third round in Indian Wells. The Bulgarian squandered an early break advantage and got pegged back to 3-3, but then raced away with the match, winning nine of the next 10 games to see off the Russian.

 

In the following match on the same court Juan Martin del Potro reached the third round for the first time since his run to the final in 2013, battling past Federico Delbonis 7-6(5), 6-3 in an entertaining all-Argentine clash. Delbonis recovered from a break down and had a set point, pushing his compatriot all the way in the first set. However, a strong tiebreak from the 31st seed proved to be telling, with del Potro needing just the one break in the second to secure victory.

Dimitrov defeats Youzhny 6-4, 6-0

Dimitrov, seeded 12 at this event, has made a blistering start to 2017, picking up two titles in Brisbane and Sofia, while also reaching a second Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open (l. Nadal). Meanwhile world number 82 Youzhny came into this match with a 5-5 ATP record so far for the season, with a quarter-final run in Chennai being a highlight. The Russian defeated fellow countryman Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round but could not find a way past his opponent on this occasion.

Dimitrov produced some flawless tennis in the early exchanges of the match, breaking the Russian immediately following a double fault. The 12th seed looked to be cruising, up 40-15 on serve in the third game, but failed to clinch the hold, going wide with an inside out forehand down the line to relinquish his lead.

Matters nearly got worse for the Bulgarian in the seventh game after a couple of unforced errors left him down 0-30 on serve. Dimitrov raised his level, taking four points in a row, closing with a forehand winner to move back in front at 4-3.

Serving to stay in the opening set, Youzhny faltered. The 34-year-old made a few untimely mistakes, finishing with a forehand into the net in what was an error strewn set from both men, the Russian making 18 unforced errors and Dimitrov making 14 as he sealed it 6-4.

Photograph of Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov has only lost two matches this season (l. Nadal & Goffin) Photo: zimbio.com

After suffering huge disappointment at the end of the first set things looked to be going from bad to worse for Youzhny as he found himself facing two break points in a lengthy second game. Dimitrov missed his return of serve on the first before his forehand broke down on the second to give his opponent a lifeline. After squandering a third break point the 34-year-old had a couple of chances to escape with the hold but appeared to be struggling in the heat as he prepared to face another break point. The world number 82 produced one of the points of the match, closing with a lob on the backhand side to keep his hopes alive, yet more errors eventually proved costly for the Russian as he dropped serve in a game which lasted over 10 minutes.

Failure to hold on in that game proved to be the straw that broke the camels back for Youzhny as he dropped serve in the fourth game and once again when serving to stay in the match to hand victory to Dimitrov 6-4, 6-0.

The Bulgarian next faces 17th seed Jack Sock, who defeated qualifier Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.

del Potro defeats Delbonis 7-6(5), 6-3

In the first meeting between del Potro and Delbonis it was a slow start from both players, but the 31st seed secured an immediate break of serve. The former US Open champion looked in complete control as he played what will go down as one of the shots of the tournament, lobbing his countryman with a hotdog shot to move to a 0-30 advantage in the fifth game. After Delbonis recovered to hold serve it proved to be a turning point.

Delbonis capitalised on some unforced errors from the 31st seed in the following game and secured the break back on his second opportunity to level at 3 games all. The world number 49 had to stave off three break points in the seventh game but hung tough, playing some big time tennis to move in front for the first time in the match. It looked as though this shift in momentum in Delbonis’ favour might bring him the first set, as he brought up a chance to take it in the tenth game. del Potro responded, reeling off three points in a row to keep his hopes alive.

Both players held their subsequent service games to take them into a first set tiebreak. A double fault from Delbonis handed his countryman a first mini break, which the 31st seed used to his full advantage, moving 6-3 in front. Delbonis hit back to save two set points but went wide with a forehand down the line on the third to seal a tough first set for del Potro 7-6(5) after one hour and 14 minutes.

The second set proved to be far more straightforward for the 31st seed as he secured the only break of the set in the fourth game. Delbonis battled hard as he had done throughout the match, saving two break points in that game before squandering a game point of his own which subsequently led to him relinquishing his serve.

Throughout most of the second set del Potro was solid as a rock on serve. With the exception of trailing 0-30 in the fifth game, the Argentine only dropped a further two points on serve. The former finalist here won 14 out of the 15 points when his first serve found the mark and del Potro closed out the match with a hold to love to seal a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory in one hour and 51 minutes.

Next up for the Argentine, a third round clash with defending champion Novak Djokovic following his straight sets win over Kyle Edmund 6-4, 7-6(5).

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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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Danil Medvedev cruises past Jan-Lennard Struff to set up an all Russian quarter final against Andrey Rublev

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Ninth seed Danil Medvedev cruised past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1 in 66 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

Medvedev committed just 12 unforced errors and won 18 of Struff’s 25 second serve points.

 Medvedev broke twice in the second and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. The young Russian player got two consecutive breaks in the second and fourth games to race out to a 4-0 lead and held his service game at deuce after saving a break point in the fifth game. Struff held his serve to get his first game on the scoreboard, but Medvedev sealed the win on his first match point. The Russian player has improved his head-to-head record to 3-0 againt Struff.

Medvedev has won 11 of his past 13 matches during the North American hard-court season. He has a solid 41-16 record this season. He finished runner in two consecutive finals to Nick Kyrgios at Washington and to Rafael Nadal in Montreal.  In the quarter final the Russian star will face his compatriot Andrey Rublev, who upset Roger Federer 6-3 6-4.

Recent Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 6-2 in just under an hour setting up a quarter final against Richard Gasquet, who beat Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka beat Australian player Alex De Minaur 7-5 6-4 in 83 minutes with one break in each set. Nishioka rallied from 4-6 down in the tie-break of the first set to edge Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes.

“It was a great match and I got better as it went on. I am feeling sharp. I am feeling great now and I am looking forward to the quarter finals of a Masters 1000. I have nothing to lose”, said Goffin.

 

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Roger Federer Crashes Out Of Cincinnati Masters

The seven-time champion has suffered a blow to his preparations for the US Open.

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World No.3 Roger Federer has been knocked out of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati after falling in straight sets to Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

 

The 20-time grand slam champion struggled to find his range as he was overwhelmed by his fearless opponent during the 6-3, 6-4, loss. Despite the huge disparity in experience between the two, 21-year-old Rublev managed to dominate the majority of rallies with the help of some heavy hitting. Producing 17 winners to six unforced errors, compared to Federer’s tally of 19 and 20.

“I respect him a lot, I respect all the top players a lot, but today when I was going to court I was going there to win.” Rublev said during an interview with Amazon Prime.
“I was not going (to the match) to enjoy. I was going to fight, try to win and do my best.”

Rublev’s shock win saw the underdog outdo the Swiss maestro in almost every area of the match. Winning the most first serves (85% to 63%), second serves (57% to 63) and a bigger majority of points at the net (5/6 to 7/19). Breaking him twice in the opening set and once in the second. The Russian, who is 70th in the world, is the lowest ranked player to defeat Federer on the tour since Thanassi Kokkinakis at the 2018 Miami Open.

The loss leaves a mark on Federer’s impressive record in Cincinnati, which he has won a record seven times. It is the first time he has failed to reach the quarter-final stage since losing to Ivo Karlovic in the third round back in 2008.

“He was playing well. I was maybe struggling especially on the offensive, because overall I didn’t think I was feeling the ball badly.” Federer reflected during his press conference. “It’s just, you know, sort of fast-court conditions and when you sometimes then can’t rely on that serve to go or on the one-two punch, which I didn’t think was excellent today from my side, you need an opponent that maybe lets you get by some tougher moments, but he didn’t do that.”
“He was super clean. Defense, offense, serving well. Didn’t give me anything. He was everywhere. So it was tough for me, but excellent match by him. I was impressed.”

Rublev now has a meeting with compatriot Daniil Medvedev in what will be his first quarter-final at Masters level. Medvedev has reached the final of tournaments in Washington and at the Rogers Cup since Wimbledon. He is yet to drop a set this week and brushed aside Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-1, in his third round match.

“It’s going to be an interesting match for Russia.” Rublev previewed. “It will be a tough match for me because the way he plays. Nobody likes to play him.”
“I lost to him in a Challenger a few years ago, so it’s going to be interesting tomorrow.” He added.

The latest victory is only Rublev’s second over a top five player in his career. His first was against Dominic Thiem at the German Open last month.

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