Kei Nishikori weathers Fernando Verdasco storm, reaches French Open quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori weathers Fernando Verdasco storm, reaches French Open quarterfinals



Eighth seed Kei Nishikori battled past big-hitting Spanish lefty Fernando Verdasco, recovering from a rough first set to win 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 to advance to the French Open quarterfinals.


Japanese eighth seed Kei Nishikori fought off the barrage of big-hitting from veteran Spanish lefty Fernando Verdasco, weathering a 6-0 opening set from Verdasco to come back and win 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 to reach his second French Ope quarterfinal. Nishikori, who has been pushed to four or five sets in three of his four matches so far this fortnight, has spent a grueling amount of time on court, but the Japanese superstars’ trademark strength in four or five set matches allowed him to outlast his 33-year-old opponent, who was the oldest competitor remaining in the men’s draw in the round of 16.

In the opening set, it was Nishikori, a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros in 2015, under siege by a barrage of Verdasco’s trademark lefty forehands, as the Spaniard was dominant on serve and return in the opening four games to grab a double break lead for 4-0. The unseeded Verdasco saved a break point in the fifth game of the set to hold on for 5-0, consolidating that double break advantage and forcing Nishikori to serve to stay in the opening set. Verdasco, a former champion in Barcelona, was ruthless in punishing the Japanese’s serve, breaking to love to seal the dominant bagel set 6-0 in under 30 minutes.

The second set was a far different affair, as the red-hot Verdasco forehand seemed to cool down, allowing the eighth seed a pipeline back into the match. The pair exchanged breaks of serve in the first two games of the set before serve reigned dominant for the ensuing six games to bring the scoreline to an even  4-all. The unseeded Spaniard had game points to go up 5-4 in the ninth game, but Nishikori’s improved return game paid dividends, surviving a lengthy deuce game to eventually seize the break and give himself the chance to serve to level the match at a set all. Nishikori made no mistake with his opening, serving out the second set comfortably to take the set 6-4 and level the match at a set apiece.

Kei Nishikori hits a serve at the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris/Adam Pretty/Zimbio

The third set was very similar to the second, as the 2014 US Open finalist’s level continued to improve whilst the errors begun to pile up for Verdasco. Nishikori broke in the third game of the set for 2-1, but that lead was short-lived as three games later the Spaniard pegged right back, breaking fairly easily to level the set at 3-all. A marathon service game then ensued on Verdasco’s serve, as the unseeded veteran squandered two game points before Nishikori eventually broke through on his fifth time of asking to gain the break and go up 4-3. After the Japanese superstar consolidated the break easily, the 33-year-old left-hander saved a set point on his serve at 5-3 to hold for 5-4 and force Nishikori to serve it out. The eighth seed did just that, holding routinely to take the third set 6-4 and send himself a set from the last eight in Paris.

The fourth set was a complete role reversal of the opening set, as this time around Nishikori’s trademark mental strength and fitness wore down a struggling Verdasco. The 2015 Roland Garros quarterfinalist begun brightly in the fourth, going up love-40 before finally breaking the Verdasco serve to take the break. Nishikori was forced to come back from love-40 himself, saving three break points on his own serve to consolidate the advantage before sealing a double break the following game for 3-0. After a routine hold of serve, the Japanese superstar continued his dominance of the Verdasco serve, continuing to break at will for a 5-0 lead. With an opportunity to serve out the match, Nishikori made no mistake of this chance, holding to love to finish off a bagel set of his own and book his spot in the French Open quarterfinals for a second time 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0.

Following the match, Nishikori was asked about the crazy scoreline of his fourth round match. The Japanese eighth seed said, “Yeah, a little bit unusual. I think he started really well, especially this court’s bounce really high today and he was using very heavy forehand and I was running side to side. I couldn’t do anything first set but I try tried to play a little more heavy and a little more aggressive sometimes, and start working a little bit better.”

“But still it was really, really tough battle. There was so many long rallies, second and third sets. I don’t know. I don’t know how I get the second and third. But, yeah, a little bit gained some confidence during second and third. The fourth, I think it was perfect tennis I played.
So, yeah, very tough battle but very happy to win today,” said a relieved Nishikori.

Kei Nishikori hits a forehand at the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris/Adam Pretty/Zimbio

Nishikori will next face world number one and defending finalist Andy Murray in the quarterfinals after the Brit recorded a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win over Russian Next Gen star Karen Khachanov. Murray and Nishikori will battle for a spot in the French Open semifinals on Wednesday in Paris.

Asked about the prospect of facing the top seed on Wednesday in the last eight, Nishikori said, “Yeah, we have been playing so many times. Yeah, he’s great player. Very smart tennis player.”

“It’s never easy, and I think this week he’s been playing well and very — watching some matches. He’s hitting great balls. So I’m sure it’s gonna be tough one, but try to enjoy and try to win the match.” concluded a confident Nishikori.


Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker

According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.



Alexander Zverev (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.


Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.

This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.

However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.

The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.

Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.

“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.

“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”

Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.

Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.

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Juan Carlos Ferrero Analyses Key Areas For Carlos Alcaraz’s Development

Juan Carlos Ferrero has outlined the next steps in Carlos Alcaraz’s development.



(@tennisnewsbrazil - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero has analysed the key areas for the Spaniard’s development heading into the 2024 season.


The former world number one’s season has come to an end after a successful year which saw him win the Wimbledon title as well as winning two Masters 1000 titles.

Alcaraz capped off an incredible season by reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.

However there is a long way for the Spaniard to go if he wants to consistently go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic.

Speaking to Marca Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero spoke about the Spaniard’s development and said that Alcaraz is too emotional, “Be more regular in games, not open doors. Sometimes there are mistakes and it is something that we have to improve a lot,” Ferrero commented.

“Although it is true that he opens doors, he always competes well and at the highest level. He knows it, the other day he already said that Novak doesn’t give you one. He has to improve his decision making and he will achieve that with experience. Carlos is very emotional and that sometimes helps him and other times not so much.”

It’s clear Alcaraz’s high-quality is there but to consistently do it against Djokovic is another task altogether as the Spaniard looks to go from strength-to strength next season.

One area that is clearly a priority for Alcaraz is physical conditioning especially considering what happened against Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier in the season.

Ferrero said that will be a clear focus heading into 2024 but couldn’t guarantee that Alcaraz will play a tournament before the Australian Open, “Because of the year and the fatigue he has been in, what he needs is rest and disconnecting for 8-10 days with his friends,” Ferrero stated.

“From there, the thinking must go back to working really hard, strong and well to start very strongly in Australia. One can never be sure of that. Sometimes you play a tournament and it doesn’t go well, you left home too early. There are many ways of thinking.

“This year we haven’t played Australia and he finishes number two. That means there is no urgency to play a tournament early. Carlos is a player who enters competition quickly, you don’t usually see him without rhythm.

“Although it is true that he becomes more dangerous from the round of 16, from the quarter-finals. I am confident that the two exhibition matches and the training sessions will help us play a good tournament.”

Alcaraz will be looking to play the Australian Open which starts on the 15th of January after the Spaniard missed last year’s tournament due to a leg injury.

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Australian Open Chief Confident Nadal Will Play But Kyrgios’ Participation Uncertain



Nadal RG 2022 by Night (foto @RolandGarros)

The tournament director of the Australian Open says he is ‘certain’ that Rafael Nadal will play at the Grand Slam even though the Spaniard has yet to outline his comeback plans. 


Craig Tiley told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday he hopes to receive some clarity over Nadal’s intentions in the next couple of weeks but is confident he will play. However, the tennis official had previously claimed in October that the former world No.1 had already committed to play in the event before his team denied that statement.  

Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam titles, hasn’t played a Tour match since his second round defeat at the Australian Open in January due to a hip injury. He was originally expecting to take an eight-week break but the recovery didn’t go to plan and he ended up having surgery. In May he confirmed that he will take an extended break from the sport to heal his body and admitted that retirement next year is a possibility.

“Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day because he’s a massive drawcard for us,” the Reuters News Agency quoted Tiley as saying. 
“He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
“Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”

Earlier this month Nadal confirmed that he intends to return to the Tour but admits that he will continue to experience a degree of pain. Although he has yet to give any information about which tournament he will begin his comeback at. The 2024 season begins during the first week of January.

“I’m well, training, and happy. I’m at a good stage of my life,” quoted Nadal as telling reporters in Barcelona.
“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again someday, and now I genuinely believe I will. I’m still not ready to say when, but I’m able to train increasingly longer, and the progress is good.’

Will Kyrgios play?

Another player Tiley is eager to welcome back is home player and former Wimbledon Finalist Nick Kyrgios who has only played one Tour-level match this season due to injury. He underwent knee surgery in January and then tore a ligament in his wrist during the summer. As a result, the Australian currently doesn’t have an ATP ranking due to his inactivity. 

“We have spoken to Nick, and he obviously wants to do the best he possibly can to give him the best chance to play in January,” Tiley said of Kyrgios.
“Whether he’s playing, whether he’s doing something else, Nick will be here in January and to get him to play will be great. But we’ve got to take it as it comes and he’s got to make sure he takes care of his health …” 

Kyrgios recently worked as an analyst for the Tennis Channel during this year’s ATP Finals in Turin and gave a brief update on his ongoing recovery during a segment. 

“After last year, I had such a great year, and I’m so hungry to get back out there,” the 2022 Wimbledon finalist commented.
“So I’m doing everything I can to get back out there. Obviously, you know how injuries are every day, just doing the rehab, doing the gym work.”

The Australian Open will begin on Sunday 14th January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions. 

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