Pablo Carreno Busta beats spirited wildcard, Ryan Harrison back from the brink at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Pablo Carreno Busta beats spirited wildcard, Ryan Harrison back from the brink at the Australian Open

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Pablo Carreno Busta may have been unconvincing at times, but the 10th seed progressed to the second round (Zimbio.com)

It was a tough opening match at the Australian Open in 2018 for Spanish 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta. Playing in his first Grand Slam since reaching the semi-finals at the US Open for the first time, Carreno Busta took on wildcard Jason Kubler. Carreno Busta was unconvincing at times, but emerged the victor 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.

 

Carreno Busta earned the first break after a marathon 18 point game. Kubler broke back to love immediately before taking a shock 5-2 lead. Carreno Busta took advantage of a tight game to get back on level terms, before edging the set.

Kubler looked unfazed from having dropped the first from a winning position. On the contrary, the Australian looked encouraged of having competed so strongly. Serving first, the young Aussie always had the scoreboard on his side in the second. He used that to his advantage in the tenth game. Break point happened to be set point, and Kubler took it to the delight of the home crowd.

Kubler led briefly in the third. However, Carreno Busta stopped the rot, winning six of the last seven games to take the set, breaking crucially with a well judged short volley winner in game eleven.

Kubler’s challenge faded quickly after that, as superior conditioning started to play a role, Carreno Busta dropped just one game in winning the fourth. The result showcased Kubler, who though a talented junior, had struggled with knee injuries throughout much of his pro career.

Also into the second round is American Ryan Harrison, though it took the Brisbane finalist five sets to edge Israel’s Dudi Sela. Harrison won the first before dropping sets two and three. Sela served for the match in the fourth at 5-4. Cue a storming comeback from Harrison, who the won nine of the last eleven games to win 6-3, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Harrison sets up a meeting with 31st seed Pablo Cuevas. The Uruguayan defeated Mikhail Youzhny 7-6, 6-3, 7-5. Youzhny had served for the first set in the tie break, but the Russian rarely challenged after that.

23rd seed Gilles Muller secured his passage with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 win over Federico Delbonis. Muller is into the second round. For Delbonis his season record now moves to 0-3.

Denis Istomin may have knocked out Novak Djokovic last year. The Uzbekistani may not have faced a six-time winner, but he did beat Pierre-Hugues Hebert 6-2, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6. Alexandr Dolgopolov is also through after a 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Andreas Haider-Maurer.

 

 

 

 

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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Brandon Nakashima shocks John Isner to reach first ATP final in Los Cabos

Brandon Nakashima stunned John Isner to reach the final in Los Cabos.

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Brandon Nakashima (@AbiertoLosCabos - Twitter)

The American became the youngest American to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

 

Brandon Nakashima booked his spot in the final beating an out of sorts John Isner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes firing 12 aces and winning 82% points with his first serve.

“It’s always going to be tough playing against him, It’s always so hard to return his serve and try to get into the rallies with him but I tried to get back as many returns as I could and there was blocking or chipping the return or hitting over it and just try to mix it up a lot while getting different looks and I knew when I had the opportunities and when I got close in games I knew I had to take advantage of that as much as possible so luckily I was able to do it and of course taking care of my service games was important as well”.

For the first six games of the opening set, neither player had an issue holding serve but at 3-3, it was the San Diego native with the first chance to break but was denied by the world number 39’s big serve.

At 5-4, the world number 134 had two more chances to break and he got the crucial break and served out the first set.

Winning the first set seemed to invigorate the 19-year-old and he earned an early chance to break in the first game of the second set and broke to take a 1-0 lead. Once again that one break was enough to serve out the match and seal the victory.

After the match, Nakashima spoke about becoming the first American player to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

“It feels great and it’s a big accomplishment for me and of course all the Americans, we like to play in the US but it’s nice to see that I am playing well outside the US and luckily it’s not too far from my home here so I have been enjoying it here a lot both on and off the court and really looking forward to playing tomorrow again”.

Nakashima will face the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the final and can feel confident as the last time these two players met, the American beat him.

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