Grigor Dimitrov digs deep to beat Malek Jaziri in Barcelona - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov digs deep to beat Malek Jaziri in Barcelona

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Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points at 5-6 30-40 and at 7-8 in the tie-break to battle past Malek Jaziri 7-5 3-6 7-6 (10-8) after 2 hours and 50 minutes and advanced to the quarter final at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

 

The 2017 ATP Nitto Finals champion took a re-match against Malek Jaziri, who won their most recent head-to-head match last February in Dubai.

Dimitrov will face either fifth seed and last year’s US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta or Adrian Mannarino.

Dimitrov had to dig deep when he rallied from 2-4 down. He won five of the next six games and sealed the first set on his fifth set point, when Jaziri hit his forehand into the net.

Jaziri took the initiative and broke twice in the first and ninth games to win the second set 6-3. The Tunisian player broke in the fourth game to race out to a 4-1 lead. Bulgarian reeled off three of the next four games to claw his way back to 4-5. After Jaziri took a medical time-out, Dimitrov went down 0-30 and saved one match point at 30-40, when Jaziri hit his backhand into the net.

Dimitrov built up a 6-4 in the tie-break. Jaziri drew level to 6-6 after a forehand winner from Jaziri and a forehand error from Dimitrov. The Bulgarian star hit a backhand wide on his third match point. Jaziri earned a second match point at 8-7 after a forehand error from Dimitrov. Jaziri hit a forehand wide at 8-7, before sealing the win, when Jaziri hit a forehand into the net.

Third seed Dominic Thiem and last year’s runner-up Dominic Thiem fended off five of the eight break points he faced to beat world number 146 Slovakian lucky-loser Jozef Kovalik 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 in one hour and 44 minutes.

Jozef Kovalik earned the break in the fifth game of the first set to take a 3-2 lead, when Thiem sent an easy forehand long. The 2017 Barcelona finalist bounced back by winning the next three games with a double break to take a 5-3 lead. Thiem broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 with a backhand cross court winner. Kovalik did not convert a break point in the seventh game and dropped his serve, when he sent a forehand wide. Thiem was broken for the second time, when he was serving for the set at 5-3. Both players held their next three service games to set up a tie-break. Thiem won four of the first five points of the tie-break to build up a 6-2 lead and sealed the first set on his fourth set point.

Kovalik dropped his first game in the opening game of the second set. Thiem fended off a break point in the second game. Kovalik failed to convert a break point in the fourth game.

The Austrian player converted his fourth break point in the first game of the second set and went up a double break at 15 in the fifth game with a forehand winner to race out to a 4-1 lead. Kovalik pulled one of the two breaks back in the sixth game at love, when Thiem made a forehand winner. The Austrian star broke for the third time in the eighth game of the second set on his fourth opportunity, when Kovalik made a backhand error.

Thiem served at only 48 % and dropped serve three times from the eight break points he faced during the match. He converted five of his twelve break points.

Thiem set up a very interesting quarter final match against Greek Next Gen rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I am really happy that I went through. It was not the best performance. I didn’t feel that great on court today, but still I still managed to win. I am proud that I did it in two sets especially”, said Thiem during the on-court interview after the match.

 

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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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