Nick Kyrgios Focuses On His Health And Not The Title In Houston - UBITENNIS
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Nick Kyrgios Focuses On His Health And Not The Title In Houston

The Australian No.1 is looking to get back on track after his recent injury struggles

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Nick Kyrgios (zimbio.com)

Despite being the fourth seed in this week’s US Men’s Clay Court Championships, Nick Kyrgios is sticking to the cautious side when it comes to his prospects of winning the title.

 

The 22-year-old is playing in only his second tournament since the Australian Open. In recent months he has been sidelined with a right elbow injury. An issue aggravated earlier this year during Australia’s Davis Cup tie against Germany. He returned to action at the end of last month in Miami, where he reached the fourth round before losing to Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

Kyrgios, who won his fourth ATP title at the Brisbane International in January, is making his debut in Houston this week. According to The Houston Chronicle, he is said to have been experiencing back spasms leading into the event. Although it hasn’t deterred him from competing.

“For me, I’ve been injured the last month or two, so just to go out there and get through a match without having pain is a success to me at this stage,” Kyrgios told reporters.
“Obviously, I want to go out there and win matches, win the tournament. I’m more than capable of that, but at this stage, it’s just more about making sure my body can sustain under match pressure.
“Going out there and practicing is different than going out there in a match situation and feeling that pain. So we’ll see how it goes.”

Yet to progress beyond the quarter-final stage at a grand slam, Kyrgios has still been tipped by many as a future star in the sport. Since 2014 he has scored at least 15 wins over top 10 players. Defeating grand slam champions Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. He also reached his first Masters 1000 final last year in Cincinnati.

Along with his explosive style of play on the court is his at times animated behaviour. Kyrgios has been labelled as a ‘bad boy’ in the sport for a series of fines for unsportsmanlike conduct. At his worst, he received a short suspension in 2016 for ”conduct contrary to the integrity of the game” during the Shanghai Masters. Despite those controversies, Kyrgios has insisted that he has learned from his mistakes.

“I feel like I’ve matured massively since the first year I was on the tour. So I think compared to the average 22-year-old, I’m pretty mature. This sport and the tour has taught me a lot.”

A win this week would reward the world No.24 with his first ATP trophy on the clay. His decision to play in Houston for the first time was one based on recommendations from other players. This year is the 117th edition of the tournament, which is held at the River Oaks Country Club.

“I heard a lot of good things about it. Obviously a couple of my buddies always play this tournament, told me, ‘You’d love it here’,” Kyrgios explained. “All the Americans said it’s an amazing tournament. So I gave it a chance and it’s been unbelievable so far.”

Kyrgios played his first match in the tournament on Monday in the doubles draw. Teaming up with Matt Reid, they lost their first round match to the experienced pairing of Daniel Nestor and Ivo Karlovic.

In the singles, the fourth seed will start his campaign on Wednesday against Bjorn Fratangelo. An American player currently ranked 108th in the world. It will be the first meeting between the two on the tour.

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Elina Svitolina reaches her first semifinal in six months in Strasbourg

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Number 2 seed and two-time Grand Slam champion Elina Svitolina secured her spot in her first semifinal in six months at the Internationaux in Strasbourg with a 6-4 6-3 win over two-time WTA title winner Jil Teichmann after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Svitolina came back from a break down in each set.

 

Teichmann earned an early break in the opening game of the match. The Swiss player was not able to convert tw points for 4-2 in the first set and dropped her serve. Teichmann did not convert two game points in the eighth game and Svitolina broke back to draw level to 3-3. Svitolina did not convert two break points in the eighth game, but she broke serve on her first set point. 

Svitolina won eight of the first 10 points of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead with an early break. Teichmann reeled off three consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take a 3-2 lead. Teichmann did not convert another break point at 3-3 after three deuces. Svitolina converted her fourth break point in a four deuce game in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. 

“I was fighting to stay in and to get the win, and I think I got rewarded. That was really good today, because I don’t let the bad games change my mindset”, said Svitolina. 

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Casper Ruud cruises past Fabio Fognini to reach the quarter final in Hamburg

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Norway’s Casper Ruud beat Fabio Fognini 6-3 6-3 to reach the quarter final at the European Open in Hamburg. 

 

The first set went on serve until the eighth game, when Ruud got his first break at 30 to take a 5-3 lead, when Fognini made two consecutive forehand errors. 

Ruud won seven consecutive games from 3-3 in the opening set to build up a 6-3 4-0 lead in the second set with two consecutive breaks. 

Fognini pulled one break back on his third chance in the sixth game to claw his way back to 3-4. Ruud closed out the match 6-3 at deuce from 15-40 down in the ninth game, when Fognini hit his first double fault. 

Ruud reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal in Rome last week and improved his win-loss record this year to 19-8. The Norwegian rising star, who won the ATP 250 title in Buenos Aires, has reached his career-high of world number 30.  

Ruud set up a quarter final against this year’s Auckland winner and Delray Beach semifinalist Ugo Humbert, who beat Jiri Vesely 6-4 6-3. After a trade of breaks in the first two games, Humbert and Vesely held on their next service games until the 10th game, when Humbert converted his second break point at deuce to take a 6-4 lead after 50 minutes, when Vesely hit a backhand into the net. 

Humbert saved two break points in the first game of the second set and broke serve to open up a 2-0 lead with a crosscourt forehand winner. Humbert reeled off five games in a row  from 4-4 in the first set to build up a 6-4 3-0 lead. Vesely saved a break point in the sixth game before breaking back in the seventh game to claw his way back to 3-4. Humbert earned his third break to open up a 5-3 lead and served out the win at 15 to score his 15th win this year. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas battles past Pablo Cuevas to reach the quarter final in Hamburg

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Stefanos Tsitsipas battled past Pablo Cuevas 7-5 6-4 in 1 hour and 31 minutes to secure his spot to set up a quarter final against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic. 

 

Tsitsipas fended off four break points at 4-4 and a break point at 5-5 before sealing a hard-fought first set in the 12th game after 53 minutes when Cuevas hit a double fault. 

Both players went on serve until the 10th game, when Tsitsipas earned the break at love to win the second set 6-4. 

“I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very difficult opponent to face, particularly on this surface. Cuevas is a good friend and one of my idols growing up. It was a great match and I enjoyed it. There was a certain point in the match when I forgot I needed to win, as I was enjoying the game, the atmosphere, the crowd, I was playing with positive vibes and energy”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas will face last year’s Monte-Carlo finalist Dusan Lajovic, who cruised past Karen Khachanov 6-1 6-2 in just 62 minutes. 

Lajovic earned the break in the fourth game of the opening set to take a 3-1 lead. The Serbian player broke for the second time in the sixth game to close out the first set, when Khachanov hit a forehand into the net. 

The second set started with five consecutive breaks. Lajovic earned his third break in the fifth game, as Khachanov hit a forehand wide on break point at 2-2. Lajovic sealed the second set with his fourth break to build up 5-2 with a crosscourt forehand winner and held serve at 15 with a forehand winner to seal his 13th win of the season. 

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