Djokovic overcomes Nishikori in the first round - UBITENNIS
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Djokovic overcomes Nishikori in the first round

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Former world no.1 Novak Djokovic is into the second round of the Madrid Open after overcoming Kei Nishikori 7-5 6-4 in a minute shy of the 2 hour mark here at the stadium court of La Caja Mágica.

 

The two time champion (2011 and 2016) was far from his best, but found enough in his game to edge out Nishikori in straight sets. The Serb came into the match with an encouraging 11-2 head to head lead going back as far as 2010, winning the last 10 for the loss of just three sets.

Today the Serb, ranked 12 and seeded 10, started out tentatively on serve as he was forced to save two break points after serving three double faults. He came through that test, but dropped his serve in the fifth game, going well long on his backhand. The Japanese couldn’t maintain his break advantage as Djokovic levelled at 3-3 when Nishikori double faulted at break point. When the Serb held serve in the seventh game having saved two break points, he looked over to his camp where the recently reinstated Marian Vajda sat and let out a primal roar of defiance.

ATP Masters Series: Monte Carlo Rolex Masters - Day Two

Having failed to convert a set point on the Nishikori serve in the tenth game, Djokovic clinched the opening set at the second time of asking 7-5 in 67 minutes, with a forehand return winner accompanied by another elated roar.

The second set saw games going with serve, with both men holding their ground from the baseline which created some great rallies for the almost packed stadium court to enjoy. However, it was the Japanese who cracked first when serving to stay in the match. Despite going 40-15 up on serve, Nishikori quickly found himself match point down as a flurry of winners flowed from the racket of his illustrious opponent. When Nishikori’s backhand drive sailed long, Djokovic’s arms went up in relief as he strode triumphantly into the second round.

Djokovic served 6 aces and 5 double faults, with 63% of first serves from which he won 72% of the points. He converted 3/7 break points and saved 5/6 break points against him.

“It was strange, I must admit playing Kei in the first round”, Djokovic said. “Our rankings have dropped due to injuries and everything else that has happened to us in the last year. It can happen and it did happen here. I have played Kei many times in the big tournaments on the big occasions in the finals and semi-finals. It was different to play him in the first round and was a big test for both of us and I’m glad the match went my way, it could have gone his way as well. There were very few points that determined the winner today. I managed to play the right shots in the important moments. First and second sets I made breaks to win both sets in the final stages of both sets, so it was exactly what I needed for my confidence and for my game. I’m just happy to go through this one.”

Djokovic’s opening service game produced three double faults and the Serb was mightily relieved that that inauspicious start was not a sign of things to come.

“It’s never easy to open up the match on serve and he is one of the best returners in the game and I was feeling pressure on the second serve. I was going for my serves a little bit more. But I remember more the good serves today, especially the two after the horrendous miss I had (smash into the net at the net), probably the biggest one in my career”, Djokovic said laughing. “And I had a service winner and an ace after that, so that’s a great way to bounce back. In altitude and conditions like this you need a big weapon and that’s usually the serve, and obviously holding serve and winning some free points on the first serve is definitely something that we as players are looking for. So I’m glad I was able to get myself out of trouble a couple of times with the serve and, of course, with other shots as well, but I still need consistency and I’m still looking for that, but all in all it was a great test and a great match.”

Earlier today, Benoit Paire upset compatriot Lucas Pouille (15), 6-2 6-3 on Manolo Santana Stadium court. Despite coming into the match with an inferior 0-3 head to head record, Paire looked the more composed off the ground and made far less errors than his erratic opponent who was well below his best from start to finish. Two breaks of the Pouille serve saw Paire clinch the opening set in 40 minutes, and despite losing his serve and his cool at 3-1 up in the second set which saw water bottles flying which resulted in the obligatory code violation being issued, he regrouped and closed out the match with ease.

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David Goffin Out Of Wimbledon Following Halle Accident

It has been reported that the unfortunate injury he suffered is ‘more serious’ than a sprain.

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David Goffin has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after suffering an ankle injury during the Noventi Open earlier this week.

 

The former top 10 player was taking on Corentin Moutet in Halle where he slipped on the grass and subsequently hurt his right ankle. Forcing the Belgian to retire from the match at the start of the third set. Providing an update on Goffin’s health, agent Martin Roux said he is unsure how long he will be absent from the Tour for.

“Yes, David has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon following his ankle injury in Halle. For the moment we do not know more about the exact duration of unavailability, ” Roux told lesoir.be. “He is of course disappointed to miss a Grand Slam tournament, especially since he had recovered well on grass before his injury. “

Elaborating further, Roux confirmed Goffin’s injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprain and tests are ongoing to assess the extent of the damage which has been caused to the ankle. It is not the first time he has suffered a freak accident on the court. During the 2018 Rotterdam Open he hurt his eye after a tennis ball rebounded into his face, forcing him to pull out of Marseille and Indian Wells that year.

“David told me that it was more serious than a minor sprain, after exams in Belgium.”Roux added. “The ankle has not yet deflated (stopped swelling). David realizes that ice and bandages won’t be enough to play. The ligaments must be affected in one way or another. The idea is to do new exams at the end of the week in order to then have a healing protocol, especially since after Wimbledon the Olympic Games will arrive quickly. These are now his next goals. “

The 30-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 14-13 so far in 2021 and won his fifth ATP title in Montpellier. He has also reached the semi-finals in Antalya and quarter-finals in Monte Carlo. However, recently Goffin has struggled on the Tour with Halle being the fifth tournament in a row where he has failed to win back-to-back matches.

Goffin is currently ranked 13th in the world.

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Dominic Thiem Follows Nadal In Olympic Games Snub

The world No.5 says his decision is related to his performance on the Tour so far this season.

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Dominic Thiem training at the 2021 Lyon Open (photographer Sammy Dancyger - Owned by Sport Plus Conseil - GM Sports Consulting)

Austria’s Dominic Thiem has pulled out of the Olympic Games in order to focus on his title defence at the US Open later this year.

 

The 27-year-old issued a statement on Thursday saying he was ‘not ready’ to play in Tokyo following what has been a roller-coaster start to the season. Thiem enters Wimbledon with a win-loss record of 9-8 and recently lost in the first round of the French Open. His best results so far this year were reaching the last 16 of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

“Hi everybody, I have some sad news to share with you all. After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics,” the 27-year-old Austrian wrote on Twitter.
“For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher.
“However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don’t feel ready to play my best in Tokyo.
“My goal is to work hard the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.”

Thiem, who also skipped the 2016 Olympics, had previously said that his views on the multi-sport event have changed over recent time. During one interview with Tennis Deutschland he said it would be a ‘dream’ to play at the Olympics and he would ‘definitely play’ at the event if he had the chance to. Thiem is coached on the Tour by Nicolas Massu who won a gold medal back in 2004.

The world No.5 says he hopes to be able to play at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris where the tennis tournament will be held at Roland Garros. The same venue as the French Open.

On the same day as Thiem’s announcement on Thursday, Rafael Nadal was another player to confirm he would not be travelling to Tokyo, as well as Wimbledon, in order to recover from the clay season. The Spaniard said he wants to take a break from the Tour in order to preserve his body and prolong his career on the Tour.

The Olympic tennis event will take place between July 24th – August 1st. Andy Murray is the defending champion in the men’s tournament.

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Updated Entry Lists For Eastbourne, Mallorca

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Photo by mallorca-championships.com

Two ATP 250 events will be played on grass before Wimbledon, with a new tournament taking place in Mallorca (Spain).

 

The third week of the shortened grass-court season will see two ATP 250 events being played in Eastbourne (Great Britain) and Mallorca (Spain) from the 20th to the 26th of June. Eastbourne has been hosting a grass-court tournament since 2009, when it took the place of Nottingham in the ATP Tour’s calendar, while the Mallorca Championships is a new event.

World’s number one Novak Djokovic plans to play doubles in Mallorca, while Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev have received a Wild-Card in the singles draw. The defending champion Taylor Fritz has withdrawn from Eastbourne due to injury.

NEWS: Aslan Karatsev has withdrawn from Eastbourne; he has been replaced by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.


ATP 250 Eastbourne (GBR, Grass), entry list:
Monfils, Gael (FRA)
De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
OUT Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
OUT Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
OUT Fritz, Taylor (USA)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP)
Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Paire, Benoit (FRA)
OUT Krajinovic, Filip (SRB)

Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Millman, John (AUS)
Fucsovics, Marton (HUN)
OUT Cilic, Marin (CRO)
Djere, Laslo (SRB)
OUT (SE)
OUT (SE)

WC Broady, Liam (GBR)
WC Clarke, Jay (GBR)
WC Ward, James (GBR)
Alternates:
IN Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)
IN Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
IN Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
IN Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
IN Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
IN Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA)
IN Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
IN Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)

IN Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
OUT Giron, Marcos (USA)
Alt.1 Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
Alt.2 Pouille, Lucas (FRA)
Alt.3 Mager, Gianluca (ITA)


ATP 250 Eastbourne (GBR, Grass), qualifying:
OUT Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
OUT Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
OUT Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
Kwon, Soonwoo (KOR)
OUT Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
Duckworth, James (AUS)
Bagnis, Facundo (ARG)
Ymer, Mikael (SWE)
Anderson, Kevin (RSA)
Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)
Kuzmanov, Dimitar (BUL)
ALT Smith, John-Patrick (AUS)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
OUT Mahut, Nicolas (FRA)
OUT Viola, Matteo (ITA)
OUT Klein, Lukas (SVK)

OUT Zverev, Mischa (GER)
IN Purcell, Max (AUS)
IN Harrison, Christian (USA)
IN Miedler, Lucas (AUT)

OUT Aragone, JC (USA)
IN Blancaneaux, Geoffrey (FRA)
OUT Stricker, Dominic Stephan (SUI)
IN Jianu, Filip Cristian (ROU)

OUT Tirante, Thiago Agustin (ARG)
OUT Mejia, Nicolas (COL)
OUT Pecotic, Matija (CRO)
OUT Sanchez Izquierdo, Nikolas (ESP)

IN Chappell, Nick (USA)
OUT Safranek, Vaclav (CZE)
OUT Mansouri, Skander (TUN)
OUT Cobolli, Flavio (ITA)
OUT Leshem, Edan (ISR)
Alt.1 Saville, Luke (AUS)
Alt.2 Hidalgo, Diego (ECU)
Alt.3 Vanni, Luca (ITA)



ATP 250 Mallorca (ESP, Grass):
Carreno Busta, Pablo (ESP)
Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
Lajovic, Dusan (SRB)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
OUT Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
OUT Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
OUT Chardy, Jeremy (FRA)

Pella, Guido (ARG)
Querrey, Sam (USA)
Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Andujar, Pablo (ESP)
Simon, Gilles (FRA)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
OUT (SE)
OUT (SE)
WC Medvedev, Daniil (RUS)
WC Thiem, Dominic (AUT)
WC Bautista Agut, Roberto (ESP)
Alternates:
IN Vesely, Jiri (CZE)
IN Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
IN Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
IN Munar, Jaume (ESP)

IN Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Alt.1 Giron, Marcos (USA)
Alt.2 Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
Alt.3 Pouille, Lucas (FRA)


ATP 250 Mallorca (ESP, Grass), qualifying:
OUT Munar, Jaume (ESP)
OUT Mager, Gianluca (ITA)

Cuevas, Pablo (URU)
Albot, Radu (MDA)
Pouille, Lucas (FRA)
OUT Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
OUT Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
Carballes Baena, Roberto (ESP)
Martinez, Pedro (ESP)
Sousa, Joao (POR)
Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
Istomin, Denis (UZB)
Bachinger, Matthias (GER)
Kuhn, Nicola (ESP)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
IN Viola, Matteo (ITA)
IN Watanuki, Yosuke (JPN)
IN Klein, Lukas (SVK)
OUT Zverev, Mischa (GER)
OUT Carabelli, Camilo Ugo (ARG)
IN Ortega-Olmedo, Roberto (ESP)
OUT Miedler, Lucas (AUT)
OUT Blancaneaux, Geoffrey (FRA)
Alt.1 Mukund, Sasi Kumar (IND)
Alt.2 Vavassori, Andrea (ITA)

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