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Kei Nishikori Edges Dimitrov As Nadal And Djokovic Cruise Through

Kei Nishikori edged past Grigor Dimitrov to set up a last 16 tie with Philipp Kohlschreiber.

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Kei Nishikori (zimbio.com)

Kei Nishikori edged past Grigor Dimitrov 6-7(4) 7-5 6-4 in just under three hours to advance to the third round in Rome while Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic cruise through. 

The Bulgarian and world number four edged a tight first set after breaking Nishikori to love, when the world number 24 was serving for the set at 5-4. There were many tight points however Dimitrov’s backhand held the key to a very tight opening set.

The second set was another tight set as Nishikori began to construct longer rallies in a bid to outlast the third seed. The duo shared breaks in games seven and eight as Dimitrov couldn’t use his first serve effectively to keep his narrow advantage in the second set. The Semi-Finalist from 2016 eventually found the breakthrough in the 12th game as he prevented a tiebreak to force a deciding set.

However despite losing the second set, Dimitrov remained resilient and sealed a break of serve in the fifth game for a 3-2 lead. The Bulgarian, who turns 27 today, became more controlled with his shot-making although there were still more twists and turns to come in the set. The world number four couldn’t keep his cool though as Nishikori turned on the heat and applied pressure on Dimitrov’s backhand. When the Bulgarian’s backhand was tested the pressure was too much and Nishikori took advantage to grab the final three games of the match and seal an epic victory.

The result means that Nishikori has built more confidence heading into Roland Garros and is starting to produce some of his best tennis while Dimitrov has now lost back to back matches on the clay as his hopes of being the second seed at Roland Garros have been dashed. Nishikori will now play Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round

Nadal and Djokovic Cruise Through

In other results both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic cruised into the third round in Rome with comfortable victories. The top seed Rafael Nadal only lost one game as he decimated Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-0 in 60 minutes. After the match Nadal revealed that he was pleased with his victory, “Yeah, a positive match, of course. Good start here. It is important, after a loss in Madrid, it’s important to come back strong. And that’s what I did today. I went on court with the right intensity. I don’t know how many mistakes I did, but not much. And having the control, more or less, of a high percentage of the points. So that was the way that I want to play.”

11th seed Novak Djokovic also progressed into the third round after a 6-4 6-2 win over Georgian qualifier, Nikoloz Basilashvili. The Serb won 81% of his 1st serve points as he set up a third round meeting with Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

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Jan Lennard Struff and Taylor Fritz reach the second round in Winston Salem

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Jan-Lennard Struff beat this year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato from Italy 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 8 minutes.

Struff broke serve once in each set and saved both break points he faced in the fourth game of the second set. He won two matches on hard court at the same tournament for the first time this season.

In the first set Struff earned a break point in the fourth game and broke Cecchinato to open up a 4-2 lead. The German player held serve on his second deuce to close out the opening set 6-3 in just under 40 minutes, when he was serving for the set in the ninth game. Cecchinato did not convert two break points at 2-1 in the second set. Both players went on serve in the next games until 4-4 when Struff got the break before holding serve at love in the next game to reach the round of 16.

US Next Gen player Taylor Fritz beat Malek Jaziri 6-1 6-4 in 63 minutes in their second head-to-head match in Winston Salem. Fritz, who reached the quarter finals in Winston Salem one year ago, saved all the six break points and converted three of his nine break points. Fritz saved four break points in the first game and converted the fourth break point in the second game, when Jaziri netted a backhand. Fritz got a double break, when Jaziri sent a backhand slice long. The US player closed out the first set with a volley winner in 25 minutes.

Both players went on serve in the first six games of the second set before Jaziri fended off a break point in the seventh game with a service winner. Fritz saved two break points to draw level to 4-4, before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to serve out for the match. The US Next Gen player closed out the match in the 10th game to set up a second round match against Filip Krajnovic.

Fritz will make an attempt to reach his second semifinal of the season after Houston.

Tommy Paul never faced a break point to beat Laslo Djere 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Jaume Munar battled past Brayden Schnur 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-1) setting up a second round match against last year’s ATP Next Gen runner-up Andrey Rublev.

 

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Danil Medvedev, Jan Lennard Struff and Andreas Seppi start their campaign with a win in Winston Salem

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Danil Medvedev beat Mirza Basic 6-4 6-4 to get off to a winning start in Winston Salem in 1 hour and 16 minutes. The 22-year-old Russian player earned a late break in each set to seal his spot in the second round.

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games. After six holds of serve Medvedev got a crucial break in the 10th game to win the opening set 6-4.

Medvedev broke Mirza in the second and fourth games to race out to a 5-0 lead and fended off two break points in the fifth game. Basic got one break back in the eighth game and saved two match points on her serve in the next game.

In the ninth game Basic got another break in the ninth game to claw his way back to 4-5. He brought up two game points for 5-5 but Medvedev won four consecutive points to earn the decisive break to seal the win. Medvedev recently reached the Round of 16 at the Masters 1000 tournament in Toronto.

Jan Lennard Struff beat Benoit Paire 7-6 6-3 after 1 hour and 11 minutes to score his 14th win of the season. The German player converted all his four break points and won just 41 percent of his second serve points.

Struff fended off two of the four break points he faced. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games before Struff fended off another break point in the ninth game to send the match to the tie-break. The German earned a single mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5.

Both players traded breaks in the third and fourth games before Struff won the last four games with a double break in the seventh and ninth games to close out the match setting up a second round match against this year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato.

Andreas Seppi saw off Joao Sousa 7-5 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes. The Italian veteran saved a break point in the 10th game before sealin the first set with his only break at deuce in the next game. The Italian player needed one break in the third game to close out the second set 6-4.

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Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares lift their maiden Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati

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Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares claimed their maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati after coming back from one set down to beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 4-6 6-3 10-6.

The British and Brazilian team opened up a 3-1 lead, but they did not convert four break points. Cabal and Farah turned around the set by winning five of the next six points to take a 6-4 lead.

Murray and Soares fought back in the second set by breaking serve at 2-2, when Soares mishit a forehand lob return and cruised to a 6-3 win to force a match tie-break.

Cabal and Farah raced out to a 4-2 lead in the tie-break, but Murray and Soares bounced back by winning 8 of the next ten points to win the match tie-break. Murray hit a forehand swinging volley to earn three match points. Murray and Soares converted their first opportunity, when Farah hit a forehand long.

Murray and Soares have won eight ATP Tour titles, including two Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and at the US Open in 2016, but they had never celebrated a title at Masters 1000 title. Earlier this year they defended their title in Acapulco and lifted their second title of the year in Washington.

“For me to win my first Masters 1000 is obviously really exciting. It was an awesome week for us. To win the matches that we did against all top teams that are probably going to play in London. We played really good in the important moments, kept it together well” said Jaime Murray.

“It means a lot. That’s what we play tennis for, to win the big ones. We are playing great. We have been playing great since we got to Washington and I am extremely happy with everything. It was a first title for us at a Masters 1000 event, hopefully we could get many more”, said Soares.

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