Djokovic Eases Past Nishikori To Reach Eighth US Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Djokovic Eases Past Nishikori To Reach Eighth US Open Final

Novak Djokovic crushes Kei Nishikori in convincing straight sets win, eyes his fourteenth Major title

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Novak Djokovic at the 2018 US Open (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

[6] N. Djokovic b. [21] K. Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2

The New York City Friday night crowd was asking for some drama in the second semifinal after the first one was cut short by Nadal’s retirement after only two sets, but their wishes remained unsatisfied. In a lopsided display of strength and solidity, n. 6 seed and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic disposed of Kei Nishikori of Japan in straight sets (6-3, 6-4, 6-2) after 2 hours, 23 minutes.

This was Djokovic’s 15th win in 17 matches with the Japanese player, with the last defeat dating back four years to the 2014 US Open semifinal when Nishikori surprised him in four sets.

The head to head record was already hinting at a difficult evening for Kei, whose style of play does not match well with Djokovic’s. His only hopes were pinned to his ability to take the shots early, keeping points short and preventing the former world n.1 from developing his usual retrieving game.

The tough matchup for Nishikori against Djokovic was immediately evident as the Serbian goes up a break on the second game of the match and is able to defend it to the end of the first set exploiting his opponent’s inability to return effectively. More than six serves out of 10 are unreturned for Djokovic, who is much more comfortable playing aggressively than Kei is playing in defense.

After missing three break points in the opening game of the second set, Nole took a commanding lead breaking Nishikori two games later when the Japanese player failed to complete a 0-40 comeback and conceded his serve with a forehand unforced error at the fourth break opportunity. Kei’s newly found inclination towards closing points at the net after losing the first set did not last long and did not change the momentum of the match as Djokovic kept nailing Nishikori well behind the baseline with his relentless pressure.

The end of the second set and an early break by Novak in the third gave the match an aura of inevitability with Nishikori looking more and more disheartened and incapable of finding a game that could hurt Djokovic the slightest.

The Serbian is advancing to a record-tying eighth final at the US Open (together with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras) and on Sunday he will play his 23rd Major final (13-9) when he will try to reach Pete Sampras at 14 Major titles won. Djokovic has won 14 of the 18 previous matches with Del Potro, but the two have never met in a Grand Slam final and the last win by the Argentinian dates back to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 when Djokovic suffered a shock elimination in the first round and a blow to his gold medal ambitions.

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Kei Nishikori battles past Nikoloz Basilashvili to advance to the semifinals in Metz

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This year’s US Open semifinalist and Monte-Carlo finalist Kei Nishikori edged past fifth seed and this year’s Hamburg champion Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3 4-6 6-4 after 2 hours and seven minutes in the quarter final at the Moselle Open in Metz. Nishikori rallied from 1-3 down in the third set by winning five of the next six games to secure his spot in the semifinal.

Nishikori won 83 % of his first service points and converted five of his eight break points to book his spot in the quarter finals where he will face either German Matthias Bashinger or Yannick Maden.

Nishikori broke serve in the third game with a backhand down the line winner. He dropped two points in four service games. He went up a double break in the ninth game, when Basilashvili sent a backhand long.

Nishikori went up a break in the second game of the second set with a return winner. Basilashvili pulled the break back in the second game of the second set. Basilashvili got another break, when Nishikori made a double fault. The Georgian player fired an ace to wrap up the second set 6-4 setting up a deciding set.

The Georgian player broke Nishikori in the third game of the decisive set and held serve with an ace to take a 3-1 lead. Nishikori broke back in the sixth gme with a smash winner and in the 10th game to wrap up the match.

“It was a tough match today, but I fought through and I am happy to be in the semifinals tomorrow. He was playing better in the second set. I thought I played almost perfect game in the first set and I almost had it, but he came back. It was tough. He was up 3-1 in the third, and I had to refocus and rebuild my confidence and play a little bit better in the end. It wasn’t an easy game”,said Nishikori.

Twice Metz champion Gilles Simon beat his compatriot Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in one hour and 34 minutes.

Radu Albot edged Ricardas Berankis 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes.

 

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Stan Wawrinka beats Damir Dzumhur in St. Petersburg to advance to his first semifinal since February

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World Number 88 Stan Wawrinka has advanced to his first semifinal since Sofia in February with a 6-2 6-4 win over Damir Dzumhur in one hour and 12 minutes.

Wawrinka dropped just 12 points in 10 service games and saved three of the four break points he faced. Stan the Man converted three of the eight break points.

Dzumhur, who beat Wawrinka in their only head-to-head match in Dubai last year, went up an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, when Wawrinka sent a forehand long.

Wawrinka broke back in the next game with a forehand down the line. He earned his second consecutive break in the sixth game with a volley. The Lausanne player hit three winners to clinch the opening set 6-2 in 32 minutes.

Wawrinka converted his third break point at deuce in the third game to clinch the second set 6-4. Dzumhur earned two break points in the next game, but he failed to convert them. The Bosnian player fended off a match point at 3-5 with a volley winner, but Wawrinka closed out the match with a service winner in the next game.

Wawrinka set up a match against Martin Klizan, who came back from one set and 3-5 down to beat Canadian Next Gen star Denis Shapovalov 3-6 7-5 6-3.

Shapovalov won the first set 6-4 with his only break in the sixth game. The young Canadian went up a set and a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Klizan broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 and sealed the second set 7-5 with another break in the 12th game. Klizan sealed the match with his only break at deuce on his second opportunity.

Klizan won all his the six finals he played in his career and will be bidding to win his seventh title against Wawrinka.

Dominic Thiem battled past Danil Medvedev 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-2). Thiem got an immediate break in the first game. Medvedev saved three break points to hold his serve in the fifth game. Thiem saved a break point before breaking for the second time in the seventh game to close out the first set 6-2. Medvedev saved four break points (three in the first game and one in the third game) to win the second set. The third set went on serve in the first five games before a trade of breaks in the sixth and seventh games. The third set was decided by the tie-break where Thiem cruised through to a 7-2 win.

Thiem will face Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat this year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato 7-6 (7-0) 6-3. Bautista Agut saved the only two break point of the first set, which went on serve until the tie-break. Bautista Agut won the breaker by a bagel. Cecchinato saved four break points to hold his serve at deuce in the second game but dropped his serve at love in the fourth game to trail 1-3. Cecchinato saved a break point at deuce in the sixth game to hold his serve for 2-4. Bautista Agut won his final two service games to close out the match.

 

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Ricardas Berankis rallies from one set down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in Metz

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Ricardas Berankis came back from one set down to upset second seed and this year’s Barcelona finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 after two hours and 36 minutes reaching his first quarter final since Moscow in 2017. Tsitsipas hit 17 aces but he dropped his serve three times from the 13 break points he faced. Berankis saved six of the seven break points.

Both players saved all five break points they faced in the first set, which came down to the tie-break. Tsitispas hit two service winners to cruise through to a 5-0 lead in the tie-break, but Berankis reeled off five of the next six games to claw his was back to 5-6. The Greek Next Gen player converted his fourth set point at 6-5 when Berankis netted a forehand.

Tsitsipas fended off three break points in the second game of the second set. Both players held their service games with no breaks setting up a second tie-break. Tsitsipas raced out to a 5-1 lead in the tie-break. Berankis reeled four consecutive points to draw level to 5-5. Tsitsipas earned a match point at 6-5, but Berankis won three consecutive points to take the tie-break 8-6 forcing the match to the third set.

Berankis went up a double break to race out to a 3-0 lead. Tsitsipas saved three break points  in the fifth game to hold his serve at deuce before pulling one break back with a forehand winner to claw his way back to 2-4.

Berankis saved three break points to hold his serve at deuce in the eighth game before converting his second break point in the ninth game to win the decider 6-3.

 

 

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