Kei Nishikori ‘Excited’ For Moselle Debut As Potential Clash With Tsonga Looms - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori ‘Excited’ For Moselle Debut As Potential Clash With Tsonga Looms

The world No.12 reflects on his US Open performance as he seeks his first ATP title on French soil.

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Japan’s Kei Nishikori believes he has returned back to his top form following his recent run to the semi-finals of the US Open.

 

The world No.12 scored wins over Gael Monfils, Diego Schwartzman and Marin Cilic on route to the last four of the New York major. Achieving his best run at a grand slam since the same tournament back in 2016. Nishikori endured a testing start to this season after returning from a five-month break from the sport due to a wrist injury. Since then, he has won 33 out of 48 matches played so far this season.

“It’s been good. Especially at the US Open where I had a good two weeks playing great tennis again. I feel like I am playing at my best again.” Nishikori told reporters in France about his recovery.
“I’m excited to be playing like this and hopefully I can keep going and end this year strong.”

Nishikori’s next test will be at this week’s Moselle Open in France. Nishikori is the top seed in the draw and will be bidding to become the first Asian player to win the title since Ramesh Krishnan in 1984. He is one of three top 20 players in this year’s field alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas and Lucas Pouille.

“Hopefully I can win the tournament. I am excited here to play my first tournament in Moselle.” Said Nishikori.
“I’m here to win the tournament. I think it’s going to be tough. Many good french players are playing and it is never going to be easy. Hopefully I can have a good week.”

So far in his career, the 28-year-old has won 11 titles on the ATP Tour. Although only two of them have been in Europe on clay at the Barcelona Open in 2014 and 2015. He is yet to contest the final of an ATP tournament held in France.

Praise for Tsonga

Granted a bye in the first round, Nishikori could start his campaign against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is set to play in his first tournament since February. Tsonga, who will play Peter Gojowczyk in the first round, has been sidelined from action due to an knee injury that required surgery. The Frenchman is a three-time winner of the Moselle Open.

“I’m really happy to see Jo in the draw because it has been a long time. I think we have all missed him.” Said Nishikori. “I love his tennis and he’s a great person too.”

Should they meet, it will be the ninth time they have done so on the ATP World Tour. Nishikori leads Tsonga 5-3 in their head-to-head with their last clash occurring at the 2016 Paris Open.

“I hope he (Tsonga) plays well here too. If we play against each other I hope that I will enjoy the match.” The Japanese No.1 explained.
“I think Jo is really tough, but I will do whatever I can do.”

This week Nishikori is seeking his first title on the ATP Tour since the 2016 Memphis Open.

 

ATP

Updated Entry List For Toronto

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After Washington, the US Open Series will continue with the prestigious Master 1000 event in Canada.

 

Having been played since 1968, the Canadian Master 1000 tournament is one of the most historically significant events on the men’s tennis tour. This year the National Bank Open will take place in Toronto from the 9th to the 15th of August.

The defending champion Rafael Nadal is committed to play the tournament, as well as Daniil Medvedev and Roger Federer, while Novak Djokovic has decided to skip it. All the other top-20 players are in the list, excepting Dominic Thiem and David Goffin. Canada’s Vasek Pospisil and Australia’s Nick Kyrgios have been given a Wild Card for the main draw.

NEWS: The former champion Roger Federer and the home favourite Milos Raonic have withdrawn due to injury. They have been replaced by Sebastian Korda and Jan-Lennard Struff.

NEWS: Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini and Pablo Carreno-Busta have pulled out from the tournament. Jenson Brooksby has received the final Wild-Card for the main draw.


ATP Master 1000 Toronto (CAN, Hard), entry list:
OUT Djokovic, Novak (SRB)
Medvedev, Daniil (RUS)
Nadal, Rafael (ESP)
Tsitsipas, Stefanos (GRE)
OUT Zverev, Alexander (GER)
Thiem, Dominic (AUT)
Rublev, Andrey (RUS)
OUT Berrettini, Matteo (ITA)
OUT Federer, Roger (ITA)
Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
OUT Carreno Busta, Pablo (ESP)
Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Schwartzman, Diego (ARG)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
Bautista-Agut, Roberto (ESP)
Monfils, Gael (FRA)
De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
Garin, Cristian (CHI)
OUT Goffin, David (BEL)
Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
OUT Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Isner, John (USA)
Fognini, Fabio (ITA)
OUT Coric, Borna (CRO)
Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
Nishikori, Kei (JPN)
(SE)
WC Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
WC Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
WC Brooksby, Jenson (USA)
Alternates:
IN Cilic, Marin (CRO)
IN Fritz, Taylor (USA)
IN Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
IN Lajovic, Dusan (SRB)
IN Millman, John (AUS)
IN Korda, Sebastian (USA)
IN Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)

OUT Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
IN Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
IN Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
IN Paire, Benoit (FRA)

Alt.1 Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Alt.2 Paul, Tommy (USA)
Alt.3 Gasquet, Richard (FRA)
Alt.4 Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
Alt.5 Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)


ATP Master 1000 Toronto, qualifying:
OUT Millman, John (AUS)
OUT Korda, Sebastian (USA)
OUT Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)

OUT Paire, Benoit (FRA)
OUT Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
OUT Harris, Lloyd (RSA)

Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Paul, Tommy (USA)
Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
OUT Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
OUT Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
Musetti, Lorenzo (ITA)
OUT Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
Giron, Marcos (USA)
OUT Ivashka, Illya (BLR)
OUT Munar, Jaume (ESP)

OUT (RA)
OUT (RA)
OUT (RA)

WC Diez, Steven (CAN)
WC Polansky, Peter (CAN)
WC Schnur, Brayden (CAN)
WC Draxl, Liam (CAN)
Alternates:
IN Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
IN Duckworth, James (AUS)
IN Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
IN Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
IN Berankis, Ricardas (LTU)
IN Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
IN Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
IN McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
OUT Kudla, Denis (USA)
OUT Daniel, Taro (JPN)
IN Bonzi, Benjamin (FRA)
IN Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
OUT Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
IN Seyboth Wild, Thiago (BRA)

OUT Uchiyama, Yasutaka (JPN)
IN Verdasco, Fernando (ESP)
OUT Brooksby, Jenson (USA)
IN Wolf, Jeffrey John (USA)
IN O’Connell, Christopher (AUS)

Alt.1 Nakashima, Brandon (JPN)
OUT Rodionov, Jurij (AUT)
Alt.2 Broady, Liam (GBR)
Alt.3 Soeda, Go (JPN)
Alt.4 Bolt, Alex (AUS)
Alt.5 Cressy, Maxime (USA)
Alt.6 Donskoy, Evgeny (RUS)
Alt.7 Jung, Jason (TPE)
Alt.8 Marchenko, Illya (UKR)
Alt.9 Gomez, Emilio (ECU)
Alt.10 Ymer, Elias (SWE)

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Auger Aliassime overcomes slow start to beat Seppi in Washington

The Canadian looked down and out early in the match but bounced back to avenge a loss he suffered at the French Open in June.

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Second seed Felix Auger Aliassime survived a huge scare in his opening match at the Citi Open in Washington.

The Canadian was on the verge of being upset by the Italian Andreas Seppi but battled back to beat him 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 59 minutes. Blasting a total of 25 winners and nine aces in the win.

 

“In my mind, I wanted to find a way to come back. To get that early break in the second really helped me a lot and I think I served a little bit better and I put more volume and height on my shot,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I was more patient and in the first set I was missing too quickly in the rallies so digging deep physically and mentally allowed me to come back nicely in the match and to finish strong in the third set. I am happy with the way things turned around for me today”.

It was the world number 88 with the better start to the match and after both players held their opening service games he had two chances to get the early break and took a 2-1 lead. After consolidating the break, the Italian set up another breakpoint with a stunning forehand winner, broke again for a 4-1 lead, and served out the first set.

Auger-Aliassime was keen on getting back into the match and wanted to avoid a second straight upset loss to the Italian. After holding serve in the first game of the second set he had two chances to take an early lead and broke for the 2-0 lead with a forehand up the line of his very own on breakpoint. That was enough for him to serve out the second set and send the match into a decisive third set to decide the winner.

It was the Canadian who repeated what he did in the second set holding the opening service game and breaking Seppi’s serve with a sublime passing shot. The Italian responded the next game by breaking right back but failed to consolidate the break as the world number 15 broke again with his powerful backhand winner.

At 5-2, the Auger-Aliassime found himself at match point and it took him five attempts before being able to convert and seal the match. Avenging a loss he suffered at Roland Garros.

After the match in his post-match press conference, the Canadian was asked if he had the loss to Seppi at the French Open in the back of his mind during the match.

” In a way yes of course because we played once and he beat me and as a player, you never want to go down twice in a row against a player but it happens but in my case, I really wanted to find a way to win that match and get revenge just for myself to try and get the win”. he said.

Auger Aliassime will now face the winner of the second-round match between Jenson Brooksby or Frances Tiafoe in the third round.

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Vasek Pospisil survives scare at Citi Open

The Canadian battled back from a set down in what was a tricky opening encounter.

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Vasek Pospisil was pushed to limits by qualifier Emilio Gomez in his opening match at the Citi Open.

The Canadian required three sets to beat the Ecuadorian qualifier 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and 11 minutes of play. He hit a total of 10 aces en route to the second round.

 

” It’s always good to get through a tough one and I felt dialed in during the second set,” said Pospisil. “I was a little bit distracted during the first set but I am glad to get match play and getting the win is important so I am happy I got it done”.

The first three games of the opener went on serve and at 2-1 the Canadian had three chances to take an early break but the world number 165 saved all three and held serve. At 3-3, Pospisil played a poor service game and Gomez took full advantage by breaking him at love. That one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The Canadian was determined to stay alive in the second and broke the Ecuadorian early to take a 2-0 lead and managed to turn it into a double break for a commanding 4-0 lead. Gomez got one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the world number 61 would serve out the second set to force a decider.

The third set started with three breaks of serve but it was the Canadian that was finally able to hold serve and consolidate a break. That break was enough for him to serve out the match and complete the comeback.

Pospisil will next face the young American Sebastien Korda in the third round who is the 12th seed this week in the American capital.

” It’s going to be a tough one because he is playing some great tennis this year and he is an up and comer and a great player,” he said of Korda. “I will have to play really well to win that one because he is a dangerous player so I will have to serve well and return well”.

Other results

It was a busy day one at the Citi Open being held at Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC with some thrilling matches. Kei Nishikori beat Sam Querrey in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 and Marcus Giron pulled a three-set comeback against Ilya Marchenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.

In the battle of the Belorussians, Ilya Ivashka beat Egor Gerasimov in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. Meanwhile, Jenson Brooksby avenged a loss to the South African Kevin Anderson by beating him in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

Andreas Seppi needed three sets to dispatch Yasutka Uchiyama of Japan 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, Ricardas Berankis beat the American qualifier Mitchell Kreuger in straight sets 7-6, 6-2, and Daniel Elahi Galan beat another American Tommy Paul in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

Finally, in the last match of the day an American favourite, Jack Sock advanced to round two after his Japanese opponent Yoshito Nishioka was forced to retire due to injury during their match.

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