Novak Djokovic Praises Juan Martin Del Potro Ahead Of US Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Praises Juan Martin Del Potro Ahead Of US Open Final

The two will meet for a 19th time on Sunday.

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Novak Djokovic (US Open via Twitter)

Novak Djokovic, shortly after setting up a first grand slam final meeting with Juan Martin Del Potro, offered kind words to the Argentine for his game style and resilience from countless wrist injuries.

Asked about Del Potro following his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Kei Nishikori on Friday, Djokovic first praised the 2009 US Open champion’s personality and called him a “dear friend” before detailing Del Potro’s return to tennis’ top levels.

“We all felt for his struggles with injuries that kept him away from the tour for two, three years. But he was always a top five player in the eyes I think of everyone,” Djokovic said. “Even when he dropped his ranking and started to, you know, work his way up, but we all knew that he has a capacity and a quality to get to the point where he is at the moment.

“I saw today before the match against Nadal a stat that he’s the player that made the most wins against No. 1’s of the world. That shows the quality that he has, especially in the big matches. He’s a big-time player. He’s a big-match player. He’s a Grand Slam winner. He’s playing the tennis of his life, without a doubt, in the last 15 months.”

Djokovic, a two-time champion in New York himself, later called Del Potro a “gentle giant.” But ahead of their 19th tour-level meeting, the Serbian also turned his sights to his opponent’s game plan. The two are very familiar with each other, having played nine times across 2012 and 2013 alone and thrice more last year.

“We’ve never faced each other in a Grand Slam final, so that’s something new,” Djokovic said. “There are a few things that I have in mind, knowing him from the matches we previously played against each other. I’ll try to take that in consideration and get myself ready.”

The Serbian has won 14 of the 18 head-to-head meetings, including the last three, the only two at the US Open and the last two on hard courts, dating to Del Potro’s win at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. To continue those trends, Djokovic said he will need to do particularly well when facing the Argentine’s serve.

“One of the keys of the match will be return, how well can I return, how many returns I can get back in play, but also try to have some depth in that return, and how accurately I can serve myself,” he said. “I think that’s very important. When you play a big server like Del Potro, you feel pressure also on your service games.”

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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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