Marin Cilic Fights Back Against Isner As Djokovic Qualifies For Semis At ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Marin Cilic Fights Back Against Isner As Djokovic Qualifies For Semis At ATP Finals

The Croat has claimed only his second ever win in at the season-ending tournament.

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Former US Open champion Marin Cilic has scored a rare win at The ATP Finals after fighting back to defeat John Isner 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4, at The O2 Arena.

 

Cilic, who is making his fourth appearance in the tournament, withstood 17 aces that were fired by his opponent during what was a roller coaster match. Featuring a total of 30 winners to 23 unforced errors from the Croat.

“It was very difficult. The first set was extremely tough.” Said Cilic.
“I had to stay patient, stayed focused and I felt I played really great tennis from the second set, and the third set as well.”
“I’m really pleased with the win.” He added.

Heading into the match it was inevitable that the service would be a prominent feature. Isner is ranked first of Infosys Serve Leaders Leaderboard based on the past 52 weeks. A calculation that is worked out based on the four service metrics percentages plus the average number of aces per match before the average number of double faults per match is subtracted. Meanwhile, Cilic is 10th.

It was the fine margins that were the telling factor at the start of the match. During the opener, both players had their opportunities to break. Cilic was first to work his way to a break point, but failed to find a formula consistent enough to break down Isner’s serve. Later on in the match, it was Isner’s turn as he saw three set point chances come and go whilst leading 5-4.

Ultimately the tiebreaker separated the two. Cilic, who had only ever won one match in the history of the tournament, swiftly feel behind after slamming a backhand into the net to trail 0-2. Allowing Isner to storm to a 5-2 lead with relative ease. Continuing his momentum, the 32-year-old closed the tiebreaker out with the help of a 134 mph serve followed by a forehand down the line.

Cilic, who boasted a 7-3 head-to-head record against his opponent heading into the match, managed to find a way to come back into the match. A failing to convert four break points throughout the second set, it was fifth time lucky for the Croat. An Isner double fault elevated him to a 5-3 lead before forcing the match into a decider with the help of back-to-back aces.

With all to play for in the decider, ironically the serve became a liability for both player as they traded breaks before Cilic worked his way to a 3-1 advantage. Continuing to weather the storm, the world No.7 overcame his recent demons to seal the victory. Doing so with a love service game.

“I just felt like I got momentum towards the end of the season set and I started to feel the ball really well,” Cilic explained about how he managed to close out the match.

Besides the triumph for Croatian tennis fans, top seed Novak Djokovic is also relishing in the effects of the win. Isner was required to take at least one set against Cilic to send the Serbian into the semis. Djokovic defeated Alexander Zverev in straight sets earlier in the day. It will be his eighth appearance in the last four of the tournament.

Cilic will play Djokovic next in the round-robin tournament on Friday.

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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Danil Medvedev cruises past Jan-Lennard Struff to set up an all Russian quarter final against Andrey Rublev

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Ninth seed Danil Medvedev cruised past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1 in 66 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

Medvedev committed just 12 unforced errors and won 18 of Struff’s 25 second serve points.

 Medvedev broke twice in the second and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. The young Russian player got two consecutive breaks in the second and fourth games to race out to a 4-0 lead and held his service game at deuce after saving a break point in the fifth game. Struff held his serve to get his first game on the scoreboard, but Medvedev sealed the win on his first match point. The Russian player has improved his head-to-head record to 3-0 againt Struff.

Medvedev has won 11 of his past 13 matches during the North American hard-court season. He has a solid 41-16 record this season. He finished runner in two consecutive finals to Nick Kyrgios at Washington and to Rafael Nadal in Montreal.  In the quarter final the Russian star will face his compatriot Andrey Rublev, who upset Roger Federer 6-3 6-4.

Recent Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 6-2 in just under an hour setting up a quarter final against Richard Gasquet, who beat Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka beat Australian player Alex De Minaur 7-5 6-4 in 83 minutes with one break in each set. Nishioka rallied from 4-6 down in the tie-break of the first set to edge Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes.

“It was a great match and I got better as it went on. I am feeling sharp. I am feeling great now and I am looking forward to the quarter finals of a Masters 1000. I have nothing to lose”, said Goffin.

 

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Roger Federer Crashes Out Of Cincinnati Masters

The seven-time champion has suffered a blow to his preparations for the US Open.

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World No.3 Roger Federer has been knocked out of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati after falling in straight sets to Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

 

The 20-time grand slam champion struggled to find his range as he was overwhelmed by his fearless opponent during the 6-3, 6-4, loss. Despite the huge disparity in experience between the two, 21-year-old Rublev managed to dominate the majority of rallies with the help of some heavy hitting. Producing 17 winners to six unforced errors, compared to Federer’s tally of 19 and 20.

“I respect him a lot, I respect all the top players a lot, but today when I was going to court I was going there to win.” Rublev said during an interview with Amazon Prime.
“I was not going (to the match) to enjoy. I was going to fight, try to win and do my best.”

Rublev’s shock win saw the underdog outdo the Swiss maestro in almost every area of the match. Winning the most first serves (85% to 63%), second serves (57% to 63) and a bigger majority of points at the net (5/6 to 7/19). Breaking him twice in the opening set and once in the second. The Russian, who is 70th in the world, is the lowest ranked player to defeat Federer on the tour since Thanassi Kokkinakis at the 2018 Miami Open.

The loss leaves a mark on Federer’s impressive record in Cincinnati, which he has won a record seven times. It is the first time he has failed to reach the quarter-final stage since losing to Ivo Karlovic in the third round back in 2008.

“He was playing well. I was maybe struggling especially on the offensive, because overall I didn’t think I was feeling the ball badly.” Federer reflected during his press conference. “It’s just, you know, sort of fast-court conditions and when you sometimes then can’t rely on that serve to go or on the one-two punch, which I didn’t think was excellent today from my side, you need an opponent that maybe lets you get by some tougher moments, but he didn’t do that.”
“He was super clean. Defense, offense, serving well. Didn’t give me anything. He was everywhere. So it was tough for me, but excellent match by him. I was impressed.”

Rublev now has a meeting with compatriot Daniil Medvedev in what will be his first quarter-final at Masters level. Medvedev has reached the final of tournaments in Washington and at the Rogers Cup since Wimbledon. He is yet to drop a set this week and brushed aside Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-1, in his third round match.

“It’s going to be an interesting match for Russia.” Rublev previewed. “It will be a tough match for me because the way he plays. Nobody likes to play him.”
“I lost to him in a Challenger a few years ago, so it’s going to be interesting tomorrow.” He added.

The latest victory is only Rublev’s second over a top five player in his career. His first was against Dominic Thiem at the German Open last month.

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