Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori Prevail In Australian Open Thrillers - UBITENNIS
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Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori Prevail In Australian Open Thrillers

It was a marathon day for the two players in Melbourne Park as rain delayed proceedings.

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Milos Raonic has progressed to the third round of the Australian Open after edging out three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka in a rain-interrupted nail biting match.

The former world No.3 was pushed to his limits both mentally and physically during the marathon clash on the Rod Laver Arena. Fighting from behind to win 6-7(4), 7-6(6), 7-6(11), 7-6(5), in a match of fine margins. The Canadian was down 5-2 in the fourth set, before capitalising on a tentative serving game from Wawrinka to break back and level. Going on to close out the match.

“It feels like four hours have past by in 15 minutes, you forget about a lot of it very quickly. It’s sort of the heat of the battle, the adrenaline takes over.” Raonic said of the match afterwards.
“You try to do everything that you can on each and every point.”

Perhaps the biggest help Raonic received in the match came from above. During the third set, proceedings was halted due to rain. Resulting in the roof being used on the Rod Laver Arena. Something that was a blessing is disguise for the world No.17, who produced 37 aces in the match. It was also during the break where he received some valuable advice from his coach, Goran Ivanisevic.

“Just to try to get my hand on a few of his serves.” Raonic commented on the advice he received. “He (Wawrinka) was serving very well, especially when the roof was opened.
“I needed to get to grips with his serve. It’s not fun to be on the receiving end of it and I’m also thankful that it was indoors as I like these conditions. I managed to make the most of it.”

Raonic’s reward for his victory is a showdown with Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The Frenchman stunned last year’s Australian Open semi-finalist Hyeon Chung 6-2, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The upcoming match will be the first meeting between the two players.

Nishikori dismisses Fatigue claims

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Earlier in the day, Kei Nishikori withstood an unbelievable 59 aces from 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic in a marathon match lasting almost four hours. Nishikori, who is a three-time quarter-finalist in Melbourne, lost a two-set lead, before fighting back to win 6-3, 7-6(6), 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 (7) on the Margaret Court Arena. Saving three consecutive break points at 4-4 in the decider.

“I think he almost had he match, especially in the fifth set and it was a really tough match. It could have gone either way.” Said Nishikori.
“I don’t know how I managed to save couple of break points, but very happy to win today. I think this means a lot.”

In total Nishikori hit 69 winners to only 17 unforced errors. A substantially better ratio compared to Karlovic’s tally of 89 and 43. Nishikori also won 79% of his first service points and 70% of his second.

It is the second match in a row that the Japanese player has been pushed to five sets. In the first round, he recovered from two sets down to dismiss Kamil Majchrzak, who retired injured in the final set. Meaning that he has spent almost seven hours on the court within the past two years.

“Today he was playing well, and first match, too, the guy was playing really solid.” He reflected.
“I could have lost these two matches. I just need to recover well. But it’s only two matches, so I’m not too tired yet.”

Next up for Nishikori will be either Joao Sousa or Philipp Kohlschreiber. Today was his 25th main draw win at the Australian Open. A milestone he is yet to reach at any other major.

“I hope I can do well these big tournaments, Grand Slam and Masters. I think it’s going to be very important if I want to reach top 5 or top 3.” Nishikori explained.
“My goal is to do well here and other big tournaments.”

Raonic and Nishikori will both play their third round matches on Saturday.

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Ugo Humbert stuns Borna Coric to advance to the quarter final in Marseille

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French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert upset world number 12 Borna Coric 6-3 6-3 at the Open 13 in Marseille scoring the biggest win of his career.

Humbert broke three times in the third game of the first set and twice in the third and ninth games of the the second set to reach his first ATP quarter final.

Humbert, who won the Challenger title in Cherbourg, converted three of his eight break points. The young French player held his serve in the first game before earning three break points in the second game, but Coric saved them.

The Frenchman got the first break in the fourth game with a volley winner and fended off a break point in the next game. The Frenchman saved a break point, as he was serving for the first set at 5-3 and sealed the first set with a good serve.

In the second set Humbert broke serve in the third set and sealed the second set with another break, when Coric made a backhand error.

Humbert will face German qualifier Matthias Bachinger, who beat Fernando Verdasco 6-4 6-3 in 77 minutes. Bachinger saved eight of the nine break points and broke three times.

David Goffin beat Benoit Paire 6-2 6-3 after 63 minutes to reach his first quarter final since Cinicinnati last year.

“My level was good, very positive. The atmosphere was great, and it’s always easier when you are not the favourite. This was the first time I played a player ranked that high. I was able to stay calm and play well”,said Humbert.

 

Goffin won five consecutive points in the sixth game to break serve after a backhand error from Paire. Goffin got another break in the eighth game to close out the first set after another error from Paire.

Paire broke serve in the third game of the second set to open up a 3-1 lead. Goffin broke back in the sixth game at love to draw level to 3-3.

Goffin converted his sixth break point in the eighth game and held serve at love in the eighth game with a service winner at 5-3 to close out the match securing his spot in the quarter finals, where he will face Gilles Simon.

Andrey Rublev edged Matteo Berrettini 6-3 7-6 after 1 hour and 31 minutes to avenge his last year’s defeat against the Italian player in Gstaad. Rublev, who beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the opening round, broke serve in the second game and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-3.

Rublev broke serve in the fifth game to take a 4-2 lead, but Berrettini broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Rublev won the tie-break 7-2 to secure his spot in the quarter final, where he will face Mikhail Kukushkin, who beat Denis Shapovalov on Wednesday.

 

 

 

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Following Career-Best Win, Félix Auger-Aliassime Achieves Another Milestone In Rio

The former US Open boy’s champion is a win away from reaching the semi-finals of a ATP Tour event for the first time in his career.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime - Toronto 2018 (via Twitter, @rogerscup)

Félix Auger-Aliassime’s week at the Rio Open keeps getting better and better.

The 18-year-old Canadian began his campaign at the tournament on Tuesday with a shock straight sets win over second seed Fabio Fognini. The Italian veteran, who is currently ranked 16th in the world, is Auger-Aliassime’s biggest win in terms of ranking. Furthermore, that sole victory has ensured that the Canadian will break into the top 100 next week for the first time in his career.

Continuing his momentum at the tournament, Auger-Aliassime followed up on his first round triumph by defeating Chile’s Christian Garin 7-5, 6-4, in the second round. Hitting 27 winners to 31 unforced errors. Auger-Aliassime will now play in only his second quarter-final on the ATP Tour and his first in a 500 event.

“It’s been good, I didn’t know what to expect when I got here, hadn’t won many matches this year. I knew I was playing well from the practices. I thought I had the chance to have tournaments like these. I came in, believed in my game and it’s paying off now. I was able to stay strong physically and mentally at these conditions,” tournament website rioopen.com quoted the Next Gen star as saying.

Wildcard Auger-Aliassime has been tipped as a future star in the sport since his teenage years. At the age of 14 he qualified for the main draw of a Challenger event for the first time. He is a former US Open boys champion and is one of the youngest players of all time at win a Challenger title at the age of 16 years and 10 months. In total, the Canadian currently has four Challenger titles to his name.

Awaiting Auger-Aliassime in the next round will be another rising star on the men’s tour. Spain’s Jaume Munar prevailed in a marathon clash against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie. The Spaniard required almost three-and-a-half hours to defeat Norrie 7-6(6), 5-7, 7-6(4).

“It’s probably the toughest game I’ll have to play so far this week. Munar has been playing good, having good results. He already beat me two times on clay last year so I’m expecting a tough match. But I believe in myself and I know I have what it takes to beat a guy like him”, Auger-Aliassime said about his upcoming opponent.

In their head-to-head, Auger-Aliassime is yet to defeat Munar after losing to him twice last year.

Following a series of shocks, there are only one seeded player remaining in the Rio Open draw. That is fifth seed Joao Sousa, who will play his second round match on Thursday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets in Marseille

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Hungary’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 6-2 after just 59 minutes in a match between two Next Gen players at the Open 13 in Marseille to score his first win in his third appearance in the French tournament

Tsitsipas had already beaten Hurkacz at last November’s Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. The Greek star, who reached the Australian Open semifinal last January, converted his second break point chance in the 10th game to close out the first set 6-4. He earned back-to-back breaks in the sixth and eighth games to seal the second set 6-2, when Hurkacz fired his forehand into the tramline.

“It was a good match. I enjoyed it. I am moving on. It is nice to start so well. It was a no-trouble match. Everything went smooth. Breaks happened when they had to happen. It was a solid match”, said Tsitsipas.

Mikhail Kukushkin upset Denis Shapovalov 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in 82 minutes. The Kazakh player earned his break in the seventh game for 4-3 en route to winning the first set 6-4. Kukushkin saved two break in the fourth game of the second set, which went on serve with no breaks until the tie-break. Kukushkin won the first four points to win the tie-break 7-4.

Gilles Simon rallied from one set down to beat Peter Gojowczyk 4-6 6-4 6-2 to secure his spot in the quarter final where he will face either David Goffin or Benoit Paire. Gojowczyk sealed the first set 6-4 with his only break in the 10th game. Simon converted his second break chance in the third game to win the second set 6-4. Simon broke twice at love in in the first and fifth games to win the decisive set 6-2.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert edged Ernests Gulbis 6-3 7-6 (7-3). German qualifier Matthias Bachinger fought back from one set down to beat Steve Darcis 4-6 6-3 6-4 in two hours and three minutes.

 

 

 

 

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