Kei Nishikori comes back from one set down to clinch his first win in Rotterdam - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori comes back from one set down to clinch his first win in Rotterdam

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Kei Nishikori rallied from one set down to beat Pierre Hugues Herbert 3-6 6-1 6-4 after 2 hours and 11 minutes in his debut at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Herbert got the first break at 15 after saving four break points in a 13-minute seventh game. The Frenchman won eight of the next ten points to claim the opening set 6-3.

Nishikori did not convert two break points in a 15-minute second game of the second set. Nishikori claimed his first break on his second opportunity in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. The Japanese player reeled off five consecutive games from 1-1 to cruise through to winning the second set 6-1. Nishikori broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with two two consecutive forehand winners and closed out the match at deuce with a backhand unforced error from Herbert after saving three break points.

Nishikori now leads 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Herbert and has extended his win-loss record to 9-1 this season.

“It was not easy, as he was playing good tennis and serving well. I had a little bit of trouble with my return game and I could not convert the important points. I just tried to play steady, as I wasn’t playing bad, and I tried to stay aggressive”,said Nishikori.

Gael Monfils beat 2017 finalist David Goffin 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 46 minutes in a clash between two former Rotterdam finalists.

Goffin went up a break in the first and ninth games of the first set, but Monfils broke straight back twice to draw level to 5-5 before winning the tie-break 7-5. Goffin broke serve in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead in the second set, but Monfils recovered by winning six of the next seven games with two breaks of serve in the seventh and eleventh games to clinch the second set 7-5. Monfils will face this year’s Sydney finalist Andreas Seppi. The Frenchman leads 3-2 in his head-to-head matches against the Italian veteran, who claimed the win in their past two head-to-head matches.

Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor stunned Karen Khachanov 3-6 6-3 6-2. Khachanov earned his break point in the second game to claim the first set 6-3. Griekspoor converted his third break point chance in the second game to win the second set 6-3. Griekspoor went up a double break in the first and third game to build up a 4-0 lead. Khachanov saved two break points in the seventh game to hold at deuce for 5-2, as he was serving to stay in the match. Griekspoor served out the win on his first match in the eighth game. Griekspoor will take on either this year’s Montpellier champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s so nice to play in this court. The evening matches are amazing”, said Griekspoor.

Ernests Gulbis beat Marius Copil 6-2 6-4. Both players did not qualify for the main draw, but they had a second chance to play in Rotterdam as lucky losers. Gulbis dropped just seven points in nine service games and never faced faced a break point. Gulbis converted three of his twelve break points. The Latvian player claimed the first break in the fourth game of the opening set, when Copil made a forehand error. Copil dropped his serve, as he was serving to stay in the set at 2-5. Copil saved three match points at 4-5, before Gulbis closed out the match with a forehand down the line winner. Gulbis will face Nishikori in the second round.

Fernando Verdasco beat Matthew Edben 7-5 6-4 in 86 minutes to secure his spot in the second round, where he will face either Sofia champion Danil Medvedev or Jeremy Chardy.

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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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