Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka Eye Glory In Rotterdam Following Injury Blows - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka Eye Glory In Rotterdam Following Injury Blows

The duo reflects on their previous setbacks on the tour ahead of the ATP 500 tournament.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori has said that he is “100%” after being forced to withdraw from last months Australian Open.

 

The world No.7 withdrew during his quarter-final clash against Novak Djokovic at the Melbourne major due to a knee injury. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Nishikori said he, ‘felt heavy on his right leg’ and was unable to bend his knees. The setback occurred after what was a successful start to 2019 for the Japanese player. At the Brisbane International he won his first ATP World Tour title since 2016.

Nishikori is set to return to the court this week at the Rotterdam Open, where he will be the top seed in the draw. Speaking to reporters ahead of the tournament, Nishikori has stated that his latest injury woe is behind him.

“I am feeling well. It took maybe one week and a little bit to get 100 per cent, but now physically I am going well. I practiced well last week in Florida,” AFP News quoted the 29-year-old as saying.
“It’s going to be an interesting challenge this week. It’s a strong tournament and many good players are playing, so it will be tough.
“I used to play (this week) in Memphis and last year in New York, but I like indoors and that’s why I chose to come here.”

This year is the first time Nishikori has played in Rotterdam. He is bidding to become the first Asian player in history to reach the final of the event. Should he triumph, he would win his most prestigious title on the tour since the Washington Open back in August 2015.

Nishikori will take on France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in his first round match.

Wawrinka hopes for ‘big’ year

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Three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka is another player that has endured his fair share of injury woes. For him, it was a knee injury that required surgery in 2017 and sidelined him from the tour for months. Last year Wawrinka dropped to as low as 263rd in the rankings before making a steady climb back up. He is currently ranked 57th in the world.

“I think in general it was a really positive year for me. I came back from a big surgery and I was unsure if I would be able to ever play again.” Wawrinka reflected about his 2018 season during an interview with RTV Rijnmond. “It was a long road to be back fully fit. It was tough mentally to keep working, keep improving with the knees. But now I’m happy with the way I am and Hopefully I can do a big year (on the tour) this year.”

Wawrinka is a former champion in Rotterdam, winning the title back in 2015. This year he is unseeded in the draw with a potential second round clash with Milos Raonic lurking. Raonic was the player who knocked him out of the Australian Open last month.

“I’m good in general, I’m getting older, but I’m good.” Wawrinka replied when asked if he was fit.
“I know I need to be patient. I know I’m playing well. Physically, I’m also feeling good. I need matches and victories to get my confidence back. If I get that, then I know I can be tough to play (against).” He added.

Wawrinka will play his first round match against Benoit Paire on Monday.

List of seeds at 2019 Rotterdam Open

  1. Kei Nishikori
  2. Karen Khachanov
  3. Stefanos Tsitsipas
  4. Milos Raonic
  5. Daniil Medvedev
  6. David Goffin
  7. Nikoloz Basilashvili
  8. Denis Shapovalov

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga becomes the first player to win four titles in Metz

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came back from one set down to beat Slovena’s Aljaz Bedene 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 after becoming the first player to win four titles at the Moselle Open in Metz.

 

Tsonga becomes the ninth French winner in the past eleven editions of the Metz ATP 250 tournament. Since Gael Monfils’s triumph in 2009 David Goffin and Peter Gojowczyk are the only non French players to win the Moselle Open.

Tsonga, who made his come-back from a seven-month lay-off due to a left knee injury at last year’s edition of the Metz tournament, held each of his 17 service games and dropped just four first serve points.

The first set went on serve without break points en route to the tie-break. Bedene opened up a 4-0 lead en route to winning the tie-break 7-4 after 57 minutes.

Tsonga saved the only break point of the second set which came down to the tie-break. Tsonga won the tie-break 7-4 to force the match to the decider.

Tsonga claimed the first break in the second game of the third set to race out to a 3-0 lead. Bedene saved two break points in the fourth game and one more chance in the sixth game but he he held his serve at deuce. Tsonga never looked back in his service games and closed out the match on his first championships point with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Tsonga has won 10 of his 18 trophies on French soil.

“Mentally I was very strong. I served really well when I needed to. The match was not easy at all. Aljaz was playing really well and it was a long match. I am definitely happy to win here again. It was a very difficult match. I stayed calm, focused on doing the basics well and waited for the right moment to change the rallies. ”,said Tsonga.

 Bedene beat two seeded players Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire to reach his first final since Buenos Aires last February.

“I only dropped serve twice this week, so that is probably the best serving week of my career. I had chances today, I had a set, 4-3 and a break point. He served well and I picked the wrong side, but it was close and it could have gone either way. I am disappointed. I wanted to win, but I am also happy with the week”, said Bedene.

 

 

 

 

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In-Form Daniil Medvedev Conquers St Petersburg

The world No.4 produced a dominant display to clinch his first ever ATP trophy on home soil.

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Rapidly rising star Daniil Medvedev produced an emphatic display to become the first Russian man to win the St Petersburg Open since 2004.

 

The world No.4 brushed aside Croatia’s Borna Coric 6-3, 6-1, to clinch his third ATP trophy of 2019. Medvedev was in clinical form against Coric from the onset as he dropped only eight points behind his serve and broke four times in total. The only negative to Medvedev’s performance was his unforced error count of 21, which was more than twice the number of winners he produced (nine).

“I’m really happy, my style is more to hide my emotions, but it was hard not to scream with joy,” Medvedev said during his on-court interview.
“I am really very happy, and thank you very much for your (the crowd) support, today was a full house.’
“I won’t list all the people to whom I would like to devote this victory to because even if my tennis is where I am now (in fourth place in the world), all this would have been impossible without many people.”

Sunday’s victory continues what is a remarkable run for the 23-year-old, who has reached the final of five consecutive tournaments on the ATP Tour. During the Summer Medvedev clinched his maiden Masters title in Cincinnati and then finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the US Open. He has now recorded 54 wins this season. More than any other player on the tour so far this year.

Medvedev’s surge in form is one that has impressed Coric, who was playing this week for the first time since withdrawing from the last grand slam of the season due to a back issue. St Petersburg was the first final Coric has contested since October 2018.

“Naturally, he picked up the keys to my game. He was better in absolutely everything and did everything much better than me.” Coric analyzed during his press conference.
“I tried everything I could, all the tactics and everything I could think of. Nothing more to say here. He had the answers to all my questions. He played just incredible.”

Medvedev has now won 24 out of his last 27 matches played and claimed 56 out of 68 sets played. He is the fourth Russian to win the St Petersburg title and first since Mikhail Youzhny back in 2004.

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Injury Forces Rafael Nadal Out Of Laver Cup

There is bad news for fans of the king of clay.

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Rafael Nadal at the 2019 US Open (photo Twitter @USOpen)

The final day of the 2019 Laver Cup has been dealt a blow after Rafael Nadal withdrew from his schedule matches due to a wrist injury.

 

Nadal was set to take on Nick Kyrgios in the singles and then pair up with Roger Federer in the doubles. However, he has decided to pull out of the event following a consultation with the tournament doctor. The world No.2 featured in the competition on Saturday and won his match against Milos Raonic in two tight sets. Shortly after, he returned to the court to play alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas. The duo lost to Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock.

“Following consultation with the Laver Cup competition doctor Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from his matches today due to a wrist injury.” A official statement reads.

In recent days there has been concern over Nadal’s current health. On Friday he was spotted training with strapping on his wrist. Then in an interview on the same day with Mark Petchy he admitted that his body was ‘a little bit run down’ following his triumph at the US Open.

“After New York, the body always feels down a little bit.” Nadal explained.
“Some issues can happen but here I am. I’m trying hard to be ready for when the team need me.
“Let’s see. All of the matches are very difficult.
“If I am not at 100 per cent, there is another player. But I am confident I can help.”

There is little detail about the severity of the injury or if it could have any impact on Nadal’s schedule for the coming weeks. He is in with a shot of ending the season as world No.1 with no points to defend on the tour until January. The next tournament in his schedule is the China Open, which will get underway on September 30th.

As a result of Nadal’s injury, he has been replaced by Dominic Thiem in the singles. French Open runner-up Thiem will take on Australia’s Nick Kyrgios. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas steps in to play alongside Federer in the doubles.

Heading into the final day of the Laver Cup, Europe leads 7-5. They are yet to lose a tie in the history of the event which is in its third year.

 

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