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

ATP

Dominic Thiem Edges Cuevas To Remain Unbeaten In Buenos Aires, Schwartzman Awaits

Dominic Thiem has extended his unbeaten streak to 11 matches in Bueno Aires after edging past Pablo Cuevas to reach the semi-finals.

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Dominic Thiem (@SectaDeportivaa - Twittter)

Dominic Thiem won an 11th consecutive match in Buenos Aires as he edged out Pablo Cuevas 4-6 6-4 6-3 to reach the semi-finals. 

After a slow start the Austrian won 73% of first service points to seal a place in the last four as he made it 11-0 in the Argentinian capital.

In the semi-finals he will play good friend and doubles partner this week Diego Schwartzman, who comfortably beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The other semi-final will see Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato take on Guido Pella, who saved match points against Jaume Munar.

There was a threat to Thiem’s unbeaten streak early on as his Uruguayan opponent got off to the perfect start with a break in the third game.

Struggling on serve and failing to create any break point opportunities Thiem surrendered the first set in 34 minutes to the world number 78.

However the world number eight adjusted tactically and remained focused on the task at hand as he took a 3-0 lead. Despite being broke back while serving for the set, the top seed broke straight back to force a deciding set as he looked a relieved figure.

The deciding set went in similar fashion with the only exception being that Thiem wasn’t broken back this time. After holding his lead from 3-0 up, Thiem served out the match to secure his first ATP semi-final of the season.

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After edging past Cuevas, the world number eight will now play Diego Schwartzman in the last four in what is set to be a busy day for the duo.

Not only will they play against each other in singles, they will also team up with each other in doubles as they reached the semi-finals there as well.

The talented Argentinian defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-q 7-5 to reach the last four in his home country and will look to end Thiem’s unbeaten streak on Saturday afternoon.

The other semi-final will see Marco Cecchinato play Guido Pella with the action starting at 2pm local time.

While in New York the action starts at 4pm local time with Brayden Schnur taking on Sam Querrey and John Isner playing Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals.

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Dominic Thiem Extends Unbeaten Run As Ferrer Says Farewell To The Argentina Open

There were mixed emotions for players at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club on Thursday.

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Dominic Thiem (image via @sportsvision)

Top seed Dominic Thiem has made a winning start to the Argentina Open after triumphing in what was his first competitive match for a month.

The Roland Garros finalist has been absent from the tour in recent weeks after retiring from the Australian Open due to illness. During his absence, Thiem underwent a series of tests to establish the root of his problem and has been cleared to return to the tour.

Taking on Germany’s Maximilian Marterer in his opening match on Thursday, the Austrian powered his way to a 6-4, 6-4, victory. Converting four out of his eight break point opportunities. However, there is still room for improvement for Thiem, who only managed to win 48% of the points behind his second serve. The victory is his 10th consecutive at the tournament in Buenos Aires.

“I like the conditions here. I was able to develop a good performance to win it.” Thiem said afterwards.

This week the world No.8 is being mentored by Nicolas Massu. A former top 10 players who is best known for winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. It is understood that the partnership is set to last only a week, however, Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung have suggested that it could be extended if proven successful.

In the quarter-finals Thiem will take on Pablo Cuevas. Cuevas, who has won all six of his ATP titles on the clay, knocked out Portuguese fifth seed Joao Sousa 6-4, 7-5.

“He is one of the best players on the clay.” Said Thiem. “We already played at Roland Garros and a Master 1000, so I’m expecting an open match.”

Thiem is currently tied at 2-2 in his head-to-head with the Uruguayan player.

Farewell continues his goodbye tour

Three-time champion David Ferrer has played his last ever match at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club. The Spaniard, who will officially retire from the tour in May, was edged out in a three set roller coaster against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Ferrer failed to convert two match points during the second set as he suffered a 3-6, 7-6(9), 6-3 defeat.

“I feel at home because of the love they (the crowd) have for me. Loved.” Ferrer said following his loss.
“Without a doubt. It is very special since I will not step on this court again. What I will miss most is your affection.”

Ferrer is one of only two players in history to have won the tournament three years in a row. The other was Argentine legend Guillermo Vilas during the 1970s. Following his first round win there was a special presentation conducted to honour his career. Attendees to the on-court presentation included Gabriela Sabatini, Martin Jaite, Federico Delbonis, Marc Lopez, Diego Schwartzman, Juan Ignacio Chela, Mariano Zabaleta, Juan Monaco and Gaston Gaudio.

Ferrer’s conqueror Ramos-Vinolas will take on fourth seed Diego Schwartzman next. Schwartzman defeated Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

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Kei Nishikori cruises past Ernests Gulbis to cruise through to the quarter final in Rotterdam

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This year’s Brisbane champion Kei Nishikori cruised past Ernests Gulbis 6-1 6-4 to advance to the quarter final at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Nishikori reeled off the first 12 points of the match and broke serve twice to race out to a 5-0 lead. The Japanese star went up an early break at 15 in the first game of the second set. Gulbis broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, but Nishikori broke for the fourth time in the ninth game and served out the match 6-4 with an ace in the 10th game.

Nishikori lost just once in his eleven matches played this year. He beat Danil Medvedev in the final in Brisbane and reached the quarter final at the Australian Open before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

Nishikori sets up a quarter final against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, who beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7-1) 6-1.

Basilashvili got the first break of the match in the fifth game of the opening set to take a 3-2 lead. Fucsovics pulled the break back in the tenth game at 15 to draw level to 5-5 before winning the tie-break 7-1. In the second set Fucsovics broke three times in the first, third and seventh games to win the third set 6-1.

Fucsovics continues his impressive period of form one week after finishing runner-up to Danil Medvedev in the final of the Sofia Open.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga edged Tallon Griekspoor 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 to secure his spot in the quarter final against Danil Medvedev. Tsonga lost to Medvedev 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 in the semifinal of the Brisbane International.

Griekspoor fended off four set points on serve in the first set, before Tsonga closed out the tie-break 7-5 with an unreturned serve after 54 minutes. Tsonga broke serve in the third game of the second set when Griekspoor made two consecutive forehand errors. Tsonga got his third break with a backhand return winner to close out the match improving his winning streak to seven matches.

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