Pierre Hugues Herbert and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga provided a great day for French tennis by reaching the semifinals at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.
Pierre Hugues Herbert stunned Denis Shapovalov 7-5 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 44 minutes. Herbert saved two of the three break points he faced and converted two of his eight break points.
The Frenchman got an early break, when Shapovalov made a double fault. Shapovalov broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, when Herbert made a backhand error in the sixth game. Shapovalov saved five break points in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Herbert broke in the 11th game and fended off two break points to seal the first set with a forehand error.
The second set went on serve in the tie-break, where Herbert hit an ace at 6-4 to set up a semifinal against 2012 Montpellier champion Tomas Berdych, who saved two match points to battle past Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 after two hours and 42 minutes. Berdych held two service games at deuce before winning the tie-break 7-3.
Berdych led by a set and a break with a drive volley winner to take a 4-3 lead in the second set. The Czech player made a double fault to drop his serve, as he was serving for the match at 5-4. Krajinovic hit a backhand down the line winner to clinch the tie-break 7-5.
Krajinovic got an early break in the opening game of the third set with a backhand winner and he served for the match at 5-3. The Serb earned two match points at 4-5, but Berdych saved them from 15-40 and held his serve with a service winner. The Czech player got the break back in the 10th game with a forehand. Berdych won 14 of the next 18 points and broke serve at 15 in the 12th game to seal the third set 7-5. The Czech player dropped to world number 79 after being sidelined by a back injury for six months. He started his 2019 season with a final in Doha where he lost to Roberto Bautista Agut.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga battled past his compatriot Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 after 2 hours and 44 minutes. Tsonga scored his fourth win in his five head-to-head matches against his compatriot and his first win in the past five years.
Both players saved the first 15 break points of the match. The player from Le Mans, who is now ranked world number 210, saved all three break points he faced. Chardy won the tie-break of the opening set 8-6, but he bounced back by winning the tie-break of the second set. Chardy saved the first 12 break points, but Tsonga converted his 13th chance in the 10th game to set up a semifinal match against Radu Albot. Tsonga has qualified for his second semifinal of the season after Brisbane.
Earlier this week Tsonga rallied from a set down to beat French Next Gen Ugo Humbert before claiming a straight-set win over Gilles Simon.
“Today was a tough match. We had to play two tie-breaks in the first two sets and then I came back strong in the third set. Finally he gave me a few points in the end and I am in the semifinals. I am really happy with my level. I hope I will be able to play a good match tomorrow ”, said Tsonga.
Tsonga will face Radu Albot, who Cypriot qualifier Marcos Baghdatis 6-2 7-6 (7-2) to reach the second semifinal of his career.
Kei Nishikori recovers from a slow start to beat Taylor Fritz in Barcelona
Kei Nishikori beat Taylor Fritz 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 41 minutes to advance to the second round at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
Kei Nishikori raliied from 1-4 down in the first set to reel off 12 of the next 15 games.
Fritz converted his second break point in the fourth game and held his service game to open up a 4-1 lead. Nishikori broke twice in the seventh and eleventh games to take a 6-5 lead. The Japanese player served out the first set 7-5 at deuce after saving a break point.
Nishikori went up a double break in the third and fifth games to seal the second set 6-2.
Nishikori and Fritz met once before in the 2016 Memphis final, when the Japanese player beat his younger US rival to clinch his fourth consecutive Memphis title.
Nishikori bounced back from his opening round defeat against Pierre Hugues Herbert last week in Monte-Carlo.
Nishikori claimed two consecutive titles in Barcelona in 2014 and 2015 and finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal, who won the Barcelona title 11 times.
The Japanese player will face Canadian 18-year-old Next Gen star Felix Auger Aliassime or Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri.
Jaziri came back from one set to beat Guido Andreozzi 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-2 after 2 hours and 42 minutes.
Spanish veteran David Ferrer dropped just 11 points in his service points to ease past Germany’s Misha Zverev 6-3 6-1 after 65 minutes. Ferrer will face Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the second round.
Teenager Nicola Kuhn from Spain edged past Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 30 minutes scoring the biggest win of his career.
Matteo Berrettini beats Mikhail Kukushkin in Budapest
Italy’s Matteo Berrettini claimed his first win on clay this season with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Mikhail Kukushkin in the opening round of the Hungarian Open.
The first set started with four breaks of serve in the first five games, as Berrettini built up a 4-1 lead. Kukushkin pulled back one of the three breaks in the sixth game for 2-4. Berrettini held his final two games at love to claim the first set 6-4.
Berrettini went up a double break in the first and fifth games to open up a 5-1 lead. The Italian player wasted his first match point. Kukushkin got one break back and saved another match point to hold his service game to win his third consecutive game for 4-5, but Berrettini served out the win at love in the 10th game.
Berrettini set up a second round against Aljaz Bedene, who came back from a double break down in the opening set to beat Bernard Tomic 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.
Radu Albot from Moldova broke serve twice in each set to seal a 7-5 6-4 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky on his fourth match point after 1 hour and 41 minutes setting up a second round against Filip Krajnovic, who edged Andreas Seppi 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 after wasting four match points in the second set.
Marco Cecchinato has pulled out of the Hungarian Open and will not defend the title he won last year.
Fernando Verdasco wins all-Spanish clash against Feliciano Lopez in Barcelona first round
Fernando Verdasco beat Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-3 in 81 minutes at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
Former Barcelona champion Verdasco, who won this tournament in 2010, improved his win-loss record against his compatriot to 6-5 in their 11 head-to-head matches.
Verdasco claimed his only break point at love to close out the first set 6-4. Lopez got his first break at deuce in the opening game of the second set. Verdasco won four consecutive breaks from 2-3 down with two breaks to wrap up the second set 6-3. Verdasco will face Grigor Dimitrov in the second round.
Taylor Fritz won an all-American first round clash against giant Reilly Opelka 6-3 6-4 after just 55 minutes In the match between two US rising stars Fritz never faced a break point and converted one break point in each set from the four chances he created to cruise into the second round.
Fritz earned the only break in the fifth game of the first set at 15 to take a 3-2 lead after Opelka made a volley error in the fifth game. Fritz hit three service winners in the ninth game to seal the opening set 6-3.
Fritz went up a set and a break in the third game of the second set with a forehand winner. He hit a forehand winner to close out the match, as he was serving for the match at 5-4.
Diego Schwartzman came back from one set down to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6 6-4 6-2.
Nishioka converted his fourth break point in the first game, but Schwartzman broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. After a trade of breaks in the sixth and seventh games Nishioka saved saved three break points to hold his serve in the eighth game. The Japanese player converted his fifth break point after a double fault from Schwartzman in the ninth game. Nishioka served out the first set at love.
Both players traded breaks twice in the second set en route to drawing level to 4-4. Schwartzman broke serve in the 10th game to close out the second set 6-4. Schwartman reeled off four consecutive games from 2-2 with two breaks of serve to win the third set.
Schwartman was playing his third match in Barcelona because he had to play the qualifying round. He forgot to sign before the tournament deadline.
Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer battled past Marius Copil 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 after two hours and 36 minutes to score his ninth match win of the season.
Mayer earned his first break to race out to a 3-0 lead and saved four break points at 3-1. He held his final two service games to close out the second set 6-3. Both players saved a total of four break points in the second set to hold their service games en route to the tie-break. Copil earned three mini-breaks to claim the tie-break 7-3 forcing the match to the third set. Mayer got the only break at love in the 12th game to seal the third set 7-5.
German Jan-Lennard Struff cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-3 6-1 after just 51 minutes. Struff saved all three break points and dropped 14 points in 8 service games. He broke once in the fourth game of the first set and three times in a row to seal the win.
Jaume Munar came back from one set down to beat Portuguese qualifier Pedro Souza 2-6 6-4 6-0 setting up a second round match against US Frances Tiafoe. Sousa got four of the six breaks to win the first set 6-4. The second set went on serve until the 10th game, when Munar got his first break on his third chance to close out the second set 6-4. The Spaniard broke three times to take a bagel win in the third set.
Mackenzie McDonald saw off Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-2 6-2 in just 57 minutes. Mackenzie converted four of hi sten break points and dropped nine points in eight service games. He won the final four games of the first set from 2-2 with two breaks to close out the first set 6-2. He got two more breaks in the third and eighth games to wrap up the match with with a forehand crosscourt winner.
Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics cruised past Denis Kudla 6-4 6-1. The Hungarian player saved two break points he faced and converted four of his nine break points.
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