Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka came back from one set down to battle past Canadian Next Gen player Felix Auger Aliassime 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in a roller-coaster third round match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Nishioka saved one break point in the fourth game and another chance in the 12th game to send the first set to the tie-break with no break points. Auger Aliassime sealed the first set on the first of his four set points.
Auger Aliassime went up a set and a break in the first game of the second set to build up a 3-1 lead. Nishioka broke twice in a row in the sixth and and eighth games to take a 5-3 lead. Auger Aliassime broke straight back in the ninth game, as Nishioka was serving for the set. The Japanese player sealed the second set with his third break in the 10th game.
Nishioka broke twice in the second and sixth games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Auger Aliassime fended off three match points to rally from 1-5 down by breaking twice in a row in the seventh and ninth games before holding serve to 15 to draw level to 5-5. After two holds of serve the decider came down to the tie-break. Auger Aliassime took a 5-3 lead, but Nishioka won the final four points to clinch the tie-break 7-5 after a dramatic match.
Nishioka has reached the fourth round at Indian Wells for the second time in his career two years after advancing to this stage in the 2016 edition of this tournament. Unfortunately he tore his ACL in Miami a few days later.
“It’s very tough to play in that situation. I was feeling very mad when he came back because I had a chance to win already when I earned three match points, but he saved them with really good shots. I just tried my best and I found a way. I am very to come back. I am very happy to come back to the Round of 16. I think I am very fit on this surface and in this weather and with the balls, everything. Two years ago I could not take my chances to make the quarter final, so hopefully I can take them this time”,said Nishioka.
Lucky loser Kecmanovic reach the fourth round
Nishioka will take on Serbian 19-year-old lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic, who stunned Laslo Djere 6-2 7-6 (7-3). Kecmanovic lost to Marcos Giron in the qualifying round but earned a spot in the main draw after Kevin Anderson retired from the tournament. Nishioka will meet Kecmanovic for the first time in their careers. Kecmanovic had won just match at ATP Tour level before this match.
“It’s crazy to get to the fourth round. I am obviously really happy right now. It was tough to lose in qualies to Marcos Giron. We both played really well, and Marcos made the third round and almost beat Milos Raonic today. So it was a tough match-up, but thankfully I got in, and I managed to use it pretty well. I am relaxed. I am enjoying myself because I am not supposed to be here, so I am just going out on court and enjoying, swinging for it and it’s working well so far”,said Kecmanovic.
Monfils cruises past Ramos Vinolas
Gael Monfils cruised past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-0 6-3 to reach the fourth round for the third time in his career.
Monfils converted his second break point at deuce after three deuces and went up a double break in the fourth game to race out to a 4-0 lead. He sealed the set with a break at love to take a bagel win in the first set. Ramos Vinolas saved three break points to hold his serve at deuce in the second game but he dropped his serve at deuce on the second break point in the fourth game. The Spaniard broke straight back at 30 in the fifth game and consolidated the break by holding his serve to draw level to 3-3- Monfils won the final three games with a break in the eighth game and a hold at love to serve out the second set 6-3.
The 32-year-old Frenchman clinched his second ATP 500 title in Rotterdam and reached the semifinals in Sofia and Dubai. He is indide the top 20 for the first time since July 2017. Monfils will face either Novak Djokovic or Phillip Kohlschreiber. That match was interrupted because of rain, as Djokovic was leading 1-0.
Rojer and Tecau to face Djokovic and Fognini
Jean Julien Tecau and Horia Tecau beat John Peers and Henri Kontinen 6-3 7-6 (7-1) to set up a a quarter final against Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini. Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah cruised past Lucas Pouille and Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-2 to secure a quarter final spot, where they will face Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos, who battled past 2019 Australian Open doubles champion Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 2-6 7-6 (9-7) 13-11.
‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances
John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.
One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.
Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.
Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.
“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”
This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.
During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.
“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.
De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.
Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome
Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion.
The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome.
Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve.
Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0.
Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand. Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman.
Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4.
Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner.
Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes.
Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide.
Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.
Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final.
“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic.
Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman
Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.
It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.
The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.
“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.
44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.
“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”
The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.
It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.
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