Fabio Fognini sets up third-round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Rome - UBITENNIS
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Fabio Fognini sets up third-round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Rome

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This year’s Monte-Carlo champion Fabio Fognini beat Moldova’s Radu Albot 7-6 6-3 on the famous Pietrangeli Court to set up a third round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

 

Albot earned the first break in the the third game of the opening set to take a 2-1 lead, when Fognini hit his backhand into the net. Fognini converted his first break back point in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2 after a backhand error from Albot.

The Moldovan player got his second break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, but Fognini broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Albot saved a set point in the 10th game. Fognini took a 3-1 lead in the tie-break. Albot won the next two points to draw level to 3-3. Fognini took a 5-3 lead, but Albot came back by winning three consecutive points to earn a set point at 6-5 on Fognini’s serve. Fognini saved it with a forehand down the line and won the final two points to seal the tie-break as Albot hit his forehand into the net.

Albot went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game, but Fognini reeled off six consecutive games with three breaks in a row to win the second set 6-3.

Fognini set up a third round against Stefanos Tsitsipas, who cruised past Italian 17-year-old rising star Jannik Sinner 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 18 minutes. Tsitsipas went up an early break to open up a 3-0 lead. Sinner broke back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. Tsitsipas converted his second break point chance in the eighth game to close out the opening set 6-3. The Greek Next Gen player went up a double break in the first and fifth game to close out the second set 6-2 after 1 hour and 17 minutes.

Verdasco beats Khachanov to reach the quarter final 

Fernando Verdasco followed up his win over Dominic Thiem with a 7-5 3-6 6-3 victory over   Karen Khachanov to reach the quarter final. The Spanish 36-year-old veteran player scored his second win over Khachanov in as many weeks after beating his Russian player 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5 in the second round.

Verdasco fended off a break point in the opening game of the third set, before breaking serve at 3-4 30-40, when Khachanov sent a forehand wide.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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