Marin Cilic fends off four match points to beat Martin Klizan in Madrid - UBITENNIS
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Marin Cilic fends off four match points to beat Martin Klizan in Madrid

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Marin Cilic saved four match points in his 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-0) win over Slovakian qualifier Martin Klizan after 2 hours and 48 minutes to score his fifth win this season at the Madrid Mutua Open in the Caja Magica. 

 

Klizan earned three consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-2 and earned four match points at 6-5. Cilic saved them before cruising through to a 7-0 win in the decisive tie-break. Cilic will face Jan-Lennard Struff, who beat Nick Kyrgios on Sunday.

Number 11 seed Karen Khachanov came back from 0-3 deficits in both the first and the second sets to battle past Jaume Munar 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 after three hours securing his spot in the second round at the Madrid Mutua Open where he will face either Radu Albot or two-time quarter finalist Fernando Verdasco.

Jaume Munar went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game in the first set. Khachanov won four consecutive games with breaks in the fifth and seventh games at deuce. Munar converted his fourth break-back point chance at deuce to draw level to 4-4. Khachanov broke for the third time at 30 in the ninth game and served out on his first set point in the 10th game.

Munar started the second set in the same way as the first taking another  3-0 lead with a break in the second game. Khachanov broke back in the ninth game on Munar’s set point at 5-3 40-30. Khachanov reeled off five of the first six games of the decisive set with two consecutive breaks in the fourth and sixth games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Munar pulled one break back in the seventh game and saved two break points in the eighth game to close the gap to 3-5. Khachanov served out the win on his first match point.

“I am really happy with my performance today and I tried to fight until the end. It’s the kind of game I am looking for. I am really happy to get through to the second round, to build my confidence and go back to basics. This is the kind of win, over three hours, physically demanding, that I needed”, said Khachanov.

US qualifier Taylor Fritz upset Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (10-8) 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 47 minutes. Fritz converted two of his four break points.

The Bulgarian player earned the first break in the sixth game of the opening set to take a 4-2 lead, but Fritz broke straight back in the next game after a poor drop shot from Dimitrov. Fritz saved a set point at 7-6 with a service winner and sealed the tie-break with a forehand winner at 9-8 after 56 minutes.

Fritz got an early break to build up a 3-0 lead, but Dimitrov broke back in the seventh game after a double fault from Fritz. The young US player earned four mini-breaks and closed out the tie-break on the 11th point when Dimitrov made a forehand error.

Gael Monfils cruised past Andreas Seppi 6-3 6-1. The Frenchman drew the first blood with a break in the second game and held his next two service games to build up a 4-2 lead. Seppi got one break back in the seventh game to close the gap to 3-4, but Monfils sealed the first set with his third break at 15 in the eighth game. The 2019 Rotterdam champion broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1 in the second set.

This year’s Rio de Janeiro champion Laslo Djere beat Monte-Carlo finalist Dusan Lajovic 6-4 6-4 in all-Serbian first-round clash to seal his second Masters 1000 win. Djere converted three of his twelve break point chances.

US Next Gen star Frances Tiafoe scored his third top 20 win this season when he beat world number 14 Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 6-4 after 2 hours.

In the opening set Tiafoe earned two set points at 5-4, when Basilashvili was serving at 30-40, and two more set points at 6-5 and 8-7 in the tie-break. Basilashvili won the final three points to win the tie-break 10-8.

Basilashvili broke serve in the third game to open up a 3-1 lead. Tiafoe came back by winning five games with two consecutive breaks to clinch the second set 6-3. The young US player needed just one break in the fifth game to seal the decisive set 6-3 setting up a second round match against German Phillip Kohlschreiber, who beat Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 39 minutes.

Young US giant Reilly Opelka edged Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in 1 hour and 25 minutes to score his fourth match win at Masters 1000 level. Opelka won the tie-break 7-5 before getting his only break of the match in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead in the second set after a forehand error from Carreno Busta. Opelka hit four winners in the 10th game to secure his spot in the second set.

 

 

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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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