Roger Federer Saves Two Match Points To Oust Monfils In Madrid Open Roller-Coaster - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Saves Two Match Points To Oust Monfils In Madrid Open Roller-Coaster

The world No.3 has sent the Frenchman packing after what was one of the strangest, but interesting encounters between the two players.

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MADRID: Roger Federer has become the second man in ATP history to score a 1200th tour win after surviving a massive scare to defeat Gael Monfils 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(3).

 

The roller-coaster encounter saw constant changes of momentum with numerous breaks of serves throughout. Overall, Federer hit 33 winners to 25 unforced errors as he converted just five out of 13 break point opportunities.

“I think he learned from yesterday when he also lost 6-1. I think that helped him to stay calm.” Federer commented on Monfils’ performance. “From my side, I tried to keep it going, but it was difficult. Losing five games at the end of the second (set) and the beginning of the third, it wasn’t looking good for a while. But I hung in there.’ 
“I played a great tiebreaker and mixed it up very well. I’m very, very happy that I was able to win this match somehow.”

Many had tipped the clash to be the match of the day of the men’s tour at the Caja Magica. Besides the credentials of the 20-time grand slam champion, Monfils has developed a reputation of being an artist of the sport. Illustrated by the athletic ability in his shot-making. Furthermore, he is one of only four players to have ever defeated Federer at least twice on both clay and hard court.

It was for this reason why the Madrid crowd was stunned by the start of their 14th meeting on the tour. Monfils looked dismal as he committed 15 unforced errors throughout an 18-minute opening set. Allowing Federer to achieve his first bagel set on the clay since 2012.

Monfils’ unpredictability continued to confused Federer. After looking like he was going to be thrashed, he suddenly woke up in the second set. The Frenchman managed to win over the crowd and change the momentum of the match in the blink of an eye. Hitting an array of winners and elevating his intensity as nerves started to affect Federer’s play.

Facing a Monfils revival in the Spanish capital, Federer eventually fought back to restore order. Falling behind 2-4, back-to-back double faults from his rival allowed him to break back before holding serve to love. However, it still wasn’t enough for the Swiss. Monfils’ ability to hit the ball deep and flat drew errors from Federer, which in return gifted him the second set. Much to the bemusement of Federer, who left the court for a short break prior to the deciding set.

The mood of the world No.3 deteriorated further as he fell a break down at the start of the third frame before falling behind 1-4. It appeared as if he was on his way out of the tournament, but once again there was another twist. A mistake on the backhand side of Monfils gifted the 20-time grand slam winner a break point opportunity to revive his chances. A task he solved with the help of a backhand down the line.

It was only fitting that it should be a tiebreaker that world separate the two. Federer stormed to a 6-1 lead before prevailing on his third match point. Doing so with the help of serve down the line that overwhelmed Monfils.

“I think this match, win or lose, gave a lot of information (about my form).” The former world No.1 concluded.
“I really had to force myself to stay aggressive. Take on the half-volleys, bad bounces and just let them happen if they did. I tried to play aggressive and positive tennis today. It paid off and I’m very pleased.”

Awaiting Federer next will be Barcelona Open champion Dominic Thiem, who defeated Fabio Fognini 6-4, 7-5, earlier in the day. Thiem, who was runner-up in Madrid last year, is currently on a seven-match winning streak.

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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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