Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Miomir Kecmanovic beat Misha Zverev and Phillip Kohlschreiber in rainy Stuttgart - UBITENNIS
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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Miomir Kecmanovic beat Misha Zverev and Phillip Kohlschreiber in rainy Stuttgart

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Miomir Kecmanovic beat local favourites Misha Zverev and Phillip Kohlschreiber in a rainy opening day at the Stuttgart Mercedes Cup.

 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga cruised past German Misha Zverev 6-3 6-0 after just 57 minutes in his opening match at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart on grass.

Tsonga reeled off nine consecutive games from 3-3 in the first set and dropped just four of his first service points.

Tsonga broke serve in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead and got three break in the second set.

The Frenchman, who won the Montpellier title last February, will take on either 2018 Stuttgart finalist Milos Raonic or Australian qualifier Alexei Popiryn.

“It’s never easy to play your first match on grass, especially against Mischa, who is a good server”, said Tsonga.

Serbian teenager Miomir Kecmanovic came back from one set down to beat German veteran Phillip Kohlschreiber 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Kohlschreiber converted his third break point chance in the third game at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. Kecmanovic broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Kohlschreiber earned another break in the seventh game on his third break point chance to take a 4-3 lead and held his final two service games to take the first set 6-3.

The second set went on serve in the first eleven games before Kecmanovic converted his fourth break point to seal the second set 7-5.

The Serbian 19-year-old player needed one break at 15 in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Kohlschreiber saved a break point to hold his serve after two deuces. Kecmanovic held his final two service games to seal the third set 6-3.

Feliciano Lopez beat Alexander Bublik 7-5 6-4 in the final qualying match which was delayed on Sunday due to rain. Lopez set up a re-match of the 2017 final against Frenchman Lucas Pouille who win the Stuttgart tournament in 2017.

The match between Denis Shapovalov and Jan Lennard Struff was postponed until Tuesday due to rain. The winner of this match will face Kecmanovic.

The grass season has started this week with the Mercedes Cup tournament. Eight top 25 players are playing in teh German city. Last year’s Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev is the top seed in the home tournament one week after reaching the quarter final at Roland Garros. He finished runner-up in two finals this year losing to Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco and to Nicolas Jarry in Geneva.

Karen Khachanov come to Stuttgart after reaching his first Grand Slam quarter final at Roland Garros. Khachanov has become the first Russian player to reach the top 10 since Mikhail Youzny in February 2011.

Khachanov’s compatriot Danil Medvedev also enters the Mercedes Cup. He started the season with a 25-7 win-loss record and beat Novak Djokovic in Monte-Carlo.

Milos Raonic will return to Stuttgart one year after finishing runner-up to Roger Federer in 2018. He makes his return on grass after being sidelined by a knee injury. Canadian Next Gen players Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime are seeded seventh and eighth. Auger Aliassime reached two clay finals in Rio de Janeiro and Lyon and has become the youngest player to break into the top 25 since Lleyton Hewitt in 1999. He will play the first grass tournament of his professional career.

Shapovalov won the Wimbledon Junior title in 2016 on the grass surface.

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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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