Kei Nishikori Hopeful Of Taking Down The Big Three, But Not At The US Open - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori Hopeful Of Taking Down The Big Three, But Not At The US Open

The world No.7 spoke about Federer and co following his first round win in New York.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Whilst he is yet to win a grand slam title Kei Nishikori does belong to a unique group of players at the US Open.

 

It was at the tournament back in 2014 when he reached the final before losing to Marin Cilic. Becoming the first ever player from his country in the Open Era to do so. Nishikori is one out of six players not belonging to the Big Three to reach the final of Flushing Meadows over the past decade. The Big Three is a group consisting of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Nishikori currently has a win-loss record of 7-35 against the trio.

“I hope I can be the one to beat top three, but I feel like those three guys are still different level.” He told reporters in Flushing Meadows on Monday.
“Last year Thiem played a great match against Rafa here (at Flushing Meadows), and I think a couple of guys are getting closer. Of course Sascha (Zverev) is a great player and a couple young guys, Felix, Shapovalov, Kyrgios, are coming up, too.”

The 29-year-old is, however hopeful that the landscape of men’s tennis will change in the near future. Paving way for the players such as him to triumph at the biggest tournaments. Taking note of some of his rivals who have managed to make a mini breakthrough. The most recent of which being Daniil Medvedev, who won his first Masters title in Cincinnati just over a week ago.

“Maybe few years I’m sure it’s going to change a little bit. Last week, Medvedev beat Djoko and winning first (Masters) title. I think things are starting to change a little bit now.” Said Nishikori.
“I hope I can sneak in there and win the title sometimes. For me, that’s going to be my big goal to win a Masters or Grand Slam.”

Seeded seventh in New York this year, Nishikori dropped only two games in his opening match. Taking on Marco Trungelliti, he eased to a 6-1, 4-1, lead before the Argentine was forced to retire after 47 minutes. Leaving the Japanese player with mixed emotions.

“Of course, that’s going to help me for physical side. But honestly, I wanted to play a little more because I was feeling good on the court and I wanted to get a little more confidence, playing more points, more confidence playing matches. I think my rhythm was going.” He explained.

Besides finishing runner-up in 2014, Nishikori has also reached the semi-finals of the tournament on two other occasions including last year. His win-loss record at the US Open now stands at 24-9.

In the second round Nishikori will play world No.108 Bradley Klahn, who defeated Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro in straight sets.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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