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Wawrinka Fights Back Into St. Petersburg QF

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2018

Wawrinka Fights Back Into St. Petersburg QF

Swiss to next face defending champion Dzumhur or Pella

Former World No. 3 and 2016 finalist Stan Wawrinka returned to the quarter-finals of the St. Petersburg Open on Wednesday, beating Russian Karen Khachanov 7-6(10), 7-6(1).

The fourth-seeded home favourite served for the opening set at 6-5 but was broken to 15 when Wawrinka smashed a crosscourt backhand winner. The 33-year-old Swiss then had three set points from 6/3 in the tie-break, but Khachanov erased them all and later had two set points of his own.

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At last, however, Wawrinka sealed the 22-point tie-break on his fifth set point. There was little drama in the second set, as Wawrinka clinched the tie-break and the second-round match on his first opportunity.

The Swiss wild card, No. 88 in the ATP Rankings, will next meet defending champion Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina or Argentina’s Guido Pella.

Seventh seed Denis Shapovalov bided his time before upsetting the rhythm of Spanish qualifier Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 7-6(3), 6-2. The #NextGenATP Canadian won five of the first six points in the tie-break as well as five of the first six games in the second set on his debut at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament. Overall, he lost two of his first service points (31/33) and struck 10 aces in the 83-minute victory and now plays Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.


Elsewhere, fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, a semi-finalist in each of the past three years, was equally impressive on serve in beating qualifier Luca Vanni of Italy 7-5, 6-2 in 81 minutes. He awaits 2004 champion Mikhail Youzhny, who won his 499th match of his 20-season pro career on Wednesday. The Russian wild card beat Mirza Basic of Bosnia and Herzegovina 7-6(6), 6-4. Youzhny will retire after this week’s tournament.

Read More: ‘Colonel’ Youzhny Set For Final Salute In St. Petersburg | Coaches’ Corner: Sobkin’s Systematic Approach & Life With Youzhny

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Nishikori Wins On Metz Debut, Through To QF

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2018

Top seed Kei Nishikori got his debut at the Moselle Open off to a winning start on Wednesday by knocking out defending champion Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 7-6(4), 6-3 in one hour and 34 minutes.

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In his first tournament since reaching the US Open semi-finals, Nishikori broke serve in the second and fourth games of the second set en route to his 29th match win of the season. Gojowczyk struck eight aces and won 79 per cent of his first-service points. Nishikori now plays fifth-seeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili or French wild card Ugo Humbert in the quarter-finals.


Last year’s finalist Benoit Paire overcame wild card Quentin Halys 7-6(4), 6-2 in 80 minutes for a place in the second round, and Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics got the better of sixth seed Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 in 85 minutes.

Two-time champion Gilles Simon (2010, 2013) needed only 73 minutes to beat Czech Jiri Vesely 7-5, 6-3. Simon hit nine aces and won 90 per cent of his first-serve points (35/39). He will next meet Serbian Filip Krajinovic, the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters finalist. Fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet, the fourth seed, saved six of seven break points and breezed past French qualifier Constant Lestienne 6-4, 6-2.

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Rafael Nadal withdraws from China Open & Shanghai Masters

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2018

World number one Rafael Nadal has pulled out of next month’s China Open and Shanghai Masters tournaments, to allow his knee injury to recover.

The injury forced the 32-year-old to retire from his US Open semi-final earlier this month.

He also missed Spain’s Davis Cup semi-final defeat by France at the weekend.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who has suffered from tendonitis in his knee in the past, could return for the Paris Masters at the end of October.

“While the annoyances on my knee are nothing new, we have decided together with my medical and technical team, not to participate in the Asian tour to recover the knee the way we have always done,” he tweeted.

The China Open, which starts on 1 October, and Shanghai Masters, starting on 7 October, form the main part of the Asian leg of the ATP Tour.

Nadal has reached four Grand Slam finals in the past two years – winning the US Open in 2017 and back-to-back French Open titles in 2017 and 2018.

He also reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open this year, as well as the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

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Naomi Osaka beats Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets at Pan Pacific Open

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2018

Japan’s Naomi Osaka has beaten Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-1 at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo – her first match since winning the US Open.

The 20-year-old beat Serena Williams to win her first Grand Slam earlier this month – a victory overshadowed by Williams’ outbursts at the umpire.

The third seed raced to victory in 59 minutes against Slovakia’s Cibulkova.

She will play either Barbara Strycova of the Czech Republic or Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in the quarter-finals.

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Umpire banned for Kyrgios pep-talk at US Open

  • Posted: Sep 19, 2018

Umpire Mohamed Lahyani has been suspended from his next two scheduled tournaments for encouraging Nick Kyrgios on court during the US Open.

Lahyani was heard telling Kyrgios “I want to help you” during a changeover as the Australian trailed Pierre-Hugues Herbert by a set and a break.

Kyrgios, 23, fought back to win the second-round tie in four sets.

The ATP has banned Lahyani, 52, from October’s China Open and Shanghai Masters after an internal review.

“Lahyani’s actions in the match were deemed to have compromised the impartiality that is required of an official,” the men’s governing body said in a statement.

The Swede will be free to return to work at the Stockholm Open on 15 October.

US Open organisers said Lahyani had gone “beyond protocol” but allowed him to continue officiating in the tournament.

However, Lahyani is one of seven full-time umpires on the Tour and so the incident was still subject to ATP disciplinary action.

ATP executive vice president of rules and competition Gayle David Bradshaw said Lahyani is a “world-class and highly-respected official”, but added “his actions during the match crossed a line that compromised his own impartiality as a chair umpire”.

“Although well-intended, his actions were regrettable and cannot go without disciplinary action on our own tour,” said Bradshaw.

“We know that he will learn from this experience and we look forward to welcoming him back in October.”

After the match, world number 27 Kyrgios said it was “ridiculous” to suggest Lahyani’s words had sparked his resurgence.

However, Frenchman Herbert said it was “the point something changed” and that the umpire’s actions were unnecessary.

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