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Kei Keeps London Dreams Alive, Avenges Anderson Defeat

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2018

Kei Keeps London Dreams Alive, Avenges Anderson Defeat

Nishikori faces Federer in Friday’s quarter-finals

Just four days ago, Kevin Anderson beat Kei Nishikori to lift his first ATP World Tour 500-level trophy at the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna, Austria. But on Thursday at the Rolex Paris Masters, Nishikori got his revenge.

The Japanese star defeated Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals at the final ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, maintaining his hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals. If Nishikori did not win in the final match of the day, both Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem would have taken the two remaining spots at the season finale, guaranteeing their spots in London at The O2 from 11-18 November.

“I had to fix some things to avenge [my loss against] Kevin,” Nishikori said. “I lost a few days ago, so I had to change something, and I think I did well. Maybe he didn’t play his best today, but I think I played good tennis.”

Nishikori, currently ninth in the ATP Race To London, is 325 points behind No. 8 Dominic Thiem and 660 points behind No. 7 Marin Cilic. Both of those players are still alive in Bercy, with Thiem facing defending champion Jack Sock on Friday and Cilic confronting red-hot second seed Novak Djokovic.

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Nishikori has now advanced to at least the quarter-finals at six consecutive tour-level events, beginning with his trip to the last four at the US Open. The 28-year-old has won 19 of his past 24 matches, and he is seeking his first ATP World Tour title since 2016 Memphis.

It won’t get any easier for Nishikori, though, as the No. 10 seed next faces 2011 champion Roger Federer, who beat Fabio Fognini earlier in the evening. Federer has won five FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings in a row against Nishikori, and he leads their series 6-2.

The pair just met three weeks ago at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, where Federer broke three times en route to a straight-sets victory. Nishikori will take confidence into Friday’s quarter-finals, though, having moved past seventh-seeded Anderson without facing break point to advance in 80 minutes.

“I have to figure out a little bit how to play Roger again, but I think I’ve been playing well the past couple weeks,” Nishikori said. “Hopefully I can bring that again tomorrow.”

Did You Know?
Nishikori did not break Anderson’s serve in the Vienna final. The Japanese star broke the South African in Anderson’s first service game of the match on Thursday.

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Zverev Reaches Seventh Masters 1000 Quarter-final In 2018

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2018

Zverev Reaches Seventh Masters 1000 Quarter-final In 2018

Khachanov ends Isner London bid

Alexander Zverev continued his strong form at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events this season, beating Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2 at the Rolex Paris Masters on Thursday.

A winner of three ATP World Tour trophies this season, Zverev has now reached the quarter-finals or better at seven of the nine Masters 1000 events in 2018. The 21-year-old German won 84 per cent of first-serve points (32/38) and saved all four break points he faced to move into the quarter-finals after 81 minutes. With a 54-17 tour-level record this year, Zverev is now just one match win away from equalling his personal best total of 55 victories achieved in 2017.

Schwartzman ends his season with a 33-25 record. Without dropping a set, the 26-year-old Argentine captured his first ATP World Tour 500 title in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year.

Zverev will meet Russia’s Karen Khachanov for a place in the semi-finals. Zverev leads Khachanov 2-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, which includes a five-set win at Roland Garros this year.

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Karen Khachanov ended John Isner’s bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in dramatic fashion, saving two match points to beat the 33-year-old American 6-4, 6-7(9), 7-6(8). The World No. 18, who held three match points in the second-set tie-break, regrouped well in the decider, dropping just five service points (32/37) to advance after two hours and 28 minutes.

Khachanov now moves into his seventh tour-level quarter-final of the season and second at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level. Earlier this season, the 22-year-old reached the Rogers Cup semi-finals, falling in straight sets to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

Isner was aiming to advance to the quarter-finals in Paris for the fourth straight year and maintain his hopes of making his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals in London. The 2016 runner-up ends his season with a 34-19 tour-level record. Isner lifted two tour-level crowns this season, winning the biggest title of his career at the Miami Open presented by Itaú and his fifth BB&T Atlanta Open trophy.

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Paris Masters: Novak Djokovic to meet Marin Cilic in quarter-finals

  • Posted: Nov 01, 2018

Second seed Novak Djokovic reached the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters after Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur retired with a back injury.

The Serb, 31, who will take the world number one ranking from Rafael Nadal on Monday, was leading 6-1 2-1 when Dzumhur ended the match.

The Wimbledon and US Open champion did not face a break point in the match and won 72% of first-serve points.

He will now face Marin Cilic after the Croat beat Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.

Cilic hit 29 winners as he claimed a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory over ninth seed Dimitrov.

Dimitrov, who won the ATP Finals last year, will finish the season 19th in the rankings in 2018, while Cilic requires one more victory to qualify for this year’s event in London.

Djokovic is on a 20-match winning run but was beaten by Cilic in this year’s Queen’s final.

Swiss third seed Roger Federer plays Italy’s Fabio Fognini later on Thursday.

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