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Djokovic Survives Fucsovics Scare In Doha

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2019

Djokovic Survives Fucsovics Scare In Doha

Serbian to meet Rublev or Basilashvili in quarter-finals

Novak Djokovic remained on course for a third Qatar ExxonMobil Open title after rallying from a set down to beat Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday.

The two-time champion, who improves to 14-1 in Doha, was tested throughout the opening two sets, but managed to win 67 per cent of second-serve return points in the final set (14/21) to book his place in the quarter-finals. Djokovic’s only loss in Doha came on his debut in 2015, falling in three sets to Ivo Karlovic in the quarter-finals.

In 2016, Djokovic did not drop a set en route to his maiden crown in Qatar, beating Tomas Berdych and Rafael Nadal in back-to-back matches to clinch the title. The following year, Djokovic retained the trophy with hard fought three-set wins over Fernando Verdasco and Andy Murray.

Djokovic will meet 2018 runner-up Andrey Rublev or fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili for a place in the semi-finals. The World No. 1 owns a 1-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Basilashvili and has never met Rublev at tour-level.

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In a tense opening set, Fucsovics started with confidence before making the decisive move at 4-4. The Geneva champion pushed Djokovic to the limit in extended rallies, with the World No. 1 needing all his defensive skill and variety to keep pace. But, after saving two break points, Djokovic was unable to contain his opponent much longer. Fucsovics eventually broke serve on his third break point of the game with a driven backhand up the line before holding his nerve to serve out the set to love.

Fucsovics maintained his level in the second set, trading blows with Djokovic in baseline rallies and finding success on his forehand side. But Djokovic managed to raise his level when it mattered most. The 72-time tour-level titlist found his range on his forehand side, earning two set points with a sharp-angled forehand winner before clinching the set in dramatic fashion as Fucsovics made an ill-judged Hawk Eye challenge on a Djokovic forehand which clipped the baseline.

Djokovic rode the momentum into the third set, holding serve comfortably to 15 before capitalising on back-to-back forehand errors from his opponent to break for a 2-0 lead. A second break soon followed after a confident love service hold and, despite surrendering one of his service breaks, Djokovic immediately regained his double-break advantage before closing out the match. The Serbian converted his first match point with a backhand winner up the line.

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Anderson Passes Djere Test In Pune

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2019

Anderson Passes Djere Test In Pune

Chung beaten in straight sets

Kevin Anderson returned to the Tata Open Maharashtra quarter-finals on Wednesday, overcoming the challenge of Laslo Djere 7-6(3), 7-6(6).

The top seed, who reached the championship match on his Pune debut last year (l. to Simon), saved one set point at 5-6 (30/40) in the second set before closing out the match on his second match point. Anderson fired 20 aces en route to victory after two hours and eight minutes.

Anderson will face Jaume Munar in the quarter-finals. The seventh seed raced into the last eight after a tough opening set, beating Simone Bolelli 7-5, 6-0.

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Ernests Gulbis booked his place in the quarter-finals after beating second seed Hyeon Chung 7-6(2), 6-2 in one hour and 38 minutes. The 2018 Intrum Stockholm Open runner-up landed eight aces and converted five of eight break points to overcome Chung, who was contesting his first match of the 2019 ATP Tour season.

Gulbis will meet Ivo Karlovic for a spot in the semi-finals. The 39-year-old Croatian won 86 per cent of service points to overpower Evgeny Donskoy 6-4, 7-5.

Fifth seed Benoit Paire moved one win away from his fourth straight Tata Open Maharashtra semi-final with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Jiri Vesely. The 29-year-old Frenchman dropped just two points behind his first serve (20/22) throughout the 71-minute contest. Paire will meet defending champion Gilles Simon in the quarter-finals.

Simon, who lifted the trophy on his tournament debut last year, recovered from a set down to beat Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-1. The Frenchman saved all six break points he faced to improve to 6-0 in Pune.

Malek Jaziri defeated Indian wild card Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals. The fourth seed recovered from a set down and a 0/3 deficit in the second-set tie-break to advance after two hours and 46 minutes. Jaziri will meet Steve Darcis in the last eight. Darcis also came from behind, beating Michael Mmoh 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2.

Bambridge/O’Mara Reach Semi-finals
Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara captured a tight opening set before racing to a 7-6(5), 6-1 win over N. Sriram Balaji and Arjun Kadhe. The British duo needed just 68 minutes to reach the semi-finals, winning 67 per cent of service points (43/64) en route to victory.

Bambridge and O’Mara, who captured titles in Eastbourne and Stockholm in 2018, will meet Gerard Granollers and Marcel Granollers for a place in the championship match. The Spanish pairing beat Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay 6-4, 6-7(3), 10-6 in 87 minutes.

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Wawrinka On A Roll In Doha

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2019

Wawrinka On A Roll In Doha

Bautista Agut too strong for Garcia-Lopez

After a solid off-season, Stan Wawrinka is growing in confidence and beginning 2019 in a positive frame of mind. Twenty-four hours on from beating Karen Khachanov at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, the 33-year-old got the better of Nicolas Jarry of Chile 6-4, 7-6(3) over 89 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals.

Wawrinka, the 2008 Doha finalist who went 17-17 last year, broke Jarry in the fifth game of the first set and took early control of the second set tie-break. He sets up a clash against seventh-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who cruised past fellow Spaniard and qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 6-4 in 70 minutes.

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Tomas Berdych recorded his 11th win in 15 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Fernando Verdasco, rallying from a set down to beat the eighth seed 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. The 33-year-old Czech, who reached the championship match in 2015 (l. to Ferrer), improves to 12-5 in Doha.

Berdych will meet Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the quarter-finals. The Frenchman edged past Maximilian Marterer 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(6) in two hours and 29 minutes.

Elsewhere, Argentina’s Guido Pella withdrew ahead of his second round clash against fourth seed Marco Cecchinato of Italy due to lower back pain. Pella now faces Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, who edged past Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis 7-6(4), 0-6, 7-5 in two hours and 11 minutes.

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Djokovic Brothers Book Semi-final Spot
Marko Djokovic and Novak Djokovic continued their run in Doha, beating Damir Dzumhur and Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 3-6, 10-7 to reach the semi-finals.

The Serbian brothers advanced after 89 minutes, saving eight of 11 break points en route to victory. Novak Djokovic also eliminated Dzumhur from singles action on Tuesday, dropping just three games to triumph 6-1, 6-2.

Standing between the wild cards and the championship match will be David Goffin and Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Goffin and Herbert beat third seeds Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya 6-2, 3-6, 10-3.

Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop needed only 58 minutes to reach the last four, defeating Maximo Gonzalez and Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 6-4. The Dutch will meet Santiago Gonzalez and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi for a place in the final.

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Nadal withdraws from Brisbane but hopes to be fit for Australian Open

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2019

Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Brisbane International with a left thigh strain but hopes to be fit for the Australian Open this month.

The world number two said he had wanted to play but that after an MRI scan his doctors had advised him not to.

“They say if I play here, there is a risk… to not have the chance to play Melbourne,” he said in a statement.

The Spaniard, 32, missed November’s ATP Finals to have ankle surgery, having also had an abdominal muscle problem.

Japan’s Taro Daniel will replace Nadal in round two in Brisbane against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Nadal withdrew from an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week after losing his opening match to Kevin Anderson.

“I felt a little bit the leg, the tightening in Abu Dhabi,” the 17-time Grand Slam singles champion said.

“I have to be ready to understand that this kind of stuff happens when you’re coming back from injuries. I have to accept and keep going.”

The Australian Open in Melbourne runs from 14-27 January.

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Johanna Konta beaten by Ajla Tomljanovic in Brisbane

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2019

Johanna Konta’s Brisbane International campaign ended in round two after defeat by Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.

The world number 37, who beat former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first round, lost 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

Tomljanovic lost to Konta at last year’s event but this time led 4-0 in the second set before the British number one fought back.

Konta broke to lead 6-5 but her opponent broke straight back to force the tie-break, which she swept through.

Earlier, British number four Harriet Dart lost 6-2 6-0 to Latvian world number 11 Anastasija Sevastova.

Meanwhile, at the Shenzhen Open in China, Maria Sharapova consoled her Chinese opponent Wang Xinyu after she was forced to retire during their match.

Wang, the youngest player in the tournament at 17 years old, led 6-7 (4-7) 5-2 when she was forced to pull out and she sat on her chair receiving medical attention with a bandage on her left thigh.

Five-time Grand Slam winner and fifth seed Sharapova went over to comfort the wildcard, chatting at length and saying “you played unbelievable”.

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Edmund stunned by qualifier in Brisbane

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2019

British number one Kyle Edmund suffered a shock defeat by Japan’s world number 185 Yasutaka Uchiyama in the second round of the Brisbane International.

Edmund, the world number 14 and third seed, lost 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 to the qualifier.

The Briton, who had a bye in the first round, failed to convert two set points in the opening set.

He was broken to love in the third game of the second set and Uchiyama went on to wrap it up quickly.

Britain’s former world number one Andy Murray, playing in his first tournament since September, will be in action later on Wednesday when he faces Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev.

In the women’s event, British number four Harriet Dart lost 6-2 6-0 to Latvian world number 11 Anastasija Sevastova.

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