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Roger Federer claims his 50th win in Dubai to reach quarter-finals

  • Posted: Feb 27, 2019

Roger Federer claimed his 50th win of the Dubai Tennis Championships by beating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in three sets to reach the quarter-finals.

Federer moves a step closer to his 100th ATP singles title with Wednesday’s 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner, 37, will face Hungarian world number 35 Marton Fucsovics for a place in the last four.

Meanwhile, there was a shock defeat for top seed Kei Nishikori against Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz.

Hurkacz converted six out of seven break points to beat his Japanese opponent 7-5 5-7 6-2.

If Federer claims a record eighth title in Dubai, he will claim a century of ATP victories, with only American Jimmy Connors ahead of him on 109.

Fucsovics set up his quarter-final against second seed Federer with a 6-4 6-2 win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

Frenchman Gael Monfils eased to a 6-3 6-2 win over Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, while Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut was beaten by Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3.

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Sharapova has 'small procedure' on injured shoulder

  • Posted: Feb 27, 2019

Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from March’s Miami Open after having a “small procedure” on her shoulder.

The five-time Grand Slam champion, 31, has struggled with an injury to her right shoulder since last summer.

She previously withdrew from January’s St. Petersburg Ladies’ Trophy and next month’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.

“I am incredibly committed to getting back strong,” said Sharapova in a “little update” on Instagram.

“More importantly, without the pain I was playing with at the beginning of this year.”

Sharapova – who has previously had shoulder surgery – beat defending champion Caroline Wozniacki to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open in January before losing to Ashleigh Barty.

She had been building up the strength in the muscles surrounding the shoulder and the shoulder blade since the US Open last August, where she exited in the last 16.

“For 10 weeks post US Open, I focused on getting my rotator cuff and scapula strong to support a surgically repaired fraying tendon and a small labrum tear,” she said.

“Although my shoulder got strong, it didn’t help the pain on impact.

“After a few different opinions in a few different countries, last week I had a small procedure done, which will take a few weeks to heal.”

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Federer Maintains Historic Bid, Battles Past Verdasco In Dubai

  • Posted: Feb 27, 2019

Federer Maintains Historic Bid, Battles Past Verdasco In Dubai

Swiss improves to 7-0 lifetime against Verdasco

Seven-time former champion Roger Federer recorded his 50th match win at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday night with a hard-fought 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Fernando Verdasco, the 2017 finalist, in one hour and 35 minutes.

“I’m happy I actually stayed calm throughout the game. I felt like I was having a good feeling out there. Even though I wasn’t playing my best, I still felt like it was going to fall my way when it really mattered. I think that confidence is kind of important in sports or in tennis. I’m happy I had it today… I played good at the end. I had the serve when I needed it, had some good shots, a good point on break point when I needed it. That was nice to win it that way.”

Federer, who was informed on court that it was his 50th victory, in Dubai admitted, “I was like, ‘Phew, 50, a lot of tennis here in Dubai. I’m very happy. It’s a big number. I’m not sure if I’m going to get to 100. Let’s put it that way (smiling).”

By moving to within three victories of capturing the 100th trophy of his career, Federer will next challenge Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, who was a 6-4, 6-2 victor over Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany earlier in the day. Federer beat Fucsovics in their only FedEx ATP Head2Head series meeting at the 2018 Australian Open.

“I know Marton quite well actually,” said Federer. “He came to Zurich to train with me. He was nice enough to come there. I don’t remember how long we spent, but a few days practising together there. We had a great time. Then, I played him at the Australian Open last year. [It was a] good match… He’s improved. He likes the fast surfaces. He likes to play up in the court. He has the power when required. I think it’s going to be definitely a match that’s going to test me tomorrow.”

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In their first meeting for four years (2015 Dubai), Federer mixed up his service placement and tactics to keep Verdasco on the back foot. Verdasco double faulted to gift Federer a 3-1 advantage and was tentative on serve at 2-5, when the Spaniard recovered from 0/30. Federer, who lost five of his service points in the 28-minute opener, closed out when Verdasco hit a backhand return into the net.

In a dramatic reversal, centred largely on Federer moving away from serving to Verdasco’s slice backhand, the momentum of the match shifted. Verdasco saved a break point in the first game of the second set and soon found himself with a 3-0 lead. Federer continued to serve and volley off his first delivery, but Verdasco held his nerve to win his first set against the second seed since November 2009 at the Nitto ATP Finals (Federer won 4-6, 7-5, 6-1).

Federer looked to stamp his authority on the third set, early on, but Verdasco’s serve had great fluency and his movement on the baseline had improved. Federer saved one break point at 1-1, 30/40, and then held to love in his next two service games. A net cord winner for Federer at 4-3, with Verdasco serving at 30/30 set up a break point, which resulted in a 26-stroke rally. He is now 50-6 overall in Dubai.

“These best-of-three set matches, you’re not always in control of everything because, like you saw at the end, a good five minutes from your opponent or a good five minutes from you can decide the outcome of the match,” said Federer. “You’re definitely living on the edge at some point in the match. This is how it is.”

The 37-year-old Federer is attempting to become the second man in the Open Era to capture 100 singles title (after Jimmy Connors, 109). The Swiss superstar, the champion at the Aviation Club in 2003-05, 2007, 2012, 2014-2015, improves to a 5-1 record in 2019.

Earlier in the day, Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili broke a two-match losing streak against defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 12 minutes. He awaits the winner of sixth-seed Croatian Borna Coric and 2013-14 finalist Tomas Berdych, who play later today.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas: Greek star to play Fever-Tree Queen's Championships

  • Posted: Feb 27, 2019

Stefanos Tsitsipas will make his debut at Queen’s Club this summer as part of his Wimbledon preparations.

The 20-year-old Greek, who knocked Roger Federer out of the Australian Open last month, will be joined by defending champion Marin Cilic.

The Fever-Tree Championships take place between 17-23 June.

“Stefanos was at the top of our list when it came to adding new names to the line-up in 2019,” tournament director Stephen Farrow said.

“Every year we try to put together a mix of established champions and rising young stars.

“He connects with fans wherever he goes and we can’t wait to see him on grass at The Queen’s Club.”

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BBC Sport will have live coverage from the west London club across television, radio and online.

British number one Kyle Edmund is also set to play, while the future of Andy Murray – who has a career-long commitment to the ATP 500 event – is in doubt after he had surgery on his hip last month.

Wimbledon starts at the All England Club a fortnight later on 1 July.

“So many great champions have lifted the trophy over more than a hundred years,” world number 11 Tsitsipas, who won his first ATP title of the year in Marseille last week, said.

“I am looking forward to having my own chance to compete on grass for the title in June.”

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Mexican Open: Johanna Konta, Cameron Norrie & Rafael Nadal win

  • Posted: Feb 27, 2019

Britain’s Cameron Norrie and Johanna Konta both won to reach the second round of the Mexican Open.

Norrie, 23, beat Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-2 2-6 6-2, while Konta, 27, overcame Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-2 in Acapulco.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal beat Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-3 6-2 in his first match since losing the Australian Open final in January.

Nadal has reached the Mexico Open final in his three previous appearances.

“I’m happy for the victory. It’s never easy against Mischa, especially without competing for a while,” said 32-year-old Nadal, who will next face Australian Nick Kyrgios.

“This tournament is hard and there’s a lot of great players, so these kinds of matches can happen in the early stages.

“Nick is one of the most talented players on tour. It’s a big challenge for me and I hope to be ready for it.”

Zverev’s brother Alexander, the second seed, lost only one point on serve in a dominant 6-3 6-3 win against Alexei Popyrin.

Third seed John Isner served 18 aces in a 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory over France’s Adrian Mannarino.

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Norrie, the British number two and world number 64, beat Nishioka in two hours and 18 minutes to set up a meeting with fourth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.

Eighth seed Konta, ranked 45 in the world, needed an hour and 11 minutes to see off Siegemund, her doubles partner, who is ranked 60 places below her.

Konta, who did not face a single break point, broke early in the opening set and twice in the second before sealing the win on her first match point.

In the third round, she will face Russian world number 167 Varvara Flink, who went through after Amanda Anisimova retired.

Australian Open semi-finalist and second seed Danielle Collins was beaten 6-1 6-2 by former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

In the opening round of the men’s doubles, top seeds Jamie Murray of Britain and Brazilian Bruno Soares suffered a 6-2 7-6 (7-4) defeat by Sweden’s Robert Lindstedt and American Frances Tiafoe.

Meanwhile, at the Dubai Duty Free, Britain’s Dom Inglot and Croatia’s Franko Skugor lost 6-2 6-2 to Japan’s Ben McLachlan and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany in the men’s doubles.

But Briton Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram, the fourth seeds, reached the quarter-finals with a 6-2 6-1 success over Russians Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev.

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Nadal Makes A Statement In Acapulco R1 Win

  • Posted: Feb 27, 2019

Nadal Makes A Statement In Acapulco R1 Win

A. Zverev, Isner, Schwartzman advance on Tuesday

Top seed Rafael Nadal has reached the championship match in all three previous appearances at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. If he continues to produce the level of tennis he did on Tuesday against Mischa Zverev of Germany, the Spaniard has a strong chance of reaching a fourth final in Acapulco.

Competing in his first match since finishing runner-up last month at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic), the Spaniard showed no sign of match rust in defeating Zverev 6-3, 6-3. He improves to 15-1 at this event and finished the night with 25 winners to just 14 unforced errors.

Nadal wasted no time getting down to business on Cancha Central and struck a gorgeous backhand lob winner to grab a 3-1 lead in the first set. He held the advantage for the rest of the set and carved a forehand drop volley winner on set point to take the early advantage.

Playing with the confidence of a man who comfortably won both of his previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Zverev, Nadal continued to apply pressure in his return games. The German eventually succumb to the relentless offense and began leaking errors from the baseline. Nadal won the last four games of the match and struck a backhand passing shot winner on match point to end the contest after 80 minutes.

Awaiting Nadal in the second round is a blockbuster match against Nick Kyrgios, who defeated Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 7-5. Although the Aussie arrived in Acapulco with a 3-3 record this season, he consistently brings his best in prime-time matches against the world’s top players. Nadal leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head 3-2, but they’re even at 1-1 on hard courts.

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The Zverev family went 1-1 on Tuesday as second seed Alexander Zverev encountered few problems in dismissing #NextGenATP Aussie Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-3. The German was untouchable on serve throughout the contest and only lost one point on his first serve (26/27). He was equally dominant in return games, winning 65 per cent of second-serve return points and accumulating nine break points throughout the night.

Third seed John Isner broke his Acapulco curse by scoring his first win in five tries at this event, holding off a determined Adrian Mannarino of France to prevail 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. The American fired 18 aces and broke Mannarino twice in the final set to advance after one hour and 45 minutes.

Isner will play fellow American and good friend Sam Querrey in the next round after Querrey comfortably dispatched Guillermo Garcia Lopez of Spain 6-3, 6-2. Querrey leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Isner 5-2.

Fourth seed Diego Schwartzman showed no sign of the right leg injury that forced him to retire in his first-round match last week at the Rio Open presented by Claro. The Argentine finished strongly after more than two hours of tennis to dispatch Marius Copil of Romania 6-3 4-6, 6-1. Next up for Schwartzman is Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, who survived a wild match featuring 12 service breaks in 24 games to defeat Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

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