Granollers/Zeballos Boost Turin Hopes With Astana Comeback Win
Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos held their nerve Thursday at the Astana Open, where they rallied to a 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 second-round triumph against Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies at the ATP 500 event in Kazakhstan.
The win is a potentially crucial moment in the Spanish-Argentine duo’s bid for a third consecutive appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals. The pair is currently fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, with 11th-placed Krawietz and Mies among their rivals seeking to secure one of the qualification spots for the season finale in Turin, to be held from 13-20 November.
The third seeds were second best in the early stages against Krawietz and Mies, with the German team opening a 5-1 lead in the first set before the return game of Granollers and Zeballos came to the fore. Although it was by then too late to salvage the opening set, the Spanish-Argentine pair converted four from seven break points from that point, wrapping a one-hour, 42-minute triumph having won 47 per cent (17/36) of points against their opponents’ first delivery.
It was a second consecutive Match Tie-break win for Granollers and Zeballos, who also went the distance against Diego Hidalgo and Cristian Rodriguez in the first round. Their opponents in the quarter-finals in Astana will be second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, who earlier eased past Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek 7-6(4), 6-3.
Also on Thursday, Adrian Mannarino and Fabrice Martin sprung an upset by taking out top seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus 6-3, 6-4. The unseeded French duo will meet Hubert Hurkacz and Jan Zielinski in the quarter-finals, after the Polish pair defeated Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-2, 11-9.
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Kyrgios & Kokkinakis Advance As Seeds Fall In Tokyo
At the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, top seeds Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis survived a day of upsets in the Tokyo doubles draw as they advanced to the semi-finals on Thursday evening.
The Aussies maintained their perfect set record on the week with a 7-5, 6-4 victory against the Spanish team of Pedro Martinez and Bernabe Zapata Miralles. In an eventful match, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis surrendered a break lead in both sets, but snapped back instantly on both occasions to restore their advantage.
The pair combined for 11 aces while saving two of four break points and converting on four of 11 break chances.
Next up for the duo is the team of Mackenzie McDonald and Marcelo Melo. The American-Brazilian pair knocked off fourth seeds Daniel Evans and John Peers 6-2, 6-7(5), 10-6.
In the draw’s bottom half, Belgian qualifiers Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen scored an upset of their own against second-seeded Aussies Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell. Both teams were two-for-three on break points in the contest, with the Belgians ultimately earning a 6-3, 5-7, 10-8 victory against the reigning Wimbledon champions.
Gille and Vliegen have won three consecutive matches via Match Tie-breaks in Tokyo, beginning in the final round of qualifying. They will meet third seeds third seeds Rafael Matos and David Vega Hernandez in the semi-finals after the Brazilian-Spanish team downed Americans Brandon Nakashima and Hunter Reese 6-3, 7-6(4).