Nadal, Wawrinka Advance At US Open

Spain’s Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Canada’s Vasek Pospisil during their men’s singles tennis match on day 3 of the 2018 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on August 29, 2018. EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ / AFP

 

World number one and defending champion Rafael Nadal steamed into the third round on another scorching day at the US Open on Wednesday with a straight-sets win over Vasek Pospisil.

Nadal, spared the worst of the heat thanks to his late-night start on Arthur Ashe Stadium, sped past Pospisil 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

His only hiccup came in the second set when he dropped his serve to fall 2-4 down.

“The conditions are tough,” Nadal said. “It was important to start very well with that break. To win in straight sets is always very positive, especially in these conditions. It’s almost midnight, very happy about the victory.”

Former champions Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin del Potro also advanced, while 2012 winner Andy Murray, like Wawrinka back at Flushing Meadows after missing last year through injury, was bounced by Fernando Verdasco.

Wawrinka survived searing mid-day heat and a spirited Ugo Humbert.

“I knew it would be a difficult match,” said Wawrinka, who was pleased to find himself feeling fit after prevailing 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in three hours and 21 minutes.

“My level is there. I’m playing really good tennis,” added Wawrinka, who was unable to defend his 2016 title after undergoing two knee surgeries last year.

“I think there is a good chance that I’m playing better in the next round,” said the Swiss, who will face Canadian Milos Raonic for a place in the last 16.

Meanwhile, Murray, the 2012 US Open winner, who was playing his first Grand Slam in 14 months, is still fighting to find full fitness after hip surgery in January.

He gave himself a mixed review after a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 loss to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco, whose only win over Murray in 14 prior meetings was at the 2009 Australian Open.

“I think some of the tennis I played today was some of the best I’ve played since I had the surgery or since I came back,” said Murray.

He was disappointed to surrender the first set after holding a set point but pleased he had enough in the tank to push Verdasco through five break points in the final game before the Spaniard converted his third match point.

Even with his current limitations, Murray is a dangerous opponent, Verdasco said.

“He’s an unbelievable player, so talented. No matter how much his hip hurts or whatever, he’s going to fight and he’s going to put all the balls he can in and run,” Verdasco said after earning a third-round meeting with 2009 champion del Potro.

The third-seeded Argentinian, who career was nearly ended by wrist injuries after his maiden Grand Slam triumph here, defeated American Denis Kudla 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).

Del Potro was delighted to get through in three sets, and not spend too long in the steamy sunshine.

Organizers again implemented an extreme heat policy that allowed both men and women a 10-minute heat break in matches extended beyond straight sets.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Greek 20-year-old who came in with high expectations after beating four top 10 players en route to the Toronto Masters final, said the heat took a mental as well as physical toll.

“You don’t have fresh air to breathe — you breathe this heat that’s coming, the moisture that’s in the air. So you feel like you are empty,” said the 15th-seed, who fell 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev, who won his second ATP title of the season at Winston-Salem last week, booked a third-round meeting with 20th-seeded Croatian Borna Coric, a 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-3 winner over Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

Fifth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, runner-up to Nadal last year and a runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, made quick work of France’s Jeremy Chardy, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

Anderson next faces rising Canadian star Denis Shapovalov, who labored to a 6-4, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 victory over Italian Andreas Seppi.

AFP

Wimbledon: Nadal Beats Del Potro To Set Up Semi-Final Clash With Djokovic

Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning against Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro during their men’s singles quarter-finals match on the ninth day of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 11, 2018. 
Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

World number one Rafael Nadal set-up a mouthwatering Wimbledon semi-final against old rival Novak Djokovic after battling back to beat Juan Martin del Potro in a Centre Court thriller on Wednesday.

Nadal triumphed 7-5, 6-7 (7/9), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 after four hours and 48 minutes to reach his sixth Wimbledon semi-final and 28th at the majors.

The two-time Wimbledon champion will face Djokovic, a three-time winner at the All England Club, for a place in Sunday’s final.

Djokovic leads their epic head-to-head rivalry 26-25.

More to follow…

Isner Stuns Del Potro To Reach Miami Open Final

 

John Isner of the United States plays a forehand against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in their semifinal match during the Miami Open Presented by Itau at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 30, 2018, in Key Biscayne, Florida. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP

 

John Isner produced a blistering Miami Open semi-final display against crowd favourite Juan Martin Del Potro to win 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) and snap the former US Open champion’s 15-match winning streak.

It was a phenomenal effort from the American who blasted down 13 aces and took just one hour and 23 minutes to floor Argentina’s Del Potro and book his place in Sunday’s final.

Isner will meet world number five Alexander Zverev in the final after the German rolled over Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in the other semi-final.

“I have played a lot of big matches and not been able to get such a good start but I am playing some of the best tennis I have played in such a long time,” Isner said.

“I started the tournament well and I have improved with every game. I am super fresh and ready to go for the final.”

Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina runs to play a forehand against John Isner of the United States in their semifinal match during the Miami Open.  Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP

 

An exhausted Del Potro said he is looking forward to some much-needed time away from tennis before deciding on when to play next.

Winning the final would have seen him climb to world number three but simply staying fit for the French Open in May is the ultimate goal.

French Open target

“I don’t want to think about tennis right now,” said the Argentine.

“I just want to stay healthy and maybe I will miss a few tournaments to get ready for the French Open. We will come up with a schedule for the clay court season.

“I will go home now, eat some barbeque, spend time with friends and not talk about tennis for the next few weeks.”

Isner, who won an impressive 83 percent of points on his second serve, was aiming to reach his fifth ATP Masters final and, finally, emerge victorious from one after four defeats.

John Isner of the United States reacts after match point against Juan Martin del Potro. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

 

The American had never reached the showpiece here but knew that with the fit again Del Potro in such devastating form and unbeaten in his last 15 matches, it would take a monumental effort to upset the Argentine and his hordes of followers at Crandon Park.

The American wasted no time in breaking Del Potro and racing into a 3-0 lead while sending down five aces on his own serve to brilliantly wrap up the first set in just 27 minutes.

The second set was a tight affair, going into the ninth game with the match delicately poised at 4-4.

Isner suddenly had a chance to break which was saved by Del Potro after the world number 17 hit the net, a mistake which was punished by an ace and drop shot from the crowd favourite.

Deafening chants of ‘Delpo, Delpo’ rang around the main stadium here as the 29-year-old tried to force a deciding set yet Isner’s serve held firm to force a tie-break.

The momentum was with the American, his serve reaching 136 mph as he flew into a 3-0 lead.

Isner’s serve was relentless and on target every single time making it impossible for Del Potro to get a foothold in the game, and when an excellent passing shot gave Isner four match points, he took the first with a brilliant drop volley to complete one of the finest wins of his career.

“When he plays like that, he’s one of the toughest guys on tour to beat,” Del Potro said.

Fourth seeded Zverev needed 88 minutes to oust Carreno Busta and punch his ticket to the final.

The 20-year-old Zverev will be seeking his seventh career ATP title and first of the season when he faces Isner.

Zverev blasted 10 aces and won 88 percent of his first serve points in his first career meeting with the 26-year-old Carreno Busta.

“Every day I want to serve big,” said Zverev, who improved to 13-4 on the season. “I was very fortunate to win the first set and then I found my game in the second set.”

AFP

Del Potro Advances At Miami With Gritty Win Over Raonic

Del Potro Advances At Miami With Gritty Win Over Raonic
Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina returns a shot against Milos Raonic of Canada during their quarterfinal match on Day 10 of the Miami Open Presented by Itau at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 28, 2018, in Key Biscayne, Florida. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

 

Juan Martin del Potro raised the roof as he came from behind to beat Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/3) and power into a Miami Open semi-final clash with American John Isner.

Roared on by a partisan crowd, del Potro rallied after losing the first set to finally wear down the Canadian in two hours and 53 minutes of relentless drama.

There was little difference between these two big hitters, but it was the Argentine who held his nerve when it counted to book a last-four encounter with Isner on Friday.

“I love to play in matches like this,” a visibly weary del Potro said after his 15th straight match win.

“We both played well, the difference was perhaps that I just played better in the tie-breaks.

“I am tired now, but at least I have a day off to prepare for Friday. It’s going to be important that I recover physically and mentally because that was a real battle.”

Del Potro came into the match owning the hottest streak on the ATP tour with 20 match wins this year.

The Argentine’s return to form has delighted his fans in Miami, where they packed the main stadium once again to cheer their hero ever closer to winning the “Sunshine Double” of Indian Wells and Miami on the heels of his triumph in Acapulco.

Raonic, the big-serving Canadian, had other ideas.

The pair met in the Californian desert just three weeks ago with 2009 US Open champion del Potro winning 6-2, 6-3, but 25th-ranked Raonic was on his game from the off.

The first set went with serve until del Potro double-faulted on set point to silence the crowd.

Their fears worsened as sixth-ranked del Potro called for the trainer, although after a lengthy discussion with officials no treatment was given and the second set began.

It was similarly neck and neck with both players hitting powerfully from the baseline.

Del Potro badly needed to break a player who arrived at this last eight encounter having held in all 28 service games as well as saving five break points in his three straight-sets triumphs.

Attempting to stay alive in the match, del Potro almost suffered a freak injury when racing to reach a Raonic passing shot, he leaped over a hoarding and into the photographer’s pit at the side of the court.

He needed time to recuperate but emerged unscathed and was able to send the second set into a tie-break.

Del Potro raced to a 5-0 lead and sent his fans wild by sending the match into a decider.

The first four games all went against serve as Raonic was broken for the first time in the tournament.

Del Potro finally held for 3-2 and Raonic was left to serve at 5-6 to keep his hopes alive and so it went into a final tie-break.

– Isner dominates Chung –

Del Potro carved out a 5-2 lead, a position of strength from which he was finally able to see the match out.

Isner will, however, be a difficult nut to crack with the American recovering from an early-season slump to play some of the best tennis of his career.

His destruction of South Korean Chung Hyeon 6-1, 6-4 was impressive considering the 14th seed arrived in South Florida having won just two matches all year.

The big-serving 32-year-old American fired 13 aces to dispatch 19th-seeded Chung in only 68 minutes.

“I played extremely well and every match I have gotten better and stronger,” Isner said.

“The conditions were perfect for me. The way the ball bounces, the court isn’t too fast, so it’s great for me. I have played well here before but I am delighted to get this far.”

AFP