Federer, Serena Breeze Into US Open Last 16 But Nishikori Out

Roger Federer and Serena Williams        Photos: AFP

 

Roger Federer and Serena Williams, the all-time leaders in Grand Slam titles, cruised into the fourth round of the US Open on Friday while 2014 US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori was ousted by Australian Alex de Minaur.

Federer routed Britain’s 58th-ranked Dan Evans 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in only 80 minutes, blasting 48 winners to just seven for Evans, whose effort was hampered by an 18-hour turnaround between matches.

“I really enjoyed myself,” Federer said. “I was able to adjust and take care of business so it was good.”

Evans blasted organizers for playing him first on limited rest after a rain-delayed match on Thursday while his 38-year-old Swiss rival, a 20-time Slam champion, rested after playing Wednesday under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I was fatigued,” Evans said. “I thought it was pretty tough I was first up after playing yesterday, if I’m being brutally honest, so it was a bit disappointing.

“Just to try and beat him feeling tired, stiff, playing four sets yesterday, it’s near on impossible, but I actually thought he played pretty much no-error tennis.”

Williams continued her quest for a 24th career Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record by crushing 44th-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-2 in 74 minutes.

“I had a lot of intensity today, which is really good for me,” Williams said.

The 37-year-old American, six times a US Open champion, has been a runner-up in three of the past five Slams, falling to Naomi Osaka in last year’s US Open final. She last won a Slam crown at the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant and hasn’t won the US Open title since 2014.

“I actually prefer playing in the day because I get to go home and actually see my baby,” Williams said.

Japanese seventh seed Nishikori was dispatched by the 20-year-old Aussie 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. De Minaur, on his deepest Grand Slam run, will next face Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov or Polish lucky loser Kamil Majchrzak.

“This is where I feel like my game’s at. I want to be pushing second weeks of Grand Slams and putting myself out there. So very happy,” De Minaur said. “Hopefully I can just keep it rolling.”

It was the first victory over a top-10 foe in 12 tries for De Minaur, who squandered a two-set lead over 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic in last year’s Open third round.

“I had a little bit of a thriller last year versus Cilic and was two sets to love up,” De Minaur said. “I was glad I could finally get the win.”

Barty, Pliskova advance

Reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, the Aussie second seed, and Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova, chasing her first Grand Slam title, also reached the last 16.

Pliskova, the 2016 US Open runner-up, outlasted Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 while Barty dispatched Greek 30th seed Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3.

“Physically it was quite a tough battle,” Pliskova said. “It was important to win so it doesn’t matter how I feel. So pleased to be through.”

Barty and Pliskova are battling top-ranked defending champion Osaka to be world number one at the end of the Flushing Meadows fortnight.

Barty has the inside track because Osaka has so many points to defend. The Japanese 21-year-old must win the title to have any chance at staying on top while Pliskova must reach at least the semi-finals.

Top-ranked defending champion Novak Djokovic, who has won four of the past five Slam titles and 16 overall, was set to play a night match against 111th-ranked American Denis Kudla, who has never beaten a top-10 rival in 10 tries.

The 32-year-old Serbian, a three-time US Open winner, has been no worse than a US Open semi-finalist since a third-round exit in 2006.

AFP

Japan Hails Nishikori, Osaka’s Historic Run To US Open Semis

Japan Hails Nishikori, Osaka's Historic Run To US Open Semis
Kei Nishikori of Japan celebrates his victory over Marin Cilic of Croatia during their US Open tennis men’s singles quarterfinals match on September 5, 2018, in New York. Kena Betancur / AFP

 

Japanese media and fans on Thursday rained down the superlatives on tennis stars Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka who made history by both reaching the US Open semi-finals.

“There is no stopping the Japanese players,” screamed the Nikkan Gendai tabloid, after the pair became the first from the country to secure semi-final berths in both singles competitions during a Grand Slam.

Particular praise was heaped on 20-year-old Osaka, who became the first Japanese woman to get into the top four at the US Open.

The last Japanese woman to achieve a Grand Slam semi-final was Kimiko Date at Wimbledon in 1996 — a year before Osaka was born.

“Osaka was in full throttle from the start,” Nikkan Sports said in its digital edition, reviewing her 6-1, 6-1 quarter-final victory over Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.

“She showed her strength and accuracy, as well as a cool intellect to predict how her opponent would move.”

“She has taken a step into uncharted territory for Japanese women in New York,” the paper added.

Osaka’s feat was credited with lifting the share price of her racquet producer Yonex, which soared more than 10 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange while the headline Nikkei index sank.

Meanwhile, Nishikori’s victory over Marin Cilic was seen as sweet revenge for the 2014 US Open final, which ended in victory for the giant Croat.

Former world number-four Nishikori, 29, pulled off a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4 victory this time.

“Nishikori gets his revenge on Cilic,” said a Sports Nippon headline.

Nishikori next faces Novak Djokovic, while Osaka will play Madison Keys from the US.

Excited fans cheered on the Japanese players and allowed themselves to dream about silverware.

“Great! I want to see her go against Serena in the final,” said one Twitter user.

“Awesome! Nishikori-san and Naomi Osaka get into the semi-finals. Next match is vs Djokovic. Please win,” wrote another.

AFP

Djokovic To Face Nishikori In US Open Semis

Djokovic To Face Nishikori In US Open Semis
Novak Djokovic of Serbia gestures at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 17, 2018 in Mason, Ohio. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

Two-time champion Novak Djokovic ended, John Millman’s fairytale US Open run on Wednesday, beating the 55th-ranked Australian in straight sets to book a semi-final clash with Kei Nishikori.

The Serbian star, who ended a 54-week title drought with his 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, defeated the tenacious Aussie 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to reach his 11th US Open semi-final in his last 11 appearances.

He lifted the trophy in 2011 and 2015.

Nishikori, the 21st seed, advanced with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Marin Cilic — the man who beat him in the 2014 final.

Millman, who stunned five-time champion Roger Federer in the fourth round, kept Djokovic running — and was kept running himself — for 2 hours 49 minutes on another hot, humid night on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“You survive on the court then thrive with a win,” said Djokovic, who converted just four of his 20 break points and made 53 unforced errors before he was finally able to accomplish what Federer couldn’t in seeing off Millman.

“Very tested,” said Djokovic, who admitted that like many he was surprised to find himself facing Millman, not Federer, across the net.

“But Millman is the kind of a player that makes you miss the balls, makes you win the point, earn the point.

“He doesn’t miss a lot himself, so he just runs left, right, gets a lot of balls. Tactically, you’ve got to find the right balance between being patient but constructive in the point, but at the same time, be aggressive and take the chance when you have a shorter ball. It’s easier said than done.”

It was clear that it could be a long night when the players battled for more than 15 minutes in the sixth game of the opening set, Millman saving four break points.

The Aussie saved another four in the opening game of the second set and as the duel continued both players were clearly feeling the effects of long, entertaining rallies.

Millman, his clothes soaked, made the unorthodox request to go change after the fourth game of the second set — Djokovic agreeing.

“He was apologizing he felt very sorry that he has to leave the court and change. I said, ‘Man, go ahead.’

“I needed that rest,” said Djokovic, who finally gained the decisive break in the penultimate game of the final set then served it out at love.

“I gave it a crack,” said the 29-year-old Millman, who has battled a litany of injuries in his career.

“I definitely left it all out there today and pulled up a bit short. Novak’s a champion. He’s played a lot of Grand Slams and he knows how to win them.”

Japan’s Nishikori, who missed last year’s US Open after a season-ending wrist injury, joined compatriot Naomi Osaka in reaching the semis — the first time that a Japanese man and woman have reached the last four in the same Grand Slam.

– Nishikori goes the distance –

Nishikori stunned then-world number one Djokovic in the semi-finals in 2014 to become the first man from an Asian country to reach the championship match of a major.

But he hasn’t returned to a Grand Slam final since, falling in the US Open semis in 2016.

Against Cilic he labored for 4 hours and 8 minutes.

“I don’t know why but it’s always a battle with Marin,” said Nishikori, who stretched his career record over the seventh-seeded Croatian to 9-6.

Nishikori appeared to be in control of the fifth set with a break for a 3-1 lead.

He had two game points for a 5-2 lead but a double fault and a backhand wide opened the door for Cilic, who stormed through, shouting “Got it!” when he secured the break to narrow the gap to 4-3.

But Nishikori broke Cilic in the final game, capturing the match with a blistering service return.

“I try to fight every point,” said Nishikori, who boasts an impressive record in decisive sets.

“Especially in the end I really focus on every point,” he said but added: “I wish I don’t go to five sets every time.”

AFP

Nishikori Retires From First Match At Barcelona Open

Japan’s Kei Nishikori plays a backhand return to Croatia’s Marin Cilic during their singles tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 20, 2018.
YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

 

Kei Nishikori retired during his opening match against Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday. 

Nishikori, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo Masters final on Sunday, pulled out after conceding the first set to Garcia-Lopez 6-3.

Fatigue and pain in his troublesome right wrist appeared to prompt the withdrawal from Japan´s world number 22, who will now look to regain fitness ahead of the French Open next month.

“My expectations grew in Monte Carlo, despite losing to Nadal,” Nishikori told reporters after the match.

“However, I started feeling discomfort again during the first set and I did not want to take any risks.”

It completes a double setback for Asian players as Hyeon Chung, the South Korean who was a surprise semi-finalist at this year’s Australian Open, withdrew before play in Barcelona even began.

AFP

Nishikori Retires Injured At Halle As Wimbledon Looms

Kei Nishikori

World number nine, Kei Nishikori’s Wimbledon preparations suffered a setback on Thursday when he was forced to retire injured from his Halle Open round of 16 match against Russian Karen Khachanov.

The third seed needed to take a medical time-out to treat a hip injury before playing on for a few points and retiring with the score at 3-2 in the first set for the Russian.

Japan’s Nishikori later said the problem came on suddenly but he was hopeful of being fit again in time for Wimbledon which starts on July 3.

Khachanov will now play Andrey Rublev, who defeated fellow Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.

Djokovic In Madrid Semis As Nishikori Withdraws

Djokovic, Kerber Top Seeds At Australian OpenNovak Djokovic moved into the semi-finals of the Madrid Open on Friday without hitting a ball as Kei Nishikori withdrew, citing the recurrence of a wrist injury.

Nishikori has been struggling with a wrist problem in recent weeks which had caused him to withdraw from the Barcelona Open.

For the first time this year, Djokovic will be contesting in the semi-final of masters 1,000 after an indifferent start to the season.

Nishikori is now also a major doubt for the Rome Masters next week with 10 days to go until the start of the French Open.

Djokovic will either renew his rivalry with Rafael Nadal or face Belgium’s David Goffin in the last four on Saturday.

Rafael Nadal Wants More Trophies After Monte Carlo

Rafael NadalAfter ending his four-year wait for a ninth Monte Carlo Masters, Rafael Nadal looks set to equal Guillermo Villa’s record of 49 clay titles with the Barcelona Open this week.

Nadal, who has taken eight titles in Barcelona, more than any other player in the history of the tournament is keen to keep the winning momentum.

One of the favourites for the tournament alongside the Spaniard is Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

The world number six is two-time reigning champion of the open and Nadal is wary of the challenge he faces.

The former world number one, overcame a spirited Gael Monfils to 7-5 5-7 6-0 to win a ninth Monte Carlo Masters title.

Rafael Nadal had described his victory at the Monte Carlo Masters as unbelievable after claiming his 28th masters title.

His 28th masters 1000 crown draws him level with Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time list.

Nadal now heads to his home country for the Barcelona Open as the top seed.

Djokovic Proceeds To Miami Open Semi-Final

Miami Open- Novak DjokovicWorld’s number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic, has progressed to the semi-finals of the Miami Open in Florida after defeating Tomas Berdych.

Djokovic rolled into the semi-final phase of the competition with a 6-3 6-3 romp over Berdych as he continued his pursuit of a fifth title in six years on key Biscayne.

Berdych was coming off a marathon win against Richard Gasquet on Tuesday and did not have enough left to challenge Djokovic.

He won just six of his 23 second service points and was broken four times.

Djokovic has now recorded 26 victories with just one defeat this year.

He had beaten powerful Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-4 to advance to the quarter-finals at the Miami Open.

Miami Open: Djokovic, Nishikori Advance To Quarter-Final

novak-djokovic-Miami Open- NishikoriTop-seeded world number one, Novak Djokovic has beaten powerful Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-4 to advance to the quarter-final at the Miami Open in Florida.

Djokovic needed four match points before finally prevailing against the world number 14.

Next up for the Serb is a quarter-final against Czech’s Tomas Berdych, who beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4 3-6 7-5 in an endurance.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori also advanced to the last eight following a 6-2 6-4 defeat of Spain’s Robert Bautista.

Sixth seed Nishikori used his strong backhand to punish Bautista for any tactical errors.

He took just under an hour and a half to beat the Spaniard and would face Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Davis Cup: Czech Republic, Great Britain Advance

Davis CupThe Czech Republic has beaten Germany to qualify for the Davis Cup quarter-finals despite a retirement in the fourth round by Tomas Berdych.

Lukas Rosol sealed the match-up with a straight sets victory against Alexander Zverev.

Berdych was trailing by two sets against Philipp Kohlschreiber before he retired.

The retirement levelled the match-up at 2-2 and left a final decisive round between Rosol and Zverev.

Rosol, beat 58th ranked Zverev 6-2 6-3 6-1.

Great Britain also advanced to the quarter-finals of the competition after Andy Murray overcame Japan’s Kei Nishikori in a five-set marathon in Birmingham.

The hosts and reigning champions led 2-1 heading into the fourth rubber but the British no 1 got the job done with a match to spare.

Murray wrapped up a 7-5 7-6 3-6 4-6 6-3 result against Japan’s top representative, Nishikori.

Argentina also clinched a quarter-final spot in the Davis Cup after Leonardo Mayer beat Poland’s Michal Przysiezny to give them an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Mayer lost the first set in a tie-breaker before winning the second, which also went to a tie-break.

The world number 41 then took the next two sets more comfortably winning 6-7 7-6 6-2 6-3.

The South Americans will now face Italy in the next round.

Serbia beat Kazakhstan 3-2 in their Davis Cup first-round tie in Belgrade to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with holders Britain in July.

World number one Novak Djokovic overcame fatigue to beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7 7-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 in an absorbing five-hour contest before Viktor Troicki completed Serbia’s comeback with a 6-2 6-3 6-4 win over Aleksandr Nedovyesov.

Troicki, who was beaten by Kukushin, made light work of Nedovyesov in a straight-sets win.

The world number 23 was mobbed by the Serbian team after Nedovyesov sent a long forehand behind the baseline.

Andy Murray Through To Australian Open Final

Andy MurrayAndy Murray has reached his fifth Australian Open final after defeating 13th seed Milos Raonic.

Murray needed five sets to beat the 25-year-old Canadian.

The 28-year-old Scot prevailed 4-6 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-2 in a gruelling four-hour contest.

He will meet defending champion Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final.

Murray, who has been a runner-up in the Australian Open four times, said of the epic battle, “It was tough in that third set. In the tie-break he didn’t miss a single serve and it is frustrating when you don’t get a say in the points.

“He definitely slowed down in the fifth set, which was unfortunate for him. It would have been nice to have played a more competitive fifth set. The fourth set, I thought he was still moving well. You just have to focus.”

About his chances against Djokovic on Sunday, he said, “A lot of things are important against the best players in the world. You can’t do anything poorly.

“Novak’s played extremely well, in his last couple of matches in particular. Hopefully this time it can be a different result.”

 

Australian Open: Djokovic, Federer, Serena Through To Semis

Australian OpenWorld number one, Novak Djokovic, is through to the last four of the Australian Open after dismissing Kei Nishikori in straight sets.

The 28-year-old swept past his Japanese opponent 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in 2 hours 7 minutes to reach his 29th grand slam semi-final and sixth at Melbourne Park.

Up next for Djokovic as he guns for a 6th title is 17-time grand slam champion, Roger Federer.

The duo will meet for the 45th time on Thursday with their ATP head2head series balanced at 22 wins apiece.

World number three, Roger Federer advanced to his 12th Australian Open semi-final with an efficient 7-6 6-2 6-4 victory over sixth seed Tomas Berdych.

Federer was pressed hard in the opening set, taking it in a tie-break after swapping service breaks with Berdych, before the Swiss won the important points in the second set to take control of the match.

The Czech broke early in the third set before 17-times grand slam winner Federer broke back in the third game to seal it in two hours, 16 minutes.

Serena and Radwanska Through To Semis

In the women’s event, reigning champion, Serena Williams, advanced to the last four.

Williams edged out fifth seed Maria Sharapova for the 18th match in a row with a 6-4 6-1 victory.

Williams has reached the last four at Melbourne Park on six previous occasions and gone on to win the title every time.

Agnieszka Radwanska, will face Williams in the semis, after beating Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-3.