Federer Keeps Hunt For Slam Number 20 On Track

Switzerland’s Roger Federer reacts after beating Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene in their men’s singles first round match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 16, 2018.
PETER PARKS / AFP

Defending champion Roger Federer continued his dominance over Richard Gasquet to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open on Saturday and keep his quest for a 20th Grand Slam title on track.

The Swiss star beat the Frenchman 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 in just under two hours in a night match on Rod Laver Arena.

Federer has unheralded Hungarian and one-time training partner Marton Fucsovics up next and a potential quarter-final with Tomas Berdych, who upset Juan Martin Del Porto in straight sets earlier Saturday.

Federer, rated the favourite to win his 20th major even at the venerable age of 36, progressed to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the 16th time.

The Swiss have only lost twice to the stylish Frenchman in their 19 meetings, winning all their four Grand Slam encounters.

Significantly, Gasquet hasn’t won a set against Federer since 2011, a run of 22 sets to the Swiss.

“I was able to stay more on the offensive than he was and maybe I was protecting my own serve better than him,” Federer said.

“I was hoping I could play at that level. I’m very happy that I was able to rise to a level that I needed to beat Richard.

“It was tough. The score shows it, as well. I could have done it maybe a bit faster.

“At the same time, I’m happy to have done it the way it happened. I was pleased. I think I had some good shots. I was happy the way I played. I also thought we both played a good level again, so it was fun.”

Federer, who did not face a break point in 26 games, lost his only serve in the match late in the third set on his second break point, such was his dominance.

“I like to see the way he saved match point. The first one was a backhand down the line,” Federer said of Gasquet late resistance.

“Feels like he can do that in his sleep. I admire that. I take pleasure out of him making that shot even though for a second I thought that this could have been the match point I had and end up losing the match.”

The Swiss legend broke Gasquet’s serve five times and hit 42 winners with 30 unforced errors.

He improved his Australian Open record to 90-13.

Federer is coming off an extraordinary 2017, when he won a fifth Australian Open title and a record eighth at Wimbledon, after returning from an injury lay-off.

It was in Melbourne a year ago where he lit the fuse on his late-life tennis renaissance, beating Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Mischa Zverev and Stan Wawrinka before downing great rival Rafael Nadal in a five-set final classic.

AFP

Nadal Defeats Gasquet Again, Tiafoe Upsets Zverev

Rafa Nadal extended his spotless record against Richard Gasquet, while unseeded American teenager Frances Tiafoe upset Alexander Zverev to reach the third round of the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday.

It must have felt like deja vu for the Frenchman, who fell 6-3 6-4 to drop to 0-15 against Nadal. Gasquet last won a set against the Spaniard in 2008.

Nadal, who repelled the only break point he faced in the match, served out the match at love in the 10th game, firing in three aces, including the finishing point.

The 15-times grand slam winner will next face fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who eliminated Nadal’s Wimbledon conqueror, 16th seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, 5-7 6-4 6-4.

World number seven Zverev, who stunned Roger Federer in the Montreal final last week after claiming the title in Washington D.C., was on a 10-match winning streak but faded in the final set against energetic baseliner Tiafoe, who won 4-6 6-3 6-4.

It was 19-year-old Tiafoe’s first win over a top-10 player and he bounded around the court in joy, thumping his chest to a standing ovation after Zverev floated a backhand long on match point with his third unforced error of the last game.
Tiafoe will meet John Isner next.

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.

Murray Wins Gasquet To Reach Paris Masters Semi-finals

Andy-MurrayBritain’s tennis player, Andy Murray, reached the Paris Masters semi-finals for the first time with a three-set victory over French 10th seed Richard Gasquet.

Second seed Murray came from a break down in the final set on Friday to win 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 6-3 in two hours and 38 minutes.

“It was a tough match,” said the Scot, 28. “The crowd was behind him and it was perfect preparation for the Davis Cup, in an atmosphere like that.”

Murray will play American John Isner or Spain’s David Ferrer in his semi-final.

He faces a challenging end to the season, with the ATP Finals in London only nine days away, followed by Britain’s first Davis Cup final since 1978, which gets under way in Belgium in three weeks’ time.

Murray had lost just four games in winning his opening two matches in Paris, but was given a far sterner test by Gasquet – and it took its toll.

Wimbledon Open: Nadal Knocked Out by Australian Teeneger, Kyrgios

tennis-wimbledon-nick-kyrgios-wimbledon-r4_3166372Australian teenager, Nick Kyrgios, created a big upset as he defeated Rafael Nadal 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-3  to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

Nadal had no answer for Kyrgios’ booming serve and thunderous ground strokes, the 19-year-old sending down 37 aces and hitting 70 winners during the course of the fourth round contest.

The world number one had lost the first set in each of his first three matches before recovering to win in four, but could not repeat the same feat against a rampant Kyrgios.

Kyrgios, who had being tipped for greatness by the likes of Andy Murray and Pat Cash in recent weeks, only claimed his first top-50 win a week before the victory over Nadal when he saved nine match points to beat Richard Gasquet in the second round.

The Australian teenager, who is world number 144, is the first man outside the top 100 to beat a world number one since 1992.

Tennis: Tsonga Appoints New Coaches

French tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has appointed the duo of Thierry Ascione and Nicolas Escude as his new coaches.

Tsonga has appointed former world number 17 Escude and former top 100 player Ascione, in an attempt to emulate the recent success of compatriot, Richard Gasquet who has risen to French number 1 after including 2 men in his coaching set-up.

“We have begun this project at my suggestion and I am really pleased to begin a new phase of my career with them both,” Tsonga said in Bercy, where he is taking part in the Paris Masters.

“I’ve been looking for the ideal situation for some time, and I feel best with them.”

Ascione has developed a strong coaching reputation due to his work with Kristina Mladenovic and Nicholas Mahut, while Escude has a long-standing rapport with the 28-year-old former world number 5 being his former Davis Cup team-mate.

Ascione will not be able to accompany Tsonga to all his events because of other commitments, which is where Escude steps in.

Having reached but lost the 2008 Australian Open final, Escude is targeting a maiden Grand Slam title for Tsonga, but says success will be measured by Tsonga’s world ranking.

“Of course we will go for all 4 (Slams), but the important thing for us is to see a rapid movement up the rankings,” Escude said.

“If, after 1 year, he is still at the same place, we will not have succeeded in our mission.”

World number 10, Tsonga parted ways with former coach, Roger Rasheed at the end of August and has since then been without a coach.