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Nishikori Bounces Back To Beat Tsonga At Roland Garros

It wasn’t easy, but Kei Nishikori breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday after he overcame one of France’s favourite sons, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2013 and 2015 semi-finalist, for a place in the Roland Garros third round for the fifth consecutive season.

The seventh-seeded Japanese star twice recovered from early set deficits to beat Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier, the newly rebuilt main show court.

Nishikori will next challenge Serbian No. 31 seed Laslo Djere, February’s Rio Open presented by Claro titlist (d. Auger-Aliassime), who defeated Alexei Popyrin of Australia 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-4 in two hours and 15 minutes.

“I think the key of the game was the level,” admitted Tsonga. “I think Kei played a good match. He played good tennis from the start. This was a match of [a] high level, and I haven’t played such a good match for a long time. For me it was a good effort, but Kei was just too good for me today.”

Infosys powers real-time insights for every point

Having broken for a 4-3 lead in the first set, Nishikori let Tsonga back into the match, but the 29-year-old soon re-established his dominance. He recovered from 0-2 in the third set and 0-3 in the fourth set, when he won five straight games to silence the partisan crowd. Nishikori is now 13-1 against players at their home Grand Slam championship.

“The main thing I could have been better today is on serves,” said Tsonga. “I had a low percentage of first serves. This prevented me from controlling the game a bit more. And to have less breaks, because he broke me quite regularly today. I’m not very accustomed to that, to have so many games where I’m broken… It’s pleasant to only have minor details to solve, to fight against these type of players.”

It was their fifth meeting on Parisian soil, including Tsonga’s five-set victory in the 2015 quarter-finals, plus three meetings on the indoor hard courts of the Rolex Paris Masters in the south-east of the French capital (Nishikori leads 2-1).

Thirty years ago, one of Nishikori’s coaches, Michael Chang, beat Stefan Edberg as a 17-year-old to become the youngest men’s singles champion at Roland Garros. Nishikori’s best performances at the clay-court major came in 2015 (l. to Tsonga) and 2017 (l. to Murray), where he lost in the last eight.

Benoit Paire extended his winning streak to seven matches with an epic victory in the final men’s match of the day. Last week’s Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon champion completed a 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(6), 11-9 victory over fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in four hours and 33 minutes on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Paire, who struck 85 winners, first held a match point at 6/5 in the fourth set tie-break, but held his nerve to come through the 91-minute fifth set. The 30-year-old will now play Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, who proved to be too strong for No. 21 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and 52 minutes.

Nishikori Bounces Back To Beat Tsonga At Roland Garros

It wasn’t easy, but Kei Nishikori breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday after he overcame one of France’s favourite sons, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2013 and 2015 semi-finalist, for a place in the Roland Garros third round for the fifth consecutive season.

The seventh-seeded Japanese star twice recovered from early set deficits to beat Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier, the newly rebuilt main show court.

Nishikori will next challenge Serbian No. 31 seed Laslo Djere, February’s Rio Open presented by Claro titlist (d. Auger-Aliassime), who defeated Alexei Popyrin of Australia 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-4 in two hours and 15 minutes.

“I think the key of the game was the level,” admitted Tsonga. “I think Kei played a good match. He played good tennis from the start. This was a match of [a] high level, and I haven’t played such a good match for a long time. For me it was a good effort, but Kei was just too good for me today.”

Infosys powers real-time insights for every point

Having broken for a 4-3 lead in the first set, Nishikori let Tsonga back into the match, but the 29-year-old soon re-established his dominance. He recovered from 0-2 in the third set and 0-3 in the fourth set, when he won five straight games to silence the partisan crowd. Nishikori is now 13-1 against players at their home Grand Slam championship.

“The main thing I could have been better today is on serves,” said Tsonga. “I had a low percentage of first serves. This prevented me from controlling the game a bit more. And to have less breaks, because he broke me quite regularly today. I’m not very accustomed to that, to have so many games where I’m broken… It’s pleasant to only have minor details to solve, to fight against these type of players.”

It was their fifth meeting on Parisian soil, including Tsonga’s five-set victory in the 2015 quarter-finals, plus three meetings on the indoor hard courts of the Rolex Paris Masters in the south-east of the French capital (Nishikori leads 2-1).

Thirty years ago, one of Nishikori’s coaches, Michael Chang, beat Stefan Edberg as a 17-year-old to become the youngest men’s singles champion at Roland Garros. Nishikori’s best performances at the clay-court major came in 2015 (l. to Tsonga) and 2017 (l. to Murray), where he lost in the last eight.

Benoit Paire extended his winning streak to seven matches with an epic victory in the final men’s match of the day. Last week’s Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon champion completed a 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(6), 11-9 victory over fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in four hours and 33 minutes on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Paire, who struck 85 winners, first held a match point at 6/5 in the fourth set tie-break, but held his nerve to come through the 91-minute fifth set. The 30-year-old will now play Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, who proved to be too strong for No. 21 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and 52 minutes.

Kyrgios-Nishikori Highlights Potential Clashes To Watch In Miami

After a thrilling first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the year in Indian Wells, won by Dominic Thiem, the ATP Tour heads to Miami with another 1,000 ATP Ranking points up for grabs for the titlist. ATPTour.com looks at five potential early-round matches to watch:

Kei Nishikori vs. Nick Kyrgios (R3)
At the BNP Paribas Open, there was much anticipation for a potential Novak Djokovic vs. Nick Kyrgios third-round battle. But German Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated them both.

There is another third-round blockbuster on the horizon for Kyrgios. But this time, it could be against sixth seed Kei Nishikori. If both guys advance to the third round, the Aussie will be especially motivated, given that Nishikori has won all four of their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings.

“I always find it tough playing him,” Kyrgios said after his most recent loss against Nishikori, at Wimbledon last year.

Kyrgios has one of the best serves on the ATP Tour. And when he is on his game, like when he triumphed at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco, he can take the racquet out of almost anyone’s hands. But Nishikori’s returning skills, speed, and ability to play aggressively could make for a thriller in Miami, three years after he beat Kyrgios in this event’s semi-finals in straight sets.

Novak Djokovic vs. Tomas Berdych (R2)
There might not be a more enticing second-round match than the potential of top seed Novak Djokovic meeting former World No. 4 Tomas Berdych. Less than four years ago, they were both inside the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings at the same time.

Djokovic has won 25 of 28 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Berdych — including all 21 of their matches on hard courts. But the Czech has proven his ability to challenge anyone in the world, owning multiple victories against each member of the ‘Big Four’.

Berdych at his best elicits short replies with his serve and immediately seizes control of rallies with his flat, penetrating groundstrokes. He got off to a quick start in 2019, winning 11 of his first 14 matches.

But Djokovic will be hungry to get back on track after a third-round loss against Kohlschreiber in Indian Wells. Last year, the six-time champion lost his opener in Miami against Benoit Paire. The World No. 1 certainly won’t want to endure deja vu.

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Roger Federer vs. Stan Wawrinka (R3)
Rematch, anybody? Roger Federer beat Stan Wawrinka in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open last week. Wawrinka may have a chance to return the favour in the third round at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Like Djokovic-Berdych, this has mostly been a one-sided FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, with Federer winning 22 of 25 battles against his Swiss compatriot. But former World No. 3 Wawrinka has shown throughout his career that his best tennis is as good as anyone’s.

Wawrinka did a good job of making 73 per cent of his first serves against his fellow Swiss star in the California desert. But Federer was not troubled, winning 41 per cent of those points. In fact, Wawrinka won 12 per cent more second-serve points than he did with his first delivery.

If the friends do battle in the third round, it’ll be an opportunity for a breakthrough for Wawrinka, who is still working his way back from two left knee surgeries in August 2017. The 30th seed seeks his first win against a Top 5 opponent since beating then-World No. 1 Andy Murray at 2017 Roland Garros.

Marin Cilic vs. Denis Shapovalov (R3)
Another rematch that could be on the cards in Miami would pit Marin Cilic against #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov. In the span of five months, the two have split their only two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings.

In Indian Wells, Shapovalov needed just 78 minutes to dismiss Cilic, winning all but three of his first-serve points and saving the two break points he faced. This matchup is entertaining in that both have similar games, looking to land a big first serve and dictate play from the first ball of rallies. The intrigue: who can do their best better?

Shapovalov advanced to the fourth round in Miami on debut last year, and he may have to get by Cilic in the third round if he is to repeat that showing, and possibly go further, this time. Cilic, on the other hand, has lost three of his past four matches, so he will be keen to perform well at the year’s second Masters 1000 event.

Sam Querrey vs. David Ferrer (R1)
Perhaps the most interesting first-round match in Miami could be former World No. 3 David Ferrer’s last at the tournament. The Spaniard faces former World No. 11 Sam Querrey, who has won at least one match in Miami 11 times.

Both players will be plenty motivated, as Ferrer, who made the final in 2013, will try to make a magical run in his final hard-court Masters 1000 event. World No. 68 Querrey is at his lowest ATP Ranking since 2014, so he will be hungry to get back on track with a strong performance in Miami.

The bonus for the winner: a clash with second seed Alexander Zverev.

Kyrgios-Nishikori Highlights Potential Clashes To Watch In Miami

After a thrilling first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the year in Indian Wells, won by Dominic Thiem, the ATP Tour heads to Miami with another 1,000 ATP Ranking points up for grabs for the titlist. ATPTour.com looks at five potential early-round matches to watch:

Kei Nishikori vs. Nick Kyrgios (R3)
At the BNP Paribas Open, there was much anticipation for a potential Novak Djokovic vs. Nick Kyrgios third-round battle. But German Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated them both.

There is another third-round blockbuster on the horizon for Kyrgios. But this time, it could be against sixth seed Kei Nishikori. If both guys advance to the third round, the Aussie will be especially motivated, given that Nishikori has won all four of their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings.

“I always find it tough playing him,” Kyrgios said after his most recent loss against Nishikori, at Wimbledon last year.

Kyrgios has one of the best serves on the ATP Tour. And when he is on his game, like when he triumphed at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco, he can take the racquet out of almost anyone’s hands. But Nishikori’s returning skills, speed, and ability to play aggressively could make for a thriller in Miami, three years after he beat Kyrgios in this event’s semi-finals in straight sets.

Novak Djokovic vs. Tomas Berdych (R2)
There might not be a more enticing second-round match than the potential of top seed Novak Djokovic meeting former World No. 4 Tomas Berdych. Less than four years ago, they were both inside the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings at the same time.

Djokovic has won 25 of 28 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Berdych — including all 21 of their matches on hard courts. But the Czech has proven his ability to challenge anyone in the world, owning multiple victories against each member of the ‘Big Four’.

Berdych at his best elicits short replies with his serve and immediately seizes control of rallies with his flat, penetrating groundstrokes. He got off to a quick start in 2019, winning 11 of his first 14 matches.

But Djokovic will be hungry to get back on track after a third-round loss against Kohlschreiber in Indian Wells. Last year, the six-time champion lost his opener in Miami against Benoit Paire. The World No. 1 certainly won’t want to endure deja vu.

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Roger Federer vs. Stan Wawrinka (R3)
Rematch, anybody? Roger Federer beat Stan Wawrinka in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open last week. Wawrinka may have a chance to return the favour in the third round at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Like Djokovic-Berdych, this has mostly been a one-sided FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, with Federer winning 22 of 25 battles against his Swiss compatriot. But former World No. 3 Wawrinka has shown throughout his career that his best tennis is as good as anyone’s.

Wawrinka did a good job of making 73 per cent of his first serves against his fellow Swiss star in the California desert. But Federer was not troubled, winning 41 per cent of those points. In fact, Wawrinka won 12 per cent more second-serve points than he did with his first delivery.

If the friends do battle in the third round, it’ll be an opportunity for a breakthrough for Wawrinka, who is still working his way back from two left knee surgeries in August 2017. The 30th seed seeks his first win against a Top 5 opponent since beating then-World No. 1 Andy Murray at 2017 Roland Garros.

Marin Cilic vs. Denis Shapovalov (R3)
Another rematch that could be on the cards in Miami would pit Marin Cilic against #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov. In the span of five months, the two have split their only two FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings.

In Indian Wells, Shapovalov needed just 78 minutes to dismiss Cilic, winning all but three of his first-serve points and saving the two break points he faced. This matchup is entertaining in that both have similar games, looking to land a big first serve and dictate play from the first ball of rallies. The intrigue: who can do their best better?

Shapovalov advanced to the fourth round in Miami on debut last year, and he may have to get by Cilic in the third round if he is to repeat that showing, and possibly go further, this time. Cilic, on the other hand, has lost three of his past four matches, so he will be keen to perform well at the year’s second Masters 1000 event.

Sam Querrey vs. David Ferrer (R1)
Perhaps the most interesting first-round match in Miami could be former World No. 3 David Ferrer’s last at the tournament. The Spaniard faces former World No. 11 Sam Querrey, who has won at least one match in Miami 11 times.

Both players will be plenty motivated, as Ferrer, who made the final in 2013, will try to make a magical run in his final hard-court Masters 1000 event. World No. 68 Querrey is at his lowest ATP Ranking since 2014, so he will be hungry to get back on track with a strong performance in Miami.

The bonus for the winner: a clash with second seed Alexander Zverev.

Nadal, Federer and Nishikori Win Second Round Matches at BNP Paribas Open

BNP Paribas Open—Indian Wells, California

Second-round results:

(2) Rafael Nadal Defeats Jared Donaldson 61 61
(4) Roger Federer Defeats Peter Gojowczyk 61 75
(6) Kei Nishikori Defeats Adrian Mannarino 64 46 76(4)
(8) John Isner Defeats Alexei Popyrin 60 62
(10) Marin Cilic Defeats Dusan Lajovic 63 64
(12) Karen Khachanov Defeats Feliciano Lopez 63 16 64
(14) Daniil Medvedev Defeats Mackenzie McDonald 75 60
Radu Albot Defeats (16) Fabio Fognini 60 76(4)
Filip Krajinovic Defeats (20) David Goffin 63 63
(22) Kyle Edmund Defeats Nicolas Jarry 62 60
(24) Denis Shapovalov Defeats Steve Johnson 63 64
(25) Diego Schwartzman Defeats Roberto Carballes Baena 63 61
Hubert Hurkacz Defeats (28) Lucas Pouille 62 36 64
(32) Guido Pella Defeats Alex Bolt 76(5) 26 63
Andrey Rublev Defeats Robin Haase 63 36 63

Nishikori, Anderson, Pouille & Kohlschreiber Visit Vienna State Opera

Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori, Lucas Pouille and Philipp Kohlschreiber, who are competing at the Erste Bank Open 500, visited the Vienna State Opera on Monday.

Austria’s opera house, which employs more than 1,000 people, produces 50 to 60 operas per year and 10 ballet productions, including more than 350 performances.

Home hope Dominic Thiem, who is currently eighth in the ATP Race To London for a spot at the season finale, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November, leads the ATP World Tour 500 field in Vienna. Seventh-placed Anderson and 10th-positioned Nishikori are also in contention for the three remaining London singles berths.

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