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Updated: 4 weeks 2 days ago

Dimitrov To Battle Isner In Cincy Semis

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 7:31am
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Grigor Dimitrov is one win away from his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final after a commanding 6-2, 6-1 win over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita Friday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. Dimitrov has now reached four semi-finals at the ATP World Tour’s premier tournament level, but is yet to reach a title match at the 1000s.

The Bulgarian broke World No. 46 Sugita at the beginning of the first set to race to a 3-0 lead and twice at the beginning of the second set to surge ahead 5-0. He lost just five points on serve and did not face a break point.

En route to victory, the seventh-seeded Bulgarian pulled off a spectacular diving hot shot volley, showing plenty of grit even when comfortably ahead a set and 4-0.

"It's a good feeling, for sure," said an elated Dimitrov in press. "It's a good feeling. I like playing in Cincinnati. I love that centre court, as well. I think all that brings me good memories and just a positive way of thinking when I come out there on the court.

"I think that was about it, to be honest. I didn't think I did anything spectacular except playing the game the right way today. Just glad to get off court for about an hour. Save some energy and prepare for tomorrow.

"It was just one of those days that you just had to adjust to the conditions. I just had to adjust a lot to the conditions. It was pretty swirly out there. I knew what I had to do against him. From the first point, I think I was on top of the game. That carried me on throughout the whole match."

Dimitrov will next play 2013 runner-up John Isner in Saturday's semi-finals. By reaching the semis, Dimitrov moves ahead of Andy Murray into eighth spot in the Emirates ATP Race To London. With fifth-placed Stan Wawrinka and seventh-placed Novak Djokovic having announced that they won’t play again this season, Dimitrov is well placed to grab one of the eight spots at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he is hoping to make his debut at the season-ending event.

Sugita was appearing in his first Masters 1000 quarter-final. The result may seem him surpass his career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 43 on Monday.

Later on Friday, Isner moved past countryman Jared Donaldson 7-6(4), 7-5 in one hour and 30 minutes. The big-serving American launched 25 aces, while claiming an impressive 90 per cent of first serve points.

It was a serving paradise on a warm late afternoon at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, with both players combining to create just one break chance. That would be all Isner needed, breaking for 6-5 in the second set and closing it out with an ace one game later. The World No. 19 will bid for a second appearance in the Cincinnati final, following a runner-up finish in 2013 to Rafael Nadal.

Isner will face Dimitrov for just the second time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, following a second round victory at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami in 2015. This time, much more is at stake for both competitors, with the 32-year-old American seeking a fourth appearance in a Masters 1000 final and the 26-year-old Bulgarian eyeing his first.

"It was a tough match," said Isner. "I knew it was going to be very tough. I thought the conditions were tricky. There were certainly some shadows on the court and it was pretty windy as well.

"I think for me it made it tough to really go for my shots, but having said that, I think my footwork was a bit off, because the ball wasn't sitting in the spot that I expected it to be. But all in all, I'm happy to eventually have won that match. I think I was pretty fortunate.

"Moving on to tomorrow, I should be feeling good. Just looking forward to that. Against Grigor, he's playing well this week. He's won some matches pretty easily. I think physically both of us should be coming into this match both feeling pretty good, not too haggard. We both should have a lot of confidence as well. So it's going to be a tough match. Very well could be my toughest match. It's one that I'm looking forward to and I know he is."

Donaldson, meanwhile, will leave Cincinnati with his head high after the #NextGenATP reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final. The 20 year old is in the midst of an impressive US Open Series, having claimed a pair of straight-set scalps over Top 20 opponents in Montreal and Cincinnati, defeating Lucas Pouille and Roberto Bautista Agut respectively.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Earlier this season, Dimitrov captured 5th and 6th ATP titles respectively at Brisbane (d. Thiem, Raonic and Nishikori) and Sofia (d. Goffin)
  • Dimitrov broke back into Top 10 of Emirates ATP Rankings on July 17 for the first time since February 23, 2015

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Nadal Sets Up Blockbuster QF Against Kyrgios

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 6:01am

Rafael Nadal remains on course to lift a record 31st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and second Cincinnati title on Friday by reaching the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals.

The top seed and 2013 champion knocked out his Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(1), 6-2 in one hour and 38 minutes mid-afternoon at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. He will now rest and prepare to meet Australian Nick Kyrgios later today. Nadal leads 2-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, ahead of their first hard-court meeting.

[GROUP POLL]67[/GROUP POLL]

"I'm very happy to be in the quarter-finals," said Nadal. "It was a tough match this afternoon against Albert, and now [it will be] another very, very difficult match against Kyrgios. So I just need to be ready, to play my best. The only way to try to have success in that match against Nick is just playing aggressive and play very focused all the time, and, of course play at a great level of tennis."

Ramos-Vinolas held his own in the first set, using his powerful forehand to pierce Nadal’s defence. But the World No. 24, who was seeking his first win in his fourth meeting against Nadal, paid the price for attacking Nadal’s forehand. Ramos-Vinolas saved one set point at 4-5, Ad-out, with a forehand winner under pressure, but he crumbled in the tie-break.

Nadal recovered from 0/40 at 1-2, with three service winners, then broke Ramos-Vinolas in the next game and then again for a 5-2 lead. He finished by hitting a forehand winner.

Nadal, who has now won 22 sets in a row against Spanish players, will begin his fourth stint at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday. The 31 year old has compiled an ATP World Tour best 49-8 match record in 2017, including four titles from seven finals.

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Kyrgios High Fives Fans After Scorching Forehand Hot Shot

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 5:54am
Get the change out of that! Nick Kyrgios fires two powerful Hot Shots past Ivo Karlovic at the Western & Southern Open on Friday. Watch live matches at tennistv.com.

Kyrgios Flick Winner Hot Shot At Cincinnati 2017

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 5:53am
Watch Hot Shot as Nick Kyrgios produces a flicked forehand winner past Ivo Karlovic on Friday at the Western & Southern Open. Watch live matches at tennistv.com.

Kyrgios Hangs Tough To Beat Karlovic In Cincinnati

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 4:50am

Nick Kyrgios hung tough on Friday as he began a double shift at the Western & Southern Open. The Australian advanced to his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final (also Indian Wells and Miami) of the year by finding a way past Ivo Karlovic of Croatia in a 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 victory over one hour and 56 minutes. The pair began today with Karlovic leading 4-3 in the first set, following rain on Thursday.

View FedEx ATP Head2Head matchups for the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open and vote for who you think will win!
Nadal vs. Kyrgios | Thiem vs. Ferrer

[GROUP POLL]67[/GROUP POLL]

"It was tough, obviously," said Kyrgios. "Coming back today, I had a very slow start. It was very windy out there, so I couldn't get anything going on my serve. Obviously he can serve through any sort of type of conditions. I just had to stay tough. Obviously, I got a couple of lucky points in the tie-break and forced a third set. I just managed to find some rhythm and find some energy and obviously take the third set."

Kyrgios will now play top seed and 2013 champion Rafael Nadal later today for a place in the semi-finals. Kyrgios trails Nadal 1-2 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but the pair has never met on hard courts. "I know it's going to be a tough battle," said Kyrgios.

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Karlovic broke Kyrgios in the final game of the first set and looked in a good serving rhythm (28 aces, losing 11 first-service points in total) before his Australian opponent made inroads on return, with clever low placement. Kyrgios led 5/2 in the tie-break, but Karlovic came close to a 6/5 advantage but for striking a forehand volley wide when lunging for the ball. Kyrgios maintained his composure in the decider and sealed the crucial break in the fourth game. Although Kyrgios could not convert two match points on Karlovic's serve at 5-2, he closed out to love in the next game for his 24th match win of the season.

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Soares/Murray Battle Hard Into Cincinnati SFs; Top Seeds Upset

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 3:06am

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares battled hard to reach their second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final of the season (also Indian Wells) on Friday at the Western & Southern Open. The third seeds knocked out last year’s finalist Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 7-6(6), 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes.

Murray and Soares saved three set points from 3/6 in the first set tie-break, then broke at 4-4 in the second set prior to convert their third match point opportunity. Murray and Soares, with a 3-1 record in ATP World Tour finals this year (6-3 overall), have yet to win a Masters 1000 crown as a team.

They will next meet second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, who defeated Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig 6-1, 6-7(5), 10-7. The Polish-Brazilian duo needed one hour and 36 minutes to secure their spot in the last four, as they continue their quest for a third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown of the year (Miami, Madrid). In 2016, Dodig and Melo teamed up to lift the trophy in Cincinnati.

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In other action, top seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers were upset by Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus 7-6(4), 4-6, 12-10. Roland Garros champions Harrison and Venus have continued their strong run as a team in reaching the semi-finals of a Masters 1000 event for the first time. They saved one match point, at 9/8 in the Match Tie-break, in beating Kontinen and Peers after one hour and 33 minutes. The American-Kiwi duo will face fifth seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut on Saturday.

Big win for @nmahut & @p2hugz taking out the Bryan Brothers in front of a home crowd.#CincyTennis pic.twitter.com/akn2OvrIKs

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 19, 2017

Herbert and Mahut continued their quest to claim back-to-back titles in Montreal and Cincinnati with a 4-6, 7-5, 10-8 comeback victory over five-time champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. The Frenchmen are in the midst of a dominant stretch, riding a six-match win streak into Saturday's showdown against Harrison and Venus.

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Kyrgios Hits Running Return Hot Shot Cincinnati 2017

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 1:59am
Watch Hot Shot as Nick Kyrgios hits a running return of Rafael Nadal's serve in their quarter-final clash in Cincinnati. Watch live matches at tennistv.com. Photo: Getty Images

Highlights Kyrgios Ferrer Stun Top Seeds Cincinnati 2017

Sat, 19/08/2017 - 1:51am
Watch highlights from the Friday quarter-finals in Cincinnati as Nick Kyrgios upsets top-seed Rafael Nadal, and David Ferrer ousts Dominic Thiem to reach the Western & Southern Open semi-finals. Watch live matches at tennistv.com. Photo: Getty Images

ATP And Infosys Launch New PlayerZone

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 11:51pm
ATP, in association with Infosys, has launched a new 'PlayerZone' app and website for ATP players, support teams and coaches. It allows users to engage with each other and access information related to life on Tour.

Friday Preview: Rafa Faces Double Duty In Cincinnati

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 11:18pm

View FedEx ATP Head2Head matchups for Day 6 of the Western & Southern Open and vote for who you think will win!
Nadal vs. Ramos-Vinolas | Isner vs. Donaldson | Dimitrov vs. Sugita

View Friday Schedule

• It took Rafael Nadal a record 160 weeks to rise from No. 2 to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on August 18, 2008. Nine years later, Nadal is back at the same event on the same day of the week that he became the top men’s tennis player in the world. Nadal defeated Nicolas Lapentti in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals on Friday, August 1, 2008 to guarantee that he would pass Roger Federer in the rankings later that month. The Spaniard clinched the No. 1 ranking once again in Cincinnati this week when Federer withdrew from the tournament due to a back injury.

• For Nadal to return to the Cincinnati semi-finals, he must defeat fellow Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas this afternoon and either Nick Kyrgios or Ivo Karlovic this evening. Karlovic led Kyrgios 4-3 and the Spaniards had not begun their third-round match when rain ended play on Thursday. Should Karlovic beat Kyrgios, the 38-year-old will be the oldest Cincinnati quarter-finalist in the Open Era and the oldest ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finalist since the series started in 1990.

• Already in the quarter-finals are Americans John Isner and Jared Donaldson, who will meet on Center Court. Isner is facing a #NextGenATP American wild card for the third straight round after eliminating Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe in straight sets. The No. 14 seed, who has ended five consecutive years as the USA No. 1, is 7-1 overall against his #NextGenATP countrymen, losing only to Ernesto Escobedo in the 2017 Houston quarter-finals. Donaldson defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili on Thursday for his first win in 14 Round of 16 matches on the ATP World Tour.

• In other quarter-final matches, 2016 Cincinnati semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov meets first-time ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finalist Yuichi Sugita. All five of Sugita’s ATP Masters 1000 victories have come in Cincinnati. On Grandstand, No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem takes on the only remaining player other than Nadal to have won an ATP Masters 1000 title: 2012 Paris champion David Ferrer.

Dimitrov Cruises Into Cincinnati 2017 SF

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 10:21pm
Grigor Dimitrov discusses his third-round victory over Yuichi Sugita and his preparation for his 4th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final. Watch live matches at tennistv.com.

Dimitrov's Dive Volley Hot Shot Cincinnati 2017

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 7:19pm
Watch Hot Shot as Grigor Dimitrov shows his versatility on court, finishing off the point with an impressive diving volley in his quarter-final match against Yuichi Sugita. Watch live matches at tennistv.com. Photo: Peter Staples

How Schwartzman Became The Return Giant In 2017

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 1:18pm

Since 2008, the best returner in the game has either been Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal.

Those two players have finished atop the Infosys ATP Return Games Won LEADERBOARD every year for the past nine seasons, but neither of them are currently first in 2017.

The surprise package who is dominating on the return side of the equation so far this year is Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

Schwartzman, 24, boasts his career best Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 33 this week, primarily driven by winning a tour-leading 36 per cent (192/532) of his return games. Nadal is in second place winning 34 per cent (212/626), while Djokovic is in fourth place, winning 31 per cent (141/461).

At 5’7”, 141 lbs, Schwartzman plays a big game when returning serve, being ranked in the leading five players in all four of the Infosys Return Ratings. He is ranked just 61st this season on tour with Service Games Won, at 68 per cent (358/523).

2017 Infosys Return Ratings

  Total Ranking
Return Games Won
36% 1st
2nd Serve Return Points Won
56% 1st
1st Serve Return Points Won
45% 2nd
Break Points Converted
45%
5th

Schwartzman has a 24-20 record so far in 2017, scoring his biggest win last week in Montreal, taking out No. 7 ranked Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-5 in the Round of 32. Thiem only won 29 per cent (16/56) of his second serve points for the match, being broken six times.

When Schwartzman is receiving this season with the opponent serving with new balls, he is winning an impressive 40 per cent (20/50) of those games. Nadal, by comparison, is only winning 26 per cent (18/68) against new balls.

Schwartzman does slightly better breaking serve in the Ad court, winning 46 per cent (150/324) of his break points there, and 42 per cent (42/100) in the Deuce court.

When he barely gets ahead 0/15 in his opponent’s service games this season, the Argentine is actually favoured to win the game, winning a remarkable 57 per cent (127/224). At 15/30, the percentage chance to break elevates to 60 per cent (93/154), and at 0/30 it jumps all the way up to a 79 per cent (74/94) possibility to break.

The Buenos Aires native has just 10 Emirates ATP Rankings points to defend from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati and the upcoming US Open, so look for him to keep setting personal bests in the coming weeks.

Rojer & Tecau Claim Upset To Reach Cincy QF

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 12:13pm

Last year's doubles finalists Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau continued their strong run of form at the Western & Southern Open, securing their spot in the quarter-finals.

Rojer and Tecau, the 2015 Nitto ATP Finals champs, have not dropped a set through two matches this week in Cincinnati, completing a 7-5, 6-3 upset of sixth seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram on Thursday. The Dutch-Romanian duo, who finished runners-up to Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo in last year's final, are bidding for their second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title as a team (Madrid 2016). They will next face third seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares for a spot in the last four.

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In other action, Montreal champs Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut kicked off their quest for back-to-back Masters 1000 crowns with a 3-6, 7-6(5), 10-5 comeback win over countrymen Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The last time a doubles team completed the Canada-Cincinnati double was just one year ago when Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo claimed both titles. Herbert and Mahut will battle five-time champs Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan next.

Also moving into the quarter-finals on Thursday were seventh seeds and Montreal finalists Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig. They overcame a set deficit to defeat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Fabio Fognini 5-7, 7-5, 10-8. The Indian-Croatian tandem will battle second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo on Friday.

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Sugita Storming Into The Spotlight In Cincy

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 11:00am
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A maiden ATP World Tour title, first Grand Slam match win, career-high Emirates ATP Ranking and now a first Masters 1000 quarter-final. If you ask Yuichi Sugita if he's playing the best tennis of his career, the answer is a resounding 'yes'.

Japanese tennis has been on the rise over the past decade, thanks in large part to Kei Nishikori's Top 5 breakthrough and statement as one of the game's most formidable threats. The nation has also experienced a surge of Top 100 stalwarts, including Yoshihito Nishioka, Taro Daniel, Go Soeda and Tatsuma Ito, but none of Nishikori's countrymen have experienced the success that 28-year-old Sugita is enjoying in 2017.

"Many players are having their good results after 28 or even 30," Sugita told ATPWorldTour.com. "Actually I'm not so surprised about this, because tennis takes more time to reach your top level. I kept trying and I'm going to keep going.

"[My ranking] is big news for Japan, but we have Kei, so actually it's not as big news as him! But it's good. And he's a good player. He's the revolution for Japan. I'm really just trying to do the best I can. His results have helped me a lot to improve my ranking."

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On the heels of a first ATP World Tour title in Antalya and an impressive three ATP Challenger Tour crowns, in Yokohama, Shenzhen and Surbiton, the Sendai native is breaking new ground in rising to a career-high No. 43 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. It is the second-highest position of any Japanese player in history, behind only Nishikori.

In beating Adrian Mannarino for the Antalya Open title, Sugita also became just the third player from Japan to ever win on the ATP World Tour, alongside Nishikori and Shuzo Matsuoka. He describes the moment as a huge honour.

"This year I won three Challengers in Japan, China and England," added Sugita. "After that I was really confident to play tournaments. It all happened so soon. After one Challenger in England, I went straight to Antalya and it's been a big change. It didn't feel like a big wall to make the Top 50. I'm happy.

"Antalya was a great week for me. It was my first semi-final and then I won the tournament. It was a great opportunity to play many good players. It was big news for Japan, because I'm the third player to win a title.

"So I'm very proud that I won my first title. For sure it was the most emotional moment in my career. I remember a lot of things. I'd played lower level tournaments for 10 years and I was just so happy to win an ATP title. When I go back to Japan, a lot of media come to the tennis court and ask a lot of things. I'm happy about that."

I got it !!!!! This is my 3rd title of the year !!!

芝での初タイトル!!!
現在会場からアムステルダムに向かってます‼
次はATP250 !!
引き続きよろしくお願い致します。 pic.twitter.com/A65h63e0iL

— 杉田祐一 / Yuichi SUGITA (@sugitayuichi88) June 11, 2017

Sugita isn't finished climbing in 2017 and he's proving that his game translates to all surfaces. All three ATP World Tour quarter-finals this year have come on different surfaces. In addition to a quarter-final finish on the clay of Barcelona and title on the lawns of Antalya, he has battled into the last eight this week at the Western & Southern Open - his best result at a Masters 1000 event.

A first-round upset of 13th seed Jack Sock - his biggest career victory - has been followed by impressive comeback wins over Joao Sousa and Karen Khachanov. Next up: seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov on Friday.

"Every match is a great opportunity here for me in Cincinnati. It means a higher ranking for me and I'm just happy to stay on the tennis court. I'm trying to enjoy it and I'm really excited to play great players."

What does Sugita say is the difference in 2017? What is his formula for success? The Japanese believes it has been an all-around balance, with changes in mindset proving to be most critical.

"[When I started playing] I needed to try a new game style for a small player. For me, I don't have a big serve, so I needed to make a lot of returns and have quick reactions. Those are the most important things for me.

"Most of the changes were mental. Now I can keep the same level throughout three sets and the match... In general it is definitely a great year for me. I've tried to be positive and I've been careful with injuries. I have a good balance now: physically, mentally and technically. I feel good and I'm positive."

Dimitrov Pleased With Performance Cincinnati 2017

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 10:50am
Grigor Dimitrov relfects on his third-round win over Juan Martin del Potro and talks strategy for his upcoming quarter-final match against Yuichi Sugit in Cincinnati. Watch live matches at tennistv.com.

Donaldson Reaches First Masters 1000 QF

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 6:55am
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Jared Donaldson recorded the biggest win of his career earlier this week at the Western & Southern Open when he upset World No. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut. On Thursday, the 20-year-old American achieved another milestone, advancing to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final by defeating Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 7-6(4).

The Californian was 0-13 in Round of 16 matches entering the match, including last week’s defeat to Diego Schwartzman in Montreal when he led 6-0, 2-0, and had been denied by Basilashvili in the final round of Roland Garros qualifying in 2015 and 2016. He turned the page Thursday, putting pressure on his opponent’s serve and going two for 12 on break point chances. After falling behind a mini-break early in the second-set tie-break, he won the final three points to cement the one-hour, 36-minute victory.

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Donaldson leads all #NextGenATP Americans with 28 career wins, and will face another formidable threat on Friday in 2013 Cincinnati finalist John Isner. The Rhode Island native is challenging for a place in the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, and stood at eighth in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan entering Cincinnati. The tournament, to be held from 7-11, will feature the top 21-and-under players.

"I played Jared once," said Isner. "It was on grass a couple years ago, so it's been a while since we played. I can't really take much stock into that match. He was two years younger than he is now. He's playing some very good tennis. It's very impressive to see. He works really hard.

"I don't know if you guys agree, maybe he doesn't quite get the credit that some of the other young guys that he's with, and he's the highest-ranked one right now. He's certainly doing all the right things. I see him on the practice court. I see him working on his game, doing stuff in the gym. He has a good team around him. I think Jan-Michael Gambill is obviously doing a very good job for him.

"Tomorrow's match will be tough, but I'm playing well, and I expect it to be a very tough match for him, as well. Just look forward to it. It's going to be a good match."

Isner survived stubborn rain storms and an equally persistent Frances Tiafoe to advance to the last eight at the Western & Southern Open for the second time. He prevailed 7-6(4), 7-5 in one hour and 40 minutes, throwing down 27 aces in total. Isner, whose best result came in finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2013, overcame an inspired Tiafoe, who was coming off the biggest win of his young career in stunning fellow #NextGenATP Alexander Zverev on Wednesday.

Isner would carve out the first break of the match at 5-all in the second set and fired a pair of aces to close out the encounter a game later. It was his second victory in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, having previously taken a gripping five-set clash at last year's US Open.

 

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Confident Ferrer Advances To Cincinnati QFs

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 4:09am

David Ferrer is regaining his appetite for top-level tennis and the relentless drive that saw him rise to a career-high No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in August 2013. Close to a return to the Top 30, the veteran Spaniard beat his compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday for a place in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals – his first at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level since the Rolex Paris Masters in November 2015.

The 2015 Cincinnati finalist, who has gone 11-2 since a Wimbledon third-round exit, will next face third-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, who edged Adrian Mannarino of France 7-6(4), 7-6(3). Thiem defeated Ferrer in their previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting last year in the Rio Open presented by Claro quarter-finals. 

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"Against Ferrer it's going to be a long and physically tough match," said Thiem. "He's playing way better again, including a great match against Federer last week. It's going to be really tough but I've got some more confidence again and I hope I'm ready."

Ferrer, who had lost five of his previous seven matches against fellow Spaniards, and No. 11 seed Carreno Busta both struggled for consistency in the early exchanges. But service breaks for Ferrer in the fifth game of the first set and at 1-1 in the second set proved to be enough for his 21st match win of a protracted season, which sparked into life with his 27th ATP World Tour title at the SkiStar Swedish Open (d. Dolgopolov) last month. Ferrer, playing closer to the baseline and quick to move up the court, struck 14 winners, while a forehand in the net from Carreno Busta – his 26th error – ended the 77-minute encounter.

World No. 8 Thiem reached the Cincinnati quarter-finals for a second straight year, needing two hours to battle past Mannarino. He improved to a perfect 5-0 mark against the in-form Frenchman and to a 41-18 season record.

What a point!

Super wheels from Thiem and Mannarino.#CincyTennis pic.twitter.com/a9b7yVc6hj

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 17, 2017

"It was a really tough match," said Thiem. "He's in great shape. He played well last week. He beat Querrey yesterday and has been playing amazing this year. So I'm very happy. He's very tricky to play on his fast surface with his flat balls. It was a tough fight out there, in pretty tough conditions. It was a long match with long rallies. I'm very happy I could avoid a third set and I'm very happy with the two tie-breaks."

Mannarino, a finalist last month in Antalya (l. to Sugita), was looking to reach his third quarter-final in as many weeks. The 29 year old achieved his best ATP World Tour Masters 1000 result last week in Montreal, where he upset top Canadian Milos Raonic.

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Dimitrov Gets Better Of del Potro In Cincinnati Heat

Fri, 18/08/2017 - 2:58am
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Grigor Dimitrov recorded his first win in his sixth match against Juan Martin del Potro on Thursday for a place in the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals.

Seventh seed Dimitrov advanced to his eighth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final (or better) with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over del Potro, who struggled due to the intense heat in the closing stages of the pair’s sixth meeting that lasted one hour and 39 minutes.

"He's a tricky opponent... a super-experienced player," said Dimitrov. "I definitely had to stay away a little bit from that forehand. I knew if I keep the ball low on his backhand side and just kind of work my way into the court, it would have been the right thing to do.I think I did this thing very, very well today. The short slice really made him very uncomfortable, and he was giving me a lot of short balls, so I could start moving him with my forehand. It was also a bit of a mind game, because we know our game pretty well."

Dimitrov will now look to reach the Cincinnati semi-finals for the second straight year when he challenges Japan’s Yuichi Sugita. Dimitrov won their lone match at last year's Masters 1000 tournament in Canada over three sets.

"He's been playing really well," said Dimitrov. "I watched quite a few of his matches... The conditions don't really bother him. He's going to be definitely a tough opponent to play. I don't underestimate his ability to play good tennis. [When] you're in the quarter-final of a Masters 1000 anything can happen. He's pretty determined, and he's pretty excited to play, so that makes him even more dangerous."

Dimitrov got off to the best possible started by opening up a 3-0 lead against del Potro, who was unable to convert one break point on his Bulgarian opponent’s serve at 3-5, 30/40. Del Potro mirrored Dimitrov by winning the first three games of the second set and could not convert three set point chances at 5-4, before the Argentinean physically began to struggle. A doctor was called at the 6-5 changeover, with del Potro insisting he had to finish the match.

Dimitrov is now 31-14 on the season, which includes two ATP World Tour titles, and improves his chances of rising up from his current position of No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London for a debut appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November. Del Potro, the 2012-13 Cincinnati semi-finalist, is now 18-11 on the year.

Sugita, five spots off his career-high of No. 43 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, reached his first Masters 1000 quarter-final in a career-best year with a 6-7(0), 6-3, 6-3 victory over #NextGenATP Russian Karen Khachanov in two hours.

Two months ago, the 28-year-old Japanese No. 2 captured his first ATP World Tour title at the Antalya Open (d. Mannarino), adding to three ATP Challenger Tour crowns won in 2017.

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Fri, 18/08/2017 - 1:39am
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