Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori overcame the rustiness he showed in his first match against Australian Duckworth and defeated Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer to enter the quarterfinals of the Citi Open in Washington. He was joined by a trio of American players in the round-of-eight. John Isner defeated Canada’s no.12 seed Vasek Pospisil; Steve Johnson upset no.6 seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Jack Sock fought hard to beat no.4 seed Frenchman Richard Gasquet. In the Generali Open at Kitzbuhel, hot favorite Austrian Dominic Thiem reached the semifinals, when his French opponent Albert Montanes retired due to a left ankle injury. For a place in the tournament’s final, Thiem will have to get past Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat no.3 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy.
In Washington’s Citi Open, Japan’s Kei Nishikori had the first set of his match with Leonardo Mayer interrupted by rain three times. Mayer played strongly but Nishikori remained focused in the first set that lasted nearly one hour. After 3-3, the Japanese broke Mayor in the seventh game and then served out the set on his first match point. In the second set, nearly the same thing happened as neither player faced a break point until 4-4. Then the Japanese broke Mayer at love in the ninth game and served out to take the match 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 34 minutes. This is Nishikori’s best show at Washington after his early loss to Richard Gasquet last year. In the quarterfinal, Nishikori will face Australian Sam Groth, who defeated seventh seed Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4.
For the first time after 2012, three Americans have reached the Citi Open quarterfinals. No.8 seed John Isner played forcefully against Canada’s no.12 Vasek Pospisil. The American lost just two of his first serve points and produced 10 aces to beat the Canadian 6-4, 7-6. Isner’s next opponent is Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, who reached the quarterfinal by defeating Andy Murray’s conqueror Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia 7-5, 6-4. Isner’s compatriot Steve Johnson also reached the quarterfinals, when he caused an upset by downing Bulgaria’s no.6 seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 1-6, 6-3. Johnson thus avenged his loss against the Bulgarian in the Wimbledon second round. Johnson’s next match will be against countryman Jack Sock, who also caused a major upset. Sock played brilliant tennis against 2015 Wimbledon semifinalist and no.4 seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet before beating him at 6-7, 7-6, 6-4. Sock looked on his way out after losing the first set as he trailed 2-5 in the second. But the American’s tenacity saw him level at 4-4 before breaking Gasquet in the 9th game. He held his service and thus forced a decider. Sock carried the new-found momentum into the decider and broke the Frenchman once to emerge victorious in 94 minutes. In another second round match, no.3 seed Croatian Marin Cilic needed two tie-breaks to beat USA’s Sam Querrey 7-6, 7-6. Cilic will next face German teenager Alexander Zverev, who rallied to beat Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. The 18-year-old Zverev thus became the youngest singles quarter-finalist in Washington after Andy Roddick had done so in 2000.
At the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel, top seed Dominic Thiem took his match winning streak to 10, when his French opponent Albert Montanes retired due to an ankle injury in the second set with the Austrian leading 7-6, 3-2. For a place in the final, Thiem will against no.6 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. Kohlschreiber got the better of no.3 seeded Italian Fabio Fognini 7-6, 6-4 on Thursday. The sixth-seeded German converted four of his six break point chances to win against Fognini in 98 minutes. Spain’s Nicolas Almagro also entered the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic to set up a clash with qualifier Paul-Henri Mathieu, who defeated Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 6-3, 0-6, 6-3.
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