Thursday at Cincinnati Masters Feliciano Lopez Denies a Juicy Federer-Nadal Clash Murray Djokovic Serena Go Through
Spain’s former world no.1 Rafael Nadal lost another match. His conqueror and compatriot, Feliciano Lopez, however, erased the possibility of an expected Federer-Nadal quarterfinal match on Friday evening. Great Britain’s Andy Murray had a close call against Bulgaria’s no.16 seed Grigor Dimitrov. Down a match point at one stage, Murray fought back to win the nearly 3-hour match in three sets. Roger Federer had an easy win against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson and top seed Novak Djokovic fended off David Goffin of Belgium despite dropping a set. Among women, defending champion Serena Williams was relentless in her match against Italy’s Karin Knapp; no.3 seed Simona Halep defeated Germany’s Andrea Petkovic and Serbia’s no.6 seed Ana Ivanovic defeated Sloane Stephens of USA. However, Victoria Azarenka and Belinda Bencic had to concede their matches midway due to muscular injuries.
Rafael Nadal went down fighting against fellow countryman and world no.23 Feliciano Lopez, who earned the right to play the second seeded Roger Federer on Friday. After Lopez took the first set 7-5, Nadal came back strongly in the second to win 6-4. It was a thrilling match, in which Lopez’s aggressiveness made the difference in the third-set tiebreak. He opened a 5-2 lead and Nadal couldn’t catch up. Lopez served 14 aces and produced 43 winners and walked off with a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 victory in 2 hours 24 minutes. Lopez’s victory over Nadal meant that the tennis community was denied an expected quarterfinal clash between Nadal and Six-time champion Roger Federer, who played dominantly against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson. The second seeded Federer demolished Anderson in 54 minutes to win at 6-1, 6-1.
Great Britain’s Andy Murray came back from a match point down against Grigor Dimitrov before beating the Bulgarian 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 in a three-hour thriller. The Bulgarian began aggressively and broke Murray in the first game of the match before claiming the first set at 6-4. Murray lost two more games in the second set before finding his game but still yielded a match point to Dimitrov at 6-5. However Murray’s tenacity resulted in the tiebreak. The Scot won the tiebreak and extended the match. The final set proved extremely thrilling. Despite claiming an early break, Dimitrov rallied to win five consecutive games and took a 5-2 lead. But the Bulgarian committed two double faults at 5-3 and lost his serve. Murray faced another match point serving at 4-5 30/40 but a loose forehand from Dimitrov allowed Murray to get away and finish the match two games later. Murray faces Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinal. Gasquet came through by beating Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-3 after 1 hour 49 minutes. Gasquet had 68% of his first serve in play and he saved six of seven break points against Cilic.
No.1 seed Novak Djokovic had a tough opponent in Belgium’s David Goffin but he won regardless. Djokovic broke the 13th seeded Goffin once to take the first set 6-4 but lost miserably in the second. However, the Serbian dominated play in the third set to win 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 and set up a quarterfinal clash with Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka. The top seed will face the Swiss for the first time since losing to him in the French Open. Earlier, fifth seed Wawrinka defeated Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 surviving 35 aces from Karlovic. Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine defeated Jerzy Janowicz 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to set up a clash with Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych, who outplayed Spain’s Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-1.
In women’s draw, world no.1 Serena Williams outclassed Italy’s Karin Knapp 6-0, 6-2 to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic, who defeated USA’s Sloane Stephens 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. Simona Halep lost the first set against Germany’s Andrea Petkovic but bounced back to win at 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. In the quarterfinal, Halep will face Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who defeated Belarus’ 2013 champion Victoria Azarenka. Vika retired due to a leg injury after winning the first set 6-1. Veteran Serb Jelena Jankovic defeated Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic 6-2, 3-6, 7- to set up a QF clash with Slovak qualifier Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who beat USA’s Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Another threat in women’s draw Belinda Bencic also retired due to muscle injury to her right arm while playing against Czech Republic’s no.7 seed Lucie Safarova. The Czech will have a quarterfinal clash with Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, who outplayed Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 6-0, 6-3.
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