Tag Archive | "Thiem"

Djokovic Escapes Thiem to Advance to Miami Open Quarterfinals

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Djokovic Escapes Thiem to Advance to Miami Open Quarterfinals


IMG_1149_Djokovic
Miami, Ricky Dimon @Dimonator

The record will indicate that Novak Djokovic made routine work of Dominic Thiem during fourth-round action at the Miami Open on Wednesday afternoon. A more accurate picture, however, is painted by both the statistics and the eye test. Anyone who was in attendance surely appreciated the entertaining affair to which they were treated, even though Djokovic got the job done in seemingly dominant 6-3, 6-4 fashion.

A much different story could have unfolded if Thiem had been able to come up with the goods at the critical junctures. Instead, the 22-year-old Austrian squandered 14 of 15 break points and the only one he converted came courtesy of a Djokovic double-fault.

In the opening set, Thiem survived a three-deuce game and saved one set point to hold for 3-5. He then had four break points to get back on serve, but Djokovic battled trough a four-deuce game to seal the deal. With the top-seeded Serb serving for the match at 5-4 in the second, he fought off four more break points, navigated seven deuces, and finally converted a fourth match point to triumph after one hour and 49 minutes.

“It [was] going to end sooner or later,” Djokovic commented. “Generally I don’t face that many break points, but conversion of break points from my opponent today was only one out of [15], so that’s a positive in a way. But I’ll try not to get myself in those positions too much…. It was a straight-set win, but far from easy. It was a tough match.”

“Today (there) were positive and negative things,” Thiem posted on Facebook. “I can take advantage of (them) in the future…. I couldn’t take advantage of my [break points]; I only converted one out of 15; that’s [not enough], especially when your opponent is the No. 1 in the world.

“Nevertheless, I am happy about my performance here in Miami; I was able to gain some new experience and now I am heading, of course a little bit disappointed, back home. Next up, clay-court season!”

The hard-court proceedings will continue at least one more one more round for Djokovic, and for Gael Monfils. Joining Djokovic in the quarterfinals by also prevailing on Tuesday were Monfils, Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios, Tomas Berdych, Gilles Simon, and David Goffin. Monfils recovered from a set deficit to outlast Grigor Dimitrov 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 in a day-session match that went well into the night.

After going down an immediate break in the third set, the Frenchman broke right back and earned another scalp of the Dimitrov serve at 4-3 before closing the door at love in emphatic fashion. By lasting exactly two and a half hours, it forced the Kei Nishikori vs. Roberto Bautista Agut showdown to be moved from the stadium to the Grandstand.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @Dimonator by clicking here.

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Federer and Del Potro Both Out, Djokovic and Ferrer Advance in Miami

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Federer and Del Potro Both Out, Djokovic and Ferrer Advance in Miami


IMG_0018_Djokovic
Miami, Ricky Dimon

There was no rematch of the 2009 U.S. Open final on Friday at the Miami Open. The highly-anticipated showdown between Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro did not come to fruition because Federer withdrew early in the afternoon due to illness. Gastroenteritis was the official reason for the former world No. 1’s absence.

Federer took the practice court for a light warmup with coach Ivan Ljubicic around noon, hitting a few balls and working on some serves. He left after 30 minutes without signing any autographs. Speculation ran rampant that something was amiss with the Swiss, who had been set to make his first appearance since the Australian Open. A knee injury had sidelined Federer for all of February and from Indian Wells.

Lucky loser Horacio Zeballos took Federer’s place, resulting in an all-Argentine affair with Del Potro. Despite suddenly staring at a much more favorable draw, Del Potro could not take advantage. Still experiencing pain in his left wrist, the 27-year-old lost 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 21 minutes.

Zeballos completely dominated on serve, surrendering only nine points in 10 service games. One break in each set was enough for the world No. 112, and the second came with Del Potro trying to stay in the match at 4-5 in the second. A shanked overhead by Del Potro brought up match point and he sent a forehand just past the baseline to end it.

“I was suffering a little bit,” he admitted. “It was worse than my first match, but I hope nothing dangerous. I will see what’s going on after today and see if I can practice tomorrow–if I can hit again [a] backhand.

“They said before this is a long road to get better; not to play well or to win matches, just to get better and to play tennis again. I’m looking forward for that. For me it’s like surprise when I win a match in this moment because I’m not 100 percent yet. But I’m here. Of course I’m suffering in moments, but I’m playing tennis–bad or really bad, but I’m playing. That’s good for me.”

What’s not good for the tournament is the early exits of Federer and Del Potro. The third-round matchup in that section of the draw is now Zeballos vs. Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Jeremy Chardy.

Other winners on Friday were Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Steve Johnson, Benoit Paire, Marin Cilic, David Ferrer, Gilles Simon, and David Goffin. Tomas Berdych advanced via a walkover from Rajeev Ram. Djokovic kicked off the night session by defeating 21-year-old Brit Kyle Edmund 6-3, 6-3.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @Dimonator by clicking here.

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Chardy and Veterans Advance at the Sony Open

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Chardy and Veterans Advance at the Sony Open


IMG_6027_ChardyMiami, FL Ricky Dimon
The first day of main-draw action in men’s singles at the 2014 Sony Open saw Jeremy Chardy outlast Juan Monaco in a thriller on Stadium court. Chardy prevailed 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(5) after two hours and 38 minutes to set up a second-round date with second-seeded Novak Djokovic.

It almost ended prior to a final-set tiebreaker, when the 48th-ranked Frenchman forced Monaco into a 15-40 situation at 4-5. Monaco saved the first match point with a serve-forehand combination and Chardy netted a backhand on his second opportunity. Two holds later, a ‘breaker had to decide the outcome. The Argentine fought off one more match point at 4-6, but Chardy finally got the job done at 6-5 thanks to an overhead smash.

Miami’s Stadium crowd was treated to another tense three-setter during the night session. Amidst a lively atmosphere, Marcos Baghdatis recovered from a dismal opening set and from two breaks down in the third to overcome Santiago Giraldo 1-6, 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 51 minutes. Giraldo served for the match at both 5-2 and 5-4, but the Colombian failed on both occasions and he ultimately lost six straight games to Baghdatis to seal his fate.

It was just Baghdatis’ fourth victory of the season. The struggling Cypriot will next go up against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Friday.

Giraldo was not the only Colombian action on Wednesday. Whereas not a single American man took the court (six are scheduled for Thursday on the other side of the draw), three Colombians contested their openers. Alejandro Falla lost to Marinko Matosevic 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) and Alejandro Gonzalez took care of Malek Jaziri 7-6(9), 6-1.

The Grandstand featured a pair of stellar individual performances. Red-hot and fast-rising Dominic Thiem powered past recent Irving Challenger champion Lukas Rosol 7-6(6), 6-4. The 20-year-old Austrian, who qualified for the main draw for his fifth successful tournament qualification already this season, won 86 percent of his first-serve points. At the other end of the career spectrum, 35-year-old Radek Stepanek donated fewer games than any other man in a 6-3, 6-0 rout of Daniel Brands. Stepanek required a mere 57 minutes to book a spot alongside Andreas Seppi in the round of 64.

Ricky Dimon is a contributor in Miami and writes for tenngrand.com. You can follow him on Twitter under @RD_Tennistalk by clicking here.

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