Ferrer bounces back with comfortble win at Auckland Classic

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Back with a win: Ferrer.

David Ferrer put last week’s Doha disappointment behind him with a comfortable straight-sets win in his opening match at the Auckland Classic on Wednesday.

The 6-2, 6-4 victory over Australian qualifier Matthew Barton put the top seed and four-time champion into the quarter-finals to face Czech Lukas Rosol, a surprise winner over fifth seed Benoit Paire of France.

Ferrer had rushed to Auckland for a wildcard entry after his opening-round loss to Ukraine’s Ilya Marchenko in the Qatar Open, and immediately showed his class as he won 23 of 26 first-serve points.

The top four seeds all had first-round byes, and all won their opening matches in the second round.

Second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was untroubled as he beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4 but it was a different story for the third and fourth seeds, John Isner and South African Kevin Anderson.

Isner took the first set in a tie-break against fellow American Sam Querrey, and then dropped the before fighting back to take the match 7-6 (10/8), 6-7 (4/7), 6-4. Anderson was also tested in tie-breaks before overcoming Robin Haase of the Netherlands 7-6 (10/8), 7-6 (7/5).

“It was a really tough match,” said Anderson. “It was a little windy. It was tough to find your rhythm. But I just stuck with it. It’s my first match. Given that, I thought I played pretty well.”

Anderson, ranked 12th in the world, won the first set on a Haase double fault and was down 1-4 in the second-set tie-break before winning six of the next seven points.

Roberto Bautista Agut reached the last eight with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) victory over American Donald Young.

Most popular

Related Sections

Halep battles past Pliskova to reach Sydney semis

Robert Smith 14/01/2016
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Playing through pain: Simona Halep.

Romania’s Simona Halep fought off big-serving Czech Karolina Pliskova to reach the semi-finals of the Sydney International on Wednesday.

The world No. 2 had been tested in two tight previous matches, and Pliskova again made things difficult for Halep. Halep had early breaks in both sets only to be pulled back, before the tournament top seed closed out for a 6-4, 7-5 win over the Czech fifth seed in one hour and 38 minutes in blistering heat.

“It was tough today. Was very close. She’s playing well, and she’s strong with the serve,” Halep said. “I expected that she’s going to hit all the balls, so she did. Against her you don’t have rhythm too much, so that’s why it’s tough to play.”

Halep finished with slightly more winners than Pliskova, 22 to 21, but far fewer errors, 33 to 43. The Romanian is battling an Achilles injury and admitted to feeling pain during her opening victory over Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia late Tuesday. It followed her late withdrawal from the Brisbane International last week.

Halep will face former world No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last four after the Russian fought back from 1-5 down in the opening set to knock out Italian Sara Errani 7-6 (7/1), 6-0. Halep leads Kuznetsova 3-2 in their previous meetings.

“I know that she’s playing a lot of top spin, so it’s a different player tomorrow, different style,” Halep said of facing Kuznetsova. “I expect a tough one. Of course every match at this level is very tough, but I believe I have my chance.”

Elsewhere Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig ended Australia’s Samantha Stosur’s run, 6-4, 6-4 and will face eighth seed Belinda Bencic in the semis after the Swiss beat Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 in an evening match.

“It’s a very important win for me coming through three rounds of quallies and obviously coming through in the main,” Puig said. “I’ve lost to her twice before, so it was a pretty big win for me today considering the amount of times I played her.”

Also, Grigor Dimitrov reached his second consecutive quarter-final of the new season with a straight-sets win over Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas at the Sydney International.

The Bulgarian world No. 28, looking for more matches under new coach Franco Davin, ousted Cuevas 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 and will next play Ukraine’s Aleksandr Dolgopolov in the quarters.

Dimitrov, who reached a career-high ranking of eight in 2014, lost in three sets to Roger Federer in the quarters of last week’s Brisbane International.

“I think right now I need to play more matches, as many matches as I can get early on in the year,” Dimitrov said. “It’s going to help me with my ranking, but also with the level that I’m trying to achieve.

“I’ve worked a lot on a lot of things this off-season, so I just want to make sure I put them into play and just make them as a habit. That’s the thing that is very important to me.”

Most popular

Related Sections

Battling Rafa Nadal reaches Qatar Open semi-finals

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Rafa Nadal.

A pumped-up Rafael Nadal qualified for the semi-finals of the Qatar Open on Thursday, battling to a three-set victory over Andrey Kuznetsov in the match of the tournament so far.

Nadal won 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in just over two hours and was made to work for his victory by the Russian, ranked number 79 in the world, in a contest which delighted the centre court crowd in Doha.

– VIDEO: Will Wozniacki finally realise grand slam dream?
– VIDEO: Sport360 comp winner enjoys Wawrinka clinic
– Doha diary: Mingling with football stars merely a dream

A relieved Nadal pumped his fist as he won, showing how much the victory meant to him.

“I am very happy to be through, he was playing great,” said Nadal immediately afterwards.

The Spaniard, looking to recapture the form that has made him a 14-time Grand Slam winner, won the first set comfortably enough but from there the real drama started.

Despite initially being a break up, Nadal lost a see-saw second set as Kuznetsov’s powerful forehands brought him back into the match.

The Russian eventually took it 7-5, the first time the 24-year-old had ever taken a set from Nadal.

In their only previous meeting, Nadal, 29, won in three sets at the French Open last year.

Then Kuznetsov won only six games on the Paris clay but on a hard court surface on Thursday he threatened to cause the biggest upset of the tournament so far.

The final set was also unpredictable, with number two seed Nadal again squandering a break advantage before decisively taking the Russian’s serve in the ninth game.

The world number five then served out immediately afterwards to secure a place in the last four where he will play rank outsider Illya Marchenko.

The Ukrainian continued his remarkable run, overcoming injury and France’s Jeremy Chardy to qualify for the semi-finals.

The world-ranked number 94, who knocked defending champion David Ferrer out in the first round, won in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

Chardy is ranked number 31 in the world.

Marchenko, 28, triumphed despite calling for two medical timeouts in the second set and receiving treatment on court from a physio for a back problem.

“My back didn’t work so well tonight,” said the Ukrainian. “I hope I am going to be better tomorrow.”

Marchenko also beat world number 50 Teymuraz Gabashvili in the second round.

Prior to beating Ferrer — the world number seven — in three sets on Monday, Marchenko had never beaten or taken a set from a top 10-ranked player.

Most popular

Related Sections