Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun crashed out of the BB&T Atlanta Open in Georgia on Thursday after a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Germany’s Benjamin Becker, who set up a quarter-final against Thiemo de Bakker.
No. 7 seed Lu served six double faults and failed to convert either of his break-point chances as the Taiwanese No. 1 was knocked out by the German in 1 hour, 19 minutes.
Becker won 86 percent of his first serves to set up the last eight clash with luck loser De Bakker of the Netherlands, who recorded a big upset by beating second seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa in straight sets.
Ranked a distant No. 142 in the world, the 25-year-old Dutch right-hander took down the world No. 17 6-4, 7-5.
“It proves that I can play against [the top players],” De Bakker told reporters.
For Anderson, the runner-up to John Isner last year, it was a disappointing night.
“I didn’t feel like my normal serve out there,” the Florida resident said. “I felt a step behind the whole match.”
Top seed Isner saved two match points before edging fellow American Robby Ginepri 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5.
The defending champion was set for an early exit when down 4-5 and 15-40 in the deciding third set, but he leaned on his rocket serve to fight back, level the match at 5-5 and then break Ginepri for the first time in the contest in the following game.
Isner then disposed of the world No. 281 quickly in his final service game, closing the contest with four straight aces to take his tally to 30 for the night.
“I was a nervous wreck out there, but fortunately for me I was able to hit two big serves and bring that game back to deuce, and it really turned the match around,” the world No. 12 told reporters. “He returns very well, that’s what he does best and he was giving me fits on my serve tonight. I actually served a lot better as the match progressed, and I had to because he was returning well and that last game, I can’t serve any better than that.”
Australia’s Marinko Matosevic, the eighth seed, was too good for Tim Cmyczek of the US as he won through 6-4, 7-5.
The Australian, who won 61 percent of his service points and converted five of seven break-point chances, faces Isner in the last eight.
AFP, GSTAAD, Switzerland
Top seed Mikhail Youzhny began his title defense at the Suisse Open on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-4 opening defeat of Frenchman Kenny de Schepper.
One day after enjoying a photo-opportunity fondue meal with his family at a local alpine mountainside refuge above the pedestrianized village, the 19th-ranked Russian cruised into the quarter-finals.
Youzhny set up a repeat of last year’s final as he faces seventh seed Robin Haase after the Dutchman overcame the last Swiss in the field, Henri Laaksonen, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
At the bottom of the draw, Viktor Troicki won his second match after his return from a one-year ban for asking to postpone a blood test in Monte Carlo in April last year due to feeling poorly. The Serb was hammered by a tribunal and is playing on his last wild-card entry with his ranking standing at No. 847.
He reached the last eight over Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-4.
The day’s final match was hit by the weather, with rain leaving fourth seed Fernando Verdasco level with Germany’s Jan-Leonard Struff 3-6, 6-3, 1-1.
The event has been penalized at the box office by the withdrawal of Switzerland’s Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka, who cited the need to rest before the start of the North American hard-court season, despite having an appearance contract with the tournament.
Youzhny continued the clay momentum that he built starting earlier this month in Stuttgart, Germany, where the winner of 10 career ATP Tour titles reached his first semi-final of the year.
“Always the first match is not easy,” the 32-year-old said. “It doesn’t matter against whom you play. Today, I played good, I made two breaks and played well on my serve. It’s been a tough season for me after injury [earlier in the year], but the season is also not over yet.”
Youzhny is playing the tournament for the eighth straight year and ninth time overall, holding a 13-7 record.
He and Haase clashed for the trophy a year ago as the Russian tries to successfully defend a title for the first time.
Haase had to work for more than two hours to get past Laaksonen, the world No. 319 22-year-old making his third appearance in Gstaad.
It took the Swiss until the first round this week to earn his first ATP Tour win of the season, but he was denied in his bid to earn a career-first quarter-final spot.
Haase, who struggled with confidence in winning his opening match, had to ride a wave of momentum, before finally advancing as Laaksonen saved three match points to level at 5-5 in the final set as the Dutchman served for the win.
However, the fragile world No. 51 found his reserves to finally secure the victory thanks in part to nine double faults off the Swiss racket, with Laaksonen taking defeat on a backhand error.
AP, UMAG, Croatia
Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay upset sixth seed Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday to become the first qualifier to reach the Croatia Open quarter-finals in seven years.
Also, local wild-card Borna Coric, last year’s Junior US Open champion, beat qualifier Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 to join Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals, the first time since 2002 two Croatians have gone so far in Umag.
In another upset, fourth seed Joao Sousa of Portugal, who lost to Cuevas in the Bastad final two weeks ago, fell to Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Fabio Fognini of Italy stayed true to his top seeding by beating Albert Montanes of Spain 7-6 (7/2), 6-0.
Fognini, the runner-up last year, lost only three points in the 20 minute second set.
Cuevas, riding the confidence of his maiden title in Sweden, did not drop serve, played patiently from the baseline and pushed Seppi into unforced errors.
Seppi failed to convert three break points while trailing 5-3 in the first set and never recovered.
He won the first game of the second set, then lost the next six, winning only four points on Cuevas’ serve. Cuevas next faces Gabashvili.
The 17-year-old Coric earned his first win on the ATP Tour only on Monday and needed three chances to finish off Zeballos. Coric faces Fognini in the quarter-finals.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
When two Spanish soccer players took to the controls of FIFA 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw their La Liga match canceled, a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. The huge digital crowd last week is part of a spectacular boom for the digital gaming industry, as record numbers flock to online servers for distraction, entertainment and friendship with the “real world” seemingly falling apart. Real Betis Balompie striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his own digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla, which was broadcast on popular video game streaming platform Twitch. It took place at the same time the
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson has said that the sport is “fighting for survival” as competitions at all levels are shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Robinson told Sky Sport’s The Breakdown that he cannot say when professional rugby might resume in New Zealand and in what form, whether it would be the five-nation Super Rugby tournament or the domestic Mitre 10 Cup. Rugby is New Zealand’s national sport and the All Blacks, the national men’s team, are one of the country’s most recognizable brands. The continuing suspension of competitions has been fully testing rugby’s resilience, Robinson said. “We’re fighting for sport’s survival in
With careers spent scratching around dusty outposts, sometimes with very little in their pockets, tennis’ unheralded army of foot soldiers say that they are struggling to afford food after being made unemployed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgian player Sofia Shapatava is pleading with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to dig deep and help out the hundreds of players who lost their livelihoods when the men’s and women’s tours went into a three-month lockdown. “Players lower ranked than 250 will not be able to buy food in two-three weeks’ time,” said Shapatava, who is not optimistic that the ITF will look favorably on