tops Gasquet again, Tiafoe upsets Zverev
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[August 17, 2017]
(Reuters) - Rafa Nadal extended
his spotless record against Richard Gasquet, while unseeded American
teenager Frances Tiafoe upset Alexander Zverev to reach the third
round of the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday.
It must have felt like deja vu for the Frenchman, who fell 6-3 6-4
to drop to 0-15 against Nadal. Gasquet last won a set against the
Spaniard in 2008.
Nadal, who repelled the only break point he faced in the match,
served out the match at love in the 10th game, firing in three aces,
including the finishing point.
“I work every day to play better. It's obvious that was an important
start for me, a good one," said French Open champion Nadal, who will
claim the world number one spot on Monday.
"Now I have another opportunity tomorrow to go on court and play."
The 15-times grand slam winner will next face fellow Spaniard Albert
Ramos-Vinolas, who eliminated Nadal's Wimbledon conqueror, 16th seed
Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, 5-7 6-4 6-4.
World number seven Zverev, who stunned Roger Federer in the Montreal
final last week after claiming the title in Washington D.C., was on
a 10-match winning streak but faded in the final set against
energetic baseliner Tiafoe, who won 4-6 6-3 6-4.
It was 19-year-old Tiafoe's first win over a top-10 player and he
bounded around the court in joy, thumping his chest to a standing
ovation after Zverev floated a backhand long on match point with his
third unforced error of the last game.
"I saw he was a bit tired, but he was still competing. It was tough.
I was happy to get through it," 87th-ranked Tiafoe told Tennis
Channel. "My game plan was to keep the rallies long and keep him out
there and that's what I did."
Tiafoe will meet John Isner next and said he knows he will be tested
by his compatriot's booming serve.
"I just got to weather the storm," Tiafoe said. "He's going to drop
some big-boy heat on me and I'm going to have to be ready for it."
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Rafael Nadal (ESP) returns a shot against Richard Gasquet (FRA)
during the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis
Center. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Zverev, 20, was not dismayed too much by the defeat
and said he was looking forward to the U.S. Open later this month.
“I think Roger (Federer) and Rafa are the strongest ones and a few
guys coming after that. I think I am involved in that group. I am in
that small group of players," the German said.
“So I feel very confident the way I was playing in the last two
weeks. And I think going into the U.S. Open, I feel the best I have
ever felt maybe going into a slam."
Earlier, Bulgarian seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov beat Feliciano Lopez
7-6(5) 6-4 to set up a last-16 clash with Juan Martin del Potro.
Del Potro advanced with a 6-4 6-4 win over American qualifier
Mitchell Krueger, winning each set on a late break.
Dimitrov has not beaten Del Potro in five career meetings, with the
most recent defeat coming at Rome in May.
Australian Nick Kyrgios beat Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3
7-6(6) to reach the third round, where he will face unseeded
Croatian Ivo Karlovic.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in Tampa, Florida and Frank Pingue in
Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom/Peter Rutherford)
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