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Monfils Ends Medvedev Run To Reach Second Rotterdam Final

Seven days after falling to Daniil Medvedev in the Sofia Open semi-finals, Gael Monfils defeated the Russian 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to advance to his second ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final on Saturday.

The 2016 runner-up (l. to Klizan) fired 29 winners to record his 15th win in 22 matches at the opening ATP 500 event of the season after two hours and eight minutes. Monfils improves to 8-2 this season and will be aiming to capture his first ATP Tour trophy since lifting the Qatar ExxonMobil Open title (d. Rublev) in January 2018.

Monfils will meet top seed Kei Nishikori or Stan Wawrinka for the title on Sunday. The 32-year-old trails Nishikori 1-4 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and has triumphed in two of five FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Wawrinka.

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In a series of marathon rallies, Medvedev and Monfils opened the court and mixed the pace well to entertain the crowd in the opening stages. At 2-2, Medvedev capitalised on back-to-back errors from Monfils to claim the first break and, despite surrendering his advantage, the Russian clinched the first set with back-to-back games from 4-4. With comfort on his backhand side, Medvedev proved the more consistent player in extended rallies to extract crucial errors from his opponent.

Monfils began to increase his aggression in the second set, hitting through his forehand and moving up the court to gain a 2-0 lead. The Frenchman may have gifted Medvedev a route back into the set with consecutive double faults at 3-1 (30/30), but Monfils hit through the court on his backhand to regain his break advantage and soon levelled the match with a powerful serve out wide.

After trading breaks early in the deciding set, Monfils earned two break points at 4-4 with an imaginative drop shot, before clinching the break with an aggressive approach to Medvedev's forehand. Once again, Monfils moved to the net to earn two match points and then booked his place in the final after dragging Medvedev off the court with an angled backhand approach.

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Monfils ended a streak of 15 consecutive sets won by Medvedev to take the match to a deciding set. The last man to win a set against Medvedev prior to Monfils was Robin Haase, who led the Russian by a set in the Sofia Open Round of 16 last week.

 

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/monfils-beats-medvedev-in-rotterdam-2019

Thiem Stays Unbeaten In Buenos Aires

Dominic Thiem was made to work by Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay on Friday at the Argentina Open, but remained unbeaten (11-0) in Buenos Aires after a hard-fought 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win to reach the semi-finals.

He’ll play fourth seed Diego Schwartzman, who reached his first Buenos Aires semi-final with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain. The Argentine hasn't lost a set against Ramos-Vinolas in their three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings. Although he trails Thiem 1-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, Schwartzman won their most recent clash at the 2018 Rogers Cup.

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Thiem struggled to find his footing early against Cuevas, who is in fine form after reaching his first semi-final of 2019 last week in Cordoba (l. to Pella). But after dropping the opener, Thiem raised his level and raced to a 3-0 advantage in the second set. The top seed was broken as he attempted to serve out the second set at 5-3, but regrouped with powerful baseline hitting and immediately broke Cuevas in the next game to level the match.

The third set started identically to the second, with Thiem earning an early break of serve with a gorgeous backhand return winner and sprinting to a 3-0 lead. The early momentum was all the Austrian needed and he eventually closed out the match after one hour and 49 minutes. The 25-year-old Austrian improved his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Cuevas to 3-2. 

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Guido Pella delighted the home crowd by erasing four match points to defeat Jaume Munar of Spain 6-7(3), 7-6(9), 6-1. Munar was unable to convert on two match points on his serve at 5-4 in the second set and two more in the tie-break at 6/5 and 8/7. Pella made good on his third set point at 10/9 with a crafty angled forehand and then raced through the remainder of the contest.

The Argentine is playing some of the best tennis of his career, having recorded a runner-up finish last week in Cordoba (l. Londero). He has also pushed himself back into the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings.

Pella will next take on third seed Marco Cecchinato, who prevailed in a grueling baseline battle against Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena 7-6(3), 6-4. Cecchinato won his only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Pella this past July in the Umag final.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/thiem-cecchinato-pella-buenos-aires-2019-friday

Del Potro Back In Business At Delray Beach

After sitting out the past four months with a right knee injury, a healthy Juan Martin del Potro returns next week as the top seed at the Delray Beach Open.

The Argentine, a wild card entry, kicks off his fifth appearance at this event with a first-round clash against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan. The 2011 champion has reached at least the semi-finals in three of his previous four appearances.

Second seed John Isner, another wild card, starts his week against Canadian Peter Polansky. The American holds a 10-6 record in Delray Beach. Third seed and Australian Open quarterfinalist Frances Tiafoe faces a qualifier in the opening round, while fourth seed Steve Johnson begins his campaign with an all-American clash against Bradley Klahn.

Other notable names in the draw include 2015 champion Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, Nick Kyrgios of Australia and last month’s ASB Classic champion Tennys Sandgren of the United States.

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Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/del-potro-delray-beach-2019-preview

Querrey Returns To New York SF

Twelve months ago, Sam Querrey was a tie-break away from winning the New York Open (l. to Anderson). The American might get another shot at the ATP 250 title this weekend.

Querrey advanced to his first tour-level semi-final since last year in New York on Friday, beating Jason Jung of Chinese Taipei 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Jung had upset second-seeded American Frances Tiafoe on Thursday night. But the 6'6” Querrey hit 23 aces and didn't face a break point in the decider to advance.

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“I came out strong and ready to go in the third set and got the early break and that allowed me to free up. I got some momentum on my serve, allowing me to go for it on my return games,” said Querrey, who often practises with Jung in Los Angeles. “He had a great tournament. He's a guy who makes you beat him.”

Querrey was close to cracking the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings when he fell to Kevin Anderson in last year's final. From there, however, the American didn't reach another semi-final and fell to as low as No. 59.

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But the 31-year-old has recommitted himself to playing aggressively this year, and so far it's working. In the semi-finals, he will meet Canadian Brayden Schnur, who's having the best week of his career.

The 23-year-old Schnur was the final alternate accepted into the qualifying draw. Then he won two matches to make the main draw, but a semi-final run hardly seemed likely. Schnur had been 0-5 in tour-level matches before this week.

But he beat compatriot Jack Mingjie Lin and Steve Johnson of the U.S. for his first tour-level wins, and his dream run continued on Friday with a 6-7(7), 7-6(5), 7-5 win against Paolo Lorenzi of Italy. Schnur lost four consecutive set points from 6/2 in the tie-break, but he recovered in the second and scored the first break of the match at 5-5 in the deciding set.

“It’s definitely something I didn’t expect,” Schnur said. “I’m talking to my buddies, and they’re saying, 'Your breakthrough week is going to come when you least expect it.' Sure enough this week, I show up here, I’m pretty tired, came off having the flu, and now I’m in the semi-finals.”

In the bottom half, American Reilly Opelka reached his first tour-level semi-final in nearly three years, beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/querrey-opelka-isner-schnur-new-york-2019-friday

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