Djokovic crushes Cilic in US Open semifinal

Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) Novak Djokovic is into his sixth U.S. Open final, and he knows this much: He’ll be well-rested for his match against a Swiss opponent.

In the most lopsided men’s semifinal at the tournament in the Open era, the top-ranked Serb routed defending champ Marin Cilic 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 in 85 minutes Friday.

Djokovic is 14-0 against Cilic.

The ninth-seeded Cilic had tweaked his right ankle in the fourth round and played a five-set quarterfinal Tuesday. Djokovic said it was clear he was facing a player who was less than 100 percent.

That can be tricky, but he managed the situation to near-perfection. Djokovic had only 16 winners, playing clean tennis while Cilic’s mistakes piled up.

“I came out with a good focus, good intensity, and obviously executed the game plan,” Djokovic said.

Cilic got just 45 percent of his first serves in and lost 78 percent of his second-serve points.

Cilic has had an uneven season since his surprise win at Flushing Meadows last year, but he had played well in returning to the site of his only major title. That all changed against the nine-time Grand Slam champion. Cilic won only 11 points in the first set.

Djokovic reached the championship match at all four majors in the same year for the first time in his career.

In the second semi, Roger Federer, who lost to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, faces countryman Stan Wawrinka, who beat Djokovic in the French Open final.

Wozniacki beats Pavlyuchenkova for Pan Pacific title

AP Photo
Leave a comment

TOKYO — Caroline Wozniacki overwhelmed Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 7-5 to retain her Pan Pacific Open title on Sunday.

The victory gives Wozniacki, also champion in Tokyo in 2010, her first title of the year. The Dane had lost all six of her previous finals in 2017.

“This was my seventh final of the year – it gets harder to get that last win,” said world No. 6 Wozniacki, who has now won at least one title every year since 2008. “I’ve been putting myself in a position to win all year. It was really important for me to stay focused and positive.”

Wozniacki had crushed world No.1 Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0 in the semifinals and a similar score looked on the cards here Sunday.

“The court suits my game. She plays powerfully so it was important for me to make her move around early on. In the first set everything was going my way. In the second set she served better, so it was tricky for me to break.”

The first set lasted only 20 minutes as Pavlyuchenkova struggled to get a foothold.

“I was really disappointed in the first three games,” said the Russian. “I felt I was a bit unlucky and really believe if I had turned those points round and won the games, it may have been a different match. I was a little down on myself and missed more than I should.”

The Russian fought harder in a second set that went with serve until the 12th and final game.

Yet she failed to earn a break point in the match and appeared outclassed in her first Premier-level final since Moscow in 2015. Semifinal opponent Angelique Kerber was the only seed she faced this week before third-seeded Wozniacki.

“It’s disappointing to lose no matter which round it is, even more disappointing in the final,” said Pavlyuchenkova, who needed three sets to win all four of her matches en route to the final.

“I felt a little flat due to the previous matches. I didn’t have so much energy left.”

Federer beats Kyrgios as Europe wins first Laver Cup

AP Photo
1 Comment

PRAGUE — Roger Federer rallied to beat Nick Kyrgios 4-6, 7-6 (6), 11-9 Sunday and clinch the new Laver Cup tournament for Europe on Sunday.

The three-day competition at Prague’s O2 Arena pitted a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world.

Seen by some as a tennis version of the Ryder Cup in golf, the inaugural Laver Cup was played on an unusual black hard court.

Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych also formed the European team, while Sam Querrey, John Isner, Jack Sock, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe played for the world.

The tournament is to honor Rod Laver, an 11-time major champion who won two calendar-year Grand Slams.

Chicago will host it in 2018.