AP Photo

Pliskova last of women’s top-10 seeds to lose at Wimbledon

Leave a comment

LONDON — The last of the women’s top-10 seeds has been knocked out at Wimbledon.

Kiki Bertens followed up her win over Venus Williams by beating No. 7 Karolina Pliskova on Monday to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.

Bertens hit seven aces and saved eight of the 10 break points she faced to win 6-3, 7-6 (2) and complete the latest upset in the women’s draw.

She beat the ninth-seeded Williams in the third round after coming from a break down in the third set.

Bertens next faces 13th-seeded Julia Goerges, who beat Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-3, 6-2 to secure her first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance.

Jelena Ostapenko and Dominika Cibulkova will also meet in the quarterfinals.

Ostapenko reached the last eight for the second straight year with a 7-6 (4), 6-0 victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, while Cibulkova beat Hsieh Su-Wei 6-4, 6-1.

Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, lost her first two service games and went 5-2 down in the opening set before rallying to force a tiebreaker against her Belarussian opponent.

Cibulkova overcame a delay caused by a wrong decision from the umpire in the first set.

Leading 5-4 and two points away from taking the first set at 0-30 on Hsieh’s serve, Cibulkova struck a backhand onto the baseline that was called out.

Hsieh – who knocked out No. 1 Simona Halep in the third round – kept the ball in play by returning it over the net as Cibulkova immediately challenged. After the review confirmed the ball landed on the line, umpire Juan Zhang of China initially awarded the point to Cibulkova.

Hsieh protested, leading the match referee to come on to discuss the decision with the umpire as calls of “replay the point” came from a bemused crowd on Court 18.

After about seven minutes, the decision was finally changed and the point replayed. The reprieve was only momentary for Hsieh, as Cibulkova regained her composure to break and take the first set.

Bryan, Sock win ATP Finals doubles title

AP Images
Leave a comment

LONDON — American pair Mike Bryan and Jack Sock saved a match point in the deciding tiebreaker to beat Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 5-7, 6-1, 13-11 for their first ATP Finals doubles title together on Sunday.

Having failed to take advantage of five championship points during the first-to-10 match tiebreaker, Bryan and Sock then had to save one against their French opponents before finally closing out victory at the O2 Arena.

“It was a hell of a match,” Bryan said.

The 40-year-old Bryan has now won the season-ending tournament five times. He won four times with his usual partner – and brother – Bob, who has been out with an injured hip since May.

Sock and Bryan have dominated since teaming up, winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open before finishing their season in style in London.

“It’s been a hell of a ride,” Bryan said. “This could be our last hoorah because Bob’s training back in Florida.”

After reaching the singles semifinals last year, Sock has endured a torrid season in that format, falling outside the top-100 ranked players. However, he became the first American since John McEnroe to add a doubles final appearance at the tournament to his last-four singles showing.

“This is special because it was a pretty bad year in singles,” Sock said. “This makes up for some of the low moments I’ve had.”

The French duo’s season is not over yet. Herbert and Mahut are part of their nation’s squad for the Davis Cup final against Croatia, which starts in Lille on Friday.

Ball boy flub taints Zverev’s ATP Finals win vs. Federer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LONDON — After pulling off one of the biggest wins of his career, Alexander Zverev was left apologizing for an unforced error he didn’t make.

Zverev denied Roger Federer a shot at a 100th career title by beating the Swiss great 7-5, 7-6 (5) on Saturday to advance to the championship match at the ATP Finals.

Federer was leading the second-set tiebreaker 4-3 and in the ascendancy of a rally on a Zverev service point when a ball boy at the back of the court dropped a ball. Zverev immediately signaled for the point to be stopped and the umpire ordered the point to be replayed.

Zverev served an ace before going on to close out the match moments later.

“I want to apologize for the situation in the tiebreak,” said Zverev, who was booed by some members of the crowd during his on-court interview. “The ball boy dropped the ball so it’s in the rules that we have to replay the point.

“I’m a little bit upset about the whole situation because this is not how I wanted it to end.”

Zverev is the youngest player at 21 to reach the final since 2009 and the first from Germany since 1996. He will next face Novak Djokovic or Kevin Anderson, who are in the other semifinal later Saturday.

Federer, 37, was seeking a record-extending seventh title, but was unable to cope with the pressure created by Zverev’s power and precision at the O2 Arena.

“He (Zverev) apologized to me at the net,” Federer said. “I was like, `Buddy, shut up. You don’t need to apologize to me here. Congratulations on a great match and a great tournament so far. All the best for the finals.’ And you move on.”

An inspired series of shots earned Zverev the first break points of the match in the 12th game and Federer sent a forehand wide to fall behind.

Federer willed himself to a break for 2-1 in the second set, but Zverev quickly composed himself to hit straight back in the following game.

Zverev overcame the freak interruption to establish a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker, and Federer netted the simplest of forehand volleys to bring up match point.

He saved the first, but Zverev confidently put away a backhand drive volley to set up a shot at the biggest title of his career and leave Federer waiting until next season for his 100th title.

“Overall, I’m happy how the season went,” said Federer, who picked up his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. “There’s many positives. So I’m excited for next season.”

Despite having reached only one Grand Slam quarterfinal, Zverev is the only active player outside the Big Four of Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to have won three Masters titles. But victory at the tour’s flagship event would exceed those achievements.

“Novak right now is the best player in the world,” said Zverev, who lost to Djokovic in the round robin. “No matter who it’s going to be, I’ll be ready.”