David Goffin advances to quarterfinals at Japan Open

Getty Images
0 Comments

TOKYO — When it comes to the Japan Open, David Goffin is impressive. And that bodes well for his chances at next year’s Olympics.

The third-seeded Belgian, who reached the final in both of his previous appearances at the tournament in Tokyo, advanced to the quarterfinals Thursday by beating Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2).

“I tried to break him during the match but I didn’t. But I served really well, we were both really solid on our service games,” Goffin said. “It was 6-1 in both tiebreaks. In the first one I could have won it earlier but it was 6-5. Then I had another good tiebreak in the second so I’m happy with my performance and it was a good fight.”

Goffin is the only former champion in the draw. He lost to Nick Kyrgios in the 2016 final before defeating Adrian Mannarino for the title in 2017.

Goffin won 77 percent of his first serves and saved both break points he faced. He is now 11-1 in Tokyo and said he feels right at home at the venue that will be used for next year’s Olympics.

“I’m happy the Olympics are here in Tokyo because it’s a city that I like,” Goffin said. “I’m sure it will be different in July and August with the heat and humidity but I like the conditions here, I have some good wins here, so maybe next year will be a good opportunity to get some wins here.”

Goffin will next face Hyeon Chung.

Chung beat Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, hitting 11 aces and winning 90% of his first-serve points and 53% of his return points in the third set.

Also, John Millman beat Lloyd Harris 6-3, 6-2 and will next face Taro Daniel, who defeated Jordan Thompson 6-4, 7-6 (3).

“I really wanted to reduce those unforced errors, make Lloyd have to work for every single point and try to neutralize that serve, because we know it’s a cannon,” Millman said.

U.S. sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

Getty Images
1 Comment

The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches in Tashkent.

Ram is No. 3 in the ATP Tour doubles rankings and partnered with Joe Salisbury to win the last two U.S. Open men’s doubles titles. But the Americans opted not to use Ram last year in the final round, when they dropped the doubles match in a 2-1 defeat against Italy in the quarterfinals.

Krajicek was making his Davis Cup debut, having reached No. 9 in the doubles rankings late last year.

“They had five great days of preparation, and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. And after that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them,” interim captain David Nainkin said.

Denis Kudla then beat Amir Milushev 6-4, 6-4.

The winners of the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend advance to the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September, along with reigning champion Canada, 2022 runner-up Australia and wild-card recipients Italy and Spain.

Eight teams will advance to the closing matches of the Davis Cup Finals scheduled for Nov. 21-26 in Malaga, Spain.

In other matches:

France 3, Hungary 2: On indoor hard courts in Tatabanya, Hungary, Ugo Humbert won it for the French with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Fabian Marozsan. Adrian Mannarino had forced the deciding match by beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Serbia 4, Norway 0: On indoor hard courts in Oslo, the visitors, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, put away the match when Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic edged Viktor Durasovic and Herman Hoeyeraal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Hamad Medjedovic then outlasted Durasovic 6-4, 6-7, 10-4.

Sweden 3, Bosnia 1: On indoor hard courts in Stockholm, Mikael Ymer sent the hosts through by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Lesia Tsurenko to face Zhu Lin in Thailand Open final

Getty Images
1 Comment

HUA HIN, Thailand — Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine reached her first final in four years after the top-seeded Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury during their semifinal match at the Thailand Open.

Tsurenko, in search of her fifth WTA title, was leading the 2019 U.S. Open champion 7-5, 4-0 when the Canadian stopped playing.

The former world No. 23 fought from 3-5 down to take the first set and reeled off eight straight games before Andreescu retired with a right shoulder problem.

“Bianca is such an amazing player. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today,” said the 33-year-old Tsurenko, now ranked 136th. “But I was just fighting and I told myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately, she had to retire.”

The Ukrainian last lifted a WTA trophy in Acapulco in 2018 and hasn’t been to a final since Brisbane in 2019.

She will face Zhu Lin of China in the final.

“She had some good wins in the Australian Open,” Tsurenko said. “She is one of the dangerous players in this tournament. She is going to give a good fight.”

In the all-Chinese semifinal earlier, Zhu benefited from a barrage of unforced errors from Wang Xinyu and prevailed 6-2, 6-4 for her first WTA final.

The world No. 54 player, who reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January, relied on her solid baseline game to force errors.

“It was very windy, so I tried to be patient and keep my first serves in,” said the 29-year-old Zhu, who will team up with Wang in the doubles final against Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu of Taiwan.