Wawrinka Among Upsets, Escapes Wed. at ATP Madrid; Insane Thurs. With Nadal-Kyrgios
by Jeremy Davis | May 10th, 2017, 8:54 pm
  • 40 Comments

The year 2017 seems like the return of the clay-court specialist as unseeded dirt ballers continue to make their mark in the run-up to the French Open.


Top seeds Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori all struggled through three-set challenges over unseeded opponents on Wednesday in Madrid to move into the third round, while three Top 10-seeded players made their exits.

Djokovic, who fired almost his entire support team ahead of Madrid, was not brimming with confidence in escaping a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 meeting with Spanish clay veteran and wild card Nicolas Almagro.

“Obviously when you’re not winning too many matches, you have to build the confidence level, so to win matches like this definitely helps confidence,” said Djokovic, who came back from 0-3 down in the final set. “[Almagro] loves playing on clay. He was obviously motivated. He has a lot of strength in his shots, a lot of precision. He can, from both corners, hit equally well. If he doesn’t make many mistakes, he can really beat anyone. But I hung in there and knew that eventually I’m going to get my chances and going to get some looks on the second serves.”

Djokovic will hope to get more looks next round against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who defeated Gilles Simon 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(3).

“It’s obvious [that] tomorrow I need to serve pretty well,” Lopez said of facing Djokovic. “That’s my main weapon to be able to beat Novak. I have to take advantage, try not to play long rallies, because Novak is better than me when we play long rallies. I think I have to play an intelligent game, work out my tactics.”

Nadal expectedly got everything he could handle from his nemesis Fabio Fognini, escaping with a little help from the Italian 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4.

“I think that even though I played really badly, my attitude has been very positive,” said Nadal, who benefited from Fognini missing some sitters and easy volleys on big points throughout the match. “My attitude and the will to win today’s match was there. My level of tennis was not so high today, but I managed to make it through. It was uncomfortable. I think before it wasn’t so windy, but when I started playing, it was a really awful day. It was really windy.”

Nadal will need to up his level for his next opponent, No. 16-seeded Nick Kyrgios who took care of unseeded American Ryan Harrison 6-3, 6-3.

“He’s one of the most difficult players you can play,” Nadal said of the big-ball-striking Aussie. “It’s true that I think on clay he’s a very, very tough player…I have to play really well to be able to beat him. I think I’m ready to do that.”

Nishikori was pummeled in the first set before recovering for a 1-6, 6-0, 6-4 win over Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. He will next meet former French Open finalist David Ferrer, who received a walkover (shoulder injury) from No. 10 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

“I have a great rivalry with David,” said Nishikori, who leads their career head-to-head 8-4. “We’ve played so many great matches, long matches. I always love to play him, because I can challenge myself. I know it’s going to be tough one again. So I will try to prepare well, and hopefully I can win the match.”

No. 5 seed Milos Raonic was a rare two-set winner, defeating Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-4 to book a meeting with No. 9 David Goffin in the third round.

Seeds not so lucky Wednesday were No. 3 Stan Warinka outlasted by France’s Benoit Paire 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, and No. 7 Marin Cilic out-toughed by German wunderkind Alexander Zverev 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4. Paire will next face Pablo Cuevas who was a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 winner over Nicolas Mahut. Zverev’s reward is a meeting with No. 11 Tomas Berdych, who beat Dutchman Robin Haase 7-6(5), 6-3.

In other action No. 12 Grigor Dimitrov defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-5 to set up a popcorn match with No. 8 Dominic Thiem, and lucky loser Borna Coric topped French qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-5, 6-4, setting up a meeting with world No. 1 Andy Murray.

Match highlights a-plenty Thursday in Madrid include (2) Djokovic vs. Lopez, (1) Murray vs. (LL) Coric, (4) Nadal vs. (16) Kyrgios (upset alert), (6) Nishikori vs. Ferrer, (5) Raonic vs. (9) Goffin (upset alert), (11) Berdych vs. Zverev (upset alert), and (8) Thiem vs. (12) Dimitrov.


THURSDAY MADRID SCHEDULE

MANOLO SANTANA start 12:00 noon
WTA – C. Vandeweghe (USA) vs [3] S. Halep (ROU)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP – F. Lopez (ESP) vs [2] N. Djokovic (SRB)
ATP – [1] A. Murray (GBR) vs [LL] B. Coric (CRO)
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP – [16] N. Kyrgios (AUS) vs [4] R. Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 9:30 pm
WTA – E. Bouchard (CAN) vs [8] S. Kuznetsova (RUS)

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO start 12:00 noon
ATP – [6] K. Nishikori (JPN) vs D. Ferrer (ESP)
Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – K. Bertens (NED) vs A. Sevastova (LAT)
WTA – [14] K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs [WC] S. Cirstea (ROU)
ATP – [12] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [8] D. Thiem (AUT)
ATP – [PR] T. Haas (GER) / M. Mirnyi (BLR) vs [8] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)


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40 Comments for Wawrinka Among Upsets, Escapes Wed. at ATP Madrid; Insane Thurs. With Nadal-Kyrgios

Tennis Vagabond Says:

WHAT A LINE-UP for tomorrow!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Watched some of the Rafa match. He looked very beatable, but Fognini did everything he could not to win.

Tomorrow, I like (mainly) a youth brigade: Kyrgios, Novak, Murray, Nishikori, Raonic, Zverev, Thiem.


Giles Says:

Not true. FF gave his all as he usually does against Rafa!!


Nits Says:

As expected Ferrer gone


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I’m going out on a limb with my Kyrgios prediction, so I’ll give my reasoning now, and if I turn out right tonight I’ll be a prophet.

Rafa has been on a downward trend (I know, from #1 on clay to #1 on clay).

From Monte Carlo to Barcelona to Madrid, his level had dropped a bit at each stage.

At Monte Carlo, he looked like the greatest player of all time. From start to finish of the tournament, he exuded confidence and mastery.

At Barcelona, he looked like a better player than anyone else there. But at Monte Carlo he looked invincible. It seemed inconceivable that someone could beat him with that form. Yesterday, against Fognini, any top ten player having a decent day could have beaten him.

We shall see tonight! I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Rafa bounce back and trounce the punk. But you don’t win awards by playing it safe, so I’m picking the upset!


Daniel Says:

Novak in straights. Apart from IW where he lsot in R16 all his Masters results post RG 2016 are still decent (not hos standard but top 10 material): won Canada, semis Shangai, QF Paris, Finals WTF, R16 IW, QF Miami, QF MC and now QF or better in Madrid.

Nishikori next, who he can handle, although Kei likes Madris conditions.

Think he will get to semis at least here.

Goffin beat Raonic and continues his clay assualt. Next Kyrgios or Nadal.

TV, also think Kyrgios has a good chance today, Nadal played 3 hours yesterday and Nick has a much better serve than Fognini so he’ll protect his serve better.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Alright, I called Raonic wrong. Man, Goffin’s having a career year.


Luca Says:

Great article! I really think that Kyrgios could pull it out. He’s great against the Big Four, and Nadal has to be exhausted from the amount of time he’s spent on the court.

If you guys wouldn’t mind, could you check out http://www.courtsidewatch.com? It’s a new tennis blog that desires to provide you with high-quality news, and we need all the support we can get to help spread the word about this beautiful game.

Thanks!


Daniel Says:

Murray out😱
Not having a great clay season at all. Apart frok Dubai where se saved MP in a match he didn’t do anthting #1 material all year.


Daniel Says:

Thiem lost first set to Dimi, but if he comes through a high chance a next gen will ne in finals, either Zverev, Coric or Thiem / Dimi. Can’t see neither Curvas nor Paire there.


Margot Says:

Andy was simply c**p :( If elbow injury then could be kiss of death for his career. Needs the oh so fashionable 6 months off.
Good job I like Mighty Sascha and Naughty Nick! And Coric, in spite of his latest win….


Van Persie Says:

Was surprised, that Nole won and Andy lost in 2 sets.
Nishikori will be a challenge tomorrow, for sure. Just remembered the semifinal from Rome last year, on clay. And Nole is not in that shape this year.


JM01 Says:

Novak won in straight sets, inshallah, mashallah, yallahhh yayyyyy. It is equivalent to winning a GS title nowadays. Some quality gets and shot making by Novak in the match. Now to see whether he can back it up with a win against Kei tomorrow.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Once again, ROger gains ground on world #1 by staying home.

Go Rog!


Daniel Says:

TV,

Murray will drop to 10760 and defend 1000 frok Rome next week. And entering Rome outside top 10 race points.

Wawrinka is just not #1 material. It’s starting to look more and more on a Big 4 Battle for #1 this year.

Let’s see how Djoko fare this week. Nadal is bascially a sue in to finish clay as #1 on race but will enter his worst part of the season and when Federer will be back and Murray finding hos feet on grass.


Colin Says:

Murray at his most infuriating.
I think I should switch my allegiance to some other sport. one so obscure that it is never broadcast or even mentioned in the media. Underwater chess, perhaps…


Daniel Says:

Thiem fighting this match, he was down a break second set and turn it around and was down 1-4 30-30 on serve thirs set and now leveled.

Knowing Dimi’s choking abilities I think is safe to say Thiem will eventually win.


Willow Says:

Colin underwater chess lol ….


Giles Says:

Murray too busy reading his notes instead of focusing on the match! . School kid!


Margot Says:

Fabulous tie between Thiem and Dimi. Don’t much like Thiem, but really admired his fighting spirit. Don’t think Dimi choked Daniel, just Thiem wanted it more in the end.


Margot Says:

Colin: didn’t they play 3 D chess on the Enterprise? So Complicated it would take you right away from Andy’s woes. Looks burnt out to me…or elbow injury is much worse than he’s letting on.
Think he needs R and R and sod No 1. Our man is lost :(


Daniel Says:

Thiem, Coric, Zverev boosted for first Masters final, unless Cuevas spoil the party. He is a veteran amd experienced on clau but played too much already.

Would ve interesting to have one of the new ones against Djoko or Nadal on finals.


gonzalowski Says:

Rafa starting well, but sometimes leaves the ball on the middle of court and Kirgios smashes the ball.
Games go fast at least, maybe they won’t finish too tired.


Daniel Says:

3 straigh breaks of serve. Checking score and Kyrgios even tough with high first serve percebtage won less than 50%. Nadal probably returning deep middle court, classic clay return


Van orten Says:

Rafa is in uberform!!! Wow wow wow


gonzalowski Says:

Kyrgios trying to vary a lot, sometimes too much, he makes strange shots; plays as if you were on the beach They are more dangerous his drives or backhands than the serve today. But is failing too much, too


gonzalowski Says:

Acrobat mode from him! stay focused, Rafa


Van Persie Says:

Thiem vs. Dimi was such a quality match. Awesome shots.
Nick vs Rafa was expected to be match of the day, think Rafa will finish this quick.


Van orten Says:

To be honest … nick not really there . Playing very very poorly


Daniel Says:

4/13 on second serves won Kyrgios won’t be competitive. Easy straight sets win for Nadal.

Goffin next, with a chance to redeem himslef after MC mental collapse.


Van orten Says:

I enjoy nadal s line cleaning a lot though


gonzalowski Says:

Horrible playing from him. He’s out now


gonzalowski Says:

Girl balls are real beauties… and skilled tonight, too


Daniel Says:

That was anticlimatic. Just what Nadal needed to rest more, fancy practice.


Jenny shekersavva Says:

Well nadal you really showed your talent tonight with some fantastic shots that I have never seen you play before you were perfect .


Tennis Vagabond Says:

I stand by my prediction! Its not my fault Kyrgios didn’t live up to my expectations!

Anyway, Rafa fans should thank me for the motivational material I obviously gave him.

Vamos!


Giles Says:

Looks like Rafa schooled NK today


Wog Boy Says:

Good job Rafa in shutting the big mouth, now he can go and play basketball.
Nole is better of spending some time in Mallorca rather than in Marbella, he might learn thing or two.


Wog Boy Says:

^^^ “better off”


Willow Says:

I Didnt expect that to be as straight forward as it was, Rafa showing NK who was the boss in that match, nice one Rafa, still not feeling him winning this title though ….

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