Five tries and Alexander Zverev is still winless in Cincinnati. The German No. 1 fell in his fifth straight 3-set defeat going down to 19-year-old qualifier Miomir Kecmanovic 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4.
Zverev, who struggled last week with his serve, today mixed in a career-high total of 20 double faults!
Kecmanovic was the direct beneficiary as the Serb collected his first career Top 10 win.
“It means a lot because I also broke into the Top 50 today. So it’s a really special moment for me. I’m really happy that I was able to play the way I did. I worked a lot, I practised a lot. To see everything come together and happen, it’s really special,” Kecmanovic said. “I definitely just tried to go for everything. As I said, I had nothing to lose, really. He was the favourite, and it obviously helped me that he didn’t serve as well as he does usually.
“I tried to stay calm. I tried to just use my chances and thankfully it paid off.”
Fellow Top 10er Stefanos Tsitsipas also went down losing to Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(6).
“It was a great match, he is such a good player,” Struff said to ATPTour.com. “I managed to win in Barcelona, so I knew I had a good chance. I had a chance to serve it out at 6-4, 5-4, but he broke back and that’s the quality he has. The quality I had today was coming back from that: the chance to win the match in two sets, then at 6/3 in the tie-break and then from 6/6. He was playing very well. I was telling myself, ‘I have to go for it, otherwise I won’t win.’
“I’ve been working hard with my team, on my fitness, and it’s all finally paying off and I’m playing with greater consistency.”
The Greek who just turned 21 has now lost his last three matches.
Kei Nishikori also exited in part due to illness and in part to his countrywoman Yoshihito Nishioka who picked up his first Top 10 win with a 7-6(2), 6-4 result.
“I was so excited to play with him because he’s the hero of Japanese tennis. I couldn’t sleep yesterday,” said Nishioka. “I was watching him when I was a junior and learning many things from him. I just was trying my best against my hero. I’m very happy today, but most happy about playing with him.”
And now he’s part of the tennis party in Japan, or at least he hopes.
“I want to check the morning news tomorrow to see what they’re going to say. Hopefully many spotlight on me,” said Nishioka. “In Japanese tennis, the only famous players are Kei and Naomi. I want to change that. Hopefully [fans] are going to maybe watch me after the match today.”
In other results, former semifinalist Stan Wawrinka lost to qualifier Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-4. 2018 semifinal David Goffin advanced over Guido Pella.
Daniil Medvedev, Roberto Bautista Agut and Richard Gasquet were also winners.
In the late match, Karen Khachanov came from set a down to defeat former finalist Nick Kyrgios 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-2. Kyrgios kept a running dialogue throughout the match with the chair and the crowd.
After dropping the second set, Kyrgios got a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for verbal. He left the court for a bathroom break but it was really to smash two racquets in the player locker room hallway which the cameras picked up. Upon returning, he was hit with a time violation as he wrapped his grip while Khachanov was at the ready to serve and start the set.
He later tried an inexplicable tweener volley down break point in the third, and that was it.
Kyrios then called chair ump Fergus Murphy a “F-ing tool” after shaking hands with Khachanov. Fines to come.
Through all the drama, Khachanov stayed calm.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) August 15, 2019
In third round play tomorrow, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer face qualifiers. Djokovic will meet Pablo Carreno Busta while Federer faces Rubelv in a first-time meeting.
There are no Top 10 seeds left on the bottom half with Goffin and Bautista Agut the highest ranked players remaining.
THURSDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
ATP – Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) vs [PR] Richard Gasquet (France)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA – Venus Williams (USA) vs Donna Vekic (Croatia)
ATP –  Roger Federer (Switzerland) vs [Q] Andrey Rublev (Russia)
Night Session – Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP –  Novak Djokovic (Serbia) vs [Q] Pablo Carreno Busta (Spain)
Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA –  Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) vs Sofia Kenin (USA)
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