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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis round-up: Yuki tames Guido Pella to enter Citi Open quarters

Tennis round-up: Yuki tames Guido Pella to enter Citi Open quarters

Last updated on: August 04, 2017 12:42 IST

India’s Yuki Bhambri plays a return

IMAGE: Yuki Bhambri plays a return. Photograph: PTI

A day after he stunned defending champion Gael Monfils, Indian Qualifier Yuki Bhambri produced yet another scintillating performance as he swept aside Guido Pella of Argentina to enter quarter-finals of the ongoing Citi Open in Washington DC on Friday.

Bhambri, ranked 200th, recovered from a set down and registered what turned to be an emphatic 6-7, 6-3, 6-1 win over Pella in a match that lasted for two hours and 10 minutes.

The 25-year-old gave a tough fight to his Argentinean counterpart in the first set but in the next two sets, the Delhi lad stepped up his game to take home the match.

Bhambri will now lock horns with 15-seeded Kevin Anderson -- who tamed Dominic Thiem of Austria -- for a place in the semi-finals.

Big-serving South African Anderson squandered two match points before finally overcoming Austrian top seed Dominic Thiem in a compelling three-set slugfest at the Citi Open in Washington on Thursday.

The clock had almost struck midnight when the 15th seed finally closed out the third-round match with his 21st ace to seal a 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(7) victory in a little under three hours.

In a high-quality contest, 45th-ranked Anderson seemed to have frittered away his chances when he wasted a first match point in the second set but regrouped mentally and even survived a match point against him in the deciding tiebreak.

Anderson's power game is ideally suited to the super-slick centre court surface at RockCreekPark that has officially been measured as faster than Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

Thiem staved off defeat the first time after an 11-stroke rally culminated with a whipped forehand winner into the corner that Anderson could only watch helplessly as it whistled past.

The Austrian then captured the next two points of the tiebreak to level the score at one set apiece and send the contest into an exciting decider.

"I felt I had it in the second set but I tried to stay as positive as possible," 31-year-old Anderson told Tennis Channel.

"I was down two breaks in the third but kept fighting and managed to play some of my better tennis."

In quieter surroundings on an outside court, Indian world number 200 Yuki Bhambri continued his dream run.

After taking out defending champion Gael Monfils in the second round, Bhambri produced a successful encore to beat Argentine Guido Pella 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1 and set up a quarter-final encounter with Anderson.

In women's action, top seed Simona Halep recovered from a poor start to beat Colombian Mariana Duque 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

However, second seed Kristina Mladenovic could not avoid an upset when the Frenchwoman was thrashed 6-2, 6-3 by Canadian 17-year-old Bianca Andreescu.

Next up for 167th-ranked Andreescu is a quarter-final against German Andrea Petkovic, who blanked Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the third set for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 victory.

Davis Cup singles to remain best-of-five set affairs

Davis Cup singles matches will continue to be decided over the best-of-five sets after a proposal to shorten the contests failed to achieve the required mandate, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Friday.

The governing body's board of directors had unanimously backed reforms for both the men's Davis Cup and women's Fed Cup, which included a recommendation to play matches in the men's event as the best of three sets.

However, the change was not approved at the ITF's annual general meeting in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City as the motion received 63.54 percent support from member nations, falling just short of the two-thirds majority needed to be passed.

"We respect the decision of the AGM but are disappointed that our member nations have not approved the full package of Davis Cup and Fed Cup reforms endorsed by the ITF Board," ITF president David Haggerty said in a statement.

"Change is needed to ensure the long-term future of these iconic and historic competitions, and we remain committed to working with our national associations and other stakeholders on finding ways to enhance Davis Cup and Fed Cup."

The AGM, however, approved a motion guaranteeing the finalists in both cup events the choice of hosting their first-round ties the following year.

Match court availability and practice court requirements will also be lower to reduce hosting costs for national associations, the AGM approved.

The members also passed a motion to reduce Davis Cup pre-tie commitments for players to a single function combining the draw, post-draw press conferences and interviews, and an official lunch. 

Kvitova cruises as favourites dominate at Stanford

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic

IMAGE: Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Second seed Petra Kvitova was barely troubled in her first match at the Stanford Classic as the big-hitting Czech needed just an hour to demolish Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 6-2 in a second round encounter on Thursday.

The two-time Wimbledon champion looked back to her best as she builds strength following a career-threatening knife attack at the end of last year and did not face a single break point against her 111th-ranked Ukrainian opponent.

"I served very well, and I was just trying to play my game, which I always try, and sometimes that works, sometimes not," Kvitova, who hit 31 winners, said after her victory in California.

Next up for Kvitova is a quarter-final against eighth seeded American Catherine Bellis, who advanced with 7-6(3), 6-2 victory over Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay.

All four second-round matches on Thursday were won in straight sets as the form book prevailed.

Russian fourth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat American Alison Riske 6-4 6-0, while sixth seed CoCo Vandeweghe thrashed fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-0, 6-2.

All eight seeds are through to Friday's quarter-finals with top seeded Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza opening proceedings against Ana Konjuh of Croatia. 

Murray, Cilic pull out of Rogers Cup with injuries

World number one Andy Murray and big-hitting Croatian Marin Cilic withdrew from the Rogers Cup on Thursday as injuries continued to take a toll on the Canadian hardcourt event.

The withdrawal of Murray, the world's top-ranked player and number six Cilic comes on the heels of US Open champion and world number three Stan Wawrinka announcing he would not be in Montreal due to a knee injury.

Murray, three times a winner of the Rogers Cup, will miss the event for the second straight year as he continues to deal with a troublesome hip.

“I am sad to be missing the tournament in Montreal because I have many great memories from my time in Canada. I am doing everything I can to return as quickly as possible” said Murray in a statement released by Tennis Canada.

Cilic ruled himself out with an abductor injury he says he suffered in the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer.

Both Murray and Cilic will now be in a race to be ready for the season's final grand slam, the US Open, which begins on August 28 in Flushing Meadows.

Murray claimed the title in 2012 while Cilic hoisted the US Open trophy in 2014.

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