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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis Roundup: Djokovic crashes out, Nadal wins

Tennis Roundup: Djokovic crashes out, Nadal wins

April 26, 2018 09:28 IST

'I feel I haven’t lived up to your expectations, not even my own'

Novak Djokovic

IMAGE: Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery, Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Mueller look dejected after the match. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Former world number one Novak Djokovic suffered a surprise second-round exit at the Barcelona Open when the Serb was beaten 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 by world number 140 Martin Klizan on Wednesday.

 

But favourite and 10-times champion Rafael Nadal eased past fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballes-Baena 6-4, 6-4 in his first appearance at this year's tournament to reach the third round and set a record by winning 38 consecutive sets on clay.

Second seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria also moved smoothly past Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-1 to reach the last 16.

Djokovic, who received a bye in the opening round, has not made the last eight of a tournament since last year's Wimbledon and has struggled with a long-term elbow injury.

The 30-year-old lost to Austria's Dominic Thiem in the last 16 of the Monte Carlo Masters last week and looked far from his best in what was his second career appearance in Barcelona.

Klizan claimed the first set in just 32 minutes before Djokovic broke the Slovakian's serve twice to take the second.

Klizan snatched a crucial break in the eighth game of a tense final set and went on to claim his first career victory over Djokovic in five meetings.

"I feel I haven’t lived up to your expectations, not even my own," Djokovic told a news conference.

"It’s hard to deal with these types of games and defeats, I wasn’t playing at my best, only during the second set. I will try to continue and see where it takes me."

World number one Nadal, who also had a bye to the second round, packed out the main court at the Real Club de Tenis in Barcelona which is named after him.

Perhaps still feeling the effects of his triumph in Monte Carlo on Sunday, Nadal made a slow start against Carballes-Baena and was broken in the opening game to fall 2-0 behind.

The Mallorcan responded by breaking twice to take a 4-2 lead and went on to claim the first set. Nadal broke in the opening game of the second set but lost his serve in the sixth.

He went in front again and had match point at 5-3 but could not take advantage, although he comfortably closed the match out with his next service game.

"It was a difficult game and I committed a couple of errors at the start. The first game here after Monte Carlo is always hard but I soon found my rhythm," Nadal told reporters.

The victory saw the Spaniard surpass Romanian Ilie Nastase's record of winning 36 consecutive sets on clay in 1973.

Nadal will now meet another Spaniard, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who progressed after 14th seed Kei Nishikori retired from his first match after experiencing pain in his right wrist.

The 28-year-old Japanese, who lost to Nadal in the Monte Carlo Masters final on Sunday, withdrew after losing the first set 6-3.

"My expectations grew in Monte Carlo, despite losing to Nadal," Nishikori told reporters. "However, I started feeling discomfort again during the first set and I did not want to take any risks."

He missed last year's US Open and the Australian Open at the start of 2018 after injuring the same wrist in August.

Vandeweghe storms past Stephens in Stuttgart

American CoCo Vandeweghe produced a merciless display to beat compatriot Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-0 and world number one Simona Halep fought back to claim a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Magdalena Rybarikova in Stuttgart on Wednesday.

Vandeweghe, who had teamed up with Stephens last weekend to help the US defeat France and reach the Fed Cup final, was broken to love in the first game by the US Open champion.

Yet Stephens dropped her own serve in the next game as Vandeweghe reeled off 12 consecutive games to wrap up victory in 56 minutes in the opening round clash at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

Vandeweghe, ranked 16 in the world, recorded her first victory over Stephens on clay, having lost their only previous encounter on the surface in Strasbourg in 2015.

"I really don't like clay, it's my least favourite surface," Vandeweghe, who will meet Laura Siegemund in the next round, said after the match.

"I'll never like it. This is my second time in Germany -- I'm not here for the clay, it's more the shopping. I didn't come out here to play and lose."

Halep came back from a set down against Slovakia's Rybarikova in their second round match.

The 26-year-old Romanian relied on her ferocious groundstrokes to secure a decisive break in the sixth game of the final set and went on to book a spot in the quarter-finals.

Former world number one Angelique Kerber avenged last weekend's Fed Cup defeat to collect a 6-3, 6-2 win over Czech Petra Kvitova in a first round match.

The German will meet Anett Kontaveit in the last-16 after the Estonian saved two match points to knock out last year's runner-up Kristina Mladenovic 5-7, 7-6(3), 7-6(5).

Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova battled past US Open runner-up Madison Keys 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-4. The 26-year-old will take on second-seed Garbine Muguruza in the second round.

Krunic stuns Makarova in Istanbul

Fifth seed Ekaterina Makarova became the latest high-ranked player to lose in the Istanbul Open when the Russian was beaten 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 by world number 53 Aleksandra Krunic on Wednesday.

Markarova became the fifth seeded player to suffer an opening-round defeat following the exits of Agnieszka Radwanska, Zhang Shuai, Sorana Cirstea and Aryna Sabalenka.

After losing the first set, Serbia's Krunic powered past her opponent to claim the second in 24 minutes.

Krunic converted an early break in the decider and held on to the advantage with solid defensive play to clinch victory.

Second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova recovered from a mid-match blip against Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova to win 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in the second round.

Tomova, ranked 165th in the world, grabbed an early break in the decider before her Russian opponent won five consecutive games and closed out the match in just over 2-1/2 hours.

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