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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis Roundup: Nadal routs Paire; Pliskova, Kerber upset

Tennis Roundup: Nadal routs Paire; Pliskova, Kerber upset

August 09, 2018 10:19 IST

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Rafael Nadal returns a ball to Benoit Paire in the Rogers Cup. Photograph: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Rafael Nadal was made to wait before his second-round Rogers Cup match due to several rain delays but did his part to put the schedule back on track with a speedy 6-2, 6-3 win over Frenchman Benoit Paire on Wednesday.

World number one Nadal, who kicked off the evening session a little over an hour after its original start time, had some issues with his serve later in the match but still needed only 74 minutes to secure his spot in the third round.

 

Nadal came out firing a dazzling array of shots that had Paire racing around the blue hard court from the outset and even desperately launching his racquet on one occasion in a failed attempt at a return that gave the Spaniard a 5-2 lead.

Nadal was made to work harder in the second where the players exchanged breaks over six consecutive games before the world number one finally held in the ninth to seal the match when Paire sent a service return wide.

"Of course I was not at 100 per cent today," Nadal, 32, told reporters. "It's true that with my serve in the second set I had some troubles but my return was working well ... it was more about the mistakes from the baseline in my opinion."

Nadal will face Stan Wawrinka in the round of 16 after the Swiss rallied to beat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 1-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(10).

In earlier action, a solid-serving Novak Djokovic kept his bid for a fifth Rogers Cup title alive with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Canadian wildcard Peter Polansky.

The ninth-seeded Serb, competing in his first tournament since his Wimbledon triumph last month, won a dominant 83 percent of his first service points and wrapped up the day's opening match minutes before the first of several rain delays.

"I thought I served well in the moments when I really need it and I was looking for the first serve," said Djokovic.

"I thought I found pretty good accuracy and angles with the first serve, and also my second serve worked pretty well. Overall my game was so-and-so. In the moments when I probably needed to step it up, I did."

Next up for Djokovic in the round of 16 is Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas, who upset Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-6(6).

A win for Djokovic would set up a potential quarter-final clash with German second seed Alexander Zverev, who advanced to the third round after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Bradley Klahn.

Also advancing to the third round were Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson, fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov, sixth seed Marin Cilic, eighth seed John Isner, Dutchman Robin Haase and Russian Karen Khachanov, who upset Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busto 6-4, 7-6(3).

Pliskova, Kerber upset in Montreal

Angelique Kerber

IMAGE: Angelique Kerber of Germany hits a forehand against Alize Cornet of France (not pictured) in the Rogers Cup. Photograph: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The punishing serve that propelled Karolina Pliskova to the top of the tennis world last year proved ineffective against Kiki Bertens at the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Wednesday as the Dutchwoman cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

The ninth-seeded Czech failed to record a single ace in the second-round battle but committed eight double faults and was broken seven times by the defensive-minded Bertens.

Bertens will next meet eighth-seed Petra Kvitova, who advanced past Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-3, 6-4 in their second-round battle on Tuesday.

Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber came crashing back to earth after she beat Serena Williams in the grasscourt final last month, falling 6-4, 6-1 to Alize Cornet of France.

The fourth-seeded German committed 32 errors to help Cornet reach the third round, where she will face Australia's Ashleigh Barty, who defeated Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6(7), 6-2 in her second-round match.

Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu was forced to retire from her second-round match against fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina with the score 6-3, 6-7(5) 4-3 after she suffered a right ankle injury.

The 30-year-old slipped on the baseline while running down a shot and immediately collapsed in tears. She eventually left the court in a wheelchair, waving to the crowd as it rose to give her a standing ovation.

The unseeded Maria Sharapova made quick work of fellow Russian Daria Kasatkina during their first meeting with a convincing 6-0, 6-2 win and will face sixth seed Caroline Garcia of France in the third round on Thursday.

Third-seeded Sloane Stephens thrashed 21-year-old Francoise Abanda, dispatching the Canadian 6-0, 6-2 in 80 minutes.

The 25-year-old American is looking to sharpen her game ahead of her US Open title defense after disappointing results at Wimbledon and the Citi Open last month, where she was eliminated in the first and second rounds.

Rain forced two late matches to be halted, with top seed Simona Halep trailing Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 4-3, and British number one Johanna Konta leading Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 3-0. Both second-round matches will resume on Thursday.

Peng handed six-month ban for breaching anti-corruption rules

Peng Shuai

IMAGE: Shuai Peng of China. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

Former Wimbledon doubles champion Peng Shuai's season was all but over on Wednesday after she was handed a six-month ban and a $10,000 fine for breaching the sport’s anti-corruption code by attempting to change her doubles partner after sign-in deadline.

China's Peng, who triumphed at Wimbledon in 2013 and claimed the French Open doubles title a year later, was found to have used coercion and offered the possibility of financial reward in return for her main draw partner agreeing to withdraw from the women's doubles event at Wimbledon in 2017.

Although the offer was refused and Peng did not compete in the doubles at the All England Club last July, the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) said in a statement that her actions breached Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) rules.

They state that “no covered person shall, directly or indirectly, contrive or attempt to contrive the outcome or any other aspect of any event”.

"Today’s decision... imposes a six months ban, with three months suspended, and $10,000 fine, with $5,000 suspended, on condition that no further breaches of the TACP are committed," the TIU said in a statement.

"The suspension applies with immediate effect and means that the player cannot compete in or attend any event organised, sanctioned or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport."

The suspension means Peng, ranked 20th in doubles and 80th in singles, will be ruled out from the WTA Tour till Nov. 8, after which only minor tournaments will be staged.

The 32-year old was the number one ranked doubles player in February, 2014 and has a career-best singles ranking of 14 achieved in August, 2011. She has won two singles and 21 doubles titles during her career.

Peng’s former French coach, Bertrand Perret, was suspended from obtaining tournament credentials for three months for the same offence.

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