Novak Djokovic: Wimbledon champion beats Adrian Mannarino in Cincinnati

Novak Djokovic

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic came from a set down to beat Adrian Mannarino and move into the third round in Cincinnati.

The 13-time Grand Slam winner defeated his French opponent, the world number 25, 4-6 6-2 6-1.

Serbia’s Djokovic, ranked 10 in the world, will next play Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov or German Mischa Zverev.

Earlier on Wednesday, Croatia’s Marin Cilic beat Marius Copil of Romania 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4.

And Robin Haase of the Netherlands beat Germany’s Alexander Zverev 5-7 6-4 7-5.

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Serena Williams loses to Petra Kvitova at Cincinnati’s Western & Southern Open

Serena Williams

Former world number one Serena Williams says she is at the start of a “long comeback” after losing 6-3 2-6 6-3 to Czech Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati.

The second-round loss comes on the back of her heaviest career defeat, a 6-1 6-0 loss to Britain’s Johanna Konta in the Silicon Valley Classic first round.

“I’m still at the very beginning,” said the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

“I’m just going to continue to work hard, and hopefully I’ll start winning more matches.”

Following the thumping by Konta, the 36-year-old American, runner-up at this year’s Wimbledon, withdrew from last week’s Rogers Cup in Canada for “personal reasons”. She later clarified that she had been struggling with post-natal emotions.

The two-time Cincinnati champion, who only returned to the women’s tour earlier this year after giving birth, looked impressive in her opening match at the Western & Southern Open as she fired down eight aces en route to a 6-1 6-2 win over Australian world number 23 Daria Gavrilova.

And after losing the first set to two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, Williams showed similar form as she levelled the match. Both players broke serve at the start of the third set, before the eighth seed broke again at 4-2 and then held serve to progress to the third round.

“It was a pleasure to share the court with Serena, she’s such a champion,” said Kvitova. “We are both coming back – from injury, from motherhood – so it’s something really special to play her.”

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Murray targets “15%” improvement after loss to Pouille

Andy Murray v Lucas Pouille, Cincinnati 2018

Britain’s Andy Murray said he needs to improve by “10 or 15%” to turn defeats like his first-round loss to Lucas Pouille in Cincinnati into victories.

Murray, 31, in his fourth event after nearly a year out with a hip injury, lost 6-1 1-6 6-4 to the 24-year-old.

“He’s a top-20 player,” Murray said of the Frenchman, who is ranked 17.

“I only lost four more points in the match than him. It was tight. If I can improve by 10 or 15%, you turn a lot of those matches around.”

Murray made six double faults on his way to being broken three times in a one-sided first set, which Pouille took 6-1.

The Briton recovered to force a decider, but Pouille prevailed to secure his first professional victory over Murray in five meetings.

Two weeks ago Murray pulled out of his Washington Open quarter-final after only finishing his last-16 win at 03:02 local time earlier the same day.

Murray also withdrew from last week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto to continue his recovery.

The former world number one looked rusty in the opening exchanges, with two double faults in his first service game setting the tone for a poor opening set.

Murray hit back strongly at the start of the second set, breaking Pouille three times and exerting greater authority on his own serve to force a decider.

Both players showed signs of tension in the opening game of the third set, which lasted nearly 12 minutes.

Murray eventually surrendered the break having led 40-15, with the three-time grand slam champion evidently frustrated after double-faulting to hand Pouille the initiative.

The Scot remained in the contest and forced a break point in the fourth game of the set after coming out on top of a memorable rally at 15-15.

However, Pouille held on to maintain his advantage and then served out the match comfortably.

Elsewhere in the first round, former world number one Novak Djokovic eventually saw off Steve Johnson, converting his ninth match point for a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win over the American.

Canada’s Denis Shapovalov overcame American Frances Tiafoe in a thrilling 7-6 3-6 7-5 victory to set up a meeting with Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori defeated Russia’s Andrey Rublev in straight sets, while 13th seed Pablo Carreno Busta beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 2-6 6-3.

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Johanna Konta beaten in Cincinnati Open first round

Johanna Konta

British number one Johanna Konta lost in three sets in the opening round of the Cincinnati Open to 20-year-old Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

Konta took the first set and was a break up in the second but was beaten 4-6 6-3 6-4.

The 27-year-old, who is ranked five places lower than Sabalenka at 39th in the world, committed 10 double faults on her way to defeat.

Konta’s US Open warm-up will continue at next week’s Connecticut Open.

The final Grand Slam of the year begins at Flushing Meadows on 27 August.

Serena Williams marked her return to action after missing the Rogers Cup in Montreal with a comprehensive 6-1 6-2 victory over Daria Gavrilova.

The former world number one and 23-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from the event in Canada citing “personal reasons” and later explained she was struggling with her emotions following the birth of her first child in September.

Williams suffered the worst loss of her career earlier in the month when she was defeated 6-1 6-0 by Konta, but said she knew she would play “a zillion times better”.

She was much improved against Australian Gavrilova, hitting 27 winners and eight aces on her way to a comfortable win.

She will play Czech world number six Petra Kvitova in the next round.

Victoria Azarenka, another former world number one, beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in three sets while US Open champion Madison Keys beat fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

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Murray knocked out of Cincinnati Masters by Pouille

Andy Murray v Lucas Pouille, Cincinnati 2018

Britain’s Andy Murray suffered a first-round defeat to Lucas Pouille at the Cincinnati Masters.

Murray hit six double faults on his way to being broken three times in a one-sided first set, which Frenchman Pouille took 6-1.

The 31-year old Briton recovered to force a decider, but Pouille, 24, prevailed 6-1 1-6 6-4.

Murray was playing only his fourth tournament after missing nearly a year out with a hip injury.

Two weeks ago, Murray pulled out of his Washington Open quarter-final after only finishing his last-16 win at 03:02 local time earlier the same day.

Murray also withdrew from last week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto to continue his recovery.

The former world number one looked rusty in the opening exchanges, with two double faults in his first service game setting the tone for a poor opening set.

Murray hit back strongly at the start of the second set, breaking Pouille three times and exerting greater authority on his own serve to force a decider.

Both players showed signs of tension in the opening game of the third set, which lasted nearly 12 minutes.

Murray eventually surrendered the break having led 40-15, with the three-time grand slam champion evidently frustrated after double-faulting to hand Pouille the initiative.

The Scot remained in the contest and forced a break point in the fourth game of the set after coming out on top of a memorable rally at 15-15.

However, Pouille held on to maintain his advantage and then served out the match comfortably to secure his first professional victory over Murray in five meetings.

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Revamp will kill Davis Cup, says tennis boss

France celebrate winning 2017 Davis Cup

Plans to revamp the Davis Cup to create an 18-nation World Cup of Tennis Finals will “kill” the competition, says a German Tennis Federation (DTB) boss.

The International Tennis Federation will vote this week on plans to create a new week-long event, to be held each November.

However, it would clash with the ATP’s proposal for a revamped World Team Cup, set to launch in January 2020.

“It will kill the Davis Cup,” said DTB vice-president Dirk Hordorff.

“You cannot make an event which is more or less an exhibition, after the Masters in November, and expect the players to come,” he added.

“We all know how many players are injured and unavailable to play in the Masters, so to have another event after that doesn’t make any sense if you want to have the players.

“The Davis Cup is the crown jewel of the ITF, and if you change something then you have to have a clear concept and a clear contract, but even board members, regional federations and big nations asked questions and they don’t get the answers.”

The ITF, which is the sport’s governing body, is meeting in Orlando this week to vote on significant changes to the oldest men’s team event in tennis.

In February, ITF president David Haggerty outlined a 25-year, $3bn (£2.15bn) plan – supported by an investment group founded by footballer Gerard Pique – for a “major season-ending finale that will be a festival of tennis and entertainment”.

Victor Artuchowski, vice-president of the Polish Tennis Federation, added: “They’ve had five months to explain what’s happening.

“We’ve asked for analysis and due diligence – and we’ve had very few answers. We’re going into one of the biggest things in tennis blind.

“Our chief executive has been told by a board member that if we don’t go through with this deal, the ITF will be bankrupt. Looking into the analysis of the accounts which we have looked into, this isn’t strictly true.”

Haggerty, however, has disputed Artuchowski’s comments, saying that there had been a full consultation, and that there was support for the proposals from several high-profile players, such as Novak Djokovic.

The ITF president said: “We’ve provided written details to members, travelled extensively to meet with regional and national associations, and hosted town hall events at Roland Garros and Wimbledon to provide detail and hear feedback, much of which has been incorporated into the final proposal, such as the 24-team qualifier round to be held each February.

“Novak Djokovic recently expressed his full support for the project, and over the past three months a number of players have spoken positively about the reforms including Rafael Nadal, Marin Cilic, John Isner and David Goffin.

“Privately the majority of players see and support the benefits this change will have.

“We are confident the changes will be approved by the necessary two thirds of voting nations.”

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Edmund through in Cincinnati, Nadal withdraws

Kyle Edmund is the world number 16

British number one Kyle Edmund is through to the second round of the Cincinnati Masters after beating American wildcard Mackenzie McDonald.

Edmund, 23, dropped only one point on his serve and hit 10 aces in the 6-3 6-2 win.

The world number 16 will next play the winner of American Frances Tiafoe or Canada’s Denis Shapovalov.

World number one Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament after winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Sunday.

The US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year, starts on 27 August.

“No other reason than personally taking care of my body and trying to keep as healthy as I feel now,” said Nadal.

The withdrawal leaves Roger Federer as the top seed in Cincinnati. The Swiss 20-time Grand Slam winner had missed the Rogers Cup as part of his strategy to prolong his career.

Former world number one Andy Murray opens his Cincinnati campaign against Frenchman Lucas Pouille on Monday from 16:00 BST, while Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic are also in action.

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Simona Halep beats Sloane Stephens to win Rogers Cup in Montreal

Simona Halep

Romanian world number one Simona Halep beat American Sloane Stephens in three sets to win the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Halep, who beat Stephens in the French Open final in June, eventually came out on top 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-2.

Halep took a dramatic first set in a tie-break after three breaks of service apiece, but lost the second before recovering in the decider.

Meanwhile, unseeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, on his 20th birthday, is playing Rafael Nadal in the men’s final in Toronto.

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Unseeded Tsitsipas sets up Nadal final on his 20th birthday

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Unseeded youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas saved a match point before beating Kevin Anderson to set up a final against Rafael Nadal at the Rogers Cup.

The Greek, who turns 20 on the day of Sunday’s final in Toronto, overcame the South African 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (9-7).

The world number 27 also beat Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in previous rounds.

In the women’s final, Romanian world number one Simona Halep will play American Sloane Stephens in Montreal.

Halep beat Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-4 6-1, while Stephens was a 6-3 6-3 winner against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.

‘I can’t believe what just happened’

Tsitsipas, who will be the the first unseeded finalist in Canada since Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer in 2008, will be contesting his first ATP Masters 1000 final after his win over Anderson.

“I didn’t even have this in my head,” said Tsitsipas.

“I thought winning a couple of rounds would be amazing but I’m in the final already. I can’t believe what just happened,

“I didn’t aim that high and I think with low expectations I managed to pull out my best tennis.”

World number one Nadal beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 to reach his 116th ATP final.

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Novak Djokovic knocked out of Rogers Cup by Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas

Novak Djokovic

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic saw his bid for a fifth Rogers Cup triumph ended by a shock third-round defeat at the hands of Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto.

Tsitipas, who turns 20 on Sunday, beat the 13-time Grand Slam champion 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 in two hours 18 minutes.

The world number 27 is through to the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final of his career.

Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov are also through to the last eight.

South Africa’s Anderson, who Djokovic beat in this year’s Wimbledon final, saw off Belarus’s Ilya Ivashka 7-5, 6-3.

Dimitrov beat Frances Tiafoe of the United States 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 7-6 (7-4).

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