Konta beats Watson to make Nottingham quarters
STUTTGART, Germany, June 14, (AFP): Australian struggler Nick Kyrgios turned in what he called a “terrible” performance but still got past Maximilian Marterer 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on Thursday at the Stuttgart Cup.
“It was a terrible match, the only thing that kept me in it was my serving,” the fourth seed said after playing his first singles match in two months and firing 20 aces to take the win.
“Nothing went very well for me, the good thing is my elbow didn’t bother me,” said the player whose solid start to the season (Brisbane title) has been compromised by injuries to his elbow and hip.
“Basically, I didn’t feel great out there, today was pretty average. And the last three months have been brutal.”
Kyrgios will try to work his way into further form in the quarter-finals when he plays Feliciano Lopez, the grass-loving Spaniard who knocked out Frenchman Gilles Simon 7-6 (8/6), 6-4.
Number 24 Kyrgios and the 50thranked Marterer combined for 38 aces on the grass of the Weissenhof Club as the sun shone consistently for the first time this week.
The Aussie is hoping to work his way back into shape after dealing with his run of injuries.
Memories remain fresh of his 2017 grass misfortunes in Britain when Kyrgios was forced to retired injured in opening matches at both Queen’s Club and Wimbledon.
“Last year was an absolute disaster,” he said. “But I have three weeks now to get ready for Wimbledon. Hopefully I’ll get better.
“If I lose early again, I’ll be shattered.”
Despite his sloppy success over Marterer, Kyrgios takes away some confidence after finally getting back onto court.
“I’m pleased to have won, I feel good about that, I have to take the positives. It’s been frustrating being on the road, going to all of these tournaments and not being able to play.”
Argentine Guido Pella booked a Friday quarter-final spot against top seed Roger Federer with his defeat of Indian qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Federer can regain the top world ranking from Rafael Nadal if he reaches the Stuttgart final.
In Nottingham, England, Johanna Konta won an all-British match against Heather Watson to reach the Nottingham Open quarterfinals on Friday.
It was a second meeting on the WTA tour for Britain’s top two female players and, like the previous one in Indian Wells last year, Konta came out on top.
The windy conditions made life difficult for both but ultimately it was the extra power of Konta, who reached the final here 12 months ago, that made the difference in a 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory.
The fourth-seed Konta, who will face Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia next, was the second British player to advance after a career-best win by wild card Katie Boulter over former US Open champion Samantha Stosur.
Boulter won 7-6 (6), 6-1 to reach her first WTA quarterfinals, and is set to break into the world’s top 50.
“She’s a Grand Slam winner, and it’s the first one of those that I’ve beaten,” she said. “I thought I held my nerve really well.”
LONDON: Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from next week’s WTA grass court event in Birmingham, opting instead to rest ahead of her return to Wimbledon after a three-year absence.
The 31-year-old Russian, who was Wimbledon champion in 2004, has not played at the All England Club since 2015, when she made the semi-finals.
She was serving a doping ban in 2016 and was injured in 2017 when she was planning to play the qualifying tournament.
“I have good memories of Birmingham so I’m disappointed not to be able to play this year,” said Sharapova, a two-time champion at the Wimbledon warm-up event.
“I need to take care of my body and make sure I stay healthy and sometimes that means you have to take tough decisions like this one.”
Australia’s Nick Kyrgios returns the ball to Maximilian Marterer of Germany during their match at the ATP Tour tennis tournament in Stuttgart, southern Germany on June 14. (AFP)