ten­nis

Konta beats Wat­son to make Not­ting­ham quar­ters

Arab Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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)

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