Indian qualifier dumps Monfils but Zverev foils Australian upset bid

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WASHINGTON: Eighth-ranked Alexander Zverev and 10th-ranked Milos Raonic foiled upset bids Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) at the ATP and WTA Citi Open but 200th-ranked Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri stunned defending champion Gael Monfils.

Zverev, a 20-year-old German playing his first hardcourt match in four months, rallied to edge Austra­- lia’s 75th-ranked Jordan Thompson 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).

“I’m just happy to be through and happy to get the win,” Zverev said.

Canada’s Raonic, hoping to end an 18-month ATP title drought, blasted 26 aces in defeating France’s Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (10/8) on the Washington hardcourts where he won in 2014.


“This is a chance to really get things going the right way,” Raonic said. “It’s the leadoff to having a chance to turn things around. This year, I haven’t had that good a season.”

France’s Monfils, ranked 22nd, was humbled after stumbling from the start as Bhambri won 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

“I played very bad. It wasn’t a good match,” Monfils said. “I’m disappointed. It’s tough to talk about it because it was really bad. I love this tournament. To come here and play a poor match like that, it’s very tough.”

Bhambri connected on 72 percent of first serves in the opening set, winning 16 of 18 points on his first serve, and lifted his level in the third set, taking of 20-of-23 first serve points.

“Definitely one of the biggest wins of my career,” Bhambri said. “I hung in there and fought my way through. It gives me a lot of confidence going into my next match.”

Next up for Bhambri is Argentina’s Guido Pella, who ousted Bhambri’s Davis Cup teammate Ramkumar Ramanathan in round one.

“I’m absolutely going to ask him for some advice,” Bhambri said.

Kyrgios retires again
Zverev will seek his 100th career ATP match victory Thursday against 106th-ranked American Tennys Sandgren, who advanced 6-3, 3-0 when Aussie 10th seed Nick Kyrgios retired and was booed off the court with what was described as a right shoulder injury.

It was Kyrgios’s first match since he retired from his Wimbledon opener last month with a hip injury.

Thompson, who upset Britain’s top-ranked Andy Murray in the first round at Queen’s, was poised to dump Zverev as well, taking the first set and grabbing a 5-4 edge in the deciding tie-breaker.

But the 23-year-old Australian netted a backhand, then hit his only double fault of the match and swatted a forehand into the net to hand Zverev the victory after two hours and 11 minutes.

“I tried to stay calm, stay composed and focused on me,” Zverev said. “He’s playing very well right now.”

Raonic advanced to a third-round match against Cypriot Marcus Baghdatis, who ousted US 16th seed Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-1.

Raonic has not won an ATP title since last year at Brisbane, a run of 29 events. He has dropped five finals since then, including last year at Wimbledon, and was nagged by a right leg injury that forced him out of five events.

“Until the recent weeks, my mind hasn’t been on tennis as much,” Raonic said. “Now is the first time I’ve had time to put all the pieces together and focus on my game.”

South African 15th seed Kevin Anderson beat Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 6-4, 6-1 to book a third-round date Thursday with Austrian top seed Dominic Thiem, who lost to Anderson in all five prior meetings, all on hardcourts.

‘Top secret stuff’
On the women’s side, 2014 Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard of Canada upset US eighth seed Christina McHale 7-6 (8/6), 6-0. Bouchard visited Andre Agassi in Las Vegas for some help with her game.

“It’s top secret stuff,” she said. “Yes, I got lots of pointers.”

French second seed Kristina Mladenovic, who won her only WTA title in February at St. Petersburg, outlasted Germany’s Tatjana Maria 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.

“Nothing has changed for me,” Mladenovic said. “I’m just working on elevating my game and playing hard.”

AFP

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