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Halep dismisses Suarez Navarro, Nishikori prevails over Verdasco

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Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates after winning against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro during their tennis match at the Roland Garros 2017 French Open on June 5, 2017 in Paris. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Kei Nishikori outlasted the 34-year old gladiator from Spain, Fernando Verdasco 0/6; 6/4; 6/4; 6/0 to reach the quarterfinals. Earlier in the ninth day of the championships, Simona Halep of Romania outclassed the petite Carla Suarez Navarro 6/1; 6/1 to reach the Ladies’ quarterfinal.

At a stage in the match the question floating in the air was “Is Kei Nishikori ok?” The Japanese star could not find his rhythm or footing. Verdasco opened serving and held for the first game, but Nishikori lost to concede an early break was down 0-3 in games within ten minutes. He put up a stiff battle in the fourth and reached 40 to 15 but he made an unforced error and then forehand winner by Verdasco leveled. He lost the first advantage but an unforced error on both sides cost him the game. It was a pattern repeated n the fifth game that the Japanese lost o a string of errors. He lost the sixth game without taking a point on his serve.

In the second set, Verdasco’s serve was handled with counter punches that yielded three break points and the break resulting from forehand error caused by the aggression of Nishikori. That singular break saw him through the set, as his unforced errors diminished. He survived the spectacle of the second set, in which he lost every game that reached deuce. In the eighth game, Nishikori opened with an ace serve and despite a forehand winner by Verdasco, he held on to level four games apiece. Verdasco lost his service game for a break in the ninth game. With the momentum shifted in his favour, Nishikori served and won the set 6-4. The third set was a repetition of the score.

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Nishikori is known for his fitness and ability to go the long haul. The veteran Verdasco had put in a great fight in the first three sets and had little left for the later part of the match. The final set score of 6-0 was retaliation by Nishikori. The duel lasted 2 hours and 34 minutes. The eighth seeded Japanese player will face top-seeded Andy Murray, who had dismissed the Russian Khachanov in straight sets earlier in the day.

In the other quarterfinal match-ups, Rafael Nadal will face compatriot Carreno Busta, while Novak Djokovic will battle Dominic Thiem. The winner of Monfils/Warwinka encounter will face the winner of Kevin Anderson and Marin Cilic

Simona Halep’s stunning performance raised her hopes of a title in Paris, after the exit of defending champion, Garbine Muguruza. The Rumanian dismissed the 29-year old from Barcelona, Spain, Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets 6/1; 6/1 to advance into the Ladies’ quarterfinals. The Spaniard did not register on the scoreboard in the first five games. Serving in the sixth game, she got the first point on a backhand-unforced error by Halep and took the second point off the same side. An outright winner gave her 40 to 15 and she won the game off her opponent’s forehand error. The Stadium applauded her awakening.

The celebration was short-lived as Halep raced to 30 to 0 on her serve but double-faulted and missed an easy forehand for 30-all. However, a succession of winners gave her the game and the first set. The scores were similar at the tail end of the second set but it was Carla who lost her serve to concede the seventh and final game of the match.

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