ATP Rotterdam: Stan Wawrinka tops Denis Shapovalov. Kei Nishikori wins


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ATP Rotterdam: Stan Wawrinka tops Denis Shapovalov. Kei Nishikori wins

After Daniil Medvedev and Gael Monfils who have booked the semi-final spots earlier today, 2015 Rotterdam champion Stan Wawrinka and an in-form Kei Nishikori have formed the second semi-final pair following straight sets wins in the night session.

The world no. 7 Kei Nishikori took down Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 18 minutes for the 11th win in 12 matches in 2019, losing serve twice but overcoming that deficit comfortably with a dominant performance on the return.

The Hungarian couldn't do much with his initial shot, barely hitting any service winner and dropping 60% of the points on serve, facing eight break points and suffering five breaks to send Kei over the finish line. Kei finished the match with 22 winners and 18 unforced errors while Marton stayed on nine direct points and 17 errors, unable to find a space on the other side of the court or impose his shots in the rallies.

The first break came in the fourth match when Kei moved 3-1 up after winning all four points, only to net a backhand in the following game and suffer a break at love as well, playing the worst game of the entire match. Fucsovics saved a break point at 2-3 before squandering a 40-0 next time he served, allowing Nishikori to break him with a lucky net cord and win the set 6-3 thanks to holding at 15 in game nine.

Fending off two break points at the start of the second set, Marton broke in the second game for an early lead before spraying a backhand error a few minutes later to give his serve away and keep Nishikori on the positive side of the scoreboard.

The Japanese never looked back, winning 20 of the last 25 points and marching into the last four with three straight breaks. He broke at love at 2-2 and again in game seven with a return winner to open a 5-2 gap and seal the deal with a volley winner in the next game, pleased with the way he performed and hoping for more of the same against Wawrinka.

A former champion toppled Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 7-6 in the battle of one-handed backhands, leading 6-4, 4-1 before Denis started to play better and reach the tie break that he failed to win, sending Stan into the first semi-final since St.

Petersburg since September. Despite landing only 50% of the first serve in, Wawrinka delivered better numbers on the second serve and he never faced a break point before the second part of the second set, winning 15 of 21 points on Denis' second serve to keep the pressure on youngster all the time.

Facing eight break points, Shapovalov gave serve away three times and had to hit the exit door after taking just four points in the tie break. A teenager sprayed too many errors in the end, unable to tame the rival's shots despite hitting more winners, especially in the last 25 minutes when he played on the level terms with the three-time Grand Slam champion.

Stan sailed through the service games in the opening set, breaking at 4-4 with a magnificent backhand down the line winner and sealing the set when Denis netted an easy backhand in the following game. The Canadian's game fell apart in the first five games of the second set, hitting double faults and loose groundstrokes to find himself 4-1 down after two double faults in game five.

Out of sudden, he pulled one break back in the next game and things became serious when he broke again with a volley winner at 4-5 while Stan served for the match. Facing two break points in game 1, Denis fired two winners to stay in touch before Wawrinka won the tie break 7-4 to secure the place in the semis.