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November 17 02:10
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Guest Blog

0-6 in the 3rd, Joker out...

Basel, Valencia finals set; Paris quallies


November 06, 2011 | 12:14 PM

Needless to say, this has not happened to Joker this year, and it was top 30 newcomer, #32 Kei Nishikori. who did the damage, limiting the #1 to 10 points in the deciding set and becoming just the second player this year to win a complete match against the Serb (the other is Federer, who awaits him in the final tomorrow at 9AM EST; Federer defeated Wawrinka 7-6 (5), 6-2).

Kei's an able player on offense and D, but not used to big match play - this will be his 2nd final of the year (Houston on clay was his first) and a chance to win his first ATP title. Joker played well enough to win in 2 sets, holding double match point at 4-5 on Kei's serve. A few unforced errors and strong play from Nishikori evened the set, which Joker lost 7-4 in the TB, again contributing mistakes to his own demise along with two aces from Kei. While it as Nishikori who called for the trainer after set 2, there was speculation after the match that Joker's shoulder had at least one too many 3 set matches this week (this was his third in 4 days). If so, we won't see the Serb in Paris, but to his credit he finished out this match rather than robbing his young opponent of a satisfying victory.

In Valencia there will be a final between a Spaniard and an Argentine, but not the expected pair. #1 seed Ferrer was eliminated by unseeded Juan Monaco (#41) in a puzzling encounter 6-3 in the 3rd. He'll face unseeded Spaniard #34 Marcel Granollers, who defeated #6 seed Del Potro 6-4, 7-6 (4). For Granollers, this would be his 2nd title of the year after Gstaad on clay. Monaco has never won an ATP title and only played in one before.

In the Paris qualifying, #1 seed Bernard Tomic failed to qualify, losing 7-6 (4), 6-2, to Nicolas Mahut. Sam Querry and Donald Young also qualified.

Rick


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