Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain during the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. (AFP)
CINCINNATI, Aug 16 (AFP)
WORLD number one Novak Djokovic has a remarkably clear road to the ATP Cincinnati Masters final after producing an efficient victory while third seed Roger Federer crashed out of the US Open tuneup event. Djokovic was never in danger in his 6-3, 6-4 triumph over 53rd-ranked Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, whom he finished off in 90 minutes on Wednesday.
Federer fell in a first-time meeting with Russian Andrey Rublev, who posted a 6-3, 6-4 upset. Defending champion Djokovic will continue his quest in a Friday quarter-final, taking on France’s Lucas Pouille, a 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-2 winner over Russian Karen Khachanov. Djokovic earned his eighth straight victory at Cincinnati on the first of two match points. “I’m very pleased today. I beat a top quality player,” Djokovic said. “It was straight sets but the score doesn’t indicate how tough it was. He had break points in both sets and I got out of trouble with some good serves. Overall, it was a really good match.”
Federer, the seven-time Cincinnati champion who turned 38 last week, was unable to make an impression on Rublev, playing only his second match since losing the Wimbledon final to Djokovic. “I struggled on my serve early on. Got broken the first service games, and there you have it,” Federer said. “That sort of set the tone for the match maybe a little bit. “But the combination was tough: he was playing well. I was maybe struggling especially on the offensive. I didn’t think I was feeling the ball badly, but sometimes can’t rely on that serve to the one-two punch.” Kyrgios fined $113,000 for Cincinnati meltdown, faces suspension: CONTROVERSIAL Australian star Nick Kyrgios was fined $113,000 after his explosive Cincinnati Masters meltdown which saw him smash two racquets, launch an abusive tirade at the chair umpire before appearing to spit at the official.
The ATP said the massive sanction included individual fines for ball abuse, leaving the court without permission, an audible obscenity and unsportsmanlike conduct during his second round loss to Russia’s Karen Khachanov. Kyrgios, 24, was warned that he could also face another suspension from the sport once a full investigation has taken place. After the world number 27 lost 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to Khachanov on Wednesday night, he called umpire Fergus Murphy a “fuckin’ tool”, refused to shake his hand while spitting in the direction of the chair. He had earlier been handed a time violation, docked a point and was warned again after leaving the court without permission at the end of the second set after which he was seen to destroy two racquets in the corridor.
Kyrgios screamed at Murphy that he was the “worst umpire, hands down”. The various Kyrgios infractions included four fines of $20,000 each for unsportsmanlike conduct plus another $20,000 for verbal abuse. “In addition to the on-site fines, the ATP is looking further into what happened during and immediately after the match to see if additional action is warranted,” said an ATP statement. “That could result in an additional fine and/or suspension.”
Kyrgios also had a run-in with Murphy at Queen’s Club in June after he accused a line judge of “match-rigging” and was given a code violation by the umpire. At the Italian Open in Rome on the eve of Roland Garros, he was disqualified and fined for throwing a chair on to court.
He has also been at loggerheads with the world’s top two players, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal this year. He accused Djokovic of trying too hard to be liked and blasted the Serb’s post-match “cup of love” celebrations as “cringeworthy”. After beating Nadal in Acapulco earlier this year, the Spaniard said the Australian “lacked respect”.
The pair met in a bad-tempered Wimbledon second round match in which Kyrgios admitted deliberately spearing a forehand directly at Nadal. “Why would I apologise? I mean, the dude has got how many slams, how much money in the bank account?” said Kyrgios after his four-set defeat. “I think he can take a ball to the chest, bro. I’m not going to apologise to him at all.”
For good measure, Kyrgios picked up a code violation for unsportsmanlike behaviour and described the umpire as a “disgrace”, claiming his handling of the Centre Court blockbuster as “pathetic” for failing to warn the Spaniard over what he claimed was his pedestrian pace of play. In 2015, in one of his more notorious outbursts, Kyrgios was fined for making a sexually disparaging remark in Canada about the girlfriend of three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka.
The following year, he was banned for eight weeks after being accused of not trying at the Shanghai Masters. German legend Boris Becker said he was saddened by Kyrgios’s behaviour.
“Absolutely agree that spitting/foul language/tanking should be punished hard but we have dilemma since we want strong personalities lead the sport (Roger/Rafa/Nole),” the six-time Grand Slam title winner tweeted. “NK has the game/charisma/guts but not yet the clarity of thought/maybe never ....It’s a shame.”