Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nishikori stuns Djokovic, will meet Federer in final

  Kei Nishikori recently became the highest-ranked Japanese man in history.
  He added another distinction Saturday, becoming the first man from his country to beat a world No. 1.
   The 21-year-old wild card, coached by Brad Gilbert of San Rafael, stunned Novak Djokovic 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0 in the semifinals of the $2.6 million Swiss Indoors in Basel.
   “It’s unbelievable,” the 32nd-ranked Nishikori told reporters. “In the second set I started playing well and getting a rhythm.”
   Nishikori will meet third-seeded Roger Federer in today's final (live at 6 a.m. PST and taped at 7:30 p.m. on Tennis Channel). Federer, the defending champion and four-time winner in his hometown, defeated countryman Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (5), 6-2.
   “I’ve always wanted to play Roger," Nishikori said on the ATP World Tour's Web site. "Before the tournament, I was wishing to play him, but I was on the other side of the draw and knew I would need to make the final to have a chance to play him. It will be a good challenge for me to play against him."
   The right-handed Djokovic, who was within two points of victory in the second set, was treated for a right shoulder injury during the match.
   "I changed the technique of my serve a little bit. I was forcing it too much because of the injury I have," said Djokovic, who might withdraw from this week's Paris Masters. "I've carried it since the U.S. Open, and I'm still afraid something is going to happen (with my shoulder). My rhythm with the serve is not good right now."
   Djokovic fell to 67-4 this year, with two of the losses resulting from injury retirements. Nishikori and Federer are the only players to beat Djokovic in a full match in 2011.
   Bryans reach final -- Top seeds and former Stanford All-Americans Bob and Mike Bryan reached their 11th final of the year, dismissing unseeded Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares 7-6 (2), 6-1 in the $2.85 million Valencia (Spain) Open.
   The Bryan twins seek their eighth title of the year and second in two weeks. They will face unseeded Eric Butorac, a former Sacramento Capital from Rochester, Minn., and Jean-Julien Rojer of Netherlands.
   Ilyushin falls -- Unseeded Artem Ilyushin, a Mississippi State senior from the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, lost to third-seeded Roman Vogeli of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of the $10,000 Bluewater Bay Professional Tournament in Niceville, Fla.
   Bad day for Bay Area -- All remaining Bay Area players were eliminated in the semifinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   In women's singles, second-seeded Nicole Gibbs of Stanford lost to unseeded Joanna Mather of Florida 6-4, 6-2, and 5-8 seed Denise Dy, a San Jose resident who attends Washington, fell to unseeded Marta Lesniak of SMU 7-6 (2), 1-6, 6-4. Dy had knocked off Cal's Jana Juricova, the top seed and reigning NCAA champion, in the quarterfinals.
   Gibbs and Mallory Burdette, top-seeded in women's doubles, were eliminated by third-seeded Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews of Notre Dame 7-5, 7-6 (4).
   In men's doubles, fourth-seeded Nick Andrews and Christoffer Konigsfeldt of Cal dropped a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 decision to second-seeded Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola of Ohio State. Andrews lives in the Sacramento suburb of Folsom.

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