Paire hangs on to beat Cilic, Fognini shocked by Evans

Britain’s Daniel Evans serves the ball to Italy’s Fabio Fognini during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday. (AFP)
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Updated 26 February 2020

Paire hangs on to beat Cilic, Fognini shocked by Evans

DUBAI: Benoit Paire fought off four match points at the Dubai Championships on Tuesday, overhauling former US Open winner Marin Cilic 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/1) to reach the second round, while fourth seed Fabio Fognini was dumped out by Brit Dan Evans.

Eighth seed Paire appeared all but finished as Croatian Cilic, leading 5-3 in the second set after taking the first, served for a straight sets win.

But Frenchman Paire broke as he clung on and then won the set in the opening match of the day played in desert conditions in which temperatures reached 29 degrees Celsius (82.4 degrees fahrenheit).

“It was not easy today. I was not confident before the match. Normally when it’s one set, 5-3, I normally tank,” Paire said.

“This time I tried until the end. It was working good. I’m really happy about the win.

“I was not feeling really good on court. I was a little bit sick (the last) two, three days. But I was happy to win today and to fight until the end.”

Paire, who lost to Cilic in the second round of last month’s Australian Open, recovered from a break down in the final set and saved match points in the 12th game to take it into a tiebreaker.

He then charged to five match points before Cilic double-faulted for a 10th time to hand the win to Paire, who will play countryman Richard Gasquet next.

Italian Fognini, making his Dubai debut, was knocked out after nearly two hours and 45 minutes on Evans’ sixth match point.

The Briton claimed a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory after an eight-minute final game which ended as a return on the Fognini baseline was called good by the Hawk-Eye system.

“It’s difficult to play Fabio, he’s such a class player,” Evans said of the world No. 11.

“I’m just happy to come through really. It felt like he was on top forever really, I was just hanging in.”

Later second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lifted the Marseille title at the weekend, faces Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.

Other Tuesday winners included qualifiers Dennis Novak of Austria and Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama.

Filip Krajinovic advanced past Joao Sousa with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 comeback to next play sixth seed Andrey Rublev.

Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, who lost the Delray Beach final in Florida on Sunday, rushed to the Gulf only to go down 7-5, 6-2 to France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round.


‘Liverpool spirits are high’ despite virus lockdown

Jurgen Klopp
Updated 28 March 2020

‘Liverpool spirits are high’ despite virus lockdown

  • Klopp praised the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis

Jurgen Klopp says the mood at Liverpool is upbeat despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, even admitting he has tried to copy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dance moves to keep himself occupied.
The Premier League leaders were on the verge of their first top-flight title for 30 years when English football was suspended earlier this month.
Klopp said his players’ spirits remained high despite the frustrations of having no football to play and praised the efforts of his backroom staff who are looking after the players’ fitness.
“We spoke a couple of times, we have a really intense, big, big group chat — the whole of Melwood (training ground) are in that,” he said, speaking to the club’s website by videolink from his home.
“The boys are really lively in that, the boys are just interested in what everybody is doing, comments on what everybody is doing — if Ox is on Instagram or whatever.”
Midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain and his girlfriend, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, performed a dance routine, which she posted on social media.
Teammate James Milner played up to his “boring James Milner” tag by posting a video of himself cutting his grass with a ruler and scissors.
“I didn’t cut the grass but I tried the dance of Ox,” said Klopp. “Not as bad as you probably think. It’s very important in these times that we all show we take this situation seriously, but we are human beings.”

HIGHLIGHT

Jurgen Klopp praises the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis. He urges people to abide by the lockdown.

“If the boys do anything on Instagram, as long as it’s in a legal frame I’m overly happy about it — it just shows they are still cheeky and all that stuff,” he added.
Klopp praised the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis.
And he urged people to abide by the lockdown.
“The only way to get football back as soon as possible, if that’s what the people want, the more disciplined we are now the earlier we will get, piece by piece by piece, our life back,” Klopp said. “That’s how it is.”
“At one point we will play football again as well, 100 percent,” he added. “I couldn’t wish more for it because of a few really good reasons, how you can imagine. I can’t wait actually, but even I have to be disciplined and I try to be as much as I can.”