Tokyo | Fritz and Tiafoe on course for All-American final

An unfortunate withdrawal has prevented onlookers form watching an intriguing quarter final match at the Rakuten Japan Open in Tokyo between the controversial Australian Nick Kyrgios and America’s pin-up Taylor Fritz.

It’s heart-breaking. When the body lets you down, it’s not a good feeling Nick Kyrgios

The notorious Aussie pulled out of the match just as it was being called citing a sore left knee while calling the decision “heart-breaking” but declaring it was for the best.

At a hastily arranged press conference, world number 20 Kyrgios said he had “been playing amazing tennis all year” but it had been physically taxing.

“I actually was dealing with a bit of a knee issue around the US Open time, and got back home, probably didn’t take enough time off, to be honest, I went straight back into training,” he revealed.

“It’s heart-breaking. When the body lets you down, it’s not a good feeling.”

The 27-year-old, seeded fifth in Tokyo, called the decision “the smart option for my body” with several events left to play to the ned of the season. He also promised to return to the Japanese tournament next year.

As a result, Fritz is now into his third semi-final of the season and the first one at an ATP 500 event thanks to the walkover.

For Kyrgios, it is potentially a major blow to his chances of qualifying for the end-of-season ATP Finals in Turin, something he would very likely have achieved comfortably had his points at Wimbledon counted when he reached the final of the grass-court Grand Slam.

“I was obviously super excited to get back here into Japan,” the 27-year-old added

“I always play good tennis here. To play in front of the crowd is amazing, they are so respectful. They just always love good tennis.

“It’s always a part of the season and a tournament that I always play because I genuinely love being here.”


Frances Tiafoe breezed into the semi-finals

Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Frances Tiafoe breezed into the semi-finals after 71-minutes by clinching each set with an ace as he beat Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0 6-4.

The fourth-seeded American now faces the unseeded Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea for a place in the final where he could well be facing his compatriot, Fritz, who has to himself face Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, a 6-4 6-3 winner over Croatia’s Borna Coric.

“Great tennis today,” Tiafoe said. “I was moving really well, I hit the ball really well from the back of the court.”

The 24-year-old Tiafoe, the world number 19, said he had been struggling to adapt to the Tokyo time zone.

“I’ve been really bad and jet-lagged, so I’ve probably been sleeping pretty early and waking up really early,” he revealed.

Kwon beat Spain’s Pedro Martinez 6-3 6-0, and Tiafoe said it would be “cool” to play the South Korean.

“Kwon’s a great player. He’s been playing really well this week, so it’s going to be cool to play him, we practise sometimes in Florida.”





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