Donaldson Reaches First Masters 1000 QF
Jared Donaldson recorded the biggest win of his career earlier this week at the Western & Southern Open when he upset World No. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut. On Thursday, the 20-year-old American achieved another milestone, advancing to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final by defeating Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 7-6(4).
The Californian was 0-13 in Round of 16 matches entering the match, including last week’s defeat to Diego Schwartzman in Montreal when he led 6-0, 2-0, and had been denied by Basilashvili in the final round of Roland Garros qualifying in 2015 and 2016. He turned the page Thursday, putting pressure on his opponent’s serve and going two for 12 on break point chances. After falling behind a mini-break early in the second-set tie-break, he won the final three points to cement the one-hour, 36-minute victory.
Donaldson leads all #NextGenATP Americans with 28 career wins, and will face another formidable threat on Friday in 2013 Cincinnati finalist John Isner. The Rhode Island native is challenging for a place in the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, and stood at eighth in the Emirates ATP Race to Milan entering Cincinnati. The tournament, to be held from 7-11, will feature the top 21-and-under players.
"I played Jared once," said Isner. "It was on grass a couple years ago, so it's been a while since we played. I can't really take much stock into that match. He was two years younger than he is now. He's playing some very good tennis. It's very impressive to see. He works really hard.
"I don't know if you guys agree, maybe he doesn't quite get the credit that some of the other young guys that he's with, and he's the highest-ranked one right now. He's certainly doing all the right things. I see him on the practice court. I see him working on his game, doing stuff in the gym. He has a good team around him. I think Jan-Michael Gambill is obviously doing a very good job for him.
"Tomorrow's match will be tough, but I'm playing well, and I expect it to be a very tough match for him, as well. Just look forward to it. It's going to be a good match."
Isner survived stubborn rain storms and an equally persistent Frances Tiafoe to advance to the last eight at the Western & Southern Open for the second time. He prevailed 7-6(4), 7-5 in one hour and 40 minutes, throwing down 27 aces in total. Isner, whose best result came in finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2013, overcame an inspired Tiafoe, who was coming off the biggest win of his young career in stunning fellow #NextGenATP Alexander Zverev on Wednesday.
Isner would carve out the first break of the match at 5-all in the second set and fired a pair of aces to close out the encounter a game later. It was his second victory in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, having previously taken a gripping five-set clash at last year's US Open.