Category: News

2021 ATP World Tennis Tournament & Argentina Open preview

WITH only two past winners in the 2021 World Tennis Tournament draw, the odds are in favour of a first-time winner at the 500 Rotterdam event which will welcome a number of the top stars on Tour. With Novak Djokovic nursing a torn muscle, and Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem resting, Russian Daniil Medvedev will enter the tournament as top seed and favourite at the event.

Gael Monfils is a back-to-back winner, but has opted not to take part this year as he still battles coming back from injury and his own form, while Stan Wawrinka (2015) and Andy Murray (2009) are the only past winners of the event in the draw. Despite not featuring any of the Big Three – Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer – the next crop of talents are all attending, with Australian Open finalist Medvedev the pick to go deep given his recent form.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev have all been handed top four seedings at the exclusive event, while Felix Auger-Aliassime is also in the top eight alongside more experienced talents in Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin and Wawrinka. Aside from Goffin who has struggled of late, the rest of the seeds have been in some strong form, with the top four particularly favoured to once again continue their ATP Tour success.

Outside the top eight, Alex de Minaur is a huge threat, while young guns Ugo Humbert and Jannik Sinner are back again, as are the likes of Karen Khachanov and Hubert Hurkacz. Further down the list, John Millman will hope to turn around his poor start to 2021, with Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori past Top 10 talents who are always dangers at any level, as is Grand Slam winner Murray. In terms of local hopes, Botic Van De Zandschulp and Robin Haase have been handed wildcards, but face an incredibly uphill battle against the world’s best players.

If you had to pick a winner, Medvedev is the choice, though the stacked field with Cilic being the lowest ranked automatic entry outside of wildcards, means it is an incredibly talented draw.

 

ARGENTINA OPEN:

From the star-studded 500 tournament to a lower-ranked clay court event in Argentina, some of the top clay courters in the world will look to take full advantage of a weakened field to snare a title. Top seed Diego Schwartzman is able to remain in his home country following the Cordoba Open, and he will be joined by second seed and clay court specialist, Cristian Garin. Benoit Paire and Miomir Kecmanovic round out the top four seeds, with Paire grabbing his second win in 12 months, and the up-and-coming Kecmanovic in a similar form struggle.

Guido Pella is a threat in his home nation, with Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Laslo Djere and Pablo Andujar rounding out the top eight players and Top 60 talents at the event. The 2019 winner, Marco Cecchinato is back to try and win another title, ranked 79th in the world currently. Joao Sousa  – ranked 93rd in the world – is the lowest ranked automatic entry, though the Argentinian wildcards yet to be fully announced are always a threat.

Schwartzman and Garin are the clear and away standouts in this draw, and would make for an entertaining final.

2021 Adelaide International: Swiatek dominates final to claim second career title

IGA Swiatek has backed up her maiden title win at Roland Garros last year with a dominant 66-minute display against second seed Belinda Bencic in the 2021 Adelaide International final. Swiatek won 6-2 6-2 in an ultra-impressive performance that saw the 19-year-old claim the win. Remarkably, Swiatek did not drop a set throughout the entire 2021 tournament and has now risen to world number 15.

“For sure, there is something that clicks,” Swiatek said of her dominant run. “Not only in my head but also tennis-wise. “I feel pretty good on court. I feel like sometimes I have weeks when everything clicks, and that’s just the effect of the work we’re doing.”

Swiatek was unbeatable on serve, dropping just two points for the entire match off her first serve, and four points off her second serve. By comparison, Bencic only won 60.6 per cent and 36.4 per cent of her first and second serve points, broken four times by her young opponent and unable to create a break point opportunity.

“I struggled a lot today with how different she played,” Bencic said post-match. “I just couldn’t figure out her patterns or her serve or anything at all.

“It’s the unpredictable-ness. “I think she plays everything just little bit different than I’m expecting. “So not the usual patterns which you would expect. I think I’m a pretty good anticipator. “But today it was a little bit off – of course, thanks to her game.

“Then I think she plays with much more spin and heaviness. Also the balls you think you can reach are just jumping over you. “It makes it harder to make a defence, to counterpunch.”

After remarkably winning her maiden title at Roland Garros last year, Swiatek eyed off being more consistent in 2021, something she can tick off early in the year, and a goal she hoped to continue throughout the season.

“It’s good for me because I can see that I can play good tennis for the whole week,” she said. “It wasn’t like one time during the French Open. “It gives me more confidence that I’m more developed [as a] player and I can play good more often. It just gives me motivation.

“Our goal right now is to have that more often, because I know I can play great tennis. “It’s just all about planning, aiming for the specific tournament to have the best shape possible.”

Picture credit: Getty Images

ATP 250 wraps: Popyrin and Bublik to battle for maiden title in Singapore; upsets galore in Cordoba

TWO very different scenarios in Montpellier and Singapore were reached, with the top two players making the Open Sud de France final, as two title-less ATP Tour opponents will engage in the Singapore decider.

Whilst the other two tournaments have thrown up more than their fair share of surprises, the end result for the Open Sud de France effectively remains as you would expect by the final. Top seed Roberto Bautista Agut and second seed David Goffin both reached the final after respective semi-finals victories in different conditions.

Bautista Agut knocked off German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in straight sets, 7-5 6-1 and heads into the final as favourite having not dropped a set all tournament and looking strong. The match lasted one hour and 15 minutes, with the Spaniard looking clinical thanks to his 84 per cent success rate off his first serve, and a 71 per cent efficiency. He broke Gojowczyk four times from 11 chances, whilst saving three of the German’s own break point opportunities throughout the game.

Goffin’s semi-final win over Belarusian Egor Gerasimov was indicative of his tournament, having a tougher challenge than his final opponent, with his second third-set win in the three matches. He won 6-4 2-6 6-4 over Gerasimov who has proven to be quite the handful for opponents over time, having knocked out Andy Murray in the Round of 32 here. In the semi-final, Goffin served one more ace (7-6), and whilst his serving was lower (62 per cent to 70 per cent efficiency) he still broke the same amount of times (three) and managed to break exactly even on the total amount of points (91 from 182) to get the job done.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE SEMI-FINALS:

[1] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [Q] Peter Gojowczyk (GER) 7-5 6-1
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-4 2-6 6-4

 

In Singapore, a new ATP Tour title-winner will be crowned after Australian Alexei Popyrin and Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik won their respective semi-finals to advance to the 2021 Singapore Tennis Open final. Popyrin defeated third seed Croatian Marin Cilic in straight sets, though they were in two tight tiebreakers, while Bublik toppled Macedonian Radu Albot in a come-from-behind victory, 2-6 6-3 6-4.

Popyrin, ranked 114th in the world was in his first ever semi-final, but he stood the test of time against the far more experienced Cilic, winning 7-5 in the first set tiebreaker and then 7-2 in the second set tiebreaker, in just under two hours. The big-serving Australian outserved the powerful Croatian with 15 aces to nine, and won 77 and 63 per cent of his first and second serve points compared to Cilic’s 69 and 53 per cent. Despite this, both players only had one break each, but Popyrin was better when it counted.

By comparison, the 23-year-old world number 46 Bublik had to fight back from a disappointing first set to post a win over Albot in 90 minutes of game play. The Kazakh put down 12 aces to two, and won 75 per cent of his first serve points. Both players broke twice, but Bublik’s came in the second and third sets respectively after the Macedonian did it twice in the first set.

Bublik and Popyrin have never played before, with the 21-year-old Australian having a career win-loss record of 18-30 compared to Bublik’s 41-43.

SINGAPORE SEMI-FINALS:

Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [3] Marin Cilic (CRO) 7-6 7-6
[4] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [6] Radu Albot (MCE) 2-6 6-3 6-4

 

Someone in Cordoba decided to rip up the script in the quarter finals, with all four matches going the way of the lower ranked player. Remarkably, Argentina came close to having a monopoly in the semi-finals with three of the four compatriots advancing, but even stranger was the fact that the one that did not was top seed Diego Schwartzman.

The tournament favourite suffered defeat at the hands of Albert Ramos-Vinolas in three sets, 6-1 4-6 6-3. The Spaniard needed two and a half hours to dismiss Schwartzman in front of home fans, breaking his opponent five times to two, and winning 67 per cent of his second serve points compared to Schwartzman’s 38 per cent. He will now go on to face Argentinian qualifier Facundo Bagnis who smashed Slovakian Jozef Kovalik 6-1 6-2 in just 70 minutes to advance through to the semi-finals. Bagnis was dominant on serve, saving both break points and winning all bar 12 points on his serve, whilst breaking Kovalik four times in the process.

The other semi-final will feature two Argentinians, with Federico Coria taking on Juan Manuel Cerundolo. Coria defeated the inconsistent Benoit Paire, 6-3 6-2 and knocked out the second seed in 86 minutes on court. Paire’s serving was right off with four aces to five double faults, and winning a lowly 59 and 30 per cent of his first and second serves. By comparison, the world number 95 – now the second highest ranked player remaining – won 69 and 64 per cent of his first and second serve points, and broke six times to two throughout the one-sided match. Cerundolo on the other hand had to defeat Brazilian seventh seed Thiago Monteiro in three sets, 6-2 2-6 6-3 to pave his way into the final four.

CORDOBA QUARTER FINALS:

[5] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [1] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-1 4-6 6-3
Federico Coria (ARG) defeated [2] Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3 6-2
[Q] Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG) defeated [7] Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-2 2-6 6-3
[Q] Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-1 6-2

Picture credit: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

2021 WTA Tour Qatar & Lyon previews

DESPITE losing four Grand Slam winners to-date, the 2021 WTA Tour Qatar Ladies Open still looms as a quality event to take place next week. Top five players, Ash Barty, Simona Halep and Sofia Kenin, as well as US Open winner Bianca Andreescu and Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrosova all withdrew from the 500 tournament, but four Top 10 players still remain.

Elina Svitolina has been upgraded to the top seed with the world number five taking advantage of Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka also not attending the event, while Karolina Pliskova, Aryna Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova round out the top four seeds. Both Pliskova and Kvitova have been in a funk of late, and need to find a way to get back into form. Sabalenka, on the other hand has had nothing but scintillating form, going on a massive winning streak that included a couple of titles late last year, and will look to pick up that again after again falling short of the target at the Australian Open.

Kiki Bertens returns to the Tour at Doha as the fifth seed, while Belinda Bencic has hit her straps in Adelaide and will look to face a host of reinvigorated talents of late. Jennifer Brady is fresh off an Australian Open final to head into the event, while Victoria Azarenka made a Grand Slam final just last year, has rekindled her career-best form and is back inside the Top 20.

The lower end of the draw is still yet to be determined, but the likes of Jelena Ostapenko, Ons Jabeur, Amanda Anisimova and Yulia Putintseva are all expected to take to the court in the 2021 event. Sabalenka is the reigning champion, but Kvitova (2018) and Pliskova (2017) are both past winners here in Doha. Azarenka is a back-to-back winner, having lifted the trophy in 2012-13.

 

Lyon Open:

A second-time event after last year’s debut, the Lyon Open does not quite have the prestige of the Qatar Ladies Open, with world number 33, Ekaterina Alexandrova the top seed. She loves to beat up on lower ranked tournaments and should really get the job done here against a weakened and predominantly European field in France. Though in saying that, there are some good talents here that will push her all the way.

The top two that jump off the page are Argentinian Nadia Podoroska who reached the semi-final at Roland Garros, while rising American teenager Coco Gauff will cause headaches. French trio, Fiona Ferro, Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic are also among the Top 50 players at the event, as is Slovenian Polona Hercog.

Lower down the order, United States’ Shelby Rogers, Romanian Sorana Cirstea, Italian Camila Giorgi and Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich are all among the bigger dark horses that could surpass their lower rankings against Top 50 opponents in France.

2021 Adelaide International: Bencic to face Swiatek in decider

A BLOCKBUSTER Adelaide International final will see two of the WTA Tour’s up-and-comers face off in a highly anticipated clash following semi-finals results. Second seed Belinda Bencic will take on fifth seed Iga Swiatek after both players took out unseeded opponents yesterday.

Second seed Bencic had to dig deep against teenage sensation Coco Gauff, winning after two tiebreakers were shared before either player, before racing away to salute in the third set, 7-6 6-7 6-2 in two hours and 45 minutes. In a match that featured pretty shocking consistency on serve, the pair produced 43 double faults between them (23-20 in Gauff’s favour) with the American serving eight more aces (14-6).

Unsurprisingly with the inconsistency on serve, both had plenty of chances to break, and Bencic broke nine of 25 chances, while Gauff broke six of 15 opportunities. In total, 15 of the 32 games went the way of the receiver, which is nearly unheard of at the top level. The second seed’s ability to win 62 to 55.3 per cent of her service points, as well as 44.7 compared to 38.0 per cent upon return was the difference.

Fifth seed Swiatek booked her spot in the final by taking down Bencic’s compatriot, Jil Teichmann. The Polish Roland Garros winner needed just 81 minutes to dispose of Switzerland’s second highest ranked player, winning 6-3 6-2 in style. Unlike the other semi-final, both players were fairly consistent on serve, but Swiatek was unflappable, only facing one break point and saving it. Teichmann, on the other hand, was broken three times from eight chances.

The strength on service was obvious for Swiatek, who won 77.1 and 58.8 per cent of her first and second serve points off a 67.3 per cent efficiency. Teichmann also won 79.3 per cent off her first serve, but struggled off her second with only 28.6 per cent success. In the end, the Grand Slam winner was just too clinical and booked her spot in the Adelaide International final.

“It was my goal from the beginning of the season, I want to be [a] more consistent player, just play good week by week,” Swiatek said, post-match. “I know it’s impossible sometimes. You’re just going to get tired at some point.

“But I felt pretty good from the beginning of the tournament. It’s really important for me. Just I feel that it’s going to be easier year by year because I’m going to be more grown-up, I’m going to be able to physically and mentally handle tournaments every week.

“It was my goal, so I’m pretty happy everything worked here. Hopefully other WTA tournaments I’m going to be able to do that also.”

SEMI-FINAL RESULTS:

[2] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Coco Gauff (USA) 7-6 6-7 6-2
[5] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Jil Teichmann (SUI) 6-3 6-2

ATP 250 wraps: Albot upsets Mannarino in Singapore as top seeds advance in Montpellier

IT was a huge day of ATP Tour action across the globe, as we look at how the matches went down in Montpellier, Singapore and Cordoba with the quarter finals completed in two tournaments, and the Round of 16 wrapped up in the latter one.

Looking at Montpellier, the top two seeds remain on a crash course to meet in the Open Sud de France final after winning their quarter finals in style to now take on unseeded opponents in the semis. In a tournament where nothing has been as expected, number one seed Roberto Bautista Agut, and number two seed David Goffin both provided some stability with comfortable victories.

Bautista Agut won 6-3 6-3 over talented sixth seed Frenchman Ugo Humbert, while Goffin dispensed of seventh seed Italian Lorenzo Sonego, 6-4 6-4. Bautista Agut needed 75 minutes to knock off Humbert, dominating off his consistent serve, only dropping three points off his first serve, and 11 in total, while Humbert could not get his usual power off his serve going, matching the more steady Bautista Agut with three aces each. Goffin also only served the three aces, defeating Sonego in 86 minutes, breaking three times to one which was enough to salute in straight sets fashion.

In the battle of the unseeded players, Belarusian Egor Gerasimov came back from a set deficit to post a win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 4-6 6-4 7-5. The match lasted two hours and 29 minutes, with Gerasimov producing 16 aces and breaking five times to four in an impressive performance against the rising Spaniard. Meanwhile German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk – who defeated highly rated compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round – continued his run with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Dennis Novak. The match lasted 83 minutes, with Gojowczyk saving both break points he faced, whilst capitalising on four of 13 against the Austrian. His serving efficiency was poor at 45 per cent, but he made the most of it when it did go in, only dropping three points off his first serve.

Gerasimov takes on Goffin in the first semi-final on Court Patrice Dominguez today, while Bautista Agut faces Gojowczyk in the other semi-final.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE QUARTER FINALS:

[1] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [6] Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-3 6-3
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated [7] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-4 6-4
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 4-6 6-4 7-5
[Q] Peter Gojowczyk (GER) defeated Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-4 6-1

 

In Singapore, top seed Adrian Mannarino was the major casualty of an otherwise as expected day, with two other top four seeds, and the higher ranked Australian in an all-Australian battle, moving through to the semi-finals. Mannarino suffered a straight sets defeat against tricky Macedonian Radu Albot who has found form of late, getting up 6-3 6-4 in an impressive performance. Albot served five aces without a double-fault and broke three times to one throughout the 95-minute match, only dropping four points on his second serve to be able to recover well.

Following him into the final four were third seed Marin Cilic, fourth seed Alexander Bublik, and Australian Alexei Popyrin. Cilic was able to fight back from a disappointing second set to post a three-set victory over Soonwoo Kwon in the match of the day. The match lasted exactly two hours, and with 18 aces and an 80 per cent first serve success rate, the Chilean veteran proved too powerful for the Korean, breaking a fourth time in the deciding set.

Bublik took care of Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets, 6-3 6-2 in 73 minutes and serving 15 aces to zero. He faced nine break points and remarkably saved them all, whilst making the most of his opportunities with three breaks from six chances. Meanwhile, Popyrin defeated compatriot and wildcard Matthew Ebden, 6-4 7-6 in one hour and 25 minutes. The winner put up 14 aces to three and broke the only opportunity created in the match, whilst controlling his serve to only lose 16 points on serve at a high 76 per cent success rate.

Cilic will now face Popyrin in the first-up semi-final today, before Albot and Bublik lock horns in the match straight after for a spot in the final.

SINGAPORE QUARTER FINALS:

[6] Radu Albot (MCE) defeated [1] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3 6-4
[3] Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated [8] Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-2 2-6 7-5
[4] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) [5] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-3 6-2
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [WC] Matthew Ebden (AUS) 6-4 7-6

 

The time difference in Cordoba, Argentina means that the Round of 16 was completed overnight, with the quarter finals set to take place today. Aside from a shock loss to third seed Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, the results went as planned, with three top eight seeds all knocking out their unseeded opponents. It also meant the home nation has four representatives in the quarter finals, with the potential to be an all-Argentinian final four if they can somehow get up.

Argentinian qualifier Juan Manuel Cerundolo caused the one big upset of the day, toppling Kecmanovic in a come-from-behind win. After dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, Cerundolo held firm in the second set, and ran away with it in the third to secure a 6-7 7-5 6-2 victory. The match lasted two hours and 19 minutes, with Cerundolo breaking six times to three, and winning 64 per cent of both his first and second serve points, while Kecmanovic only managed 44 per cent success off his second serve and his inconsistent form of late continued.

The other three-setter was fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas who survived a scare from another Argentinian qualifier in Tomas Martin Etcheverry, 2-6 7-6 7-5. The match went for a whopping two hours and 49 minutes before Ramos-Vinolas could finally shake off his lower ranked opponent, needing to break a third time during the win. Both players served five aces, but it was Etcheverry who won more overall points, being better on serve and return, but Ramos-Vinolas just found a way to win.

The other two results were fairly straightforward with top seed Diego Schwartzman winning 6-2 6-2 over Italian clay courter Marco Cecchinato, while seventh seed Brazilian Thiago Monteiro accounted for unseeded Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, 6-3 6-4. Looking to the quarter finals today, Monteiro takes on Cerundolo and Schwartzman faces Ramos-Vinolas, while in the other ones, Federico Coria matches up against second seed Benoit Paire, while Argentinian qualifier Facundo Bagnis meets Slovakian Jozef Kovalik.

CORDOBA ROUND OF 16:

[1] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-2 6-2
[5] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [Q] Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) 2-6 7-6 7-5
[7] Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-3 6-4
[Q] Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG) defeated [3] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-7 7-5 6-2

Picture credit: ATP Tour

2021 Adelaide International: Teenagers and Swiss talents reign supreme in quarters

A HUGE couple of semi-finals await at the 2021 Adelaide International after big results ensued yesterday. Two teenagers are well within their chances to show up their more experienced opposition, as two Swiss talents also remain in the hunt. All four players remaining in the draw are under the age of 24, making for an exciting showing of the depth of young talent on the WTA Tour.

An upset over top seed Ash Barty on Wednesday appeared to be Danielle Collins‘ downfall when she took on Polish teenager Iga Swiatek, failing to complete her quarter final matchup and retiring midway through the second set. Swiatek now makes her way to the semis relatively unscathed, with the 6-3 3-0 default win under her belt and sets up an intriguing battle with 61st ranked Swiss talent Jil Teichmann, who disposed of Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in a tough three-setter which went close to three hours. Whilst Teichmann nabbed the first set with relative ease, her opposition would not go down without a fight as the 6-4 6-7 7-5 battle ensued. Fatigue will be a big factor in the semi between Swiatek and Teichmann, with the former sure to take advantage of her opposition’s result in their upcoming encounter.

The second semi will be between American qualifier Coco Gauff and Swiss second seed Belinda Bencic, as both completed solid wins to make their way through. The 16-year-old Gauff took out compatriot Shelby Rogers in three sets, starting slow in the 2-6 6-4 6-4 encounter but building her way back into the contest to reign supreme over her more experienced opposition. As for Bencic, she had a relatively easy encounter against qualifying Australian Storm Sanders, whose excellent week ground to a halt with the 6-2 6-4 sweep from the world number 12. Despite a stronger second set from the qualifier to draw even at 3-3, Bencic utilised her array of skills to wrestle back momentum and take out the win.

ATP 250 wraps: Ebden upsets Millman in Singapore, as seeds tumble in Montpellier

IT was another big day across the three ATP 250 events, with Round of 16 matches completed in two of them, while Cordoba’s time difference meant the rest of its second round clashes will be completed over the next eight hours.

Two top four upsets in the Round of 16 have flung the door wide open in the quarter finals stage of the Open Sud de France, with just four of the eight seeds remaining in Montpellier. Those four seeds all play each other, guaranteeing two unseeded players will reach the semi-finals.

Austrian Dennis Novak upset third seed Serbian Dusan Lajovic in straight sets, 7-6 7-5, while Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was even more clinical during a 7-5 6-2 victory over fourth seed Pole Hubert Hurkacz. With those seeds out, they set up quarter finals clashes with Peter Gojowczyk and Egor Gerasimov respectively.

Gojowczyk knocked off Jiri Vesely in the tightest match of the day, needing three sets to put away the tricky Czech, as the German qualifier came back from a tiebreak down to win 6-7 7-6 6-3. Meanwhile Gerasimov won against Slovenian Aljaz Bedene – who took out Jannik Sinner in Round 1 – in a tight two sets as well, 6-4 7-6.

Order was restored with Roberto Bautista Agut stepped on court as he destroyed French qualifier Gregoire Barrere 6-0 6-3 in a dominant performance. Now Bautista Agut will face the last remaining Frenchman in Montpellier, sixth seed Ugo Humbert in the quarter finals. At the other end of the draw, second seed David Goffin will take on Italian seventh seed Lorenzo Sonego.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [Q] Gregoire Barrere (FRA) 6-0 6-3
Dennis Novak (AUT) defeated [3] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 7-6 7-5
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated [4] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 7-5 6-2
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-4 7-6
[Q] Peter Gojowczyk (GER) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-7 7-6 6-3

 

The biggest upset in Singapore was the ousting of second seed and tournament favourite, John Millman who went down to compatriot and wildcard Matthew Ebden. It marked Millman’s second consecutive loss after a shock defeat in the opening round of the Australian Open to Corentin Moutet. Ebden proved far too good on the day, cruising through in a 6-4 6-1 victory to set up a quarter finals clash with compatriot Alexei Popyrin.

Millman was the only seed to lose on the day, with now tournament favourite, Adrian Mannarino booking his place in the quarter finals. The top seed won 6-3 7-5 over Mexico’s Roberto Marcora to make it into the final eight, whilst other seeds, Radu Albot and Soonwoo Kwon also secured wins. Albot defeated Yannick Hanfmann in a come-from-behind thriller, defeating the German 6-7 7-6 6-3 which included saving multiple match points. Meanwhile Kwon took out Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama to reach the quarter finals with a 6-3 6-4 triumph.

Popyrin and Ebden’s quarter final will be the only unseeded quarter final with the six other seeds all reaching the last eight of the Singapore tournament. Mannarino will now take on Albot for a spot in the semis, while Kwon and third seed Marin Cilic go head-to-head, as does fourth seed Alexander Bublik and fifth seed Yoshihito Nishioka.

SINGAPORE ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated Roberto Marcora (MEX) 6-3 7-5
[WC] Matthew Ebden (AUS) defeated [2] John Millman (AUS) 6-4 6-1
[6] Radu Albot (MCE) defeated Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 6-7 7-6 6-3
[8] Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 6-3 6-4

 

Frenchman Benoit Paire grabbed his first win of 2021, and only second in the last 12 months when he took care of Chilean wildcard Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at Cordoba. Paire won 6-2 6-4 to get the monkey off the back after being 1-9 since the restart of the Tour in August. Jarry was not the only Chilean to be sent packing from the event, with qualifier Marcel Tomas Barrios Vera going down. He lost out to Jozef Kovalik, with the Slovakian coming from behind to win in three sets, 4-6 6-2 6-3 and book his spot in the quarter finals.

In the other two matches played yesterday, four Argentinians stepped on court with one higher ranked and one lower ranked player winning against their respective opponents. Qualifier Facundo Bagnis took full advantage against eighth seed Federico Delbonis, knocking him out of the tournament with a 6-4 7-5 win. Meanwhile Federico Coria had to come back from a disappointing first set to post a 1-6 6-2 6-4 victory over wildcard Francisco Cerundolo.

The four remaining Round of 16 matches – including three with Argentinians – will take place today.

CORDOBA ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[2] Benoit Paire (FRA) defeated [WC] Nicolas Jarry (CHI) 6-2 6-4
Jozef Kovalik (SVK) defeated [Q] Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera (CHI) 4-6 6-2 6-3
Federico Coria [ARG] defeated [WC] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) 1-6 6-2 6-4
[Q] Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated [8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-4 7-5

Picture credit: J.B. Autissier – Panoramic

2021 Adelaide International: Collins gatecrashes Barty Party as Storm Sanders becomes the last Aussie standing

DANIELLE Collins has sought revenge on world number one Ash Barty, overturning the result between the pair at last year’s Adelaide International to win in straight sets and book her place in the last eight. The American went down in three sets in last year’s semi-final showdown which saw Barty go on to win the title, but in the Round of 16, it was Collins who got the better of the Australian, stunning her 6-3 6-4 and condemning Barty to her second consecutive loss.

“I think I was really familiar with her game after losing to her three times,” Collins said post-match. “So I certainly got some great tennis lessons out of that and have learned from it.”

The American was the third from her nation to make her way into the quarter finals following Shelby Rogers‘ victory the day before, and young gun Coco Gauff‘s come-from-behind win over sixth seed Croatian Petra Martic. Gauff had to fight back from a set down to win 5-7 6-3 6-4 in two hours and 12 minutes, saving seven of her 10 break points, whilst breaking her opponent four times in a nail-biting encounter. She now takes on Rogers in an all-American affair.

For Collins, having disposed of one Grand Slam winner in Barty, she now has another to overcome. The unseeded American faces Iga Swiatek in the quarter finals after the Pole Roland Garros winner defeated Australian Maddison Inglis in straight sets, 6-1 6-3. On a day that was a disaster for seeds, Swiatek held firm and won through to the final eight, joining second seed Belinda Bencic as the only other seed through to the quarter finals.

The biggest upset of the day – even more so than Collins over Barty – was Storm Sanders‘ triumph over Yulia Putintseva. The 26-year-old world number 292nd had no fears against the seventh seed and world number 28, winning 6-4 5-7 6-1 in a tight affair. In a remarkable second match since they last played nine years ago when they were teenagers, the now 26-year-olds engaged in a two-hour and 18-minute battle which saw Sanders emerge victorious. She saved eight of 10 break points, whilst capitalising on four of nine herself to make her way into the quarter finals to take on Bencic.

In the other results, Latvian Anastasia Sevastova will lock horns with Swiss rising talent Jil Teichmann after both won their respective matches. Sevastova knocked out Christina McHale in straight sets, 6-4 6-3, while Teichmann came from behind to defeat eighth seed Chinese talent, Wang Qiang, 3-6 6-3 6-3.

ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Danielle Collins (USA) defeated [1] Ash Barty (AUS) 6-3 6-4
[2] Belinda Bencic (SUI) defeated Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-1 6-3
[5] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Maddison Inglis (AUS) 6-1 6-3
Coco Gauff (USA) defeated [6] Petra Martic (CRO) 5-7 6-3 6-4
Storm Sanders (AUS) defeated [7] Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) 6-4 5-7 6-1
Jil Teichmann (SUI) defeated [8] Wang Qiang (CHN) 3-6 6-3 6-3
Anastasia Sevastova (LAT) defeated Christina McHale 6-4 6-3

Picture credit: Tennis Australia/James Elsby

ATP 250 wraps: Humbert saves match points as Popyrin win ensures all-Australian quarter final

THERE were some huge results across the ATP Tour’s three tournaments played in France, Argentina and Singapore, as we wrap up the day’s action below.

Ugo Humbert overcame multiple match points to put away Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor in a thrilling match of the day in the Open Sud de France at Monypellier. In three nail-biting tiebreakers, Humbert lost the first one 7-4, then backed up with 7-5 and 7-5 in the final two tiebreakers, but it was Humbert’s fighting spirit looking down and out midway through the second set that shone through. The Frenchman was 7-6 5-2 down and had to fight off three match points in the ninth game to fight off the 160th ranked Griekspoor.

In a match that lasted two hours and 50 minutes, Humbert served one more ace (10-9) and two less double faults (2-4) as well as a superior 83 to 74 per cent first serve points success rate. In the end just seven points separated the players, with Humbert converting one of two break points in that second set, and saving eight of nine in a terrific defensive effort throughout the match.

“It was tough today. [Griekspoor] played at a great level,” Humbert said post-match. “I tried to stay combative. It was tough. [We played] three tie-breaks and I am super happy to win this match.”

Also having a fight on his hands, second seed Belgian David Goffin survived a thriller against French wildcard Benjamin Bonzi. Goffin has not been in the greatest form of late, but showed equal fighting spirit to come from a set down to win in three. The Belgian crucially broke the Frenchman in the eleventh game of the deciding set to successfully serve for the match, 4-6 6-4 7-5 after saving a break point in the final game.

Seventh seed Lorenzo Sonego made his way into the quarter finals with a straight sets win over American Sebastian Korda. The Italian had an easier time of it than his fellow seeds, getting up 6-3 6-2 to book his spot in the final eight.

Meanwhile in other results, the remaining three Round of 32 matches were completed with a couple of upsets. Slovenian Aljaz Bedene upset Italian young gun Jannik Sinner in a come-from-behind win 6-7 7-6 7-6, and French qualifier Gregoire Barrere set Georgian Top 40 talent Nikoloz Basilashvili packing in straight sets, 6-4 6-4. In the other first round match, Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina had to navigate three sets to knock off compatriot and qualifier, Berabe Zapata Miralles 7-6 5-7 6-2.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 16:

[6] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated [Q] Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 6-7 7-6 7-6
[7] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-3 6-2
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated [WC] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 4-6 6-4 7-5

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 32:

Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated [5] Jannik Sinner (ITA) 3-6 6-2 7-6
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated [Q] Berabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 7-6 5-7 6-2
[Q] Gregoire Barrere (FRA) defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-4 6-4

 

The first four players are through to the quarter finals in Singapore, with three seeds joining Australian Alexei Popyrin in the final eight. Thanks to Popyrin winning, it has guaranteed an Australian will make the semi-finals, with the other two remaining Aussies – second seed John Millman and wildcard Matthew Ebden – facing off later today to take on Popyrin in the quarter finals.

Popyrin fought hard to overcome Bulgarian wildcard Adrian Andreev, 6-1 5-7 6-3 to book his spot in the quarter finals. Also making their way into the last eight were a trio of seeds, with the third, fourth and fifth seeds all winning. Third seed Marin Cilic accounted for Japan’s Taro Daniel 7-5 6-4, while fourth seed Alexander Bublik and fifth seed Yoshihito Nishioka brushed aside Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek and American Maxime Cressy in straight sets respectively.

The last of the Round of 32 matches were also completed yesterday, with eighth seed Soonwoo Kwon surviving a thriller against United States qualifier, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski 4-6 6-3 6-4 to move into the second round. In the other results, Ebden defeated Indian Yuli Bhambri in straight sets 6-3 7-6, while Italian Roberto Marcora earned a date with top seed Adrian Mannarino later today after taking care of Latvian Ernests Gulbis, 7-5 6-4.

SINGAPORE OPEN ROUND OF 16:

[3] Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Taro Daniel (JPN) 7-5 6-4
[4] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [Q] Altug Celikbilek (TUR) 6-2 6-2
[5] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Maxime Cressy (USA) 6-4 6-2
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [WC] Adrian Andreev (BUL) 6-1 5-7 6-3

SINGAPORE OPEN ROUND OF 32:

[8] Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeated [Q] Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Roberto Marcora (ITA) defeated Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 7-5 6-4
[WC] Matthew Ebden (AUS) defeated [PR] Yuli Bhambri (IND) 6-3 7-6

 

There were plenty of fans who went home happy from the Cordoba Open, with six of the nine winners on the opening day coming from Argentina. The three other winners did not knock off an Argentinian either, so the maximum amount of talent from the host nation advanced through to the Round of 16, which allowed a minimum of two Argentinians to reach the quarter finals after setting up all-Argentinian Round of 16 matches.

Federico Coria caused the upset of the day, bundling out sixth seed German Dominik Koepfer in straight sets, 6-1 6-4. He advanced through to the next round to face compatriot and wildcard, Francisco Cerundolo. The 135th ranked Cerundolo upstaged Italian Gianluca Mager, coming back from a set down to win, 6-7 6-1 6-4.

Facundo Bagnis will get plenty of experience against his fellow Argentinians, having defeated wildcard Nicolas Kicker in straight sets in the first round, and will face eighth seed Federico Delbonis in the Round of 16. The qualifier defeated Kicker 6-1 6-4 to set up the Delbonis meeting, with the seed knocking off Portugal’s Pedro Sousa for the Round of 16 spot.

Another qualifier to advance through to the Round of 16 was Juan Manuel Cerundolo who toppled Brazilian young gun Thiago Seyboth Wild. Winning in two eight sets 7-5 7-6, Cerundolo will now have the tough task of taking on third seed Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic who had a bye in the opening round. Meanwhile Tomas Martin Etcheverry booked his Round of 16 spot with an upset win over Slovenia’s Andrej Martin, 6-3 7-6 and will take on Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the next match.

Other winners on the day was Thiago Monteiro who won through thanks to a straight sets victory over compatriot and lucky loser, Brazilian Joao Menezes, 6-3 6-3. Italian Marco Cecchinato advanced through to take on top seed Diego Schwartzman with a 6-2 4-6 6-1 win over Bolivian Hugo Dellien, while Robert Carballes Baena was too strong for Joao Sousa, winning 6-3 6-1 and the Spaniard will now take on Monteiro in the next round.

CORDOBA OPEN ROUND OF 32:

Federico Coria (ARG) defeated [6] Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-1 6-4
[7] Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated [LL] Joao Menezes (BRA) 6-3 6-3
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-4 6-4
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated Hugo Dellien (BOL) 6-2 4-6 6-1
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated [WC] Nicolas Kicker (ARG) 6-1 6-4
[Q] Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) defeated Andrej Martin (SLO) 6-3 7-6
[WC] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 6-7 6-1 6-4
[Q] Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG) defeated Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) 7-5 7-6

Picture credit: ATP Tour