Tag: albert ramos-vinolas

ATP Tour wrap: Future of ATP Tour on show across globe

THREE rising stars of the ATP Tour caused huge upsets across the three tournaments taking place, with Hugo Gaston, Carlos Alcaraz and Brandon Nakashima all bundling out top four seeded opponents to advance through to the next stage of their respective tournaments. In Mexico, the Mifel Open’s finalists were decided, whilst the semi-finalists for the Swiss Open and Croatia Open were determined overnight.

Nakashima took down second seed John Isner to advance through to his first ever ATP Tour final. The San Diego native is a week shy of his 20th birthday and ranked 134th in the world, but will hit a career-high by the end of the week. Having lost in his two matches prior to Los Cabos, Nakashima has made it all the way to the final, knocking out Isner 7-5 6-4 to face top seed Cameron Norrie in the final.

Norrie has also not won an ATP Tour title, and is at a career-high number 30 in the world. Set to be seeded at the US Open, the Brit will be in uncharted territory in the final, but is six years older and more than 100 ranking spots higher than his opponent. He defeated another American in Taylor Fritz, bundling out the third seed rather easily 6-3 6-1, to reach the decider.

For Frenchman Hugo Gaston, he picked up the win of his career at the Swiss Open with a stunning three-set epic against fourth seed Chilean Cristian Garin. The 6-4 1-6 7-6 upset was made all the more impressive by the fact it was on clay, Garin’s clear dominant surface. Gaston was made to work for it in the third set tiebreaker however, going 24 points for an eventual win of 13-11. The match lasted two hours and 20 minutes, with the 20-year-old Frenchman saving four match points in the process during that tiebreaker, winning the last three points of the clash to claim victory.

“I am very happy to be in my first [ATP Tour] semi-final,” Gaston said post-match. “It was a great fight. It was a really long match. I always tried to play my game, and it is a good win for me. I hope I can continue like that.”

He will hold the hopes of his nation in his hands, facing seventh seed Laslo Djere who toppled Gaston’s compatriot, Arthur Rinderknech. Djere won in a tight three sets, 6-4 6-7 6-4 to advance through to the Swiss Open semi-finals. In the other semi, third seed Casper Ruud will take on Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva, following Ruud’s three-set win over sixth seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire, 6-2 5-7 6-3. Kopriva put in one of the performances of the tournament with a 6-1 6-0 shellacking of Swede Mikael Ymer.

Meanwhile in the final ATP Tour tournament, Spanish star Alcaraz booked his spot in the semi-finals of the Croatia Open with a three-set victory over third seed Serbian Filip Krajinovic. He got up 7-6 2-6 6-1 to advance through to the final four, with compatriot and top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas the next opponent in his way. Ramos-Vinolas toppled Italian Stefano Travaglia easily, 6-2 6-1.

“I’m really happy to be in my second ATP semi-final. I think this tournament is going to be different than the first [time I made a semi-final] in Marbella [earlier this year],” Alcaraz said post-match. “I think I’m going to play differently. I think I’m going to handle the tough moments in a different way than I did in Marbella, and I think I’m ready to play against Ramos in the semi-finals with power.”

In the other quarter finals, fourth seed Frenchman Richard Gasquet defeated Damir Dzumhur in straight sets 6-3 7-6, while German qualifier Daniel Altmaier got the better of another seeded Serbian in Dusan Lajovic. Altmaier defeated the higher ranked Lajovic 6-2 6-4 to bundle out the second seed and take on Gasquet to try and reach the clay court final.

SWISS OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [6] Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-2 5-7 6-3
Hugo Gaston (FRA) defeated [4] Cristian Garin (CHI) 6-4 1-6 7-6
[7] Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) 6-4 6-7 6-4
[Q] Vit Kopriva (CZE) defeated Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-1 6-0

CROATIA OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-2 6-1
[Q] Daniel Altmaier (GER) defeated [2] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-2 6-4
[7] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [3] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 7-6 2-6 6-1
[4] Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-3 7-6

MIFEL OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-3 6-1
Brandon Nakashima (USA) defeated [2] John Isner (USA) 7-5 6-4

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Rinderknech stuns RBA in Swiss Open upset

ARTHUR Rinderknech has caused the upset of the day across the globe in the Swiss Open ATP Tour tournament, downing second seed Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets. The Frenchman won 6-2 6-4 in the biggest win of his career to advance through to the quarter finals at the event. Set to enter inside the Top 100 after hitting his career-high of 100th recently, the Frenchman has now won nine Tour matches in 2021, another career-high.

In a match that lasted one hour and 34 minutes, Rinderknech was consistently powerful from the back court, and took control of points to dictate play and stun the usually-reliable Spaniard. He was not the only Frenchman through to the final eight, with young gun Hugo Gaston almost coughing up a 6-0 first set dominance to win following two tight tiebreakers. Whilst he looked good for the easy win against fifth seed Federico Delbonis, the teenager needed the full three sets for a 6-0 6-7 7-6 victory.

In the other two Swiss Open Round of 16 matches, fourth seed Cristian Garin and seventh seed Laslo Djere both advanced to the quarter finals. Garin won 6-3 6-0 against Australian Marc Polmans in convincing style, while Djere knocked off Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs in three sets, 6-2 4-6 6-2.

In Croatia, four Round of 16 matches were completed overnight, with the two seeds grabbing tight two-set victories. Top seed Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas defeated home nation wildcard Duje Ajdukovic in a tighter-than-expected contest, getting through 7-5 6-4. Similarly, fourth seed Frenchman Richard Gasquet won 7-6 6-4 in a neck-and-neck contest over Italian qualifier Alessandro Giannessi. In other results, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur won 6-3 6-1 over Italian Marco Cecchinato, whilst it was better news for another Italian in Stefano Travaglia who toppled Spaniard Carlos Taberner, 6-4 6-3.

In the tournament played most recently, the full Round of 16 undertaken at the Mifel Open in Mexico. On the hard court there, all the seeds in action advanced, with a couple needing three-set contests. Second seed John Isner overcame a scare from Russian Evgeny Donskoy to advance 7-5 3-6 7-6, while fifth seed Australian Jordan Thompson claimed victory against Austrian Sebastian Ofner, 3-6 6-4 7-5. It was a little easier for other seeds, Cameron Norrie and Steve Johnson who managed to navigate the second round in straight sets.

Norrie defeated Swede Elias Ymer and Johnson toppled Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama, with both matches going down 7-6 6-3. In the other completed matches at the time of publishing, unseeded Australian Alex Bolt took down Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez 6-3 6-1, whilst American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo defeated compatriot Denis Kudla in a tight two sets, 6-4 7-6. The last match underway was between third seed American Taylor Fritz, and Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko.

MIFEL OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Elias Ymer (SWE) 7-6 6-3
[2] John Isner (USA) defeated Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 7-5 3-6 7-6
Brandon Nakashima (USA) defeated [4] Sam Querrey (USA) 6-3 6-4
[5] Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Sebastian Ofner (AUT) 3-6 6-4 7-5
[6] Steve Johnson (USA) defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 7-6 6-3
Alex Bolt (AUS) defeated Emilio Gomez (ECU) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Ernesto Escobedo (USA) defeated Denis Kudla (USA) 6-4 7-6
[3] Taylor Fritz vs. Ilya Marchenko (UKR)

CROATIA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [WC] Duje Ajdukovic (CRO) 7-5 6-4
[4] Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated [Q] Alessandro Giannessi (ITA) 7-6 6-4
Damir Dzumhur (BIH) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-3 6-1
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated Carlo Taberner (ESP) 6-4 6-3

SWISS OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) defeated [2] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 6-2 6-4
[4] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-3 6-0
Hugo Gaston (FRA) defeated [5] Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-0 6-7 7-6
[7] Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated [Q] Zizou Bergs (BEL) 6-2 4-6 6-2

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Mixed bag of results as 250 and 500 events heat up

A MIXED bag of results were had across the board at all three ATP Tour tournaments yesterday, with the ATP 500 event in Hamburg and 250 clay event in Nordea continuing their Round of 16, while at the grass event in the United States, the quarter finals begun.

At Hamburg, three of the four seeds reigned supreme, with just fourth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas falling in the second round to Argentinian Federico Delbonis in straight sets, 6-3 7-6, with the Argentinian improving his win record to 6-2 against Ramos-Vinolas. But proceedings went much easier for second seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who overcame compatriot and qualifier Carlos Taberner 7-5 6-3 in one hour and 46 minutes.

”I knew that it was very important at the beginning of the match because it was his fourth match here and it was my first one, so it can be difficult,” Carreno Busta said. “I was very focused on my game, I tried to be aggressive all the time.

”Carlos then started to play more aggressive from 1-4 and hit more winners, so I continued fighting and I am happy as it is important [to get through] the first match.”

Carreno Busta will next take on fifth seed Serbian Dusan Lajovic, who was the only player taken to three sets on the day with a 6-4 6-7(2) 6-3 victory over Slovak Alex Molcan. Lajovic required close to three hours to close out the match, winning 66 per cent of his first serve points on his way to the win. Meanwhile, eighth seed Benoit Paire rounded out the winners with a close shave over qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas, 7-5 7-6(8) in two hours and three minutes.

At Nordea, top seed Casper Ruud claimed the win of the day over Danish young gun Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune, 6-0 6-2 in just 65 minutes. With six aces and an 87 per cent win rate off his first serve, it was a confidence-boosting win for the Norwegian.

“I am very happy today. It is a surface I have had the most success of my career, it is great to be back here in Bastad,” Ruud said. “The tournament is so nice as always. There is a bit of extra pressure [being the top seed]. In a match like this against a fellow Scandinavian younger player, it is even more.

“I think I was very professional in my mindset today. I played a match without any errors really from the first to the last point. It is a nice feeling being the top seed but also pressure. I felt great crowd support, it is nice to feel that energy.”

Ruud will next take on Swiss talent Henri Laaksonen after the qualifier defeated wildcard hometown hopeful Elias Ymer. Roberto Carballes Baena and Norbert Gombos will go head-to-head in the quarter finals, after the duo executed upset victories over third seed Fabio Fognini and eighth seed Emil Ruusuvuori, respectively.

At the Newport quarter finals, it was Alexander Bublik and Kevin Anderson who came away with wins, as both seeds overcame their lower-ranked opposition. While Kazakh talent Bublik controlled proceedings against Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung from the get-go to reign supreme 6-2 6-4, it was a different story for the hard-hitting South African who was forced to overcome a huge start from American wildcard Jack Sock to eventually claim the come-from-behind 6-7(5) 6-2 6-4 victory.

“I was up against a really, really good player. Jack has had a couple of tough years, but his level is way above his ranking,” Anderson said. “I really had to dig deep, it was a very physical match and conditions were much warmer today. I thought I did a good job, battling hard and fighting for every point. Fortunately, I was able to figure out a way to come through in the end.”

Anderson hit a whopping 20 aces for six double faults to claim the win, winning 90 per cent of his first serve points in the process. He and Bublik will go head-to-head for the first time in the semi final, with the Kazakh talent also relying on his strong serve to take out victory, with 14 aces to his name and a win rate of 85 per cent off his first serve.

“There are a lot of positives: staying confident throughout the entire match, and staying focused against such a tricky opponent. He runs around a lot and plays very solid,” Bublik said. “I tried to keep my nerves together and served well, which definitely helps.”

HAMBURG EUROPEAN OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[2] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated [Q] Carlos Taberner (ESP) 7-5 6-3
Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated [4] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 6-3 7-6
[5] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) defeated [Q] Alex Molcan (SVK) 6-4 6-7 6-3
[8] Benoit Paire (FRA) defeated [Q] Juan Pablo Varillas (AUT) 7-5 7-6

NORDEA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [WC] Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (DEN) 6-0 6-2
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated [3] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-3 1-6 6-4
Norbert Gombos (SVK) defeated [8] Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 6-2 6-4
[Q] Henri Laaksonen (SUI) defeated [WC] Elias Ymer (SWE) 6-2 7-5

HALL OF FAME OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Jason Jung (TPE) 6-2 6-4
[8] Kevin Anderson (RSA) defeated [WC] Jack Sock (USA) 6-7 6-2 6-4

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Federer makes it through to next round as De Minaur exits

ROGER Federer has progressed to the next round of the Wimbledon tournament after the injury curse hit London once again, his victim this time being Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. It was a highly anticipated match with Federer aiming for his ninth Wimbledon title. The match looked set to be a tight contest with Mannarino ahead of the Swiss native by two sets, but an unfortunate mishap lead to a blow to his grand slam quest, as his right knee buckled following a fall and forced him to retire from the match.

Following the end of his match, Federer spoke with the media and gave his best wishes to the fallen Mannarino.

“It shows that one shot can change the outcome of a match, a season, a career, so I wish him all the best. I hope he recovers quickly so we can see him back on the courts because, look, he could have the match at the end,” Federer said.

“I definitely got a bit lucky but who cares about that – I wish him all the best.”

Russian superstar Daniil Medvedev came out on top in his match against 31-year-old Jan-Lennard Struff. Medvedev was unstoppable against the German player, taking an hour and 24 minutes to knock out the world number 45. Despite an early lead winning the first two sets, Struff slowly started fighting back as the match progressed. But it was not enough to snatch away the glory from Medvedev who fought on to win 6-4 6-1 4-6 7-3. Another big win went the way of Alexander Zverev who won in straight sets against 24-year-old Tallon Griekspoor. Griekspoor was no match for Zverev, who put on a dominant performance in a match that lasted 90 minutes.

In a stunning upset, American Sebastian Korda took out the win against Australia’s Alex De Minaur. The Eastbourne winner wasn’t able to hold off the young gun as he struggled to keep up with the fast-paced Korda. He eventually fell short of the win 6-3 6-4 6-7 7-6.

Seeded player Fabio Fognini claimed victory against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The Italian fought it out against Ramos-Vinolas, eventually cruising to the end of the match with a win. Seeded players Diego Schwartzman, Daniel Evans and Denis Shapovalov also found success against their opponents.

WIMBLEDON ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

(6) Rodger Federer (SWI) defeated Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-4 6-7 3-6 6-2*
(4) Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 6-3 6-4 6-1
(2) Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-4 6-1 4-6 7-3
(22) Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Feliciano Lopez (SPA) 7-6 6-2 7-5
(9) Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3 6-4 6-0
Oscar Otte (GER) defeated Arthur Dinderknech (FRA) 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-7 13-12
(10) Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-4 4-6 6-3 5-7 6-4
(26) Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas (SPA) 7-6 6-2 6-4
Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeated Daniel Masur (GER) 6-7 6-3 6-6 6-4
Antoine Hoang (FRA) defeated Zhizhen Zhang (CHI) 4-6 7-6 6-7 6-3 6-2
Tennys Sandgren (USA) defeated Norbet Gombos (SLO) 6-4 6-7 6-1 6-3
Pablo Andujar (SPA) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbet (FRA) 7-6 4-6 7-6 7-5 8-5
Laslo Djere (SER) defeated Pablo Cuevas (URU) 5-7 6-4 6-4 6-4
Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated Ricardas Berankis (LIT) 6-3 6-4 7-6
Marc Polmans (AUS) defeated Yen-Hsun Lu (TAI) 6-2 7-5 4-6 6-1
Dusan Lajovic (SER) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-4 7-5 3-6 4-6 6-3
(14) Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 6-4 7-6 6-1
Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated Yuichi Sugita (JAP) 7-6 4-6 6-2 6-1
Alex Bolt (AUS) defeated Filip Krajinovic (SER) 7-6 6-4 7-5
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated (15) Alex De Minaur 6-3 6-4 6-7 7-6
Egor Gerasimov (BEL) defeated Jay Clarke (GBA) 6-3 3-6 7-6 6-2

 

Picture credit: AFP

ATP Tour wrap: Federer makes successful return to grass

THE main draws of grass court tournaments in Halle and London commenced overnight, with players ramping up their preparations for the all-important Wimbledon Championships beginning on June 28. While two of the top seeds banked victories, three other big names were victims of surprising upsets.

Roger Federer made a successful return to grass at the Noventi Open, taking care of qualifier Ilya Ivashka 7-6 7-5. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has been vocal about his desire to win in London, and he even withdrew from Roland Garros following his third round victory to assist his preparation. Federer did not lose on serve in this match and said that he enjoyed his first outing on grass since 2019.

“I missed it. I’ve done the hard courts, I’ve done the clay and now [I am] on the grass,” Federer said. “It’s been great being back here in Halle, I love playing here.”

“[I] had a tough moment early on in the first set when he had break points, so that was crucial to get out of those. “And then I played a really good tie-break, which I was happy about. “Overall I think I served very well. “Clearly, I can always be a little bit better, but I’m very happy and excited that I was able to get through the first one.”

Things did not go as smoothly for Roland Garros quarter finalist Roberto Bautista Agut, who bowed out in straight sets against American youngster Sebastian Korda 6-3 7-6. Korda had never previously competed in a tour-level match on grass, so it was important that he played with aggression and confidence against his higher-ranked opponent.

“I think the grass really suits my game,” Korda said. “I’m a big hitter, I try to come into net and be aggressive. In the biggest moments I saved a lot of break points, stayed super calm and I never really backed off. “I kept moving forward, kept going to net and kept doing my thing.”

Seventh seed David Goffin was forced to withdraw from Halle during his clash against Corentin Moutet after slipping and landing awkwardly on his ankle in the opening game of the second set. Although he toughed out the set and had a chance to serve for the match, he could not close it out and was unable to continue after Moutet levelled the match at 1-6 7-5.

At Cinch, Russian world number 24 Aslan Karatsev made his long-awaited tour-level grass court debut and overcame a slow start to get past Chilean lucky loser Alejandro Tabilo 3-6 6-4 6-2. Karatsev did not earn a break point in the opening set but became more comfortable on the surface as the match progressed.

“[It’s] completely different than the other surfaces,” Karatsev said. “It was the first match, a tough opponent, lefty. I got used to it and in the end I found the way to manage it. “The second set was a bit tricky. “I broke him, and then in the third set he started really slowly. “I got used to his serve and I returned everything that I could. “It was easier for me [from there].”

Karatsev will face local 25-year-old Cameron Norrie next, who defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 4-6 6-3 6-4.

British wildcard Jack Draper produced the biggest upset of the day, overcoming third seed Jannik Sinner 7-6 7-6. The world number 309 struck 11 aces and came back from 0-4 down in the opening set to earn the most impressive victory of his young career. After the match, Sinner admitted that Draper was the better player in this contest.

“He understood my game,” Sinner said. “It was a little bit of a rollercoaster and he played the important points better than me. “Today, I was not serving well and I think he deserved to win. “He has more experience than me on the grass and I wish him good luck.”

 

NOVENTI OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

(5) Roger Federer (SUI) defeated (Q) Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 7-6 7-5
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated (6) Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 6-3 7-6
Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated (7) David Goffin (BEL) 1-6 7-5 0-0 (retired)
(Q) Marcos Giron (USA) defeated Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 7-6 7-6
Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated (WC) Daniel Altmaier (GER) 6-2 7-6

CINCH CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

(WC) Jack Draper (GBR) defeated (3) Jannik Sinner (ITA) 7-6 7-6
(5) Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) 3-6 6-4 6-2
(Q) Victor Troicki (SRB) defeated (7) Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-4 6-4
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) defeated (Q) Illya Marchenko (UKR) 6-1 7-6
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated (WC) Liam Broady (GBR) 6-4 6-4
John Millman (AUS) defeated Reilly Opelka (USA) 7-6 5-7 7-6
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 4-6 6-3 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Frenchmen falter as Djokovic and Nadal claim quick wins

DAY 3 at the 2021 Roland Garros produced some intriguing results, with two of the top seeds in Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal retaining their winning form with respective straight set wins, while Andrey Rublev‘s Roland Garros run was cut dastardly short.

The world number seven struggled to keep up with German Jan-Lennard Struff early in the three hour and 46 minute first round clash before stealing momentum throughout the third and fourth sets to send the match to a decider. But despite a late challenge, Rublev was too late as Struff heads through to the Round of 64 with the 6-3 7-6 4-6 3-6 6-4 victory in the books.

“I played Andrey twice this year, lost twice in three sets, played twice a very good first set but couldn’t get the job done,” Struff said. “Definitely it’s a huge win for me in a Grand Slam against a top-10 player. Yeah, very, very important.”

The hard-hitting German piled on 25 aces throughout the contest, and despite hitting more unforced errors (55-47) and less winners (63-65) and winning the same amount of overall points (170), Struff was more consistent than Rublev, who was inefficient on serve in comparison.

“I mean, of course I was thinking that I would like to come back from 2-0, but I don’t know, the fifth set I was a bit unlucky,” Rublev said.

“I was feeling fine, I was practising well, I don’t know,” Rublev said. “I think we played a good level today. It’s not easy. He’s a really tough opponent for the first round, really tough, plus he’s playing better and better. He’s improving and he’s winning really great matches.”

For Djokovic and Nadal, their opening rounds were made much easier with the world number one and three claiming wins in straight sets. Djokovic appeared refreshed on court against American Tennys Sandgren, coming straight in off the back of a title in Belgrade over the weekend and not skipping a beat.

“They (Serbian fans) gave me a lot of energy and encouragement,” Djokovic said. “I felt great. I don’t think that I lost a lot of energy there, on the contrary I gained a lot, so hopefully I’ll be able to carry that into this tournament.

“He was close to breaking my serve. I somehow found really a lot of serves when I needed them and that got me out of trouble,” he continued. “Overall I am very pleased with the way I felt on the court tonight.”

Despite a late charge from Australian Alexei Popyrin, Nadal was rarely challenged in his first round matchup, coming from two match points down to dominate in the tiebreaker and claim the 6-3 6-2 7-6 victory in just under two and a half hours. While Popyrin hit six more winners (34-28), he struggled with unforced errors (43-23) with late errors in the third set hurting his chances of stealing a set from the clay court master.

“It’s his court,” said Popyrin, about playing Nadal on the main court Philippe Chatrier. “It will always be his court. I think it’s his favourite court to play on. And to nearly get a set out of him playing my first time on that court is a good achievement for me, but I’m still disappointed with it.”

“Here, especially on clay, the matches are best-of-five, the matches are long and it’s difficult to hold that kind of level for such a long time, playing with this kind of risk,” Nadal said. “Of course I don’t want to lose the set at all, but that’s part of the game.”

“You face a player that he’s decided to go for every shot, so you are in trouble. If he’s having success like he did with his serve, then it’s difficult to have breaks, and then you are in a tricky position.”

“With this serve, with this kind of shots from the baseline, you have everything to become a top player,” said Nadal. “If he wants to do it, of course he is going to have his chances, because he has a lot of very difficult things in his game… He has everything to become a fantastic player.”

Where Popyrin was unsuccessful, his 21st seed compatriot and top ranked Australian Alex de Minaur dominated his own contest with Italian Stefano Travaglia, staving off a third set comeback in much the same way as Nadal to claim a 6-2 6-4 7-6 victory. Travaglia had a number of compatriots playing on Day 3, joined on the sideline by Salvatore Caruso – who fell to another Australian James Duckworth in five –  while the second round entrants were headlined by top-ranked Italian Matteo Berrettini, Andreas Seppi and Marco Cecchinato.

Joining Rublev on the sidelines is 20th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and 29th seed Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who was one of five hometown hopefuls to go down. Canadian Auger-Aliassime fell to veteran Seppi, who won his first match at the Roland Garros in four years and first tour-level match for 2021 in the process. Humbert was joined on the sidelines by wildcards Hugo Gaston and Benjamin Bonzi, as well as Adrian Mannarino and Lucas Pouille who both failed to pull off wins. Comparatively, 14th seed Gael Monfils and unseeded Richard Gasquet head through to the second round, with the former coming from a first set deficit to win in four over Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, as the latter disposed of compatriot Gaston.

Tenth and 24th seeds Diego Schwartzman and Aslan Karatsev both joined the winners list, as Schwartzman’s Argentinian compatriot Federico Coria also found success in the first round, and was one of four players to dispose of a Spaniard. Just Nadal made it through to represent the nation in the second round, as Coria disposed of Feliciano Lopez, while Philipp Kohlschreiber and Mikael Ymer claimed victories over Fernando Verdasco and Roberto Carballes Baena, respectively. The final winner for the day was Korean Soonwoo Kwon, who escaped with a three hour and nine minute victory over hard-hitter Kevin Anderson, who piled on a whopping 30 aces throughout the 7-5 6-4 2-6 7-6 contest.

ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-2 6-4 6-2
[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-3 6-2 7-6
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [7] Andrey Rublev (RUS) 6-3 7-6 4-6 3-6 6-4
[9] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [Q] Taro Daniel (JPN) 6-0 6-4 4-6 6-4
[10] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated [PR] Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) 6-2 6-2 6-3
[14] Gael Monfils (FRA) defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 1-6 7-6 6-4 6-4
Andreas Seppi (ITA) defeated [20] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 6-3 7-6 4-6 6-4
[21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-2 6-4 7-6
[24] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [Q] Jenson Brooksby (USA) 6-3 6-4 6-4
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) defeated [29] Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-4 6-4 2-6 6-4
Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated [WC] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 7-5 6-3 6-4
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 7-5 3-6 7-5 6-2
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-4
Federico Coria (ARG) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-3 7-6 6-2
Pablo Cuevas (URU) defeated Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-3 6-1 6-3
James Duckworth (AUS) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-2
Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated [WC] Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-1 6-4 6-2
[PR] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) defeated Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 7-6 6-2 2-6 7-6
Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeated Kevin Anderson (RSA) 7-5 6-4 2-6 7-6
Mikael Ymer (SWE) defeated Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-4 0-6 4-6 6-2 6-2

Picture credit: Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

ATP Tour wrap: Top three seeds bundled out in Parma and Belgrade

WORLD number one Novak Djokovic remains the only top three seed left across the ATP Tour’s two 250 events after the other five players all suffered defeats in both Parma and Belgrade. Just four matches were played in the Serbia Open to complete the Round of 16 matches, whilst all eight second round matches were run and done in the Emilia-Romagna Open after rain delays impacted previous day’s play.

Djokovic is the raging favourite in Belgrade, especially after the second and third seeds both suffered defeats via three-set losses to qualifiers. Spanish qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena knocked off second seed Gael Monfils in a tight contest after a strong start, winning 6-1 3-6 7-6 to advance to the next round. Joining the Spaniard in the quarter finals was Slovenian qualifier Andrej Martin who toppled Georgian third seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in an equally tight encounter after the first set, triumphing 6-1 4-6 7-6. Both third set tiebreakers finished with a 7-4 result.

In other Belgrade Open results, fifth seed Croatian Dusan Lajovic advanced with a 6-3 6-4 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, while eighth seed Federico Delbonis knocked off fellow South American in Brazilian Thiago Monteiro. In an epic contest, the Argentinian escaped with the win, 7-6 3-6 6-4.

Belgrade was not the only tournament where top seeds fell in the second round. The top three seeds all exited in the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, Italy in very different ways. Top seed Lorenzo Sonego was taken out of his home tournament by ever-improving American Sebastian Korda in straight sets, 6-1 7-5. Third seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas put up more of a fight against Slovenian lucky loser Norbert Gombos, but still dropped out in three sets, 6-3 6-7 6-2. Second seed Benoit Paire‘s horror past 12 months continued with a disappointing 7-5 3-1 loss having to retire against Spaniard Jaume Munar.

In more predictable results, fourth seed Jan-Lennard Struff had his work cut out for him against a home nation favourite in wildcard Flavio Cobolli, but fought through three sets to win, 6-4 4-6 7-6. Fifth seed Richard Gasquet provided some relief for French tennis fans across the globe with a win against another Italian in qualifier Pedro Martinez 6-3 3-6 6-3, whilst eighth seed Yoshihito Nishioka easily took care of young gun Lorenzo Musetti in a shock straight sets win, 6-3 6-2.

In the remaining two results, the sole Italian winner of the day in wildcard Marco Cecchinato got up courtesy of a 7-5 6-2 win over seventh seed Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, whilst sixth seed United States representative Tommy Paul took down Czech Jiri Vesely in a come-from-behind victory, 6-7 7-6 6-3.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [1] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-1 7-5
Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated [2] Benoit Paire (FRA) 7-5 3-1 RET
[LL] Norbert Gombos (SLO) defeated [3] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 6-3 6-7 6-2
[4] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [WC] Flavio Cobolli (ITA) 6-4 4-6 7-6
[5] Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated [Q] Pedro Martinez (ITA) 6-3 3-6 6-3
[6] Tommy Paul (USA) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-7 7-6 6-3
[WC] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated [7] Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 7-5 6-2
[8] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 6-3 6-2

BELGRADE OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[Q] Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated [2] Gael Monfils (FRA) 6-1 3-6 7-6
[Q] Andrej Martin (SLO) defeated [3] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-1 4-6 7-6
[5] Dusan Lajovic (CRO) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-3 6-4
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 7-6 3-6 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Popyrin upsets Sinner as Nadal smashes heir apparent

AUSTRALIAN rising star Alexei Popyrin has knocked off his Italian counterpart in straight sets, defeating Next-Gen ATP Finals winner Jannik Sinner, 7-6 6-2 at the Madrid Masters 1000. In a day of huge results, Popyrin booked his spot in the Round of 16 with the upset over the 14th seed, in a match that lasted 95 minutes. After winning the first set in a tiebreaker 7-5, Popyrin stormed away with some crucial breaks in the second set to win it well.

“I think it was to stay level-headed after I got broken in the first game. “We had a tactic that I tried to implement in the first game. “I couldn’t quite get my aim. But I knew I would have chances, like most do. “I just had to capitalise on them when they came,” Popyrin said post-match. “That’s what I did, I guess… I have had a pretty good record in tie-breaks this year. “I felt confident going into the tie-break. “I just tried to stay level-headed.”

The Australian won 75 per cent of his first serve points, putting down eight aces to Sinners’ none, and breaking him four times, whilst saving three of five break point opportunities himself. He advances through to the Round of 16 at the ATP Masters 1000 event to play the toughest opponent you can on this surface – King of Clay Rafael Nadal. The number one seeds destroyed the player many believe to be his heir apparent in teenager Carlos Alcaraz.

“He has a lot of potential. He’s young and [a] good guy,” Nadal said post-match. “He already has a great level of tennis today, but I really believe that he’s going to be a fantastic player in the near future.

“I wish him all the very best. [As a] Spanish player and Spanish [tennis] fan, I really believe that we need somebody like him, and it’s great to have him here.”

The birthday boy – turning 18-years-old on the day of the loss was no match for the raging Nadal, who continued his ridiculous winning streak on clay with a 6-1 6-2 victory. Nadal won in just 78 minutes on court, only dropping five points off his first serve, and attacking Alcaraz’s serve with a massive 63 per cent success rate. In what was ultimately one-sided traffic the whole way through, the teenager got a lesson in what it takes to be the best, winning just 27 points for the match (33 per cent) and watching poetry in motion.

On facing Popyrin in the Round of 16, Nadal said he was looking forward to the challenge and had liked what he had seen from the Australian who had some big weapons he would need to be ready for in the clash.

“He has a huge serve, great forehand, young… Another tough opponent. But here we are in Masters 1000, so we can’t expect another thing,” Nadal said. “I hope to be ready to play well. That’s what I am going to need every single day if I want to have chances to keep playing. Tomorrow is another tough battle. I hope to be ready.”

In other results, fifth seed Alexander Zverev strolled past Kei Nishikori to set up a Round of 16 clash with Brit Daniel Evans, following the latter’s come-from-behind win over Australian John Millman. American John Isner upset ninth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the Spaniard’s home country, 6-4 6-7 7-6 in a match that went down to the wire of two hours and 23 minutes. The other seed to fall was Diego Schwartzman, with the seventh seed Argentinian knocked out by Russian Aslan Karatsev 2-6 6-4 6-1, while clay court specialist Casper Ruud won through to have a crack against fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas who destroyed Benoit Paire. Other winners were 16th seed Cristian Garin and Argentinian qualifier Federico Delbonis.

MADRID OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated [WC] Carlos Alcaraz 6-1 6-2
[2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 4-6 6-4 6-2
[4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-1 6-2
[5] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-3 6-2
Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [7] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 2-6 6-4 6-1
John Isner (USA) defeated [9] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 6-4 6-7 7-6
[Q] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [14] Jannik Sinner (ITA) 7-6 6-2
[16] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-3 6-4
Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [LL] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-1 6-2
Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated John Millman (AUS) 6-7 6-2 6-3
[Q] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 7-6 6-3

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Basilashvili and Ramos-Vinolas grab titles ahead of Madrid

NIKOLOZ Basilashvili and Albert Ramos-Vinolas have added titles to their trophy cabinets with respective ATP Tour finals wins in the BMW Open and Estoril Open overnight. Georgian Basilashvili defeated seventh seed Jan-Lennard Struff to claim his fifth ATP Tour title, knocking off the German in his maiden final, whilst seven seed Spaniard Ramos Vinolas grabbed his third title with a come-from-behind win over unseeded Brit Cameron Norrie.

Basilashvili won 6-4 7-6 in one hour and 26 minutes, weathering a storm of 13 aces to put down six himself, whilst breaking Struff the one from two chances and saving the only break point he faced. It was truly a match of the power servers, and the Georgian was able to capitalise more, only dropping 16 points on serve in total, which was five less than his German opponent, as both players were ultra-impressive, but the Georgian won in the clutch moments, including a 7-5 second set tiebreak.

“It wasn’t easy and I was super-tight at the end,” Basilashvili said post-match. “It was very difficult. It’s never easy playing Jan, he’s a very big fighter and serves really well. I am super happy. It seems like German conditions suit me. This is my fifth [ATP Tour] title and it will give me confidence for the upcoming tournaments.”

In Portugal, Ramos-Vinolas found himself a set down against an in-form Norrie who wanted to move to outright third on the table of 2021 ATP Tour wins this year. Unfortunately for the Brit – who was subsequently searching for his maiden ATP Tour title like Struff – the Spaniard had other ideas, coming back to win the second set, then holding out in a third set tiebreaker 7-3, to win 4-6 6-3 7-6 in two hours and 44 minutes. Ramos-Vinolas served eight aces to Norrie’s six, and won 66 and 59 per cent of his first and second serve points compared to the Brit’s 62 and 49 per cent, though both players broke an identical four times from 11 chances.

“It means a lot [to win the title]. I won three tournaments in my career, so this is one of the best three weeks in my career. I am really happy,” Ramos-Vinolas said post-match. “It was a really difficult match against Cameron. I think he played a really good tournament. I am happy for me, but he is a really good friend of mine and I am sorry for him, because I think he deserved to win the tournament as [much as] me.”

Ramos-Vinolas moved to 16 wins on clay courts on the 2021 ATP Tour, nine clear of his nearest rivals which will hold him in good stead ahead of the Madrid Open which got underway with the first few matches. Eleventh seed Denis Shapovalov moved through with a convincing 6-1 6-3 victory over Serbian Dusan Lajovic, with Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik and United States’ Tommy Paul also claiming straight sets victories over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics and Spaniard Pedro Martinez respectively. In the closest match of the day, Australian Alex de Minaur came from behind to defeat Spanish wildcard Jaume Munar, 4-6 7-5 6-1 to moved through to the Round of 32.

BMW OPEN FINAL RESULT:

Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [7] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-4 7-6

ESTORIL OPEN FINAL RESULT:

[7] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated Cameron Norrie (GBR) 4-6 6-3 7-6

MADRID OPEN ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[11] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-1 6-3
Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated [WC] Jaume Munar (ESP) 4-6 7-5 6-1
Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 7-6 6-3
Tommy Paul (USA) defeated [WC] Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-4 7-5

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Struff eyes off maiden title in home nation

GERMAN Jan-Lennard Struff will eye off his maiden ATP Tour title after downing Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka to reach the final of the BMW Open in Munich. The 87-minute victory came after Ivashka had disposed of his top ranked compatriot Alexander Zverev in the quarter finals, with Struff doing it a lot easier, 6-4 6-1 in 87 minutes of action.

The seventh seed’s win mean the home nation hero was finally able to break through to an ATP Tour final after previously reaching the semi-final stage of an ATP Tour tournament on seven occasions. Having been broken early and trailing 3-0, Struff looked in a bit of trouble until he won 12 of the next 13 games in a one-sided result much to the pleasure of the German crowd.

“I am happy to have reached my first final on home soil in Germany and I will try my best tomorrow,” Struff said post-match.

The German will now face fellow unseeded talent Nikoloz Basilashvili who has been there and done it before, collecting four ATP Tour titles, the most recent of which occurred in Doha earlier this year. Much like Struff the Georgian also came from a slight deficit – albeit only the opening game in this case – to string together the next nine matches to win the first set 6-1 and lead 3-0 against second seed Casper Ruud. Basilashvili eventually won the second set 6-2 with three of the last four games, to upset the highly ranked Norwegian and roll into the decider.

“I am feeling good and I am feeling fresh,” Basilashvili said post-match. “I am looking forward to the final. “I feel confident here and the court suits me, so it will be an interesting match tomorrow as we played recently in Italy.”

The interesting factor will be Basilashvili’s extra workload during the day after the Georgian defeated Slovenian lucky loser Norbert Gombos 6-4 6-4, and Ruud had taken down Australian eighth seed John Millman in the other quarter final 6-3 6-4, before having to head out on court for the semi-final last night.

Meanwhile in the other ATP 250 event, unseeded Brit Cameron Norrie booked his unlikely spot in the Estoril Open final in Portugal. Norrie overcame sixth seed Marin Cilic to make his way into the decider following two tight sets 7-6 7-5, and will take on seventh seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in today’s final after the Spaniard took care of compatriot, eighth seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the other semi-final, 6-1 6-4.

“I was really tough. I started a little bit slow and managed to ease my way into the match. [I] played really good when break point down and went after it,” Norrie said post-match. “[Marin] was serving great and it was really tricky to get his first serve back… I am fortunate to get through and I am just happy to be in my second final.”

Norrie is having some sort of season, having claimed 18 ATP Tour victories this season, ranked equal third overall with Italian Jannik Sinner, behind Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas, and red-hot Russian Andrey Rublev (26). Going into outright third might be a challenge in this match though, as the Brit looks to overcome a 2-0 head-to-head advantage that Ramos-Vinolas has in their clashes thus far.

BMW OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [2] Casper Ruud (NOR) 6-1 6-2
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [Q] Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-4 6-1

BMW OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [8] John Millman (AUS) 6-3 6-4
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [LL] Norbert Gombos (SLO) 6-4 6-4

ESTORIL OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [6] Marin Cilic (CRO) 7-6 7-5
[7] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [8] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 6-1 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour