Tag: bjorn fratangelo

ATP Miami Open 1000: Tsitsipas and Nishikori set for third round blockbuster

WORLD number five Stefanos Tsitsipas and former world number four Kei Nishikori have collected important wins at the Miami Open this morning to set up a blockbuster third round clash between the pair for Tuesday. Tsitsipas breezed past Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-4 and became just the third ATP player to claim 15 victories in the 2021 season so far. Meanwhile, Nishikori had it much tougher against Aljaz Bedene, winning 7-6 5-7 6-4 in two hours and 50 minutes. The Japanese star won 73 per cent of points on first serve and won 67 per cent of points on Bedene’s second serve. Bedene has had a tough fortnight against Nishikori, as he was also defeated by the 2014 US Open finalist at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last week.

Tsitsipas was happy with his performance, particularly given that he had lost three of his four previous clashes against Dzumhur. “It was a great match, especially against a guy that I probably don’t have a good record playing against in the past,” Tsitsipas said post-match. “I started the match very strong, breaking him twice and taking a big lead in the score, and I think the things worked out by themselves after that.”

Tsitsipas will attempt to defeat Nishikori for the first time in the third round, as Nishikori was victorious in their one previous matchup (in 2018) 6-3 6-3. With this in mind, Tsitsipas knows that he has his work cut out for him. “[Kei is] a player that has played very well in the past, and even now he can raise his level really high,” Tsitsipas said. “I’ll try and be ready for the battle… It’s important for me to have matches against strong opponents like him. I am very pumped for the match and I’m going to try and put my best performance out there. I’m going to try and take it game by game… It’s a strong third round, I won’t hide it. It’s important for me to be ready for that match and be physically prepared.”

In other results, Australians Alex de Minaur, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Jordan Thompson bowed out in their respective matches, and tenth seed Fabio Fognini was shocked by American Sebastian Korda 1-6 6-4 6-2. Former US Open champion Marin Cilic was a big winner, as he saved 11 break points in his 3-6 7-5 7-6 defeat of 13th seed Cristian Garin. Consistent performers Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman and Milos Raonic all cruised through their matches in straight sets.

ATP MIAMI OPEN 1000 ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1 6-4
[4] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-1 6-2
[5] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 6-3 6-3
[6] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-7 6-4 6-4
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [10] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 1-6 6-4 6-2
[12] Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-2 6-1
Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated [13] Cristian Garin (CHI) 3-6 7-5 7-6
Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated [15] Alex de Minaur (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-4
[17] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAS) 6-4 6-3
[20] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 6-1 6-4
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated [23] Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3 6-3
[24] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated [Q] Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 6-4 7-6
[25] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-3 6-4
[26] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated Denis Kudla (USA) 7-6 6-4
[28] Kei Nishikori (JPN) defeated Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 7-6 5-7 6-4
[29] Marton Fucsovics defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 7-6 6-7 6-4

Picture credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

ATP Miami Open 1000: Ivashka wins in three tiebreakers, as Aussies advance

TWO retirements, three tiebreak sets over more than three hours, and a couple of Australians back on the winners list, there was plenty to talk about at the 2021 ATP Miami Open on Thursday.

The epic three-set, three-tiebreaker match went down to the wire over three hours and 18 minutes, before Belarusian Ilya Ivashka got up over South Korean Soonwoo Kwon, 7-6 6-7 7-6. The first two tiebreakers were 7-4 in favour of the opposite opponents before Ivashka got up 7-3 in the deciding tiebreaker. He served 20 aces and won 71 per cent of his first serve points off a 72 per cent efficiency, breaking his opponent four times, while Kwon won 74 per cent of his first serves of a 55 per cent clip, breaking four times from 11 chances himself.

Elsewhere it was a great start for Australian duo, Jordan Thompson and Thanasi Kokkinakis. Thompson overcame Argentinian Federico Delbonis in two tight sets 7-6 6-4, while qualifier Kokkinakis won on his return to the court in Miami with a 6-3 6-3 victory over fellow qualifier, Japan’s Shintaro Mochizuki. A 17-year-old talent, Mochizuki is a former junior world number one who claimed the 2019 Wimbledon junior title and is currently ranked 630th in the world.

There were plenty of home nation talents out on the court, with a number of them getting up in victories. United States representatives Bjorn Fratangelo, Sebastian Korda, Denis Kudla and Tennys Sandgren all won through to the next round of the tournament. Qualifier Frantangelo defeated Fernando Verdasco in straight sets, while Korda inflicted the same defeat on Romanian Radu Albot, Kudla knocked off Jeremy Chardy in a tight three-set battle, while Sandgren only needed 12 games before Spaniard Pedro Martinez retired, leading 6-4 2-0. Michael Mmoh was the only American to lose out on the day, going down 6-4 6-4 to Italian young gun Lorenzo Musetti, 6-4 6-4.

In other straight sets results, lucky loser Damir Dzumhur toppled veteran South African Kevin Anderson in a close one 7-6 7-6, while Yasutaka Uchiyama and Daniel Elahi Galan both won in two sets against Salvatore Caruso and Thiago Seyboth Wild respectively. Croatian Marin Cilic had a tougher assignment against Federico Coria getting up 6-3 2-6 6-4, while Miomir Kecmanovic also needed three sets to topple British qualifier Liam Broady.

MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[Q] Bjorn Frantangelo (USA) defeated Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-4 6-4
Sebastian Korda (USA) defated Radu Albot (ROU) 6-3 6-0
[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) defeated [Q] Shintaro Mochizuki (JPN) 6-3 6-3
Denis Kudla (USA) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 3-6 6-3 6-4
Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-3 2-6 6-4
[LL] Damir Dzumhur (BIH) defeated [PR] Kevin Anderson (RSA) 7-6 7-5
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) defeated [WC] Jack Draper (GBR) 7-5 0-0 RET
Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Federico Delbonis (ARG) 7-6 6-4
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) defeated [Q] Liam Broady (GBR) 7-5 6-7 6-1
Tennys Sandgren (USA) defeated Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-4 2-0 RET
Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 7-6 6-7 7-6
Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-3 6-4
Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated [Q] Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) 6-3 6-4
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-4 6-4
Christopher O’Connell (AUS) vs. Joao Sousa (POR)
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) vs. [Q] Thomas Fabbiano (ITA)

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP/WTA Miami Open 1000: Qualifiers wrap

THE qualifying rounds have begun at both the ATP Tour and WTA Tour Miami Open 1000 event in the United States, with plenty of talented names looking to break into the main draw entries over the next few days.

In the men’s draw, the day’s top ranked players in Mackenzie McDonald and Thiago Seyboth Wild both made it through to Day 2 unscathed, whilst fellow top 10 qualifying seeds in Damir DzumhurHenri LaaksonenFederico GaioBrandon Nakashima and Jason Jung also completed their first round matches successfully. Wildcards Mischa Zverev and Shintaro Mochizuki both kept their main draw hopes alive with the former overcoming 16th seed Danilo Petrovic, whilst the latter was 4-1 up against seventh seed Daniel Altmaier before the German retired mid-match. Looking at the home-grown American talent, Bjorn Fratangelo, Mitchell Krueger and Ernesto Escobedo all join McDonald and Nakashima in the second day of qualifiers, with Emilio Nava still yet to play.

Looking to the women’s, and there are plenty of quality players looking to earn their way into the main draw with yesterday’s Monterrey victor in Leylah Fernandez one of them. The Canadian second seed is yet to play, but will hope her result goes a different way to her fellow top seeds with Misaki Doi (first seed) and Martina Trevisan (third) both falling in three sets. Rounding out the top five seeds are Kirsten Flipkens and Tamara Zidansek, with both reigning supreme in their respective matches, whilst Varvara Gracheva and Nina Stojanovic were the only other two top 10 qualifiers to remain in the hunt. Looking once more to the American talent aiming to earn their way into the main draw, Kristie Ahn and Hailey Baptiste both did what their more high profile compatriots could not, making it through to the next round as Caty McNally and Coco Vandeweghe both fell.

ATP Antalya & Delray Beach wraps: Polarising days at two men’s tournaments

ANOTHER big day at the Antalya Open saw mostly a clean sweep from the top players, bar an excellent win from Frenchman Jeremy Chardy who downed third seed Fabio Fognini in the lone three-setter of the day. Three tiebreak sets told the tale of the almost-three hour 7-6 6-7 7-6 matchup, with Chardy reigning supreme in the tight encounter.

But while Fognini was unsuccessful, all six remaining seeds maintained control in their respective matches, with top seed Matteo Berrettini, second seed Belgian David Goffin and Australian Alex de Minaur collecting solid wins on their way to the quarter finals. Berrettini and de Minaur took on a duo of qualifying Bulgarians in Dimitar Kuzmanov and Adrian Andreev to come away with respective straight sets wins, while fifth seed German Jan-Lennard Struff arguably came away with the easiest result of the day – not taking the court due to a wallkover from Frenchman Hugo Grenier.

Stefano TravagliaAlexander Bublik and Nikoloz Basilashvili also joined the winners list in tighter battles than the aforementioned matches, set to continue their solid form in the next round.

ANTALYA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [Q] Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) 6-2 6-3
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Nicola Kuhn (ESP) 6-0 6-2
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated [3] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 7-6 6-7 7-6
[4] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated [Q] Adrian Andreev (BUL) 6-3 6-1
[5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated Hugo Grenier (FRA) W/O
[6] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [WC] Altug Celikbilek (TUR) 7-6 6-4
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated Tristan Lamasine (FRA) 6-2 6-4
[8] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 7-6 6-3

At the Delray Beach Open, things went a little different to both Turkey’s proceedings and its own Round of 32 results, with plenty of homegrown American talent falling prior to the quarter finals. Four seeds fell too, with two of the players offered byes due to their seeding – Adrian Mannarino and Cristian Garin – falling to lower ranked opposition.

Top seed Garin was blown out of the water by American qualifier Christian Harrison, with the tight first set going the way of the developing talent, who ranks outside the top 700, before Harrison took out the second in convincing fashion to win 7-6 6-2. Cameron Norrie came away with the chocolates against Mannarino, while American seeded pair Tommy Paul and Sam Querrey were the additional seeds to fall in the Round of 16, with qualifying compatriot Sebastian Korda and Italian Gianluca Mager joining the winners list in the process. Korda’s win against Paul marked his first ATP quarter finals berth.

“It’s special [to make the quarter-finals],” Korda said. “The last time I played here I won the [Boys] 18s Clay Courts, so I have some good memories from here. It’s a special place and the crowd.”

As for the successful seeds, Americans John Isner (second) and Frances Tiafoe (eighth) both came away with quality wins, with the latter defeating a fellow compatriot Bjorn Fratangelo, while fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz and qualifier Roberto Quiroz also reigned supreme in their respective matches.

DELRAY BEACH ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [3] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-2 7-5
[Q] Christian Harrison (USA) defeated [1] Cristian Garin (CHI) 7-6 6-2
[2] John Isner (USA) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-4 7-6
[4] Hubert Hurkacz (HUN) defeated Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) 6-2 6-2
[Q] Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [5] Tommy Paul (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-2
Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated [6] Sam Querrey (USA) 7-6 6-1
[8] Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 6-4 3-6 6-1
[Q] Roberto Quiroz (COL) defeated Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-2 6-4

ATP Antalya & Delray Beach wraps: Top talents advance largely unchallenged

SEVEN of the eight seeds at the Antalya Open moved through to the second round, with only two of them needing to fight it out in three sets. The only losing seed to conclude the Round of 32 in Turkey was Miomir Kecmanovic, who, after winning the first set 6-1, fell away in a disappointing display to Italian Stefano Travaglia, 1-6 6-4 6-0.

It was a relatively good day for the Italians, with all five involved either being a seed or facing a seed, as top three talents Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini had no troubles advancing in straight sets. Berrettini knocked off Turkish wildcard Ergi Kirkin 6-0 6-4, while Fognini fought off a determined Michael Vrbensky to win against the Czech qualifier, 6-4 7-6. Meanwhile the news was not as good for compatriots, Andrea Arnaboldi and Salvatore Caruso. Arnaboldi took sixth seed Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili to three sets but lost 4-6 7-5 6-1, while Caruso went down to Kazakh eighth seed Alexander Bublik, 6-3 6-3.

Second seed David Goffin had the toughest time of all the seeds, having to fight back from a set down and five match points in the second set to post a 3-6 7-5 6-0 win over Frenchman, Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Fellow seeds, Alex de Minaur and Jan-Lennard Struff did not have the same problem trouncing respective opponents, Malek Jaziri and Pavel Kotov in straight sets.

Looking at the unseeded matches, Bulgaria had a couple of winners with qualifying duo, Adrian Andreev and Dimitar Kuzmanov both advancing through. Andreev knocked off Turkish representative Marsel Ilhan, while Kuzmanov down Serbia’s Laslo Djere who was forced to retire midway through the second set. Also forced to retire during the match was German qualifier, Matthias Bachinger who went down to Spaniard Nicola Kuhn.

It was much better news for the French, who had all three unseeded representatives in Jeremy Chardy, Hugo Grenier and Tristan Lamasine advancing with wins, the latter particularly impressive by knocking over Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, 7-6 6-2. Other Round of 32 winners in Turkey were home nation hero Altug Celikbilek and Finland young gun Emil Ruusuvuori.

ANTALYA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [WC] Ergi Kirkin (TUR) 6-0 6-4
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 3-6 7-5 6-0
[3] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated [Q] Michael Vrbensky (CZE) 6-4 7-6
[4] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-2 6-1
[5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [Q] Pavel Kotov (RUS) 6-4 6-3
[6] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 4-6 7-5 6-1
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated [7] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 1-6 6-4 6-0
[8] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-3 6-3
[Q] Adrian Andreev (BUL) defeated [WC] Marsel Ilhan (TUR) 6-4 6-3
[WC] Altug Celikbilek (TUR) defeated Kacper Zuk (POL) 7-6 7-5
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated Radu Albot (MOL) 6-3 6-4
Hugo Grenier (FRA) defeated [Q] Alex Molvan (SVK) 7-5 6-4
Nicola Kuhn (ESP) defeated [Q] Matthias Bachinger (GER) 3-6 6-3 4-1 RET
[Q] Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-1 3-2 RET
Tristan Lamasine (FRA) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 7-6 6-2
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3 7-6

There was no shortage of successful United States winners at Delray Beach with all three seeds going through, as well as three additional rising talents. Fifth seed Tommy Paul knocked off South Korea’s Ji Sung Nam 6-1 6-4, sixth seed Sam Querrey toppled compatriot Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-4, and eighth seed Frances Tiafoe rolled past another compatriot in qualifier Donald Young, 6-3 6-4.

Qualifier Christian Harrison, and other Americans Bjorn Fratangelo and Sebastian Korda all won through to the Round of 16. Korda had an impressive win over South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon 6-4 6-4 to book his spot in the next stage. The news was not as good for three other United States’ representatives, going down in their respective matches. Wildcards Ryan Harrison, JC Aragone and Noah Rubin lost to Gianluca Mager, Cameron Norrie and Roberto Quiroz.

With United States players on court in all bar three games, there was plenty to enjoy for the home nation fans on the stream. In the three non-United States games, Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic knocked off Spanish seventh seed Pablo Andujar in three sets 6-3 5-7 6-4. In the other results, Thiago Monteiro won the all-Brazilian clash over Thomaz Bellucci 6-3 7-5, and Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan defeated Slovakian Andrej Martin 6-4 6-4.

DELRAY BEACH ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Tommy Paul (USA) defeated Ji Sung Nam (KOR) 6-1 6-4
[6] Sam Querrey (USA) defeated Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-3 6-4
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) defeated [7] Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-3 5-7 6-4
[8] Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated [Q] Donald Young (USA) 6-3 6-4
Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) defeated [Q] Kevin King (USA) 6-2 6-2
Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Christian Harrison (USA) defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) 6-4 6-2
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-4 6-4
Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated [WC] Ryan Harrison (USA) 3-6 6-1 6-4
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 6-3 7-5
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [WC] JC Aragone (USA) 6-2 6-1
[Q] Roberto Quiroz (COL) defeated [WC] Noah Rubin (USA) 7-6 6-3

2021 ATP Antalya and Delray Beach previews: Top 30 talents hit the hard courts in New Year

AFTER a long 2020, the 2021 ATP Tour is underway, with the main draw matches to take place today in Antalya, Turkey and Delray Beach, United States. Both hard court events are ATP 250 ones to give players a taste of the action before heading Down Under for an extended period in Australia where multiple tournaments take place in Melbourne.

Looking at Antalya, Matteo Berrettini is the top seed, with the Italian headlining the event there prior to the ATP Cup in February. His compatriot Fabio Fognini is also there, as are the other key Italian players, Salvatore Caruso, Stefano Travaglia and Andrea Arnaboldi. While Jannik Sinner is the key exclusion from the group, it is fair to say there is an Italian presence in Turkey.

David Goffin is seeded second at the event and has drawn a rough quarter of the draw, facing Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert up first in 2021. A potential quarter final matchup with Miomir Kecmanovic is a danger game, though the rising Serbian has his own issues to deal with, taking on Travaglia in Round 1, before a second round encounter with either Finn Emil Ruusuvuori or Czech Jiri Vesely.

In the sam half of the draw is Australian Alex de Minaur who faces Tunisian Malek Jaziri in the first round. The 249th ranked Jaziri may well be the toughest challenge for the talented all-courter, with an easy quarter of the draw, including a couple of Turkish wildcards in Marsel Ilhan and Altug Celikbilek in there. Nikoloz Basilashvili is destined for a final eight meeting with de Minaur, the only other danger man in that section.

Fognini is third seed at the event, and could face fifth seed German, Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarter finals. The Italian takes on a qualifier first up, but will play the winner of Jeremy Chardy and Radu Albot which is an entertaining matchup in itself. In the same half, Laslo Djere looks set to face Berrettini in the second round, while eighth seed Alexander Bublik taking on Caruso, and then the winner locking horns with likely Egor Gerasimov makes it an entertaining section.

There is a lot on the line at Antalya because a fair few of the top players have had inconsistencies in the back half of the year, and de Minaur may well be the favourite heading into the event, though you can never discount the likes of Fognini and Berrettini, though Goffin has the talent to take it out as well.

Heading to Delray Beach, the 250 event is a 28-player draw, with Chilean Cristian Garin, American John Isner, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino and Pole Hubert Hurkacz the four seeds to automatically gain entry into the Round of 16. With a host of United States representatives, the home nation will be confident it can yield a winner at the event.

In bottom quarter, the eight players involved are three Americans, two Brazilians and two South Koreans along with second seed Isner’s bye. The only two Brazilians in the draw – Thomaz Bellucci and Thiago Monteiro – will go head-to-head, whilst fifth seed Tommy Paul will likely face Soonwoo Kwon in the second round for the likely crack at Isner in the quarter finals.

Eighth seed Frances Tiafoe has a relatively easy run to the quarter finals, taking on a qualifier in the first round, then either another qualifier or Bjorn Fratangelo in the second round. Mannarino or Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie awaits in the final eight, which the young American will be keen to win to likely face either Paul or Isner in the semis.

The top-end quality of the draw slims out given Tiafoe and Pablo Andujar (seventh) are seeds, with Andujar taking on Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic in the opening round. While Karlovic is well past his prime, his power serving is hard to stop on hard courts, with the winner having a good run to the last eight. Hurkacz is in the quarter, with either Slovakian Andrej Martin, or Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan awaiting in the second round.

Garin is the top seed and while hard courts are not his go as such, he should get through to the quarter finals without a worry. There he will more than likely face an American with sixth seed Sam Querrey and Mackenzie McDonald doing battle in Round 1, while wildcard Ryan Harrison takes on the sole Italian in the draw, Gianluca Mager.

The fact the event is on hard court and not clay means Garin is more of an underdog than a favourite. Hurkacz is a really good should if the polite Pole can play at his best, with a relatively soft draw all the way to the final given Garin is no certainty on the surface. The bottom half is more competitive, and you would expect Mannarino to be too consistent for a fair few, but on the surface, Isner would be the favourite, though Paul is quickly catching up, and the penny may drop for Tiafoe in 2021.

Picture: Getty Images

ATP/WTA Tour nation analysis: Cyprus

WITH all the ATP Tour and WTA Tour tournaments on hiatus for the time being, Draft Central will take a look at various nations across the globe and analyse how the top players from that nation are performing. Our next nation is Cyprus.

Top ATP player: Petros Chrysochos
Rank: 418 (as of March 16, 2020)
Age: 23
Points: 84
Tournaments played: 14

Twelve months ago it would have been fairly obvious who the top Cypriot was in the world. After a couple of stunning Australian Open runs, Marcos Baghdatis became endeared to most of the tennis world. While his career might not have ended up as successful as it first looked, he still forged a really respectable one over more than a decade. Now retired, he is no longer on the ATP Tour, and instead the top ranking Cypriot is Petros Chrysochos. He is 23-years-old and has played the 14 tournaments in the past 12 months, sitting inside the top 500 after moving up 61 spots in the latest update back in early March. A recently turned professional just last year, he actually has a bit of underdog status about him.

His consistency is still a way off, but he won the most recent event, an 25K event in Las Vegas to shoot his way up to his current ranking, picking up $3600 USD in the process. It followed on from three first round losses in the past four starts, though a semi-finals appearance in Tunisia late in January helped his ranking too. Unlike many others around his ranking, the 23-year-old has actually played in ATP Tour events, such as Winston-Salem last year where he fought hard but lost in the second round of qualifying to Bjorn Fratangelo in three sets. He seems far too good on the American ITF circuit, and looks a good choice for someone who will continue at the Challenger level for a year or so once it returns, and try and make main draws in the United States’ hard court circuit.

Other notable Cyprus ATP players: Sergis Kyratzis (#eq. 1782nd)

Top WTA player: Raluka Serban
Rank: 341 (as of 23/03/2020)
Age: 22
Points: 147
Tournaments played: 20

Unlike her ATP Tour counterpart, Serban does not have as greater shoes to fill with a retirement, but she is higher ranked – at 341st in the world – and already competing in higher ranked ITF tournaments. She attends the majors each year which shows she intends on travelling the world where feasible, and this stacks up with her 20 tournaments over the past year. Whilst she is yet to defeat a top 100 player, she has pushed a number of opponents on her day, and has fought through qualifying to reach main draws of ITF tournaments.

In the past, she has taken Eugenie Bouchard to three sets – in Luxembourg, 2018 – and reached a number of ITF finals including winning in Istanbul the very next tournament where she claimed a win over Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic. In her most recent tournaments, Serban has played in France – where she unfortunately ran into top 100 talent Arantxa Rus in the Round of 16 and was smacked 6-1 6-0, and then bounced back to reach a quarter final in the Slovak Republic before a tight three-set loss to Victoria Kan.

Other notable Cyprus WTA players: Nil.

Summary:

Cyprus has a couple of underrated talents who might show some promising signs in the future and you could expect to see them battling it out on the Challenger Tour soon. They have credentials to achieve well there, and in time, will be ones to watch given they are young and recently more professional.