Tag: daniil medvedev

ATP Tour wrap: Italians compete well on Rome Day 2

IT was a successful day of action for home nation hopefuls on Day 2 of proceedings at the ATP 1000 Internazionali BNL d’Italia Masters Open in Rome, as four Italian talents – including three wildcards – reigned supreme and one claimed victory over the only seed of the day.

It was 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti who claimed a big scalp over top 20 Polish talent Hubert Hurkacz, taking out the first set with ease before the 15th seed was forced to retire early in the second.

“It’s always incredible playing here in Rome,” Musetti said. “It’s a fantastic site here in Foro Italico. Even without a crowd, tonight was really fun.”

Musetti hit 13 winners to two unforced errors in a clean first set before Hurkacz was forced to stop play. He is joined by fellow teen Jannik Sinner and other compatriots Gianluca Mager and Stefano Travaglia in the second round, while Fabio Fognini fell to a resurgent Kei Nishikori in straight sets. Mager scalped top-ranked Australian Alex De Minaur while both Sinner and Travaglia earned bragging rights over Frenchmen Ugo Humbert and Benoit Paire, as the remaining French talent on the day in Adrian Mannarino was outclassed by an unlikely victor in qualifying Bolivian Hugo Dellien who picked up his first ATP Tour level win for the year in the process.

A couple of lucky losers in Yoshihito Nishioka and Aljan Bedene could not maintain their luck when they were both disposed of in speedy encounters, falling to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics and German Jan-Lennard Struff in 56 minutes and 66 minutes, respectively. Taylor Fritz and Aslan Karastev executed excellent straight sets victories and will need to bring that form into their next respective encounters, setting up huge challenges in the second round with matchups set against Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. Sinner is dealt with the tough draw of clay champion, Rafael Nadal next up.

“I was really frustrated to give away the early break,” Fritz said following his victory over Brit, Daniel Evans. “He played two pretty good points, then I missed two forehands. I thought I was hitting the ball really well right from the beginning. I just told myself not to get too upset about it, as I was playing well. Dan has been playing well lately, beating Novak in Monte-Carlo, so it’s great to get a strong win. I am going to try my best [against Djokovic].”

“We (Djokovic) played twice on clay in 2018, in Monte-Carlo and Madrid,” Fritz explained. “I got beaten pretty bad those two times. I feel better prepared to play him now, after the match in Australia.”

In other games, Argentinian qualifier Federico Delbonis, Croatian Marin Cilic and Chilean Cristian Garin all claimed wins on their opening day.

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA ROUND OF 64 RESULTS: 

[WC] Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated [15] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-4 2-0 RET
Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 4-6 6-2 6-3
[Q] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Karen Khachanov (RUS) 3-6 6-4 6-0
[Q] Hugo Dellien (BOL) defeated Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 2-6 7-5 6-2
Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-3 6-2
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [LL] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-0 6-2
Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 7-5 6-2
Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 6-4
[WC] Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated Alex De Minaur (AUS) 6-4 6-3
Kei Nishikori (JPN) defeated Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-3 6-4
Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-2 6-4
Jan Lennard-Struff (GER) defeated [LL] Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-3 6-1
[WC] Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-4 6-3

Picture credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Even seeds fail as odds fall the way of victory

THE Round of 16 has well and truly begun at the Madrid Open, as competitors backed up a huge second round of event yesterday with little break as the third round got underway. Whilst the King of Clay retained the mantle with another win, three top 10 seeds fell in a big day on the clay.

It appeared as though every other seed proceeded to the quarter finals in an intriguing day of action, as the odd seeds in Rafael Nadal (first seed), Dominic Thiem (third), and Alexander Zverev (fifth) reigned supreme, whilst the evens in Daniil Medvedev (second), Stefanos Tsitsipas (fourth) and Andrey Rublev (sixth) failed to proceed to the next round.

Two of the major results of the day saw Russian pair Medvedev and Rublev both bundled out, with those two encounters the only three-setters of the day. It was 16th seed Chilean Cristian Garin who claimed the scalp of Medvedev, with the equal-biggest win of his career coming in the two and a half hour, 6-4 6-7 6-1 matchup. Whilst Medvedev broke back in the second to win the tiebreaker 6(2)-7, Garin’s overall service game efficiency paid off winning 71 per cent of his service points compared to Medvedev’s 62 per cent, whilst also claiming the ascendancy on return. For Rublev, it was American John Isner who spoiled the party with a 7-6 3-6 7-6 victory in just over two hours. Realistically, Rublev just could not compete with Isner on serve, as the hard-hitter piled on 29 aces to claim easy points, and while Rublev actually led service efficiency and won more off his serve (82 per cent compared to 68 per cent), Isner rallied when it mattered to win both the first and third set tiebreakers.

“I’m very happy,” Isner said post-match. “I wasn’t the better player out there today; I did win the match. “My serve kept me in it. “There’s a reason he’s won so many matches this year.”

“It’s a nice feather in my cap right now with my ranking being a little bit lower,” Isner said. “I haven’t played much since the tour stopped last year. “I think this is my only seventh event. I haven’t had many matches. “But to beat a guy like that, maybe being a little bit undercooked, is a very special moment for me.”

“It is my favourite clay court probably,” Isner said. “It has an indoor feel even though it’s not fully indoors. It’s got a great sound to it. “The court is fast. “To me it doesn’t seem like there’s too much clay on the court so, of all the clay courts I play on, it plays closest to a hard court of any of them. “The altitude in Madrid just really helps my serve. “The ball goes through the air very fast. You put all those things together, it’s a good recipe for me to do some damage on serve.”

The third upset of the day saw Casper Ruud scored a big win over Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, 7-6 6-4, as the Norwegian marginally claimed victory winning the same amount of points, but fortunate to retain the upper hand throughout the close contest.

“He is one of the best players this year on the Tour, one of the ones who has won the most matches. He’s won his first Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo. Barcelona he was very close to getting the title there, as well,” Ruud said post-match. “But the conditions are a bit different here than other clay courts with the fast shots, the ball traveling faster through the air because of the altitude. You get a lot of free points with the serve that you don’t usually [get] on the clay courts. I think that also today went a bit in my advantage.

“I felt like he was doing some mistakes that he doesn’t always do. I was just trying to take care of the chances that I got.”

Nadal and Thiem disposed of a couple of Australians, downing qualifier Alexei Popyrin and top ranked Aussie Alex de Minaur respectively, and rather significantly at that. Nadal was always going to be a huge challenge for Popyrin, who was outclassed 6-3 6-3 in 79 minutes by the Spaniard, who was far more consistent. To Popyrin’s credit he hit seven more aces and won 83 per cent of his first serve points to lead Nadal, however it was the King of Clay’s ability to both save (five from six) and convert break points (four from six) that allowed him to overrun Popyrin and keep down the unforced errors. Meanwhile the matchup between Thiem and De Minaur may have started close but saw Thiem break even in the second, retaining control and forcing errant hits from the Australian.

Fifth seed Zverev joined the winners list with a dismissal of Daniel Evans, whilst eighth seed Matteo Berrettini continued his solid form on clay with a straight sets victory over Federico Delbonis and Alexander Bublik downed a third Russian in Aslan Karatsev to head into the quarter finals.

MADRID OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS: 

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated [Q] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-3 6-3
[16] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated [2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 6-4 6-7 6-1
[3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) defeated Alex de Minaur (AUS) 7-6 6-4
Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 7-6 6-4
[5] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-3 7-6
John Isner (USA) defeated [6] Andrey Rublev (RUS) 7-6 3-6 7-6
[8] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [Q] Federico Delbonis (ARG) 7-6 6-4
Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 6-4 6-3

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: Dominant dozen for Nadal in Barcelona as Berrettini claims Serbia Open

IT was far from his most dominant Barcelona Open win – facing a championship point and needing three sets to finally lift the trophy – but Rafael Nadal proved too strong for Stefanos Tsitsipas, getting across the line in an epic three hours and 38 minutes. The 6-4 6-7 7-5 was the longest best-of-three ATP Tour final in existence since time started being tracked 30 years ago. For Nadal, it was his twelfth Barcelona Open title and in doing so, took back the world number two spot from Daniil Medvedev.

“I think I never played a final like this in this tournament, so it means a lot to me against a player like him, [after what] he achieved in Monte-Carlo and [that he reached] the final here without losing a set,” Nadal said post-match. “It is an important victory for me. I think I have been increasing my level during the whole week and this victory confirms it. That’s important for today. “To have the trophy with me here at home means a lot, but at the same time for the future.”

Nadal actually had the chance to close out the match in straight sets, winning the opening set and holding two championship points in the tenth game, only for the Greek talent to rally, force a tiebreaker, win said tiebreaker and then battle it out in the deciding set. The win meant Nadal claimed his 61st ATP Tour title, of which 13 have come from Roland Garros, 12 from Barcelona, 11 from Monte Carlo and nine in Rome (all clay court events).

Prior to the match, Tsitsipas was yet to drop a match on clay, having won all nine matches and not even dropping a set. Nadal understood just how big of a challenge his opponent was, and how he had to dig deep to retain the title, having lost to Tsitsipas in the quarter finals at the Australian Open after being two sets up.

“It’s about accepting the challenge,” Nadal said. “It is about being humble enough to accept that sometimes you are not playing that well and you need to fight for it and you need to try to find solutions every day. That’s what I did.”

There were a massive 242 points played through the epic contest, with just four more points going the way of the top seeded Spaniard, indicating just how even the match was. Nadal broke four times from 12 chances, which was two more than Tsitsipas who had 13 opportunities. With a 55 per cent second serve success rate, Nadal was well ahead of Tsitsipas (43 per cent) to make up for a marginally lower first serve success rate (69 to 74 per cent).

Meanwhile in Serbia, Matteo Berrettini ended the run of third seed Aslan Karatsev, with the Russian fresh off a massive win over world number one Novak Djokovic. The Italian has struggled the last couple of years since winning Stuttgart back in 2019, Berrettini claimed a three-set win, 6-1 3-6 7-6 in two hours and 30 minutes. It all looked to be going swimmingly early, but then Karatsev rallied in the second set to force a decider, which went all the way to the tiebreak. There, the Italian showed no mercy, winning all seven points to stroll to victory after a tough battle.

For Berrettini, it was a special moment, marking the first time his family members had see him win an ATP Tour title – the fourth of his career – live, when the make the trip to the Novak Tennis Centre. They saw their son put up 10 aces and take control when it counted to claim the win.

“It was something that I really wanted to happen, because my dad came once in Munich when I lost the final (l. Garin). And my mom has never come for a final,” Berrettini said post-match. “So I was like, okay this is the right moment. And I think with a match like this it’s going to stick in our minds forever. It’s something special.

“I remember this same kind of match, 7-6 in the third, in the finals of an Under-16 in Germany. And it’s crazy, because in the end it’s the same feeling. I was a kid and now I’m a pro, but it’s the same feeling. They [have] supported me since the day I was born, so it’s a great honour to bring them to these kinds of stages.”

BARCELONA OPEN FINAL:

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated [2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 6-4 6-7 7-5

SERBIA OPEN FINAL:

[2] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [3] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 6-1 3-6 7-6

Picture credit: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

ATP Miami Open 1000: Bautista Agut to face Sinner in semis

ROBERTO Bautista Agut is set for a rematch with teenage Italian Jannik Sinner after toppling the number one player in Miami to book a semi-final spot. The seventh seed Spaniard won 6-4 6-2 over Daniil Medvedev in the Miami Open 1000 ATP Masters quarter finals.

“I want to give Daniil all the credit, I know he is one of the best players in the world,” Bautista Agut said post-match. “He’s been winning a lot of matches, he’s No. 2 in the world, so I’m very happy and proud about how I played today. I think I showed a great level on the court.”

Bautista Agut lost to Sinner in three sets back in Dubai a fortnight and will be keen to turn it around when he faces him in the penultimate round of action in a couple of days.

“It was a very tough match in Dubai, and it was a very tight score,” Bautista Agut said. “He’s playing great, he’s very solid and he has very good strokes. I think I’ll have to play another good match like tonight.

“Jannik is playing great… I have to say he will be one of the best players in the world. I want to enjoy another good match and be happy about playing in the semi-finals.”

In the earlier match 21st seed Sinner fought off 32nd seed Alexander Bublik in straight sets 7-6 6-4. The 31st ranked 19-year-old is in some terrific form, reaching his first ever Masters 1000 semi-final after winning his maiden quarter final against his more experienced opponent. He needed an hour and 41 minutes to take out the win, triumphing 7-5 in the first set before closing it out with an important break in the second set.

“We had a tough battle two weeks ago in Dubai. [It was] tough here today as well,” Sinner said post-match. “It was strange today. He was changing the game… I never had this kind of match, to be honest… I just tried to stay there, stick into the match and I am happy about my performance today.”

Sinner served up two aces to Bublik’s seven whilst saving seven of nine break points. He won a high 59 per cent of his second serve points, to go with his 63 per cent of his first serve points off a 64 per cent clip. Bublik also served at a 63 per cent success rate from his first serve points, but only managed the 47 per cent off his second serve and was broken three times.

“It is [difficult to keep your concentration against Bublik] because, at the point when you think you are playing good, he is doing something to take out your rhythm,” Sinner said. “It is strange because he has incredible hands and I think he is one of the most talented guys on Tour. He can do whatever he wants with the ball. A match against him can change very quickly.”

In the end, it was just seven points that separated the players, as Sinner won 88 total points compared to the Kazakh’s 81. Now the Italian will eye off two more wins to collect the third title of his career and second this season, with a 13-4 record in 2021 thus far. Prior to knowing his opponent for the semi-final, Sinner said he knew regardless of who it is, it was going to be a tough match.

“I am very happy [to be] playing one more match here in Miami,” Sinner said. “I think both [players] are very, very difficult players to play against. With Medvedev [in ATP] Head2Head, I am 0-2 [and] with Roberto I won a very tough one in Dubai two weeks ago. It is going to be a very interesting match and I think they will show a very high level this evening.”

MIAMI OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) [7] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
[21] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated [32] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 7-6 6-4

 

Picture credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

ATP Miami Open 1000: Korda continues run with Schwartzman upset

SEBASTIAN Korda will have the hopes of a nation on his shoulders after being the sole United States representative through to the 2021 Miami Open ATP 1000 quarter finals from a brutal day of Round of 16 action. Korda had a fantastic win over fifth seed Diego Schwartzman, 6-3 4-6 7-5 in two hours and 35 minutes to book his spot in the final eight.

He served eight aces to one, and capitalised with 73 per cent of his first serve points to Schwartzman’s 57 per cent, and served at a higher clip (62 to 56 per cent). The American broke four times from 11 chances, whilst his opponent won three games off Korda’s serve from eight opportunities.

Korda was the sole American left standing in the final eight, following losses to three of his compatriots. Top ranked United States competitor, John Isner lost out to seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut in three sets, going down 6-3 4-6 7-6. He joined Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz on the sidelines after Round of 16 losses. Top seed Daniil Medvedev won through against Tiafoe in straight sets 6-4 6-3, while Alexander Bublik triumphed in a come-from-behind victory over 22nd seed Fritz, 6-7 6-3 6-4.

“It was definitely a tough match,” Medvedev said of reaching his maiden Miami Open quarter final. “[There were] a lot of great points, some of them he won, some of them I won… The serve helped me a lot today, especially in the second set.”

It was a great day for up-and-coming ATP Tour players, with Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz both winning their respective matches. Italian teenager Sinner won through to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarter final following a 6-3 6-2 win over Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, while Hurkacz toppled 12th seed Milos Raonic in a come-from-behind upset win 4-6 6-3 7-6.

Sinner will now take on Bublik in a tantalising semi-final, which the Kazakh 32nd seed said he was ready for despite the Italian’s obvious talent.

“[Sinner] is so young,” Bublik said. “He is an unbelievable athlete and he runs forever… He is an unbelievable player and sharing a quarter-final with him is a pleasure for me. I hope to have a great match.”

In the two matches yet to be completed, two top four seeds were out on court, with second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas taking on Italian Lorenzo Sonego, while fourth seed Andrey Rublev was engaged in a battle with unseeded Croatian Marin Cilic.

MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-4 6-3
[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) [24] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA)
[4] Andrey Rublev (RUS) Marin Cilic (CRO)
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [5] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-3 4-6 7-5
[7] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [18] John Isner (USA) 6-3 4-6 7-6
[26] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated [12] Milos Raonic (CAN) 4-6 6-3 7-6
[21] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 6-3 6-2
[32] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [22] Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-7 6-3 6-4

 

Picture credit: Geoff Burke / USA Today Sports

ATP Miami Open 1000: Medvedev survives Popyrin fight

TOP seed at the 2021 ATP 1000 Miami Open, Daniil Medvedev has survived an almighty scare from the red-hot Alexei Popyrin to advance through to the fourth round at the event. The Russian skipped away to a break early in the first set, but was forced to do it the hard way in a tiebreaker. It was symbolic of the entire match, with Medvedev needing two tiebreakers and an equally tight third set to eventually post a win.

The match lasted two hours and 37 minutes, with Medvedev winning the first set tiebreaker 7-3, before Popyrin stepped up in the clutch moments in the second set 9-7 to level the match at a tiebreaker apiece. Heading into the deciding set, a crucial break for Medvedev – only his second of the match – helped him get home, 7-6 6-7 6-4. Popyrin took it up to the Russian with 73 per cent of his first serve points going his way, and breaking the top seed despite Medvedev only losing four points off is first serve. In the end, the recently crowned world number two just finished it off a little cleaner.

“It’s probably one of the sweetest victories in my career, because I was cramping like hell in the third set,” Medvedev said post-match. “It’s one thing when you’re cramping when you’re [ahead in the score], but I started cramping before. It was tough to think about the win in these conditions.

“At the same time, I should have won in two sets and we would not be talking about cramping. But anyway, we have the result on the board and I’m happy that I managed to go through all the difficulties of this definitely crazy match.”

Seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut also had to fight his way to a three-set win, shaking off 31st seed German Jan-Lennard Struff. Bautista Agut won 4-6 6-3 6-2 in a come-from-behind victory, much like 21st seed Italian Jannik Sinner. The teen sensation came from a set down against 14th seed Russian Karen Khachanov to hold on in a dominant second set tiebreaker, and build the momentum from there in a 4-6 7-6 6-4 victory. Similarly, 22nd seed Taylor Fritz had to win in three sets, defeating unseeded Brit Cameron Norrie, 6-4 3-6 6-1.

It must have been the day of tight results, with the only match between two unseeded players also going the full distance, as Finnish up-and-comer Emil Ruusuvuori defeated his Swedish counterpart Mikael Ymer. Ruusuvuori won 4-6 6-1 7-5 in another come-from-behind win, and whilst the other completed match at the time of publishing – John Isner‘s defeat of Felix Auger-Aliassime – was not three sets, it involved two tiebreakers of 7-5, for a 7-6 7-6 victory in favour of the big-serving American.

The two matches just starting at the time of publishing were 16th seed Dusan Lajovic up against unseeded American Frances Tiafoe, and Australian James Duckworth going head-to-head with 32nd seed Alexander Bublik.

ATP MIAMI OPEN 1000 ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 7-6 6-7 6-4
[7] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [31] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 4-6 6-3 6-2
[18] John Isner (USA) defeated [11] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 7-6 7-6
[21] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated [14] Karen Khachanov (RUS) 4-6 7-6 6-4
[16] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) vs. Frances Tiafoe (USA)
[22] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Cameron Norrie (GBR) 6-4 3-6 6-1
[32] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) vs. James Duckworth (AUS)
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated Mikael Ymer (SWE) 4-6 6-1 7-5

 

Photo credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

ATP Miami Open 1000: Popyrin and Duckworth stun seeds in Miami

ALEXEI Popyrin and James Duckworth are through to the third round of the ATP Miami Open 1000 tournament after huge upset wins over their seeded opponents. The Australian duo both advanced following victories over Reilly Opelka and David Goffin respectively, in what was a massive result for the pair over in the United States.

Duckworth stunned eighth seed Goffin 6-3 6-1, hitting 22 winners in just 77 minutes of play. Popyrin needed just 65 minutes to dismiss the 30th seeded Opelka, backing up his great form in 2021 which saw him claim the Singapore Tennis Open title. He out-aced Opelka 13-12 which is not easy to do, but crucially saved three break points and broke his opponent three times himself from six chances.

“All of the hard work I’ve put in the pre-season is paying off, 11 wins in 14 matches,” Popyrin told ATPTour.com. “I really thought I was consistent during the match. Putting in lots of returns is difficult when Reilly is firing down 230 km/h bombs.”

Popyrin now has his hands full having to take on top seed, Russian Daniil Medvedev who easily accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu 6-2 6-2. Duckworth will face Alexander Bublik. Bublik comfortably took care of Serbian Laslo Djere 6-3 6-4 to make his way through to the Round of 32. The biggest upset of the day was Finn up and comer Emil Ruusuvuori‘s win over German third seed Alexander Zverev. The unseeded talent came from behind to post a 1-6 6-3 6-1 victory over the Top 10 talent and book his spot in the third round.

Meanwhile the other major upset of the day was Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie toppling ninth seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in two tight sets, 7-5 7-5. The unseeded players joined Swede Mikael Ymer who won through to the third round hoping to turn his form of the past 18 months around with a three-set victory over 27th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, 6-3 4-6 6-4.

In other results, there were a number of seeds who advanced in the earlier games, as 12th seed Roberto Bautista Agut did not even take the court with a walkover against in-form South African Lloyd Harris. Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime also toppled in-form Pierre Hugues-Herbert in straight sets, while Karen Khachanov and Dusan Lajovic took care of their respective opponents, Yannick Hanfmann and Ernesto Escobedo. In a battle of the young guns, Italian Jannik Sinner got the better of Frenchman Hugo Gaston 6-2 6-2, as Taylor Fritz toppled compatriot Marcos Giron in straight sets, 6-2 6-2. The other completed result was 31st seed German Jan-Lennard Struff defeating Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, 6-3 6-4.

At the time of publishing, 18th seed John Isner and compatriot, qualifier Mackenzie McDonald were about to head out on court, whilst 19th seed Brit Dan Evans and American Frances Tiafoe were locked in a tight tussle in their battle on Court 1.

ATP MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 64:

[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [PR] Yen-Hsun Lu (TAI) 6-2 6-2
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated [3] Alexander Zverev (GER) 1-6 6-3 6-1
James Duckworth (AUS) defeated [8] David Goffin (BEL) 6-3 6-1
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [9] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-5 7-5
[11] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-4 6-4
[12] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) W/O
[14] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 6-3 6-2
[16] Dusan Lajovic (CRO) defeated [Q] Ernesto Escobedo (USA) 6-2 6-3
[18] John Isner (USA) vs. [Q] Mackenzie McDonald (USA)
[19] Daniel Evans (GBR) vs. Frances Tiafoe (USA)
[21] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated [WC] Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-2 6-2
[22] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Marcos Giron (USA) 6-2 6-2
Mikael Ymer (SWE) defeated [27] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-3 4-6 6-4
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [30] Reilly Opelka (USA) 6-4 6-2
[31] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-3 6-4
[32] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-3 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour

2021 ATP/WTA 1000 Miami Open preview: Federer and Nadal withdraw as Barty returns

THE 2021 Miami Open is set to begin this week, played from Monday, March 22 through to Sunday, April 4, with the 1000 event expected to showcase some high calibre encounters across both the ATP and WTA Tours. Whilst the men’s list is missing a couple of notable names within the top 20, the women’s draw will boast just about all of the big names in the biz as the season rolls on despite COVID-19 restrictions still impacting proceedings. Both the men’s and women’s reigning Australian Open champions are set to compete, highlighting the strength of the respective events.

On the ATP Tour, the clear omissions from the draw include Rafael NadalDominic Thiem and Roger Federer, with the trio’s absence making for a huge hole in the draw and a real opportunity for the developing players coming through the ranks to make their mark. Looking down the list, it’s safe to say Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are the clear frontrunners in as first and second seeds with one title apiece to start the year, whilst Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are well within their chances here given the glaring absences. 2021 title-winners Andrey Rublev (Rotterdam title, 13-2 in 2021), Diego Schwartzman (Buenos Aires, 8-3) and David Goffin (Montpellier, 9-5) also register high in the draw, with the likes of Matteo Berrettini, Denis ShapovalovGael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut rounding out the top 11 or so players, pending shuffling from this week’s results. Factor in the explosiveness of the likes of Nick Kyrgios, who is still yet to confirm attendance, and the wealth of Spanish talent currently residing within and around the top 50, and there is so much that could go against the grain here.

Given it is an ATP 1000 event, there is no shortage of talent as players flock to Miami. Even heading down the list to lower ranked players, there are plenty of quality names across the board with in-form and young talent looking to add valuable points to their rankings. Two-time Miami champion Andy Murray is the big name wildcard at the event, joined by teen Carlos Alcaraz, Michael Mmoh, Hugo Gaston and Jack Draper in the main draw.

Heading to the women’s draw, and whilst there is more consistent top talent in the draw, that does not make it any easier to predict with the relatively even WTA Tour boasting a number of players who consistently step up at this level. Australian world number one and reigning 2019 Miami champion Ash Barty is reportedly set to compete after spending an unprecedented year way from the international circuit in 2020, joined by the ever formidable Naomi OsakaSimona HalepSofia Kenin and Elina Svitolina to round out the top five seeds. Also featuring are eight-time champion Serena Williams, who can never be overlooked in an event of this calibre, and a number of developing talents with French Open champion Iga Swiatek (2020) and 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu both set to take the court here. Jennifer BradyKarolina Pliskova and Madison Keys are another few who cannot be dismissed, as are the ever exciting teens Coco Gauff and Amanda Anisimova.

Factor in the evenness and unpredictability of the women’s draw, with realistically any number of the top 20 – or upwards of that – capable of beating anyone on their day, and Miami will have a real battle on its hands. The women’s main draw wildcards include Anna Kalinskaya, Ana Konjuh, Storm Sanders, Katrina Scott, Mayar Sherif, Xiyu Wang and Xinyu Wang, with qualifiers for both the women’s and men’s events set to play out over March 22-23.

ATP Tour wrap: Medvedev wins 10th title, secures second spot

DANIIL Medvedev has become the first player outside of the Big Four – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray – to occupy the second spot on the ATP Tour rankings in almost 16 years after claiming the Open 13 Provence final overnight. Medvedev is the first player since Australian Lleyton Hewitt in July, 2005 to reach second in the world outside those four multiple Grand Slam winners. It was far from an easy task against determined Frenchman, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, but the Russian top seed claimed the win in three tight sets. He said he was aware of the ranking increase having already achieved it prior to the final result.

“I am really happy,” Medvedev said post-match. “I knew that I would become number two no matter what on Monday… It is always better when you step up the Rankings when you do something great. “I know that winning here didn’t give me the points to become number two, but it is great for the self-esteem that just before becoming number two on Monday, I win a tournament.”

The 6-4 6-7 6-4 battle lasted two hours and 11 minutes with both players showing strength on serve and the lower ranked Herbert defying his 92nd place on the ATP Tour. The Frenchman had the home court support in Marseille, and produced 10 aces – only three less than Medvedev – and won 72 and 53 per cent of his first and second serve points, off a 65 per cent clip. The Russian had a lower second serve success rate of 45 per cent, but made up for it by winning 83 per cent of his first serve points from a 66 per cent serving efficiency.

“Pierre-Hugues can play unbelievable tennis. I know what he is capable of,” Medvedev said. “I played a lot of tough matches with him, especially when I lost in the Roland Garros first round. Today was a tricky, tough match and I am really happy that I managed to be on top and get the win.”

The victory not only capped off a great week for Medvedev, but brought up his 10th ATP Tour career title, and continued his terrific run on indoor hard courts.

“I am really happy about the number 10. It gets me to two digits, something which I dreamt of when I was a kid,” Medvedev said. “I think it is already a great number, but I am going to try to work more and get some more… I really like to play on hard courts. “I feel like that is where my game suits me the best. “I feel like I know the solutions I have to find during the match and that is what I did today.”

While Medvedev moved up to number two in the world, Herbert also enjoyed a bump up the rankings, rising 18 places for his runner-up effort with the soon-to-be 30-year-old – on Thursday – lifting to number 75 in the world.

OPEN 13 PROVENCE FINAL RESULT:

[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 6-7 6-4

 

In Santiago, home nation fan favourite Cristian Garin took home a title with a three-set victory over a gallant Facundo Bagnis in the final. Garin won 6-4 6-7 7-5 in two hours and 36 minutes to claim the title, the fifth of his career, and third straight in South America. Having won titles in Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro last year, Garin won his first of 2021 and moved back up to 21st in the world.

In the final, Garin served 14 aces to eight, and only two double faults to six in a clean serving performance. The Chilean top seed also won 71 and 59 per cent of his first and second serve points, off a 65 per cent efficiency. He broke his opponent four times to two, and held off the Argentinian in a colossal battle which saw Garin win 110 points to 101 by the end of the match.

“My biggest objective has alway been to keep winning titles, but I was not expecting to win in Chile after the way we started the year,” Garin said post-match. The Chilean missed the Australian Open due to injury, and had to battle coronavirus earlier in the season.

“I always kept on training and staying positive, and I’m so happy that it’s paid off… Of course I miss having a crowd especially while I’m playing at home, but I’m very pleased with this result.”

CHILE OPEN FINAL RESULT:

[1] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 6-4 6-7 7-5

 

Picture credit: Corinne Dubreuil/OPEN 13