Tag: egor gerasimov

ATP Tour wrap: Parma pushed back as Belgrade forges on

JUST the Belgrade tournament went ahead on Day 2, with the entirety of the day’s plans in Parma set aside due to persistent rain.

Two of the day’s three seeds proceeded to the second round in Serbia, with fifth seed Dusan Lajovic and eighth seed Federico Delbonis reigning supreme. Seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic was not quite so lucky though, falling in straight sets to Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas and leaving Lajovic the only Serbian to advance to the second round, as wildcard Hamad Madjedovic also fell at the first hurdle.

Lajovic was comprehensive in victory, downing Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-3 in 80 minutes flat, winning 56 per cent of the total points in the process. While Kecmanovic tested Cuevas at times, the Uruguayan starred on serve with an 88 per cent win rate off his first serve points. Delbonis’ encounter with Slovakian lucky loser Lukas Klein went a little different though, losing the first set before working his way back into the contest.

Klein’s qualifying compatriots worked hard for their respective wins though, as Andrej Martin overcame fellow qualifier Chris O’Connell in three, utilising the Australian’s errors to reign supreme 3-6 7-6(7) 7-5 in two hours and 42 minutes. Alex Molcan joined Martin in the second round after completing his 6-4 6-3 sweep of 17-year-old Madjedovic.

The remaining two matches saw Fernando Verdasco overcome Frenchman Lucas Pouille in two, as another lucky loser in German Mats Moraing proceeds through to the second round after defeating Egor Gerasimov 4-6 7-6 7-5, and has drawn Novak Djokovic in the second round.

BELGRADE OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) defeated Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-3 6-3
Pablo Cuevas (URU) defeated [7] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-3 6-2
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated [LL] Lukas Klein (SVK) 3-6 6-3 6-4
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) defeated Lucas Pouille (FRA) 7-5 6-2
[Q] Andrej Martin (SVK) defeated [Q] Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 3-6 7-6 7-5
[Q] Alex Molcan (SVK) defeated [WC] Hamad Madjedovic (SRB) 6-4 6-3
[LL] Mats Moraing (GER) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 4-6 7-6 7-5

Picture credit: Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Matches underway at Munich and Estoril

PROCEEDINGS are underway at the ATP Tour 250 events in Munich, Germany and Estoril, Portugal, as the Round of 32 begins.

At Estoril, a number of Spaniards took the court with just the one reigning supreme in eighth seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina – the only seed of the day – in a hard-fought day on the clay. Davidovich Fokina took on compatriot Pablo Andujar and claimed a 6-3 4-6 6-1 victory in just under two and a half hours. Whilst it was not a particularly effective service encounter from either Spaniard, the higher ranked of the two came away with the chocolates.

South African Kevin Anderson hard-hitter piled on a whopping 20 aces on his way to victory over American Frances Tiafoe, reigning supreme for a come-from-behind 4-6 7-6 7-6 victory. Anderson only hit three double faults throughout the contest but failed to really command control in the tight encounter, though to his credit did not relinquish easy points to Tiafoe, saving a match point to claim victory in two hours and 47 minutes.

“It was obviously a very, very close match,” Anderson said post-match. “I think there were a lot of positives, a lot of really high quality tennis, especially from midway through the second until the end of the match, I was really happy with the way I played. I think even if I had lost that match, obviously it’s always tough losing, but I definitely felt I took a step in the right direction today.

“Getting the win is a big added bonus, it gives me another opportunity to come out in a couple days’ time.”

Frenchman Jeremy Chardy defeated the third Spaniard in qualifier Jaume Munar in a come-from-behind victory, 3-6 6-3 6-4. Where Munar had the upper hand early, Chardy bit back in the second to command proceedings and cleaned up his act, not wasting as many service game on his way to the opening round victory.In the remaining game, Portugal qualifer Nuno Borges downed Australian Jordan Thompson in the only straight setter of the day, 7-6 6-3.

At Munich, five matches played out with both hometown hopefuls falling on home soil, as an all-Australian head-to-head saw the only seed of the day claim victory in the opening round.

On a day packed with multiple countrymen taking the court, it was the two Argentinians that both took out victories, although one came much easier than the other as Guido Pella walked away with a 6-0 2-0 trouncing of Belarusian Egor Gerasimov who was forced to retire mid-match, whilst Pella’s compatriot Federico Coria claimed a 6-3 3-6 6-2 victory over German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. Gerasimov’s compatriot in Ilya Ivashka claimed the quickest and easiest win of the day by far, obliterating Emil Ruusuvuori 6-1 6-2 and forcing errors from the Finnish competitor to complete victory in 67 minutes.

Eighth seed John Millman overcame compatriot Alexei Popyrin but did not have it easy, requiring almost three hours to consolidate a 7-6 3-6 7-5 victory. A marginally better winning rate on both his first and second serve paid off, as Millman outlasted Popyrinto claim the win. Meanwhile, Lithuanian lucky loser Ricardas Berankis was the remaining winner of the day, defeating the second German in wildcard Maximillian Marterer, 7-6 6-3 to head to the second round.

MILLENNIUM ESTORIL OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[8] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-3 4-6 6-1
Kevin Anderson (RSA) defeated Frances Tiafoe (USA) 4-6 7-6 7-6
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated [Q] Jaume Munar (ESP) 3-6 6-3 6-4
[Q] Nuno Borges (POR) defeated Jordan Thompson (AUS) 7-6 6-3

BMW OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[8] John Millman (AUS) defeated Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 7-6 3-6 7-5
Federico Coria (ARG) defeated [Q] Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) 6-3 3-6 6-2
[LL] Ricardas Berankis (LTU) defeated [WC] Maximillian Marterer (GER) 7-6 6-3
[Q] Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 6-1 6-2
Guido Pella (ARG) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-0 2-0 RET

ATP Tour wrap: Norrie continues red-hot form in Barcelona

GREAT Britain’s Cameron Norrie has continued his ripping form of late, taking another big scalp in 12th seed Karen Khachanov at the Barcelona Open. Clashing in the Round of 32, Norrie advanced in a tough three-set contest, winning 6-4 3-6 6-3 to advance through to the third round and be the only confirmed unseeded player in the Round of 16 at this stage. With the remaining 11 matches still to go, there are plenty of chances for more unseeded players to join him, but Norrie has the extra day’s rest to prepare for the next match.

In recent weeks, Norrie has claimed some big scalps in Italian Fabio Fognini and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, and now has his third Top 20 win in as many weeks, advancing through to the next stage of the tournament. The Brit was the lowest ranked winner on the day, with four other seeds all booking their spots with straight sets wins. Roberto Bautista Agut was the top ranked player out on court, with the fifth seed defeating compatriot Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-0, joining seventh seed Denis Shapovalov, eighth seed David Goffin and 11th seed Jannik Sinner in the Round of 16.

The remaining Round of 64 matches were also completed in Barcelona, though it was not all good news for Spanish fans. Despite Albert Ramos-Vinolas securing a come-from-behind win over Danish qualifier Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune 6-7 7-1 7-6, three of his compatriots all fell. Young gun wildcard Carlos Alcaraz went down to Frances Tiafoe in straight sets, veteran Feliciano Lopez lost out to another rising young gun in Italian Lorenzo Musetti, while Alejandro Davidovich Fokina exited despite a strong first set, losing to Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, 2-6 7-5 6-2. In the other two matches, Australia’s Jordan Thompson defeated France’s Richard Gasquet 7-6 3-6 7-6, and Gasquet’s compatriot Corentin Moutet won against German Dominik Koepfer, 7-5 6-2.

Meanwhile over in Serbia, the two home nation seeds had a mixed day out on court against qualifiers. Eighth seed Miomir Kecmanovic needed two tiebreakers to separate himself from Argentinian Facundo Bagnis, while ninth seed Laslo Djere went down to Italian Gianluca Mager, 6-4 6-3. French qualifier Arthur Rindeknecht made his way through to the season round against Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero, as Japan’s Taro Daniel won the battle of the lucky losers with Portugal’s Joao Sousa. Other winners included Australian Alexei Popyrin, Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon and Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.

BARCELONA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-4 6-0
[7] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-3 7-5
[8] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-2 6-4
[11] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-3 6-2
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [12] Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-4 3-6 6-3

BARCELONA OPEN ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [Q] Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (DEN) 6-7 6-1 7-6
[WC] Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-4 6-3
Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated [WC] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) 6-4 7-6
Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) 7-6 4-6 7-6
Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 2-6 7-5 6-2
Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 7-5 6-2

SERBIA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[8] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) defeated [Q] Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 7-6 7-6
[Q] Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated [9] Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-4 6-3
Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-4 3-6 6-1
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated Sebastian Korda (USA) 7-5 1-6 7-6
Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeated [LL] Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-3 7-5
[LL] Taro Daniel (JPN) defeated [LL] Joao Sousa (POR) 7-5 6-3
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [Q] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) 4-6 7-6 7-6
[Q] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) defeated Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 6-1 7-5

ATP Tour wrap: Mixed bag for Serbians, while Nishikori survives Barcelona scare

KEI Nishikori is no stranger to adversity. The Japanese 2014 US Open runner-up has had his fair share of injuries over the past couple of years, seeing the former Top 5 talent to slip outside the Top 30. Heading into the Barcelona, the unseeded world number 39 had won six of 13 games in 2021, hardly a form line that is indicative of what he is capable of. Whilst his best may well be behind him, Nishikori showed he can dig deep, coming back from a set and a break down to win in three over Argentinian Guido Pella in the first round of the Barcelona Open.

Nishikori dropped the first set 6-4 and was 2-4 and 5-6 down in the second set, agonisingly close to an early exit from the tournament he won back-to-back in 2014-15. He battled hard to take the second set in a tiebreaker against Pella 7-4, then raced away with a 6-2 victory in the third to move through to the second round. Nishikori said he was disappointed with his opening two sets, and was lucky to get away with the win, aware of how close he came to losing the match.

“He had the match today at 6-5, serving [for the match],” Nishikori said post-match. “He was much better in the first and second [sets] and 3-0 up in the tie-break. I don’t know how I fought through. [In the] third set, I was playing much better.

“I was making so many unforced errors in the first and second [sets]. Maybe he got a little bit tired and I was playing strong in the third set. I want to take that to the next round… The way I fought today and the way I played in the third set was good.”

Nishikori will need to improve drastically to defeat 13th seed Cristian Garin, with the Chilean on his preferred clay surface. Nishikori had a forgettable meeting with Garin last year, albeit when he was still returning from injury, losing 6-0 6-3 in a disappointing head-to-head at Hamburg. Now on clay, Garin will be even more difficult to knock off, with the Chilean undoubtedly the favourite, but Nishikori could frustrate him.

While Nishikori survived, another former Top 5 talent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was not so lucky, knocked out by Egor Gerasimov in straight sets, 7-5 6-1. He joined fellow Frenchmen Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire in exiting the tournament, with the latter arguably in the worst form of anyone on Tour and not looking like that will change anytime soon. Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Jeremy Chardy flew the flag for the French, booking their spots in the next round, while all three Spaniards out on court made it through, with Jaume Munar, Pablo Andujar and Bernabe Zapata Miralles securing their Round of 32 spots. Italian lucky loser Federico Gaio, Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka and Brit Cameron Norrie were the other three winners on day one of the main draw matches at Barcelona.

In Serbia, four players from the home nation were out on court on day one, with mixed results. Fifth seed Filip Krajinovic looked in control in his match, leading a set up and at 5-5 in the second, but then dropped five of the next six games to trail 1-3 in the third set. Krajinovic found a way to steady, winning five consecutive games to end the match and secure the 7-5 5-7 6-3 win over Italian Stefano Travaglia.

It was the opposite result for the other Serbia-Italy clash, as Marco Cecchinato found his clay form that made him dangerous a couple of years back, defeating Viktor Troicki in straight sets, 6-1 6-4 to book a date with Italian second seed Matteo Berrettini in the second round. Australian seventh seed John Millman also spoiled the party for Serbian wildcard Danilo Petrovic in two tight sets 7-5 6-4, while fellow wildcard Nikola Milojevic knocked off Federico Coria 6-4 6-0. Regardless of how results play out at the tournament, it is almost a forgone conclusion that Serbia will lift the trophy, with world number one Novak Djokovic a raging favourite at the event, with Berrettini his closest rival and then Aslan Karatsev – who was not even inside the Top 100 at the start of the year – seeded third.

BARCELONA OPEN ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[WC] Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-3 7-5
Pablo Andujar (ESP) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-1 3-6 6-3
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated Nikoloz Basilshvili (GEO) 6-4 3-6 6-3
[LL] Federico Gaio (ITA) defeated Benoit Paire (FRA) 7-5 6-3
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 7-5 6-1
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) defeated [Q] Sumit Nagal (IND) 7-5 6-0
[Q] Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated [Q] Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 6-3 6-1
Kei Nishikori (JPN) defeated Guido Pella (ARG) 4-6 7-6 6-2
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-1 6-2
[Q] Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) defeated [Q] Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 6-7 7-5 6-1

SERBIA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-5 5-7 6-3
[7] John Millman (AUS) defeated [WC] Danilo Petrovic (SRB) 7-5 6-4
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated [WC] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 6-1 6-4
[WC] Nikola Milojevic (SRB) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-4 6-0

Picture credit: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Fritz poised for move on clay

IT is time for Taylor Fritz to make his move. The 23-year-old American has been been in the Top 100 since shooting up to 81st in the world rankings back in February, 2016. Then, the 18-year-old was seen as one of the many youngsters ready to take the world by storm and be the next big thing from the United States.

Unfortunately it did not quite go to plan, and Fritz’s 2017 was a forgettable one where he yo-yo’d in and out of the Top 100, before a new year in 2018 saw him crack it again and this time he would not drop out. While Fritz has not had a substantial drop in the past three years, he really has not made any inroads, and has hovered around the Top 30 for some time, reaching 24th in the world last August, and currently sitting 30th.

Fritz is still young, but at 23, he should be hitting his peak, and at 193cm, the American has plenty of potential. He has just one title – at Eastbourne in 2019 – with four finals losses. He runs at close to 50 per cent success across all surfaces, and is not phased by either left or right handers with an even billing there too. On paper, he should not have too many weaknesses, able to serve strongly – winning 75 per cent of his first serve points – return relatively well and have a solid all-round forehand and backhand shot selection.

The issue from a service perspective is more his efficiency, putting just 59 per cent of his first serves in court, then having to recover by winning 50 per cent of his second serve points. He is the furthest thing from a volleyer, and prefers to keep the tempo from the baseline, which is his style, being a strong server, then baseline talent.

In his win against Slovakian Andrej Martin overnight, Fritz took 93 minutes to win 6-2 7-6. After cruising in the first set, he did not have the same level of control in the second, as Martin lifted and forced Fritz to fight out a tiebreaker, something the American seed has become fairly good at over his career. On this occasion, Fritz won 7-4 and therefore booked his spot in the quarter finals at the Sardegna Open.

He only produced the two aces, but three double faults and served at a 55 per cent efficiency, which summarised him in a nutshell. He won 68 and 44 per cent of his first and second serve points, breaking five times to three. What did stand out was his much higher first serve return, which is often quite low, but Fritz won 46 per cent of points off the Slovakian’s first serve. It meant he could take control upon return, and if he could tighten up his efficiency, he could go a long way on Tour.

He will now face Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in the quarter finals, after Bedene defeated Belarusian Egor Gerasimov in straight sets, 6-4- 7-6. Fritz and Bedene played for the first time in the Cincinnati Masters 1000 last year, with the Slovenian emerging triumphant 7-6 7-5 in a nail-biter. It is not a result that would haunt Fritz too much, and the world number 30’s best is better than Bedene’s, but the Slovenian can be a tricky opponent. In that match, Bedene had one more ace (11-10), and ironically Fritz’s first serve was more efficient (63 per cent), but his worries with first serve return success at a shocking 16 per cent. He will need to have more resistance on the clay against Bedene than he did on the hard courts that day.

Also into the quarter finals are fourth and fifth seeds Nikoloz Basilashvili and Jan-Lennard Struff who both won through with respective wins over qualifiers. They are in the top half of the draw though, with top seed Daniel Evans to play teenage wonderkid Lorenzo Musetti today, and Laslo Djere to face off against John Millman for the other spot. In the bottom half of the the draw, and upset by German Yannick Hanfmann over American Tommy Paul in the first round has really opened the draw wide up, and Hanfmann will now take on clay court specialist Marco Cecchinato, with the Italian’s compatriot Lorenzo Sonego entering the tournament up against reliable Frenchman Gilles Simon.

Fritz has the best chance to-date of adding a second title to his name, and whilst hard court might be his preferred surface, he is able to hide his first serve return worries on clay, and still be a dangerous server. He will have to overcome more clay-competent players, but he has the talent and should at least make a final at Sardegna, with the top half of the draw much more stacked than the bottom half.

Meanwhile over at the Andalucia Open, it was a rather predictable day, with three of the four seeds advancing. Tournament favourite Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Spanish compatriot and qualifier Mario Vilella Martinez, joining fourth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the final eight. Korean Soonwoo Kwon also made his way through with a triumph over Argentinian Facundo Bagnis, whilst Slovakian Norbert Gombos took down eighth seed Argentinian Federico Delbonis.

SARDEGNA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[2] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-2 7-6
[4] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [Q] Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 4-6 6-4 7-5
[5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [Q] Liam Broady (GBR) 6-4 6-2
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-4 7-6

ANDALUCIA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated [Q] Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) 7-6 6-3
[4] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-3 4-6 6-3
[7] Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeafed Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 6-1 6-3
Norbert Gombos (SVK) defeated [8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) 5-7 7-6 7-6

ATP Tour wrap: ATP 250 events begin in Europe

TWO ATP 250 events began this week, with proceedings starting up at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari, Italy, and the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open in Marbella, Spain.

At Sardegna, both seeds fell on Day 1 of the main event with seventh seed Argentinian Guido Pella and eighth seed Tommy Paul unable to overcome their respective lower ranked opposition. For Pella, it was a straight sets 6-4 6-0 loss to Belarusian Egor Gerasimov that saw him eliminated in under 90 minutes, with a shoddy service game allowing Gerasimov to maintain the upper hand. As for Paul, the American stole back the second set after going down 7-6(8) in the first, before falling at the third hurdle in the two hour and 56-minute blockbuster, as his German opposition in Yannick Hanfmann reigned supreme 7-6 5-7 6-3.

In the remaining two matches, Laslo Djere and Aljaz Bedene both remain in the hunt after collecting wins over a duo of Italian wildcards in Federico Gaio and Guilio Zeppieri, respectively. Whilst Djere collected a relatively straightforward 6-4 6-2 win over Gaio, Bedene was tested by 19-year-old Zeppieri, claiming a three-set victory 1-6 7-6 7-6 after a shocking first set.

SARDEGNA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS: 

Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated [7] Guido Pella (ARG) 6-4 6-0
Yannick Hanfmann (GER) defeated [8] Tommy Paul (USA) 7-6 5-7 6-3
Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated [WC] Federico Gaio (ITA) 6-4 6-2
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated [WC] Giulio Zeppieri (ITA) 1-6 7-5 7-6

 

Three matches went all the way in Marbella, with just one match completed in two sets. The tournament also saw the complete opposite result to Sardegna as the seventh and eighth seeds in Soonwoo Kwon and Federico Delbonis both remain in the hunt following wins. Kwon’s first round victory came over 17-year-old Dane Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune, and the young gun put in the hard yards before the Korean reigned supreme in a two hour and 23 minute, 6-3 3-6 7-6 encounter. Comparatively, Delbonis downed Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in the only two-setter of the day, coming away with the 7-5 6-1 victory in one hour and 40 minutes.

Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis reigned supreme in a hard fought 6-4 6-7 7-5 win against Frenchman Lucas Pouille, going the full distance in the two hour and 49-minute matchup. Whilst Pouille was solid on return, not allowing Berankis to hit a single ace, Pouille hit six aces for six double faults on his way to the first round loss. Meanwhile, Norbert Gombos defeated Juan Ignacio Londero in just over two hours despite a closely contested first set, coming away with the 6-7 6-1 6-3 victory.

ANYTECH365 ANDALUCIA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[7] Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeated [WC] Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (DEN) 6-3 3-6 7-6
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 7-5 6-1
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) defeated Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-4 6-7 7-5
Norbert Gombos (SVK) defeated Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 6-7 6-1 6-3

ATP Tour wrap: Seeds struggle to capitalise as tournaments heat up

ALL three ATP 250 tournaments in Qatar, Marseille and Chile are heating up, with the Doha contest completing the quarterfinals whilst both Marseille and Santiago have just completed the Round of 16. Plenty of top talent is still making its way through the draw but some of the biggest names in the game have already fallen as the three tournaments head toward the final stages.

Qatar threw up some of the most significant and mind-boggling results of the day, as first, second and fourth seeds fell amongst upsets galore in the quarterfinals. Only three matches went ahead, with third seed Andrey Rublev handed an early entry to the semis following a walkover from Hungarian Marton Fucsovics and the remaining encounters all taken out to three sets by the respective underdogs. Nicoloz Basilashvili has nabbed the upset of his career, with the Georgian getting the chocolates over returnee Roger Federer 3-6 6-1 7-5 in one hour and 50 minutes. While the Swiss master was cleaner on serve, registering 12 aces for zero double faults – compared to Basilashvili’s 12 and five –  the Georgian world number 42 was more efficient and made the most of his return ability.

Top seed Dominic Thiem also had the carpet swept out from under him in a 7-6 2-6 6-4 dismissal from fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut. The longest match of the three saw neither player give an inch, as the Spaniard came back from a horror second set to reign supreme. Bautista Agut was far more consistent and made the most of his chances, with a 63 per cent and 57 per cent winning rate off his first and second serves, whilst Thiem was arguably more effective on his first serve at 76 per cent, but struggled to maintain intensity on his second serve winning off just 32 per cent of his chances. Meanwhile, world number 33 Taylor Fritz earned bragging rights over fourth seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the duo’s two hour and five minute contest, utilising his 71 per cent serving efficiency to take down his opposition. Whilst Shapovalov was marginally more effective off his second serve, he only saved the one break point in the 5-7 6-3 7-5 encounter.

Seeds Bautista Agut and Rublev will go head-to-head in the first semi final, seeing an unseeded duo in Basilashvili and Fritz fight it out in the second semi.

QATAR OPEN QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:

[5] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [1] Dominic Thiem (AUT) 7-6 2-6 6-4
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [2] Roger Federer (SUI) 3-6 6-1 7-5
[3] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Marton Fucsovics (HUN) W/O
Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated [4] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 5-7 6-3 7-5

Two seeds made their way through to the quarterfinals in Marseille, as Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas proved too strong in straight sets wins over Egor Gerasimov and Lucas Pouille respectively. For Medvedev, it was a 6-2 6-4 sweep in 71 minutes over Belarusian Gerasimov, capitalising with an excellent 83 per cent effectiveness off his first serve, and backing it up on his second serve. Whilst Gerasimov had his moments, particularly during the second set, it was not enough to defeat the Russian top seed. Tsitsipas had a similar outcome against Pouille, downing the Frenchman in just over an hour on court 6-2 6-3.

Two Frenchman managed what Pouille did not, and won their respective encounters as qualifier Arthur Rinderknech defeated seventh seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the lone three setter of the day, 3-6 6-1 6-2, whilst Pierre-Hugues Herbert disposed of Cameron Norrie 6-3 6-4. Rinderknech slammed home 13 aces to Davidovich Fokina’s one in the encounter, with a whopping 87 per cent success rate off a 68 per cent clip, compared to the Spaniard’s 60 per cent winning rate off a 65 per cent efficiency. It was a similar story for Rinderknech’s compatriot, as Herbert hit 14 aces and won 80 per cent of his first serve points to head through to the quarterfinals.

OPEN 13 PROVENCE ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BEL) 6-2 6-4
[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-2 6-3
[Q] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) defeated [7] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 3-6 6-1 6-2
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) defeated Cameron Norrie (GBR) 6-3 6-4

In Chile, two seeds fell with just one remaining on this half of the draw as upsets galore continue in Santiago. It was Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan who took out third seed Pablo Andujar in straight sets, setting the tone with a huge 6-1 first set before the Spaniard bit back in the second for the 6-1 7-6(7) result. With six aces serving at 79 per cent, Elahi Galan was excellent and his confidence knew no bounds following his excellent first set. Qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas came away with a similarly impressive victory over seventh seed Argentinian Federico Coria, with his consistency paying off throughout a tough 6-4 7-6 contest.

The third encounter saw a speedy 73 minute victory from Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, disposing of wildcard Juan Manuelo Cerundolo 6-2 6-0. The remaining matchup between home nation hopes Cristian Garin and Alejandro Tabilo saw neither player give an inch during the early stages, before the top seed dominated from there-on out in a stellar 6-2 6-2 victory.

CHILE OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated [3] Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-1 7-6
[Q] Juan Pablo Varillas (PER) defeated [7] Federico Coria (ARG) 6-4 7-6
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated [WC] Juan Manuelo Cerundolo (ARG) 6-2 6-0
[1] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated [Q] Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) 6-2 6-2

ATP Tour wrap: Roger returns to a win as top five seeds advance in Doha

THREE tournaments across the globe saw Round of 16 matches completed in Doha, Marseille and Santiago, including the return of a legend as we wrap up the day’s work on the ATP Tour.

Roger Federer was the man everyone was watching in Doha, as the Swiss Grand Slam winner made his successful return from injury to post a solid victory over Great Britain’s Daniel Evans. It was far from complete, only just surviving a first set tiebreaker and then dropping the second set, but Federer came away with the three set win. 7-6 3-6 7-5 in two hours and 24 minutes. He served up 13 aces and won 79 per cent of his first serve points, and showed enough to suggest he will be building in the coming weeks.

“It feels good to be back,” Federer said post-match. “I am happy to be standing here regardless of if I won or lost, but obviously winning feels better. It was a good match. Dan played a good match too. He has been a wonderful training partner as well. Over the past two weeks, we played over 20 sets and it went on [tonight].”

Federer joined fellow top five seeds through to the quarter finals in Dominic Thiem, Andrey Rublev, Denis Shapovalov and Roberto Bautista Agut who all advanced into the final eight. Thiem had the biggest fight of the lot, coming back from a set down to shake off Russian wildcard and Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev, 6-7 6-3 6-2. Shapovalov got the better of Canadian compatriot Vasek Pospisil again 7-5 6-4, while Bautista Agut defeated Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-4 6-3, and Rublev waltzed through to the quarter finals following opponent Richard Gasquet‘s withdrawal pre-match.

In the other results, Taylor Fritz put in the biggest upset of the day, defeating sixth seed Belgian David Goffin 6-1 5-7 7-6. The other two unseeded players to advance through were Nikoloz Basilashvili and Marton Fucsovics. Basilashvili toppled Tunisian wildcard Malek Jaziri in straight sets 6-2 6-2, while Fucsovics had to work a bit harder to shake off South African qualifier Lloyd Harris in three, 4-6 7-6 6-2.

Fritz takes on Shapovalov up first tomorrow, with Rublev and Fucsovics completing the day session at Doha. Federer and Basilashvili open the night session, with the completion of the evening being Thiem and Bautista Agut in a blockbuster head-to-head.

QATAR OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Dominic Thiem (AUT) defeated [WC] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 6-7 6-3 6-2
[2] Roger Federer (SUI) defeated Daniel Evans (GBR) 7-6 3-6 7-5
[3] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) W/O
[4] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 7-5 6-4
[5] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-4 6-3
Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated [6] David Goffin (BEL) 6-1 5-7 7-6
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [WV] Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-2 6-2
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [Q] Lloyd Harris (RSA) 4-6 7-6 6-2

 

Six matches were completed in Marseille overnight, as the first four quarter finalists were decided, and the Round of 32 remaining two matches done and dusted. In those first round contests, Belarusian Egor Gerasimov destroyed German Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 6-0, while Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie advanced through in a tough one over French qualifier Constant Lestienne, 6-4 6-7 6-3.

The four Open 13 Provence Round of 16 matches saw all three seeds on court book their spots in the quarter finals, and it was further bad news for the home nation. While fourth seed Ugo Humbert made his way through to the final eight, it was at the expense of compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while wildcard Hugo Gaston also fell, going down to fifth seed Jannik Sinner in straight sets. Continuing the theme of straight sets results, third seed Karen Khachanov knocked off American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 6-4, while Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden stunned Finnish young gun Emil Ruusuvuori, 6-2 6-2.

The remaining four Round of 16 matches take place today, with Norrie challenging Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and Gerasimov stepping up against top seed Daniil Medvedev. In the other games, two more home nation heroes enter the court, as qualifier Arthur Rinderknech will test himself against seventh seed Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, while Lucas Pouille has an even stiffer test, up against second seed Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.

OPEN 13 PROVENCE ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[3] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated [PR] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 7-6 6-4
[4] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-3 6-4
[5] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated [WC] Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-4 6-1
[Q] Matthew Ebden (AUS) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 6-2 6-2

ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [Q] Constant Lestienne (FRA) 6-4 6-7 6-3
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 6-2 6-0

 

At the time of publishing, three Round of 16 matches were completed, with two of the three seeds in action making it through to the quarter finals. Fourth seed Serbian Laslo Djere took out Portugal’s Pedro Sousa in a three set battle 5-7 7-5 6-3, while eighth seed Argentinian Federico Delbonis easily accounted for Slovenian Andrej Martin 6-0 6-3.

Fellow Argentinian Facundo Bagnis provided the upset of the day against fifth seed Frances Tiafoe, defeating the American through two tiebreakers, which were 7-3 7-2 for a final result of 7-6 7-6. The final match of the day was between second seed Frenchman Benoit Paire and Danish qualifier Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune for a spot in the quarter finals.

In tomorrow’s matches, the remaining four Round of 16 games take place. Top seed Cristian Garin takes on compatriot, Chilean wildcard Alejandro Tabilo. In other fixtures, third seed Pablo Andujar faces Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan, fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena locks horns with Argentinian wildcard and Cordoba Open winner Juan Manuel Cerundolo, while another Argentinian in seventh seed Federico Coria goes head to head with Austrian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas.

CHILE OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[2] Benoit Paire (FRA) vs. [Q] Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (DEN)
[4] Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated Pedro Sousa (POR) 5-7 7-5 6-3
Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated [5] Frances Tiafoe (USA) 7-6 7-6
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Andrej Martin (SLO) 6-0 6-3

 

Picture credit: Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

ATP Tour wraps: Seeds prevail in tight contests on Day 2 at Rotterdam, Buenos Aires

DAY 2 at both the Rotterdam and Buenos Aires ATP tournaments saw plenty of tight encounters, as seeds reigned supreme for the most part but were certainly challenged as they did so.

At Rotterdam, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was made to work for his victory over world number 76 Egor Gerasimov, as the Belarusian used everything in his arsenal in the 7-6 7-5 encounter. Taken to just under two hours on court, Tsitsipas marginally controlled his return games (31 per cent to 27 per cent) which led to the win and saved ix of eight break points to command victory. Fourth seed Russian Andrey Rublev came away relatively unscathed in comparison, defeating qualifier Marcos Giron 7-6 6-3, whilst the remaining seed in Stan Wawrinka was not quite as fortunate, disposed of in straight sets by Rublev’s compatriot Karen Khachanov 6-4 7-5.

A couple of compatriots faced off with only one of each nation surviving amongst all-French and all-Australian battles. The results flipped across the two as Jeremy Chardy upset Ugo Humbert in the lone three-setter of the day, whilst Alex de Minaur kept up his great form with a 6-1 6-4 win over John Millman in one hour and 18 minutes, with this the only match of the day that did not feature a seventh game or tiebreaker set. In the remaining matches, another Frenchman fell as Hubert Hukacz disposed of Adrian Mannarino, whilst Borna Coric defeated homegrown wildcard Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-4 7-6.

ROTTERDAM OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 7-6 7-5
[4] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated [Q] Marcos Giron (USA) 7-6 6-3
Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated [8] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 6-4 7-5
[Q] Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated Ugo Humbert (FRA) 4-6 7-6 7-6
Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated John Millman (AUS) 6-1 6-4
Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3 7-6
Borna Coric (CRO) defeated [WC] Botic Van de Zandschulp (NED) 6-4 7-6

In Buenos Aires, the two seeds were successful although one got a lot more of a wake up call than he probably would have liked, as fifth seed Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas was tested by Danish 17-year-old Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune in the lone three-set encounter of the day. Whilst Rune was eventually disposed of in just under two hours, the wildcard certainly made himself known during his ATP Tour main draw debut, taking out the first set before falling 2-6 6-4 6-3 to the experienced Spaniard. American Frances Tiafoe also reigned supreme, with the eighth seed downing Argentinian Facundo Bagnis in 68 minutes 6-1 6-3, marginally the quickest win of the day, just pipping qualifier Sumit Nagal at the post following the Indian’s 70-minute 6-2 6-0 sweep of Joao Sousa.

With a number of Argentinians competing on home soil, not everyone could go through to the Round of 16 as qualifiers reigned supreme against their experienced foes. Francisco Cerundolo battled hard to overcome compatriot Federico Coria, 6-4 7-5, whilst wildcard Facundo Diaz Acosta could not hold up under pressure from qualifying Spaniard Jaume Munar, going down in the 7-6 6-3 encounter. The remaining matches saw Lukas Klein down Andrey Martin in straight sets, whilst a tight all-Italian battle between Gianluca Mager and Salvatore Caruso saw the former come away with five aces and bragging rights.

One match remains to complete in Argentina, as compatriots Federico Delbonis and 19-year-old Juan Manuel Cerundolo go head-to-head to close out the Round of 32, with Delbonis leading 3-2 in the first set at time of publish.

ARGENTINA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [WC] Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (DEN) 2-6 6-4 6-3
[8] Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 6-1 6-3
[Q] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-4 7-5
[Q] Lukas Klein (SVK) defeated Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-4 6-3
Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 7-6 6-4
[Q] Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated [WC] Facundo Diaz Acosta (ARG) 7-6 6-3
[Q] Sumit Nagal (IND) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 6-2 6-0
Federico Delbonis (ARG) v. Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG)

Picture credit: ANP

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

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

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

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

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

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE SEMI-FINALS:

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

 

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

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

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

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

SINGAPORE SEMI-FINALS:

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

 

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

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

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

CORDOBA QUARTER FINALS:

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

Picture credit: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images