Tag: federico coria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

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

Picture credit: Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

ATP Tour wrap: Seeds fall in Parma as Belgrade sees seesawing action

THE two ATP 250 events are heating up as we enter the semi finals stage, following two huge days of quarter finals action at both Parma, Italy and Belgrade, Serbia. At the Emilia-Romagna Open, three of the day’s four seeds fell, while at Belgrade, world number one Novak Djokovic continued his run on home soil.

Djokovic needed just 56 minutes to dispose of Argentinian Federico Coria, with an “ideal performance” setting the tone for the semis. The 6-1 6-0 sweep of Coria came with by winning 71 per cent of the overall points, with the Serbian impressed by his own ability to command control and impose a relentless approach to the match.

“You won’t always want to play like this, it’s not always possible,” Djokovic said. “But I think this definitely helps me feel better on the court. I think everything worked perfectly for me today.”

“It was the first time that I played against Coria and I tried to impose an aggressive style of tennis from the very beginning and not allow him to have too much time to play around,” Djokovic said. “I played a phenomenal second set, really flawless.”

Qualifier Andrej Martin will have a huge ride ahead of him when he takes on Djokovic in the semi finals following an impressive 3-6 6-3 6-4 comeback performance against another Serbian and fifth seed Dusan Lajovic. It was consistency that got the Slovakian over the line in this encounter, however he will need to step up against Djokovic with fans permitted to attend the event late this week.

Meanwhile, a second Argentinian had his ride to the semis made much easier, as eighth seed Federico Delbonis was dealt a walkover from Spanish qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena. Delbonis will take on another Slovakian qualifier in Alex Molcan, after the left-hander took down Fernando Verdasco in just 62 minutes.

At Parma, an all-American semi final is set as sixth seed Tommy Paul and 20-year-old Sebastian Korda go head to head. Both disposed of seeded talent to head into the semi, with the former taking down fourth seed German Jan-Lennard Struff and the latter downing eighth seed Yoshihito Nishioka. Paul  rendered Struff inefficient throughout their encounter, not allowing the German to chance at a break point throughout the 6-2 6-4 contest. Korda registered a 74 per cent winning rate off his first serve to claim victory 6-3 6-3, heading into his first clay semi-final in the process.

“I played a great match. I know he has been playing really good tennis, he reached the semi-final in Lyon [last week],” Korda said post-match. “But it’s my first semi-final on clay and I’m super happy.”

“I’m really good friends with Tommy,” Korda said. “We practise together a lot. It’s going to be a really fun match. He’s been playing great, so hopefully it will be a fun one.”

Jaume Munar and Marco Cecchinato will contest the second semi final, after both commanded proceedings in their respective quarter finals matchups. Munar’s excellent 47-minute victory over fifth seed Richard Gasquet showed just how much the Spaniard is capable of, winning 22 of his 23 first serve points and 100 per cent of his second serve off a 77 per cent clip, 6-1 6-1. Wildcard Cecchinato starred on home soil against lucky loser Norbert Gombos, defeating the Slovakian with seven aces, winning 80 per cent of his first serve points in the process.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[6] Tommy Paul (USA) defeated [4] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-2 6-4
Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated [5] Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-1 6-1
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [8] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-3 6-3
[WC] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated [LL] Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-3 6-1

BEGRADE OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-1 6-0
[Q] Andrej Martin (SVK) defeated [5] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 3-6 6-3 6-4
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated [Q] Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) W/O
[Q] Alex Molcan (SVK) defeated Fernado Verdasco (ESP) 6-2 6-0

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Djokovic equals fifth-most ATP Tour Open Era wins as seeds clean up at Parma

THE Belgrade and Emilia-Romagna Opens continue, with the former entering the Round of 16 stage while the latter played the remainder of its Round of 32 matches a day behind schedule following rain delays yesterday.

In the Round of 16 in Serbia, Novak Djokovic made it through his first matchup relatively unscathed, escaping a third set against German lucky loser Mats Moraing, 62 7-6(4). The world number one hit three aces and won 71 per cent of his first serve points off a 59 per cent clip, tying with Guillermo Vilas for the fifth most match wins in the Open Era in the process.

“I was twice a break up in the second set so I maybe could have finished out the job earlier, but credit to him for fighting, for playing really well, for playing very courageous, very bold tennis,” Djokovic said.

Fourth seed Adrian Mannarino was not quite as lucky, as he fell to Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-6 6-0. The 90 minute encounter saw Verdasco hit four aces and win 70 per cent of his first serve points off a 77 per cent clip. While Mannarino tested Verdasco in the first, he more or less ran out of legs in the second as the Spaniard claimed a bagel second set. Meanwhile, Federico Coria outclassed in-form Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in just under 75 minutes, winning 83 per cent of his first serve points, while qualifier Alex Molcan blew wildcard Pedja Krstin out of the water with a 6-0 6-0 result and the first double bagel result for the ATP Tour this season.

At the Parma event in Italy, all three seeds reigned supreme with fifth seed Richard Gasquet and seventh seed  Aljaz Bedene not troubled by their respective opposition in qualifier Daniel Altmaier and home hopeful Salvatore Caruso. Whilst eighth seed Yoshihito Nishioka joined his fellow top seeds in the second round, he was certainly tested by American Sam Querrey who took out the early lead, before the Japanese talent commanded the remainder of the proceedings.

Caruso’s five compatriots endured a mixed bag of results, as three more fell but two to the hands of fellow Italians. Wildcard Marco Cecchinato defeated qualifier Raul Brancaccio 6-3 7-6 as in-form Lorenzo Musetti also proceeded, following a come from behind victory over Gianluca Mager.

“I think the Lorenzo of two years ago would not have been able to win this match today for sure after the bad loss of the first set,” Musetti said. “There’s a lot of improvement, we are happy and there is a lot of work to do. We are here to try to go as far as I can and [I] try to do my best.”

“You lost one match, you understand why you lost and you try to do better next time. That’s the goal and that’s the thing that I’m focussing on,” Musetti said. “I think this is the only thing. There is no other way to solve these problems. You just have to understand what you need and try to do your best.”

The remaining Italian in the draw was veteran wildcard Andreas Seppi, who fell to American Sebastian Korda 6-3 6-4.

“I’m excited. It’s another great experience for me. He’s playing some really good tennis,” Korda said post-match. “He made the semi-finals of Rome, which is massive. [I am] looking forward to it and hope that it’s going to be a good match.”

In the remaining matches, lucky loser Norbert Gombos claimed a two hour and 53-minute victory over Finn Emil Ruusuvuori, 7-6(4) 5-7 6-3, while Spanish duo Pedro Martinez and Jaume Munar both won through to the second round, as did Czech Jiri Vesely.

BELGRADE OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated [LL] Mats Moraing (GER) 6-2 7-6
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) defeated [4] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 7-6 6-0
Federico Coria (ARG) defeated Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-3 6-2
[Q] Alex Molcan (SLO) defeated [WC] Pedja Krstin (SRB) 6-0 6-0

EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated [Q] Daniel Altmaier (GER) 6-3 6-3
[7] Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-4 7-6
[8] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Sam Querrey (USA) 3-6 6-3 7-6
[WC] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated [Q] Raul Brancaccio (ITA) 6-3 7-6
[LL] Norbert Gombos (SVK) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 7-6 5-7 6-3
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [WC] Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-3 6-4
[Q] Pedro Martinez (ESP) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-0 6-4
Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated [Q] Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-3 7-6
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 4-6 6-1 6-2
Jiri Vesely (CZE) defeated Steve Johnson (USA) 7-6 6-2

Picture credit: Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Belgrade and Parma get underway

WITH both the Geneva and Lyon Open done and dusted, we turn our eyes to the Belgrade and Parma ATP 250 events this week with the first day of Round of 32 action beginning overnight.

Belgrade saw three matches play out, with a couple of Serbian wildcards taking the court though only one heads into the second round. Marko Topo was ousted by the more experienced Federico Coria who started slow but eventually blew the Serbian out of the park with a 4-6 6-2 6-0 result in just over two hours, making use of the 17-year-old’s errors. Compatriot Pedja Krstin had much better luck in his own encounter though, defeating Korean Soonwoo Kwon 6-2 3-6 6-1 to mark his first tour level victory. Jeremy Chardy collected the remaining victory of the day, downing American Tennys Sandgren in just 69 minutes, winning 81 per cent of points off his first serve on his way to the 6-4 6-2 victory.

Parma saw two Italian-American clashes to open the Round of 32 proceedings, with the results going one of each way as American sixth seed Tommy Paul defeated Italian Stefano Travaglia 7-5 6-4, before Italian wildcard Flavio Cobolli flipped the script in the second match, defeating American Marcos Giron. Cobolli completed his come-from-behind victory in two hours and 34 minutes, outlasting Giron 3-6 7-6(6) 7-6(4) the American in an impressive effort for the 19-year-old Italian on his tour-level debut. Paul’s victory was much more straightforward, as the American claimed victory in less than 90 minutes with an impressive service game at his disposal.

BELGRADE OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-4 6-2
Federico Coria (ARG) defeated [WC] Marko Topo (SRB) 4-6 6-2 6-0
[WC] Pedja Krstin (SRB) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-2 3-6 6-1

EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Tommy Paul (USA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-5 6-4
[WC] Flavio Cobolli (ITA) defeated Marcos Giron (USA) 3-6 7-6 7-6

Picture credit: Eric Alonso/Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Shapovalov bundled out among walkovers aplenty

THE Round of 16 has rolled on at the two ATP 250 events this week, with a couple of interesting results across both the BMW Open in Munich, Germany, and the Estoril Open in Portugal. A walkover was had at both tournaments in an intriguing quirk heading into the quarter-finals, as a top seed heads into the third round by default at both events.

At Munich, all three seeds prevailed on a trying day on clay, with the day’s top seed in Filip Krajinovic easing through to the third round following a walkover from German Yannick Hanfmann, while it was an entirely different story for Jan-Lennard Struff who overcame compatriot Dominik Koepfer in a massive 7-6(3) 6-7(0) 6-2 encounter.

Struff required two hours and 39 minutes to account for Koepfer, recovering from 2-4 down in the first to steal the first and requiring plenty of dash and dare to claim the final four games of the match to come away with victory, after a 0-7 deficit saw him drop the second set tiebreaker.

“I am very, very happy that I turned around the first set,” Struff said on court. “I played a not good second-set tie-break. Before [that] the set was okay, but I couldn’t lock into his service games that much… I am very happy that I broke him in the third set and I am very happy to be through. Dominik is a good guy and a very good player.”

The remaining winners of the day were fifth seed Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili and lucky loser Norbert Gombos, who both claimed wins in straight sets, disposing of Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan and Argentinian Federico Coria, respectively.

At Estoril, top seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov was ousted by Frenchman Corentin Moutet, with only a second set grab from Shapovalov putting a blemish in Moutet’s solid 6-4 2-6 6-4 victory. With this outing Shapovalov’s first as a top seed, Moutet was aware of the gravity of the encounter.

“It was who will play less worst today,” Moutet said post-match. “I think he didn’t play his best level. “I’m really happy to win, of course, because he’s such a great player. “It was a very close match. “Today I’m lucky that I won at the end. “A few points decided the winner.”

The left-handed Frenchman required two hours and six minutes to dispose of Shapovalov, who was error-ridden on serve and failed to consistently capitalise on his opportunities. Comparatively, Moutet won 66 per cent of his first serve points and 50 per cent of his second set points, all off a 67 per cent clip. He also saved nine of 13 break points and converted on four.

Second seed Cristian Garin was not required to take the court as Moutet’s compatriots Richard Gasquet and Pierre-Hugues Herbert were not quite so lucky. While the former withdrew prior to the match with a left adductor injury, Herbert was take out in straight sets by seventh seed Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, as Cameron Norrie was tested by qualifier Pedro Martinez after dropping the first set, before running home with a huge three hour, 4-6 7-6(1) 7-5 victory.

BMW OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[4] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated [WC] Yannick Hanfmann (GER) W/O
[5] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [Q] Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) 6-4 6-2
[7] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 7-6 6-7 6-2
[LL] Norbert Gombos (SVK) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-4 6-1

ESTORIL OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated [1] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 6-4 2-6 6-4
[2] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) W/O
[7] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-2 7-6
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [Q] Pedro Martinez (ESP) 4-6 7-6 7-5

Picture credit: Alex Caparros/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: 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: Round of 32 complete at Sardegna and Marbella

COMPETITION continued in Sardegna and Marbella today with the Round of 32 at both ATP 250 events still going strong and homegrown talent proving influential on Day 2 of proceedings.

At Sardegna, three set encounters told the story with fifth and sixth seeds Jan-Lennard Struff and John Millman amongst a group of six players who required a third set to clinch victory. Struff overcame a shocking 1-6 start to Joao Sousa to remain in the hunt for the second round, collecting the 1-6 6-1 7-5 victory in just over two hours. Gilles Simon was another who came from a set down to win in three, defeating home talent Stefano Travaglia 1-6 6-3 6-4, as did qualifier Jozef Kovalik, who was one of two Slovakian competitors to win on the day, joined by Andrej Martin in the second round.

It was a first set tiebreaker that was the difference between a win and a loss for Australian sixth see Millman, who overcame Federico Coria 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3 in a mammoth three hour and 13 minute encounter, whilst Italian Marco Cecchinato was the remaining three set winner with a victory over compatriot Thomas Fabbiano 6-4 4-6 6-3. Lorenzo Musetti joined Ceecchinato in the second round after a confidence-boosting 6-0 6-1 obliteration of Dennis Novak in just 52 minutes, with the remaining win of the day going to British qualifier Liam Broady, who defeated Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-1 6-3.

SARDEGNA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS: 

[5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 1-6 6-1 7-5
[6] John Millman (AUS) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 7-6 3-6 6-3
[Q] Liam Broady (GBR) defeated [Q] Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI) 6-1 6-3
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated [WC] Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 6-4 4-6 6-3
[Q] Jozef Kovalik (SVK) defeated [Q] Sumit Nagal (IND) 3-6 6-1 6-3
Andrej Martin (SVK) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-4 2-6 6-1
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-0 6-1
Gilles Simon (FRA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 1-6 6-3 6-4

At Marbella, results went the opposite way with majority straight sets victories across the day, and just one three setter to speak of, which intriguingly was still a mostly one-sided battle as Alejandro Davidovich Fokina reigned supreme in a 6-7 6-2 6-2 encounter with Damir Dzumhur. The two hour flat matchup was marginally the longest of the day, with the Spaniard one of five to head into the second round. He is joined by Feliciano LopezJaume Munar, wildcard Carlos Alcaraz and qualifier Mario Vilella Martinez, after all four claimed solid wins.

The other three winners of the day hailed from Argentina, Belarus and Italy, with Argentinian Facundo Bagnis overcoming compatriot Francisco Cerundolo and Ilya Ivashka getting the job done in an identical 6-3 7-6(2) final result over another Spaniard in Pedro Martinez, while Gianluca Mager defeated Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin.

ANYTECH365 ANDALUCIA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-7 6-2 6-2
[6] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) defeated Taro Daniel (JPN) 6-4 6-4
[WC] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [Q] Nikola Milojevic (SRB) 7-6 6-3
Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) 6-3 7-6
Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-3 7-6
Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 7-5 6-3
Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated [Q] Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 6-4 6-1
[Q] Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) defeated [Q] Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 6-2 6-3

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 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