Tag: jiri vesely

ATP 250 wraps: Aussies bow out in Singapore as upsets take place in Montpellier

IT was a mixed bag of results on day two across the various ATP 250 events, as we recap the results as of publishing in Montpellier, Singapore and Cordoba.

A couple of experienced talents joined the list of outs from the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, with eighth seed Jan-Lennard Struff and Frenchman Gilles Simon both bundled out of the tournament. Struff went down to qualifier and compatriot Peter Gojowczyk in straight sets, losing 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 18 minutes, with the 144th ranked played topping his German counterpart who sits 107 placed above him in the world. Meanwhile Austrian Dennis Novak continued his strong start to the year with a solid three-set win over Simon. Novak needed a tiebreaker to get through the first set, before dropping away in the second, and then posting a win 7-6 1-6 6-3 to advance to the Round of 16.

In other results, wildcard Benjamin Bonzi won through in straight sets in the all-French clash against Lucas Pouille, getting up 7-6 6-2. Experienced Czech Jiri Vesely was far too good for a disappointing Mikael Ymer, winning 6-1 6-1, while in the final results, Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor won 6-2 6-7 6-3 over American Marcos Giron in the clear best match of the day. It lasted two hours and 10 minutes with the players evenly matched until Griekspoor – who had saved all five break point opportunities from his opponent – broke for a third time to win. .

In the late game, the most talked about match took place on Court Patrice Dominguez with Belarusian Egor Gerasimov taking on Grand Slam winner and returning from injury Brit, Andy Murray. After a nail-biting first set tiebreaker (10-8), Gerasimov ran away with the contest in the second set to win 7-6 6-1 and book his spot in the second round.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[Q] Peter Gojowczyk (GER) defeated [8] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-3 6-4
[WC] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) defeated Lucas Pouille (FRA) 7-6 6-2
[Q] Tallon Griekspoor (NED) defeated Marcos Giron (USA) 6-2 6-7 6-3
Dennis Novak (AUT) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 7-6 1-6 6-3
Jiri Vesely (CZE) defeated Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-1 6-1
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated Andy Murray (GBR) 7-6 6-1

 

Over in Singapore, five matches were completed on day two, and it was not good news for the Australians with all three players on court unable to join day one winner, Alexei Popyrin in the Round of 16. Marc Polmans was the toughest to beat, forcing Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama to three sets before going down 6-4 2-6 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes. Similarly, John-Patrick Smith also suffered a three-set loss, this time to Macedonian sixth seed Radu Albot who won 6-2 3-6 6-1.

James Duckworth was unable to really break down German Yannick Hanfmann in their match, with the latter triumphing in straight sets, 6-2 6-4 to advance to the next round of action. In the other two matches, Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek won against Japanese wildcard Shintaro Mochizuki. Celikbilek got up 6-0 6-4 convincingly, while American Maxime Cressy moved into the Round of 16 with a 7-6 6-2 victory over Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung.

SINGAPORE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Radu Albot (MCE) defeated [Q] John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 6-2 3-6 6-1
Maxime Cressy (USA) defeated Jason Jung (TAI) 7-6 6-2
Yannick Hanfmann (GER) defeated James Duckworth (AUS) 6-2 6-4
Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) defeated Marc Polmans (AUS) 6-4 2-6 6-4
[Q] Altug Celikbilek (TUR) defeated [WC] Shintaro Mochizuki (JPN) 6-0 6-4

 

The two lower ranked players at the Cordoba Open won through to the second round with hard-fought three sets wins over their respective opponents. Chilean wildcards Nicolas Jarry came from a set down to survive a nail-biting tiebreaker and then win in three against rising Spaniard Jaume Munar, 5-7 7-6 6-4. The match lasted a whopping two hours and 44 minutes with Jarry serving up seven aces, and winning 75 per cent of his first serve points, albeit off a lowly 54 per cent efficiency. Jarry’s was more efficient with 74 per cent of his first serves going in, but only capitalising on 63 per cent of them, as both players were broken five times.

In the other match, Jozef Kovalik also needed three sets to get past Daniel Elahi Galan, bouncing back from a disappointing second set to win 6-2 1-6 6-3 in an hour and 43 minutes. Kovalik broke four times to three, the last being a crucial one in the final set, to book his spot in the Round of 16 with victory on the clay courts.

CORDOBA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[WC] Nicolas Jarry (CHL) defeated Jaume Munar (ESP) 5-7 7-6 6-4
Jozef Kovalik (SVK) defeated Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) 6-2 1-6 6-3

Picture credit: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

ATP 250s wraps: Tsonga beaten on return as Popyrin claims win in Singapore

GRAND SLAM finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made his long-awaited return to the ATP Tour at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier yesterday, though it did not go plan. The former Top 10 talent was easily beaten by American Sebastian Korda in the first round of the ATP 250 event.

The match lasted just 72 minutes with Korda claiming the spoils, 6-4 6-2, dominating on serve and only dropping eight points in total, saving both of his opponent’s break point opportunities. Tsonga was far from his best, but getting through the match was the key, still winning 69 per cent of his first serve points, and serving five aces throughout the match. He saved three of six break points, but ultimately could not do enough against a player who has built form over the past 12 months.

It was better news for sixth seed Ugo Humbert, whose rise up the ATP Rankings continues following his straight sets win over Slovakian Norbert Gombos. Humbert won 6-4 7-6 in 78 minutes, slamming home 18 aces and winning 88 per cent of his first serve points off an elite 79 per cent efficiency to never give his opponent a chance. In Gombos’ defence, he held up well, actually breaking Humbert once from two chances, while the Frenchman broke him from both his opportunities. Overall the class of Humbert stood out and he advanced to the Round of 16.

In the final match played on day one of the main draw event, seventh seed Lorenzo Sonego battled past young Frenchman Hugo Gaston. The Italian won 6-3 6-7 6-1, holding his nerve in the third set after dropping the second set tiebreaker 9-7, to win in two hours and 19 minutes. He served seven aces and broke six times from 12 chances, while only being broken three times himself.

In today’s action, there are plenty more Frenchman on show, with Lucas Pouille taking on compatriot and wildcard Benjamin Bonzi, while Gilles Simon faces Austrian Dennis Novak. The match of the day could be either British wildcard and Grand Slam winner Andy Murray taking on Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, or Swede Mikael Ymer locking horns with Jiri Vesely.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-4 7-6
[7] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated [WC] Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-3 6-7 6-1
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-4 6-2

Five first round matches were completed in Singapore, with a mixed bag for the two seeds on court. Fifth seed Japanese counter puncher Yoshihito Nishioka defeated improving American Michael Mmoh 6-2 3-6 6-3, while seventh seed South African Lloyd Harris went down in three sets to Bulgarian wildcard Adrian Andreev.

Nishioka needed almost two hours to defeat Mmoh, surviving 11 aces to bring up 10 break point opportunities, albeit only taking three. It was two more than Mmoh who broke once in the second set, but could not do it again in the match. Meanwhile Andreev took two hours and 19 minutes to knock off the fast-serving Harris, not needing to serve and ace and even holding off 12 of 15 break point chances for the South African to win 1-6 6-3 6-4. The Bulgarian bounced back from a disappointing first set to post the impressive win over the developing Harris.

Andreev now takes on Australian Alexei Popyrin who knocked off American qualifier, Christopher Eubanks in two tiebreakers, 7-6 7-6, both of which were 7-5 tiebreakers. The match lasted one hour and 46 minutes, with Popyrin powering home 15 aces and saving 10 of 11 break points in a remarkable feat. He won 72 per cent of his first serve points, and also only broke Eubanks once, holding firm in the crucial tiebreakers to claim a narrow straight sets win.

In other Singapore results, United States’ Maxime Cressy became his nation’s sole winner on the day, downing Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung in straight sets 7-6 6-2, while Japan’s Taro Daniel joined compatriot Nishioka in the second round after a tight three-set win over India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan, 6-3 6-7 6-3.

In today’s action, three Australians are out on court, with Marc Polmans up first against Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama. Following that match, qualifier John-Patrick Smith has to find a way to upstage sixth seed Macedonian Radu Albot, before James Duckworth takes to the court at night against German, Yannick Hanfmann.

SINGAPORE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-2 3-6 6-3
[WC] Adrian Andreev (BUL) defeated [7] Lloyd Harris (RSA) 1-6 6-3 6-4
Maxime Cressy (USA) defeated Jason Jung (TAI) 7-6 6-2
Taro Daniel (JPN) defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) 6-3 6-7 6-3
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [Q] Christopher Eubanks (USA) 7-6 7-6

At the time of publishing, none of the day one matches had been completed in Cordoba, with the Argentinian tournament finishing off the third round of qualifying earlier in the day. The night session featured two Round of 32 matches which will be covered in tomorrow’s wrap, with Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan facing Slovakian Jozef Kovalik, followed by Spaniard Jaume Munar taking on Chilean wildcard Nicolas Jarry.

Picture credit: ATP Tour

Australian Open Men’s Round of 64 wrap: Kyrgios and Fritz come back from brink, as Fucsovics holds on in thrillers

THREE epic five-set matches were the talking point of the Round of 64 action at Melbourne Park yesterday, featuring two unseeded players toppling higher ranked opponents, and another winning against a compatriot, to book their place in the third round of the Grand Slam. Australian Nick Kyrgios and American Taylor Fritz both advanced through to the Round of 32, coming from two sets to one down in order to win, while Marton Fucsovics survived a mighty scare to hold on in a nail-biting tiebreak.

The longest match of the day went to Fritz and fellow American Reilly Opelka, with the match lasting a whopping four hours and seven minutes. Opelka won the first set 6-4, which followed three consecutive tiebreak sets – with Opelka being two sets to one up before Fritz levelled in the fourth – and Fritz eventually ran away with it in the fifth to post a 4-6 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-2 victory. Opelka served a casual 43 aces on his way to 91 winners, whilst his opponent had 18 and 54 respectively. However despite both serving seven double faults, Fritz only had an additional 26 unforced errors compared to the wild Opelka (79).

At night, Kyrgios also had to come from two sets to one down against the talented Ugo Humbert, posting a remarkable five-set win over the 29th seed. Kyrgios won 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-4 having been a break down late in the fourth set, but forced a tiebreaker which he won 7-2. Both big servers, Kyrgios marginally shaded Humbert with 30 aces to 27, as well as an 80 per cent first serve success rate, ahead of 78 per cent for his French opponent. Humbert was superb off the return, hitting 11 return winners to five (and seven more overall), as well as four less unforced errors. In the end it was Kyrgios’ ability to stand up when it counted for him to move through to the next round.

In a different style of match, Fucsovics had to hold on against a fierce and determined Stan Wawrinka in five sets, causing the upset of the day during the 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6 victory. He won the first two sets and looked good, until the Swiss star clicked into gear, roaring back into the match. It was fitting that a massive 20-point tiebreaker would split the two, with Wawrinka two points away from victory at one stage, leading 8-4 in that super tiebreak. He won just one of the next eight points – though did have two match points against the Hungarian, before Fucsovics could finally collapse in jubilation. Fucsovics hit 34 winners to Wawrinka’s 49, but also had many less unforced errors (46-73) in the win.

The three five-set matches were complemented by a number of unseeded players pushing their seeded opponents in matches. Frances Tiafoe took a set off tournament favourite and world number one Novak Djokovic before going down 6-4 6-7 7-6 6-3, while Corentin Moutet, Jiri Vesely and Alexander Bublik did the same against Milos Raonic, Pablo Carreno Busta and Dusan Lajovic respectively. Unseeded Spaniard Pedro Martinez needed four sets to dispose of Finn Emil Ruusuvuori – who defeated Gael Monfils in the first round – coming back from a disappointing first set to win 1-6 6-3 6-2 7-6.

Most of the other seeded wins were one-sided as Dominic Thiem and Diego Schwartzman cruised through without too many headaches. Three Australians departed in straight sets at the hands of seeds, as Denis Shapovalov knocked off Bernard Tomic, Grigor Dimitrov took out Alex Bolt, and Felix Auger-Aliassime claimed a win over James Duckworth. In other matches, 32nd seed Adrian Mannarino continued his good form with a convincing 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, whilst the most one-sided result of the entire day was Russian qualifier Aslan’s Karatsev‘s 93-minute rout of Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, dropping just one game on his way to a 6-0 6-1 6-0 win.

The Round of 32 matches that the day two results have set up include blockbusters such as third seed Thiem up against Kyrgios, Carreno Busta taking on Dimitrov and an all-Canadian battle between Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime. Completing the Round of 64 matches today, Australians Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alex de Minaur are in action against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas respectively, while rising stars Carlos Alcaraz and Mikael Ymer face off, and Casper Ruud takes on Tommy Paul.

ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3 6-7 7-6 6-3
[3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-4 6-0 6-2
[6] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated [Q] Maxime Creesy (USA) 7-5 6-4 6-3
[8] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated [LL] Alexandre Muller (FRA) 6-2 6-0 6-3
[11] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated [Q] Bernard Tomic (AUS) 6-1 6-3 6-2
[14] Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-7 6-1 6-1 6-4
[15] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3 7-6 2-6 6-4
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [17] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6
[18] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defaeted [WC] Alex Bolt (AUS) 7-6 6-1 6-2
[20] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated James Duckworth (AUS) 6-4 6-1 6-2
[23] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) defeated Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-4 7-6 4-6 6-3
[27] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Reilly Opelka (USA) 4-6 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-2
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeated [29] Ugo Humbert (FRA) 5-7 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-4
[32] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-1 6-2 6-4
[Q] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-0 6-1 6-0
Pedro Martinez (ESP) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 1-6 6-3 6-2 7-6

Picture credit: Getty Images

Australian Open Men’s Round of 128 wrap: Finn young gun and Belarusian danger man upset French duo

FINNISH young gun Emil Ruusuvuori caused the biggest upset on day one of the 2021 Australian Open, knocking off 10th seed Frenchman Gael Monfils in a five-set thriller. The match lasted three hours and 46 minutes, and was not the only heartbreak for France, with second ranked Frenchman Benoit Paire also bowing out of the Grand Slam.

The 21-year-old Ruusuvuori showed unbelievable grit and determination to save 17 break points during the 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 win, broken six of 23, whilst breaking his opponent the same amount of times. Monfils fired off 13 aces to four and only had five double faults to 11, but it was Ruusuvuori’s perseverance in the end that saw him get up in a remarkable upset.

Paire went down in four sets to Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, 6-2 2-6 7-6 7-5 despite hitting a whopping 74 winners to 25. The match was controlled off Paire’s racquet, also hitting 21 aces to five. The issue for the Frenchman has always been his consistency with said power, casually serving 23 double faults and hitting 90 unforced errors – numbers that will rarely ever win you a tennis match.

It was not all bad news for the French nation however, with the most in-form Frenchmen in Ugo Humbert and Adrian Mannarino – both seeds themselves at 29th and 32nd respectively – moving onto the next round, as did Corentin Moutet and lucky loser Alexandre Muller. Of those results, Moutet’s five-set upset of Australian John Millman on his home soil was huge, as the up-and-coming talent won 6-4 6-7 3-6 6-2 6-3 to advance to the Round of 64.

As for the home nation hopes, it was a mixed bag with Nick Kyrgios getting through his opening round match in straight sets, James Duckworth taking care of lucky loser Damir Dzumhur in three, and Alex Bolt managing to fend off Norbert Gombos in four. Even Bernard Tomic booked his spot in the Round of 64 after opponent Yuichi Sugita had to retire at a set apiece and Tomic 4-1 up in the third. Unfortunately for the home fans, wildcard Marc Polmans joined Millman in exiting the tournament.

The most talked about match coming into day one was the unbelievable draw between 11th seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Italian rising talent Jannik Sinner. It lived up to all expectations with Shapovalov winning 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4 in three hours and 55 minutes of action. Shapovalov controlled the tempo with 62 winners to 26, but also hit 71 unforced errors to 44. He managed to win 75 per cent of his first serve points, and broke Sinner five times from 10 attempts. The Italian will be ruing missed opportunities, setting up a whopping 20 break point chances, but only making the most of three of them.

In terms of the top eight seeds, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem both moved through to the second round without dropping a set, while Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman were forced to work a little harder to win in four. Canada would have certainly been pleased with day one, as Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime barely broke a sweat in easy straight sets wins to join Shapovalov in the Round of 64. Stan Wawrinka, Pablo Carreno Busta and Grigor Dimitov also advanced without a hiccup, while Dusan Lajovic was put through the ultimate test of five sets against Ukrainian qualifier Sergiy Stakovsky before surviving, while American Taylor Fritz won in four sets against Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

American trio Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe and qualifier Maxime Cressy also booked their places in the second round of the Australian Open, while Czech Jiri Vesely needed five sets – coming from two sets to one down -to put away Belgian qualifier, Kimmer Copperjans. Spaniard Pedro Martinez, Kazakh Alexander Bublik, Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, Russian Aslan Karatsev, Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic and German Dominik Koepfer were the other winners on day one.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN MEN’S ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-3 6-1 6-2
[3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 7-6 6-2 6-3
[6] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Marcos Giron (USA) 6-7 7-6 6-3 6-2
[8] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Elias Ymer (SWE) 7-6 6-4 2-6 6-2
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated [10] Gael Monfils (FRA) 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3
[11] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Jannik Sinner (ITA) 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4
[14] Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-3 6-3 6-2
[15] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated Kei Nishikori (JPN) 7-5 7-6 6-2
[17] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) defeated Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-3 6-2 6-4
[18] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-4 6-2 7-6
[20] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated [LL] Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) 6-2 6-4 6-2
[23] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) defeated [Q] Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 5-7 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-4
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated [25] Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-2 2-6 7-6 7-5
[27] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 7-6 3-6 6-2 7-6
[29] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 6-3 6-4 6-7 6-3
[32] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-2 6-4 7-6
[WC] Alex Bolt (AUS) defeated Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-2 6-2 4-6 6-3
Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-4 7-5 5-7 6-4
[Q] Maxime Cressy (USA) defaeted [LL] Taro Daniel (JPN) 7-6 7-6 6-4
James Duckworth (AUS) defeated [LL] Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-3 6-2 6-4
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [WC] Marc Polmans (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-7 6-3
[Q] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 6-3 6-3 6-4
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) defeated Kamil Majchrzak (POL) 6-2 6-4 6-3
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated [LL] Hugo Dellien (BOL) 7-5 6-2 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeated [Q] Federico Ferreira Silva (POR) 6-4 6-4 6-4
Pedro Martinez (ESP) defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-7 6-1 6-1 6-1
Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated John Millman (AUS) 6-4 6-7 3-6 6-2 6-3
[LL] Alexandre Muller (FRA) defeated Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-3
Reilly Opelka (USA) defeated [PR] Yen-Hsun Lu (TAI) 6-3 7-6 6-3
Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-5 6-2 6-2
[Q] Bernard Tomic (AUS) defeated Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 3-6 6-1 4-1 RET
Jiri Vesely (CZE) defeated [Q] Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) 6-4 3-6 6-7 6-3 6-3

Picture credit: Tennis World USA

ATP 250 wraps: Semis decided after hectic day of action

A HUGE day of action at Melbourne Park resulted in the semi-finalists being decided for the two ATP 250 events, the Great Ocean Road Open and the Murray River Open.

A blockbuster semi-final between Karen Khachanov and Jannik Sinner awaits in the Great Ocean Road Open. The pair of top four seeds in the tournament booked their spots in the final four after winning their respective quarter finals. Khachanov had his work cut out for himself against Dutchman, Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-7 7-5 6-3, while Sinner toppled seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets, 7-6 6-4. The first set tiebreaker went to 12-10 before the young Italian could emerge victorious, but managed to get the job done.

Earlier in the day, Khachanov knocked out South African Kevin Anderson in straight sets, while Sinner took out Aljaz Bedene in equally tight circumstances. Kecmanovic had made the semis after a win over Salvatore Caruso, while Van de Zandschup was a surprise quarter finalist following an upset two-tiebreaker win over sixth seed American, Reilly Opelka.

In the other half of the draw, Stefano Travaglia and Thiago Monteiro will eye off their maiden ATP Tour title in the semi-finals. Travaglia upset third seed Hubert Hurkacz in three sets, 3-6 6-3 7-5, following an earlier win over danger man Alexander Bublik. Monteiro took out the last Australian hope in Jordan Thompson, as well as Spanish young gun Carlos Alcarez earlier in the day.

With just two seeds remaining in the draw, the winner of the Khachanov and Sinner match will go in as heavy favourites for the final tomorrow.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Botic Van de Zandschulp (NED) 6-7 7-5 6-3
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated [3] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 3-6 6-3 7-5
[4] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated [7] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 7-6 6-4
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated [11] Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-4 6-4

A couple of retirements marred the Murray River Open quarter finals after players were forced to double up from the missing day’s play on Thursday. Instead Friday provided spectators with plenty of action and the semi-finalists were decided. Making it all the more intriguing is the fact that three of the four semi-finalists are yet to win an ATP Tour title.

The favourite to take home the title of the remaining players is rising star, Felix Auger-Aliassime who made it into the semis after winning in a tiebreaker against Jiri Vesely before the Czech retired at the the end of the set. Earlier, Auger-Aliassime took care of Egor Gerasimov in three sets, while Vseley had knocked off Ricardas Berankis.

Auger-Aliassime will now take on Corentin Moutet in the semi-finals, with neither player having won a title to their name. The 21-year-old Frenchman is a year older than his Canadian opponent, but much younger than second seed Bulgarian, Grigor Dimitrov who he toppled in the quarter finals. Winning 7-5 6-2, Moutet had a memorable victory which followed on from his victory over James Duckworth earlier in the day.

Unfortunately the quick turnaround between matches was always going to wreak havoc on player recovery, and those eyeing off a deep Australian Open such as 34-year-old Stan Wawrinka will always err on the side of caution. The Swiss veteran pulled out of his quarter final with Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, having struggled past Alex Bolt in three tight sets. Chardy knocked off sixth seed American, Taylor Fritz in straight sets.

In the last quarter final, eighth seeded Brit Daniel Evans won through in straight sets, 7-5 7-6 over fourth seed Borna Coric. Following a straightforward win over Nick Kyrgios earlier in the day, Coric was in good form, but it was Evans who got the better of him and is now eyeing off his maiden title on Tour, the oldest of the remaining players left in the draw.

MURRAY RIVER OPEN QUARTER FINALS:

Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated [2] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-5 6-2
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated [1] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) W/O
[3] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 7-6 0-0 RET
[8] Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Borna Coric (CRO) 7-5 7-6

Picture credit: Tennis Australia/ Natasha Morello

ATP 250 wraps: Two top five seeds knocked out of contention

THERE was plenty of excitement had at both the Great Ocean Road Open and Murray River Open as a number of big names plied their trade and showcased their flashy style while a couple of surprise losses also headlined the Round of 32 action. With plenty of experienced heads on court, there was a slight glimpse to the future with some fresh faces making a name for themselves thanks to some big scalps.

It was another action packed day at the Great Ocean Road Open as a plethora of seeded players progressed through to the next round with the likes of Karen Khachanov, Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner getting the job done in two sets against their respective opponents. Australian, Max Purcell put Khachanov through his paces pushing him to a tiebreaker in the first but simply could not maintain that intensity throughout going down 7-6 6-3. It was a similar tale for fellow Australian, Aleksandar Vukic whose journey ended against Sinner with the Italian flexing his muscles and motoring past Vukic to claim a 6-2 6-4 victory. However the talking point of the day came through a major upset with number one seed, David Goffin bundled out in straight sets by up and coming Spanish youngster Carlos Alcaraz  6-3 6-3. Alcaraz is quickly making a name for himself with the youngster proving that the hype surrounding him on the ITF circuit is more than warranted with his impressive demolition performance against Goffin.

Australian Christopher O’Connell fell agonisingly short of victory against eight seed Alexander Bublik with the two partaking in a  gruelling two hour battle. Although Bublik walked away with the chocolates 7-6 6-7 6-4 he was well and truly pushed to his limits with the first and second sets going to tiebreakers. Speaking of three setters Americans Tennys Sandgren and Sam Querrey were bundled out in their respective matches as their Italian opponents capitalised on their opportunities. Salvatore Caruso took care of Sandgren 6-4 6-7 6-4 while Stefano Travaglia edged ahead thanks to some strong form in the backend of the match 6-7 6-3 6-4.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD OPEN RESULTS

Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated David Goffin (BEL) 6-3 6-3
[2] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Max Purcell (AUS) 7-6 6-3
[3] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated Mikael Torpegaard (DEN) 6-4 6-3
[4] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) 6-2 6-4
Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) defeated [5] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 7-5 6-3
[6] Reilly Opelka (USA) defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 7-6 6-4
[7] Miomir Kecmanovic (CRO) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-3 6-4
[8] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 7-6 6-7 6-4
Salvatore Caruso (ITA) defeated [9] Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-4 6-7 6-4
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated [10] Sam Querrey (USA) 6-7 6-3 6-4
[11] Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Pierre-Hughes Herbert (FRA) 6-4 3-6 6-3
[13] Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated Dane Sweeny (AUS) 6-0 6-4
Kevin Anderson (RSA) defeated Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) 6-4 6-2
Pablo Cuevas (URU) defeated Robin Haase (NED) 7-5 6-3
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated [ALT] Matthew Ebden (AUS) 6-7 6-4 6-3
Botic Van de Zandschulp (NED) defeated [PR] Kamil Majchrzak (POL) 6-4 3-6 6-4

Despite being forced to three sets, Swiss talent Stan Wawrinka managed to progress through to the next round of the Murray River Open. Up against Mikhail Kukushkin, the number one seed dug deep and really put the foot down in the final set to claim victory in their two hour long match 4-6 6-3 6-1. Keeping that theme rolling of top seeds progressing was Grigor Dimitrov who made light work of Australian Andrew Harris 6-3 6-3 while up and coming Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime managed to claim another win by comfortably defeating Japan’s Yuichi Sugita. Croatian and fourth seed Borna Coric lived to see another day pushing past Emil Ruusuvuori in two sets despite the overall match lasting an hour and forty minutes 7-5 6-4. It was a good day for Jiri Vesley with the Czech causing an upset win against fifth seed Casper Ruud to stop his campaign in his tracks 5-7 7-6 6-3.

It was an all Australian affair as Nick Kyrgios and Harry Bourchier went head to head with the thirteenth seed showcasing his power and dominance against his lesser experienced opponent. Pushed to a tiebreak in the third Kyrgios managed to fight off a spirited Bourchier and walk away with the win 6-2 7-6. Both Alex Bolt and Alexei Popyrin moved through to the next stage getting over the top of their American counterparts although Bolt had his work cut out for him surviving a challenging three setter against Mackenzie McDonald 6-4 6-7 7-5.

 

Murray River Open results

[1] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 4-6 6-3 6-1
[2] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated [WC] Andrew Harris (AUS) 6-3 6-3
[3] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Yuicji Sugita (JAP) 6-3 6-1
[4] Borna Coric (CRO) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 7-5 6-4
Jiri Vesley (CZE) defeated [5] Casper Ruud (NOR) 7-5 6-4
[6] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-2 6-1
James Duckworth (AUS) defeated [7] Ugo Humbert (FRA) 7-6 6-4
[8] Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-3 7-5
Marcos Giron (USA) defeated [10] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3 6-4
Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated [12] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 6-4 6-4
[13] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeated [ALT] Harry Bourchier (AUS) 6-2 6-7
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [15] Tommy Paul (USA) 6-4 6-3
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) defeated [16] Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-3 1-6 6-3
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) defeated [WC] Jason Kubler (AUS) 7-6 7-5
Alex Bolt (AUS) defeated Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-4 6-7 7-5
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-3 6-4

ATP 250 wraps: Aussies succeed on home soil as Kyrgios returns

ANOTHER huge day was had at both the Great Ocean Road Open and Murray River Open, with the ATP 250 tournaments showcasing plenty of formidable names heading into the Australian Open next week.

It was a massive day at the Great Ocean Road Open, with a couple of intriguing results coming out of the Round of 64 draw. Three Australians made their mark on home soil with Jordan ThompsonMatthew Ebden and wildcard Dane Sweeny all coming away with victory, with the latter two completing wins in straight sets, while 11th seed Thompson was forced to three sets by Italian Gianluca Mager, and three other Australians failed to come away with the ‘W’. Only a small spat from ninth seed Tennys Sandgren soured the United States’ day, with 10th seed Sam Querrey joining him on the winners list, and while compatriot Maxime Cressy may not have gotten the chocolates this time, his excellent effort pushing Pierre-Hugue Herbert to the bitter end was commendable, taking the Frenchman to a 6-7 7-6 7-6 outcome in two hours and 39 minutes. It was the American’s error rate which was the catch, matching his 23 aces with the same number of double faults.

The only seed to fall was 14th seed and world number 59 Spaniard Pablo Andujar, who was swept aside by Pablo Cuevas 6-4 6-2, and is joined by compatriot Pedro Martinez on the sidelines after he was down by Mikael Torpegaard. Meanwhile, Spanish 17-year-old and excitement machine Carlos Alcaraz heads into the second round by default after his Hungarian opposition Attila Balasz retired, giving the youngster a chance to really prove himself on the ATP Tour after excelling on the ITF circuit. A second Spaniard joined the winners list, with 188th ranked Mario Vilella Martinez defeating German Jannick Hanfmann, who sits just outside the top 100 at 101 on the world rankings.

In other games, a duo of Dutch winners in Robin Haase and Botic Van De Zandschulp got the job done, while Thiago Monteiro, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe also put first round wins on the board.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD OPEN ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[9] Tennys Sandgren (USA) defeated [WC] John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 6-3 5-7 6-4
[10] Sam Querrey (USA) defeated Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 4-6 7-6 6-0
[11] Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 4-6 6-4 6-3
Pablo Cuevas (URU) defeated [14] Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-4 6-2
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated Attila Balazs (HUN) 2-2 RET
Matthew Ebden (AUS) defeated Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-3 7-6
Robin Haase (NED) defeated Kimmer Coppejans (BEL) 6-4 6-3
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) defeated Maxime Cressy (USA) 6-7 7-6 7-5
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated Thomas Fancutt (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) defeated Roman Safiullin (RUS) 6-7 6-4 6-3
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (GER) defeated Hugo Dellien (BOL) 6-4 6-4
[WC] Dane Sweeny (AUS) defeated Ji Sung Nam (KOR) 7-6 7-5
Mikael Torpegaard (DEN) defeated Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-4 7-5
Mario Vilella Martinez (ESP) defeated Jannick Hanfmann (GER) 7-6 6-4
Botic Van De Zandschulp (NED) defeated Tristan Schoolkate (AUS) 6-4 7-5

Just the one seed participated on day two at the Murray River Open, with Australian Nick Kyrgios the lone competitor and coming out with a solid win after overcoming a slow start against Frenchman Alexandre Muller, 3-6 6-4 7-6. The Australian took the court for the first time since last Australian summer, having sat out of thee remainder of 2020 due to COVID-19, and while it took the talent some time to get into the swing of things, his 22 aces more than proved he is ready for the challenge and return to the court. Kyrgios was not the only Australia who was successful on home soil though, joined by all three other Australians in this half of the draw as James DuckworthAlexei Popyrin and wildcard Andrew Harris all collected wins. Popyrin’s outing against Croatian Borna Gojo was perhaps one of the matches of the day, with all three sets taken to a tiebreaker in the 6-7 7-6 7-6 encounter, coming down to a battle of the service game as the two combined for 10 double faults and 36 aces in a two and a half hour battle.

Other tough battles came between the likes of Mikhail Kukushkin and Juan Ignacio Londero, with a 4-6 7-5 6-2 result the way of the former, while Japan’s Yuichi Sugita fought past a tight opening set against pressurised Frenchman Quentin Halys to come away with a 3-6 7-6 7-5 victory in two hours and 13 minutes. In other matches, American Marcos Giron downed compatriot Michael Mmoh in straight sets, as did Finnish competitor Emil Ruusuvuori against Serbian Viktor Troicki, while Gilles Simon and Jiri Vesely also got first round wins on the board.

MURRAY RIVER OPEN ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[13] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeated Alexandre Muller (FRA) 3-6 6-4 7-6
James Duckworth (AUS) defeated Tomas Machac (CZE) 6-3 6-4
Marcos Giron (USA) defeated Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-1 7-5
[WC] Andrew Harris (AUS) defeated Taro Daniel (JPN) 5-7 6-4 7-5
Mikahul Kukushkin (KAZ) defeated Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 4-6 7-5 6-2
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated Borna Gojo (CRO) 6-7 7-6 7-6
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated Viktor Troicki (SRB) 6-3 6-4
Gilles Simon (FRA) defeated Elias Ymer (SWE) 6-4 6-4
Yuichi Sugita (JPN) defeated Quentin Halys (FRA) 3-6 7-6 7-5
Jiri Vesely (CZE) defeated Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) 6-4 6-4

Picture credit: AFP

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANTALYA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

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

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

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

DELRAY BEACH ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture: Getty Images

2020 ATP Tour title winners

A HUGE 2020 season of tennis action – cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting cancellations – is done and dusted for the year, meaning it is time to take a look back at some of the big wins of the year. In our first edition, we take a look at the ATP Tour winners across the year that was.

January:

Qatar Open – Andrey Rublev (RUS)

Adelaide International – Andrey Rublev (RUS)

Auckland Open – Ugo Humbert (FRA)

Australian Open – Novak Djokovic (SRB)

 

February:

Montpellier – Gael Monfils (FRA)

Maharashtra Open – Jiri Vesely (CZE)

Cordoba Open – Cristian Garin (CHI)

Rotterdam Open – Gael Monfils (FRA)

New York Open – Kyle Edmund (GBR)

Argentina Open – Casper Ruud (NOR)

Rio Open – Cristian Garin (CHI)

Marseille – Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)

Delray Beach Open – Reilly Opelka (USA)

Dubai Tennis Championships – Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Mexican Open – Rafael Nadal (ESP)

Chile Open – Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA)

 

August:

Cincinnati Masters – Novak Djokovic (SRB)

US Open – Dominic Thiem (AUT)

 

September:

Austrian Open – Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB)

Italian Open – Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Hamburg European Open – Andrey Rublev (RUS)

Roland Garros – Rafael Nadal (ESP)

 

October:

St. Petersburg Open – Andrey Rublev (RUS)

Bett1Hulks Indoors Cologne – Alexander Zverev (GER)

Forte Village Sardegna Open – Laslo Djere (SRB)

European Open – Ugo Humbert (FRA)

Bett1Hulks Championship Cologne – Alexander Zverev (GER)

Vienna Open – Andrey Rublev (RUS)

Astana Open – John Millman (AUS)

 

November:

Paris Masters – Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

Sofia Open – Jannik Sinner (ITA)

ATP Finals – Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

 

TOP WINNERS:

Andrey Rublev (5)

Novak Djokovic (4)

 

GRAND SLAM WINNERS:

Novak Djokovic (Australian Open)

Dominic Thiem (US Open)

Rafael Nadal (Roland Garros)