Tag: marcos giron

ATP Tour wrap: Thiem makes winning return

THE third day of the Madrid Open saw three seeds win as Dominic Thiem made his return to the court, while a couple of players continued impressive runs on the clay.

A close to two-month break from the competitive aspect of the game was not enough to sway Dominic Thiem from a dominant 6-1 6-3 defeat of qualifier Marcos Giron, flying out of the blocks and citing his extended break, stretching from mid-March, for the form he brought to the court to win in 57 minutes flat.

“For my game, I need 100 per cent intensity and 100 per cent energy. I’m not the guy who can serve through a match or who can play with a little bit of intensity and still win. I’m just not that type of guy,” Thiem said.

“[It was] better to come back when it’s possible again to play with that 100 per cent in every aspect of my game.”

Thiem hit five aces and won off a whopping 81 per cent of his first serve points – off an 80 per cent clip – in a virtually flawless effort. The Austrian also converted four break points and won 47 per cent of points on return in a seamless performance. He will take on unseeded Alex De Minaur in the Round of 16, following the Australian’s default victory 6-2 3-0 over South African, Lloyd Harris, who retired midway through the second set.

Thiem is also joined in the third round by sixth and eighth seeds Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini, who both claimed wins over unseeded opposition. Berrettini disposed of compatriot Fabio Fognini with relative ease in a 6-3 6-4, 81-minute clash, and while Fognini was by no means wasteful with the ball, he just could not compete with Berrettini’s 85 per cent winning rate off his first serve off a 74 per cent clip. Fognini was well within his chances but failed to capitalise off his second serve at just a 37 per cent winning rate, compared to Berrettini’s 64 per cent.

Rublev did not have it quite as easy in his Madrid debut and third encounter with American Tommy Paul, dropping the first set tiebreaker 7-6(5) before working his way back into it to claim the 6-7 6-3 6-4 victory in two hours and 19 minutes. While Paul hit seven aces and impressed on serve, he was inefficient on return as Rublev won 70 per cent of his first serve points and saved five of eight break points, converting five in the process.

“It’s important to win when you’re not [playing] your [best] game and things are not going well,” Rublev said post-match. “So it’s really important to win this match to have more confidence. I’m happy that I turned it around.”

The remaining winner of the day was Alexander Bublik, as the Kazakh upset 11th seed Denis Shapovalov. He required two hours and 20 minutes to get past the Canadian, eventually claiming the 6-4 6-7 6-4 victory credit to his ability to win off Shapovalov’s 40 unforced errors, including a whopping 14 double faults for six aces. Comparatively, Bublik hit 10 aces and seven double faults – only marginally better, but making up the difference to win 66 per cent of his service points and take out the win.

MUTUA MADRID OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS: 

[3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) defeated [Q] Marcos Giron (USA) 6-1 6-3
[6] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Tommy Paul (USA) 6-7-6-3 6-4
[8] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-3 6-4
Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [11] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 6-4 6-7 6-4
Alex De Minaur (AUS) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-2 3-0 RET

Picture credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP

ATP Tour wrap: Two of three seeds fall on second day at Madrid

TWO seeds fell on the official second day of competition at the 2021 ATP Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, whilst a couple of qualifiers and a young gun wildcard also proceeded through to the second round.

It was qualifier Argentinian Federico Delbonis that overcame 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta on home soil, dropping the first set to the Spaniard before biting back in the second and retaining control from there on out. The two hour encounter saw Delbonis marginally lead for efficiency on his first and second serve winning rates despite Carreno Busta being cleaner on serve, resulting in the 3-6 6-4 6-3 finish. Meanwhile, South African Lloyd Harris out-hit Grigor Dimitrov, piling on 12 aces to three in the two and a half hour, 6-3 3-6 7-6 contest. The two players could not be split throughout, with the third set tiebreaker showcasing just how tight the matchup was, as both players completed the match winning the same amount of points throughout (104).

The only seed to win on the day was 16th seed Cristian Garin, who ousted a second Spaniard in Fernando Verdasco, while qualifiers Carlos Taberner and Pablo Andujar also fell on home soil, taken down by Italian Fabio Fognini and American Marcos Giron, respectively.

It was not all bad news for Spaniards though, as young gun Carlos Alcaraz proceeds to the second round after disposing of Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in straight sets, 6-4 6-0, to set up a clash with compatriot and clay champion Rafael Nadal in the Round of 32.

“I started the match a little bit nervous,” Alcaraz said. “I tried to play aggressive to get the nerves out and tried to enjoy playing here, in front of a big crowd in Madrid.”

“For me, [to] play against Rafa is a dream come true,” Alcaraz said. “Since I was a kid, I wished to play a match against Rafa and now I will be able to here [on] the Centre Court of La Caja Magica in Madrid. It is a really special match against Rafa.”

Still only 17-years-old – until next week – Alcaraz pulled off 19 forehand winners against Mannarino, and won an impressive 81 per cent of his first serve points to claim victory.

The remaining four matches saw two more French competitors fall to join Mannarino on the sideline, as Dubai champion Aslan Karatsev pulled off a 7-5 6-4 victory over Ugo Humbert while Daniel Evans overcame a fighting Jeremy Chardy in a two hour and 46-minute classic, 7-6 6-7 6-2, piling on 13 aces for one double fault in the process, compared to Chardy’s four for six. The remaining two matches went the way of John Isner and Dominik Koepfer, with plenty of intriguing matchups coming in the coming days.

MUTUA MADRID OPEN ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[Q] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated [10] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 3-6 6-4 6-3
Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [13] Grigor Dimitrov (HUN) 6-3 3-6 7-6
[16] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated [WC] Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-1 6-4
Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 7-6 6-7 6-2
Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated [Q] Carlos Taberner (ESP) 7-6 2-6 6-3
John Isner (USA) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-4 7-6
Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Ugo Humbert (FRA) 7-5 6-4
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated Reilly Opelka (USA) 6-4 6-4
[WC] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-4 6-0
[Q] Marcos Giron (USA) defeated [Q] Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-7 7-6 7-5

ATP Tour wrap: Martinez overcomes Bublik as McDonald downs Lajovic

PLENTY of interesting results were had on the second day at both the Estoril and Munich Open events, as the clay season continues on the ATP Tour.

At Estoril, qualifier Pedro Martinez upset fifth seed Alexander Bublik in a dominant straight sets outcome, easily accounting for the Kazakh 6-3 6-0 in just 51 minutes. Whilst Bublik piled on six aces to Martinez’s one, the Kazakh fifth seed was uncharacteristically error-ridden and failed to convert a single break point from four chances. Martinez heads into the second round with the comfortable win behind him, with an excellent 82 per cent winning rate off his first serve, off a 70 per cent clip.

Meanwhile, sixth seed Marin Cilic was challenged by upcoming Spanish talent Carlos Alcaraz, winning the first set before dropping the second as Alcaraz created a huge turnaround in momentum. But it was not enough, as Cilic returned to his first set form in the third to eventually claim the 6-3 1-6 6-4 victory.

“I’m extremely happy to be here in Portugal, in Estoril for the first time,” Cilic said post-match. “It was a very difficult match. Carlos is a great young talent… Definitely he’s got an unbelievable future ahead of him.”

Cilic hit six aces to Alcaraz’s one, and whilst he also more than doubled Alcaraz’s three double faults, he was still more effective on serve, winning 60 per cent of his first serve points off a 64 per cent clip. Cilic was only marginally better on return, and won just one more point throughout the contest in the narrow win, which stretched out to two hours and 14 minutes in length.

“I was extremely happy to win after dropping the second set. He played really well,” Cilic said. “I was a break up in the third set and he broke back. In the end it was just a couple points that made the difference in the match.”

Three Frenchmen proceeded to the second round, with only Corentin Moutet realistically challenged for his spot in the second round by American Marcos Giron, forced to overcome a second set tiebreaker to come away with the 6-4 6-7(7) 6-4 victory. Richard Gasquet claimed a 6-3 7-5 victory over Argentinian Juan Ignacio Londero, whilst Pierre-Hugues Herbert downed compatriot Gilles Simon 7-5 6-3 to head into the second round. Seventh seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas disposed of compatriot Fernando Verdasco in straight sets, as Marco Cecchinato and Cameron Norrie were the remaining winners of the day.

At Munich, American qualifier Mackenzie McDonald provided the win of the day after disposing of sixth seed Dusan Lajovic 6-4 6-4, requiring just under 90 minutes to claim victory. McDonald boasted a 79 per cent winning rate off his first serve off a 66 per cent clip throughout and also saved two break points on his way to the win. The other two seeds of the day waged better battles to head into the second round, as both Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili and German Jan-Lennard Struff reigned supreme, both claiming straight sets wins.

Two more German competitors won on home soil and will join Struff in the second round, with Yannick Hanfmann and Dominik Koepfer overcoming deficits to win in three sets. Meanwhile, Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas and Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan round out the remaining winners of the day, both disposing of Americans in Tennys Sandgren and Marcos Giron in straight sets.

MILLENNIUM ESTORIL OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[Q] Pedro Martinez (ESP) defeated [5] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-3 6-0
[6] Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated [Q] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) 6-3 1-6 6-4
[7] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-3 6-3
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-3 6-4
Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 6-3 7-5
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 7-5 6-3
Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated Marcos Giron (USA) 6-4 6-7 6-4
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [WC] Joao Sousa (POR)

BMW OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-2 6-3
[Q] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated [6] Dusan Lajovic (RB) 6-4 6-4
[7] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [LL] Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-4 6-3
Pablo Cuevas (URU) defeated Tennys Sandgren (USA) 7-6 0-6 6-1
[Q] Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated Sebastien Korda (USA) 6-1 7-6
[WC] Yannick Hanfmann (GER) defeated [SE] Taro Daniel (JPN) 6-2 3-6 7-6
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated [WC] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 4-6 6-4 6-3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATP MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 64:

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

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Miami Open 1000: Popyrin and Duckworth book second round spots

THE first matches of the Miami Open 1000 took place overnight, with the winners advancing through to the second round of the major tournament. Whilst no seeds are in action in the Round of 128, there were still plenty of talented up-and-comers out on the hard courts.

Rising Australian Alexei Popyrin continued his good form coming off a maiden title a few weeks back to post a straight sets win over Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, 6-4 7-6. He made it to the second round with fellow Aussie James Duckworth, with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 win against German qualifier Mischa Zverev. France also had a couple of representatives through to the next round with wildcard Hugo Gaston, and Pierre-Hugues Herbert both advancing through to the Round of 64.

“It was a very difficult match,” Popyrin said post-match. “Feli is a very tough player. He has an unbelievable serve, so when I had my chances to break I was putting all of my focus on the break points. There was no rhythm in the match, so not many rallies, but I am happy with the way I was mentally. There were a couple of shaky moments here and there, but I hung in to win.”

The news was a mixed bag for the American hopefuls, with three winners and three losers on day one of the main draw, and one to come at the time of publishing. Marcos Giron knocked off compatriot Tommy Paul in straight sets 7-6 6-4 in the all-United States battle, whilst qualifiers Mackenzie McDonald and Ernesto Escobedo both advanced, against Italian qualifier Paolo Lorenzi and Canadian veteran Vasek Pospisil respectively. Meanwhile German Yannick Hanfmann got the better of Steve Johnson, whilst Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu defeated Sam Querrey, both in straight sets.

In other results, Cameron Norrie had to fight off a determined Yoshihito Nishioka in three sets, 6-1 3-6 7-5, while Serbian Laslo Djere also needed the full three sets to defeat Czech Jiri Vesely, 6-3 5-7 6-1. Other winners on day one of the main draw were Swede Mikael Ymer, Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, South African Lloyd Harris and Emil Ruusuvuori.

At the time of publishing, Frances Tiafoe and Stefano Travaglia were still on court deciding their first round match.

MIAMI OPEN 1000 ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[PR] Yen-Hsun Lu (TAI) defeated Sam Querrey (USA) 6-3 6-4
Yannick Hanfmann (GER) defeated Steve Johnson (USA) 7-5 6-2
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-4 7-6
Marcos Giron (USA) defeated Tommy Paul (USA) 7-6 6-4
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (JPB) 6-1 3-6 7-5
[WC] Hugo Gaston (FRA) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-1 6-4
Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) defeated Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-1 6-3
Mikael Ymer (SWE) defeated [Q] Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Ernesto Escobedo (USA) defeated [Q] Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 6-3 6-2
James Duckworth (AUS) defeated [Q] Mischa Zverev (GER) 6-2 4-6 6-4
[Q] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-3 4-6 6-3
Ricardas Berankis (LTU) defeated [LL] Federico Gaio (ITA) 7-6 6-2
Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [Q] Emilio Nava (USA) 6-4 7-6
Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3 5-7 6-1
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated [WC] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) 6-4 2-6 7-5

Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs Stefano Travaglia (ITA)

Picture credit: ATP Tour

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

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

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

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

ROTTERDAM OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

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

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

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

ARGENTINA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

Picture credit: ANP

ATP 250 wraps: 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 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

Humbert joins big guns in huge Paris Masters final eight

UGO Humbert is the sole unseeded player through to the ATP Paris Masters 1000 quarter finals with the up and coming Frenchman joining a host of top 10 seeds in the final eight. Aside from Humbert’s upset win over second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas back in the second round, the lowest ranked seed in the quarter finals is 10th seed Milos Raonic.

In his latest win, Humbert showed he had more than enough firepower to dismiss fellow power server Marin Cilic, 6-3 6-7 6-3. Despite losing the second set in a tiebreaker, Humbert managed to claim victory in two hours and 24 minutes. He served 19 aces to 11, and had a higher serving efficiency of 59 to 54 per cent which helped him with an additional 15 points off the first serve as both players stood as an 84 per cent winning record off that service point.

“My game is a bit different. I try to play more aggressive,” Humbert said post-match. “[I’ve played] good matches against great players.”

More importantly, Humbert was only broken once from four chances for Cilic, whilst Humbert broke his opponent three times from eight chances on his way to the Round of 16 win. He now takes on Raonic who made light work of the lowest ranked player remaining in the third round, defeating American qualifier Marcos Giron 7-6 6-2.

The big serving Canadian slammed home 17 aces for only one double fault, won 30 of 34 points off his first serve and only dropped nine points in total off serve to not face a break point at any stage in the match. He managed to break Giron twice in the second set to storm home in 81 minutes after a tight first set tiebreaker.

Desperate to secure his spot in the ATP Finals, Diego Schwartzman completely dismantled Next-Gen Spanish talent Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in 61 minutes. The Argentinian counter puncher saved all four break point opportunities for his opponent, whilst capitalising on five of six on his way to a massive 6-1 6-1 victory and into the quarter finals.

“I thought the match was going to be very tough, as we played just 10 days ago,” Schwartzman said post-match. “I did everything well today, serving and moving well. “I am trying to do everything I can to be in London [at the Nitto ATP Finals].”

Schwartzman will now get a good test in the quarter finals going up against Daniil Medvedev after the third seed came from behind to down 16th seed Australian, Alex de Minaur. The Russian won 5-7 6-2 6-2 in an hour and 51 minutes with 13 aces and winning 74 per cent of his first serve points off a 64 per cent clip. The Australian had similar numbers, but Medvedev also won 54 per cent of his second serve, which was much higher than de Minaur’s 38 per cent for the Russian to book his spot in the next round.

The only man standing in the way of his ATP Finals dream is ninth seed Pablo Carreno Busta who has to win the Paris Masters whilst hoping Schwartzman bows out in his next match, in order to grab the final spot at the tournament. Carreno Busta took care of Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos in the Round of 16 with a 7-5 6-2 triumph in 80 minutes to book his spot in the quarter finals. He broke his opponent six times to being broken three, whilst had a superior first and second serve percentage throughout the straight sets wins.

His next opponent is going to be on another level though, facing world number two and top seed in Paris, Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard won 6-1 7-6 against a gallant Jordan Thompson who created a set point in the second set – his only break point of the entire match – but could not follow through, eventually going down 7-3 in the second set tiebreaker. Nadal just had too much polish for the 61st ranked Australian, ably to move through to the last eight to face his compatriot.

“I think I played a good first set,” Nadal said post-match. “A lot of good shots, good winners, serving well. “And then in the second, [I] was not able to find a way to [get] the break. “He started to serve very well, I think, and I missed a couple of returns that I could do better, I should do better.”

Knowing he had to face the ninth seed Carreno Busta, Nadal admitted he needed to be at his best to win despite holding a 6-0 head-to-head record against his compatriot.
“I need to be ready to play my best against an opponent that I know is playing well and with confidence,” Nadal said. “I hope to be ready to play my game and really read well, because that’s what I’m going to need.”
In the late match, Alexander Zverev had to survive a massive fight against a determined Adrian Mannarino, winning 7-6 6-7 6-4 in three hours of play. The German served 19 aces and won 80 per cent of his first serve points, but could not shake off the Frenchman until late in the match. Zverev won the first set tiebreaker a whopping 13-11, before Mannarino turned the tables in the next tiebreaker 9-7. Neither player was willing to give an inch, with Zverev breaking four times to three throughout the match, the last of which came in the deciding set which he only just won. It almost looked like heading towards a third tiebreaker with Mannarino holding break point at 5-4 down in the decider, but Zverev bounced back to win the last three points of the match and claim victory.
Zverev takes on the winner of Andrey Rublev and Stan Wawrinka who only just stepped on court moments ago.

Gombos snuffs out Goffin’s last ATP Finals hope

DAVID Goffin has missed out on qualifying for the ATP Finals following a shock second round loss to Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos at the Paris Masters. The eighth seed went down in a heart-breaking loss 6-4 7-6 which officially put a line through the world number 14’s hopes of playing in the most prestigious invite-only event of the year.

The 105th ranked Gombos won 75 per cent of his first serve points off a 56 per cent efficiency, breaking three times from four chances, whilst saving six of eight for Goffin’s break point opportunities. The match lasted 97 minutes before Norbert won in the tightest of second sets, getting up 8-6 in the tiebreaker. What made the victory all the more remarkable was that Goffin held three set points to take the match into a decider at 6-3, but the Slovakian hit back to win the last five points of the match and claim victory. The loss now ends Goffin’s season for 2020.

Gombos could cause more havoc on the ATP Finals race when he takes on Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the next round. The world number 15 has to win the Paris Masters to have any hope of making the eight-man tournament, and even then has to rely on ninth ranked Diego Schwartzman to exit early. The consistent Spaniard got the job done in the Round of 32 though, defeating German Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 6-2 to advance to the third round.

Carreno Busta dominated off serve, only dropping four points off his first serve, and 12 for the entire one-hour and 20-minute match, saving Struff’s only break point opportunity. By contrast, Struff only won 71 and 52 per cent of his points off serve, still managed to hold on in all bar two service games, with Carreno Busta breaking twice in the second set to run away with the contest after a nail-biting first set.

At the time of publishing, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frenchman Ugo Humbert were locked in the tightest of tussles at a set apiece and 3-3 in the decider. Humbert won the first set in a tiebreaker 7-4, before Tsitsipas won the second 8-6. Remarkably, the Greek star faced three match points at 6-3, but won the last five points of the second set to force it into a decider. The winner will now take on Maric Cilic, who had a walkover against another Frenchman in Corentin Moutet in the Round of 32. Having just gone out on court, Italian Matteo Berrettini and American Marcos Giron were going head-to-head in the final Round of 32 match.

Looking at the first round matches played on the day to complete the Round of 64, 12th seed Stan Wawrinka blasted his way into the next stage with a 6-3 7-6 triumph over Great Britain’s Dan Evans. Wawrinka hit 35 winners and served eight aces, not being broken during the match thanks to a high 83 and 67 per cent of points off his first and second serve respectively. Evans was pretty solid too, winning 76 per cent of his first serve points, but struggled off his slower second serve, winning just 46 per cent, and was broken in the first set which cost him in the 93-minute loss.

“I’m really happy with my level today, I was serving and moving well,” Wawrinka said post-match. “I was happy to be back here in Paris, even without crowd it’s always a great tournament. “We are lucky to still have some tournaments going, so I’m trying to enjoy them as much as possible.”

Now Wawrinka will face a fellow veteran in Richard Gasquet who dominated American Taylor Fritz early before having to fight through three sets to post a victory. Gasquet trounced his younger opponent 6-0 in just 25 minutes to start the match on his home court, but Fritz fought back to win the second set before the home nation hero won in three, 6-0 3-6 6-3 in 96 minutes on court. Gasquet had two less aces (9-11), but won more of his second serve points (50 per cent to 31 per cent) which was the key difference in the end.

“I am home and I like to play here in Bercy, even if there is no crowd,” Gasquet said post-match. “I am very happy with the way I played. It is very difficult to play without the support of a crowd.”

It was a relatively good day for the French, with Pierre-Hugues Herbert coming from behind to defeat Tennys Sandgren in a third set tiebreaker, 2-6 6-4 7-6, while Adrian Mannarino posted a straight sets 7-6 6-3 win over Serbian Dusan Lajovic. The news was not as positive for Mannarino’s conqueror at Nur-Saltan with recent maiden title winner John Millman going down in straight sets to another Serbian in Miomir Kecmanovic.

In other results, Lorenzo Sonego continued his good form of late, backing up his Vienna final with a first round win over Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, 6-1 6-4. Also through to the next round was 10th seed Milos Raonic who won his fifth straight match over Aljaz Bedene, only dropping six points on serve to win 6-2 6-3 in just over an hour. Kevin Anderson booked his spot in the Round of 32 after Laslo Djere pulled out trailing 5-2 in the first set, while Yoshihito Nishioka defeated Pablo Andujar in a come-from-behind 5-7 6-4 6-2 victory.

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