Tag: Milos Raonic

ATP Miami Open 1000: Korda continues run with Schwartzman upset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

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

 

Picture credit: Geoff Burke / USA Today Sports

ATP Miami Open 1000: Korda dominates on home soil as Hurkacz upsets Shapovalov

IN a day that largely went the way of the higher ranked player in each Miami Open ATP 1000 contest, the fourth round of the tournament was decided following eight singles matches played out overnight. Unlike the day before where all bar two matches were three-setters, this day was a little different with many of the matches racing through quickly and all bar one being over in straight sets results.

The biggest upset was arguably American Sebastian Korda who took out the red-hot Aslan Karatsev, with the Russian now-17th seed no match for the home nation hero. Korda won 6-3 6-0 in a one-sided affair to advance to the last 16 to be one of only two unseeded players in that half of the draw. The other is Croatian Marin Cilic, with the veteran toppling Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti in straight sets, 6-3 6-4.

“[It was] my third match in a row on the same court and I just got used to the conditions,” Cilic said post-match. “I felt quite good on the ball today and I returned well. I felt that I put a lot of returns back in comparison to the first two matches. It was a very good performance and definitely something motivating for the next matches.”

Polish up-and-comer Hubert Hurkacz defied his 26th seeding with a tight straight sets win over sixth seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov. Hurkacz won 6-3 7-6 to hold off the fellow youngster, winning 8-6 in a nail-biting second set tiebreaker. It was better news for Shapovalov’s compatriot Milos Raonic, who toppled 20th seed Ugo Humbert 6-4 7-5 to advance to the Round of 16. Humbert was one of two Frenchman to depart on the day, with 25th seed Adrian Mannarino bowing out to fifth seed Argentinian Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-4.

On the Grandstand court, fourth seed Andrey Rublev defeated 29th seed Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-2 6-1 to continue his ripping form, defeating his opponent for the third time in the past month. Last time they played, Fucsovics famously said he would be glad if he “never had to play him again”, and unfortunately for the Hungarian, the tournament draw was not kind to him.

“I was laughing, because of [the] situation and plus Marton also told me, ‘I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to see you,'” Rublev said post-match. “[It was] just a situation that [was] fun, and I feel sorry.”

In the latest match, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Kei Nishikori engaged in the best battle of the day, as the Greek won the first set, before the former Top 5 Japanese talent took out the second set. It took a full three sets for Tsitsipas to finally shake off Nishikori, breaking him twice in the deciding set to cruise to a win in just under two hours, 6-3 3-6 6-1.

MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated [28] Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-3 3-6 6-1
[4] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated [29] Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-2 6-1
[5] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated [25] Adrian Mannarino (GFRA) 6-1 6-4
[26] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated [6] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 6-3 7-6
[12] Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated [20] Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-4 7-5
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [17] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 6-3 6-0
[24] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) 7-6 6-3
Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 6-3 6-4

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Miami Open 1000: Tsitsipas and Nishikori set for third round blockbuster

WORLD number five Stefanos Tsitsipas and former world number four Kei Nishikori have collected important wins at the Miami Open this morning to set up a blockbuster third round clash between the pair for Tuesday. Tsitsipas breezed past Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-4 and became just the third ATP player to claim 15 victories in the 2021 season so far. Meanwhile, Nishikori had it much tougher against Aljaz Bedene, winning 7-6 5-7 6-4 in two hours and 50 minutes. The Japanese star won 73 per cent of points on first serve and won 67 per cent of points on Bedene’s second serve. Bedene has had a tough fortnight against Nishikori, as he was also defeated by the 2014 US Open finalist at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last week.

Tsitsipas was happy with his performance, particularly given that he had lost three of his four previous clashes against Dzumhur. “It was a great match, especially against a guy that I probably don’t have a good record playing against in the past,” Tsitsipas said post-match. “I started the match very strong, breaking him twice and taking a big lead in the score, and I think the things worked out by themselves after that.”

Tsitsipas will attempt to defeat Nishikori for the first time in the third round, as Nishikori was victorious in their one previous matchup (in 2018) 6-3 6-3. With this in mind, Tsitsipas knows that he has his work cut out for him. “[Kei is] a player that has played very well in the past, and even now he can raise his level really high,” Tsitsipas said. “I’ll try and be ready for the battle… It’s important for me to have matches against strong opponents like him. I am very pumped for the match and I’m going to try and put my best performance out there. I’m going to try and take it game by game… It’s a strong third round, I won’t hide it. It’s important for me to be ready for that match and be physically prepared.”

In other results, Australians Alex de Minaur, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Jordan Thompson bowed out in their respective matches, and tenth seed Fabio Fognini was shocked by American Sebastian Korda 1-6 6-4 6-2. Former US Open champion Marin Cilic was a big winner, as he saved 11 break points in his 3-6 7-5 7-6 defeat of 13th seed Cristian Garin. Consistent performers Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman and Milos Raonic all cruised through their matches in straight sets.

ATP MIAMI OPEN 1000 ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1 6-4
[4] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-1 6-2
[5] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) 6-3 6-3
[6] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-7 6-4 6-4
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [10] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 1-6 6-4 6-2
[12] Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-2 6-1
Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated [13] Cristian Garin (CHI) 3-6 7-5 7-6
Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated [15] Alex de Minaur (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-4
[17] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAS) 6-4 6-3
[20] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 6-1 6-4
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated [23] Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3 6-3
[24] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated [Q] Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 6-4 7-6
[25] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-3 6-4
[26] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated Denis Kudla (USA) 7-6 6-4
[28] Kei Nishikori (JPN) defeated Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 7-6 5-7 6-4
[29] Marton Fucsovics defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 7-6 6-7 6-4

Picture credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Karatsev wins maiden title; top two seeds book Acapulco final

A MAIDEN title-winner was crowned in Dubai with victory over a qualifier in the final, as the top two seeds in Acapulco made their way through to the final.

Russian wildcard Aslan Karatsev‘s remarkable start to 2021 has continued with the Australian Open semi-finalist claiming his maiden ATP Tour title with victory in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships. The 27-year-old defeated South African qualifier Lloyd Harris in straight sets 6-3 6-2, to cap off a remarkable week which included four wins against seeds, including second seed Andrey Rublev, and Next Gen Finals past winner Jannik Sinner. Unlike those two matches, Karatsev had this win a little easier, getting up in just 75 minutes.

“I am super happy. It was a tight match. [I was] really nervous,” Karatsev said post-match. “I want to congratulate my opponent for the final [run]. He did a great week… I am happy that I won.”

Karatsev weathered Harris’ eight aces to produce three of his own, whilst saving both break points and breaking his South African opponent three times from eight chances. He controlled play off his first serve, with a whopping 83 per cent success rate off a 62 per cent clip, also winning 50 per cent of his second serve points, compared to Harris’ two of 12. With 27 winners to his name, Karatsev added his name to the history books as a first time winner, the fourth to do so in 2021 in what is really changing of the guard, and also the third Russian to win a title.

“You never know when [success] is coming,” Karatsev said. “I did a good job with my team, with my coach and it has happened now.

“I am really happy with my performance and [I am] really happy with my game. “At the beginning of the year, [I was happy] to play an Australian Open semi-final [and] to show a great level. “After the Australian Open, I kept going, practising hard… I arrived here with more belief than in Doha. “I showed a fantastic week and a good game.”

The title moves Karatsev into world number 27, a remarkable bolt up the order since entering the year at 114th. He will now head to Miami where he will test his hand at his maiden ATP 1000 tournament in a 96-player field.

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL RESULT:

[WC] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [Q] Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-3 6-2

 

Despite a number of upsets over the course of the tournament, the two top ranked players in Acapulco reached the Abierto Mexicano final. Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas and German Alexander Zverev both booked their spots in the decider with straight sets wins over their lower ranked opponents to advance through to tonights’ final.

Tsitsipas won 6-1 6-3 over Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti in one hour and 19 minutes, only serving the two aces, but winning 22 of 26 first serve points, then capitalising with more than half of his second serve points (52 per cent), compared to Musetti’s 56 and 41 per cent. The Greek top seed also did not face a break point, and broke four times from eight chances against the 19-year-old during the dominant win.

“Matches like this are really important and I’m happy to be playing well,” Tsitsipas said post-match. “Acapulco has been treating me really well and the fans have been giving me love and support. We’ll definitely see a lot from Lorenzo in the future, he has a wonderful one-handed backhand and creates lots of opportunities. He showed his level this week.”

In the other semi-final, Zverev was too good for a determined Dominik Koepfer, with the all-German battle lasting two hours and nine minutes before Zverev got up, 6-4 7-6, including a 7-5 second set tiebreaker. The second seed only served the three aces – the same as Koepfer, but had seven less double faults (1-8), whilst converting 71 per cent of his first serve points and 54 per cent of his second serve points. Koepfer was solid with 59 and 53 per cent respectively, but could only break Zverev twice, whilst the second seed broke his lower ranked compatriot three times during the two-hour and nine-minute match.

“He’s (Koepfer) a very tough player to play right now. He won some incredible matches,” Zverev said post-match. “Beating [Milos] Raonic on a hard court the way that he did is very tough. I think he showed that he is somebody who can play extremely well on this level. Today, honestly, I thought I played a not bad match and he gave me a tough time.”

Tsitsipas holds a 5-1 record over Zverev, and in fact has won the last five battles – including three straight-set wins over the German – when they have faced off. Zverev will be hoping to wind back to the clock to 2018 when he last defeated Tsitsipas in order to cause an upset in the final.

“I am really looking forward to the final,” Tsitsipas said. “Sascha is someone I’ve played against in the past and it’s never easy. We’re both really hungry and we’re both very competitive.”

ABIERTO MEXICANO SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated [Q] Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 6-1 6-3
[2] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-4 7-6

 

Picture credit: Francois Nel/Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Qualifiers continue runs in Dubai and Acapulco

THE two ATP 500 events in Dubai and Acapulco provided some surprising upsets, as well as some come-from-behind wins as we recap the day’s action.

The top two remaining seeds continued their straight-sets run into the semi-finals, joining the two surprise packets in the semi-finals of the 2021 ATP Dubai Tennis Championships. Second seed Andrey Rublev and third seed Denis Shapovalov continued their dominant form to reach the final four, while Russian wildcard Aslan Karatsev and South African qualifier Lloyd Harris continued their respective runs into the semis.

The top ranked Rublev has been near unbeatable at ATP 500 level of late, and his consecutive run – which includes three titles – extended to 23. He defeated Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in straight sets 7-5 6-2, repeating the effort from their head-to-head at the most recent ATP 500 event in Rotterdam. The second seed will now lock horns with compatriot Karatsev who paved his way through to the semis with a come-from-behind win over young gun Jannik Sinner.

“I have really great connection with Marton and we are good friends on Tour. I have a huge respect for him. All the matches that we’ve played each other were drama matches,” Rublev said post-match. “We just smiled because we always have tough matches against each other. It’s not easy to play each other. “It’s always long rallies, it’s always tough points and in the end we just smiled.”

Karatsev dropped the first set to the Italian 16th seed in a tiebreaker 7-5, but found his groove in the final two sets to win 6-7 6-3 6-2 in the longest match of the day at two hours and 29 minutes. Sinner served up 10 aces against the Australian Open semi-finalist, but Karatsev was more consistent upon return, breaking five times to two and winning 79 and 50 per cent of his first and second serve points.

“It was tough at the beginning as he is a really talented guy,” Karatsev said post-match. “In the tie-break I was a little unlucky. I felt more comfortable in the second set and knew how to play against him.”

Meanwhile third seed Shapovalov was able to get past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in another quarter final, defeating his opponent 7-5 6-4. The Canadian has also not dropped a set in Dubai and was able to book a date with Harris in the semi-finals following the big-serving South African’s victory over Kei Nishikori. It is Harris’ second win over a Grand Slam champion, having defeated Dominic Thiem in the Round of 32. This time he had to fight all the way in three sets, defeating the Japanese veteran, 6-1 3-6 6-3.

“It was a tough match as Jeremy was serving and playing well,” Shapovalov said post-match. “I am really happy that I was able to convert the break points. It helps to play three straight sets matches and I feel fresh and ready to go.”

Karatsev has shuffled up four places in the ATP Tour world rankings, going above both Nishikori and Fucsovics into number 38 in the world, while Harris is now also at a career-high of 64th following a 17-spot rise. Rublev is slowly closing the gap on the Top 7, while Shapovalov has leapfrogged Roberto Bautista Agut who fell in the Round of 16 at Acapulco.

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 7-5 6-2
[3] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 7-5 6-4
[WC] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [16] Jannik Sinner (ITA) 6-7 6-3 6-2
[Q] Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-1 3-6 6-3

 

Five of the seven seeds in the Abierto Mexicano ATP 500 event made their way through to the last eight in what was largely a one-sided day of action. Six of the eight matches were done in just two sets, with no more than 19 games played in each of those. The two three-set matches featured the remaining qualifiers with the results going both ways.

Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti booked his spot in the quarter finals with a come-from-behind win over United States’ Frances Tiafoe 2-6 6-3 7-6, including a dominant 7-1 final set tiebreaker. He joined eighth seed Casper Ruud in there who had a similarly tough time shaking off Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor in three sets, 4-6 6-3 7-6. Ruud won the deciding tiebreaker 7-3 in a match that lasted two hours and 23 minutes, which was 21 minutes less than the Musetti-Tiafoe clash.

All the other results were straightforward, though not always as you would expect, with German Dominik Koepfer and Brit Cameron Norrie being two other unseeded players to reach the Acapulco quarter finals. Koepfer upset fourth seed Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4 6-2, while Norrie took down Italian sixth seed Fabio Fognini, 6-4 6-3. It was better news for another Canadian in seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime who defeated United States’ wildcard Sebastian Korda 6-3 6-4.

Korda joined John Isner on the list of outs, following the big-serving American’s demise at the hands of top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek talent won 6-3 6-2 to breeze through to the last eight, as did second seed Alexander Zverev and fifth seed Grigor Dimitov. The pair proved too strong for Serbian duo Laslo Djere and Miomir Kecmanovic respectively, defeating them both in straight sets respectively.

The results set up some blockbuster quarter finals, with Tsitsipas and Auger-Aliassime being the pick of the bunch. The other all-seeded quarter final between Ruud and Zverev is highly anticipated, whilst Musetti takes on Dimitrov, and Norrie faces Koepfer.

ABIERTO MEXICANO ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated John Isner (USA) 6-3 6-2
[2] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-4 6-3
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated [4] Milos Raonic (CAN) 6-4 6-2
[5] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-4 6-2
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [6] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-4 6-3
[7] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated [WC] Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-3 6-4
[8] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [Q] Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 4-6 6-3 7-6
[Q] Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Frances Tiafoe (USA) 2-6 6-3 7-6

ATP Tour wrap: Seeds begin to fall in Dubai, as Musetti upsets Schwartzman in Acapulco

IT was a horror day for the seeds in Dubai’s ATP 500 event, but not so bad for the ones at Acapulco, though one diminutive Argentinian Top 10 talent fell to an Italian qualifier.

Unseeded players at the Dubai Tennis Championships began to get their revenge on the seed’s who dominated the previous day’s play, with every possible unseeded player making their way through to the quarter finals at the ATP 500 event. The only unseeded player to lose out was Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, who went down to fellow unseeded talent Kei Nishikori who won in straight sets, 6-4 6-4 to advance to the final eight in the tournament.

The big wins were qualifier Lloyd Harris and wildcard Aslan Karatsev who advanced through to the quarter finals thanks to hard-fought victories in their respective matches. The South African Harris defeated 14th seed Serbian Filip Krajinovic in two tight sets 7-6 6-4, overcoming the first set tiebreaker 7-5 before holding up well under pressure in the second set to secure the win. Australian Open semi-finalist Karatsev won through with a come-from-behind three-set win over 17th seed Lorenzo Sonego, 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Other unseeded players to advance through were Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and Hungarian Marton Fucsovics. Chardy toppled Russian eighth seed Karen Khachanov 6-7 6-4 6-4 in an epic battle throughout two hours and 36 minutes, while Fucsovics defeated 11th seed Serbian Dusan Lajovic to advance to the next round of the tournament. Khachanov was the second highest ranked player to bow out in the Round of 16, as fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut went down to Italian teenager Jannik Sinner, 6-4 3-6 7-5 in another epic contest that lasted two hours and 24 minutes and saw Sinner serve 16 aces throughout the match.

“Roberto is an incredible player, very solid,” Sinner said post-match. “It was very tough, not going for too much or striking the ball too slow. I am looking for these kind of tough matches in order to improve. I am happy to have won and can play one more match here tomorrow. I tried to control my emotions as much as possible, which helped me a lot.”

It was a lot more straight forward for the other two seeds who advanced, with second seed Andrey Rublev and third seed Denis Shapovalov having no issues moving through to the quarter finals. Rublev defeated 15th seed American Taylor Fritz 6-3 6-1 to book his place in the final eight, while Shapovalov took out 13th seed Pole Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 6-3.

The quarter final take place today with Shapovalov and Chardy up first, followed by Karatsev and Sinner in the other afternoon match. At night, Harris and Nishikori lock horns, followed by Fucsovics and Rublev in the late game. Chardy and Sinner will also have to double-up during the day with doubles quarter finals as well later in the afternoon.

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[2] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated [15] Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-3 6-1
[3] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated [13] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-4 6-3
[16] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated [4] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 6-4 3-6 7-5
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated [8] Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-7 6-4 6-4
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [11] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-1 4-6 6-4
[Q] Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [14] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 7-6 6-4
[WC] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [17] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 3-6 6-3 6-4
Kei Nishikori (JPN) defeated Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-4 6-4

 

In Acapulco, the Round of 32 was completed with 10 clashes played out on day two of the main draw matches, in the smaller ATP 500 event. The story of the day was Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti – who only turned 19 earlier this month – taking down top seed Diego Schwartzman to set himself up for a Top 100 spot at the end of the tournament.

The qualifier won 6-3 2-6 6-4 in two hours and 23 minutes, serving six aces to zero, and winning 66 per cent of his first serve points. Schwartzman was more consistent off his second serve – winning 64 per cent of the points, but Musetti capitalised at the right times, breaking in the final set to claim the win and move through to the Round of 16.

“There is a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice and I think some tears left in my eyes,” Musetti said post-match. “I’m really proud of myself, but now I’m going to work harder and focus on the next days.”

All the other seeds in action advanced through to the next round unscathed, meaning seven of the eight seeds will be there in the Round of 16. Top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas brushed aside Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3 6-1, whilst fifth seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov spent the least time on court in a 6-4 3-0 win over Adrian Mannarino, as the Frenchman had to retire. Meanwhile other seeds Milos Raonic, Fabio Fognini and Casper Ruud all advanced through to the second round with straight set victories.

In the battle of the unseeded players, Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic and Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie both advanced in straight sets, defeating Feliciano Lopez and Stefan Kozlov respectively. In the all-American battle, Frances Tiafoe had some tense moments against up-and-coming qualifier and compatriot Brandon Nakashima, before posting a 6-4 6-7 7-6 victory – with both tiebreakers being 7-5 to respective players – in the longest match of the day with players spending two hours and 47 minutes on court. In the other result, Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor moved through to the Round of 16 with a 7-6 4-6 6-3 victory over United States’ lucky loser Denis Kudla.

There are some ripping contests in today’s action with Musetti now facing off against Tiafoe for a spot in the quarter finals, while Fognini will take on Norrie. On centre court, top seed Tsitsipas will have a blockbuster match against John Isner, while earlier in the evening, American wildcard Sebastian Korda will face seventh seed Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Serbian Laslo Djere will lock horns with German second seed Alexander Zverev.

ABIERTO MEXICANO ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated [3] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-3 2-6 6-4
[4] Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated Tommy Paul (USA) 7-6 6-4
[5] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-4 3-0 RET
[6] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-5 6-2
[8] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [SE] Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) 6-4 6-1
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-4 6-4
Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated [Q] Brandon Nakashima (USA) 6-4 6-7 7-6
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [Q] Stefan Kozlov (USA) 6-3 6-3
[Q] Tallon Griekspoor (NED) defeated [LL] Denis Kudla (USA) 7-6 4-6 6-3

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Harris stuns Thiem in Dubai

THERE was plenty to unpack in the ATP Tour over the past 24 hours with some massive upsets in Dubai, and the Abierto Mexicano kicked off in Acapulco.

In Dubai, Lloyd Harris has caused the upset of the day with a straight sets win over top seed Dominic Thiem. The US Open reigning champion automatically booked his spot in the Round of 32 due to his seeding, but lasted just 72 minutes on court as the South African server won 6-3 6-4. Harris broke twice without facing a break point, and only lost one point on his first serve to be near-impenetrable off his racket. Thiem still won 81 per cent of his first serve points, but only served at 51 per cent efficiency in a disappointing performance from the Austrian.

“I’m super, super happy with that win. [He is] by far the highest-ranked player I have beaten,” Harris said post-match. “I look up to Domi a lot so, for me, it is a special feeling. “I am really happy. “Just the fact that I am playing good tennis, match in, match out now is giving me a lot of confidence.”

Thiem was not the only seed to bow out, with fifth seed Belgian David Goffin and sixth seed Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta also losing. Goffin went down to Kei Nishikori, with the Japanese Grand Slam winner continuing to build since returning from injury, posting a tight 6-3 7-6 victory over the seed. Meanwhile, Rotterdam finalist Marton Fucsovics posted a come-from-behind win over Carreno Busta, dropping the first set in a tiebreaker before winning 6-7 6-3 6-2.

Lower down the seeded order, 12th seed Brit Daniel Evans lost at the hands of reborn Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev, with the Russian wildcard winning in three sets, 6-4 4-6 6-4 to move through to the Round of 16. The only other unseeded player to make his way through to the third round was Slovenian Aljaz Bedene who took care of Italian lucky loser Lorenzo Giustino in straight sets.

It was a lot easier going for top talents, Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov who accounted for Finnish qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori and German Jan-Lennard Stuff in straight sets. The second and third seeds were joined by fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round, who won after Australian Matthew Ebden retired at 4-1 down in the first set. Also through to the next round was Russian eighth seed Karen Khachanov, who defeated the last remaining Australian in wildcard Alexei Popyrin, 6-4 3-6 7-6.

Dusan Lajovic, Hubert Hurkacz, Taylor Fritz, Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego were the other seeds through to the Round of 16, setting up some tantalising matches for the next day’s play. Harris will face Krajinovic, Fritz waill face Rublev, Sinner will take on Bautista Agut and Shapovalov will face Hurkacz in the games to watch, while the other four matches see Bedene facing Nishikori, Sonego locking horns with Karatsev, Fucsovics taking on Lajovic, and Frenchman Jeremy Chardy up against Khachanov.

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[Q] Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [1] Dominic Thiem (AUT) 6-3 6-4
[2] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated [Q] Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 6-4 6-4
[3] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-1 6-3
[4] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated [SE] Matthew Ebden (AUS) 4-1 RET
Kei Nishikori (JPN) defeated [5] David Goffin (BEL) 6-3 7-6
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [6] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 6-7 6-3 6-2
[8] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated [WC] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-4 3-6 7-6
[11] Dusan Lajovic (CRO) defeated [WC] Malek Jaziri (TUN) 7-5 6-2
[WC] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [12] Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-4 4-6 6-4
[13] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-3 6-4
[14] FIlip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 7-5 6-4
[15] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 4-6 6-3 7-6
[16] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 2-6 7-6 6-4
[17] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated [Q] Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 6-2 6-2
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated [LL] Lorenzo Giustino (ITA) 6-4 6-3

 

It was a mixed bag for Americans in Mexico, with four United States, one Canadian and one Mexican out on court in a day of straight sets action. Whilst there were some anticipated Round of 32 matches to open the Abierto Mexicano, no match really lived up to too much bar seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime‘s victory over Tennys Sandgren. The young gun won 6-3 7-6 to advance through to the second round, the closest of the six encounters on the day.

United States’ Sebastian Korda also had a tight first set before impressively shaking off Croatian Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2, joining compatriot John Isner in the second round. The big serving American took care of Italian Salvatore Caruso in straight sets, 6-4 6-3. The news was not as positive for Steve Johnson, who bowed out 6-2 6-3 to Serbian Laslo Djere, while German duo Alexander Zverev and Dominik Koepfer both advanced through to the Round of 16.

The second seed Zverev won 6-3 6-1 against Spanish teenage talent Carlos Alcaraz, while Koepfer booked his spot in the second round with a 6-4 6-2 victory over local wildcard, Gerardo Lopez Villasenor. A massive day of action will see the other six seeds in action, with number one seed Stefanos Tsitsipas facing Frenchman Benoit Paire, third seed Diego Schwartzman up against Italian young gun qualifier Lorenzo Musetti, Adrian Mannarino trying to take down fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov, and Tommy Paul up against fourth seed Milos Raonic.

ABIERTO MEXICANO ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[2] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated [WC] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) 6-3 6-1
[7] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Tennys Sandgren (USA) 6-3 7-6
[WC] Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Marin Cilic CRO) 7-5 6-2
Laslo Djere (SR) defeated Steve Johnson (USA) 6-2 6-3
John Isner (USA) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-4 6-3
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated [WC] Gerardo Lopez Villasenor (MEX) 6-4 6-2

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

Australian Open Men’s Round of 16 wrap: Dimitrov destroys tired Thiem as Karatsev’s giant-killing run continues

A COUPLE of massive upsets in the Round of 16 blew one quarter of the Australian Open men’s draw right open following day seven’s results yesterday. Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev looked finished when he was two sets to love down against 20th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, only to claw his way back and win in a mammoth come-from-behind five-set win. Karatsev’s victory was not the only upset of the day, with 18th seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov destroying a tired Dominic Thiem in straight sets.

In a match that lasted three hours and 25 minutes, the 114th ranked Karatsev – who had previously never won a Grand Slam main draw match won his seventh consecutive match, and the toughest thus far, coming from being 6-3 6-1 down against the 20-year-old Canadian. Finding a way through, he bounced back to win the final three sets 6-3 6-3 6-4 in a classic contest.

“It was really tough in the beginning to play with him,” Karatsev said post-match. “He’s a really good player and he’s playing really fast. It took me two sets to find a way how to play.”

Auger-Aliassime hit 11 aces to nine, and was more efficient upon return with five of his six break point opportunities taken, but it was Karatsev’s consistency with a 77 per cent first serve winning percentage, and controlling the net (80 per cent success), as well as hitting eight more winners (37-29).

It is beyond belief that the Russian journeyman has made a Grand Slam quarter final, having a career Tour record of 3-10 and winning just over $600,000 USD in prize money. If Karatsev can topple Dimitrov in the quarter finals, he will have made more money in the Australian Open than he has in his entire career, with a $653,225 USD paycheck.

Dimitrov’s straight sets triumph over Thiem was nowhere near the same level of tightness, with the Bulgarian 18th seed winning the first two sets narrowly 6-4 6-4 after being down breaks in both, before blowing the Austrian away 6-0 in the final set. He won the last eight games of the match to book his spot in the next round.

“I think the key was that I was able to keep a consistency throughout the whole match,” Dimitrov said. “I was playing well. He was up a break in both [the first and second] sets. “It was 3-1, 40/15 in the first set. I could have easily slipped that set.”

Now the Bulgarian goes from last year’s Australian Open runner-up and ATP Finals runner-up to a little known 27-year-old Russian qualifier. Despite the consistent quality difference in his two opponents, Dimitrov is not reading anything into rankings.

“I will treat this match no differently,” he said. “I will still go through my routines. “I’m still going to do my work. “It’s just honestly another match. “I’m not going to think of what the guy has done, what he has accomplished or what is going on. “Clearly, in order for him to be here, he’s done something right, and he’s playing great tennis right now. “Of course, he’s a dangerous player.”

Returning to normal programming, top seed Novak Djokovic overcame big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the late match last night in four sets, whilst German sixth seed Alexander Zverev won in straight sets over 23rd seed Dusan Lajovic 6-4 7-6 6-3. The winners will now face off in a massive quarter final.

In today’s fourth round clashes, world number two Rafael Nadal takes on Italian firebrand Fabio Fognini for the right to face either fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or ninth seed Matteo Berrettini. While outside Rod Laver Arena, fourth seed Daniil Medvedev clashes with giant-killing Mackenzie McDonald, as seventh seed Andrey Rublev locks horns with 24th seed Casper Ruud.

ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) [14] Milos Raonic (CAN)
[18] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated [3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) 6-4 6-4 6-0
[6] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated [23] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-4 7-6 6-3
[Q] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [20] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 3-6 1-6 6-3 6-3 6-4

Australian Open Men’s Round of 32 wrap: Medvedev survives five-setter as top seeds advance

SIX of the eight top 16 seeds will compete in the fourth round of the Australian Open, after all the higher ranked players won on day six of the Grand Slam. Seeds featured in seven of the eight matches, three of which were all seeds. In the sole unseeded match, United States’ Mackenzie McDonald won in straight sets over South African Lloyd Harris to be the clear underdog in the bottom half of the draw.

The match of the day was easily fourth seed Daniil Medvedev‘s five-set win over 28th seed Serbian Filip Krajinovic. The Russian looked to have everything under control early, before Krajinovic hit back wiht the next two sets. The fourth seed steadied in the final set to storm away and win 6-0 in the fifth for a 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-0 victory.

Medvedev dominated in terms of serving with 15 aces to two, whilst winning 77 per cent of his first serve points to the Serbian’s 64 per cent. Krajinovic made the most of his chances at the net however, winning 35 of 47 approaches and hit only three less winners when excluding aces (34-37).

“He played unbelievable, especially in the fourth set,” Medvedev said post-match. “Third set I had some chances… He raised his level. I tried to change my position on the return in the fifth set and it seemed to be working well, I guess.”

Compatriot Andrey Rublev advanced through to the fourth round in easier fashion, defeating veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, 7-5 6-2 6-3. Of the eight players winning through, two were the Russian seeds, and the other two were the Italian seeds. Matteo Berrettini fought off a determined Karen Khachanov to win in three tiebreakers 7-6 7-6 7-6, while 16th seed Fabio Fognini was too strong for the last Australian man in Alex de Minaur.

Fognini won 6-4 6-3 6-2 in the later match, whilst over on Rod Laver Arena, second seed Rafael Nadal booked his spot in the Round of 16 with a straight sets win over Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie. Also through to the next stage were fifth seed Greek talent Stefanos Tsitsipas who defeated Swede Mikael Ymer in straight sets, while 24th seed Norwegian Casper Ruud make his first ever Grand Slam fourth round appearance with a four-set win over Moldovan Radu Albot.

Ruud was clinical in his win, having never made it into an Australian Open third round before, producing nine aces to three against Albot. He won 50 of 58 first serve points, and was more clinical on his second serve with a 63 per cent success rate. Ruud also broke five times from 12 chances compared to Albot’s two from five.

The fourth round matches set up from the day’s results sees Nadal and Fognini going head-to-head to play the winner of Tsitsipas and Berrettini. In the other quarter, Medvedev and McDonald lock horns, as Rublev and Ruud do battle as well. In today’s matches, top seed Novak Djokovic will face 14th seed Canadian Milos Raonic, whilst up the other end, Felix Auger-Aliassime takes on Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev. In the other two matches, third seed Dominic Thiem and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov will face off, while Alexander Zverev takes on Dusan Lajovic.

ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated Cameron Norrie (GBR) 7-5 6-2 705
[4] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [28] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-0
[5] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-4 6-1 6-1
[7] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 7-5 6-2 6-3
[9] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [19] Karen Khachanov (RUS) 7-6 7-6 7-6
[16] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated [21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-4 6-3 6-4
[24] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Radu Albot (MDA) 6-1 5-7 6-4 6-4
[PR] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 7-6 6-1 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour

Australian Open Men’s Round of 32 wrap: The greatness of Dominic Thiem shines through in a classic

IN the most highly-anticipated match of day five, world number three Dominic Thiem came back from two sets-to-love down to defeat Australia’s own Nick Kyrgios 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 in a thriller on John Cain Arena.

The match was initially all about Kyrgios, as he came out of the blocks flying. He broke in the first game— the only break point opportunity for either man in the opening set— and won 83 per cent of his points on his first serve. The second set was similar, as Kyrgios was up and about while Thiem struggled to make an impact with his returns. Kyrgios got his break in the ninth game and served out the set to take a commanding lead. Thiem almost lost another break in the opening game of the third set, but he held on despite constant pressure from Kyrgios and the Australian crowd.

From there, the narrative shifted. It was no longer about Kyrgios and his tricks, it was about the greatness of Thiem. At one stage, Thiem won 22 consecutive points on serve and, to put it simply, never gave Kyrgios a chance. In the final three sets, the Austrian won a staggering 19 of 22 points on his second serve, not to mention over 80 per cent of points on his first serve. It was a clinic from the reigning US Open champion, as he reduced his unforced errors and started to show a much grander intensity.

To Kyrgios’ credit, he tried absolutely everything to turn the match back in his favour. Slower serves, underarm serves, drop shots, tweeners, arguing with the chair umpire, chatting with the crowd; it was a very entertaining Kyrgios showcase. Unfortunately for the Australian, he was up against a man that would never lay down.

The ability to persist in the longer rallies combined with his incredible serving made Thiem unstoppable. He capitalised on his first match point by hitting a signature backhand bullet down the line. After the match, Thiem reflected on his performance and the difficulty of playing Kyrgios in front of his home fans.

“There are easier things than playing Nick at his home tournament on his favourite court,” Thiem said. “He is a huge player when he is on fire like today. “When I was down two break points in the first game of the third set, I was considering the prospect of losing. “But I kept fighting and with the break in the third set, I thought there was a chance to turn it around. The longer the match went on, the more comfortable I felt.

“I stood further behind the baseline to return his serves in order to read his serve better and I got more looks to break him. “I always prefer playing in front of a crowd, even if they are for their local hero, but I accepted it. “Tonight was epic and it was a great match.”

This result will give Thiem plenty of confidence going into the second week, so do not be surprised if he works his way into a second consecutive Australian Open final. His biggest threat on that side of the draw is world number one Novak Djokovic, who survived a major scare against American 27th seed Taylor Fritz. The Serbian pulled out his 7-6 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 victory in just under three-and-a-half hours.

In other results, Felix Auger-Aliassime was too strong for Denis Shapovalov in the battle of Canadian youngsters, taking it out in straight sets 7-5 7-5 6-3. This was Auger-Aliassime’s first Grand Slam victory against Shapovalov. He will take on 27-year-old qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the fourth round, who produced the biggest upset of the day to defeat eighth seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-3 6-3. Karatsev hit 50 winners in the clash compared to Schwartzman’s five, which was particularly impressive given that it was his first ever match against a player ranked inside the ATP Top 10.

Germany’s Alexander Zverev looked fantastic in his straight sets win over France’s Adrian Mannarino, Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic hit 48 winners in his victory against Spain’s Pedro Martinez and Canada’s Milos Raonic was too good for Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics.

In tomorrow’s matches, Australia’s final men’s championship hope Alex de Minaur will take on 16th seed Fabio Fognini in a fascinating matchup. Meanwhile, 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will aim to continue his outstanding start to the tournament against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie.

ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated  [27] Taylor Fritz (USA) 7-6 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2
[3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) defeated Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-4
[6] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated [32] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3 6-3 6-1
[14] Milos Raonic (CAN) defeated Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 7-6 5-7 6-2 6-2
[18] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated [15] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 6-0 1-0 (retired)
[20] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated [11] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 7-5 7-5 6-3
[23] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) defeated Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-7 7-5 6-1 6-4
[Q] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [8] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-3 6-3 6-3

Picture credit: ATP Tour