Tag: norbert gombos

ATP Tour wrap: Struff eyes off maiden title in home nation

GERMAN Jan-Lennard Struff will eye off his maiden ATP Tour title after downing Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka to reach the final of the BMW Open in Munich. The 87-minute victory came after Ivashka had disposed of his top ranked compatriot Alexander Zverev in the quarter finals, with Struff doing it a lot easier, 6-4 6-1 in 87 minutes of action.

The seventh seed’s win mean the home nation hero was finally able to break through to an ATP Tour final after previously reaching the semi-final stage of an ATP Tour tournament on seven occasions. Having been broken early and trailing 3-0, Struff looked in a bit of trouble until he won 12 of the next 13 games in a one-sided result much to the pleasure of the German crowd.

“I am happy to have reached my first final on home soil in Germany and I will try my best tomorrow,” Struff said post-match.

The German will now face fellow unseeded talent Nikoloz Basilashvili who has been there and done it before, collecting four ATP Tour titles, the most recent of which occurred in Doha earlier this year. Much like Struff the Georgian also came from a slight deficit – albeit only the opening game in this case – to string together the next nine matches to win the first set 6-1 and lead 3-0 against second seed Casper Ruud. Basilashvili eventually won the second set 6-2 with three of the last four games, to upset the highly ranked Norwegian and roll into the decider.

“I am feeling good and I am feeling fresh,” Basilashvili said post-match. “I am looking forward to the final. “I feel confident here and the court suits me, so it will be an interesting match tomorrow as we played recently in Italy.”

The interesting factor will be Basilashvili’s extra workload during the day after the Georgian defeated Slovenian lucky loser Norbert Gombos 6-4 6-4, and Ruud had taken down Australian eighth seed John Millman in the other quarter final 6-3 6-4, before having to head out on court for the semi-final last night.

Meanwhile in the other ATP 250 event, unseeded Brit Cameron Norrie booked his unlikely spot in the Estoril Open final in Portugal. Norrie overcame sixth seed Marin Cilic to make his way into the decider following two tight sets 7-6 7-5, and will take on seventh seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in today’s final after the Spaniard took care of compatriot, eighth seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the other semi-final, 6-1 6-4.

“I was really tough. I started a little bit slow and managed to ease my way into the match. [I] played really good when break point down and went after it,” Norrie said post-match. “[Marin] was serving great and it was really tricky to get his first serve back… I am fortunate to get through and I am just happy to be in my second final.”

Norrie is having some sort of season, having claimed 18 ATP Tour victories this season, ranked equal third overall with Italian Jannik Sinner, behind Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas, and red-hot Russian Andrey Rublev (26). Going into outright third might be a challenge in this match though, as the Brit looks to overcome a 2-0 head-to-head advantage that Ramos-Vinolas has in their clashes thus far.

BMW OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [2] Casper Ruud (NOR) 6-1 6-2
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [Q] Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-4 6-1

BMW OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [8] John Millman (AUS) 6-3 6-4
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [LL] Norbert Gombos (SLO) 6-4 6-4

ESTORIL OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [6] Marin Cilic (CRO) 7-6 7-5
[7] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) defeated [8] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 6-1 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Shapovalov bundled out among walkovers aplenty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BMW OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

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

ESTORIL OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

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

Picture credit: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Spanish conquer opponents in Marbella

IN a throw back to their WTA Russian counterparts last month, Spain has completely dominated the quarter finals at the Andalucia Open to ensure a homegrown winner in Marbella. All four Spaniards in action won through to the semi-finals at the ATP 250 event, meaning there will be two all-Spanish finals to determine who makes it through to the last match of the tournament. While it was not quite as impressive as the all-eight quarter finalists at St. Petersburg, the home fans will certainly be happy over the coming days.

The top two ranked players remaining in Pablo Carreno Busta and Albert Ramos-Vinolas make it through, the former with the easiest win of the day, booking a 6-4 6-0 victory over seventh seed Soonwoo Kwon. Ramos-Vinolas had a tougher day with a three-set win over Slovenian Norbert Gombos, 6-7 7-5 6-4. Both players will now horns in the semi-finals, where the 29-year-old Carreno Busta has a 2-1 head-to-head record over the 33-year-old Ramos-Vinolas. All those three matches came in 2016-17, with Carreno Busta winning their first two encounters in three sets on clay, before Ramos-Vinolas won the most recent clay on hard court.

The other two semi-finalists are Jaume Munar and Carlos Alcaraz who continued their form after impressive Round of 16 wins over higher ranked opponents, with another couple of upsets. Munar needed three sets to come from behind against Belarusian Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 6-4, while Alcaraz stunned clay court specialist and third seed Casper Ruud, 6-2 6-4. They will now go head-to-head for the first time to guarantee the final will be a young up-and-coming Spaniard taking on a veteran Spaniard.

Over in Sardegna, Lorenzo Sonego will fly the Italian flag after a come-from-behind victory over German Yannick Hanfmann. The third seed won 3-6 7-6 6-3 in a thrilling contest to book his spot in the semi-finals, and will now take on second seed American Taylor Fritz. The top ranked played remaining and tournament favourite, Fritz took care of Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in the only straight sets win of the day, 6-3 6-4.

In the other quarter finals, the other Italian in teenager Lorenzo Musetti was knocked out, suffering defeat at the hands of Serbian Laslo Djere. The 6-4 4-6 6-2 victory was a hard-fought one against a rising talent, with Djere now set to face fourth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the semi-finals. The Georgian knocked out fifth seed Jan-Lennard Struff in a bad day for the Germans, getting up 7-5 4-6 6-3 in another tight contest in Cagliari.

For many of the players there will be a quick turnaround with the ATP Masters Monte Carlo 1000 taking place tomorrow for qualifiying, as the likes of Ramos-Vinolas, Fritz, Carreno Busta, Sonego, Basilashvili and Djere are all in the 64-player main draw.

ANDALUCIA OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeafed [7] Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-4 6-0
[4] Albert Ramos Vinolas (ESP) defeated Norbert Gombos (SLO) 6-7 7-5 6-4
Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-7 6-4 6-4
[WC] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [3] Casper Ruud (NOR) 6-2 6-4

SARDEGNA OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-3 6-4
[3] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 3-6 7-6 6-3
[4] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 7-5 4-6 6-3
Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 6-4 4-6 6-2

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Future of Spanish tennis on display in Marbella

THERE was a changing of the guard in Marbella for the Andalucia Open, with two of the brightest young Spaniards toppling experienced opponents in terrific wins to book their spots in the quarter finals of the ATP 250 event. While 23-year-old Jaume Munar has been threatening to make his move up the ATP Rankings for some time, it is 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz who is starting to find his groove on the senior Tour after a dominant Challenger ITF circuit last year.

Touted as one of the next big things in Spanish tennis, Alcaraz only has the nine main draw ATP Tour matches to-date, with a 4-5 record and a career-high 127th in the world. He will surpass that effort by the end of the tournament, and will eye off a spot in the Top 100 in the coming weeks. Heading into the clay court season, Alcaraz has only played two previous matches on the surface at ATP Tour level, winning one of them, but has exclusively played on clay through the Challenger Tour, and predominantly on the ITF Tour.

The teenager has a winning record of 28-11 on the Challenger Tour, with all those wins coming on clay, which included three titles and a 73.7 per cent winning record on the surface. He also has nerves of steel, winning 14 of 17 tiebreakers at 82.4 per cent. On the ITF Tour, he has won three titles – two on clay with a 19-4 record and one on hard court with a 8-1 record – and also successfully won six of eight matches in tiebreaks.

In short, Alcaraz should be put into the Davis Cup side, and he showed it by overcoming veteran compatriot Feliciano Lopez in a come-from-behind win, 4-6 6-2 6-4. It stands as the second best win of 2021, after he toppled David Goffin in straight sets back in Melbourne in January, 6-3 6-3. Twelve months ago, Alcaraz also accounted for compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas in three tight sets, showing he can knock off higher ranked talents between him and representing his country.

For Munar, he is inside the Top 100 at 95th, but still some way off his career high of 52nd back in May, 2019 where he looked to be primed to crack the Top 50. He has a 33-51 record on the ATP Tour, but a 1-8 record against the Top 10 players. His Round of 16 win over Fabio Fognini will help with that confidence, but the issue is his matchplay on surfaces other than clay.

The 23-year-old has won eight of 23 matches on either hard or grass – yet to win an ATP Tour match on grass – with a 25-28 record on clay. He has graduated the Challenger Tour with five titles on clay and one on hard, though runs at just under 50 per cent on the latter surface. On the ITF Tour, he has won six titles, all on clay, meaning 11 of his 12 overall titles are on the red dirt surface.

Now Munar will come up against Belarusian Ilya Ivashka in the last eight, whilst Alcaraz will face clay specialist and third seed Casper Ruud in another quarter final. Ruud took care of Italian Gianluca Mager in straight sets, while Ivashka dominated fifth seed Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in their Round of 16 match. The other quarter finals are top seed Pablo Carreno Busta up against seventh seed Soonwoo Kwon, and fourth seed Ramos-Vinolas taking on Slovakian Norbert Gombos.

Over in Italy, it was a similar story for the up-and-coming Italians, with teenage star Lorenzo Musetti taking care of top seed Daniel Evans in an absolute thriller. Musetti won 6-1 1-6 7-6, cruising early before the Brit hit back, and it led to an unbelievable final set tiebreaker that went 18 points until Musetti claimed it, 10-8. Third seed Lorenzo Sonego also made his way through to the quarter finals with a 6-4 6-1 win over Gilles Simon, while Yannick Hanfmann spoiled the party for another Italian in Marco Cecchinato, and Serbian Laslo Djere took care of sixth seed Australian John Millman.

Musetti will now take on Djere, and Hanfmann battle Sonego, whilst second seed Taylor Fritz locks horns with Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, and the fourth and fifth seeds in Nikoloz Basilashvili and Jan-Lennard Struff will do battle in the other quarter finals.

ANDALUCIA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated [2] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-2 6-1
[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 6-3 6-2
Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated [5] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 6-1 6-3
[WC] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [6] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 4-6 6-2 6-4

SARDEGNA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Lorenzo Mussetti (ITA) defeated [1] Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-1 1-6 7-6
[3] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-4 6-1
Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated [6] John Millman (AUS) 6-3 6-3
Yannick Hanfmann (GER) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 7-5 6-1

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Fritz poised for move on clay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SARDEGNA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

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

ANDALUCIA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

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

ATP Tour wrap: ATP 250 events begin in Europe

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

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

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

SARDEGNA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS: 

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

 

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

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

ANYTECH365 ANDALUCIA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

ATP Tour wrap: Intriguing results heading into ATP 250 Rounds of 16

THE second day of Round of 32 proceedings is almost complete at the trio of ATP 250 tournaments at Qatar, Marseille and Santiago, with plenty of formidable outcomes continuing to set the tone for the quality of matches.

At Qatar, David Goffin continued his excellent form of late with a 6-4 6-4 clean sweep over Filip Krajinovic, rendering the Serbian wasteful and winning a whopping 82 per cent of his first serve points. Proceedings did not go quite so well for fellow seed Stan Wawrinka who was outplayed by South African qualifier Lloyd Harris. Harris took the Swiss talent to three sets only to run out 7-6 6-7 7-5 victor in two hours and 40 minutes. Whilst Wawrinka had a higher first serve win rate (87 per cent), Harris was more efficient with an 81 per cent win rate off a 69 per cent clip to claim victory, with his cleanliness on serve (11 aces for three double faults) compared to Wawrinka’s 17 and five doing the trick in this encounter.

Wildcard Malek Jaziri managed an to capitalise on a wealth of chances in an excellent outing against lucky loser Norbert Gombos, defeating the Slovakian – who ranks 95th in the world to Jaziri’s 262nd – in straight sets, 6-2 7-5. In other matches, Daniel EvansVasek Pospisil and Marton Fucsovics all reigned supreme, with the former claiming a 6-4 1-6 6-2 comeback victory over Jeremy Chardy, whilst Pospisil and Fucsovics both won in straight sets.

QATAR OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [7] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 7-6 6-7 7-5
Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-4 1-6 6-2
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 7-6 6-3
[WC] Malek Jaziri (TUN) defeated [LL] Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-2 7-5
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) defeated [Q] Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 6-3 6-4

 

In Marseille, proceedings went much the way of the hometown heroes on day two as four Frenchman made their way through to the Round of 16. Wins to Pierre-Hugues HerbertJo-Wilfried TsongaLucas Pouille and Arthur Rinderknech kept France on the hunt, with the former and latter coming away with scalps as Herbert defeated sixth seed Kei Nishikori, whilst 138 ranked Rinderknech disposed of world number 96 Mikhail Kukushkin. Meanwhile, Tsonga got back on the winners list with a tough victory over Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, with the 3-6 6-4 7-5 battle seeing the two players combine for 32 aces and only seven double faults in a two-hour and seven-minute encounter.

The only seed – of two – to win through on day two at the Open 13 Provence was Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, as the seventh seed Spaniard disposed of Greek wildcard Petros Tsitsipas – younger brother of world number five Stefanos – in 45 minutes, 6-0 6-2. Also joining Davidovich Fokina in the second round are Australian Matt Ebden and American Mackenzie McDonald, after both players fought hard for victories ovwer Benjamin Bonzi and Stefano Travaglia, respectively.

OPEN 13 PROVENCE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) defeated [6] Kei Nishikori (JPN) 6-1 6-4
[7] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated [WC] Petro Tsitsipas (GRE) 6-0 6-2
Lucas Pouille (FRA) defeated [Q] Alex Molcan (SVK) 7-5 6-3
[Q] Matthew Ebden (AUS) defeated [WC] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 3-6 7-6 6-3
[PR] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-6 7-6
[Q] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) defeated Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 1-6 6-3 6-2
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 3-6 6-4 7-5

 

The only tournament which saw two seeds prevail on day two was at Chile, with a couple of Argentinian seeds in Federico Coria and Federico Delbonis reigning supreme in three sets. A huge three-hour and 10-minute encounter between Coria and Gianluca Mager delayed a lot of the day’s proceedings, with the 4-6 7-6(4) 7-6(4) result not coming easy to the Argentinian. But overall, Coria was far more consistent on serve, with a better efficiency and winning ability, whilst also backing it up on the return. His compatriot in Delbonis took all of two hours and 51 minutes to dispose of Spaniard Jaume Munar, 6-4 6-7 6-4. Two more Argentinians were not so lucky though, with Sebastian Baez and Francisco Cerundolo both disposed of in straight sets, with the latter unable to back up his excellent finals-bound run from last week going down in under an hour to Andrej Martin.

It was an impressive day for qualifiers as three players continue through to the Round of 16 following consecutive days on court, with Dutch young gun Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune downing the aforementioned Baez 6-3 6-2, whilst Chilean Alejandro Tabilo defeated Jozef Kovalik 6-1 0-6 6-4 and Juan Pablo Varillas downed Joao Sousa. One match remains, with a duo of wildcards in hometown hope Gonzalo Lama and Argentinian Juan Manuel Cerundolo just beginning.

CHILE OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[Q] Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (NED) defeated [Q] Sebastian Baez (ARG) 6-3 6-2
[7] Federico Coria (ARG) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 4-6 7-6 7-6
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Jaume Munar (ESP) 6-4 6-7 6-4
Andrej Martin (SVK) defeated [SE] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) 6-1 6-2
[Q] Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) defeated Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-1 0-6 6-4
[Q] Juan Pablo Varillas (PER) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 6-4 6-1
[WC] Gonzalo Lama (CHI) v. [WC] Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG)

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 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

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.