Tag: richard gasquet

ATP Tour wrap: Rafa downs Gasquet for 17th time as Alcaraz impresses

IT was a fairly convincing day of action on Day 5 of the Roland Garros, with all men’s matches completed by the end of the fourth set although a smattering of lower seeds succumbed to hungry opponents in the Round of 64. Meanwhile, a teen talent made it through the second round with hopes to continue his great form on clay.

It was no worries for the three top 10 seeds of the day, with Novak DjokovicRafael Nadal and Roger Federer all making it through to the second round relatively unscathed, with only Federer dropping a set on his way to the Round of 32. Djokovic hit 31 winners against Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in their first encounter to reign supreme, while Nadal claimed a 35th birthday win in his 6-0 7-5 6-2 disposal of Richard Gasquet – a whopping 17th time beating the Frenchman.

“Of course it’s better to win 16 in a row than lose 16 in a row,” Nadal said. “When you go to the match and you have been winning all the last 16 times, of course the confidence is a little bit higher than when you have a tougher head-to-head.

“Being honest, I respect (and) I know how good is Richard. “I know he’s coming back after a tough period of time. “I think he played smart, playing aggressive. “I don’t know. “I just went on court with highest respect, with the highest focus possible, and that’s what I try to do every day against everyone.”

“I’m playing well, feeling great. I’m ready to go deep in this tournament,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully that’s going to be the case. “But I’ll take it match by match, and so far the two matches that I have played have been played in a high quality.

“I’m pleased with the performance today, particularly against a very good player, a specialist on clay, someone I have never faced before. [He] has got a lot of spin,” Djokovic said. “[He hits] just a very difficult ball to handle in these kind of conditions when it’s a bit warmer… These balls during the day are bouncing really high.”

“I still do believe there’s no way I’m going to go really, really super deep here or go past the Novak section,” Federer said.

“The first round I didn’t surprise myself per se, but now in the second round, I did,” Federer said. “Now can I keep it up and how will the body react? We’ll see. The mind is getting stronger, I can feel it. I have more clarity, I have more confidence growing in me.”

“I feel like I surprised myself a little bit,” Federer told Tennis Channel. “I didn’t expect myself to play that well or to have the energy left at the end like this and being able to keep on serving so consistently at the end was great.”

Meanwhile, ninth, 10th and 18th seeds Matteo BerrettiniDiego Schwartzman and teen Jannik Sinner all proceeded, while the likes of Gael Monfils (14th seed), Alex de Minaur (21st), Aslan Karatsev (24th) and Taylor Fritz (30th) all failed to proceed with all four only able to steal one set in their respective losses.

One of the biggest wins of the day, however, went to teenager Carlos Alcaraz, who downed the day’s remaining seed in Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets, 6-4 6-2 6-4, in just under two hours.

“Obviously it’s good, the numbers, but I still focus on me,” Alcaraz said. “That means that I’m going the right way. I am doing the right things, and I keep [doing] this. I’m still growing up as a player and as a person, and that’s the important thing.”

“Today the positive emotions were really, really important because Nikoloz is a really, really good tennis player,” Alcaraz said. “He has a lot of great skills. He hits the ball really, really hard, and if you don’t focus, if you are not focused, it’s hard to play against him. You have to be focused all the time.”

The 18-year-old is the youngest male competitor to advance to the third round at the Roland Garros since Nadal in 2004, aged only 17. He finished off the encounter with 27 winners to Basilashvili’s 16, including 10 aces, also hitting less unforced errors (26-33).

“If I went down in that game, it was [going to be] really, really hard,” Alcaraz said. “I was focused, and that’s a good skill for me.”

Five more competitors joined the winners list on Day 5, with Ricardis Berankis and Cameron Norrie taken to four, while Soonwoo KwonLorenzo Musetti and Jan-Lennard Struff all heading into the third round with straight sets wins in the books.

ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-3 6-2 6-4
[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-0 7-5 6-2
[8] Roger Federer (SUI) defeated Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-2 2-6 7-6 6-2
[9] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-3 6-3 6-2
[10] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Ajlaz Bedene (SLO) 6-4 6-2 6-4
Mikael Ymer (SWE) defeated [14] Gael Monfils (FRA) 6-0 2-6 6-4 6-3
[18] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 6-1 7-5 3-6 6-3
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated [21] Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-4 6-1 3-6 6-1
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) defeated [24] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 6-3 7-6 4-6 6-1
[Q] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [28] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-4 6-2 6-4
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated [30] Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-4
Ricardis Berankis (POR) defeated James Duckworth (AUS) 7-5 2-6 7-6 6-0
Sonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeated Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-4 7-5 7-5
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 7-5 6-3 6-2
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-2
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 7-5 7-6 6-4

Picture credit: Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROLAND GARROS ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

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

Picture credit: Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

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

BEGRADE OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

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

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Top three seeds bundled out in Parma and Belgrade

WORLD number one Novak Djokovic remains the only top three seed left across the ATP Tour’s two 250 events after the other five players all suffered defeats in both Parma and Belgrade. Just four matches were played in the Serbia Open to complete the Round of 16 matches, whilst all eight second round matches were run and done in the Emilia-Romagna Open after rain delays impacted previous day’s play.

Djokovic is the raging favourite in Belgrade, especially after the second and third seeds both suffered defeats via three-set losses to qualifiers. Spanish qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena knocked off second seed Gael Monfils in a tight contest after a strong start, winning 6-1 3-6 7-6 to advance to the next round. Joining the Spaniard in the quarter finals was Slovenian qualifier Andrej Martin who toppled Georgian third seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in an equally tight encounter after the first set, triumphing 6-1 4-6 7-6. Both third set tiebreakers finished with a 7-4 result.

In other Belgrade Open results, fifth seed Croatian Dusan Lajovic advanced with a 6-3 6-4 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, while eighth seed Federico Delbonis knocked off fellow South American in Brazilian Thiago Monteiro. In an epic contest, the Argentinian escaped with the win, 7-6 3-6 6-4.

Belgrade was not the only tournament where top seeds fell in the second round. The top three seeds all exited in the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, Italy in very different ways. Top seed Lorenzo Sonego was taken out of his home tournament by ever-improving American Sebastian Korda in straight sets, 6-1 7-5. Third seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas put up more of a fight against Slovenian lucky loser Norbert Gombos, but still dropped out in three sets, 6-3 6-7 6-2. Second seed Benoit Paire‘s horror past 12 months continued with a disappointing 7-5 3-1 loss having to retire against Spaniard Jaume Munar.

In more predictable results, fourth seed Jan-Lennard Struff had his work cut out for him against a home nation favourite in wildcard Flavio Cobolli, but fought through three sets to win, 6-4 4-6 7-6. Fifth seed Richard Gasquet provided some relief for French tennis fans across the globe with a win against another Italian in qualifier Pedro Martinez 6-3 3-6 6-3, whilst eighth seed Yoshihito Nishioka easily took care of young gun Lorenzo Musetti in a shock straight sets win, 6-3 6-2.

In the remaining two results, the sole Italian winner of the day in wildcard Marco Cecchinato got up courtesy of a 7-5 6-2 win over seventh seed Slovenian Aljaz Bedene, whilst sixth seed United States representative Tommy Paul took down Czech Jiri Vesely in a come-from-behind victory, 6-7 7-6 6-3.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [1] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-1 7-5
Jaume Munar (ESP) defeated [2] Benoit Paire (FRA) 7-5 3-1 RET
[LL] Norbert Gombos (SLO) defeated [3] Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 6-3 6-7 6-2
[4] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [WC] Flavio Cobolli (ITA) 6-4 4-6 7-6
[5] Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated [Q] Pedro Martinez (ITA) 6-3 3-6 6-3
[6] Tommy Paul (USA) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-7 7-6 6-3
[WC] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated [7] Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 7-5 6-2
[8] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 6-3 6-2

BELGRADE OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[Q] Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated [2] Gael Monfils (FRA) 6-1 3-6 7-6
[Q] Andrej Martin (SLO) defeated [3] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-1 4-6 7-6
[5] Dusan Lajovic (CRO) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-3 6-4
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 7-6 3-6 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BELGRADE OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

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

EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

Picture credit: Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Shapovalov to face Ruud in Geneva final

TOP three seeds Denis Shapovalov and Casper Ruud are through to the final of the 2021 Gonet Geneva Open following respective straight sets wins in their semi-finals overnight. The second seeded Shapovalov defeated Uruguayan qualifier Pablo Cuevas 6-4 7-5, while Ruud continued his great success on clay with a 6-3 6-2 triumph over Spain’s Pablo Andujar.

Shapovalov needed one hour and 42 minutes to knock off Cuevas in straight sets, serving eight aces to four, and winning 75 per cent of his first serve points off a 67 per cent clip. Both players tried to take advantage off their opponents’ second serve, with Shapovalov breaking four times from 10 chances, and Cuevas twice from five chances.

“I do enjoy faster tennis, but [clay] is not really just an adjustment, I just have to be a little bit more patient and play a little bit safer or smarter perhaps,” Shapovalov said post-match. “You have to actually almost like play chess and and construct the points.”

After finding out Ruud was his opponent for the Geneva Open final, Shapovalov said he was looking forward to the first official ATP Tour head-to-head clash, though they were familiar with each other.

“I know Casper very well,” Shapovalov said. “We played in the juniors together and we go way back. He’s improved a lot. He’s playing at a really high level the past couple of weeks, the past couple of months. So it’s going to be a fun battle tomorrow.”

Ruud was even more efficient, scoring the strong win over Andujar in just one hour and 19 minutes. Serving at a 69 per cent efficiency, Ruud won 79 and 69 per cent of his points on serve – only dropping 10 in total – whilst Andujar was 56 per cent off both though a 73 per cent clip. In the end, Ruud broke four times from nine break point opportunities, without ever having to face a break point chance himself.

“Denis has also been playing very good on the surface recently and took [Rafael] Nadal to his knees last week in Rome and had match points,” Ruud said post-match of his chances against Shapovalov. “And I was watching the match. He was playing very well and has been playing well here as well.”

Meanwhile over in Lyon, three of the four quarter finals were completed following rain delays in the previous days. Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised through with a strong win over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, setting up a semi-final clash with Italian young gun Lorenzo Musetti. The teenager knocked off Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene to secure the spot in the final four. Meanwhile Karen Khachanov took care of Richard Gasquet in a tight two-setter 6-4 7-6, and will now await the winner of Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie and French lucky loser Arthur Rinderknecht who play first-up today and then double up with the semi-final at night.

GONET GENEVA OPEN SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated [Q] Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-4 7-5
[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-3 6-2

OPEN PARC AUVERGNE-RHONE-ALPES QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-3 6-4
[8] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-1 7-6
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-3 7-6

Picture credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Norrie claims Thiem scalp as Shapovalov and Cuevas go two from two for the day

IT was another huge day on clay in both Switzerland and France as both the Geneva Open and Lyon Open played out the Round of 16, whilst Geneva also saw the quarter finals completed.

It took an impressive effort, but two from three of the Round of 16 victors at Geneva made their way through two matches in the one day to head into the semi finals. Denis Shapovalov continued his solid form, first outclassing qualifier Marco Cecchinato in a 6-7 7-5 6-1 matchup, before backing it up with a 6-4 6-4 win over fellow Round of 16 winner in Laslo Djere. Djere was also tested in his Round of 16 matchup and could not compare against a tough Shapovalov effort following an Italian three setter of his own against sixth seed Fabio Fognini, only able to claim the ‘W’ over one seed for the day.

“I definitely think I played amazing today,” Shapovalov said. “Obviously a very tough day playing two matches, but super happy to get the win and super excited to be in the semi-finals.”

Shapovalov will take on qualifier Pablo Cuevas in the semis, after the Uruguayan also won both of his matches on the day, first ending teen wildcard Arthur Cazaux‘s run with a 6-2 6-4 victory and then downing fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 6-3.

“We’ve only played once before on hard courts and he beat me there,” Shapovalov said about Cuevas. “He’s an amazing clay-court player, so it will definitely be a tough battle ahead of me.”

The other semi-final will comprise of third seed Norwegian Casper Ruud and Spaniard Pablo Cuevas, after both players came from behind to claim three set victories over Dominik Koepfer and Dominic Stephan Stricker, respectively.

“It was a tough match. Dominik played very well in the first set, I think. He answered me with great backhands when I tried to play heavy down to his backhand corner,” Ruud said. “I think I was able to find a way today and I was happy with the way I was playing in the second and third sets.”

At Lyon, it was a different story entirely with just the Round of 16 playing and a whopping four seeds falling at the hurdle. The biggest of the lot saw Cameron Norrie claim his maiden top five victory over Dominic Thiem, with the returning Austrian unable to compete with the firing Brit in a shaky 6-3 6-2 clash.

“I’m so pleased to win today, it’s the biggest win of my career and my highest-ranked win,” Norrie said post-match. “It’s such a beautiful day in Lyon… I couldn’t be happier to get the win today and to get another match on the clay before Roland Garros.”

Norrie won a whopping 91 per cent of points off his first serve off a 73 per cent clip, showcasing just what he is capable of in the 65 minute victory.

“I’m moving well and I’ve played a lot of matches [on clay],” Norrie said. “I’m feeling good on my feet and hitting my forehand well and serving well. I’m looking forward to the next match, it’s going to be a tricky one as both those guys are great players.”

“It was a huge disappointment just now. Just also a big, I would stay, step backwards after promising tournaments in Madrid and Rome. I don’t really know why,” Thiem said. “I was preparing well here, practising well and just didn’t find any rhythm, any strokes. Don’t really know what happened.

“It’s not good for the confidence. To be honest, the way I played today, I was expecting that more to come in Madrid because I hadn’t played for so long,” Thiem said. “But now I was back in the match rhythm and actually hoping for good tennis. I don’t know what to say or what to think. That’s why I need to analyse it and just need to work hard for Roland Garros and [I am] hoping for the best there.”

Thiem is joined on the sidelines by third, fifth and sixth seeds in Diego SchwartzmanGael Monfils and Jannik Sinner, with the former and latter downed by hometown hopefuls in Richard Gasquet and Arthur Rinderknech on home soil, while Monfils was downed by Japanese left-hander Yoshihito Nishioka. The only winning seed for the day was Stefanos Tsitsipas, with the second seed Greek overcoming American Tommy Paul with ease in 75 minutes, 6-1 6-4, becoming the first player to rack up 30 wins for the season thus far in the process.

“I [took] control of the match from early on, and after that I didn’t let go,” Tsitsipas said post-match. “I had a few opportunities in the second set to go up a double break and I missed a shot that I felt like I shouldn’t have missed. But [overall] I was playing good tennis today. I was able to move him around the court and find angles, press with my forehand. It wasn’t my best day on serve, but I found solutions when things proved difficult.”

GONET GENEVA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[2] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated [Q] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-7 7-5 6-1
Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated [6] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-3 6-7 6-1
[Q] Pablo Cuevas (URU) defeated [WC] Arthur Cazaux (FRA) 6-2 6-4

GONET GENEVA OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[2] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-4 6-4
[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 2-6 6-1 6-4
[Q] Pablo Cuevas (URU) defeated [4] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-6 6-3
Pablo Andujar (ESP) defeated [WC] Dominic Stephan Stricker (SUI) 4-6 6-4 6-4

OPEN PARC AUVERGNE-RHONE-ALPES LYON ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [1] Dominic Thiem (AUT) 6-3 6-2
[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Tommy Paul (USA) 6-1 6-4
Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated [3] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-3 7-5
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated [5] Gael Monfils (FRA) 4-6 6-3 7-6
[LL] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) defeated [6] Jannik Sinner (ITA) 6-7 6-2 7-5

Picture credit: Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Roger ousted in opening match

JUST the one Round of 16 match played out across the two ATP 250 events on Day 2, as both the Gonet Geneva Open in Switzerland and Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon in France continue. But that one match saw Spaniard Pablo Andujar oust top seed and returnee Roger Federer, with the result the biggest win of Andujar’s career.

While Federer bounced back well after a shaky first set, it was the Spaniard who broke away from a 2-4 start to the third to eventually claim the win that made it such a triumph, eventually claiming the 6-4 4-6 6-4 victory and winning the remaining four games of the match to win in just under two hours.

“As [far as wins, this is] number one for sure,” Andujar said. “To win a tournament could be more emotional, but this is something I think I will remember my whole life.”

Whilst Federer was form from his career-best, returning to the clay for the first time this year and playing his first match since mid-March, the Spaniard had a clear game plan for negating the Swiss Master’s influence across the court.

“I was trying to keep the gap between the games small, trying to have faith that he was going to serve a little bit with second serves and at that moment I hoped I would have the chance to break him,” Andujar said. “For me it was very difficult, I couldn’t see his serve and he was serving pretty well, so it was difficult for me to return. I just got the chance at 4-3 when he didn’t serve with first serves and lucky me, I was able to break him.”

This is Federer’s first loss on home soil in Switzerland since 2013, but Andujar admitted Federer was not at his most potent, with the Swiss talent himself suggesting that he did not deserve a victory.

“Of course he’s much better than me and if he plays a [normal] match, he would beat me for sure. But I don’t think he played a really bad match,” Andujar said. “That’s my point of view. I think in some of the points, in some of the facets of the match, he played pretty well. I couldn’t return his serve, his first stroke after the serve is always very good. During the match, there were some good points.”

“Of course at 4-2 in the third you feel like, ‘Oh, that’s nice that I was able to turn around the match.’ You start feeling better and that’s when it dips and everything is over 10 minutes later,” Federer said. “But we know how tennis goes and that’s where it’s so brutal sometimes. But I feel like I didn’t deserve it at the end. There was just not enough happening in my game.”

In the rest of the day’s action, the remainder of the Round of 32 was complete with just one seed playing in sixth seed Fabio Fognini, claiming a speedy 6-2 6-2 victory over Argentinian Guido Pella. Qualifier Marco Cecchinato joins his higher ranked compatriot in the second round following a retirement mid-match from Stefano Travaglia, well on track to win in two before the 29-year-old pulled out of the matchup at 6-3 3-0.

A couple more qualifiers in Pablo Cuevas and Ilya Ivashka claimed straight set wins with the former downing a perhaps fatigued Reilly Opelka, who came in fresh off a run to the Rome Masters semi finals, and the latter cleaning up veteran Fernando Verdasco.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Swiss wildcard Dominic Stephan Stricker downed Croatian Marin Cilic, Hungarian Marton Fucsovics defeated Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen and Feliciano Lopez claimed victory over lucky loser Daniel Altmaier, with all three winning in straight sets, as Laslo Djere was tested in the only three setter in the day’s Round of 32 proceedings, eventually overcoming Brazilian Thiago Monteiro.

Meanwhile in Lyon, it was another shaky day for Frenchmen as just Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet proceeded to the Round of 16 from a pool of five. Fifth seed Monfils was tested by Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild in their 7-5 6-4 clash and Gasquet was forced to come from behind against compatriot and qualifier Gregoire Barrere, eventually claiming the 5-7 6-4 6-3 victory with his ability to save Barrere’s break point opportunities proving crucial.

Eighth seed Karen Khachanov was certainly put through his paces by wildcard Benjamin Bonzi in a tough two hour and 19 minute, 6-1 4-6 7-6(4) battle. Khachanov weathered Bonzi’s 10 aces and hit seven of his one, with his marginally better second serve efficiency proving to be the match winner.

19-year-old Italian Lorenzo Musetti had the tough task of taking down seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, but that’s exactly what he did in a two hour and 46-minute blockbuster, 7-6 3-6 7-5. With a recent clash behind them, the Italian turned the tides on the 20-year-old Canadian this time around to record his fifth Top 20 victory.

“We played a really intense match, a real fight,” said Musetti. “I learned from the loss to Felix in Barcelona. It’s a good start and I hope to continue like that.”

While errors crept into both youngsters’ games, it was the Italian who was able to maintain composure, and despite winning the exact same total points as Auger Aliassime (104 apiece), claimed the victory.

The remaining matches saw qualifier Kamil Majchrzak defeat Joao Sousa, while Tommy Paul also reigned supreme over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

GONET GENEVA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Guido Pella (ARG) 6-2 6-2
[Q] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-3 3-0 RET
[Q] Pablo Cuevas (URU) defeated Reilly Opelka (USA) 7-6 6-2
Laslo Djere (SRB) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-7 6-3 7-5
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [Q] Henri Laaksonen (SUI) 7-5 7-5
[Q] Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 7-6 6-4
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) defeated [LL] Daniel Altmaier (GER) 7-6 6-4
[WC] Dominic Stephan Stricker (SUI) defeated Marin Cilic (CRO) 7-6 6-1

GONET GENEVA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Pablo Andujar (ESP) defeated [1] Roger Federer (SUI) 6-4 4-6 6-4

OPEN PARC AUVERGNE-RHONE-ALPES LYON ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Gael Monfils (FRA) defeated [LL] Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) 7-5 6-4
[ALT] Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated [7] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 7-6 3-6 7-5
[8] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated [WC] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 6-1 4-6 7-6
Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated [Q] Gregoire Barrere (FRA) 5-7 6-4 6-3
[Q] Kamil Majchrzak (POL) defeated [Q] Joao Sousa (POR) 6-3 7-6
Tommy Paul (USA) defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-3 6-3

Picture credit: Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Internazionali BNL d’Italia begins

THE 2021 Internazionali BNL d’Italia Masters 1000 event in Rome has begun, with four matches playing out on the opening day of the tournament and both of the day’s seeds heading to the second round.

Eleventh seed Pablo Carreno Busta has already gone one better than his disappointing Madrid Open first round loss last week, outclassing Laslo Djere in a 4-6 6-3 6-1 contest. He still required two hours and 12 minutes to get the win on the board, but overall was far cleaner on serve winning 85 per cent of points off a 64 per cent clip. Whilst his second serve (12 points of 27 at 44 per cent) was not quite as effective, Carreno Busta did not have to rely on it as much as Djere, who won 16 of 37 at 43 per cent and just seven points off Carreno Busta’s first serve.

Comparatively, 12th seed David Goffin took a break before competing in Rome, and it paid off as he completed a classy 6-4 6-1 sweep of Italian wildcard Salvatore Caruso in 82 minutes. Despite a solid start from the homegrown hopeful, Goffin was more consistent converting seven break points and saving three of Caruso’s six chances on his way to winning 58 per cent of the total points to claim victory.

Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime put in a huge effort to overcome similarly unseeded Serbian Filip Krajinovic, taking out the first set and looking to goods to win the second, too, leading 5-4 before Krajinovic broke back to extend the match to three sets. Auger-Aliassime stepped up once more though in the third, winning the first two games of the final set to eventually claim the 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4 victory. The Canadian 20-year-old hit seven double faults for 12 aces throughout the two hour and 45-minute encounter, winning 72 per cent of his first serve points but allowed Krajinovic to convert nine of 15 break points.

“I’m really happy,” said Auger-Aliassime. “[It was] a tough match. I’m happy I was able to win today. You’ve got to believe and be resilient at times. I wanted to win badly, so I dug deep and I found a way.”

The remaining match of the day was also the quickest, as American Reilly Opelka downed Frenchman Richard Gasquet in just under 66 minutes, hitting 18 aces to two on his way to the 6-1 7-5 victory.

INTERNAZIONALI BNL D’ITALIA ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[11] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 4-6 6-3 6-1
[12] David Goffin (BEL) defeated [W] Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-4 6-1
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 6-3 6-7 6-4
Reilly Opelka (USA) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-1 7-5

Picture credit: Corinne Dubreuil/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