Tag: salvatore caruso

ATP Tour wrap: Eastbourne Day 1 rained out as Ruud and Khachanov claim wins at Mallorca

THE opening day at Eastbourne was rained out, seeing the event pushed back a day as Day 2 went business as usual at the Mallorca Championships in Spain.

Two of the three seeds proved successful on the second day, as Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov both claimed wins to open their accounts in the first round. Ruud required one hour and 39 minutes to earn victory over Frenchman Gilles Simon, utilising his 80 per cent winning rate off his first serve to come away with the 6-4 7-6(4) result. Whilst Ruud was not quite as potent off his second serve, winning just seven points from 16 chances, he saved three of four break points and converted three of his five break point opportunities.

Khachanov needed three sets, and two hours and 14 minutes to claim the win over a second Frenchman, qualifier Lucas Pouille, 7-6(7) 3-6 6-4. He hit 13 aces throughout the encounter, overcoming a second set deficit to fight back to his opening set form and used his consistency to power through Pouille’s efforts. Things went differently for eighth seed Dusan Lajovic though, as the Serbian fell to qualifier Lukas Klein 6-4 7-6(2). Despite hitting seven aces for zero double faults to Klein’s four and four, Lajovic was not as effective on the return, winning just 24 points off Klein’s service games. Klein, to his credit, won 53 per cent of points overall in a solid match for the Slovakian.

A trio of Spaniards played on home soil, with just one in Feliciano Lopez earning the win. Lopez defeated qualifying compatriot Nicola Kuhn 6-1 7-6(4). Despite dominating the first set, Kuhn came out flying in the second with a point to prove, with just the tiebreaker not going the qualifier’s way. Overall, Lopez won an excellent 84 per cent of points off his first serve, and backed it up with a 64 per cent winning rate off his second in a fairly consistent showing.

The third Spaniard in Jaume Munar fell to Tennys Sandgren 7-6(3) 7-5, with that matchup taking just a tick over two hours, while the battle between Italian Stefano Travaglia and Argentinian Guido Pella went the same distance, but with reversed results 7-5 7-6(4), as the Italian claimed the tight win. Travaglia’s compatriot Salvatore Caruso was not quite so lucky, falling to Czech Jiri Vesely 7-6 6-2, whilst the remaining matchup of the day between Corentin Moutet and Lloyd Harris saw at least one Frenchman get the chocolates, beating the South African 6-4 6-2.

MALLORCA CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-4 7-6
[6] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated [Q] Lucas Pouille (FRA) 7-6 3-6 6-4
[Q] Lukas Klein (SVK) defeated [8] Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-4 7-6
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) defeated [Q] Nicola Kuhn (ESP) 6-1 7-6
Corentin Moutet (FRA) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-4 6-2
Tennys Sandgren (USA) defeated Jaume Munar (ESP) 7-6 7-5
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated Guido Pella (ARG) 7-5 7-6
Jiri Vesely (CZE) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 7-6 6-2

 

Picture credit: Quality Sport Images

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: 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: Geneva and Lyon events begin

TWO ATP 250 events have begun this week, with tournaments in Geneva and Lyon shaping up with their respective Round of 32. Four matches played out at both events on the opening day, with six of the seven French competitors falling across the two tournaments on a huge first day in both Switzerland and France.

At Geneva, Dominik Koepfer and Arthur Cazaux were the two big winners of the day disposing of French seeded duo, Benoit Paire and Adrian Mannarino. Koepfer may have lost the first set but that did not stop him from testing out-of-form seventh seed Paire, with a better service efficiency paying off despite hitting six double faults for three aces. While Paire won 82 per cent of his first serve points (60/73), Koepfer’s 66/98 off a 67 per cent clip paid off as he backed it up with a marginally better 51 per cent win rate off his second serve in the 6-7(8) 7-6(5) 6-4 contest. Koepfer saved a whopping 17 break points of Paire’s 19 chances, showcasing his strong defensive game to remain on top of the contest.

Meanwhile, teen French wildcard Cazaux took the court for his first ATP Tour-level match and claimed his first win in one fell swoop, with a 6-3 6-7 6-3 sweep of compatriot Mannarino. He required just under two and a half hours to defeat the eighth seed, hitting 10 aces and showing immense control to come back from the 6-7(5) second set to take out the victory.

“It’s something very great. It’s a big win for me today. It’s the biggest win of my life,” Cazaux said. “I’m so grateful and I hope to continue in this tournament.”

Overall, Cazaux won 72 per cent of his service points off a 60 per cent clip, and whilst his return could do with some improving, it was at a greater efficiency than his experienced opposition who failed to adjust to the 18-year-old’s exciting style of play, which included a ‘tweener’ during the second set.

“When I hit the shot, I didn’t think about nothing. I had my back to the net and I just hit the shot. I didn’t ask any questions in my head,” Cazaux said. “It was a big shot. I’m so happy I hit this shot.”

The remaining two matches saw straight sets victories go to Spaniard Pablo Andujar and American Tennys Sandgren, with the former downing Australian Jordan Thompson in less than 90 minutes, while the latter required an hour and 47 minutes to take down Italian Salvatore Caruso.

At Lyon, none of the home nation’s talent headed through to the second round in a disastrous and rainy day of action, as three of the four winners only required two sets to proceed. The quickest win of the day went to Aljaz Bedene, as the Slovenian downed former top 10 veteran, Gilles Simon. Bedene won 84 per cent of his service points in a classy 6-2 6-3 win, whilst also winning 48 per cent on return and converting four break points in a one-sided one hour and 16 minute contest.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert had a strong start against American Sebastian Korda but fell away in the second, registering nine double faults throughout as Korda cleaned up on serve, winning 78 per cent of his first serve points to claim the 7-6(5) 6-4 victory. Cameron Norrie registered a similarly solid win 7-5 6-3 in just over 90 minutes, utilising Corentin Moutet‘s shaky second serve to his advantage to win 49 per cent of his return points to go with a serviceable 60 per cent service game winning rate.

The remaining matchup saw Yoshihito Nishioka claim victory in Lyon’s only three-setter for the day, overcoming Ugo Humbert 3-6 6-3 6-4 after a shaky start. While Humbert was solid on serve, winning 70 per cent of his first serve points (37/53) off a 64 per cent clip (53/83), Nishioka pipped him at the post winning 43 points of a possible 66, despite a lower percentage efficiency on both to claim the ascendancy and ultimately the victory. The Japanese 25-year-old saved 12 break points from Humbert’s 15 chances and converted four of nine, eventually winning 51 per cent of the overall points (95 to Humbert’s 92) in a tough, yet even, clash.

GONET GENEVA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS: 

Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated [7] Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-7 7-6 6-4
[WC] Arthur Cazaux (FRA) defeated [8] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-3 6-7 6-3
Pablo Andujar (ESP) defeated Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-0 6-4
Tennys Sandgren (USA) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-3 6-4

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

Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-2 6-3
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Corentin Moutet (FRA) 7-5 6-3
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 7-6 6-4
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Ugo Humbert (FRA) 3-6 6-3 6-4

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: Beltings galore as top seeds return at Monte Carlo Masters

TOP seeds and clay court specialists made their way through to the third round of the 2021 Monte Carlo Masters event, with a massively one-sided day of results. As the 14 remaining matches in the second round were completed, just one of those – Frenchman’s Lucas Pouille‘s victory over Australian Alexei Popyrin – went went to three sets. Pouille won 7-5 2-6 6-3 in by far the closest match of the day, in an overall event that was highly one-sided.

The only other straight sets match that at least looked like the eventual loser might take a set, was 14th seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov‘s hard fought win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, 7-6 6-4. The remaining head-to-heads did not get beyond 10 games in a set, with the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal returning to wipe the court with Argentinian qualifier Federico Delbonis, whilst top seed Novak Djokovic reminded everyone what he was capable of, dismissing Italian young gun Jannik Sinner in straight sets 6-4 6-2, on his return from injury since claiming his ninth Australian Open title.

“It was solid match,” Nadal said post-match. “Of course, a very positive result. He’s a good player on clay… Nothing unbelievable, but nothing wrong. “Just a solid match, a positive start. “I think I did what I had to do today.”

Other top six seeds that advanced were fifth seed Alexander Zverev and sixth seed Andrey Rublev, who knocked out a couple more Italians in Lorenzo Sonego and Salvatore Caruso. It was a forgettable round for the European nation, as Belgian David Goffin defeated Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-0, with the quartet joining Matteo Berrettini – who lost to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina the day before – as omissions from the tournament. There was one more upset in the top eight seeds though, with clay court specialist Casper Ruud getting up over seventh seed Diego Schwartzman. The Norwegian won 6-3 6-3 to advance through to the third round.

The only other seed to fall on the day was 13th seed Hubert Hurkacz, who despite good form of late, went down to Brit Daniel Evans rather comfortably, 6-4 6-1. The sole Italian to win on the day and through to the Round of 16 was Fabio Fognini, with the 15th seed winning 6-3 6-3 against Australian Jordan Thompson. The Aussie was one of three Australians to fall in the second round, leaving none alive in the tournament, as John Millman suffered a 6-1 6-4 defeat at the hands of clay courter and 16th seed Cristian Garin, whilst qualifier Popyrin lost in that three-set match to Pouille.

In other results, Spanish seeded duo Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta joined Nadal in the next round with straight sets wins over American Tommy Paul and Russian Karen Khachanov, whilst Serbian Filip Krajinovic cruised through with a dominant 6-0 6-3 triumph over Argentinian lucky loser Juan Ignacio Londero. To recap yesterday’s Round of 32 results, Davidovich Fokina and Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas both won to round out the final 16 players in the Monte Carlo Masters third round.

MONTE CARLO MASTERS ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Jannik Sinner (ITA) 6-4 6-2
[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated [Q] Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-1 6-2
[5] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 6-3 6-3
[6] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated [Q] Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-3 6-2
Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [7] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-3 6-3
[9] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Tommy Paul (USA) 6-3 6-4
[11] David Goffin (BEL) defeated [Q] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-4 6-0
[12] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-2 6-3
Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated [13] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-4 6-1
[14] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 7-6 6-4
[15] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-3 6-3
[16] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated John Millman (AUS) 6-1 6-4
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated [LL] Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 6-0 6-3
[WC] Lucas Pouille (FRA) defeated [Q] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 75- 2-6 6-3

ATP Tour wrap: Popyrin’s stunning turnaround confirms second round spot

AUSTRALIAN young gun Alexei Popyrin has produced a stunning comeback after dropping the first set to love, to book a second round spot in the 2021 Monte Carlo Masters 1000 event. Popyrin fell 6-0 down against Spaniard Pablo Andujar, then somehow managed to pick himself off the canvas to post a 0-6 6-2 7-6 victory in one hour and 58 minutes.

Popyrin served seven aces for five double faults, a far better ratio than his opponent, though Andujar was much more efficient with his serve, producing a 65 per cent efficiency to the Australian’s 47 per cent. Popyrin also won 71 per cent of his first serve points compared to Andujar’s 66 per cent. Neither player was particularly dominant on their second serve, with Popyrin taking 56 per cent of the points off Andujar, while the Spaniard won 48 per cent of Popyrin’s second serve. In the end just four points separated the players as Popyrin won 91 to 87 in the match.

The Australian – who had to come through qualifying – moved to a 12-4 record this season, and won his 14th tiebreaker from 17 chances, a remarkable amount of tiebreakers in just 15 matches – greater than one per match. His maiden title in Singapore has seen him get on the board on the ATP Tour, but he also has four Top 50 victories to his name, and will now take on French wildcard Lucas Pouille in the second round. Popyrin has an open draw into the the quarter finals if he is good enough, following Alejandro Davidovich Fokina‘s upset of Matteo Berrettini.

Davidovich Fokina defeated the eighth seed Italian 7-5 6-3 in their clash, to book a spot in the third round and await the winner of Popyrin and Pouille. The pair met at the Australian Open third round last year, with the Frenchman winning an absolute classic in five sets, 7-6 6-3 6-7 4-6 6-3 after the Australian came from two sets down to force a fifth set, including holding his nerve in the third set to win the tiebreaker 12-10.

Davidovich Fokina was pleased with his upset of Berrettini to advance and have a rest before his next match, and noted he was aware that the Italian rising talent was returning from injury.

“I’m very happy with this win. I’m very excited to defeat a Top 10 player,” Davidovich Fokina said post-match. “Last year I faced a couple of Top 10 players and I came close, but I couldn’t close them out. “But here I am improving every day, I’m playing better and better. “I also knew that Matteo was coming back from an injury and he wouldn’t have a lot of rhythm. I was able to take advantage of that today.”

The other Round of 32 match saw fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas advance with a straight sets win over the dangerous Aslan Karatsev, 6-3 6-4. The Greek star will now await the winner of 16th seed clay court specialist Cristian Garin and Australian John Millman. In other results, the seeds all advanced with Spanish duo Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta, Pole Hubert Hurkacz, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Italian Fabio Fognini all joining Garin – who knocked off Canadian young gun Felix Auger-Aliassime – in the second round.

Norwegian Casper Ruud set up a tantalising clash with fellow clay courter Diego Schwartzman, as Argentinian qualifier Federico Delbonis advanced past Adrian Mannarino to have the tough job of matching Rafael Nadal on the clay. Italian teenager Jannik Sinner got past Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3 6-4 and now faces top seed Novak Djokovic in the Serbian’s first match since his Australian Open triumph. It was not a great day for the Serbians overall, with Miomir Kecmanovic, Dusan Lajovic and Laslo Djere all knocked out in the first round, and Filip Krajinovic advancing thanks to a retirement from Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili. Other winners were Great Britain’s Daniel Evans, France’s Jeremy Chardy, Russia’s Karen Khachanov and a trio of Italians in Lorenzo Sonego, and qualifiers Marco Cecchinato and Salvatore Caruso.

MONTE CARLO MASTERS ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 6-3 6-4
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated [8] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 7-5 6-3

MONTE CARLO MASTERS ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

[9] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-2 7-5
[12] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated [Q] Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 7-5 7-6
[13] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated [Q] Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 6-3 3-6 6-3
[14] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-3 6-4
[15] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 6-2 7-5
[16] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 7-6 6-1
Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 6-3 6-4
Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 6-3 6-7 6-2
[WC] Lucas Pouille (FRA) defeated Guido Pella (ARG) 6-3 6-4
Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-4 6-1
[Q] Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated [Q] Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-4 6-3
[Q] Salvatore Caruso (ITA) defeated [WC] Lucas Catarina (POL) 6-7 7-6 6-3
Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated [WC] Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (DEN) 6-2 6-1
Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-3 6-4
[Q] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 7-5 6-1
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-4 0-6 7-5
[Q] Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated Pablo Andujar (ESP) 0-6 6-2 7-6
Filip Krajinovic (SRB) defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-1 2-0

ATP Miami Open 1000: Ivashka wins in three tiebreakers, as Aussies advance

TWO retirements, three tiebreak sets over more than three hours, and a couple of Australians back on the winners list, there was plenty to talk about at the 2021 ATP Miami Open on Thursday.

The epic three-set, three-tiebreaker match went down to the wire over three hours and 18 minutes, before Belarusian Ilya Ivashka got up over South Korean Soonwoo Kwon, 7-6 6-7 7-6. The first two tiebreakers were 7-4 in favour of the opposite opponents before Ivashka got up 7-3 in the deciding tiebreaker. He served 20 aces and won 71 per cent of his first serve points off a 72 per cent efficiency, breaking his opponent four times, while Kwon won 74 per cent of his first serves of a 55 per cent clip, breaking four times from 11 chances himself.

Elsewhere it was a great start for Australian duo, Jordan Thompson and Thanasi Kokkinakis. Thompson overcame Argentinian Federico Delbonis in two tight sets 7-6 6-4, while qualifier Kokkinakis won on his return to the court in Miami with a 6-3 6-3 victory over fellow qualifier, Japan’s Shintaro Mochizuki. A 17-year-old talent, Mochizuki is a former junior world number one who claimed the 2019 Wimbledon junior title and is currently ranked 630th in the world.

There were plenty of home nation talents out on the court, with a number of them getting up in victories. United States representatives Bjorn Fratangelo, Sebastian Korda, Denis Kudla and Tennys Sandgren all won through to the next round of the tournament. Qualifier Frantangelo defeated Fernando Verdasco in straight sets, while Korda inflicted the same defeat on Romanian Radu Albot, Kudla knocked off Jeremy Chardy in a tight three-set battle, while Sandgren only needed 12 games before Spaniard Pedro Martinez retired, leading 6-4 2-0. Michael Mmoh was the only American to lose out on the day, going down 6-4 6-4 to Italian young gun Lorenzo Musetti, 6-4 6-4.

In other straight sets results, lucky loser Damir Dzumhur toppled veteran South African Kevin Anderson in a close one 7-6 7-6, while Yasutaka Uchiyama and Daniel Elahi Galan both won in two sets against Salvatore Caruso and Thiago Seyboth Wild respectively. Croatian Marin Cilic had a tougher assignment against Federico Coria getting up 6-3 2-6 6-4, while Miomir Kecmanovic also needed three sets to topple British qualifier Liam Broady.

MIAMI OPEN ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[Q] Bjorn Frantangelo (USA) defeated Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-4 6-4
Sebastian Korda (USA) defated Radu Albot (ROU) 6-3 6-0
[Q] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) defeated [Q] Shintaro Mochizuki (JPN) 6-3 6-3
Denis Kudla (USA) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 3-6 6-3 6-4
Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Federico Coria (ARG) 6-3 2-6 6-4
[LL] Damir Dzumhur (BIH) defeated [PR] Kevin Anderson (RSA) 7-6 7-5
Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) defeated [WC] Jack Draper (GBR) 7-5 0-0 RET
Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated Federico Delbonis (ARG) 7-6 6-4
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) defeated [Q] Liam Broady (GBR) 7-5 6-7 6-1
Tennys Sandgren (USA) defeated Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-4 2-0 RET
Ilya Ivashka (BLR) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 7-6 6-7 7-6
Yasutaka Uchiyama (JPN) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-3 6-4
Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated [Q] Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) 6-3 6-4
Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) defeated Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-4 6-4
Christopher O’Connell (AUS) vs. Joao Sousa (POR)
Aljaz Bedene (SLO) vs. [Q] Thomas Fabbiano (ITA)

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Harris stuns Thiem in Dubai

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DUBAI TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

 

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

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

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

ABIERTO MEXICANO ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

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

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Tight encounters galore as a trio of ATP 250 tournaments begin

A TRIO of ATP 250 tournaments have begun this week, with Qatar and Marseille hosting hardcourt competitions, whilst the clay season has begun in Chile. The opening day at each tournament has not provided too much to be shocked about, although a couple of early seeds falling has certainly set the tone.

At Qatar, just the one seed competed on Day 1 as Roberto Bautista Agut took on Reilly Opelka, coming away with the 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory in just over two hours. Meanwhile, Nikoloz Basilashvili overcame a shocking start against Australian John Millman to dispose of the higher ranked player – by one ranking place – 2-6 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 52 minutes. The remaining four matches of the day played out in straight sets, though just one played out to the same degree as the former two as Taylor Fritz overcame a tough Lorenzo Sonego for a 7-6 6-4 victory in one hour and 57 minutes. Meanwhile, wildcard Aslan Karatsev came away with the quickest victory of the day in 65 minutes over Qatar wildcard Mubarak Shannan Zayid 6-4 6-0, as Richard Gasquet and Alexander Bublik also joined the Day 1 winners circle.

QATAR OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Reilly Opelka (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated John Millman (AUS) 2-6 6-4 6-2
Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [Q] Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) 6-4 6-2
Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 7-6 6-4
Richard Gasquet (FRA) defeated [Q] Blaz Rola (SLO) 6-4 6-4
[WC] Aslan Karatsev (RUS) defeated [WC] Mubarak Shannan Zayid (QAT) 6-4 6-0

At the Open 13 Provence in Marseille, just three matches played out with one completed early, as Emil Ruusuvuori heads into the Round of 16 off the back of an early retirement from his opposition in eighth seed Yoshihito Nishioka, with the match done and dusted at 6-2 4-2. French wildcard Hugo Gaston completed an impressive victory over Top 100 Austrian Dennis Novak  with a 3-6 6-4 6-1 comeback, however it was the remaining match of the day that sparked interest as a 7-6(3) 6-7(5) 7-5 encounter between fifth seed Italian Jannik Sinner and Frenchman Gregoire Barrere went close to three hours in length. Whilst Baire won off his first serve at a better efficiency than Sinner (53 from 69 at 77 per cent), he had less opportunities which marginally allowed Sinner to reign supreme with 56 serve points won and a much better effectiveness on his second serve. Sinner also saved 10 break points, keeping on top of the contest, which went to two tiebreakers before completion.

OPEN 13 PROVENCE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated Gregoire Barrere (FRA) 7-6 6-7 7-5
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated [8] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) 6-2 4-2 (RET)
[WC] Hugo Gaston (FRA) defeated Dennis Novak (AUT) 3-6 6-4 6-1

At the lone clay court tournament of the week, one seed fell amongst some intriguing results in Santiago. A straight sets sweep from Roberto Carballes Baena over sixth seed Italian Salvatore Caruso was the significant result of the day, with the 6-4 7-6 result played out in one hour and 55 minutes, although an excellent scalp from Argentinian Facundo Bagnis over Italian Marco Cecchinato also kept things interesting. The 6-7 6-2 6-3 encounter was the longest over the day, marginally pipping the result of the matchup between Daniel Elahi Galan and Daniel Altmaier at the post by seven minutes. Elahi Galan was cleaner in victory than his German opposition, with an excellent first serve winning rate of 87 per cent paying off, with six aces for two double faults compared to Altmaier’s 14 for seven. Meanwhile, Pedro Sousa downed Argentinian Leonardo Mayer in 80 minutes, with the remaining match of the day between Frances Tiafoe and Nicolas Jarry yet to complete the first set, with a 6-6 tiebreaker setting up a huge encounter.

CHILE OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated [6] Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-4 7-6
Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-7 6-2 6-3
Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated Daniel Altmaier (GER) 7-6 3-6 7-5
Pedro Sousa (POR) defeated Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 6-2 6-4
Frances Tiafoe (USA) v. [WC] Nicolas Jarry (CHI)