Tag: sebastian korda

ATP 250 wraps: Humbert saves match points as Popyrin win ensures all-Australian quarter final

THERE were some huge results across the ATP Tour’s three tournaments played in France, Argentina and Singapore, as we wrap up the day’s action below.

Ugo Humbert overcame multiple match points to put away Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor in a thrilling match of the day in the Open Sud de France at Monypellier. In three nail-biting tiebreakers, Humbert lost the first one 7-4, then backed up with 7-5 and 7-5 in the final two tiebreakers, but it was Humbert’s fighting spirit looking down and out midway through the second set that shone through. The Frenchman was 7-6 5-2 down and had to fight off three match points in the ninth game to fight off the 160th ranked Griekspoor.

In a match that lasted two hours and 50 minutes, Humbert served one more ace (10-9) and two less double faults (2-4) as well as a superior 83 to 74 per cent first serve points success rate. In the end just seven points separated the players, with Humbert converting one of two break points in that second set, and saving eight of nine in a terrific defensive effort throughout the match.

“It was tough today. [Griekspoor] played at a great level,” Humbert said post-match. “I tried to stay combative. It was tough. [We played] three tie-breaks and I am super happy to win this match.”

Also having a fight on his hands, second seed Belgian David Goffin survived a thriller against French wildcard Benjamin Bonzi. Goffin has not been in the greatest form of late, but showed equal fighting spirit to come from a set down to win in three. The Belgian crucially broke the Frenchman in the eleventh game of the deciding set to successfully serve for the match, 4-6 6-4 7-5 after saving a break point in the final game.

Seventh seed Lorenzo Sonego made his way into the quarter finals with a straight sets win over American Sebastian Korda. The Italian had an easier time of it than his fellow seeds, getting up 6-3 6-2 to book his spot in the final eight.

Meanwhile in other results, the remaining three Round of 32 matches were completed with a couple of upsets. Slovenian Aljaz Bedene upset Italian young gun Jannik Sinner in a come-from-behind win 6-7 7-6 7-6, and French qualifier Gregoire Barrere set Georgian Top 40 talent Nikoloz Basilashvili packing in straight sets, 6-4 6-4. In the other first round match, Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina had to navigate three sets to knock off compatriot and qualifier, Berabe Zapata Miralles 7-6 5-7 6-2.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 16:

[6] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated [Q] Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 6-7 7-6 7-6
[7] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-3 6-2
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated [WC] Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 4-6 6-4 7-5

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 32:

Aljaz Bedene (SLO) defeated [5] Jannik Sinner (ITA) 3-6 6-2 7-6
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) defeated [Q] Berabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 7-6 5-7 6-2
[Q] Gregoire Barrere (FRA) defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-4 6-4

 

The first four players are through to the quarter finals in Singapore, with three seeds joining Australian Alexei Popyrin in the final eight. Thanks to Popyrin winning, it has guaranteed an Australian will make the semi-finals, with the other two remaining Aussies – second seed John Millman and wildcard Matthew Ebden – facing off later today to take on Popyrin in the quarter finals.

Popyrin fought hard to overcome Bulgarian wildcard Adrian Andreev, 6-1 5-7 6-3 to book his spot in the quarter finals. Also making their way into the last eight were a trio of seeds, with the third, fourth and fifth seeds all winning. Third seed Marin Cilic accounted for Japan’s Taro Daniel 7-5 6-4, while fourth seed Alexander Bublik and fifth seed Yoshihito Nishioka brushed aside Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek and American Maxime Cressy in straight sets respectively.

The last of the Round of 32 matches were also completed yesterday, with eighth seed Soonwoo Kwon surviving a thriller against United States qualifier, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski 4-6 6-3 6-4 to move into the second round. In the other results, Ebden defeated Indian Yuli Bhambri in straight sets 6-3 7-6, while Italian Roberto Marcora earned a date with top seed Adrian Mannarino later today after taking care of Latvian Ernests Gulbis, 7-5 6-4.

SINGAPORE OPEN ROUND OF 16:

[3] Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Taro Daniel (JPN) 7-5 6-4
[4] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [Q] Altug Celikbilek (TUR) 6-2 6-2
[5] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Maxime Cressy (USA) 6-4 6-2
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [WC] Adrian Andreev (BUL) 6-1 5-7 6-3

SINGAPORE OPEN ROUND OF 32:

[8] Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) defeated [Q] Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Roberto Marcora (ITA) defeated Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 7-5 6-4
[WC] Matthew Ebden (AUS) defeated [PR] Yuli Bhambri (IND) 6-3 7-6

 

There were plenty of fans who went home happy from the Cordoba Open, with six of the nine winners on the opening day coming from Argentina. The three other winners did not knock off an Argentinian either, so the maximum amount of talent from the host nation advanced through to the Round of 16, which allowed a minimum of two Argentinians to reach the quarter finals after setting up all-Argentinian Round of 16 matches.

Federico Coria caused the upset of the day, bundling out sixth seed German Dominik Koepfer in straight sets, 6-1 6-4. He advanced through to the next round to face compatriot and wildcard, Francisco Cerundolo. The 135th ranked Cerundolo upstaged Italian Gianluca Mager, coming back from a set down to win, 6-7 6-1 6-4.

Facundo Bagnis will get plenty of experience against his fellow Argentinians, having defeated wildcard Nicolas Kicker in straight sets in the first round, and will face eighth seed Federico Delbonis in the Round of 16. The qualifier defeated Kicker 6-1 6-4 to set up the Delbonis meeting, with the seed knocking off Portugal’s Pedro Sousa for the Round of 16 spot.

Another qualifier to advance through to the Round of 16 was Juan Manuel Cerundolo who toppled Brazilian young gun Thiago Seyboth Wild. Winning in two eight sets 7-5 7-6, Cerundolo will now have the tough task of taking on third seed Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic who had a bye in the opening round. Meanwhile Tomas Martin Etcheverry booked his Round of 16 spot with an upset win over Slovenia’s Andrej Martin, 6-3 7-6 and will take on Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the next match.

Other winners on the day was Thiago Monteiro who won through thanks to a straight sets victory over compatriot and lucky loser, Brazilian Joao Menezes, 6-3 6-3. Italian Marco Cecchinato advanced through to take on top seed Diego Schwartzman with a 6-2 4-6 6-1 win over Bolivian Hugo Dellien, while Robert Carballes Baena was too strong for Joao Sousa, winning 6-3 6-1 and the Spaniard will now take on Monteiro in the next round.

CORDOBA OPEN ROUND OF 32:

Federico Coria (ARG) defeated [6] Dominik Koepfer (GER) 6-1 6-4
[7] Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated [LL] Joao Menezes (BRA) 6-3 6-3
[8] Federico Delbonis (ARG) defeated Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-4 6-4
Marco Cecchinato (ITA) defeated Hugo Dellien (BOL) 6-2 4-6 6-1
Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 6-3 6-1
[Q] Facundo Bagnis (ARG) defeated [WC] Nicolas Kicker (ARG) 6-1 6-4
[Q] Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) defeated Andrej Martin (SLO) 6-3 7-6
[WC] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 6-7 6-1 6-4
[Q] Juan Manuel Cerundolo (ARG) defeated Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) 7-5 7-6

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP 250s wraps: Tsonga beaten on return as Popyrin claims win in Singapore

GRAND SLAM finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made his long-awaited return to the ATP Tour at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier yesterday, though it did not go plan. The former Top 10 talent was easily beaten by American Sebastian Korda in the first round of the ATP 250 event.

The match lasted just 72 minutes with Korda claiming the spoils, 6-4 6-2, dominating on serve and only dropping eight points in total, saving both of his opponent’s break point opportunities. Tsonga was far from his best, but getting through the match was the key, still winning 69 per cent of his first serve points, and serving five aces throughout the match. He saved three of six break points, but ultimately could not do enough against a player who has built form over the past 12 months.

It was better news for sixth seed Ugo Humbert, whose rise up the ATP Rankings continues following his straight sets win over Slovakian Norbert Gombos. Humbert won 6-4 7-6 in 78 minutes, slamming home 18 aces and winning 88 per cent of his first serve points off an elite 79 per cent efficiency to never give his opponent a chance. In Gombos’ defence, he held up well, actually breaking Humbert once from two chances, while the Frenchman broke him from both his opportunities. Overall the class of Humbert stood out and he advanced to the Round of 16.

In the final match played on day one of the main draw event, seventh seed Lorenzo Sonego battled past young Frenchman Hugo Gaston. The Italian won 6-3 6-7 6-1, holding his nerve in the third set after dropping the second set tiebreaker 9-7, to win in two hours and 19 minutes. He served seven aces and broke six times from 12 chances, while only being broken three times himself.

In today’s action, there are plenty more Frenchman on show, with Lucas Pouille taking on compatriot and wildcard Benjamin Bonzi, while Gilles Simon faces Austrian Dennis Novak. The match of the day could be either British wildcard and Grand Slam winner Andy Murray taking on Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, or Swede Mikael Ymer locking horns with Jiri Vesely.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[6] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-4 7-6
[7] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated [WC] Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-3 6-7 6-1
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-4 6-2

Five first round matches were completed in Singapore, with a mixed bag for the two seeds on court. Fifth seed Japanese counter puncher Yoshihito Nishioka defeated improving American Michael Mmoh 6-2 3-6 6-3, while seventh seed South African Lloyd Harris went down in three sets to Bulgarian wildcard Adrian Andreev.

Nishioka needed almost two hours to defeat Mmoh, surviving 11 aces to bring up 10 break point opportunities, albeit only taking three. It was two more than Mmoh who broke once in the second set, but could not do it again in the match. Meanwhile Andreev took two hours and 19 minutes to knock off the fast-serving Harris, not needing to serve and ace and even holding off 12 of 15 break point chances for the South African to win 1-6 6-3 6-4. The Bulgarian bounced back from a disappointing first set to post the impressive win over the developing Harris.

Andreev now takes on Australian Alexei Popyrin who knocked off American qualifier, Christopher Eubanks in two tiebreakers, 7-6 7-6, both of which were 7-5 tiebreakers. The match lasted one hour and 46 minutes, with Popyrin powering home 15 aces and saving 10 of 11 break points in a remarkable feat. He won 72 per cent of his first serve points, and also only broke Eubanks once, holding firm in the crucial tiebreakers to claim a narrow straight sets win.

In other Singapore results, United States’ Maxime Cressy became his nation’s sole winner on the day, downing Chinese Taipei’s Jason Jung in straight sets 7-6 6-2, while Japan’s Taro Daniel joined compatriot Nishioka in the second round after a tight three-set win over India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan, 6-3 6-7 6-3.

In today’s action, three Australians are out on court, with Marc Polmans up first against Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama. Following that match, qualifier John-Patrick Smith has to find a way to upstage sixth seed Macedonian Radu Albot, before James Duckworth takes to the court at night against German, Yannick Hanfmann.

SINGAPORE ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) defeated Michael Mmoh (USA) 6-2 3-6 6-3
[WC] Adrian Andreev (BUL) defeated [7] Lloyd Harris (RSA) 1-6 6-3 6-4
Maxime Cressy (USA) defeated Jason Jung (TAI) 7-6 6-2
Taro Daniel (JPN) defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) 6-3 6-7 6-3
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) defeated [Q] Christopher Eubanks (USA) 7-6 7-6

At the time of publishing, none of the day one matches had been completed in Cordoba, with the Argentinian tournament finishing off the third round of qualifying earlier in the day. The night session featured two Round of 32 matches which will be covered in tomorrow’s wrap, with Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan facing Slovakian Jozef Kovalik, followed by Spaniard Jaume Munar taking on Chilean wildcard Nicolas Jarry.

Picture credit: ATP Tour

Hurkacz becomes first Pole to takes out Delray Beach title

AN intriguing battle was fought at the Delray Beach Open final, with Hubert Hurkacz and Sebastian Korda locking horns and Hurkacz eventually reigning supreme in 71 minutes, 6-3 6-3. While Korda got off to the perfect start, breaking Hurkacz’s service game and capitalising on his own serves, it did not take long for the double faults to start piling up with Korda’s 3-1 start eventually seeing Hurkacz steal away momentum.

While Korda fought hard, the stats did not lie with the American winning 61 per cent of his first serve points compared to Hurkacz’s 71 per cent, while the Polish 23-year-old also piled on the pressure to win an overall 39 per cent of first serve points on return, and an excellent 59 per cent off the second serve. 

With four aces to Korda’s one and zero double faults, Hurkacz limited his error rate to command much of the match. While Korda piled on the pressure once more to start the second set, holding serve until 2-2, Hurkacz was quicker to break Korda’s service game to take an early lead at 4-2 to run away with the 6-3 6-3 victory.

The first Polish champion at Delray Beach, Hurkacz’s excellent form during the week all led up to this, not dropping a set throughout the tournament and able to continue that impressive feat against a hungry Korda. Delray Beach is Hurkacz’s second title, with Korda in his maiden ATP Tour final. While Korda could not maintain his early intensity, the 20-year-old proved he is more than capable of piling on the pressure.

“The way [Korda] is playing, it will be amazing what he can achieve in the future,” Hurkacz said post-match. “It’s too bad that he wasn’t 100 per cent fit today, but his game is there. I’m sure he’ll be holding many trophies in the future.”

DELRAY BEACH OPEN FINAL RESULT:

[4] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-3 6-3

Picture credit: Getty Images

ATP Antalya & Delray Beach wraps: Korda into maiden final as de Minaur and Bublik lock horns

TANTALISING results were the story of the day at both the Antalya Open in Turkey and Delray Beach Open in the United States, with a couple of big winners in maiden finalist Sebastian Korda on home soil and the likes of Antalya competitors Alex de Minaur and Alexander Bublik, who are set to take the court against one another for the first time.

At Antalya, de Minaur had to overcome powerful Belgian David Goffin to proceed to the final, eventually coming away with the 6-4 3-6 6-2 victory in just under two hours. Despite his second set slip-up – which de Minaur admits put him on the back foot – the 21-year-old Australian stole away momentum in the third set to ensure he set up a huge final against Bublik.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match, and I’d be under pressure when serving,” De Minaur told ATPTour.com. “I had to reset and go back to my game plan and my strengths after I lost the second set. “I won some tough rallies in the third set and that helped me out for sure.”

For Bublik, it was a matter of getting past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy who, like Goffin, fought back to win the second set before falling short. While Bublik nursed an injury throughout, he utilised his powerful serve to snag the victory and push through the pain.

“I got injured in the middle of the match and considered pulling out, but I said myself, ‘Okay, I will give it a try,’” Bublik said. “I then served unbelievably, the best since Chengdu 2019. I served almost every serve full power and I was lucky to win the match.”

“Alex can beat any player on any given day and he has lots of firepower,” de Minaur said. “So I will need to rest and prepare well ahead of the final.”

ANTALYA OPEN SEMI FINALS RESULTS:

[4] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated [2] David Goffin (BEL) 6-4 3-6 6-2
[8] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-4 6-7 6-3

Korda is set to have his work cut out for him when he takes on Hubert Hurkacz, with the Polish talent downing Korda’s compatriot Christian Harrison in straight sets. While Harrison had the jump on Hurkacz throughout, not allowing any easy points throughout the 7-6 6-4 contest, the more experienced player prevailed to end Harrison’s fairytale run on home soil and edge through to the final.

“I didn’t have many opportunities in the first set,” Hurkacz said post-match. “Then it came to a tiebreaker, and he started really well but then I won these really long rallies. That helped me and helped me get some momentum, so that was really crucial for the second set.”

“Very happy to win this match today,” Hurkacz said. “I mean, Christian played pretty amazing throughout the whole tournament. “He qualified here and had his best results on the ATP Tour. “Especially after all he came through, all the surgeries, it’s really great for him. “He played a really amazing match.”

For Korda, it was a commanding victory over Britain’s Cameron Norrie which sends him into his first final, with plenty riding on this encounter and the 20-year-old American doing his form this week justice. With a cool head and plenty of firepower, Korda came away with the 6-3 7-5 victory in just an hour and 22 minutes, utilising his pre-match warmup to work through lefthanded Norrie’s excellent backhand.

“I warmed up with my coach, he hits the flattest ball possible, so that worked out today,” Korda said. “[Norrie] has a super tricky game. “His backhand cross is world class, and his forehand once he gets it rolling cross it’s hard to defend. I’m super happy with the way I stayed aggressive and played the whole match.”

DELRAY BEACH OPEN SEMI FINALS RESULTS:

[4] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated [Q] Christian Harrison (USA) 7-6 6-4
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Cameron Norrie (GBR) 6-3 7-5

Picture: SITA

ATP Antalya & Delray Beach wraps: Italians falls as Goffin and de Minaur set up blockbuster semi

IT is getting to the pointy end of the opening ATP Tour tournaments for 2021, with the semi-finalists decided in both Antalya and Delray Beach. The higher-profile Antalya Open in Turkey saw three seeds reach the final four, two of which are Top 30 players. In the Delray Beach Open, it was less predictable with tournament favourite and top two seed John Isner ousted, though there was still success on the day for the home nation.

In Turkey, quarter finals results set up a blockbuster semi-final between two consistent all-court players in David Goffin and Alex de Minaur. Goffin continued his great form rolling past Italian Stefano Travaglia in straight sets, 6-3 6-2, while de Minaur is still yet to drop a set in the tournament with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Goffin said he was excited to be into a semi-final in the first tournament of the year after an indifferent 2020 which saw him change coaches.

“I got off to a good start in both sets and felt that I was aggressive on my forehand and solid on return,” Goffin told ATPTour.com. “I am happy to be in the semi-finals, as I served well and felt physically better.”

It is expected the winner of the Goffin-de Minaur clash will take out the title, with eighth seed Alexander Bublik stunning top ranked Matteo Berrettini. It was a disappointing day for the Italian camp with Berrettini joining Travaglia on the sidelines after going down in a tight loss to the Kazakh, 7-6 6-4. Now Bublik takes on Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, following Chardy’s come-from-behind win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, 4-6 6-2 7-6.

“Getting to a semi-final in the first week of the season, and beating a couple of top players — Matteo is a Top 10 player. It’s a great start,” Bublik said post-match following his upset victory over Berrettini.

His opponent in the semi-final, Chardy, had a tougher route to the last four, having to save a couple of match points before claiming the three-set win over Struff.

“It was a difficult match and I was a little bit tired too from yesterday,” Chardy said. “He (Jan-Lennard) had two match points at the end, so it was difficult. “But I am happy to be in the semi-finals.”

ANTALYA OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

[8] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated [1] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 7-6 6-4
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-3 6-2
[4] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated [6] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-2 6-4
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated [5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 4-6 6-2 7-6

At Delray Beach, it was a mixed bag of results, with American Isner bowing out to compatriot Sebastian Korda. Yet to win an ATP Tour title, Korda continued his giant-killing spree having knocked off Soonwoo Kwon and then Tommy Paul in the opening two rounds, before fending off the big serving Isner in three sets, 6-3 4-6 6-3 to advance through to the quarter finals.

In the top half of the draw, American qualifier Christian Harrison also kept his chance at a maiden ATP Tour title alive with a straight sets victory over Italian Gianluca Mager, 7-6 6-1. After having to battle his way to a tiebreak first set win, he managed a crucial break in the second set to claim the victory. He now takes on fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz who won 6-4 6-4 against Ecuadorian qualifier, Roberto Quiroz.

In the late game, Cameron Norrie upset another American in Frances Tiafoe, winning the first set 6-0, before having to fight back in a tight second set loss to claim the match in three sets. Norrie won 6-0 3-6 6-4, having three match points at 0-40, and whilst Tiafoe managed to save a couple, could not end up turning it around.

DELRAY BEACH OPEN QUARTER FINALS RESULTS:

Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [2] John Isner (USA) 6-3 4-6 6-3
[4] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated [Q] Roberto Quiroz (ECU) 6-4 6-4
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [8] Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-0 3-6 6-4
[Q] Christian Harrison (USA) defeated Gianluca Mager (ITA) 7-6 6-4

Picture credit: Getty Images

ATP Antalya & Delray Beach wraps: Polarising days at two men’s tournaments

ANOTHER big day at the Antalya Open saw mostly a clean sweep from the top players, bar an excellent win from Frenchman Jeremy Chardy who downed third seed Fabio Fognini in the lone three-setter of the day. Three tiebreak sets told the tale of the almost-three hour 7-6 6-7 7-6 matchup, with Chardy reigning supreme in the tight encounter.

But while Fognini was unsuccessful, all six remaining seeds maintained control in their respective matches, with top seed Matteo Berrettini, second seed Belgian David Goffin and Australian Alex de Minaur collecting solid wins on their way to the quarter finals. Berrettini and de Minaur took on a duo of qualifying Bulgarians in Dimitar Kuzmanov and Adrian Andreev to come away with respective straight sets wins, while fifth seed German Jan-Lennard Struff arguably came away with the easiest result of the day – not taking the court due to a wallkover from Frenchman Hugo Grenier.

Stefano TravagliaAlexander Bublik and Nikoloz Basilashvili also joined the winners list in tighter battles than the aforementioned matches, set to continue their solid form in the next round.

ANTALYA OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [Q] Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) 6-2 6-3
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Nicola Kuhn (ESP) 6-0 6-2
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated [3] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 7-6 6-7 7-6
[4] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated [Q] Adrian Andreev (BUL) 6-3 6-1
[5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated Hugo Grenier (FRA) W/O
[6] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [WC] Altug Celikbilek (TUR) 7-6 6-4
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated Tristan Lamasine (FRA) 6-2 6-4
[8] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 7-6 6-3

At the Delray Beach Open, things went a little different to both Turkey’s proceedings and its own Round of 32 results, with plenty of homegrown American talent falling prior to the quarter finals. Four seeds fell too, with two of the players offered byes due to their seeding – Adrian Mannarino and Cristian Garin – falling to lower ranked opposition.

Top seed Garin was blown out of the water by American qualifier Christian Harrison, with the tight first set going the way of the developing talent, who ranks outside the top 700, before Harrison took out the second in convincing fashion to win 7-6 6-2. Cameron Norrie came away with the chocolates against Mannarino, while American seeded pair Tommy Paul and Sam Querrey were the additional seeds to fall in the Round of 16, with qualifying compatriot Sebastian Korda and Italian Gianluca Mager joining the winners list in the process. Korda’s win against Paul marked his first ATP quarter finals berth.

“It’s special [to make the quarter-finals],” Korda said. “The last time I played here I won the [Boys] 18s Clay Courts, so I have some good memories from here. It’s a special place and the crowd.”

As for the successful seeds, Americans John Isner (second) and Frances Tiafoe (eighth) both came away with quality wins, with the latter defeating a fellow compatriot Bjorn Fratangelo, while fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz and qualifier Roberto Quiroz also reigned supreme in their respective matches.

DELRAY BEACH ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [3] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-2 7-5
[Q] Christian Harrison (USA) defeated [1] Cristian Garin (CHI) 7-6 6-2
[2] John Isner (USA) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-4 7-6
[4] Hubert Hurkacz (HUN) defeated Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) 6-2 6-2
[Q] Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [5] Tommy Paul (USA) 4-6 6-3 6-2
Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated [6] Sam Querrey (USA) 7-6 6-1
[8] Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 6-4 3-6 6-1
[Q] Roberto Quiroz (COL) defeated Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-2 6-4

ATP Antalya & Delray Beach wraps: Top talents advance largely unchallenged

SEVEN of the eight seeds at the Antalya Open moved through to the second round, with only two of them needing to fight it out in three sets. The only losing seed to conclude the Round of 32 in Turkey was Miomir Kecmanovic, who, after winning the first set 6-1, fell away in a disappointing display to Italian Stefano Travaglia, 1-6 6-4 6-0.

It was a relatively good day for the Italians, with all five involved either being a seed or facing a seed, as top three talents Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini had no troubles advancing in straight sets. Berrettini knocked off Turkish wildcard Ergi Kirkin 6-0 6-4, while Fognini fought off a determined Michael Vrbensky to win against the Czech qualifier, 6-4 7-6. Meanwhile the news was not as good for compatriots, Andrea Arnaboldi and Salvatore Caruso. Arnaboldi took sixth seed Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili to three sets but lost 4-6 7-5 6-1, while Caruso went down to Kazakh eighth seed Alexander Bublik, 6-3 6-3.

Second seed David Goffin had the toughest time of all the seeds, having to fight back from a set down and five match points in the second set to post a 3-6 7-5 6-0 win over Frenchman, Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Fellow seeds, Alex de Minaur and Jan-Lennard Struff did not have the same problem trouncing respective opponents, Malek Jaziri and Pavel Kotov in straight sets.

Looking at the unseeded matches, Bulgaria had a couple of winners with qualifying duo, Adrian Andreev and Dimitar Kuzmanov both advancing through. Andreev knocked off Turkish representative Marsel Ilhan, while Kuzmanov down Serbia’s Laslo Djere who was forced to retire midway through the second set. Also forced to retire during the match was German qualifier, Matthias Bachinger who went down to Spaniard Nicola Kuhn.

It was much better news for the French, who had all three unseeded representatives in Jeremy Chardy, Hugo Grenier and Tristan Lamasine advancing with wins, the latter particularly impressive by knocking over Belarusian Egor Gerasimov, 7-6 6-2. Other Round of 32 winners in Turkey were home nation hero Altug Celikbilek and Finland young gun Emil Ruusuvuori.

ANTALYA OPEN ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [WC] Ergi Kirkin (TUR) 6-0 6-4
[2] David Goffin (BEL) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 3-6 7-5 6-0
[3] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated [Q] Michael Vrbensky (CZE) 6-4 7-6
[4] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-2 6-1
[5] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) defeated [Q] Pavel Kotov (RUS) 6-4 6-3
[6] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated Andrea Arnaboldi (ITA) 4-6 7-5 6-1
Stefano Travaglia (ITA) defeated [7] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) 1-6 6-4 6-0
[8] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 6-3 6-3
[Q] Adrian Andreev (BUL) defeated [WC] Marsel Ilhan (TUR) 6-4 6-3
[WC] Altug Celikbilek (TUR) defeated Kacper Zuk (POL) 7-6 7-5
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) defeated Radu Albot (MOL) 6-3 6-4
Hugo Grenier (FRA) defeated [Q] Alex Molvan (SVK) 7-5 6-4
Nicola Kuhn (ESP) defeated [Q] Matthias Bachinger (GER) 3-6 6-3 4-1 RET
[Q] Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-1 3-2 RET
Tristan Lamasine (FRA) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 7-6 6-2
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3 7-6

There was no shortage of successful United States winners at Delray Beach with all three seeds going through, as well as three additional rising talents. Fifth seed Tommy Paul knocked off South Korea’s Ji Sung Nam 6-1 6-4, sixth seed Sam Querrey toppled compatriot Mackenzie McDonald 6-3 6-4, and eighth seed Frances Tiafoe rolled past another compatriot in qualifier Donald Young, 6-3 6-4.

Qualifier Christian Harrison, and other Americans Bjorn Fratangelo and Sebastian Korda all won through to the Round of 16. Korda had an impressive win over South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon 6-4 6-4 to book his spot in the next stage. The news was not as good for three other United States’ representatives, going down in their respective matches. Wildcards Ryan Harrison, JC Aragone and Noah Rubin lost to Gianluca Mager, Cameron Norrie and Roberto Quiroz.

With United States players on court in all bar three games, there was plenty to enjoy for the home nation fans on the stream. In the three non-United States games, Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic knocked off Spanish seventh seed Pablo Andujar in three sets 6-3 5-7 6-4. In the other results, Thiago Monteiro won the all-Brazilian clash over Thomaz Bellucci 6-3 7-5, and Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan defeated Slovakian Andrej Martin 6-4 6-4.

DELRAY BEACH ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[5] Tommy Paul (USA) defeated Ji Sung Nam (KOR) 6-1 6-4
[6] Sam Querrey (USA) defeated Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-3 6-4
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) defeated [7] Pablo Andujar (ESP) 6-3 5-7 6-4
[8] Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated [Q] Donald Young (USA) 6-3 6-4
Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) defeated [Q] Kevin King (USA) 6-2 6-2
Daniel Elahi Galan (COL) defeated Andrej Martin (SVK) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Christian Harrison (USA) defeated Tomas Martin Etcheverry (ARG) 6-4 6-2
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-4 6-4
Gianluca Mager (ITA) defeated [WC] Ryan Harrison (USA) 3-6 6-1 6-4
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) 6-3 7-5
Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated [WC] JC Aragone (USA) 6-2 6-1
[Q] Roberto Quiroz (COL) defeated [WC] Noah Rubin (USA) 7-6 6-3

Nadal stuns Djokovic for 13th career Roland Garros title

THREE sets were all Rafael Nadal needed to collect his record 13th Roland Garros title on Sunday, defeating Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 and tying Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slams. It was the pair’s 56th career meeting – eighth at Roland Garros – which shaped up for an enticing battle, but it was an outstanding first two sets that set up the victory for Nadal, with the clay court specialist taking charge and ultimately dominating before Djokovic bit back in the third.

“I played at an amazing level of tennis, no?” Nadal said post-match. “For two sets and a half I played great. “I can’t say another thing. “Is impossible to have this score against him without playing great.”

“Playing great” was exactly what Nadal did, breezing through the opening two sets with just two and four unforced errors showcasing the Spaniard’s overwhelming control of proceedings. A 76 per cent efficiency off his first serve got the job done in the first set while his winning ability off his second serve blew Djokovic out of the water in the second, with 75 per cent compared to the Serbian’s 38 per cent.

“I played at my highest level when I needed to play at my highest level, so [that is] something I am very proud of,” he said. “The personal satisfaction is big because under the circumstances that we played this Roland-Garros, even if I played an amazing match this afternoon, the conditions are a little bit not the conditions that I will choose to play an event like this.”

A tight third set would have been expected, but Nadal again weathered the storm to take the final three games for a 7-5 scoreline and the win – a record fourth straight sets victory without dropping a single set all tournament.

Overall, Djokovic hit seven more winners (38-31) but for a whopping 52 unforced errors to Nadal’s clean 14 unforced errors. Nadal was far more effective off his opponent’s serve, winning 51 per cent of the receiving points, and registering four aces and a higher percentage of break points.

“Today you showed why you are the King of Clay,” Djokovic said. “Today I felt it with my own skin.” 

Nadal came across just one seed prior to the final, defeating Diego Schwartzman in the semi final, also defeating a couple of Italians in up-and-comer Jannik Sinner and Stefano Travaglia; Americans, Sebastian Korda and Mackenzie McDonald and Belarusian Egor Gerasimov on the road to Roland Garros victory. 

French Open debutants shine in promising show for the future

OUTSIDE of a couple of one-sided contest, there was a lot to like about the future of the ATP Tour at the Roland Garros, as the youngest remaining member in the men’s draw booked his spot in the quarter finals, and another went all the way with a top contender, only to fall short.

Next Gen ATP Finals winner Jannik Sinner was able to book his spot in the quarter finals after an upset 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory over Germany’s Alexander Zverev. Coming off a US Open final where he had match points to win his first major title, the up and comer was overwhelmed by the German in the Round of 16.

The 2020 Roland Garros marked Sinner’s first for his career with the 19-year-old having all the say with almost double the winners (39-20) and leaving Zverev wondering what could have been. The Italian also won 72 per cent of his net points and 39 per cent of his receiving points against such a big server as Zverev was reduced to just three aces for the match. It allowed Sinner to break five times to two in the three-hour and one-minute clash.

“It has been tough. We have practised sometimes in Monaco, so we know [each other] quite well,” Sinner said-post match. “Today was very tough, knowing that it was going to be a long match. At the end, I am very happy about my performance.”

The Italian also becomes the youngest player in 14 years to reach a Grand Slam quarter final since Novak Djokovic achieved the feat in Paris back in 2006. But Sinner is under no illusion of just how tough it is to try and defeat his next opponent Rafael Nadal, a 12-time Roland Garros winner.

“It’s not the easiest thing [to play Nadal at Roland Garros], for sure. I think the record he has here, I think nobody can beat that. He is super confident here,” Sinner said. “It’s going to be a difficult match for sure. It’s always [my aim] to go on court with the right attitude, trying to play [my] best tennis, which I have to do if I want to play [at] the same level as he plays.”

Indeed Nadal just breezed past American qualifier, Sebastian Korda in an hour and 55 minutes, 6-1 6-1 6-2 to reach another quarter final in Paris. The Spaniard was simply too good, and whilst he hit less winners than his determined opponent (15-21), he also had less than half the unforced errors (20-48) and won 59 per cent of his receiving points to break eight times in the dominant victory.

“I’m in [the] quarter-finals without losing a set and having very positive scores,” Nadal said post-match. “I can’t complain at all, so [I’m] happy for that.”

Korda said prior to their match and following his third round win, that Nadal was his inspiration growing up and he even named his cat after the Spanish star. After his loss to Nadal, Korda was still on cloud nine despite defeat.

“It was definitely the best moment of my life. It was super awesome,” Korda said. “After the match I asked him for a signed shirt when we were tapping rackets. I don’t know if anyone’s ever asked him for an autograph after a match, but that was definitely the coolest moment of my life and one I’ll never forget.”

Nadal said he was humbled by the experience and to be an inspiration in that way.

“It is a real honour [to have inspired Sebastian],” Nadal said. “All of my generation tried very hard to be passionate, to play every single day trying our best and if that is a good inspiration for the young generation that is good. “I am very happy for that.

“I really believe that we are a looking at a great player [in Sebastian]. “He is young. “Of course, he had some mistakes in some important moments, but the way that he hit the ball was really impressive.”

Up the other end of the half, Argentinian Diego Schwartzman also strolled into a quarter final with yet another straight sets win, this time over Lorenzo Sonego. Schwartzman won 6-1 6-3 6-4 to advance through to the quarter finals and put his first round exit at Flushing Meadows behind him. His good form on clay since – seeing him reach the final at Rome and defeating Nadal along the way in that tournament – has him up against one of the best clay courters going around in third seed Dominic Thiem.

“I am very happy, because I didn’t arrive to the clay season playing very well and I didn’t expect to [reach] the final in Rome [and] the quarter-finals here, not losing a set,” Schwartzman said post-match.

Now Schwartzman is through to his second quarter final in three years at Paris, and his fourth Grand Slam quarter final overall.

“It was a really tough match…. I didn’t start very well with many mistakes in just three games, [including] a few double faults. I was really nervous at the beginning. “The rain two years ago did not help me against Rafa [in the quarter-finals] but this year it helped me to be clear and it was a very good match for me.”

No doubt many were expecting Thiem to be Schwartzman’s opponent, but not in the way that the Austrian had to do it, fighting off a future star in Frenchman Hugo Gaston. Thiem looked comfortable early, winning the first two sets, before the last of the home nation competitors left fought back to win the next two and level the match courtesy of his drop shots. Thiem eventually settled in five sets, winning 6-4 6-4 5-7 3-6 6-3 in three hours and 32 minutes.

“I think it was an amazing match by both of us,” Thiem said post-match. “Haven’t seen for a very long time a player with such a big touch in his hands. “His drop shots are just from another planet, I was sprinting like 400 times to the net. “All the credit to him. “If he continues like this, he’s going to be a huge, huge player and make a lot of joy in this stadium in the future.”

Picture: Getty Images

Frenchman Hugo Gaston claims big upset win over Wawrinka

IT was a day of favourites progressing through to the Round of 16 at Roland Garros with the likes of Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev making no mistake against their unseeded opponents in their respective matches. Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem also inflicted pain against his Norwegian counterpart to edge himself closer to another title.

Although the favourites were making it look easy, last Frenchman standing Hugo Gaston took it upon himself to keep the French faithful happy in one of the biggest upsets of the day. The 20-year-old hailing from Toulouse pushed Swiss star Stan Wawrinka to his limits, matching him for intensity and court coverage to walk away with the chocolates in a gruelling five setter 2-6 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-0.

“I tried to play my game, but I didn’t know I could do it – until I won,” Gaston said. “Every time I go on court I try to concentrate and play my game. I am grateful of the support I had and in two days’ time I will play [Dominic] Thiem. I have nothing to lose.”

With the match on pause for over two hours midway through the third set due to rain, Gaston came out with a real hunger and intensity against the 16th seed. Although Wawrinka won the battle when it came to winners, hitting 49 as opposed to Gaston’s 35, his lack of discipline allowed the youngster to capitalise, with Wawrinka registering 33 more unforced errors (74-31).

Wawrinka was strong on the serve as per usual dishing up seven aces to his opponent’s two but his overall accuracy on the first serve was down at 60 per cent compares to Gaston’s marginally better 63 per cent. Currently ranked at world number 239, Gaston holds the title for the lowest ranked player left in the tournament heading into the final 16 since 2002, showcasing just how big of a win this was for the up and coming Frenchman who is set to take on Thiem next round.

Speaking of Thiem, the Austrian made light work of his opponent Casper Ruud getting the job done in two hours and 15 minutes such was his dominance for the 6-4 6-3 6-1 win.

“He was playing well from beginning to the end,” Thiem said. “I really raised my level. Maybe the first four games were not as good as the rest of the match by me, but he’s a really good player, especially on clay, probably one of the best of the season.”

Thiem capitalised on most areas, particularly the first serve sitting at a 67 per cent winning rate while Ruud languished at 51 per cent. The experience of Thiem was on show throughout the battle as the world number three only made 28 unforced errors compared to 37 while his ability to finish off points was on show hitting 32 winners.

In other results, The quickest match of the round saw Nadal move through to the next stage in just over an hour and a half as he dominated Italian Stefano Travaglia 6-1 6-4 6-0 while Zverev was next fastest taking care of Marco Cecchinato in three sets 6-1 7-5 6-3. Others that progressed through to the next stage consisted of Diego Schwartzman, Jannik Sinner and American youngster Sebastian Korda. Lorenzo Sonego fought gallantly against Taylor Fritz, edging the American out of contention with a 7-6 6-3 7-6 victory.