Tag: Taro Daniel

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

2021 ATP 250 previews: Montpellier, Cordoba and Singapore

THREE ATP Tour 250 events will take off immediately after the Australian Open this weekend, with a number of mid-tier talents gaining some extra match practice following disappointing exits from the Australian Open. The top ranked player across the three tournaments is Diego Schwartzman (ninth) at Cordoba, while Roberto Bautista Agut (13th) is top seed in Montpellier, and Frenchman Adrian Mannarino (36th) leads a lower-ranked field in Singapore.

CORDOBA:

Schwartzman is the standout candidate on the clay tournament and honestly he should put this one in the bank without too much trouble. His nearest rival is 29th ranked Frenchman Benoit Paire, who has opted for Spain rather than his home nation at Montpellier. Paire is in a career slump since reaching the Auckland final 13 months ago, and will struggle up against a ton of clay court regulars.

Miomir Kecmanovic and Guido Pella round out the top five, with 46th ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas the other Top 50 player in the draw. This tournament looms as one where, if Schwartzman pulls out or has a shocker, could be spread across any number of players. Thiago Monteiro is one who has been in good form, the likes of Marco Cecchinato and Juan Ignacio Londero can never be discounted on clay, and even rising Spaniard Jaume Munar is a chance.

The number one alternative at the time of publishing was Thiago Seyboth Wild who has all the talent if he can harness it, and genuinely could grab a Top 100 spot with a good run here. Spanish talents and South Americans make up the majority of the draw, with only half a dozen automatic entries from Europe, and none from the United States or Asia/Oceania.

MONTPELLIER:

Bautista Agut was aggravated at the Australian Open organisation, and now he returns to France in a reverse-Paire rather than going to his home nation in Spain. He and 15th ranked David Goffin – who both suffered disappointing shock losses at the Grand Slam – will be the clear standouts in a tournament that has the highest quality of the three by a fair way. Goffin should be the favourite still, but there are plenty in the running.

Aside from having two Top 20 players, as well as an additional two Top 30 players in Dusan Lajovic and Hubert Hurkacz, there is an abundance of youth, and returning experience that has signed up for the Montpellier event. Jannik Sinner and Ugo Humbert who are arguably the two most exciting Next Gen talents in the world are seeded, as are Lorenzo Sonego – most famously known for his upset of Novak Djokovic last year – and German Jan-Lennard Struff who ran into form at the ATP Cup.

The likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray have been named amongst the candidates to play, like fans have teleported back to the mid 2000s. Both will be returning from injury if they take to the court, amongst a host of Frenchman entered. Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon and Lucas Pouille are all in, with Nikoloz Basilashvili and Jiri Vesely also amongst the automatic entries.

SINGAPORE:

The weakest of the three draws by a fair margin, the lowest automatic entry comes in at 187th in the world. To be fair, it is former Top 10 player Ernests Gulbis, but the Latvian is far from his glory days of a decade ago. He still has the most titles of anyone in the draw however, with some real solid competitors, though a lack of top-end talent has to be said.

Singapore could mark a rematch between Frenchman Mannarino and Australian John Millman from last year, which saw the Australian win his first ever ATP Tour title at the Astana Open. They are the standouts for the Asian event, with Marin Cilic and Alexander Bublik rounding out the four seeds. The eighth highest ranked player is Soonwoo Kwon (97th), with fair talents Yoshihito Nishioka, Radu Albot and Lloyd Harris the other seeds.

The unseeded players have some potential, with Michael Mmoh showing good form at Melbourne Park, and Alexei Popyrin and James Duckworth always dangerous. Japanese duo Yasutaka Uchiyama and Taro Daniel join Nishioka at the event, though Mannarino and Millman are clearly the standouts to take home the ATP 250 event trophy.

Picture credit: Getty Images

Czech teenager stuns Cilic on debut in Sofia Open upset

IN the last match of the day at the Sofia Open, Czech teenager Jonas Forejtek has caused a boilover win, defeating Croatian top 50 player Marin Cilic. The eighth seed hardly knew what hit him as the 32-year-old was belted in just 66 minutes by the 19-year-old who won 6-3 6-2.

Remarkably, Forejtek is ranked 399th in the world and was on debut for the ATP Tour, having only won Davis Cup matches in the past against players outside the top 200. Mostly travelling the ITF and Challenger circuits, Forejtek has won just $30,000 USD which is a far shout from Cilic’s illustrious $28.3 million USD and 18 career ATP Tour titles.

The Croatian looked out of sorts, serving just two aces and winning only 33 per cent of his points off his second serve, and only producing an efficiency of 55 per cent to begin with, while Forejtek broke Cilic four times during the match, serving two aces himself but only dropping six points off his first serve making it tricky for the Croatian. He will have to recover quickly from his first ever ATP Tour win with a match against either Roberto Carballes Baena or Richard Gasquet in the second round.

The other seed to fall in an upset loss at Sofia was Nikoloz Basilashvili who went down to Swiss lucky loser, Marc-Andrea Huesler. The loss, which does not come as a shock at all considering the only thing the Georgian has won this side of the COVID-19 break is the worst win-loss record of any ATP Tour player. Peaking at 27th in the world after the Davis Cup in March, Basilashvili has lost nine straight matches – that is 0-9 since the Tour returned – and all bar two have been players ranked outside the top 20.

To Huesler’s credit, he started strong with an easy first set win before Basilashvili kicked into gear, but the Swiss talent held his nerve in a tight final set to win 6-1 4-6 7-6, including an 8-6 third set tiebreak to advance through to the next round. Huesler was hard to contain on serve, producing 22 aces for only three double faults, winning 80 and 64 per cent of his first and second serve points. The world number 149 moves on to play the winner of Next-Gen young gun Jannik Sinner or Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics.

In-form Frenchman Adrian Mannarino was able to hold off determined Slovenian Martin Klizan, but did not have it much easier with the fifth seed winning 3-6 6-1 7-5 in a come-from-behind win that lasted two hours and 10 minutes. Mannarino served 10 aces and won 74 and 54 per cent of his first and second serve points, only marginally higher than Klizan’s 73 and 50 per cent respectively.

Also through to the second round in a third set tiebreaker win was Canadian Vasek Pospisil who joined compatriots and top two seeds, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Round of 16. Pospisil held off Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko 6-2 5-7 7-6, including a 7-5 tiebreaker in the decider to advance through to the next round. He served eight aces and won 79 per cent of his first serve points, also saving eight of 10 break point opportunities. He broke his opponent three times, but it all came down to the final set tiebreaker before he could emerge victorious.

In other results, Belarusian Egor Gerasimov needed three sets to defeat Serbian qualifier Viktor Troicki, as did Italian Salvatore Caruso over Bulgarian Dimitar Kuzmanov with the latter playing in front of home fans. In the final match for the day, Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev continued his recent solid form to defeat fellow qualifier, Japan’s Taro Daniel 7-6 6-1 to book a spot in the Round of 16.

Form shows in New York as stacked qualifying draw gets underway

IT was a huge first day at the traditional Cincinnati Masters – moved to New York for COVID-19 reasons in the lead up to the United States – with the Western & Southern Open’s qualifying taking place in the women’s and men’s draws.

Focusing the attention on the women’s draw, three of the top four seeds in the qualifying were bundled out, as those who impressed at Lexington continued their form. Here’s some of the highlights:

  • Top seed Jil Teichmann smashed Aliona Bolsova 6-2 6-2 in just 62 minutes of play
  • Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez upset second seed Anna Blinkova 6-1 6-4
  • Liudmila Samsonova took down third seed Lauren Davis rather easily, 6-4 6-1
  • It was a positive day for the Americans with a number of crucial wins including Ann Li, Shelby Rogers, CiCi Bellis, Kristie Ahn, Jessica Pegula, Katie Volynets, Christina McHale and Caroline Dolehide
  • The longest match of the day by far was 12th seed Kristen Flipkens‘ 5-7 7-5 7-6 epic against Ukrainian Katarina Zavatska
  • Just 10 seeds remain out of the 20 that were out on court in a massive day of upsets
  • Teichmann and Rogers and Fernandez and Ahn are among the tantalising round two qualifying matches on display tomorrow

The ATP Tour’s tournament had just as many shocks on day one, with the majority of qualifiers out on court in the Masters 1000 event. Here’s some of the highlights from the day:

  • Ranked outside the top 100, Finn Emil Ruusuvuori took out second seed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy far too easily, 6-0 6-1, in a day of upsets on Court 12, with 17th and 19th seeds, Federico Delbonis and Laslo Djere both bowing out to unseeded Jaume Munar and Marcos Giron
  • Great American hope Brandon Nakashima was no match for 21st seed Hungarian, Marton Fucsovics, losing 6-2 6-4, while it was better news for lowly ranked J.J. Wolf and Mackenzie McDonald who knocked over 11th seed Egor Gerasimov and 24th seed Yuchi Sugita respectively
  • South African Lloyd Harris found his form from January with an upset win over up and coming Swede and 10th seed, Mikael Ymer 7-5 7-5
  • Third seed Pablo Cuevas joined Chardy and Juan Ignacio Londero on the sidelines after a shock loss to unseeded Japanese talent, Yasutaka Uchiyama
  • The first Australian male on court, Jordan Thompson was able to topple American Michael Mmoh
  • Salvatore Caruso defeated ATP Next Gen Finals winner Jannik Sinner in the all-Italian clash late in the day, while top seed Gilles Simon booked a spot in the second round of qualifying with a win over Taro Daniel

The wildcards for the ATP Tour events are impressive with the likes of up and comer, Tommy Paul and Australian Open quarter finalist Tennys Sandgren, as well as Frances Tiafoe and Grand Slam winner Andy Murray – the latter of whom both face off in the Round of 64.

Picture: Getty Images

2020 ATP Marrakech Open fantasy tennis: Kokkinakis gains confidence as seeds advance

IT was business as usual for the four seeds out on court in the ATP Tour’s Marrakech Open on day one with all the top ranked players making it through to the Round of 16. Only one of those seeds took three sets to get the win, and in fact it was the only match of the eight in play that went the full length to decide the winner.

Sixth seed Argentinian, Guido Pella needed the three sets to book a spot in the second round, getting up with a 7-5 4-6 6-2 victory over Japanese qualifier, Taro Daniel. After winning the first set in a tight one, Pella found himself down two breaks against the lower ranked Daniel, and while he could make one back, he could not get the second one and his opponent levelled the match. Pella stepped it up in the third set, getting an important win in Morocco to ensure he made it through to the Round of 16.

It was a bit easier for the three other seeds with second seed Fabio Fognini making light work of talented Brazilian qualifier, Thiago Seyboth Wild. The Brazilian youngster has plenty of potential as he has shown already in 2020 by winning his maiden title, but Fognini was a class above and brushed him aside, 6-2 6-1. Also through to the Round of 16 was fourth seed Pablo Carreno Busta and seventh seed Marin Cilic. Carreno Busta downed compatriot and tournament wildcard, Jaume Munar 6-4 6-1, while Cilic survived a battle with fellow veteran, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, 7-6 6-1.

In the unseeded matches, Australian wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis’ return to the tour continued with an important 6-4 6-2 win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert to set up a second round clash with Fognini. Also through to the next round was a couple of South Americans in Chilian, Nicolas Jarry, and Brazilian, Thiago Monteiro. They both won their respective matches in straight sets, as did veteran Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco.

Tomorrow’s action is highlighted by a huge first round clash between number one seed and top 10 player, Alexander Zverev taking on Grand Slam finalist, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Also taking place is a battle between tricky players, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Feliciano Lopez, while two improvers this year in Marton Fucsovics and Ugo Humbert also lock horns.

ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[2] Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated [Q] Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) 6-2 6-1
[4] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) defeated [WC] Jaume Munar (ESP) 6-4 6-1
[6] Guido Pella (ARG) defeated [Q] Taro Daniel (JPN) 7-5 4-6 6-2
[7] Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Richard Gasquet (FRA) 7-6 6-1
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) defeated [Q] Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-2 6-3
Nicolas Jarry (CHI) defeated Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG) 7-5 6-1
Thiago Monteiro (BRA) defeated Andreas Seppi (ITA) 7-5 6-4
[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) 6-4 6-2

Mexican Open: Men’s seeds breeze through as women’s draw blown open

IN a day that could not be more contrasting for the ATP and WTA Tour’s at Acapulco, seven of the eight men’s seeds are through to the second round of the Mexican Open after only the injured Nick Kyrgios missed out on making it. On the women’s side of the draw, the top five seeds are out of the tournament, with only the bottom three seeds – sixth, seventh and eighth still fighting in the Round of 16.

While the majority of the seeded wins were straightforward, one of the best matches of the day was Serbian Dusan Lajovic‘s three-set victory over United States’ Steve Johnson. The eighth seed had to battle over two and a half hours to finally oust the 73rd ranked Johnson, defeating him from a set down to come back and win 6-7 6-4 6-3. In the match Lajovic served up 11 aces and had a serving efficiency of 61 per cent, of which he successfully converted 77 per cent of his first serve points. He also broke five times from 13 opportunities compared to his opponents’ three from 13, and won 42 per cent of his return points. The world number 24 now faces South Korean, Soonwoo Kwon in the second round after he too won a three-set contest 6-2 2-6 6-3, over lucky loser, Taro Daniel.

The only other three-set match was United States’ Taylor Fritz‘s win over Australian, John Millman. Fritz got up 7-5 3-6 6-1 in just under two hours to break his poor form in the States’ having lost to 164th ranked Mitchell Kreuger at Newport Beach trying to defend that title, and then to Cameron Norrie at Delray Beach last week in the first round. Millman has not won since the Australian Open where he defeated young talents Ugo Humbert and Hubert Hurkacz, and pushed Roger Federer in an epic five-set contest. Now Fritz faces Humbert after the Frenchman won against a retiring Kyrgios while being a set up at the time. The Australian firebrand was forced to pull out due to a wrist injury.

In the seeded results, top two seeds Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev breezed through to the second round in straight sets, as did Felix Auger-Aliassime with more fight shown from lucky loser, Alex Bolt. Fifth seed, John Isner followed suit with a straight sets win over German wildcard, Mischa Zverev – Alexander’s older brother 10 years his senior – as seventh seed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov saw off Bosnia-Herzegovinan qualifier, Damir Dzumhur 6-3 6-3. In the only other match, Pedro Martinez who benefited from a quarter finals appearance at Rio and therefore received a special exemption to the main draw – defeated Romanian Radu Albot 6-3 6-2.

ATP ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] R. Nadal (ESP) defeated P. Andujar (ESP) 6-3 6-2
[2] A. Zverev (GER) defeated [Q] J. Jung (TAI) 7-6 6-1
[4] F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated [LL] A. Bolt (AUS) 6-3 7-6
[5] J. Isner (USA) defeated [WC] M. Zverev (GER) 6-3 7-6
U. Humbert (FRA) defeated [6] N. Kyrgios (AUS) 6-3 0-0 RET
[7] G. Dimitrov (BUL) defeated [Q] D. Dzumhur (BIH) 6-3 6-3
[8] D. Lajovic (SRB) defeated S. Johnson (USA) 6-7 6-4 6-3
S. Kwon (KOR) defeated [LL] T. Daniel (JPN) 6-2 2-6 6-3
T. Fritz (USA) defeated J. Millman (AUS) 7-5 3-6 6-1
[SE] P. Martinez (ESP) defeated R. Albot (ROU) 6-3 6-2

It was absolute carnage in the women’s draw, with the number one seed, Sloane Stephens bowing out to a Mexican wildcard in just an hour and 25 minutes. The tournament favourite and former Grand Slam winner’s poor form this season continued, with her fourth straight first round exit having not won since Beijing in September. Now ranked 35th in the world, Stephens has not made a quarter final since last year’s Roland Garros as she continues to tumble down the rankings. This loss was particularly bad, going down to the 270th ranked 22-year-old Renata Zarazua. No doubt having plenty of support in her home tournament, Zarazua won her first match in an International WTA Tour tournament since a come-from-behind victory over Australian, Ajla Tomljanovic at Colombia back in 2018. The 6-4 6-2 win over Stephens was by far the Mexican’s best of her career, and she was impressive dropping just 20 points for the match on-serve, while breaking five times to two and winning an elite 75 per cent of Stephens’ second serve points.

The other player that jumps out on the page from her win was Canadian qualifier, Leylah Fernandez. The 17-year-old has a 7/3 record in 2020 thus far and thrust herself into lights with a win over world number five, Belinda Bencic 6-2 7-6 at the Fed Cup. Her only two main draw wins on the WTA Tour – outside the ITF Circuit – were against players ranked outside the top 400 back in 2018. Her fourth win on the tour was against 82nd ranked Nina Stojanovic, 6-4 6-1 to move through to the Round of 16 to come up against eighth seed, Nao Hibino of Japan.

In other results, fourth seed Lauren Davis and fifth seed wildcard, Venus Williams both bowed out in three sets, going down to Christina McHale and Kaja Juvan – the latter of whom saved seven match points to down Williams in a thriller. Zhu Lin broke the trend of seeds bowing out with the Chinese sixth seed booking a spot in the next round against Brit, Katie Boulder. Also through were a couple of qualifiers in American Caroline Dolehide and Italian Sara Errani, while United States’ wildcard Katie Volynets upset compatriot Shelby Rogers to book a second round date with fellow wildcard, Zarazua.

WTA ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[WC] R. Zarazua (MEX) defeated [1] S. Stephens (USA) 6-4 6-2
C. McHale (USA) defeated [4] L. Davis (USA) 6-2 1-6 6-4
K. Juvan (SLO) defeated [5] V. Williams (USA) 4-6 7-6 6-2
[6] L. Zhu (CHN) defeated K. Zavatska (UKR) 7-6 6-2
K. Boulter (GBR) defeated [LL] F. Di Lorenzo (USA) 2-6 6-3 6-2
[WC] K. Volynets (USA) defeated S. Roers (USA) 6-2 7-6
[Q] S. Errani (ITA) defeated S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 7-5 6-4
[Q] L. Fernandez (CAN) defeated N. Stojanovic (SRB) 6-4 6-1
[Q] C. Dolehide (USA) defeated [Q] U. Arconada (USA) 6-2 6-2

Cordoba/Montpellier/Pune wrap: Marcora grabs back-to-back wins after 11-year wait

A LITTLE known Italian qualifier has stunned the number one seed in Pune to grab back-to-back ATP Tour wins, after not winning in his 11 years since joining the tour.

TATA OPEN – PUNE, INDIA:

The quarter finals are decided in Pune, and the number one seed and tournament favourite is out. France’s Benoit Paire was bundled out by Italian qualifier, Roberto Marcora 6-4 6-4 in Paire’s first match of the tournament in the Round of 16. Marcora needed just one hour and 17 minutes to knock off the number one seed, having lower serving statistics, but breaking three times while saving a whopping seven of eight break point opportunities for his opponent. Paire was unlucky not to get the win considering he had a 71 and 61 per cent first and second serve points won percentage, as well as winning more return points. But the world number 174 stood up in crucial moments to go back-to-back wins in the Tata Open – the first of his ATP Tour career, 11 years into his career.

In other results, Australia’s James Duckworth advanced through to face Marcora with a 6-7 7-6 6-3 victory over Japan’s Taro Daniel, while fourth seed Soonwoo Kwon and eighth seed, Egor Gerasimov booked a spot in the final eight with respective wins over Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Nikola Milojevic.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE – MONTPELLIER, FRANCE:

It took a while, but number one seed, Gael Monfils advanced through to the quarter finals with a 4-6 6-1 6-4 victory over compatriot, Adrian Mannarino. He takes on Slovenia’s Norbert Gombos who booked his place in the last eight following a 7-5 6-4 victory over Finnish qualifier, Emil Ruusuvuori. The news for the home nation was incredibly positive, with Pierre-Hugues Herbert stunning Canadian teenager, Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 7-5. Richard Gasquet triumphed in the battle of the veterans over Feliciano Lopez, winning 6-7 6-4 6-2, while Belgian second seed, David Goffin also advanced to the quarter finals with a 6-3 7-6 win over Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik.

In a match that lasted just an hour and 17 minutes, seventh seed Serbian, Filip Krajinovic moved through to the quarter finals with an eye-opening 6-1 6-1 victory over Sweden’s Mikael Ymer. The 27-year-old had too much experience for his 21-year-old opponent, winning 70 per cent of his first serve points and 54 per cent of his second serve points. He saved four of a possible five break points, while capitalising on a massive nine of 15 when receiving. With a 76 per cent winning record off Ymer’s second serve, Krajinovic was strong both on serve and when receiving.

CORDOBA OPEN – CORDOBA, ARGENTINA:

The remaining four Round of 16 matches were completed in Cordoba, with reigning champion and eighth seed, Juan Ignacio Londero remaining alive in the competition. The Argentinian moved through to the last eight with a 6-3 6-3 win over compatriot and wildcard, Pedro Cachin. The match lasted an hour and 25 minutes with Londero breaking three times and saved five break point opportunities himself on his way to victory. Londero won 79 per cent of his first serve points and a handy 59 per cent of his second serve points, while capitalising off the opponents’ second serve with a 63 per cent success rate.

In other results, all the seeds progressed, with number one seed, Diego Schwartzman, number four seed Laslo Djere and number five seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas all triumphing on Cancha Central.

Cordoba/Montpellier/Pune wrap: Barrere and Pospisil upset Dimitrov and Shapovalov in Montpellier

IT was another day of action packed matches with quarter finalists decided in the Tata Open and a couple of Frenchmen progressing through to the next stage of the Open Sud De France.

TATA OPEN – PUNE, INDIA:

Four players are through to the quarter finals after three impressive wins on Day 5 of the Tata Open. Fifth seed, Yuichi Sugita had the easiest day of all, walking through to the final eight with qualifier Viktor Troicki pulling out of the tournament. Second seed, Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis joined Sugita in the quarter finals with a 7-6 6-1 victory over German, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. The news was not so good for the Italian seeds however, with both third seed, Stefano Travaglia and seventh seed, Salvatore Caruso going down in straight sets. Travaglia lost to Belarusian, Ilya Ivashka while Caruso suffered defeat at the hands of Czech, Jiri Vesely.

In the only Round of 32 match to be completed, Japan’s Taro Daniel sent Indian wildcard, Sasikumar Mukund packing. He defeated the home country combatant, 6-2 7-6 to move through to the Round of 16 where he will face Australia’s James Duckworth tomorrow. It took Daniel an hour and 39 minutes to finally dispatch of Mukund, winning 77 and 61 per cent of his first and second serve points respectively. He also produced seven aces without a double fault, while Mukund only served up five aces for four double faults.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE – MONTPELLIER, FRANCE:

France’s Adrian Mannarino looked past a minor lapse in concentration during the second set to post a 6-0 6-7 6-0 victory over Australian Open surprise packet, Alexei Popyrin. He was joined in the second round by compatriot, Richard Gasquet who defeated fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon, 6-4 6-4. It was not as good news for young gun Frenchman, Ugo Humbert with the eighth seed bowing out in his opening match to the experienced Feliciano Lopez. The Spaniard won a rather easy 6-4 6-1 to book a spot in the Round of 16.

Speaking of the Round of 16, the first matches were completed for the round, with Frenchman Gregoire Barrere causing an upset over fourth seed Belarusian, Grigor Dimitrov. In a match that no doubt the umpire might have had some troubles addressing just one player given their similarly sounding first names, it was Barrere who used the home crowd advantage to spur him on to victory. Ranked 91st in the world and yet to win an ATP Tour title, the 25-year-old battled hard for two hours and 33 minutes before finally exacting a perfect comeback after dropping the first set to win, 6-7 6-4 7-5. He broke five times to three, and won 38 per cent of his return points in an even contest, with just five points separating the two players after an epic match. Barrere will now take on the winner of seventh seed Serbian, Filip Krajinovic and Sweden up-and-comer, Mikael Ymer. The other Round of 16 result was another shock with Vasek Pospisil turning around and smashing highly touted youngster, Denis Shapovalov with the experienced Canadian rolling the number three seed and compatriot 6-2 6-3.

CORDOBA OPEN – CORDOBA, ARGENTINA:

Four singles matches were completed on Day 5 in Argentina with Uruguayan sixth seed, Pablo Cuevas defeating Italian, Gianluca Mager in three sets. It took more than two hours for the experienced Cuevas to eventually get the job done, getting through a couple of nervous tiebreakers before running away with it in the third and deciding set. Cuevas served eight aces and won 78 per cent of his first serve points, while breaking six times to three – including three times in the final set.

In other results, Slovenian Andrej Martin knocked off Spanish qualifier, Carlos Taberner 6-3 7-6. Taberner really took it to Martin in the second set forcing it to a tiebreaker but in the end the Slovenian did enough to keep him at bay and progress through to the next stage. Cristian Garin made light work of Attila Balazs defeating him in two sets 6-3 6-0 while Corentin Moutet got the job done despite dropping the first set to Guido Pella 6-7 7-5 6-3.

Cordoba/Montpellier/Pune wrap: Duckworth through to Round of 16 in Pune

IT was a more complete day for the three ATP Tour tournaments on the go across the world, with mostly expected results.

OPEN SUD DE FRANCE – MONTPELLIER, FRANCE:

Fifth seed wildcard, Felix Auger-Aliassime survived a three-set match to down qualifier, Damir Dzumhur. Losing the first set tiebreaker, the Canadian came back to post a 6-7 6-2 6-2 win. Earlier in the day, seventh seed Filip Krajinovic defeated French qualifier, Enzo Couacaud 6-4 6-4, while Pierre-Hugues Herbert knocked off Ukrainian qualifier, Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2 7-5. On Court 1, Alexander Bublik downed Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen, as Finnish qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori defeated Austrian, Dennis Novak 7-6 4-6 6-2.

It was the first match on Court Patrice Dominguez that raised eyebrows as Swedish up-and-comer, Mikael Ymer defeated Next Gen Finals winner, Italian Jannik Sinner. The Italian young gun had no answers for his opponent, who won 76 per cent of his first serve points and half of his second serve points. He broke four times to two and won 67 per cent of his return points off the second serve. Sinner was solid across the board, but his second serve struggles ultimately cost him on this occasion.

TATA OPEN – PUNE, INDIA:

James Duckworth booked a spot in the second round of the Tata Open courtesy of a 7-6 6-4 victory over German, Peter Gojowczyk. The Australian took an hour and 23 minutes to get the win, serving nine aces and breaking once in the second set. He saved the only break point opportunity for the German, and won 66 per cent of his second serve points. The important win for the Australian gave him an extra day’s rest against his potential opponent which could be Japan’s Taro Daniel, who faces Indian wildcard, Sasikumar Mukund as the only Round of 32 match yet to be played.

In other results, Czech Republic’s Jiri Vesely knocked over another Indian wildcard in Arjun Kadhe, 6-2 6-4, while Kadhe’s compatriot, Prajnesh Gunneswaran won against German, Yannick Maden in two tiebreakers. On Court 1, eighth seed Egor Gerasimov booked a spot in the Round of 16 with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Italian, Paolo Lorenzi. Fellow Belarusian, Ilya Ivashka also moved through to the next round with a 6-3 6-2 win over Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy. Italian qualifier Roberto Marcora defeated Czech Republic’s Lukas Rosol 6-3 6-2, while Serbian qualifier Nikola Milojevic won against Antoine Hoang.

CORDOBA OPEN – CORDOBA, ARGENTINA:

Fifth seed Spaniard, Albert Ramos-Vinolas opened his Cordoba Open tournament with a 6-4 7-6 victory over Argentinian Facundo Bagnis. The match lasted two hours with Ramos-Vinolas winning 63 and 68 per cent of his first and second serve points. He only had a 51 per cent first serve percentage, but broke three times to two in order to win the opening set, then survived a tiebreaker in the second to book a spot in the Round of 16.

Other results on the clay saw a duo of Argentinian’s winning with wildcard Pedro Cachin and last year’s Open winner, eighth seed Juan Ignacio Londero both getting through with respective victories over Hugo Dellien and Marco Cecchinato. It was not as positive for Leonardo Mayer and Federico Coria who went down to Jaume Munar and Andrej Martin respectively. In the other singles match, Spain’s Pablo Andujar was victorious over lucky loser, Filip Horansky 6-2 6-2.