Berrettini looking for first title of the season at Rio
(Tennis news) The second ATP Masters 500 event of the season has started with top seeds playing for their first titles of the season. While Matteo Berrettini is the top seed and is back after a semifinal exit at the Australian Open to Rafael Nadal. Carlos Alcaraz has only played three matches this year and will look to rise in the clay courts, something he did last year. Casper Ruud and Diego Schwartzman are in the draw after playing a three set final at Argentina. Here are the top four players to watch out for at Rio Open.
Berrettini did not find his form at the ATP Cup but defeated Gael Monfils and Alcaraz at Australia. The Italian is playing his third event of the season and has plenty of time to reorganize himself for some action on clay in Brazil. The 25 year old will be playing at the event for the first time and has a potential semifinal meet up against Alcaraz. He reached the finals at ATP Masters 1000 Madrid last year and is now chasing a first Masters 500 clay title.
Ruud is coming into Rio after a title win at the Argentina Open, the Norwegian can bring out his best form on the clay. The world number 8 is playing here for the 5th time and reached the semifinals 5 years later losing to Pablo Carreno Busta. He will meet Benoit Paire or Francisco Cerundolo in the opening match.
The teenager was shining on clay 12 months earlier and continued his run on the hardcourts till the end of 2021. The world number 29 won his first title at Umag which was also his first final, this is the second time for the rising star at Rio as previously he lost in the 4th round in 2020. After a 2 week lay off from the tour the world number 29 can pounce on the seniors when he gets back on court.
Sonego has so far reached three quarter finals from events this season, his groundstrokes did leave an impact at Buenos Aires especially his forehand which generates a lot of power. The Italian is looking for his third title and second clay title. He is playing for the third time and reached the quarterfinals in 2020. The 26 year old will face Serbian Laslo Djere in the opening match, the pair has met thrice with Djere winning once in hardcourt and Sonego leading in their other two meetings at clay.
Also read: Prajnesh ousted from Bengaluru Open-2 after defeat against top seed Vukic
Ruud beats home favourite Schwartzman to win first title of the season
(Tennis news) Casper Ruud took the title at Buenos Aires as he was playing on tour after a month since playing at the ATP cup. Ruud is now unbeaten at the Argentina Open, he entered the main draw in 2020 and went on to lift the title; this time he did not drop a set on the way to the final. While it was the second win for the Norwegian at the event, runner up Diego Schwartzman has been reaching the quarterfinals or better since 2018. He was the runner up in 2019 and won the title last year.
The defending champion had a tough run to the final after losing a set in the last two matches and battling a two set tiebreaker in the opening match. Schwartzman had last reached a final three months ago at Antwerp where he lost to Jannik Sinner whereas Ruud was on a 5 match winning streak in the finals which started last year. Ruud had won his first tour title at the event two years ago where he beat Pedro Sousa in the final, Sousa had a walkover in the semifinal against Schwartzman.
The world number 8 had a set point in the first set which took 42 shots for the Argentine to overcome and save the set in the most suited fashion. The first break came in the 10th game as the home crowd favourite took four straight points to set the match up and running. In the second set, Ruud got the break in the 6th game with a cheeky shot at the net and well timed forehands during the breakpoint. After taking the second set, the 23 year old took an early lead which led to another break as he completed the victory in 2 hours and 35 minutes. Ruud defeated Schwartzman 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.
“It’s been an unbelievable week," said Ruud after sealing his seventh ATP Tour title. "To come back here and try to defend the title not from last year but from two years ago has been a challenge, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
The pair has now met 4 times on clay with Schwartzman winning the first two meetings, overall the 29 year still leads their career head to head meeting with 5 wins as Ruud has won thrice. The result has pushed the ranking by one place ahead for Schwartzman as he is now ranked 14 below Cameron Norrie. Ruud is still behind Andrey Rublev at number 8 and the Russian leads by over 600 points.
Felix beats Tsitsipas to win first tour title at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) Felix Auger-Aliassime finally won his maiden tour title at Rotterdam as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. The 1st time tour winner did not lose a single point on the first serve in the opening set and had 4 aces which gave him the best start to the final. In the second set, the world number 4 could only win 2 points on his second serve while losing 7 of them.
After taking a 5-1 lead in the second set, it was clear that there was no looking back for Felix as he was only a game away from winning the championship, both the sets did not take more than 40 minutes. 67 points had a rally length of 0-4 shots and there were only 8 points in which there were more than 9 shots.
Felix was playing in his 9th final, after taking 8 runner trophies the Canadian is now a Masters 500 winner. The pair was meeting for the 8th time with Tsitsipas winning the last five matches and the world number 9 recorded his first victory over his rival in three years. The Greek player leads their head to head meeting with 5 wins while the 21 year old has three straight set victories. It was their second meeting in a final after Marseille in 2020 which Tsitsipas won. The 23 year old was looking for his 8th title but suffered his 11th loss in a final. He is now only 2 wins away from 200 career wins and 2 more losses would mean 100 career losses.
“It has not been the smoothest road since my first final three years ago,” Auger-Aliassime said during the trophy ceremony. “It is an amazing day for me to get my first title and especially here. I played my first ATP main draw here a couple of years ago, so it is right that I won my first title here.”
Only Daniil Medvedev and Taylor Fritz have beaten Felix this season and the Russian has been able to do it twice. There will be no changes in the rankings as of now, Felix is only a few points behind 8th placed Casper Ruud. Tsitsipas needed a win in the final to reach closer to Alexander Zverev who is 500 points ahead. After winning the ATP Cup, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and now the title win puts Felix on top this season with 12 victories in 15 matches.
De Minaur and Mackenzie set up round 16 clash at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) The opening matches of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament saw seeds and wildcards being knocked out of the event. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nikoloz Basilashvili were beaten in their opening matches. Hubert Hurkacz started the season with three victories at the ATP Cup then had a shocker at Australia as he exited in the second round. At Rotterdam, the 24 year old was against wildcard Tsonga who was serving as good as his younger opponent. A counter punch backhand by Hurkacz in the 10th game broke Tsonga’s serve as he lost the set even though lost the final crucial points.
In the second set, the Polish number one continued serving well but Tsonga too did not give away any breaks this time and even had set points in the tie breaker. This time the world number 11 again took the final few points to win the match, he came to the net 21 times and only lost 1 point as Tsonga failed to beat his volleys. Hurkacz defeated Tsonga 6-4, 7-6(9-7).
Cameron Norrie got his first victory in the 5th match of the season as he beat Ugo Humbert to go 1 all in their head to head meetings. Norrie started by winning the first 4 games of the match, Humbert was not able to get the finish he wanted at the net. The Frenchmen could only win one point out of 12 against Norrie’s first serve and lost more than half of his first serves. The world number 13 faced resistance in the second set as he was down 1-4 as Humbert began to finish points from the baseline and increased his second serve speed. The 23 year old had his chances at 4-2 and 4-4 but the Brit upped his defense and took the last five games of the match to advance to the next round. Norrie defeated Humbert 6-2, 6-4.
Alex De Minaur has so far lost two matches this year and both were against top 10 players. The 22 year old picked up his 6th victory of the season by beating David Goffin in which he bageled the Belgian in the opening set. De Minaur did not let Goffin win any of the second serves as the 31 year old lost all of his second serves in the opening set, the Australian won 7 straight games in the match. In the second set, Goffin broke serve to take a 2-1 lead in a marathon game but the lead was short lived as his service got broken the very next game. The world number 34 again broke serve in the 8th game and served out the match in an hour and 13 minutes. De Minaur defeated Goffin 6-0, 6-3.
Rublev and Tsitsipas getting ready for rematch at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam will begin from February 7th as the qualifiers will start from today. The first ATP Masters 500 event of the season will see the top players battle in the Netherlands, the main draw list has been published and the four qualifiers will be decided in two days. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev will be playing their first event after the Australian Open as the Greek good will be ready to avenge last year’s semi final loss against the Russian. Here are the top players to watch out for in Rotterdam.
Tsitsipas was well in form at Australia reaching the semifinals until Daniil Medvedev ended his run. Medvedev will not be seen in action for a week and Alexander Zverev is currently at Montpellier which makes the world number 3 the top seed of the event. Tsitsipas had reached the semifinals last year by beating Karen Khachanov and Hubert Hurkacz on the way. The 23 is six wins short of 200 career victories and can face Alex De Minuar in the quarterfinals.
The Russian started his season at Australia with a below par performance against Marin Cilic in the third round. The world number 7 dropped a place after the performance and needs to defend his title to protect his rankings. Rublev has won 142 matches in hardcourts against 85 losses and 6 of his titles have come on this surface. The 24 year old will be playing for the fourth time and has at least reached the quarterfinals in his last three appearances. He will start against a qualifier and has the possibility of facing Aslan Karatsev in the quarterfinals.
Felix already has 7 wins in his pocket within a month of the 2022 season. The Canadian showed unreal guts while winning the ATP Cup and was a point away from making it to the semifinal at Australia. He lost in the first round at Rotterdam last year but was the runner up to Gael Monfils two years ago.
The world number 12 started the season with a loss against Daniel Evans then had a 7 match winning streak which was snapped by Rafael Nadal at Australia. Shapovalov will be playing at Rotterdam for the third time, in 2020 he came back without a win and in 2019 reached the quarterfinals. He and Feilix have the most wins in this season amongst those playing at Rotterdam.
Schwartzman looks to be the favourite at Cordoba this season
(Tennis news) Diego Schwartzman is playing at the Cordoba Open for the fourth successive year. He has been playing since the inaugural edition but has not been able to take the trophy and for the third time he is the top seed with strong chances.
Schwartzman has reached three finals at home, twice at Buenos Aires and once at Cordoba. Although he took the title at Buenos Aires, it has been a struggle at Cordoba where the 29 year old lost the final in 2020 to Cristian Garin. Schwartzman is looking for a second title at home, this will be his fourth attempt to win at Cordoba and has been a wait since 2019. He has managed to reach the quarterfinals everytime, this year he might face Garin or Albert Ramos-Vinolas who had defeated him last year.
The former top 10 player reached the quarterfinals at Cordoba in 2019 and 2021. He has reached the quarterfinals this year and will play against Daniel Elahi Galan for place in the last four. The world number 14 has three titles at clay and 1 in hard court; he needs four more victories in clay to have 100 career clay victories. Although he has 107 victories in hardcourts, the clay has been more suited to his style. The groundstrokes and serve are not as fast like most of his opponents but his defence and speed made him the player he is now. The height factor has often come into question as most of the top players are above 6 feet and shorter players have a hard time rallying with them.
The top ranked Argentine is the only one from his country to be in the top 30 of the ATP rankings. He needs over 1500 points to crack the top 10, as of now he is 225 points below Cameron Norrie who is in 12th position. Schwartzman dropped a place below after his surprise exit in the second round at the 2022 Australian Open to Christopher O'Connell who was ranked 175 at that time.
The title victory will also help Schwartzman to come closer to making a comeback in the top of the rankings, a status he lost last year after being present for over 8 months. In 2019, he recorded 40 victories, in the next year there was a personal best ranking of 8 as he secured crucial victories. The 12 time tour finalist has time to build up his form, his season start was not expected but had defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup while leading his team. A victory at home will only boost up his confidence and again have a chance at competing in the year end finals.
Zverev looking to bounce back at Montpellier after early exit in Australia
(Tennis news) After a busy tour in the first month, the 2022 season has now made its way out of Australia. The players are on the go as three events are currently going on at the same time. The Tata Open in India, Montpellier Open in France and Cordoba Open in Argentina. Cordoba Open will be the first clay event of the season and it will be the fast moving hard courts to the sliding dirt.
The Montpellier Open is into its 12th edition on tour and has seen three players out of France winning the title. Former player Tomas Berdych was the first player outside France to win the title and did it 10 years ago. This time too there are chances of breaking the tradition, here are four players to watch out for at the event.
Zverev will be needing a deep run in France after his disappointing exit at the 2022 Australian Open. The German lost to Denis Shapovalov in the fourth round, the wildcard entry this year won the title here in 2017 to become the second non French player after Berdych to win the title. The world number three has only played here twice in 2016, 2017 and made the last four in 16. He will start his run against the winner of Mackenzie McDonald and Ilya Ivashka.
One of the most successful players here along with Richard Gasquet, Monfils has always been able to find victories at home. The 35 year old still moves around the court faster than anyone and is a three time champion at Montpellier. He won the inaugural edition 12 years ago and is playing for the first time at the event since winning in 2020. Monfils reached the quarterfinals in the first Grand Slam of the year after five years and already has a title under his belt this season.
Roberto Bautista Agut
Roberto has always had a great opening season act and will now have to shift his form to France. The Spaniard was a tough one to beat at the ATP Cup and suffered a five set loss against Taylor Fritz in the third round at Melbourne. The world number 19 was the runner up last year to David Goffin, this time he will face the winner between Giles Simon and Lucas Pouille in the opening round.
Basilashvili last won a match three months ago as he is yet to open his account in the 2022 season. The world number 21 will be looking for his first victory in his fourth attempt at Montpellier, his hard hitting always has a way of finding itself at times as consistency is not his key strength.
Medvedev, Berrettini have it tough to enter last four at Australia
(Tennis news) Matteo Berrettini created history at the 2022 Australian Open by becoming the first Italian to reach the semifinals at Melbourne. Daniil Medvedev too had his feathers rustled by Felix Auger Aliassime in the quarterfinals as the opening slam of the year is now coming to an end. The mixed doubles final will be the first one to get over as it will get over tomorrow.
In men’s singles, Berrettini secured his 3rd victory over Gael Monfils in as many meetings as the world number 7 will now face Rafael Nadal for a place in the final. Berrettini was serving and hitting well in the first two sets as it was power against speed; a single breakpoint in both sets was enough for him to take a 2 set lead against Monfils. The Frenchmen then won the next two sets as one breakpoint was enough to pocket the third set and had 7 chances but could only win 2 in the next.
Berrettini was drained of his energy but gained all of it back in the final set with a rock solid 4-0 lead. Monfils was fast but could not run up to his opponent’s net play and ended his run at the major after 3 hours and 45 minutes. Berrettini defeated Monfils 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2.
“It feels unbelievable,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview. “I am really happy for myself. I thought I had him in the third set and then I found myself in the fifth. But I really fought hard and put everything on the court and that is why I am really happy.”
Rafael Nadal entered the semifinals at Melbourne for the 7th time with a 5 set win against Denis Shapovalov. It was a four hour marathon between the two left handers and Nadal started well on serve by taking the first two sets. Shapovalov had complained to the umpire in between the match about Nadal taking too much time between the points as both the players came to the net to talk about it.
The third and fourth set saw Nadal being pushed away from victory as the Canadian made sure his opponent would suffer in the heat. The Spaniard answered back in the deciding set by taking the first 3 games and went on to win the set to enter the last four. Nadal defeated Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.
Daniil Medvedev had to spend more time on the court than Nadal and Berrettini as he was playing against Felix Auger Aliassime. Felix continued the same form he had while winning the ATP Cup, the world number 9 had only taken a set in their last three meetings and was bageled in the second set of the ATP cup semifinal against Medvedev.
Felix took the first two sets and was comfortably looking at a semifinal spot until Medvedev gave no chance in the third set tiebreaker. The world number 2 then saved a matchpoint in the fourth set at 4-5 and got himself out of the tense situation to take the match to the deciding set. A break in the fourth game bailed him out as it was now Felix who tried to get himself back on track but could not make it back to shore. Medvedev defeated Felix 6-7(4-7), 3-6, 7-6(7-2), 7-5, 6-4.
“I was not playing my best and Felix was playing unbelievably,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. He was serving unbelievably, he was all over me. When they closed the roof I felt the momentum change, that I could hit through the court better.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas was the only player who had a straight set win in the quarterfinals as the other three had to play 5 setters to enter the last four. The Greek god took 2 hours to beat Jannik Sinner who had no chance of giving Berrettini company. Tsitsipas looked more powerful than Sinner as the groundstrokes were considerably charged up in most of the rallies. The 20 year old only gave away 4 breakpoints in the match but that was enough to complete a quality victory. Tsitsipas defeated Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
Taylor Fritz reaches fourth round for first time in Grand Slams at Australia
(Tennis news) Day 6 of the 2022 Australian Open saw the draws taking predictable turns in most of the matches. Taylor Fritz reached a personal milestone as he went into the second week of a Grand Slam event for the first time.
Fritz beat Roberto Bautista Agut for the second time in 7 matches and for the first time in three years. The Spaniard had beaten Fritz in the last three matches including their last meeting in 2021 at Monte Carlo. Roberto had been one of the players to watch out for in the ATP Cup but the American hit 73 winners which was more than double of what Roberto hit. Fritz also hit 19 aces and hit more than 10 winners in every set. He bageled the 33 year old in the first set but lost the next two sets as he came back into the match like a true fighter. Fritz defeated Roberto 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“It seems stupid, like after that match I was almost close to tearing up a bit” said Fritz. “So many people have made the second week of Slams, but it's just eluded me for so long. It means a ton, I'm proud, it didn't come easy, I beat an incredibly tough guy.”
Felix Auger-Aliassime continued his incredible start to the season as he reached the fourth round for the second consecutive time at the Australian Open. Felix had lost to Daniel Evans last year at Melbourne 2 in the final and wanted to set things right in their second meeting. The 21 year old took the first set under 50 minutes and further decreased the time in the next two sets. He was ahead of Evans in all aspects of the game, Felix had hit one unforced error than his opponent but everything else was just how his coach wanted it to be. Felix defeated Evans 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.
“It’s definitely one of the best Grand Slam performances I’ve had,” said Auger-Aliassime after the match. “It was a tight first set, I was fortunate to get that break point to serve out and after that for some reason everything was working for me today. I’m really happy because the first two matches were really tough for me, so I’m happy to be through in straight sets.”
In women’s singles, Simona Halep has so far spent 3 and half hours on count in her first three matches. The 14th seed has not conceded more than 7 games in a match as she reached the fourth round by beating Danka Kovinic in straight sets. Kovinic had beaten Emma Raducanu in the previous match but failed to crack the Romanian puzzle. Halep defeated Kovinic 6-2, 6-1.
World number 2 Aryna Sabalenka had to come from a set down to beat Marketa Vondrousova. Vondrousova broke Sabalenka’s serve in the 7th game of the first set to take the lead and serve her way to the lead. Sabalenka answered back as the 32nd seed could only win 4 games in the next two sets. Sabalenka defeated Vondrousova 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Also read: Osaka ousted as Kyrgios and Kokkinakis deliver double delight at Australia
Andy Murray lights up Sydney, Karatsev enters last semifinals
(Tennis news) Andy Murray’s form in Sydney looked like had come into contact with a time machine as he had the same look in the eye which was last seen 5 years ago. The former world number one has been playing great in the 2022 season. In the fourth round of the Sydney Tennis Classic, the 34 year old faced Nikoloz Basilashvili who attacked the ball on every occasion from all corners of the court.
Basilashvili is known to play aggressive and his average groundstrokes are timed around 70mph which Murray dealt quite well and kept slowing down the pace of the rally. The match went on for 3 hours as the world number 23 hit the ball well but Murray got to the ball and even had the time to position himself accordingly and place the shots. The delicate touches were his answers to Basilashvili’s unbelievable lightning hitting. Murray defeated Basilashvili 6-7(4-7), 7-6(3), 6-3.
“I got a lot of free points on my serve,” Murray said. “When we were in the rallies, it was more on his terms, so I tried to serve a little bit bigger and thankfully they went in. When he was serving, I tried to take time away from him and rush him and I hit some better returns.”
Daniel Evans continued his unbeaten run to the season by beating Pedro Martinez at Sydney. Evans has been on a 4 match winning streak starting from the ATP Cup and is so far on top at Australia. The British player did not give room for unforced errors as Martinez tried getting back at his backhand slice but could not do much. The Spaniard also could not bring in change by coming to the net as Evans outperformed him there too. Evans defeated Martinez 6-2, 6-3.
Last year’s Australian Open semifinalist, Aslan Karatsev used up all his energy on his way to beating Lorenzo Sonego in the quarterfinal match. The Russian needed 3 hours to knock out the rising star as the scores looked straight and square. Karatsev charged up the front of the court as his forehand put Sonego at a disadvantage but the 26 year old also played well under pressure. The Italian saved 20 of 25 breakpoints and even though he did not have as many breakpoints, it was enough to take the match till the deciding set. Karatsev defeated Sonego 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.
Kokkinakis on a roll at Adelaide International 2
(Tennis news) Thanasi Kokkinakis has been on a high at Adelaide in the 2022 season. The Australian had reached the semifinals of Adelaide International 1 as a wildcard beating John Millman, Frances Tiafoe on the way. Kokkinakis is now into the quarterfinals of Adelaide International 2 beating Benoit Paire in the first match and now overcame John Isner in the second match which also was a battle of first serves.
Kokkinakis needed three tie breaks in a match that went on for 2 hours and 43 minutes. His service was in fact a bit more efficient than Isner in the match as he won 12 points more than the American. The 25 year old was playing from the baseline as the serving giant came 31 times on the net and lost 15 points while the wildcard came front 10 times and only lost 2 points. It will be a clash of two Australian wildcards in the quarterfinal as Aleksandar Vukic defeated Steve Johnson in the 4th round. Kokkinakis defeated Isner 6-7(7-5), 7-6(7-5), 7-6(7-5).
Another player who is having a winning streak at Adelaide is Karen Khachanonov. Khachanov reached the finals earlier at Adelaide and now is into the quarterfinals. The Russian had pulled out of the ATP Cup which was held at the start of the month, now he will face Arthur Rinderknech for a place in the semifinal.
Khachanov was placing his first and second serve on the right spot against Gianluca Mager in the fourth round. The world number 30 only lost nine points on his serve as Mager struggled to set up points on return and Khachanov only played better than in the second set to clinch his 6th win of the season. Khachanov defeated Mager 7-5, 6-3.
Marin Cilic hit 29 winners in his match against Jaume Munar to advance to the quarterfinal. The Croatian had made the semifinals at Adelaide earlier and lost to Khachanonov. Cilic was too powerful as the hardcourts were in favour of the fast paced groundstrokes as the Spaniard could not handle the horsepower. The world number 33 will face in form Tommy Paul for a place in the quarterfinal, they both had played last year at Moscow which Cilic won. It will be Cilic’s power versus Paul’s defense which made him win against Frances Tiafoe two days earlier and both the players are in form. Cilic defeated Munar 7-6(8-6), 6-2.
Sofia exits early at Sydney Tennis Classic, Kvitova wins marathon match
(Tennis news) The first day of Sydney Tennis Classic WTA 500 was like a transverse wave as the singles matches did not have a single sporting element missing. The tour in January is packed with events at Adelaide and Sydney as players get busy at the start of the season. The 2022 Australian Open will be starting in 6 days as players have already soaked in the heat at the ongoing events.
Sofia Kenin was the highest ranked player to make an exit on the first day of the Sydney Tennis Classic. The American was up against Daria Kasatkina who had reached the semifinals at Adelaide two days ago. The world number 12 looked a bit off in the middle of the first set as she could not convert two breakpoints at 3-2 and then lost three successive games to give the Russian the lead.
After winning the first set, Kasatkina made a huge leap ahead by bageling Kenin as she knocked out the 8th seed in an hour. Kasatkina saved all the 7 breakpoints in the match and converted four out five to give herself a confidence boost ahead of the season opening Grand Slam. Kasatkina defeated Kenin 6-4, 6-0.
Anett Kontaveit made sure she reminded the Melbourne audience how she ended last season with a straight set win over Zhang Shuai. Kontaveit began her first match of the season with a full stretched backhand and forehand shot in the opening rally. The world number 7 had her first serves come out hot as Zhang only won 4 points out of 35 as Kontaveit kept her aggressiveness full on for the match.
Kontaveit was pouncing on Zhang’s second serve as a single breakpoint was enough for the Estonian to take the set. In the second set, things turned even worse for the 32 year old as she could only win one point out of 16 first serves and lost nine of her 12 second serves. Kontaveit took more risks and it gave her 4 breakpoints in which she lost two but was enough to progress to the next round. Kontaveit defeated Zhang 6-3, 6-3.
Petra Kvitova had a devastating start to the season when she was beaten in the opening round at Adelaide. Kvitova was on her way to another early exit against Arantxa Rus and saved two match points in a match that lasted for three hours. The two left handers hit a total of 16 double faults of which 8 came in the second and Kvitova accounted for 5 of them.
Rus was completely ahead of Kvitova in the first set as it looked like the Dutch player was in full control. In the second set, Kvitova was the one on top of the waves as she had a 4-2 lead until the storm shook her out of the game and it was 4 all. Kvitova who was 7 months older to her opponent used her forehand to unarm Rus and took the match to the decider. In the final set, Rus had two match points at 5-4 but could not get that one point as Kvitova got three consecutive games to end the ordeal. Kvitova defeated Rus 3-6, 7-6(7-4), 7-5.
Yuki Bhambri returns to big stage in style, moves to 2nd round of Aussie Open Qualifiers
Melbourne, Jan 11 (Tennis News) Comeback-man Yuki Bhambri impressed with his match sharpness and attacking net play as the Indian progressed to the second round of Australian Open qualifiers with a comfortable straight set win over Joao Domingues, here on Tuesday.
Bhambri, who returned to the Grand Slam stage after 2018 US Open due to knee injury, beat his 248th ranked Portuguese rival 6-4 6-2 in just 68 minutes.
The 29-year-old Indian's serve looked decent and he played smartly as he charged the net to keep the points short.
He struggled to rein in his unforced errors in the beginning but earned his first breakpoint in the third game with a forehand winner after a long rally. Domigues served a double fault to hand the Indian first break of the match.
Bhambri served the next game at love with an ace to open up a 3-1 lead as Domingues also tried to charge to the net but Bhambri's powerful strokes pushed him back.
Bhambri fought off two break points on his serve in the sixth game. At deuce he pulled off a perfectly placed backhand slice and then dispatched up a half-volley for a 4-2 lead.
After getting one more break on account of his rival's unforced errors, Bhambri came out serving for the set but dropped the serve when his miscued overhead smash went out.
He wasn't in the position to play that shot but went for it, anticipating that lob would land in, behind him near the alley.
The Indian claimed the set when he served again.
In the second set too, it was Bhambri who got the first break as he led 4-2. He then served out the match without any fuss.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina will also play their first rounds later in the day.
Also Read : Safiullin, Evans among the best players from the 2022 ATP Cup
News Source : PTI
Safiullin, Evans among the best players from the 2022 ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The third edition of the ATP Cup saw the young Canadians taking the title for the first time. The season opener gave the perfect start to the 2022 season as it saw many players giving all of their might to see their country winning. There were many senior and junior players who were in their zone on court as they proved to be an invaluable part of the team. Here are the top four players at the ATP Cup.
Roman Safiullin: Russia
When in Rome, do as the Romans do and that is what Safiullin exactly did. He formed a great duo with Daniil Medvedev in doubles and in singles he did what every player should for their country. Russia seemed to have lost its powerhouse as Rublev and Karatsev pulled which made way for Safiullin who unexpectedly became the hero for the team.
Safiullin became a fan favourite in the very first match against France when he defeated Arthur Rinderknech who was 120 places above him in the rankings. In the second match, the world number 167 secured his biggest win by beating James Duckworth and got his first top 50 win on tour. He lost the next two matches to Jannik Sinner and Denis Shapovalov but did his best to make them work hard for the win.
Safiullin and Medvedev were the lowest ranked doubles pair in every match they played but still won three matches and lost in the semifinals to Canada. Safiullin has been the latest Russia to make a mark in the sport and will hope to join the likes of Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev.
Daniel Evans: Great Britain
Britain had everything at the event but luck as Canada’s victory over Germany put them out of the knockout stage. Evans played five matches in the ATP Cup and won every match dropping just one set in the final doubles match against USA. The world number 26 won all his singles matches beating Denis Shapovalov and John Isner in straight sets. He was the most valuable player for the team and partnered with Jamie Murray against Germany and USA.
Roberto Bautista Agut: Spain
Roberto led the Spanish team like a gladiator in every match. The 33 year old has been having fantastic starts to the season for the past 5 seasons piling up more than 40 wins and less than 10 losses. He won four matches and it was painful to watch the world number 17 lose in the final even after picking up two top 10 victories on the way.
Felix Auger-Aliassime: Canada
The Canadian team was led by two youngsters, the rising stars of the sport. Felix and Shapovalov were one the youngest players on the event, they carried the responsibility with quite a bit of maturity. The world number 9 defeated Cameron Norrie in the second match and also paired with Shapovalov to win the tie.
Felix played 5 singles matches and 3 doubles matches at the ATP Cup which showed the young Canadian had a lot of workload and pressure through the event. The doubles win against Russia put the team through the final and his win against Roberto gave the title to the team.
Ashleigh Barty secures two podium finishes at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty started the 2022 season with the singles and doubles title at Adelaide International 1. The world number 1 was playing after a gap of three months, she last played at US Open in September. At Adelaide, Barty only dropped a single set against Cori Gauff in the third round and was the only match in which she played for more than 90 minutes.
Barty was expected to win the final when she faced Elena Rybakina who beat Barty’s doubles partner Storm Sanders in the third round. Rybakina had beaten Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinal and looked in good form on her way to the championship match. Both players started well in the match as the Australian made her opponent cover a lot of ground in most of the rallies which Rybakina covered. In the 7th game, Barty broke Rybakina’s serve and then secured the first set.
In the second set, Barty took the first four games as Rybakina could not hold her serve even though she had 6 aces. The 22 year old only lost one point on her first serve in the set but only had 8 of them and lost 11 points out of 17 on her second serve. Barty was consistent on both her serves in the first and second set. She could not do much when Rybakina’s first serve was in but her returns in the second serve cleared the air. Barty defeated Rybakina 6-3, 6-2.
"I feel good leading up to an Australian Open like I have every year," Barty said. "Each and every preparation is unique, each and every preparation is different. So we take it for what comes and what it is, move on, try and do the best that we can in every opportunity, whether that's here in Adelaide or it's in Melbourne.
"It has absolutely no effect on the way that I prepare or the way I'm thinking leading forward just because it's a Grand Slam. Doesn't change for us. We look forward, we do what we can, then we see how we go."
In the doubles final, Barty and Sanders beat Andreja Klepac and Darija Jurak Schreiber in straight sets. Barty and Sanders last played as a pair in the Tokyo Olympics where they lost in the quarterfinal, it was also Barty’s 200th doubles win and is two wins away to make it 300th win in singles. The Aussie pair defeated Andreja and Darija 6-1, 6-4.
Canada gets the perfect start to 2022 season with ATP Cup victory
(Tennis news) The 2022 season started off perfectly for team Canada with a first ATP Cup title. Canada were not the favourites in the final as they were facing Spain, a team which had reached the finals in the first edition and semifinals last year. The event has now seen three different winners in the last three editions as Spain has been the runner up twice.
The singles matches had all the four players ranked in the top 21 as Spain was against the youngest singles pair in the event. The first singles match was between Denis Shapovalov and Pablo Carreno Busta, the Spaniard had won his last four singles matches in straight sets at the event. Pablo had also won the last three matches in their head to head meetings as Shapovalov’s only victory came in 2019. The Canadian had withdrawn in his first singles match against USA due to fatigue, in the next match he lost against Britain’s Daniel Evans but went on to win the next two matches.
The first game of the final took 14 minutes as Shapovalov saved multiple breakpoints to hold his serve. Pablo had several chances to break the 22 year old’s serve but the next gen player did whatever he could to hold his serve and finished most of the points at the net. It was not until the 10th game that Shapovalov got the first break as he took the set against an defensive Pablo in 54 minutes.
In the second set, it was team Canada again as the left handed player kept Spain in the back with his paradisiacal groundstrokes. In the next half an hour, Canada was halfway through the finish line as Shapovalov joined the crowds in celebration. The second match was between Roberto Bautista Agut and Felix Auger Aliassime as Spain needed their top player more than ever. Roberto had won his last four matches which included two top ten wins and a bagel in the first match. Felix had lost to Daniil Medvedev in the previous match as he was bageled in the second set, the 21 year old had also lost his first match to Taylor Fritz but defeated Alexander Zverev in his third match.
Felix was 12 years junior to Roberto yet he was the one who had a more vintage style than the Spaniard. Although both the players were finishing most of the points from the baseline, Felix came into the net 16 times and only lost four chances. Roberto only won 4 points out of 9 at the net as he was hesitant to leave from the baseline. Spain was in the lead as it won the first two games but the rising star came level in the next few games. The 33 year old had a major breakpoint at 4-3 on Felix’s serve but could not savor it as the match reached the tie break and there were no chances left as Canada was a set away from victory.
The second set saw Spain’s chance further deteriorate as the world number 9 was bringing his team closer to the Cup. Felix broke Roberto’s serve in the 8th game and four minutes later a chest bump celebration started off for team Canada with its first ATP Cup title.
Canada defeated Spain 2-0
Shapovalov defeated Pablo 6-4, 6-3, Felix defeated Roberto 7-6(7-3), 6-3
Also read: All eyes on Yuki, Ramkumar at Australian Open qualifiers
Bopanna and Ramkumar win Adelaide International with upset win over top seeds
Melbourne, Jan 9 (Tennis News) Teaming up for the first-time on the ATP Tour, India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan won the Adelaide International doubles trophy with a hard-fought 7-6 (6) 6-1 win over top seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo here on Sunday.
Bopanna's excellent service returns at crucial times and Ramkumar's all-round game tilted the match in their favour.
In the one hour and 21 minutes contest, the Indians saved all the four break points they faced and broke their rivals twice.
It was Bopanna's 20th ATP doubles title and first for Ramkumar, who was playing only in his second summit clash at this level, having ended a runner-up at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in 2018.
"When Ramkumar is serving by your side, you can finish the point early, so that was an advantage," said Bopanna.
Asked how different it was playing with Ramkumar than another compatriot and left-handed Divij Sharan, Bopanan said, "With Divij, we had to create a point, ensure that first volley opportunity is taken while with Ram, the point can be finished early.
"I am surprised not many Indians entered this event. If anyone had landed here, would have entered the field since not many players were there." Bopanna and Ramkumar will split USD 18700 as prize money and earned 250 ranking points each.
The win would be a huge confidence booster for Ramkumar ahead of the Australian Open Qualifiers, where he will aim to make the singles main draw of a Grand Slam once again.
After saving an early breakpoint, Bopanna and Ramkumar upped their game. In the seventh game, when Melo served at 30-0, Bopanna's unreturnable service on the right of the Dodig and later a crushing forehand winner made it 30-all but the Brazilian eventually held.
Bopanna then saved another breakpoint and converted the deciding deuce point to make it 4-4.
Serving to stay afloat in the set at 5-6, the Indian pair was up 40-30 when Dodig created a winner on Bopanna's serve that whizzed past Ramkumar on his right but the big-serving Coorgi hit an ace to drag it to a tie-breaker.
At 6-6, Bopanna found a service return winner on Melo's serve to earn their second set point and converted with his booming serve.
It was one-way traffic in the second set with the Indians dominating all through.
Also Read : LSpain beats Poland to reach finals for second time of ATP Cup
News Sources : PTI
Spain beats Poland to reach finals for second time of ATP Cup
(Tennis news) Day 7 of ATP Cup saw the first semi final match between Spain and Poland. Spain was the runner up in the 2019 edition and reached the finals last year. Now they have a second chance at winning the title as the opponents will be decided in the match between Russia and Canada.
Spain defeated Canada 2-1
Things went according to plan in the first match as it looked like Pablo Carreno Busta wanted to save as much energy as possible for the final. The world number 20 had magical footwork and Jan Zielinski could only take notes as he could not interrupt the flow. The Spaniard hit 11 winners in both the sets and had only 1 unforced error in the second as opposed to 2 in the first set.
Zielinski was in good spirits as he saved a matchpoint by playing a trick drop return which even shocked the crowd as they started cheering him on and then he hit a blazing forehand cross court winner to save another. It got the crowd going but after 53 minutes it was time for both of them to sit and cheer for their teammates as Spain was now in the lead.
The second match was filled with intense competition between Roberto Bautista Agut and Hubert Hurkacz. The players had met each other twice before with Roberto winning both and each match had a tie break. Both of them did honour the tie break tradition as this time there were two and it took almost 3 hours for the 2nd point to emerge.
The stats were enough to read what was going on the court. Hurkacz hit 61 winners, 24 aces and came to the net 46 times in which only lost 10 of them. Roberto had 28 winners, a single ace and came to the net 27 times while losing just 6 of them and both of them won 108 points. Hubert was leading in the first set tie break by 4-2 until Roberto started attacking every point and went on to win the set in 55 minutes which was longer than the first match itself.
In the second set, Roberto’s smash hit the net cord and went wide as Hubert broke his serve in the first game which was the overall tone of the set. Hubert leveled the score in half an hour as the match now looked in favour of Hurkacz. Roberto became more defensive in the set as he came to the net thrice, in the previous set he did the same 11 times and ended up doing 16 times in the third set. In the final set, Roberto had three match points before the tie break but Hurkacz’s skill at the net saved him. In the tiebreak Hurkacz again came into the front and saved two more match points until a forehand volley went into the net as Spain won the tie and the team mobbed Roberto as he walked in the box.
In the final doubles match, Poland signed off with a victory as Zielinski and Szymon Walkow won the last two sets after losing the first one to Pedro Martinez and Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Pablo defeated Zielinski 6-2, 6-1, Roberto defeated Hurkacz 7-6(8-6), 6-2, 7-6(7-5), Walkow and Zielinski defeated Martinez and Ramos-Vinolas 4-6, 6-3, 10-6.
Bopanna-Ramkumar pair cruise to final in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 8 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan upstaged fourth seeds Tomislav Brkic and Santiago Gonzalez in straight sets to reach the final of the Adelaide International, here on Saturday.
The unseeded Indian duo ousted the Bosnian-Mexican duo 6-2 6-4 in the doubles semifinals.
The Indians will now lock horns with top seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Brazilian Marcelo Melo in the summit clash of the of the ATP 250 event.
It will be an interesting match as the 41-year-old Bopanna and Dodig have often paired up together, the most recent being in the US Open in September when the duo was knocked out in the third round.
Bopanna and Ramkumar, who have paired up for the first time on the ATP tour, have enjoyed a good week so far.
The two have notched straight-set wins in the tournament barring the second round match against the American duo of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow when they were stretched to a super tie-breaker.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Russia prevail over Italy to reach semi finals of ATP Cup
News Source : PTI
Russia prevail over Italy to reach semi finals of ATP Cup
(Tennis news) In day 6 the final group stages of the ATP Cup saw the top two teams of two groups qualify for the semifinal. The day also had exits from top two teams from Group C and B as Italy fell short of making it into the final stages even though they had a strong team and Britain missing out the spot by a whisker.
Russia defeated Italy 2-1
Russia picked up its biggest victory so far as they became the third team to qualify for the semifinals. Jannik Sinner put Italy on front with a top class performance over Roman Safiullin as the Russian could not handle the power of the next gen. In the second singles match, Daniil Medvedev kept the hopes alive with a three set win over Matteo Berrettini as he only committed 13 unforced errors and played it safe. The pressure was on Medvedev but the world number 2 did not let his country down after losing the second set, the final set saw the Russian excel as he kept the rallies long.
In the final doubles match, Medvedev and Safiullin were again in the danger zone after losing the first set but did not let the Italians celebrate in the next two sets as they will now aim for a second consecutive title.
Sinner defeated Safiullin 7-6(8-6), 6-3, Medvedev defeated Berrettini 6-2, 6-7(5-7), 6-4, Medvedev and Safiullin defeated Berrettini and Sinner 5-7, 6-4, 10-5.
Australia defeated France 2-1
France ended their journey in the event without a victory as Australia too reached the finish line with an inspiring victory. Arthur Rinderknech gave the home crowd bad news in the opening match as France got their first point, Alex De Minaur was” le destructeur” as he beat Ugo Humbert after losing the first set. In the second set, the Aussie lad saved crucial breakpoints to take the match into the final set. In the doubles, John Peers and Luke Saville saved three match points as they made sure not lose their way at home.
Rinderknech defeated James Duckworth 6-4, 7-6 (8-6), Alex defeated Humbert 3-6, 7-6(7-2), 6-1, Peers and Saville defeated Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 5-7, 11-9.
Britain defeated USA 2-1
Britain had hopes of qualifying for the semifinal but it suffered a major breakdown in the first match. Cameron Norrie fell in the last few points of the match which proved to be crucial for the team as Taylor Fritz gave the first point to his team. In the second match, Daniel Evans resisted strong serves against John Isner to give the team chances for a semifinal finish with a win against John Isner. In the final match, Evans again played a key role with Jamie Murray to secure the final point of the tie.
Fritz defeated Norrie 7-6(7-4), 3-6, 6-1, Evans defeated Isner 6-4, 7-6(7-3), Evans and Murray defeated Fritz and Isner 6-7(7-3), 7-5, 10-8.
Canada defeated Germany 2-1
Canada put an end to Britain’s wait as they grabbed the final semifinal spot of the event. The two youngsters confirmed the victory in the first 5 hours of the match. Denis Shapovalov hit 10 plus winners in each set as the left hander did half the job but the next match was a difficult one. Felix Auger-Aliassime was up against Alexander Zverev as it was expected the German would halt the opposition from reaching the last four but Felix left it all out on court to clinch the match and the tie. The 21 year old lost 6 points at the net out of 23 and saved 7 breakpoints out of 9 to give the team a last four place. In the doubles match, Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz were too late as they won a point for the German side.
Shapovalov defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(7-5), 4-6, 6-3, Felix defeated Zverev 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, Kevin and Tim defeated Steven Diez and Brayden Schnur 6-3, 6-4.
Poland and Spain end group stage with victories at ATP Cup
(Tennis news) Day 5 of the ATP Cup saw Spain and Poland finish on top of their respective groups. It was the last group stage match for a few teams as the weekend is nearing and the finals will take place in three days. Poland, Spain and Russia are so far the only teams to have won all their ties at the event this time as Russia will play their final group stage match today.
Poland defeated Argentina 3-0
It was curtains down for Argentina as they lost the bid in the final match. Poland saved it’s best performance at the end as both the teams had won their previous two matches and the winner would get a place in the last four. Kamil Majchrzak was the first one to break the Argentine spirits when he beat Federico Delbonis, Hubert Hurkacz closed out the tie as he took some time in understanding Diego Schwartzman’s defense. Szymon Walkow and Jan Zielinski then made it a perfect score of 3-0 with their straight set win.
Majchrzak defeated Delbonis 6-3, 7-6(7-3), Hurkacz defeated Schwartzman 6-1, 6-4, Walkow and Zielinski defeated Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-5).
Spain defeated Serbia 2-1
In a repeat of the 2020 finals, Spain were on top this time as they along with Poland became the second team to record three victories in the group stage. Pablo Carreno Busta delivered the early blow as he hammered 30 winners in his win against Filip Krajinovic. Roberto Bautista Agut continued his great form to beat Dusan Lajovic to confirm the top finish in Group A. The Serbian pair of Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov Pedro Martinez won their last match of the event as Spain proceeded to the semifinals.
Pablo defeated Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4 , Roberto defeated Lajovic 6-1, 6-4, Cacic and Sabanov defeated Pedro Martinez and Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 10-5.
Greece defeated Georgia 2-1
It was a battle of bottom placed teams as Greece faced Georgia. Both of them had lost the first two matches as Greece managed to end their campaign with a victory. Michail Pervolarakis recorded his first tour level victory by beating Aleksandre Metreveli in an hour for the advantage. 30 minutes into the second match, Stefanos Tsitsipas gave them the first victory for the team this year as Nikoloz Basilashvili retired early due to breathing problems. In the doubles, Aleksandre Bakshi and Aleksandre Metreveli survived three matchpoints in the final set and managed a consolation win.
Pervolarakis defeated Metreveli 6-3, 6-2, Tsitsipas defeated Basilashvili 4-1 Retired, Bakshi and Metreveli defeated Pervolarakis and Tsitsipas 4-6, 6-3, 16-14.
Chile defeated Norway 2-1
Norway ended their campaign at the event without a win as they lost to Chile to join Georgia with three defeats. Alejandro Tablio was the MVP in the Chilean side as he overcame Viktor Durasovic in the first match, Casper Ruud brought Norway back into the court with a one sided performance over Cristian Garin. In the final match, Tablio and Tomas Barrios Vera made sure the farewell theme would be favouring them as they even bageled the Norwegian pair in the first set.
Tablio defeated Durasovic 6-1, 6-7(5-7), 6-1, Ruud defeated Cristian Garin 6-4, 6-1, Tablio and Tomas Barrios Vera defeated Leyton Rivera and Andreja Petrovic 6-0, 6-4.
Azarenka and Rogers record huge wins at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) Day 3 and 4 of Adelaide International 1 saw three top 10 players exit early as Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek are the only players left from the top 10. Barty is also playing the doubles event alongside Stormy Sanders.
Victoria Azarenka beat Paula Badosa as the Spaniard became the highest ranked player to exit the event. Azarenka played a well controlled game as she had more winners and less unforced errors than Badosa who had defeated her in the final of the Indian Wells last year. The former world number 1 did not face a break point in the second set and she took the last three games to win the match. Azarenka defeated Baodosa 6-3, 6-2.
"Honestly, it's been the most chaotic pre-season I've ever had. I was actually really nervous before the tournament, I felt really unprepared. For me to come out here and produce this type of tennis really makes me proud of the competitor I am" said Azarenka.
Barty had to toil in the court for two hours as she was up against Cori Gauff. The first set saw Gauff serving well and only gave away one breakpoint while winning 4 of them. In the second set, Barty was defending points under pressure as Gauff lost 5 of the 6 breaks which gave the lead to Barty. The world number 1 only needed to break Gauff twice as she took the second set and the last set drained the teenager’s energy. Barty defeated Gauff 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
World number 100 Kaja Juvan recorded the biggest win of her career when she defeated world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka. Juvan was 0-2 behind in the first set and was a point away from losing the set but won 2 consecutive points to take the set. Sabalenka served 7 double faults in the first set and it became worse as she went on to serve 11 more in the next set which resulted in Juvan taking 5 games on the roll for a first top 10 win in her career. Juvan defeated 7-6(8-6), 6-1.
"I really enjoyed the first set. I love when matches get tight, when it's competitive and when it's a really tight fight. I was feeling a little bit sorry at some points because I knew she's not doing the best with the serve and we all know how that feels at one point," Juvan said.
Shelby Rogers repeated her Wimbledon win against Maria Sakkari as Sakkari became the third top 10 player to exit the event. Rogers and Sakkari were having a go at each other in the first set but in the second set there was not much left as Sakkari dominated to level the score. In the final set, two breaks for Rogers made sure she was ahead of Sakkari in the final lap to reach the quarterfinals. Rogers defeated Sakkari 7-6(8-6), 2-6, 6-4.
World No. 18 Karatsev is the headline of the 4th Tata Open Maharashtra
(Tennis news) Defending champ Vesely and India’s Bhambri receive direct entry into single main draw for the Tata Open held in Pune. World number 18 Aslan Karatsev and defending champion Jiri Vesely will be eyeing the title alongside seven other Top-100 players as South Asia’s only ATP Tour tournament Tata Open Maharashtra gears up for a much-awaited comeback with an action-packed fourth edition, scheduled at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune from January 31 to February 6.
The Tata Open is one of Asia’s longest running tennis tournaments and will be in its 26th year, as they will return after a year’s break due to COVID-19 pandemic. The Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) will be hosting the prestigious tournament, which is sponsored by Tata Group, in association with the Government of Maharashtra.
The 28-year-old Russian Karatsev had a phenomenal 2021, he became the first-ever player to reach the semi-finals on Grand Slam debut in Australia, bagged two singles titles and his highlight of last year would be defeating tennis great Novak Djokovic, he also went to win the mixed-doubles silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Hailed as Russia’s “secret weapon” by teammate and World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev during their team’s 2021 ATP Cup triumph, Karatsev will be eager to carry forward a sensational run and make his mark on debut at Tata Open Maharashtra and by winning this prestigious tournament.
“We are thrilled to announce the return of this prestigious tournament. It has a rich legacy of having top players from across the world participating in it and the upcoming edition will be a testament of the same tradition. Despite the challenges and the pandemic, we are glad to see such a good response with players coming from the world over. We promise to bring yet another edition with a high-voltage action for the fans,” said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra.
With a stiff cut off at 149, the country’s premier ATP 250 event will also witness some of the experienced names as well as promising young guns from the tennis world such as Australia’s John Millman, Portugal’s best tennis player of all time Joao Sousa and teenage sensation Lorenzo Musetti.
The 19-year-old Musetti made the headlines last year when he became the youngest player to break into the Top-100. In his short career so far, the young Italian star has impressed everyone with his consistent match-winning performances against the Top-10 players including Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori. India’s Yuki Bhambri will also kickstart his campaign in the main draw with a protected ranking. After recovering from an injury, Bhambri is currently preparing for the upcoming Australian Open.
Czech Republic star Jiri Vesely, who ended his 5-year long wait for a singles title in the last edition, will be presenting a strong challenge on his comeback into the city. Former Youth Olympics champion Kamil Majchrzak, Moldova’s first-ever ATP singles title winner Radu Albot and World No. 62 Gianluca Mager are the other notable names from the acceptance list.
The qualifying draws will take place on January 30 and 31.
“We had worked really hard to bring back this tournament. I would like to thank all the stakeholders for their continuous support, throughout. We are aware of the challenges ahead but we are ready to tackle them all, strategically. MSLTA have successfully conducted a few tournaments recently and I believe we can pull this off too. Safety of the players as well as others involved is of prime importance to us and, as organisers, we will not compromise on that. We will be strictly following the government’s Covid-19 guidelines to bring yet another successful edition,” MSLTA Secretary Sunder Iyer said.
France suffers second consecutive defeat in ATP Cup
(Tennis news) Day 4 of the ATP Cup witnessed Italy and Russia recording vital victories as the knockout stages are going to be held later this week. Group B and C played their matches and still have one more match to go before the semifinals.
Russia defeated Australia 3-0
Russia continued its title defence by blanking the home team for its second consecutive victory. Roman Safiullin gave the early lead once again by taking out James Duckworth in the first match. Daniil Medvedev got his first victory of the season by beating Alex De Minaur as the doubles saw both the Russian singles players pitting against seasoned doubles players and finished the ordeal.
Safiullin defeated Duckworth 7-6(8-6), 6-4, Medvedev defeated Minaur 6-4, 6-2, Medvedev and Safiullin defeated John Peers and Luke Saville 7-6(9-7), 3-6, 10-6.
Italy defeated 3-0 France
Italy recorded its first win of the event as it now hopes for a spot in the semifinal. France have confirmed their exit from the semifinal race with their second consecutive defeat as they are in the bottom place of Group B. Jannik Sinner gave the right signal at the start as he defeated Arthur Rinderknech in straight sets in which the second set was stretched to the tie break. In the second match, Matteo Berrettini confirmed their first victory as he beat Ugo Humbert. In the final doubles match, Berrettini and Sinner regrouped to make it three out of three.
Sinner defeated Rinderknech 6-3, 7-6(7-3), Berrettini defeated Humbert 6-4, 7-6(8-6), Sinner and Berrettini defeated Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3, 6-7(7-9), 10-8.
Germany defeated USA 2-1
Jan-Lennard Struff came out on top against John Isner who hit 34 aces in the opening match which lasted over 3 hours. The second match saw Alexander Zverev take on Taylor Fritz and give the Germans the victory. In the final doubles match, Isner and Fritz did not let themselves be whitewashed as they bageled the first in their way to take the last point of the tie.
Struff defeated Isner 7-6(9-7), 4-6, 7-5, Zverev defeated Fritz 6-4, 6-4, Isner and Fritz defeated Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz 6-0, 6-3.
Canada defeated Britain 2-1
Group C has now seen the four teams win one match and lose the next as Canada got their first victory at the event. Daniel Evans gave Britain the first point as he won the match of single handed backhands against Denis Shapovalov who had not played the earlier match due to fatigue. Felix Auger-Aliassime then carried his form from the previous season to beat Cameron Norrie as Canada got back their hopes for a semifinal spot. In the doubles match, both the next gen players upset Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray to end the tie with a crucial win.
Evans defeated Shapovalov 6-4, 6-4, Felix defeated Norrie 7-6, 6-3, Felix and Shapovalov defeated Salisbury and Murray 6-4, 6-1.
Our goals and objectives are to create for tennis what the IPL Cricket has done for cricket - Mark Milne, creator of Thirty30 (T30) Tennis
In a world of instant gratification, many traditional sports formats seem outdated to the younger generation. The idea of waiting for five days for a Test cricket result, only for the match to end in a draw seems bizarre to say the least, resulting in the T20 format being widely adopted in international and domestic matches to generate interest in the sport. Similarly, a rugby union match lasts for at least 80 minutes but a sevens match consists of two halves of seven minutes with a two-minute halftime break. There are many other sports that have adapted to a shorter format so that games are more competitive, intense and provide instant results.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mark Milne, creator of Thirty30 (T30) Tennis speaks about how his format is different from the traditional way the sport is played, the inspiration behind creating a shorter format, his vision, overcoming challenges, future goals and more!
Q 1) As the creator of Thirty30 Tennis, what is the difference between this format and the traditional way tennis is played?
The distinguishing difference between Thirty30 ("thirty-thirty") tennis and traditional tennis is that matches are shorter and faster-paced, making the tennis more fun and more exciting.
The game score ticks over much more quickly. One set is completed in no longer than 20 minutes, with a best-of-3 sets match completed in 40-60 minutes and a best-of-5 in 60-90 minutes.
In Thirty30 tennis, everything is identical to traditional tennis except:
(1) Every "SHORT GAME" starts from 30-30 (announced "thirty-thirty" - the clue is in the name!) instead of 0-0.
(2) A 9-point tie-break (i.e. first to 5 points with sudden death at 4-4) is played at 6 games all in a set.
(3) In a set, the change of ends is after the first two games and then every four after that.
All very simple!
Q 2) Why did you feel the need to create a shorter format of the sport? Do you believe it’s a format that will garner appeal amongst the younger audience who prefer more action packed sporting events?
The tennis authorities have recognised for a number of years that matches have been lasting too long to attract the younger generation who are looking for more excitement in today's faster paced society.
Many sports have also recognised this and have created their own alternative shorter faster-paced formats, e.g. racket sports similar to tennis like squash, badminton and table tennis have all changed their scoring methods in an effort to evolve.
Others include: Cricket (Twenty20/T20, T10, The Hundred), Golf (Golf Sixes), Netball (Fast5), Tennis (Fast4 and Tie Break Tens), Rugby (Sevens), Basketball (3x3), Athletics (Nitro).
Various alternative shorter scoring formats are currently being used and trialled in tennis:
(1) Tennis Australia's Fast4 - sets are played to 4 games with a tie-break at 3-3 and sudden-death points played at deuce. Fast4 has led to the following Rules being included in Appendix V (Alternative Scoring Methods) of the ITF Rules of Tennis: 'Sets to 4 Games', 'No Ad' and 'No Let'.
(2) The use of the match deciding 3rd set Match Tie Break to 10 points, e.g. Laver Cup, ATP Cup, ATP & WTA Doubles Events, etc.
(3) The use of the 'No Ad' Rule, e.g. ATP & WTA Doubles Events, etc.
(4) Patrick Moroutoglou's Ultimate Tennis Showdown's four 8 minute timed quarters using tie breaks like scoring and use of 'playing cards'.
Thirty30 (or T30) tennis is an alternative shorter scoring format to the formats listed above and in my opinion is the Rolls Royce of shorter scoring methods as Thirty30 tennis maintains the DNA of traditional tennis and match results look identical.
Everything about Thirty30 tennis still FEELS, LOOKS and SOUNDS like traditional tennis and EVERY Point REALLY Counts!
Q 3) What is your vision for Thirty30 Tennis? Is this meant to be a recreational format of tennis or do you envision it to be adopted professionally as well?
My vision for Thirty30 tennis is to see it used all over the world as an alternative shorter scoring method, played socially and competitively by recreational players and played competitively by professional players.
Q 4) What are some of the challenges that you have faced in introducing the Thirty30 Tennis format? How did you overcome them?
Tennis is just a hobby for me and I have a great passion for it. I am a Mechanical Design Engineer with over 30 years experience working in both the Steel and Oil & Gas Industries in Scotland and finding enough time to spend on promoting Thirty30 tennis has been the hardest thing about launching Thirty30 tennis. Currently I am spending almost 100% of my spare time working on it.
A lot of tennis people are risk averse and unwilling to accept change in the sport.
People fundamentally don’t like change and it is very difficult to get people to accept change in any walk of life, never mind tennis.
However I am convinced that tennis has to adapt and evolve in order to stay successful and this drives me and the project forward.
Q 5) Do you have plans to expand the Thirty30 Tennis format to other countries?
Thirty30 tennis is already being played all over the world. I have received almost 300 Testimonials endorsing the format, as illustrated on the attached "Google Maps" file.
Q 6) As the creator of Thirty30 Tennis, what are your future goals and objectives with regards to this format? How do you plan to achieve them?
Our goals and objectives are to create for tennis what the IPL Cricket has done for cricket. We are going to be the T30 of tennis, and we are doing it on a global basis. We are doing this in two structures. Physical Competitions and Virtual Reality. For Virtual Reality we are in a joint venture with VRML Tennis Esports. Whatever we create for the physical will be done in virtual on the VRML platform.
We have created a unique and highly innovative global competition model, using the Thirty30 Tennis scoring format, and a very similar structural IPL as a model.
The competitions will have a unique and innovative structural model.
They will have a pyramid structure with Top Professional Teams at the top going to Inter Continental, Country, City, and Club. There will be Junior and Adult identical models.
The competition structure will be Mixed Gender based teams in a League and knockout format. We will add a wheelchair component as well.
There will be very substantial prize money in all competitions.
We also want to introduce a unique and innovative ownership model whereby the players will be able to have a significant role in the running of the whole concept which we have called T30TI to be known in the future as T30.
There will also be a significant role for coaches, and the introduction of The Martial Art Way of Tennis, that will not only create a whole paradigm shift in the game, but will take the game both long and short into a whole new dimension, and will give coaches and teachers an opportunity to create a whole new meaning and understanding to coaching life and business.
We want to unlock the game at all levels, especially from the junior level. We want it to be affordable and believe the children are our future and they get the necessary skills to be that future whether that be in the Thirty30 format or the traditional game, and also give skills for life.
The IPL cricket concept has done more for that sport than in any other sport, we want to bring that opportunity to tennis, and let it be shared with all who would like to participate in a positive way to create a better and more equitable sport set against the highest ethical and moral standards.
Rafael Nadal set to make comeback at Melbourne Summer Set
(Tennis news) The first week of the ATP tour has three events happening at the same time as the fans see the top players in all the three. The ATP Cup started 4 days ago, Adelaide International started yesterday and the Melbourne Summer Set is set to start from today. Many players in the draw will be making their comeback after a few weeks gap as Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Benoit Paire and David Goffin will need some Australian support. There are also top ranked players who will be playing as it will help them for the opening Grand Slam of the year which is only 13 days away. Here are the top three players to watch out for in the event.
The Spaniard hasn’t had much success at Melbourne but is coming back after a couple of months. Nadal will be hungry to start the season strong and a title win will fuel his confidence for the 2022 Australian Open. The 20 time Grand Slam winner will play his first match against the winner of Ricardas Berankis and Marcus Giron. Nadal has a run till the final where he can face Goffin, Murray or Dimitrov and the Spaniard last won a hardcourt title two years ago.
The serve machine has improved a lot in the hardcourts as seen in the last season. Opelka will try to set the tone at Melbourne with his first serves and boring back his hardcourt form just from last year. The American will face the winner of two qualifiers in the fourth round and has chances of playing against Kevin Anderson or Paire in the quarterfinals. He last won a title two years ago on this surface and reached his maiden Masters 1000 final last year.
Dimitrov rolled back the times when he played the previous season. The Bulgarian has played well in Australia over the past few years and needs to bring in the energy for some good starts to the season. Dimitrov also has the possibility of facing Murray in his opening match but once that is cleared up then he will only face tough ones in the end. Dimitrov last won a hardcourt title four years ago but last year he showed glimpses at Indian Wells. The world number 28 last played at Paris Masters 2 months ago and now will need to slide in through Melbourne.
Argentina and Spain closing in on top finish at the ATP Cup
(Tennis news) Day 3 of the ATP Cup saw Argentina and Spain maintain their perfect record for the second time. The teams will be looking to win matches in the next two days as the bottom placed teams will be eliminated and won’t proceed to the knockout stages later in the week. There were two matches in Group A and two in Group D as Norway along with Greece lost their second consecutive tie.
Chile defeated Serbia 2-1
Chile secured their first victory in the event with a long fought victory over Serbia. The three matches altogether spanned for over 6 hours as Chile is now second placed behind Spain in Group A. Cristian Garin had a bumpy start against Dusan Lajovic as the Serbian took the first set even though there were many chances of breaking the serve for both the players. In the later stages of the second set, Lajovic started getting cramps which brought down his game and finally losing the set and retiring midway of the match.
Filip Krajinovic had stalled Chile for a period of time as he secured the first point for Serbia with a win over Alejandro Tabilo. Krajinovic held on to every bit of hope he could in the final set as it was won over a tie break. In the doubles, the young Chilean pair of Tomas Barrios Vera and Alejandro Tabilo confirmed the win in an hour and 20 mins as the tie finally came to an end.
Garin defeated Lajovic 4-6, 6-4, 3-0, Krajinovic defeated Tabilo 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7-5), Tomas and Alejandro defeated Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov 6-4, 3-6, 10-7.
Poland defeated Georgia 3-0
Poland recorded their second victory in as many matches as they are one win away from making the semifinal stage. Kamil Majchrzak demolished Aleksandre Bakshi as he won under an hour to give Poland a satisfying victory and then in the second match there was a little hope from the Georgia camp. Hubert Hurkacz played Aleksandre Metreveli instead of Nikoloz Basilashvili and was taken aback losing the first set in a tie break. Hurkacz then re-energised and sealed the tie for Poland.
In the doubles, Szymon Walkow and Jan Zieliński completed a full sweep with a win over Aleksandre Bakshi and Aleksandre Metreveli.
Majchrzak defeated Bakshi 6-1, 6-1, Hurkacz defeated Metreveli 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 6-1, Walkow and Zieliński defeated Zieliński and Metreveli 6-7(2-7), 6-2, 10-6.
Spain defeated Norway 3-0
Spain maintained their winning record as they did not lose a single set in three of the ties against Norway. Pablo Carreno Busta got off to a flying start as he had no trouble against Viktor Durasovic in the opening match and Roberto Bautista Agut continued his fine form by beating Casper Ruud for victory. The young Spaniards Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez once again laid down the final touches by beating Lukas Hellum-Lilleengen and Andreja Petrovic in the doubles match.
Pablo defeated Viktor 6-3, 6-3, Roberto defeated Ruud 6-4, 7-6(7-4), Fokina and Martinez defeated Andreja and Lukas 6-4, 6-1.
Argentina defeated Greece 3-0
Federico Delbonis gave the early positive news for Argentina with a smooth victory over Michail Pervolarakis. The second match gave a classic lesson on defense and tackling high balls with ease as Diego Schwartzman toppled Greek god Stefanos Tsitsipas to confirm their second win. In the final match, Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni beat Markos Kalovelonis and Petros Tsitsipas in a close encounter for a clean slate.
Delbonis defeated Pervolarakis 7-6(7-5) ,6-1, Schwartzman defeated Tsitsipas 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 6-3, Gonzalez and Molteni defeated Kalovelonis and Petros 6-3, 4-6, 11-9
Sania-Kichenok, Ramkumar-Bopanna advance in Adelaide
Adelaide, Jan 4 (Tennis News) On an all-win day for Indian tennis players, Sania Mirza and the pair of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna emerged victorious in their respective first round matches, albeit in contrasting fashion, in the ATP and WTA tournaments, here on Tuesday.
Sania and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok overcame a first-set thrashing to knock out second seeds Gabriella Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos 1-6 6-3 10-8 in the WTA 500 event.
In the ATP 250 men's event, the Indian combination of Ramkumar and veteran Bopanna, pairing up together for the first time on the ATP tour, had an easy day out.
They trounced American Jamie Cerretani and Brazilian Fernando Romboli 6-2 6-1 to set up the pre-quarterfinal with eighth seed American pair of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow.
"We had a good match. Both of us served And returned well. We combined well and stuck to the plan," Ramkumar told PTI.
"We had practiced once with the same team before the draw which helped us.
"I am always happy to play with Bops (Bopanna), who is so experienced and is someone who has always been of good support and helps me with my tennis with all the experience he has," he added.
Since India will host Denmark on grass courts in New Delhi in their next Davis Cup tie in March, it is a possibility that Bopanna and Ramkumar, who has developed a fantastic serve and volley game, may pair up for the doubles.
This tournament will give them that opportunity to find out what works for them, if at all the captain decides to field them as a team.
Interestingly, Ramkumar got a chance to play with Denmark's top singles player Holger Rune in the singles Qualifiers and lost 4-6 6-7(7) in a close first round match.
Rune, ranked 103, eventually qualified for the main draw.
The match must have given him a fair idea of what to expect from Rune when he lands in Delhi for the Davis Cup.
"It was a good match. I think, I started off a bit slow where I got broken in the first game. But After that it was an extremely close and hard fought match "I was just a bit unlucky to not have converted those set points. He played good on a few of them and he is quick, so all credit to him. Hopefully I can get him back on grass," Ramkumar said.
The Adelaide event is a tune up tournament for the Australian Open, starting January 17 in Melbourne.
Also Read : Australia overpower Italy as Humbert puts up a show against Russia in ATP Cup
News Source : PTI
Australia overpower Italy as Humbert puts up a show against Russia in ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The second day of the ATP Cup got off to a startling start as the results ignored all the predictions. Russia seems to be the most motivated at the start of the season as joined by Australia. The teams will have to pull up their socks as the next round matches will have to be careful as it will determine the top positions in the group and any more prediction fails are expected tomorrow.
Russia defeated France 2-1
Ugo Humbert played one of the best matches at the event as he brought down world number 2 Daniil Medvedev as France got off to a shocking start. Russia’s Roman Safiullin got his inspiration from Humbert as he pulled off an upset win over Arthur Rinderknech to bring things back to normal. In the doubles, the pair of Medvedev and Safiullin pulled the plug for France for a final victory to seal the tie.
Humbert defeated Medvedev 6-7(7-5), 7-5, 7-6(7-2), Safiullin defeated Rinderknech 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, Medvedev and Safiullin defeated Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 6-4.
Australia defeated Italy 2-1
The home crowds made sure their heroes did not lose in front of them as they cheered on when they beat the most powerful team in the event, Italy. Alex De Minaur's speed was too much for Matteo Berrerttini’s forehand as the Australian wore his cape to give his team an early lead. In the second match, Jannik Sinner took the perfect revenge over Max Purcell as he only gave away four games on his way to victory. The doubles killed all the suspense in the match as it gave the crowd a straight set win over Berrettini and Simone Bolelli.
De Minaur defeated Berrettini 6-3, 7-6(7-4), Sinner defeated Purcell 6-1, 6-3, John Peers and Luke Saville defeated Berrettini and Bolelli 6-3, 7-5.
USA defeated Canada 3-0
Taylor Fritz had to sweat it out for 2 and half hours as he got the much needed win against Felix Auger-Aliassime for the first point for the USA. Denis Shapovalov had to withdraw from the second singles match due to fatigue as Brayden Schnur replaced him and faced the giant John Isner who sealed the win for the team with a high intense performance. In the doubles, Shapovalov made a return with Felix only to be defeated by Fritz and Isner who showed no signs of tiredness from the earlier singles matches.
Fritz defeated Felix 6-7(6-8), 6-4, 6-4, Isner defeated Schnur 6-1, 6-3, Isner and Fritz defeated Shapovalov and Felix 6-4, 6-4.
Britain defeated Germany 2-1
Germany suffered a setback in the opening tie as for Britain things went just as they planned. In the first match, Cameron Norrie put up a good fight against Alexander Zverev in the first set but the next set was totally one sided to give Germany the first point. In the second match, it was a battle of 31 year olds where Daniel Evans played his heart out against Jan-Lennard Struff to come in line with Germany. In the third match, it was between two singles and doubles players as Kevin Krawietz partnered with Zverev and Jamie Murray got along with Evans. The German team lost in the final match to lose the tie as Britain played out a well designed and managed victory.
Zverev defeated Norrie 7-6(7-2), 6-1, Evans defeated Struff 6-1, 6-2, Jamie and Evans defeated Zverev and Krawietz 6-3, 6-4.
Argentina sets the benchmark against Georgia on opening day of ATP cup
(Tennis news) The first day of the ATP cup saw four ties take place as only the Serbia vs Norway tie is yet to finish. There are still two matches remaining in the tie as only the first singles has been completed with Serbia taking the lead. Group A and D were in action on the 1st day as Stefanos Tsitsipas withdrew from his opening match showdown due to a right elbow injury. Tsitsipas as of now will still be seen in action in the next few matches.
Spain defeated Chile 3-0
World number 20 Pablo Carreno Busta started the proceedings for Spain as he was up against Alejandro Tabilo. Tabilo made most of his chances in both the sets as Busta had to cover the lead but made up for his poor start with a dominating performance in the end. Tabilo put up a brave show as he was ranked 100 places below Busta but did not let Chile down with his performance as he took the Spaniard to the tie break in the second set. Busta defeated Tabilo 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
Roberto Bautista Agut brought his new celebrations onto the court as he bageled the opening set against Cristian Garin. Garin was two places above Roberto but could not match the Spaniard’s A game as the first set got over in half an hour. In the second set, Roberto continued his onslaught as he took the first four games until Garin won his first game of the match but the party never started for him as Spain closed out the tie with two straight set wins. Roberto defeated Garin 6-0, 6-3.
In the doubles match, it was the turn for youngsters to blow the final whistle as Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez defeated Tomas Barrios Vera and Alejandro Tabilo. Spain lost a set only in the doubles match as Tomas and Alejandro scrambled to try and get hopes up and did come close but it was a hat trick of victories for Spain. Alejandro and Pedro defeated Tomas and Tabilo 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 10-7.
Argentina defeated Georgia 3-0
Argentina gave a warm welcome to Georgia to the event but it did not last long. Federico Delbonis only lost three games in the opening match against Aleksandre Metreveli as the first singles match wrapped up in no time. Delbonis was making his event debut and his forehand took the chance to push Metreveli further away from victory. Delbonis defeated Metreveli 6-1, 6-2.
Diego Schwartzman followed his teammate with a surprisingly swift victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili. Basilashvili is known to possess one of the fastest groundstrokes on the ATP tour but the firepower did not ignite as Schwartzman confirmed victory for the team with the second victory. Schwartzman defeated Basilashvili 6-1, 6-2.
In the third match of the tie, Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni put their experience together to beat Saba Purtseladze and Zura Tkemaladze. With the win already on their hands, the Argentinian pair did not want a single point taken from the tie as they too played like their singles players for a comprehensive win. Gonzalez and Molteni defeated Purtseladze and Tkemaladze 6-1, 6-2. Argentina had the same scores in all the three matches as the team only lost 9 games in the tie.
Poland defeated Greece 2-0
Greece suffered a huge setback as Tsitsipas had to withdraw in the second singles match against Hubert Hurkacz. Kamil Majchrzak opened up with an impressive performance against Michail Pervolarakis With constant support from the sidelines, Majchrzak did not let the spirits down to get the points on board. Majchrzak defeated Pervolarakis 6-1, 6-4.
The second singles match result was predicted as soon as Aristotelis Thanos was set to face Hurkacz. Hurkacz was a 1000 places above Thanos in the rankings and the match went as expected for Poland. Hurkacz secured the tie in under an hour and conceded three games in the process. Hurkacz defeated Thanos 6-1, 6-2.
Also read: Sinner and Berrettini boost Italy's chances of maiden title at ATP Cup
Novak Djokovic looking to keep next gen waiting in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is on the edge of breaking more records in the 2022 season. Djokovic will not be playing at the ATP Cup and will be eager to make his return at the 2022 Australian Open. He has played 62 matches this year and only lost 7 of them including a 27-1 record at the Grand Slams.
Djokovic’s 2021 season was a constant reminder that the next gen will have to pull off a near impossible stunt to take the Grand Slam titles away from the big three. The Serbian won his record 9th Australian Open for a hat trick of victories at Melbourne. Djokovic had an early exit at Monte Carlo as Daniel Evans handed him the first defeat of the season, at Belgrade it was a semifinal exit and Aslan Karatsev did not hesitate in a three setter match.
The world number 1 then met his arch rival Rafael Nadal at Rome in the final as it took almost 3 hours when Nadal finally lifted the trophy. It was the Spaniard’s 28th victory over Djokovic and was trailing by one in their career head to head meetings. Djokovic then got a second chance at home as he won his second title of the season, at Roland Garros the 34 year old became the first man to defeat Nadal twice at the event. Djokovic recorded his 30th victory over the king of clay and went on to win the title after losing the first two sets against Stefanos Tstisipas.
Djokovic then moved on to grass as he was one Grand Slam away from equalling Roger Federer and Nadal’s record of 20 titles. Although he looked a bit hungover from clay madness as he dropped the first set in the opening round against world number 253 Jack Draper but did not drop a set after that until the final. The record books had to be edited as Djokovic won his 20th major.
Djokovic was aiming to repeat Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam in 1988, his hopes took a huge hit when Alexander Zverev defeated him in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics. The 20 time major winner was visibly upset in his bronze medal match, even throwing the racquet at one point as the pressure took a toll on the champion. His next stop was at US Open, he got the Tokyo revenge over Zverev in the semifinals but Daniil Medvedev got his for the Australian Open loss. Medvedev played so well that even Djokovic’s cheeky smile disappeared and he lost the opportunity to be in the likes of Rod Laver who was the last one to win a calendar slam four decades back.
Djokovic got the final laugh over Medvedev at Paris Masters but his all year charm was turned to dust at the US Open. Although he was on top this year, the pressure has affected him to the extent that he was in tears in the middle of the match against Medvedev in the final at US Open. The record breaking run came to an end which clearly devastated Djokovic, a similar picture was painted earlier when Federer lost the Melbourne final to Nadal in 2009 as it moved the Swiss player to tears.
The 2022 season has mainly two targets. The first one is to stop the big three from winning any more Grand Slams and the second is for the big three to win a few more until they bid farewell from the game. A few more heartbreaking victories can hurt the big three more than any physical injury as the next gen will be focused on starting a new era and the time has come.
Sinner and Berrettini boost Italy's chances of maiden title at ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The third edition of the ATP Cup is due to start from January 1st 2022 as the 16 teams have been divided into four groups. Former champions Serbia will be without Novak Djokovic as defending champions Russia are also without Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy. There are strong chances for the third time that a team will get its maiden trophy. Italy seems to be one of the favourites as they have their top players participating. Here are the top four teams to watch out for at the season opening tournament.
Italy: Group B
The strongest team in the event has four players in top 40 including two players in the top 10 and a doubles player ranked in the top 25. Among the top three ranked singles players, the oldest is Lorenzo Sonego who is 26 as the youngest is Jannik Sinner aged 20. Sinner and Matteo Berrettini will be leading the attack in singles as Simone Bolelli can team up with Sonego or Fabio Fognini for the final blow in doubles.
They can run into trouble against Daniil Medvedev when they play against Russia other than that Italy can finish as table toppers or can come second behind Russia. Group B will be one of the most competitive as compared to the rest of the groups as France and Australia will take every opportunity they get.
Great Britain: Group C
Britain has a complete set up for singles and doubles as they have seasoned players to stir up trouble. Cameron Norrie alongside Daniel Evans will be on the singles front while Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray will be up for the doubles matches. Norrie has been the top player on his team this season and if the matches go till the decider then their doubles pair are also capable of making a comeback.
They can face tough competition from Germany as Alexander Zverev will be making the move in singles, Canada can pose problems with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov forming a match winning singles combination. Britain will also be facing the US team which can field Taylor Fritz and out of form John Isner in their attack; they also have doubles multiple Grand Slam winner Rajeev Ram and next gen star Brandon Nakashima.
Spain: Group A
Spain will be playing without their hero Rafael Nadal but has Tokyo Olympics Bronze medalist and world number 20 Pablo Carreno Busta who is ranked just one below Roberto Bautista Agut. Their singles squad looks to be sorted but the doubles pair will have to be tested as youngsters Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Pedro Martinez will have to provide support for the team.
The seniors in the team will have to do double duty as it will get tiring but if their singles matches go well then the workload will vanish. They will be up against Chile in the opening match as Spain will also play against Norway and Serbia.
Argentina: Group D
The team has the oldest players on their side with their youngest player being 29 years old. Diego Schwartzman and Federico Delbonis can be in the singles tie as Federico Coria can also walk in for crucial points. Their senior most player, Maximo Gonzalez aged 38 will be working his magic in doubles with Andres Molteni, the team has work to do but has the strongest chance to top Group D.
Argentina will be facing Greece, Poland and Georgia as their doubles pair will hold the final call on crucial matches. Stefanos Tsitsipas will be on top of Greece as Hubert Hurkacz will do the same for Poland but both the players don’t have enough support and experience like Argentina. The 2022 season will start in grand fashion as 16 countries will battle with each other and one will walk away with the trophy after 9 days of combat on court.
Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev withdraw from ATP Cup
(Tennis news) The ATP Cup groups and list of players were released on Wednesday as the latest updates saw many changes take place. Novak Djokovic will not be playing the event along with Andrey Rublev. Rublev had tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago and will need to complete isolation before he comes back to court as even Rafael Nadal and Denis Shapovalov had also tested positive after playing the Abu Dhabi exhibition event.
Djokovic had beaten Rafael Nadal in the final of the inaugural edition last year. The world number one last played at the Nitto ATP Finals where he lost in the semifinals to Alexander Zverev who went on to win for a second time. Djokovic had a record breaking year by reaching the finals of the four Grand Slams and losing only at the US Open to give Daniil Medvedev his first major.
The Serbian is expected to play at the 2022 Australian Open as the vaccination rules keep him in doubt. Meanwhile at the ATP Cup, Serbia will be led by Dusan Lajovic as the team will find it tough without its top player. Things have got tougher for defending champions Russia as Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy have pulled out of the event; Daniil Medvdev will lead the field along with Roman Safiullin and Evgeny Karlovskiy.
“We have all been giving our best in the past days,” said Lajovic. “I'm looking forward to competing with these guys together by my side. Obviously, there are some tactical differences and pressure-wise, but at the end of the day, you've got to go out there, play your match and try to win.”
Meanwhile Andrey Rublev said, "I want to share some news with you. I am currently in Barcelona and unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19. I have minimal symptoms. I am in isolation and following all the protocols under the supervision of doctors. As you know, I am fully vaccinated and was preparing for tournaments -- ATP Cup and Australian Open. Now I have to recover and I will go to Melbourne only when it will be safe for everyone. I am very upset and concerned about what is happening. I will return to the court as soon as possible," added the world number 5
Russia were the strongest team this year as they also won the Davis Cup a few weeks back. Rublev had reached four finals this year including his first final in a Masters 1000 as he did it twice. The Russian had reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open earlier this year which was his third consecutive last eight appearance after the US Open and Roland Garros last year.
Austria will not be playing this time with the withdrawal of Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak as France will be a replacement. Austria had lost both the matches it played this year as in the previous edition it played three matches and won one. France this year lost their first match but won the second one against Austria, last year they won their first two matches and lost the third match to South Africa.
Dominic Thiem adds more woes with withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Dominic Thiem has announced that he won't be taking part in the 2022 Australian Open. Thiem has been battling with a wrist injury since June this year, he had last played at Mallorca where retiring midway in the opening match against Adrian Mannarino. He has only played 18 matches this season and will see his ranking drop once he comes back in action at the end of next month.
"As you all know, I came back home to Austria to recover after the hard practice sessions I had in Dubai and the slight setback in my preparation. I am now feeling well again, my wrist is in optimal conditions and I am practicing normally with a very good intensity", said Thiem.
"After the short holidays, my team and I have assessed all matters and we have decided to make some changes to my initial tournament schedule: I will start the season in South America at the Cordoba Open in Argentina, end of January, and therefore I will not play this year at the Australian Open in Melbourne, a city that I love and where I have great memories of unforgettable matches in front of amazing crowds. I will miss the Australian fans but I will be back in 2023.”
The 2020 US Open champion will miss the Australian Open for the first time since making his debut in 2014. He had reached the finals last year by defeating Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal on the way, Novak Djokovic defeated Thiem in the final as the Serbian came back from a 2-1 set deficit in a four hour match. Thiem’s absence will also mean Austria taking a backseat at the ATP Cup as World number 119 Dennis Novak will be leading the team.
The 28 year old also won his first Grand Slam last year at the US Open and at Roland Garros he reached the quarterfinals to cap off the year as the world number 3. His current rank is 15 which will see a further fall after the first three three weeks in January. He was playing his 10th year on tour this season and failed to reach a final including a shock first round exit at Roland Garros.
Thiem has now joined Roger Federer, Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka as the list continues to grow for the 2022 Australian Open. Nadal so far has not given statements about missing the Slam although he tested positive a few days back. There are also questions looming about Novak Djokovic’s participation especially regarding the vaccination rules for the players entering the event. The 2022 Australian Open is set to start from 17th January as the next gen players will again play in a similar situation like the 2021 US Open.
Jurgen Melzer, Viktor Troicki bid farewell to the sport this year
(Tennis news) The 2021 season saw many players saying goodbye to the sport and they won’t be seen once the 2022 season begins. Although only few players are left who have been playing since the early 2000’s, most of them have been affected with injuries and exited the top 100 while some of them are still in the top 50. Let's look at some players who have retired this year.
Melzer has been playing on the tour since 1999 and turned 40 this year. The left hander had 350 wins in his singles and doubles career although he last played a singles match in 2018 at Vienna. His last Grand Slam match was in the 2017 Australian Open against Roger Federer in the first round, Melzer will be remembered for his two set comeback win against Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Roland Garros. That was the only instance a player beat the Serbian from two sets down, Melzer had also beaten Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Masters 1000 that year. Melzer reached the fourth round in all the slams and the 2010 Roland Garros Semifinal was his best result.
In the doubles event, Melzer won the Wimbledon and US Open title with Philipp Petzschner. The former world number 8 also has five singles titles and retired from the singles tour in 2018.
Dolgopolov last played a match in 2018 at Rome when he suffered a wrist injury. The Ukrainian last won a title in 2017 at Buenos Aires defeating the then world number 5 Kei Nishikori in the final. Dolgopolov was known for his unconventional strokes as his forehand and backhand were unorthodox but quite effective as it was not predictable. The 6 time tour finalist had a rock solid backhand drop shot which had a huge amount of spin that made even players like Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov give up the chase.
Dolgopolov’s biggest moment came at the 2011 Australian Open where he reached the quarterfinals defeating Robin Soderling in the fourth round in a five setter match. 3 years later at Indian Wells he took out World number one Nadal in the opening round and went on to reach the semifinals where he lost to Roger Federer. In 2015, the former world number 13 reached the semifinals at Cincinnati as a qualifier.
Troicki was last seen playing a few months in the grass courts at the Cinch Championships where he reached the fourth round. The 35 year old had won three titles in the singles tour and last won a title at Sydney five years back. Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic and Djokovic were Serbia’s leasing singles players on tour until Tipsarevic retired two years back and now Troicki joined his fellow countryman. The 2020 ATP Cup saw Serbia winning the title as Troicki teamed up with Djokovic in the final doubles rubber against Spain and in the doubles he only lost one match against Chile. Troicki was the world number 11 a decade ago and is hanging up the racquets after being on the tour for 15 years.
Paolo has been on tour since 2003 although his first and only title came in 2016 making him the oldest first time singles champion since 1990. The Italian played two main tour matches this year and was one of the most hard working professionals on tour. The 40 year old cracked the top 35 in 2017 after two runner up finishes and a fourth round appearance at the US Open.
“I would like them to remember me as a player who was trying his best every time on court and was fighting until the end,” Lorenzi said. “This was the best journey of my life. I really enjoyed every moment. Every time I was on court, it was a dream that came true.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas to comeback strong for 2022 season after injury recovery
(Tennis news) Stefanos Tsitsipas is amongst the next big four in tennis along with Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem. Tsitsipas enjoyed a career best of 55 wins in a season which was one more than his 2019 season although he won 3 titles that year compared to 2 this year.
Tsitsipas started with the year with two victories at the ATP Cup and had one of the best starts to the season by reaching the last four in 7 of the next 11 events. He reached the semifinals of the Australian Open after a 4 hour quarter final battle against Rafael Nadal in one of the best matches at the tournament and had lost to him two years ago in the semifinal. Tsitsipas was a two time defending champion at Marseille but this time made a quarterfinal exit as he was beaten by Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Tsitsipas won his first title of the season at Monte Carlo which was his second biggest title after the Nitto ATP Finals win in 2019.
Tsitsipas reached the final at Barcelona to make it two consecutive finals after his win at Monte Carlo, this time he was beaten by Nadal in three sets as the final went on for 3 and half hours. At Roland Garros, Tsitsipas reached the final for the first after beating Zverev and Medvedev on the way to set up a summit clash with Novak Djokovic. After an hour, Tsitsipas took the first set even saving a set point and went on to win the second set as he inched closer to the title but Djokovic’s mental game was too good to break. The Serbian conceded five games in the next two sets and took the final set 6-4 to win his second title of the year.
Tsitsipas then lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Frances Tiafoe in straight sets but took revenge by beating him in the third round at Tokyo Olympics and lost the next match to Ugo Humbert. Tsitsipas then beat Humbert at Toronto and went on to reach the semifinals where he lost to server Reily Opelka. At Cincinnati, he again reached the semifinals but lost to Zverev after having a 4-1 lead in the third set. In the next 6 events he failed to reach the semifinals as his season came to an end at the Nitto ATP finals where he played one match and withdrew due to an elbow injury.
Tsitsipas reached his third consecutive Grand Slam semi final at Roland Garros this year. The Greek god has a classic one handed backhand like Thiem and is one of the few players to still have it. Tsitsipas showed fearlessness against Djokovic in his debut final but could not hold onto the momentum in the final stages which happens at the big stages. Tsitsipas is currently recovering from the injury and is set to make a comeback at the start of the 2022 season.
Tsitsipas will try to get a good start at the 2022 Australian Open and maybe beat Djokovic at his favorite Slam. Tsitsipas had defeated Roger Federer in the 2019 edition and this year took out Nadal so he can target big this time. Amongst the next gen, Tsitsipas is not the best in terms of court temperament as he had some issues at the US Open where had taken too much time for toilet breaks and it did not go well with Andy Murray. Tsitsipas is only 23 and winning big titles at the expense of a few racquets has been occurring for decades now.
Thiem and Nadal cast doubts over 2022 Australian Open participation
(Tennis news) The 2022 Australian Open may have more absentees as the latest updates about Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem added doubts about their participation. Nadal has tested positive after playing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week. The Spaniard was playing after a gap of almost 3 months, he played two matches last week against Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov. Although he lost both the matches, Nadal was looking in shape and is now doubtful about participating in the year’s first Grand Slam.
Nadal has been playing the Australian Open since 2004 and has only missed it twice since then. He did not play in 2006 and 2013, his only title here came in 2009 while defeating Roger Federer in the final. This year, Nadal had lost in the quarter final stage to Stefanos Tsitsipas and lost to Thiem in the same round last year.
“The idea is to go there and try my best there in Australia, being 100% honest, I can’t guarantee it," Nadal said. “I need to speak with my team. It's been more than six months since the last real official match. Things are difficult and I accept that I was able to compete in both matches and even had my chances, so if we put that in perspective it’s a very positive thing.
“I went through this process unfortunately a lot of times in my tennis career but I need to practice and I need to be healthy enough to go through this process. If that happens, I’m confident that I will be back."
Meanwhile Dominic Thiem also announced that he will be missing the ATP Cup and Sydney Tennis Classic next month. His absence will be a big loss for Austria, Thiem had injured his wrist this year and was out of tour for six months. Six months back he failed to record a win at Roland Garros for the first time in his career and broke his streak of winning at least one title every season since 2015.
"I caught a cold while I was in Dubai and was unable to practice last week. I will therefore not be in the physical condition to be able to compete in the ATP Cup and Sydney ATP 250. After not competing for the last six months I cannot take the risk of coming back too early and picking up a further injury. My aim is still to play the Australian Open, but we will make a final decision on my participation by the end of December,” said Thiem.
Thiem has been featuring in the Australian Open since 2014 and reached the final last year as he lost to Novak Djokovic after taking the first two sets. The 28 year old will look to add to his US Open win last year when he comes back on tour in 2022.
Jennifer Brady confirms absence for 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Jennifer Brady has confirmed that she won’t be able to play the 2022 Australian Open as she hasn’t recovered from an injury. Brady was last seen playing in August at Cincinnati where she retired in the third round against Jelena Ostapenko due to a foot injury. The world number 25 reached the final of a Grand Slam for the first time this year at the Australian Open but lost to Naomi Osaka in straight sets.
Brady made her debut at the Grand Slams when she qualified for the 2017 Australian Open and reached the fourth round by defeating Heather Watson and Elena Vesnina on the way. She reached the fourth round at the US Open the same year and could only win one game as she lost to the then world number one Karolina Pliskova.
Brady went past the third round of a Grand Slam at the US Open last year as she reached the semifinals losing to Osaka in three sets. Brady had reached her career high ranking of 13 in February this season after which it dropped to 25 as she reached the fourth round once in the next 8 events. She played 25 matches this year and needs nine more victories for 250 career wins.
Brady also reached the semifinals of the Australian two years in the women’s doubles with Alison Riske where they lost to Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. Brady also reached the quarterfinals last year partnering with Caroline Dolehide as the Australian Open remains the Slam where she has found the most wins. Brady won her first doubles title with Ashleigh Barty at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix WTA 500 in a tense three setter final against the American pair of Bethanie Mattek Sands and Desirae Krawczyk.
Brady will be joining Karolina Pliskova, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu as the players on the WTA tour who will be missing out on the opening Grand Slam of the year. The US Open this year also saw many withdrawals on tour as the injuries kept piling on, the ATP Cup has also contributed to a tight packed schedule for the players.
Brady's injury update was tweeted by the Australian Open officials as there are questions over Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal’s participation. Brady has not announced when she will return on the tour, the 26 year old currently is the fourth highest ranked American on the WTA tour. Her rankings will drop as she is set to miss a few of the starting events in the next season.
Rafael Nadal and Domnic Thiem look to start strong in 2022 season
(Tennis news) The 2022 season is only 23 days away as many stars had to take leave early this season due to injuries. Bianca Andreescu, Serena Williams and Roger Federer have already said that they won’t be playing the Australian Open next year. The calendar for next also has seen some changes in the order of events as it is tightly packed especially in the first half with the inclusion of the ATP Cup. Many top players did not play the entire 2021 season and given below are the top four players who withdrew early from the ATP tour this year.
Federer has only played 13 matches this year with Wimbledon being his last tournament. The 20 time Grand Slam winner is 40 years old and one of the oldest players on tour. He underwent a third knee surgery in August after having two of them done last year. He also won’t be playing at the 2022 Australian Open and will mostly return mid season. He is currently ranked 16 having last won a title two years ago in Basel.
Nadal played 29 matches this year and lost just five of them. He last played at Washington, losing to Lloyd Harris in the fourth round and then underwent treatment in his foot as he called off the season. The Spaniard won two titles this year and will next be seen at the Australian Open where he and Novak Djokovic will be battling for a record 21st Grand Slam title.
The 28 year old had a disappointing season having played 18 matches and missing out on the second half of the ATP calendar. Thiem last played at Mallorca Open where he suffered a wrist injury which led him to retire in the first round against Adrian Mannarino. He had won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, becoming the first player born in the 90’s to do so. Thiem is expected to return at the 2022 Australian Open, he was the runner up last year losing to Djokovic.
Wawrinka has a lot to cover next year as his ranking dropped to 64 places and is currently ranked 82 in the world. He played 6 matches this year and was seen at Doha in March after undergoing a surgery on his foot. Wawrinka again had to undergo a surgery in June and his name was not on the list for Australian Open 2022. It is not sure when Wawrinka will make his comeback on tour as the three time Grand Slam champion will be waiting to set loose his backhand on court.
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Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire looking to end title drought next season
(Tennis news) The 2021 season saw a lot of next gen players taking the centre stage as the older players struggled to get their form on court. There have been some players who have had a poor run this season which saw their rankings drop and though they are expected to hit back the critics next season, it is a sign of the dominance of the latest sensations on court. Given below are some of the players who couldn't get their mojo up and working.
Fabio Fognini: Italy
The 34 year old is the second oldest in the list but has won the most titles among the four. This season, he finished with 22 wins and 22 losses, his last title came 2 years ago at Monte Carlo Masters 1000. The Italian team was the runner up in the ATP Cup where Fognini won two matches out of four, he lost to Denis Novak of Austria who was ranked 100 at the time. Fognini began the year ranked 17 and ended the season ranked 37. He is known for his comebacks at the Grand Slams and usually has a powerful groundstroke with minor movement but his on court behaviour has been known to create issues. He was the world number 9 two years ago which remains his best till date.
Benoit Paire: France
Paire is known for his backhand drop shots which has a great amount of spin and his powerful forehand return of serve which has been measured upto 183 km/ hour. He has a huge swing for his forehand and a very unorthodox style of play, he is known to play it too casually sometimes. Paire won his last title in 2019 at Lyon and reached the finals at Auckland last year, but this year he hasn't been able to progress beyond the quarterfinals. Paire has played 43 matches this year in which he won 13 of them and was ranked at 28 at the start of the year, now he is in 46th position.
Adrian Mannarino: France
The only left hander in the list, Mannarino has a shorter swing than Fognini in his forehand but is also known for his backhand dropshots from the baseline. Mannarino most famous dropshot was in 2017 at Rome against Pablo Cuevas where he hit a backhand drop shot from the baseline which made a bounce on the other side of the court and spun back into his own court. Mannarino is a crafty left hander, his best finish this year came at Mallorca where he reached the semifinals. His first title came 2 years ago and then reached a final last year which was his 9th career runner up finish. This year he won 14 matches out of the 40 played which resulted in his ranking drop from 34 in the start of the year to 71 by the end of the season.
Grigor Dimitrov: Bulgaria
The only one handed backhand player in the list, Dimitrov played 42 matches this season in which he won 24 of them. His best run came at the Indian Wells where he reached the semifinals defeating Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. Dimitrov started the year by reaching three consecutive quarterfinals, at the Australian Open he defeated Dominic Thiem in the fourth round even bageling the world number in the third set. After that his best winning streak was 2 matches for a few months until in San Diego and Indian Wells where he reached back to back semifinals. The Bulgarian last won a title in 2017 at the Nitto ATP Finals and last reached a final three years back at Rotterdam. Dimitrov started the year with a ranking of 19 and now is 28th, his career best ranking of 3 came four years back.
Russian team looking stronger than ever with third Davis Cup title
(Tennis news) The Russian team completed a sweep of team title wins with the Davis Cup victory over Croatia in the finals. It had earlier won the ATP Cup in January and tasted success on the WTA tour last month when they won the Billie Jean King Cup for the fifth time. Russia proved why they are now one of the strongest teams in the field as they have four players who are in the top 30 and two in the top five. Croatia could not create tension on the singles tie as they were hoping to catch up in the doubles match but could not hold on for that long.
Andrey Rublev had the momentum from the start of the match against Borna Gojo and got his first break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. The rallies were purely defensive play as there were only a few net points by both players, Borna Gojo looked to come back in the second set as he had won his last three matches and all of them were 200 places above him in rankings. However, this time Borna’s skill just didn’t click against Rublev’s power and his serve, Rublev did not want the match to go into the decider as he had played three of them in the last four matches.
The second set saw both the players holding their serves till the end which invited the tie breaker. Borna started with a double fault as the pressure was getting on his nerves, but he made it 4-4 all after coming down from 4-2 and then hit an ace to make it 5-4 as he was now points away from taking the set. Rublev then hit an outstretched forehand passing shot and then hit another huge forehand to bring matchpoint, a backhand error from Borna gave Russia its firstpoint in the final.
In the second match, Daniil Medvedev was playing Marin Cilic for the second time this year as Medvedev had defeated him in five sets in the 3rd round at Wimbledon. Prior to that they had met at Washington in the quarterfinals which also Medvedev won that too in straight sets. There were a lot of similarities between the two players, both were standing tall at 6 foot 6 inches, their first Grand Slam came at the US Open and also runner up finish at the Australian Open. Although Medvedev did them both this year, Cilic had won the US Open in 2014 and reached the final of the Australian Open in 2018.
Medvedev was the clear favourite as he had won the previous four matches while not dropping a set while Cilic was on a three match losing streak. Cilic had surprisingly lost to world number 283 Zsombor Piros in the second match of the round robin stage and now was facing a must win situation. Medvedev was put in a tense situation as Cilic played his heart out in the opening set, both players held their serve and the tiebreaker saw Cilic taking a 4-2 lead. Medvedev fought back with stupendous defense and had set point at 6-5 which Cilic dismissed by a smash which if missed by a few centimetres would have cost him the set. Medvedev had another set point at 7-6 but a double fault made it 7 all, Medvedev then won the next two points to finally win the set.
In the second set, Medvedev broke Cilic early to take a 4-1 lead as Russia was almost there even though Cilic won the next game by pushing his limits. Medvedev then increased his winners tally as Cilic began hitting continuous unforced errors as Russia took the Davis Cup after a 15 year wait.
Russia defeated Croatia 2-0
Rublev defeated Borna 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), Medvedev defeated Cilic 7-6 (9-7), 6-2.
Aslan Karatsev is the latest addition to the Russian powerhouse
(Tennis news) Aslan Karatsev had three tour level victories before playing this year and now he has ended with 37 career wins. He started the season at No. 112 in the rankings and is currently ranked 18. The 28-year-old Russian created a sensation by reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open as a qualifier, becoming the first man in the open era to reach the last four in a Grand Slam debut. He defeated Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov on his way to the semifinal where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
Karatsev is a right hander with a two handed backhand, his aggressive style makes him lethal in hardcourts. Since he is a risk taker in most of the matches the unforced errors are winners are more. Karatsev hits the ball flat but hard down the court and at times finishes with a well set up volley. He takes the ball on the rise and does not give the opponent much time to move around the court. Karatsev is not the fastest mover on the court but has groundstrokes from both the ends which can give him winners.
While winning the title in Dubai, Karatsev earned his second top 10 win when he defeated Andrey Rublev in the semifinals. His biggest win came at Belgrade where he defeated Novak Djokovic to reach the final and lost in the final to Matteo Berrettini. He also beat Daniil Medvedev in their only career meeting at Rome Masters 1000 in the third round, Karatsev had a 16-3 win/loss record on hard courts in the first quarter of the season. In the next 12 events, he failed to reach the quarterfinals until at San Diego where lost to Dimitorv in the last eight and then won at Moscow defeating Marin Cilic in the final.
Karatsev is nominated in the most improved player of the year along with Carlos Alcaraz, Cameron Norrie and Casper Ruud. Karatsev is the oldest of the four as he is 28 but along with two singles titles and a runner up, he also won one doubles title at Doha along with a runner up finish in Indian Wells all with Andrey Rublev. The ATP cup was also won by Russia where Karatsev played in the doubles but lost all the three matches he played.
Karatsev is currently playing doubles at the Davis Cup for Russia and has won all the three matches he has played so far with Rublev. Russia will be playing against Germany today in the semifinals of the Davis Cup and will look to win a third title. It has been a great year for Russian tennis fans as there are two players in the top five and a total of four players in the top 30.
Daniil Medvedev leading a strong Russian team at the Davis Cup
(Tennis news) With the end of the ATP season, the Davis Cup will be starting today as players get ready to represent their countries on court. It will be held in Madrid, Innsbruck and Turin with a total of 6 groups where each group will comprise three countries, it will be a round robin format at first and then will proceed to the knockout stages. The final is scheduled to be held in Madrid. The event is being held after a year’s gap due to the COVID-19 pandemic which cancelled last year’s event, in 2019 Spain defeated Canada in the final to win their 6th title.
Each tie will consist of two singles and one doubles match and it will be best of three sets. The top players are expected to play as defending champion Spain will be without Rafael Nadal although Carlos Alacarz will be making his debut for the team along with Jannik Sinner who will play for Italy.
At the top of the singles for Britain is Cameron Norrie, the 26 year old is 12th in the World Rankings after winning the ATP Masters 1000 in the Indian Wells. The left-hander had made an unbelievable comeback from two sets to beat Roberto Bautista Agut on his Davis Cup debut in 2018. If Norrie can live up to his potential, he will lead the attack along with world number 25 Dan Evans, doubles specialist Joe Salisbury who made the doubles at the ATP Finals in Turin and Neal Skupski.
Russia has one of the top players in their team as Daniil Medvedev will spearhead the attack along with Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev and Evan Donskoy. Khachanov and Karatsev have not been in top form in recent months which means Medvedev along with Rublev will be expected to bring crucial points in singles. The team had won the ATP Cup at the start of the season.
USA will open their tie with tough competitors Italy as both the teams have the top players. Sinner, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego and Lorenzo Musetti will battle against John Isner, Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock in addition to Rajeev Ram in the doubles match.
Colombia made their entry after defeating Argentina as doubles pair of Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal will lead the attack as the singles players are all ranked out of the top 100 and their experience is also very limited. There will be three matches as each group will start out their day in respective venues.
Davis Cup set to move to Abu Dhabi for the next five years
(Tennis news) Kosmos, a company whose founder, CEO and President is Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and the capital of the United Arab Emirates have reached a multimillion-dollar agreement to bring the Davis Cup to Abu Dhabi for the next five years. The 2022 event is said to be held across multiple venues in Abu Dhabi and would be played across 12 days, however the decision to hold the Davis Cup in the Middle East has met with criticism from players who are apprehensive about travelling to the UAE capital so late in the year.
This year, the group stage of the Davis Cup is being held across three cities, namely Turin, Innsbruck and Madrid with the Spanish capital hosting the last five days of the tournament as per an agreement between the ITF and Kosmos for $3bn in 2018. The inaugural event was held two years ago in Madrid where Spain were crowned winners and at this year’s finals, the winners will receive $20m prize money. However, there are definite concerns that if top players refuse to attend the Davis Cup in Abu Dhabi next year, it would result in less attendance from fans, with stands virtually empty for the World Athletics Championship in Doha nearby and poor attendance for international cricket.
On the plus side, the revenue generated from having the Davis Cup in Abu Dhabi will bring some much needed stability, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the ATP Cup may get subsumed into the Davis Cup by the end of the five year deal as conversations are already taking place between the ATP and the ITF to combine the two events into one but as of now, the ATP Cup will be held in Australia, four weeks after the conclusion of the Davis Cup.
Matteo Berrettini secures ATP finals berth, Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz next in line
(Tennis news) Matteo Berrettini’s sparkling season continued as he qualified for the season ending championship for the second time. The Italian reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and then went even further by reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open. His Wimbledon performance was his first breakthrough in the Grand Slams where he lost in the finals to Novak Djokovic.
This season, Berrettini has had 40 victories in 50 matches. After losing in the quarterfinals of the US Open to Djokovic in September, he climbed to a career-high No. 7 in the ATP Rankings. In April, the Italian won the Serbia Open in Belgrade, defeating Aslan Karatsev of Russia. In May, he reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final, losing to Alexander Zverev of Germany and in June, he won the Cinch Championships in London, defeating Cameron Norrie of Great Britain.
He became the first Italian male tennis player to reach the fourth round of every Grand Slam tournament at the French Open. He has been impressive on all surfaces and excels in a team setting, as he powered Italy to the ATP Cup finals in January. Berrettini, an aggressive all-court player with a booming serve that can reach speeds of 146 mph (235 km/h), blasted his way to the No. 8 ranking in 2021 across all surfaces, the highest for an Italian male in more than four decades. He won two Championships, one on grass and the other on clay.
To finish off points, he uses his attacking groundstrokes and net game, and he has been known to serve-and-volley. Many have compared him to Fernando González and Juan Martin del Potro because of his aggressive style, which is based on huge serves and forehands. His play style has earned him the moniker "The Hammer."
“My words aren’t going to describe the happiness I feel in my heart," said the world number seven. “2020 was a tough year for me on and off the court. Here I am about to play my second ATP Finals and I can’t believe it.
“I always have to remember where I started. I didn’t dream about this, because it was so big, but now it’s happening. I want to do my best."
Berrettini will compete at the ATP Finals against world number one Novak Djokovic, U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, and Andrey Rublev, with Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz next in line.
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