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.
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.
Andy Murray downs Carlos Alcaraz at Indian Wells, Aliaksandra Sasnovich takes out Simona Halep
(Tennis news) In men’s singles, Andy Murray produced moments of magic as he took out Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in a three set extravaganza. Murray had a fiery start as he was holding a 4-1 lead in the first set but Carlos with his hard hitting came back to level the score and take the set to surprise the veteran.
In the second set, Murray served an underarm to win the third game as the crowd went wild in celebration. In addition to that, the rallies were dominated by Carlos’s strokes as he was much faster than Murray and also had quick cour coverage. Murray held on and took the second set and in the final set Murray played smart as he volleyed and made Carlos run for every point. At the end, Murray praised the young player and praised him as they greeted each other at the net. Murray defeated Carlos 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Alexander Zverev set up a third round clash with Murray as he dispatched Jenson Brooksby in his opening match at Indian Wells. Zverev was at his best as he powered his way to win the first set and in the second set it was Brooksby who stole the show with winners from his forehand and backhand. In the final set, Zverev hit two booming backhands while breaking Brooksby’s serve as he took a 4-0 lead and won the match as Brooksby had to concede to the German’s all round performance. Zverev defeated Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Stefanos Tsitsipas was for sure troubled by Pedro Martínez in his opening match at Indian Wells. Pedro Martínez had beautiful shots to rule the highlights but could not convert it into something big as he lost some crucial points in the second set to end the match in the Greek God’s favour. Tsitsipas will face Fabio Fognini in his next match after defeating Martinez 6-2, 6-4.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas has knocked out two future prospects of the game in his two matches at Indian Wells. In the opening round he beat Lorenzo Musetti and this time he went for the big kill when he knocked out Felix Auger Aliassime in the second round. The 33 year old is reaching the third round for the fifth time and has not gone beyond that stage and with the current form he might have a chance to have a career best performance. Albert defeated Felix 6-4, 6-2.
In women’s singles, 2016 champion Victoria Azarenka defeated fellow compatriot Petra Kvitová in the third round. Azarenka relied on her serve as she had a total of 9 aces and 25 winners in the match to outplay Kvitová, Azarenka took the last few games in both the sets to win for a fourth time against Kvitová in nine meetings. Azarenka defeated Kvitová 7-5, 6-4.
2015 champion Simona Halep was beaten by Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the third round. Sasnovich had beaten Emma Raducanu in the previous match and will face Azarenka in the next round. Sasnovich played with power and precision to mark her first victory against Halep in only their second meeting as they had earlier met at Wimbledon two years ago where Halep won in two sets. Sasnovich defeated Simona 7-5, 6-4.
Leylah Fernandez came back from a set down and a two game deficit in the second set to win against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Fernandez will next face Shelby Rogers in the fourth round as the 19 year old is looking to be the player to beat in her debut outing at Indian Wells. Fernandez is playing for the first time after her US Open runner up finish.
In men’s doubles, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić conceded only four games against Mackenzie McDonald and Brandon Nakashima in their third round match up. Nikola and Pavić defeated Mackenzie and Brandon 6-2, 6-2. Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev defeated Simone Bolelli and Máximo González 6-3, 5-7, 10-3 as the Russian pair had earlier defeated Reily Opelka and Alex de Minaur in their previous match.
In women’s doubles, Cori Gauff and Fernandez beat fifth seeds Demi Schuurs and Nicole Melichar-Martinez to go into the quarterfinals. Gauff and Fernandez defeated Demi and Nicole 6-3, 6-2. Simona Halep and Elena-Gabriela Ruse run came to an end as they were beaten by Lucie Hradecká and Marie Bouzková in the fourth round. Lucie and Marie defeated Simona and Ruse 6-2, 5-7, 10-5.
Also read: Emma Raducanu falls in opening match at Indian Wells, Leylah Fernandez marches on
Young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz is breaking records one step at a time
(Tennis news): Carlos Alcaraz Garfia is just 18 years old and already making heavy strides in the game. The US Open has been his major spotlight although he has been making progress since the start of the year. At the start of the 2019 season, he was ranked 490 and by the end of the year he was ranked 130. In 2020 he started the year ranked 130 and the rankings didn't change much as there were few tournaments taking place. He has made his debut in all the Grand Slams this year.
In the 2021 season, Alcaraz made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open where he beat Botic van de Zandschulp in the first round but lost to Mikael Ymer in the next round. His major breakthrough came in the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open, a 250 tier tournament where he made the semifinals beating Feliciano Lopez, Casper Ruud on the way. Alcaraz also faced his idol Rafael Nadal in the third round of the Madrid Masters 1000 losing in straight sets.
In the French Open, Alcaraz won his opening match against Nikoloz Basilashvili but lost his next match to Jan-Lennard Struff. In Wimbledon too he won his first match against Yasutaka Uchiyama and in the next match lost to Daniil Medvedev. His next tournament, the Croatia Open 250 will always be special to him as he beat Filip Krajinovic, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and in the final demolished Richard Gasquet for his first ATP tour title.
The Croatia Open has an interesting history behind it. Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero had won it in 2010. Novak Djokovic also made his tour level appearance in Umag back in 2003 when Alcaraz was born. The year 2003 is also when Rafael Nadal made his Grand Slam debut and Roger Federer won Wimbledon which was his first Grand Slam title. Alcaraz has a lot of players he can look upto especially his own countrymen, he considers Nadal as his idol.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former world number 1 and French Open winner in 2003 has been instrumental in the young Spaniard’s career. He has been coaching him since 2018 and has been bringing in changes constantly especially on his aggressive play. Stefanos Tsitsipas said that he has never seen anybody striking the ball that hard after losing to Alcaraz in the fourth round of the ongoing US Open.
Alcaraz is a right hander and plays a two handed backhand, he employs his powerful forehand to hit winners and also uses a drop shot as he can also finish off points in the net. His endurance was heavily tested against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the US Open, the match lasted for over four hours and Alcaraz had covered 9kms in distance during the match. Although he is young, he has the strength and grit to trouble the top players.
Alcaraz is the youngest Grand Slam quarter finalist since Michael Chang in the 1990 French Open and is the youngest to reach the US Open quarterfinals since 1963. He is the youngest man from Spain to reach the US Open fourth round since Nadal in 2006, Nadal had lost in the quarterfinals to Mikhail Youzhny that year. Alcaraz is also the youngest player to beat a top three ranked opponent since the start of the ATP rankings in 1973.
Alcaraz has a lot to look forward to since he has just started his career and has done it in the best way possible. 16 years ago, on a different surface another aggressive young Spaniard won his first Grand Slam and now will be looking for a successor. Nadal has set the bar high for the future players from Spain, Alcaraz has his targets in sight as he will try to reach the last four and maybe even face Novak Djokovic in a thrilling battle. There are a lot of expectations from the young lad as he will try to break in the next Gen which will be carrying the tour hopefully soon. Alcaraz has been a major headline of this year’s US Open and who knows might even lift a Grand Slam in a year or two.
The tour has seen a lot of youngsters making the top cut, but someone so young shining in the Grand Slams has not been seen in recent years. The pressure and facing the crowds itself is a difficult task and adding to facing top players who have had years of experience. Alcaraz doesn't seem to be distracted by all this as he is now a crowd favourite and showed his best tennis in Arthur Ashe Stadium which is the largest tennis stadium in the world. He will next face Felix Auger Aliassime who is also a rising star himself, it will be a eye dropping battle as the crafty Canadian will take on the aggressive rough Spaniard. A battle of the future stars and they have indeed added more spice in the tournament. The future of tennis is in safe hands and the ball is in the court, let's admire the show while it lasts.
Also read: Novak Djokovic four victories away from making history at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez knocks out Angelique Kerber in fourth round clash
Dimtrov and Berrettini notch up victories as Giorgi gets knocked out in Cincinnati
Cincinnati (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, John Isner had a rough start in his opening match against Cameron Norrie in Cincinnati Masters 1000. Norrie raced off to take the first set as Isner was looking at an early exit, in the second set both were players going head to head and a tiebreak was needed to separate the two. Isner took the tiebreak 7-5 as he avoided defeat and in the final set the American made no mistake as he won the match 4-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-4. Isner served his way into the record books as he became the second player to cross the 13,000 aces mark in the match. Ivo Karlovic leads the chart with 13,709 aces followed by Isner and Roger Federer. Isner will next face Jannik Sinner in the next round while another huge server Reily Opelka also needed three sets to advance against Corentin Moutet.
Opelka started strong as he took the first set 7-6(7-3), Corentin fought back to take the second set 6-4. The final set saw Opelka securing victory as he took it 6-4 and will next take on Casper Ruud. Wimbledon runner up Matteo Berrettini made a return to the tour by defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 7-5 in his first match since his incredible run on grass. Grigor Dimtrov defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to set up an exciting contest against Alexander Bublik, this will be their third meeting and they last met in Wimbledon this year where Bublik prevailed. Benoit Paire secured his third win against Denis Shapovalov, he overcame Denis 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 as he looks in form this time around. The young Canadian had an early exit in the Toronto Open as well in the same round of 32 and will look to be his old self as he comes back for the US Open.
Also read: Paire and Shapovalov battle in round three as Murray advances in Cincinnati
In Women’s Singles, Jessica Pegula was in incredible form when she demolished Camila Giorgi when she secured victory as Camila could only win four games in total. Jessica will next face former world number Simona Halep, Halep had earlier defeated Magda Linette and had issues in the second set. Halep won the first set 6-4 and Magda came back with equal power by taking the second set 6-3 but the decisive set saw the two time grand slam winner conceding just a single to take it 6-1. Belinda Bencic also announced her return with a victory after winning the Gold in Singles at the Tokyo Olympics. She won her match against Markéta Vondroušová 6-3,7-5 to set up a round of 32 match against Shelby Rogers. Markéta Vondroušová had upset Naomi Osaka in the third of the Tokyo Olympics, Osaka who finished as runner up last year to Azarenka will start her campaign against teenager Coco Gauff who breezed past Hsieh Su-wei. Victoria Azarenka beat Ludmilla Samsonova 6-2,6-3 in her opening match, Azarenka had won here last year and back in 2013.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig exited in their opening match as they lost 1-6, 6-4, 10-7 to Filip Krajinović and Fabrice Martin. It was a tough defeat as they took the first set and things looked set for a victory. They lost the second set and could not stage a dramatic run down the finish line in the final set. John Peers and Filip Polasek shook off a first set setback and took the next two sets against Luke Saville and Matwe Middelkoop to confirm a showdown with Alex de Minaur and Cameron Norrie.
In Women’s Doubles, Japanese pair of Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama toppled Jeļena Ostapenko and Jil Teichman without much trouble with a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Świątek won a marathon match against Petra Martić and Shelby Rogers when finally the scorecard read 2-6, 7-5, 10-5 and they will next face the pair of Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepač in the round of 16.