Novak Djokovic progresses to the semi-finals of the Italian Open
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic secured his 999th career victory with a straight sets victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Serbian triumphed over his Canadian opponent 7-5 7-6 (7-1) and will now face Casper Ruud for a spot in the finals after the Norwegian won 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 against Denis Shapovalov.
Speaking after the match, Djokovic said “I thought it was high-level tennis. He did ask me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well. I thought I could have finished the job earlier... but credit to him for fighting back. Amazing atmosphere as well tonight. I know Felix well. He's been around the top of the men's game for quite a few years. He's got a lethal serve, honestly... He's hitting his spots in the box incredibly well with the serve, and it was not easy for me at all to return. He's also returning well, he's moving well. He's a very complete player.”
In the other semi-final, Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on Alexander Zverev after the pair defeated Jannik Sinner and Chilean Cristian Garin. Tsitsipas won 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, with Zverev, who is ranked third, progressing 7-5 6-2. In the women’s category, reigning champion Iga Swiatek will take on Aryna Sabalenka after defeating Bianca Andreescu 7-6 (7-2) 6-0. The result meant that Swiatek extended her winning streak to 26 matches while Sabalenka beat Amanda Anisimova 4-6 6-3 6-2.
In other results, Ons Jabeur upset World Number 4 Maria Sakkari 1-6 7-5 6-1. She will play Daria Kasatkina, who defeated 6-4 3-2 against Jil Teichmann after the Swiss tennis player was forced to retire due to a thigh injury.
Fognini covers ground after 2 year absence at Rio
(Tennis news) Fabio Fognini made a comeback at the Rio Open after 2 years and is a match away from making his first semi finals since 2019. He has now beaten Pablo Carreno Busta twice in 9 meetings, the Spaniard was down a break in the opening set and saved two set points in the 10th game to break serve. Fognini had four chances in the 12th game to take it to the tiebreak but a speedy backhand by Pablo put an end to the set.
In the second set, a double fault by the 30 year old helped the Italian to level the match and take it to the decider. In the third set, both players started with a break of serve but it was the 34 year old who started hitting winners left and right to break serve for the 5th time in 3 hours. Fognini defeated Pablo 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Federico Coria also had to play a three hour match to get to the quarterfinals as he was up against Fernando Verdasco. Coria broke serve in the second game of the match and in the next two sets won the breakpoints in the third game. There were a total of 30 breakpoints and both players saved 4 each although the youngster had to face 17 of them but managed to get out of the situation. The Argentine was chasing the ball well even in the final set of the match, in the 9th game the 38 year old missed an overhead lob which gave the break and Coria served out the match. Coria defeated Verdasco 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-4.
It was a rough day for Spain as four of their players were knocked out of the event. Pablo Andujar was the only one to survive the day at the expense of fellow countrymen Albert Ramos- Vinolas. Andujar had last reached the quarter final stage at Geneva in 2021 where he beat Roger Federer in the fourth round. The 36 year old had reached the semifinal in his first appearance at the event in 2014 where he lost to Rafael Nadal in a deciding set tiebreak which lasted 22 points.
Andujar was facing Albert for the 10th time and was leading with 6 victories. The pair had first met in 2005 at a challenger event in 2005 and 6 years later on the tour. The 34 year old took the 10th game under pressure due to two double faults as Andujar was 2 points away from taking the set. Unfortunately, the world number 74 after an hour and 6 minutes did win the set and took an early lead in the second.
The world number 33 was down 4-1 and 5-3 in the set but was yet to give in the quarterfinal pass to his friend. Four games in a row from 5-3 down as the match went past the two hour mark, Albert was serving at 30 all 3-2 when a double fault gifted a chance to break but it was saved thrice and he had a chance to hold serve but it drifted away quickly. All the three sets took an hour each as it was the longest match of the day. Andujar defeated Albert 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
Federico Coria beats defending champion Cristian Garin at Rio
(Tennis news) Federico Coria was meeting Crisitan Garin for the third time and all of their meetings have been on clay. Coria had won their previous meeting at Bastad but Garin had defeated Coria at the Rio Open in 2020 on his way to winning the title. The defending champion looked set to trouble the Argentine again but could only win 2 games in the match as it looked even in the first set. In the second set, both players could not land most of the first serves but the Chilean could only win 2 points in his return games as the 29 year old did not lose 6 of his first serve points. Coria defeated Garin 6-2, 6-0.
Thiago Monteiro had an unimpressive start against Sebastian Baez, the Brazilian could not sustain the rallies and was down 4-0 in the first set. In the second set, the wildcard entry started to dominate the match as he was always on the move as the Argentine saved double breakpoints in the 5th and 7th game but a single break was enough to level the score. In the final set, the 27 year old raised his game as his service was the key in keeping the qualifier down and will next face top seed Matteo Berrettini for a place in the quarterfinals. Monteiro defeated Baez 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
"Of course I'm very happy. It's always an unbelievable atmosphere playing at home, an unbelievable feeling to win those important matches," Monteiro said after the match. "Today after the first set, I took time to think of the possibilities I had to do to try and come back. Luckily I could do it today. I played at a very good level."
Lorenzo Sonego is one match away from making his 4th quarter final out of 5 events this season. The Italian was beaten in the third round of the Australian Open but has made it to the last or better in the rest of the events. He was facing Laslo Djere who won the first 9 points in his service games and the 6th seed only lost one point in his first 2 service games. After the fourth game the match was all about Sonego as he won 10 straight games to take the match. The Serbian had 6 chances to hold his serve in the second game of the 2nd set after which he won three points in the 4 games to end the match in an hour and 9 minutes. Sonego defeated Djere 6-2, 6-0.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas ends Alejandro Tabilo’s dream run to win the title
(Tennis news) Albert Ramos-Vinolas won his fourth ATP tour title with a win over Alejandro Tabilo at the Cordoba Open. The Spaniard defeated the qualifier 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final that lasted for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Tabilo only had 3 wins on the tour before this year and racked up four wins at Cordoba, he beat Diego Schwartzman in the semifinal for his biggest career victory so far and did not drop a set from the qualifiers to the final. He was looking to be the second from his country to win the title after Cristian Garin’s victory two years ago.
Albert was playing at Cordoba for the fourth time and in the previous three always lost against an Argentine. Last year he played 5 of his matches against Argentines and lost in the final against Juan Manuel Cerundolo who was ranked 335 at that time. Before that he had reached the quarterfinals and the fourth round in 2019.
The 32 year old had lost in the first round of the Australian Open this year but did not drop a set on his way to the final at the clay event. He was down a set and 2-0 in the second but fought his way through to win the next 6 games out of 7. In the third set, it was again the Chilean who took a 4-1 lead but it was not yet over as Albert broke serve thrice and unleashed forehands that were meant to crush his opponent’s hopes. Tabilo hit a backhand long as Alber fell to the ground with 5 consecutive games for an inspiring victory.
"I don't know how I came back to be honest. I think I played a little bit more aggressively from 1-4 in the third. He missed some first serves. He was serving well and I started to return a little bit more aggressively than before," Ramos-Vinolas said. "When I came back from 1-4 to 3-4, I was feeling I had a chance."
The 24 year old has now climbed up 32 places in the rankings after his performance for a career best 112 and is on his way to the top 100. The veteran also jumped 12 places to be ranked 32 as all four of his career titles have come on clay. Both players will next play at Buenos Aires where Tabilo will face another Spaniard Pedro Martinez in the opening round as for Albert he will be up against Brazilian lefty Thiago Monteiro.
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.
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.
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
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
Indian tennis players need miracle to go deep in draws
Tokyo, Jul 23 (Tennis news) Indian tennis players need no less than a miraculous performance to get close to the medal rounds as an under-prepared team of Sania Mirza and debutant Ankita Raina faces a tough Ukrainian challenge in the opener while Sumit Nagal has got a tough draw in the singles competition starting Saturday. Mirza, who is making a record fourth Olympic appearance, and debutant Raina are going into the Olympics without playing a single competitive match together this year, which is far from ideal preparation for the biggest sporting event on earth.
The last time Mirza and Raina shared the court was in March 2020 during the Billie Jean King Cup.
They will open their campaign against Ukraine's twin sisters Nadiia and Lyudmyla Kichenok.
"Every match is going to be a challenge and we will take one match at a time. Because Of pandemic and quarantine rules we were playing different tournaments. So after Fed Cup we didn’t get a chance to play together," Raina told PTI.
However, Mirza has tons of experience and she is playing with a player who is known to punch above her weight while representing the nation.
Raina has a big heart for fight but it will all depend on the performance of Mirza, who has not been in the best of form with her serve being an issue.
During the recent Wimbledon championships, Mirza gradually upped her game from the baseline but her feeble serve was easily tackled by the rivals.
Interestingly, when Mirza returned to competitive tennis after the COVID-19 induced break in March this year, she and her Sloveinan partner Andreja Klepac had faced the same Ukrainian sister pair and had prevailed. Ranked as low as 137 post maternity break, 34-year-old Mirza has played only eight matches this season with a 4-4 win-loss record.
Also read: Deemed 'extreme risk' nation, India denied entry into ITF World Junior Finals
The 28-year-old Raina, ranked 100, has just one singles main draw victory to show since the beginning of the 2021 season.
In the doubles, she grabbed her first ever WTA title with partner Kamila Rakhimova at the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne in February and broke into doubles top-100 but suffered five straight first round defeats after that.
Had it not been for Mirza's Protected Ranking of nine, India would not have a women's doubles team at the Games.
In complete contrast, Nadiia, ranked 44, had played eight WTA Tour events with her sister Lyudmyla Kichenok, ranked 48, in 2020 and one this year.
Together they did not enjoy much success but Nadiia otherwise had decent results with Romania's Raluca Olaru in 2021.
They won the won St Petersburg (WTA 500) in March and reached the semifinals in Stuttgart (WTA 500) in April and ended runners-up in Bad Homburg last month.
If Mirza and Raina win their opener, they could face American eighth seeds Nicole Melichar (doubles world number 9) and Alison Riske (singles world number 36) in the next round.
In the men's singles, Nagal is extremely lucky to get an entry into the Olympics as with a rank of 144 on the cut-off date of June 14, he was far away from making the cut.
However, a spate of withdrawals pushed him inside.
Nagal's recent performances do not inspire confidence though at the start of the season he had pulled off the biggest victory of his career when he beat then world number 22 Cristian Garin.
However, after that he has managed only two quarterfinal appearances at the Challenger level, struggling badly on the Tour.
Nagal had hinted that he was struggling with some health issues and that was the reason for him not getting the desired results.
He faces Asian Games champion Denis Istomin in his first round. The Uzbekistan veteran had won the quota from the 2018 Jakarta Games by taking the men's singles title.
The grinder that Nagal is, there is a possibility of him getting past the 34-year-old Uzbek but the Indian may next face world number two and Australian Open runner-up Danill Medvedev from Russia and that could be end of the road for him.
News source: PTI