Norrie, Gauff and Fognini fall in opening day of Australian Open
(Tennis news) Day 1 of the 2022 Australian Open saw quite a few seeded players making their exit. The highest seeded player to fall was Cameron Norrie, the 12th seed had it tough against Next Gen player Sebastian Korda while 18th seed Cori Gauff was knocked out by Wang Qiang.
Cameron Norrie was nowhere near his best as he lost the first two sets in an hour and failed to take a single game in the second set. Korda kept hitting winners as Norrie’s court movement was also hampered, there was no ray of light for the British number one as the youngster did not shy away from taking chances in almost all the rallies. Korda kept coming forward to finish the points and only had some issues in the third set where Norrie put in some volleys which delayed the result of the match. Korda defeated Norrie 6-3, 6-0, 6-4.
“It wasn't easy. I didn't get a lot of preparation, didn't get any matches under my belt,” Korda said in his post-match press conference after he was forced to withdraw from the Adelaide International 1 in the first week of the season due to testing positive for Covid-19. “But I am just super happy with the way I came out. I stuck with my tactics. They worked really well and I am really comfortable on these courts.”
Fabio Fognini failed to find his touch against Tallon Griekspoor in the opening round. Griekspoor did see some half hearted winners from Fognini who could not hit most of the balls on the other side of the court. Griekspoor entered the main draw at Melbourne for the second time in his career and it was his second victory at Grand Slams. The 25 year old will next face Pablo Carreno Busta as it will be tough against the Spaniard who has been in form this year. Griekspoor defeated Fognini 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Feliciano Lopez played a record 79th consecutive Grand Slam at Melbourne, the 40 year old lost to John Millman in the 1st round. Millman was quick to find space around the net as Lopez is one of the last players to fully rely on the classic serve and volley. Millman moved well around the court while finding the lines even with his backhand and had sublime control when hitting winners from the net. Millman defeated Lopez 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
Cori Gauff made her first early exit at a Grand Slam in two years when she was shocked by Wang Qiang in straight sets. Wang secured her first victory in over 6 months as she took advantage of an error-stricken game by the teenager. Gauff had 38 unforced errors which mostly contributed to the former world number 12 taking 6 consecutive games from the end of the first to the second. Even though it looked like the American could have staged a comeback when saving a few match points but it was not happening this time. Wang defeated Gauff 6-4, 6-2.
Sofia Kenin also had her luck give up on her as she was up against Madison Keys in the first round. Sofia had won the title at Melbourne two years ago but it was all over right on the first day for the former champion. Keys was too powerful around the court as no amount of sprints could cover certain groundstrokes she unleashed. The 12th seed has been struggling with a foot injury and coming back on tour after being infected with Covid. Keys defeated Kenin 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.
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.
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.
Mackenzie McDonald and Marcus Daniell win ATP player awards
(Tennis news) Mackenzie McDonald won the ATP comeback player of the year award after a career defining performance over the last 12 months. The 26 year old suffered a hamstring injury at Roland Garros in 2019 while playing doubles as he was out for seven months, he needed surgery after which he couldn’t walk for a month and in 2020 he was ranked 270 in the first quarter of the season. He slowly made his way up as he started this year ranked 194 and now is ranked 55 to complete a fighting comeback.
Mackenzie reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the second time at this year’s Australian Open and lost to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Mackenzie had reached the fourth round in his first appearance at Wimbledon in 2018, he reached the finals at Washington defeating Benoit Paire and Kei Nishikori on the way. At the US Open, he defeated David Goffin in the 1st round but lost to Nishikori in a five setter in the second round. Mackenzie last played in november at Stockholm Open losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the opening match.
“It’s extremely rewarding. For me it’s a massive accomplishment, honestly. At the end of the year I was hoping I was going to be nominated, I got that and then actually winning it is really cool for me,” McDonald said. “It was a really big comeback and I feel like I put in all the hard work. When I was going through the rehab process I did everything I possibly could to get myself back”.
Doubles player Marcus Daniell received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award for his service through his organization High Impact Athletes. It is an organization which connects athletes and the general public with the most effective, evidence-based charities in the world. Daniell founded the organization in November last year and now has several fellow athletes helping him. Marcus had the idea of donating to charity for a few years and now has decided to donate 10 percent of his earnings to effective organizations for life. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Joe Salisbury, John Millman, Rajeev Ram and many more have pledged to donate certain parts of their earnings to the organization.
“When I was told I was this year’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award recipient I was blown away. It is incredibly humbling to look down the list of previous recipients and see who has received this honour. Their many accomplishments both on and off the court are staggering” said Daniell.
“My journey in philanthropy began in 2015. It was the first year I focussed on doubles and it was also the first year I made money playing tennis. I was able to put some savings away in the bank at the end of the year and with that little bit of financial security came this really strong urge to give back”.
Croatia’s Borna Gojo is amongst the best performers at the Davis Cup
(Tennis news) The Davis Cup came to an end yesterday as Russia triumphed over Croatia to win their third title. Even though Russia was the most powerful team, there were many others who played well above their expectations to give their country crucial points. Given below are some of the notable performances from the Davis Cup this year.
Borna Gojo: Croatia
Borna was arguably the hero for Croatia as the world number 279 was making his second appearance at the Davis Cup. He won three matches this time and three of them were against opponents ranked in the top 70. His best win came against Italy in the quarterfinals as he was up against world number 27 Lorenzo Sonego in the first match.
In the first set, Sonego was 4-1, 40-30 until Borna took three consecutive games to level the score. Sonego held his serve the next game as Borna did the same as it went to a tiebreaker and after more than an hour, Borna took the set. Sonego hit back in the second set but in the third set Borna took hold of an early break as he fell on the court when he won the match which was crucial for Croatia.
Feliciano Lopez: Spain
Feliciano Lopez was up against Andrey Rublev in the final match of Spain against Russia in group A. Lopez had made his ATP debut in 1997, a month before Andrey Rublev was born. Rublev was the favourite as he was a top ranked player who was known for his hard hitting while Lopez had to play the singles as their top three players could not play this time. The last time Lopez played a singles match was in 2019 against Edmund Kyle and the last time he won was in 2016 when he defeated Ramkumar Ramanathan.
Lopez style is serve and volley which has died out in recent years and Rublev played from the baseline with his rocket shots. Lopez lost the first set but when the clock struck an hour, Lopez took the second one as his volleys kept getting better and Rublev could not find a way past him. In an hour and 45 minutes, Lopez gave Spain their first point in the tie but a surprise win for Russia in the doubles gave them the spot in the knockout phase.
Zsombor Piros: Hungary
Piros was playing in his third Davis Cup and had beaten John Millman in the opening tie against Australia. In the second tie, he was up against a much higher ranked opponent as Croatia’s Marin Cilic had experience too in his hand. Piros lost the first as his comeback was too late but in the next set his grunts kept getting louder and his shots were finding the target as the scores were level. In the third set, it looked over for Piros as he was down 1-4 but took the next five games in one of the best matches at the tournament.
Mikhail Kukushkin: Kazakhstan
Kukushkin has been representing Kazakhstan in the Davis Cup since 2008. Kukushkin had lost the first match in the group stage against Sweden but won the second one as the team progressed into the quarterfinals against Serbia. Kukushkin was up against Mimoir Kecmanovic who was ranked more than 100 places above him, Kukushkin took the opening set and was leading 4-2 in the second until Kecmanovic took the next four games to deny him a straight set win.
In the final set, Kecmanovic took a 5-3 lead and had two match points which Kukushkin saved like a true tennis veteran and went to save another two. After 3 hours and 23 points in the final set tie breaker, Kukushkin finally won the match to give Kazakhstan an edge over Serbia but lost the doubles match as it couldn’t enter the last four.
Emma Raducanu falls in opening match at Indian Wells, Leylah Fernandez marches on
(Tennis news) In women’s singles, US Open champion Emma Raducanu lost in straight sets to Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Aliaksandra played clean shots as she had only four unforced errors after taking the first set in half an hour. In the second set, Raducanu looked to take the match to the decider with a 4-2 lead but Aliaksandra came back and took the next four games to send the newly crowned Grand Slam champion packing at Indian Wells. Aliaksandra defeated Raducanu 6-2, 6-4.
Leylah Annie Fernandez secured a hard hitting victory in her debut at Indian Wells. Leylah was in her usual aggressive mode as she took the first five games of the match to stun Alizé Cornet who managed two games in the first set. The story was no different in the second set as Leylah continued to punish the ball and her opponent to take the second set. Leylah finished with 24 winners and 26 unforced errors. Leylah defeated Cornet 6-2, 6-3.
Irina-Camelia Begu played top level tennis to upset Jil Teichmann for a second time in a row. Begu had last defeated Teichmann at the French Open last year in three sets but this time beat her in two sets. Begu only conceded a single game in the final set to complete a satisfying victory over the 31st seed. Teichmann defeated Begu 7-5, 6-1.
In men’s singles, Andy Murray was at his best when he took on Adrian Mannarino as there were dropshots, quick volleyes and the trademark lob by Murray. Murray took the first set in 40 mins and finished the match with a late drop shot from the backhand to set up a clash against teenager Carlos Alcaraz Garfia. Murray defeated Adrian 6-3, 6-2.
In a match filled with booming forehands and volleys, John Millman knocked out wildcard Jack Sock in a three set heavyweight battle. Sock had his powerful forehand which was the key to him winning points but Millman’s defense was equally good which took the match to the decider. The final set saw Sock break Millman’s serve early on the set but Millman came back with class and had the final laugh. Millman defeated Sock 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
Jenson Brooksby played rocket forehands and backhands to beat qualifier Cem İlkel in two sets. Brooksby had a few roars whenever he unleashed fast ones across Cem, his backhand was steady along with the forehand. Cem tried to play aggressive but could not match Brooksby raw strength with the racquet. Brooksby defeated Cem 7-6(7-5), 6-4.
In men’s doubles, there was a battle of regular singles players as Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson defeated Diego Schwartzman and Llyod Harris 6-3, 6-7(7-2), 10-7.
Second seeds Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram had to struggle against a much lower ranked pair of Cameron Norrie and Luke Saville as the match went till the decider. In the final set Joe and Rajeev came close to an embarrassing defeat but won the match as Joe is in contention for a third consecutive title after the US Open and San Diego Open.
In women’s doubles, teenagers Leylah Fernandez and Cori Gauff were ruthless against Renata Voráčová and Irina-Camelia Begu in their opening match as they only lost a game in each set. Leylah and Cori defeated Renata and Begu 6-1, 6-1.
Top seeds and this year’s French Open doubles champion, Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková had a tough time in the first set against Jil Teichmann and Viktorija Golubic as they raced off to win the final two sets. Barbora and Kateřina defeated Teichmann and Golubic 6-7(6-8), 6-2, 10-2.
Canadians crash out in Toronto as Medvedev looks to reach second final
Toronto (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Daniil Medvedev defeated Alexander Bublik in three sets to reach the round of 16 in the Toronto Masters 1000. Bublik started off strong as he took the first set but could not carry on the momentum as Medvedev began to find his form and took the next two sets. He will be facing James Duckworth who caused an upset when he defeated Jannik Sinner in the round of 32. The 2018 runner up Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Karen Khachanov in round of 16, Khachanov earlier recorded a straight set victory over Aslan Karatsev to set up a match against the Greek god. Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime fell in round 2 as they suffered losses against Frances Tiafoe and Dušan Lajović respectively. The tournament saw its second withdrawal as Hubert Hurkacz did not need to step on court to progress to the next round when he received a walkover from Kei Nishikori who pulled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury. Frenchmen Gael Monfils looked in good form when he defeated John Millman in three sets as he will play Frances Tiafoe in the round of 16.
Also read: Shanghai Masters 1000 cancelled this year as COVID-19 cases rise in China
In the Women’s Singles, Danielle Collins staged an emphatic victory over Simona Halep in three sets as she will face Jessica Pegula in the round of 16. Elina Svitolina was also knocked out in the round of 32 as she lost to Britain’s Johanna Konta.
In Men’s Doubles Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna emerged victorious over Simone Bolelli and Máximo González in the round of 16. In the Women’s doubles Ellen Perez and Květa Peschke are into the Quarterfinals and will be facing Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette.
Serena, Venus Williams and Sofia Kenin have pulled out of the Cincinnati Open as injuries are piling up before the US Open. Serena Williams is out with a leg injury and Sofia Kenin is down with a foot injury. Serena has been suffering with injury this year as she had to withdraw in the beginning of the season in Yarra Valley Classic as well as recently in Wimbledon.