Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 10th of March 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 10th of March 2014

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TENNIS – Elena Baltacha is diagnosed with liver cancer. Murray wins 300 on hard courts. Ward’s luck in California. Laura Robson announces Mauricio Hadad as her new coach. Hutchins lands prestigious job and the 2014 inductees for the Hall of Fame are announced. Joshua Bosco

 

Good luck Baltacha
After suffering with a chronic liver condition from the age of 19, former British No.1 Elena Baltacha has now been diagnosed with liver cancer.
In a statement released on the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) website, the 30 year old ex-tennis player said “I’m currently undergoing treatment and fighting this illness with everything I have”.
Baltacha retired from the game in November 2013 and married her former coach Nino Severino, who also used to be a kick-boxing champion, a month later.

300 for Murray, 599 for Hewitt
While Lleyton Hewitt has been denied a 600th career win with a 7-6(5), 6-4 loss to South African Kevin Anderson, British No.1 Andy Murray notched up his 300th win on hard courts with a hard-fought win against Lukas Rosol in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open.
Murray now stands 6th in the active hard-court match wins rankings, topped by Roger Federer with 575 wins, and is just 24 wins shy of Rafael Nadal’s 5th spot.
Hewitt, on the other hand, is looking to become just the third active male player to reach the 600th win milestone, the other two being Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Lucky Ward, unlucky Delpo
Last year’s finalist Juan Martin del Potro has been forced to withdraw from Indian Wells due to his ongoing wrist problem, which had already caused him to retire during his match against Somdev Devvarman in Dubai last week.
His place in the second round match against Feliciano Lopez has been taken by lucky loser James Ward, hero of Great Britain’s Davis Cup tie with USA in February.
Del Potro has also switched places in the rankings with Roger Federer as a result of points lost with his withdrawal. The Argentinian is now eighth and Federer is seventh, close on the heels of No.6 Tomas Berdych.

Another new coach for Laura
British No.1 Laura Robson has once again changed coach. After just 9 months with Zeljko Krajan, 4 months with Miles Maclagan and only 2 months with the newly appointed Nick Saviano and Jesse Witten duo, she has now hired Mauricio Hadad, a Colombian with Lebanese origins, a former tennis player who reached his highest ranking at No.78 in 1995.
In the past he coached Maria Sharapova, helping the then-17 year old Russian to her surprising 2004 Wimbledon title. He also worked with Heather Watson, who won her first WTA title (in Osaka) under his guidance.

Ross Hutchins lands new job
Ross Hutchins has been named tournament Director for the AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club.
The 29 year old, who returned to action in January after recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, will not play in the event which starts on June 9 but he will be responsible for tennis decisions and player/ATP relations.
The British player added that Colin Fleming, his regular doubles partner, will partner someone else at Queen’s but assured that they would play together for the rest of the season.

Class of 2014
Last Monday the International Tennis Hall of Fame announced the “Class of 2014”, a list of five new inductees that will join the other 235 people honoured in the organisation’s 60-year history.
The five inductees are:
Lindsay Davenport: a six times Grand Slam champion (3 titles in singles without losing a set and 3 titles in doubles), the former American player has reached the World No.1 spot in both singles and doubles. She also has an Olympic Gold Medal to her name, won in Atlanta in 1996.
Nick Bollettieri: after founding the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in 1978, the American tennis coach has guided 10 players to No.1 in the world.
John Barrett: a former British No.5 and BBC Sports Commentator, he reached the 3rd round at Wimbledon four times. One of the sport’s premier historians and authors, he is only the 8th journalist to be honoured by the organisation.
Chantal Vandierendonck: the first female wheelchair tennis player to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, she is a five-time Paralympic gold medallist and three-time ITF Wheelchair Tennis World Champion.
Jane Brown Grimes: a former reporter/researcher for Life magazine, she has been involved with tennis for more than 30 years. She has held executive leadership roles with the WTA and the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Joshua Bosco

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Fabio Fognini Hits Out At ‘Inexplicable’ Disqualification From Barcelona Open

The world No.27 has protested his innocence after losing his temper over a call made by an official.

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Italy’s Fabio Fognini describes the decision to kick him out of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday as a ‘shock’ and has vowed to look further into the matter.

 

The 33-year-old was taking on Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the second round of the tournament where he was trailing the match 0-6, 4-4. After losing his temper, the world No.27 is said to have been verbally abusive towards a lines official and was subsequently defaulted from the match for his behaviour. The incident occurred over a line call decision which Fognini didn’t agree with.

On court, he tried to protest his innocence by telling the umpire ‘I didn’t say anything’ but it failed to overturn the decision. Leaving Fognini fuming as he broke his racket on purpose.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Italian continued to protest his innocence in the match and said he would ‘investigate’ the matter. It is unclear what he is referring to but players are allowed to make an appeal against any fine if they feel it is unjust.

“I’m really surprised with the ATP, especially the chair umpire and the supervisor, because I was here to play tennis, I was here to fight in the match, and even if I was losing, doesn’t matter,” he said. “But what they did to me was something inexplicable, so I’m going to investigate it, but nothing more, I paid for something that I didn’t do, that’s the first and clearest thing that everybody has to know.”

Zapata Miralles said he was initially unaware of what was going on in his clash with Fognini as he was focusing on closing out the match. Barcelona is only the seventh ATP main draw he has played in so far in his career.

“I was on the other side of the court, I wasn’t listening to be honest,” Tennis Majors quoted the 24-year-old as saying afterwards. “When I saw the referee on the court, I asked the umpire what’s going on. But I was focused on my work on the court, I was thinking on the next point, the next game, on things I had to focus on.”

Fognini has never previously been defaulted from a tennis match but he is no stranger to controversy. At the 2017 US Open he was fined $24,000 for insulting a female chair umpire and at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships he was heard saying ‘I wish a bomb would explode on this club.’ He later apologised for his remarks.

Zapata Miralles will play compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round.

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Matteo Berrettini beats Marco Cecchinato in all-Italian match in Belgrade

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Number 2 seed Matteo Berrettini beat Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-3 after 1 hour and 21 minutes in an all-Italian match to advance to the quarter finals at the Serbia Open in Belgrade. 

 

Berrettini broke serve three times and saved all three break points he faced showing that he is returning to his best form after an abdominal injury, which forced him ahead of his fourth-round match at the Australian Open. 

Berrettini saved three break points in the fourth game before earning his first break at 30 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Berrettini dropped just five points in his final three service games to win the first set 6-4. 

Berrettini went up a set and a break at 15 and never looked back in his next service games. He sealed the match 6-3 with his third break in the ninth game. 

This year Berrettini earned three top 15 wins to lead Italy to the ATP Cup in Melbourne. Last week he lost his opening match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

“Confidence is something that goes away, it comes back. For sure I know that is my level. I know that I can play that kind of tennis. I work hard to be there, to be in good shape. It was obviously a shame. I work hard to be there, to be in good shape. It obviously was a shame. I was sad about my injury, but I know that I can play well on clay, on grass and on hard-court”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini set up a match against Serbia’s Filip Krajnovic, who eased past Nikola Milojevic 6-1 6-1. Berretini defeated Krajinovic in their only previous head-to-head match in the Budapest final in 2019. 

“It’s going to be very tough. He is top 10, he is a huge champion. He is very tough to play against. I played him once in the final of an ATP Tour event and he beat me, so I know how to play. It’s going to be very tricky, very tough, but I will give my best playing on my court. We see how it goes”, said Krajinovic. 

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Felix Auger Aliassime battles back to beat Lorenzo Musetti in Barcelona

Felix Auger-Aliassime reached the third round in Barcelona, where he will meet Denis Shapovalov.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (@BATennisCom - Twitter)

The Canadian needed three sets and over two hours to get the win and set up a third round encounter with his good friend Denis Shapovalov.

 

Felix Auger Aliassime needed two hours and five minutes to beat the Italian Lorenzo Musetti 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 hitting nine aces in the win and setting up his next match with fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

“It’s not always easy, to be honest, now I’m sitting here, I am happy that I won but things were difficult at some point in the match, I was facing breakpoints in the second set again and things got tight so trying to stay calm, trying to find solutions that was the main goal, I mean there was some ups and downs but in the end, I’m happy with the way the match ended, sometimes your not playing your best tennis but you gotta believe and have courage and fight through”.

The Italian got off to a great start earning a breakpoint in the opening game of the match but the Montreal native was able to save it and hold serve. At 1-1, the world number 20 was under pressure once again but hung in to save the breakpoint.

The Canadian got his first breakpoint of the match at 2-1 but this time it was the Italian who would do a good job of saving it. The very next game the world number 87 went back to work trying to get the early break and this time he was able to pull it off with a superb lob to take a 3-2 lead.

He would serve out the first set to take it 6-4 and a comeback was required if the Canadian didn’t want to be upset at the hands of the Italian.

The world number 87 kept it going in the beginning of the second set earning more breakpoints in the opening game but the Canadian would save both and hold serve.

The very next game the number 10 seed would set up two breakpoints with a stunning forehand winner and would break for the first time in the match to take a 2-0 lead.

The next game the Canadian struggled on serve and the Italian earned two more breakpoints and broke right back to go back on serve. At 3-2 the Montreal native would have another chance to break but the world number 87 would save it again.

At 4-3 the Italian started to get tight and the world number 20 earned three more chances to break and this time would break through to take a 5-3 lead and serve out the second set to send it into a decider.

Clearly the momentum was with the Canadian and he would earn three more breakpoints in the opening service game of the third set and broke to take a 1-0 lead.

After consolidating the break he would earn three more breakpoints and break once more to go up a double break. At the changeover Musetti called for the trainer and took a medical timeout to have work on his lower back.

The Canadian didn’t give in and after holding serve once again he would earn more breakpoints and break one more time and would serve out the match to win the decider with a 6-0 bagel.

As mentioned this win sets up a match with Denis Shapovalov on Thursday with both players meeting a total of four times and each player has two wins.

After the match Auger Aliassime spoke about the matchup and gave Ubitennis his thoughts.

“I feel like we played quite a lot lately and the past year so It’s always a challenge to play him, hopefully, I can play a good match, we can have a great battle but it’s always a tough task so I’ll try to rest and get ready as good as I can for the match tomorrow”.

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