ATP Monte-Carlo: Fognini recovers from a set and a break down to beat Sousa - UBITENNIS
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ATP Monte-Carlo: Fognini recovers from a set and a break down to beat Sousa



TENNIS – Last year’s ATP Monte-Carlo semifinalist and World Number 13 Fabio Fognini recovered from 5-7, 2-5 0-30 to overcome Joao Sousa from Portugal in three sets with the scoreline of 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Master, the first European Master 1000 tournament on clay of the year. Diego Sampaolo

On the verge of defeat Fognini reeled off five games in a row to win the second set with 7-5 to force the match to the third set where he raised the game winning 6-4 after a two-hour and 20-minute roller-coaster match.

Fognini has been one of the most consistent players in the circuit on clay where he collected three ATP titles since last July in Stuttgart, Hamburg and Vina Del Mar, reached the final in Umago and Buenos Aires and reached the quarter final in Rio de Janeiro where he lost to Aleksander Dolgopolov and beat Andy Murray in the Davis Cup quarter final match between Italy and Great Britain in Naples. He boasts a 21-6 record of winning matches this year (including 14 wins on clay in 16 matches this year) tying the third place with Rafa Nadal. However he had to dig deep against World Number 38 Joao Sousa who came close to score a major upset against last year’s Monte-Carlo semifinalist from Arma di Taggia, a small town not far away from Monte-Carlo.

Sousa, who made his debut in Monte-Carlo this year but reached the quarter final in Rio de Janeiro last February and advanced to the third round in Miami, held serve in the first game before breaking in the second game to storm to a 2-0 in the opening set but Fognini broke straight back before getting another break to build up a 5-3 lead. Sousa turned around the match winning 16 points to 2 to clinch the first set with 7-5.

Sousa recovered by reeling off six games to build up a 7-5, 2-0 lead. Fognini broke back winning the next two games to draw level to 2-2 but Sousa got the break to go up 4-2. Fognini was two points away from defeat when Sousa served for the match at 5-2 30-0 as the Italian was on serve. Fognini broke serve when Sousa hit his forehand into the net. Fognini raised the game breaking serve to love at 5-5 before sealing the win the second set with 7-5.

Fognini did not play at the same level as in the Davis Cup match against Murray but managed to break serve for 3-2 and held serve in the next game. Sousa did not give up and earned a break point at 4-5. Fognini saved it before sealing the win on his first match point

It was not the first time that Fognini survived a big scare this year as he saved two match points against Gael Monfils in the third round at Indian Wells.

The first match always very difficult, especially because I came here after the Davis Cup. I fell confident. Everybody say that I can reach the top-10 but I don’t fell fell more pressure. I was a bit lucky today. At 5-4 I felt heavy legs. I had no strength. I felt a bit tired after playing many matches this year”, said Fognini

In the other morning matches at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Master Radek Stepanek dropped just three games to cruise past Ivo Karlovic with 6-1, 6-2 in just 58 minutes to set up a second round match against Roger Federer on Wednesday.

German Phillip Kohlschreiber beat Italian Simone Bolelli 6-3, 6-4 to set up a second round match against Jo Wilfred Tsonga.


Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket



The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.


Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.


Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.


Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open



Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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