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

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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.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas extends his winning streak with straight-set win over Pablo Carreno Busta in Minsk

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Last week’s Marseille champion and 2019 Dubai finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 after 1 hour and 34 minutes to reach the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Touurnament.

 

Tsitsipas earned the first break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Carreno Busta won three consecutive games with a break-back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. The opening set went on serve without breaks to set up a tie-break. Tsitsipas cruised through to 7-1 to win the tie-break.

Tsitsipas broke three times in the first, fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-1.

The Greek player has extended his winning streak to 10 consecutive wins and has a record of 8-4 in his 12 matches this year.

“I am happy that I got two-set victories for a very long time. I am not spending extra hours out on the court, which for sure is going to help me”, said Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas sets up a second round match against Alexander Bublik, who fended off three of his four break points in his 6-2 7-5 win over Hubert Hurkacz. Tsitispas beat Hurkacz 7-5 6-3 last week in the Marseille semifinal last week.

“Bublik is a tricky player. He does unexpected things on the court. I just need to be there, do my job the way I am doing it so far”, said Tsitsipas.

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Benoit Paire saves four match points to beat Marin Cilic in Dubai

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Eighth seed Benoit Paire saved four match points to beat Marin Cilic 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-1) at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships taking a re-match for the tie-break loss in the fifth set at last January’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

 

Cilic saved two break points before breaking serve in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead. The Croatian player saved a break point at deuce before holding serve in the third game for 3-0. Cilic broke serve from 0-40 down to break serve at deuce in the final game of the opening set.

Paire broke serve in the first game of the second set to open a 2-0 lead. Cilic broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players traded breaks in the eighth and ninth games. Cilic won the final three games with a break to win the first set 7-5.

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the decisive set. Cilic saved break points in the fifth and eleventh games. Paire saved two break points to hold serve at deuce. Paire reeled off six consecutive points from 1-1 to win the tie-break 7-1.

“I am really happy about the win. It was not easy today. I was not feeling really good on court. I have been a little bit sick for two, three days. I am really happy to win today and to fight until the end”, said Paire.

 Daniel Evans rallied from one set and one break down to edge Fabio Fognini 3-6 6-4 7-5 after 2 hours and 38 minutes. Fognini went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Evans pulled one break back in the fifth game, but Fognini held his next service games and wrap up the first set 6-3.

Fognini saved two break points before breaking serve at 15 to take a 3-1 lead. Evans broke back at deuce in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Evans converted his second break back in the 10th game to wrap up the second set 6-4.

Fognini started the third set with a break at deuce to take a 1-0 lead. Evans broke straight back in another deuce game to draw level to 1-1. Fognini earned another break at 15 to take a 3-2 lead. Evans broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Evans wrapped up the third set with a break in a marathon 12th game on his sixth match point.

Paire set up an all-French match against Richard Gasquet, who beat Marton Fucsovics 6-4 7-5.

Another Frenchman Pierre Hugues Herbert defeated Delray Beach finalist Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5 6-2 in 78 minutes.

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Queen’s Organizers Optimistic Over Andy Murray’s Return As Two Top 10 Players Join Entry List

The first four names set to play in the ATP 500 event has been announced.

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The director of the Fever-Tree Championships has said he is ‘hopeful’ that Andy Murray will play in the tournament later this year after he was included in the first group of names on the official entry list.

 

The three-time grand slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since the Davis Cup last November due to a pelvic injury. Murray has already delayed his return to the tour on numerous occasions as he continues his rehabilitation process. It is the latest setback for the injury-stricken 32-year-old, who also underwent career saving hip resurfacing surgery last year.

“Andy is our greatest champion. We know Andy is still working his way back to fitness, but we also know that he wants to play, so fingers crossed that he will be able to.” Stephen Farrow said in a press release on Tuesday.

Murray, who is currently ranked 130th in the world, is the most decorated player in the history of the Queen’s event. He has won the trophy five times between 2009-2016 and has won 30 out of 37 matches played there. Last year he also won the doubles title alongside Feliciano Lopez in what was his comeback tournament following his hip surgery.

Tuesday’s announcement of Murray playing at The Queen’s Club comes as no surprise. He has a lifetime contract to play there for the rest of his career unless he is ill or injured. Similar to what Roger Federer has with the Halle event, which takes place during the same week as Queen’s.

Other names to play in London this year include ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals last year. The Greek is yet to contest an ATP final on the grass, but did win the Wimbledon boys’ doubles title back in 2016.

“London will always be a special place for me after winning the ATP Finals last year and I am looking forward to coming back in June.” Said Tsitsipas. “The crowd at the O2 touched my heart in a very special way and I am excited to play at Queen’s again this June. It is a big tournament and important to play in the lead up to Wimbledon.”

World No.5 Daniil Medvedev is another top name set to play in what will be his fourth appearance at Queen’s. In 2019 he produced his best ever run at the tournament by reaching the semi-finals before falling in three sets to France’s Gilles Simon.

“The last 6 months have been incredible for me, a real breakthrough, and now I want to try to do the same on grass.” The US Open finalist stated. “The Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club is a great event with perfect grass courts, and I am looking forward to playing there ahead of Wimbledon.”

Completing the quartet of confirmed names is 38-year-old two-time champion Lopez, who won the singles title last year, as well as the doubles with Murray. He is one of only two Spanish men to have ever won the event in the Open Era. There other was Rafael Nadal back in 2008.

“I thought when I won the title in 2017 that it was the best moment of my career. I was wrong. It was last year! Winning singles and doubles was something incredible, more than I could ever have dreamed when Stephen (Farrow) gave me the wild card.” Lopez reflected.
“That final day is one that I will never forget, Queen’s is always going to be one of the most special places of my career, and I am already looking forward to coming back to the Fever-Tree Championships in June to defend my title.”

The ATP 500 event will get underway on June 15th.

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