Feliciano Lopez successfully defends his Eastbourne title - UBITENNIS
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Feliciano Lopez successfully defends his Eastbourne title

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TENNIS ATP – Despite being from Spain, Feliciano Lopez preferred surface is grass and over the past two weeks, he has clearly shown why this is the case. He came within a point of lifting the AEGON Championships trophy last week against Grigor Dimitrov. At the 2014 AEGON International tournament, Lopez got it right. Scoring his first ever victory over the top seed Richard Gasquet, Lopez defended his title here at Eastbourne 6-3 6-7 7-5 for his 4th career title. Cordell Hackshaw

Despite being from Spain, Feliciano Lopez (3) preferred surface is grass and over the past two weeks, he has clearly shown why this is the case. He came within a point of lifting the AEGON Championships trophy last week against Grigor Dimitrov but faltered to see the Bulgarian take his first title on grass. However, this week, seeking redemption at the 2014 AEGON International tournament, Lopez got it right. Scoring his first ever victory over the top seed Richard Gasquet, Lopez defended his title here at Eastbourne 6-3 6-7 7-5 for his 4th career title. It was thrilling contest between the two but in the end, Lopez was just a bit more confident and precise on the big points. “[I]t’s a unique surface, the grass. And the way I play here is completely different from where I play on the other surfaces around the world … [M]y attitude was great,” said Lopez after the match.

Gasquet opened the match with a love service hold. Lopez looked a bit tired in his opening service game, perhaps because he has played both his quarterfinal and semifinal matches yesterday. He almost went down triple break points at 0-30 but pulled out an amazing forehand down the line to get back into the game and held serve. Knowing how dangerous of an opponent Gasquet and his lethal backhand can be, Lopez began to be more aggressive on the court, particularly coming to net more often. Lopez broke the Frenchman in the 3rd game and consolidated the break to go up 3-1. Gasquet was unable to make any impact on the Lopez’s serve at this point in the match but held serve twice to be down the single break at 3-5. However, he was unable to stop the charge of Lopez’s return game during the 9th game as he was serving to stay in the set. Lopez ended the set with a flourished backhand passing shot for 6-3 in 28 minutes.

Lopez has won a few sets with ease against Gasquet in their previous five meetings but winning a 2nd set in the same match proved to be the difficult task. Thus one expected this match to go a third set. Gasquet began to be more assertive on the court and his backhand which was failing miserable in the first set was not paying dividends in the second. Lopez who had been so solid on serve all week soon found himself down triple break points in the 7th game. He saved two break points with monster serves but was unable to produce a third to get to deuce. Gasquet broke and served to extend the lead to 5-3. However, Lopez broke back for 4-4. The set remained on serve for the next four games to have matters be decided in a tiebreaker. Gasquet took an early lead in the tiebreaker up 4-2 but Lopez was able to level it at 5-5. Down 5-6, Lopez was serving to get to 6-6, failed to execute successfully his famous serve and volley play and saw Gasquet take the 2nd set 7-6(5).

Gasquet started off the 3rd set with the impression as though he was going to take the set in a hurry. He held serve and had two break points to go up 2-0. However, the chair umpire issued a second time violation warning to Lopez and it seemed to have enflamed the Spaniard. Lopez looked more determined on court and saved those break points. In the 10th games, down 4-5, Lopez again pulled out his big serves to keep the match alive. Gasquet who was holding serve with ease throughout the decisive set, became complacent in the 11th game and was broken when his volley went well long. Lopez served for the match up 6-5. In style, Lopez punctuated the match with two aces to take it 6-3 6-7 7-5. He fell to the ground and kissed the grass as he defended his title for his second career title on grass.

There is no doubt that Lopez deserved this title for over the past two long and arduous weeks the Spaniard has been the most consistent player on grass. Even Gasquet agreed: “[H]e’s playing good. He serves incredible. He start to play with the slice. So he has a perfect game for grass court. He fight a lot, tough mentally in the third set.” There was not much to separate the two in the match as Gasquet had 40 winners and 21 errors and Lopez had 44 winners and 26 errors. Gasquet was winning 75% of his 1st serve points and 66% on 2nd serve whereas Lopez won 72% on his 1st serves and 62% on his 2nd serve. However, the major difference would be their net game; Lopez won 32 of 52 net points in the match compared to 11 of 18 from Gasquet. He was the one taking more chances and avoiding the baseline rallies which Gasquet was more inclined to play. Having done so well at the warm up tournaments, Lopez is excited about Wimbledon: [I]t’s the best tournament you can play in the world, and everybody is waiting for this moment to come. I’m very happy that I’m going to play my 50th I think Grand Slam consecutive, and it’s going to be there at Wimbledon. So that makes the record more special.” Lopez, seeded 19th at Wimbledon, will play a qualifier, Yuichi Sugita in first round. There is a possible 3rd round encounter between him and American John Isner (9) if seeds hold true to form.

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Alexander Zverev Pushed But Manages To Beat Isner As Europe Storms To Lead In Laver Cup

The German gave Team Europe a massive lead after winning a tight match.

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image via https://twitter.com/LaverCup/

Alexander Zverev needed a trademark ” Laver Breaker” to beat the 6ft 10 Amercian John Isner 7-6, 6-7, 10-5 in two hours and 17 minutes on the saecond day of the Laver Cup.

 

The German hit 13 aces in the match, meanwhile Isner went 0 for 3 on breakpoints.

” I think in this format playing John (Isner) is one of the toughest opponents there can be and he is the best server of all time plus he was hitting the ball extremely hard and well today,” said Zverev.
To be honest I played a pretty good match,” he added.

In the first set, both players had zero issues holding serve. In the opening tiebreak it was extremely tight but the world number four managed to get the crucial break at 4-3 and that was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second frame stayed on serve until 3-3 when the American had two chances to break but the Hamburg native managed to save both. In the following game he responded by earning three break points of his very own but Isner saved all three and held serve.

Isner had another chance at 5-5 but was unable to convert and again proceedings went into another tiebreaker to decide the second set. In that breaker, the world number 22 jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the German responded winning the next three points to make it 3-3.

After that, it stayed on serve until 7-6 and it was the American who managed to break Zverev to win the second set and force a match tiebreak to decide the match.

The first four points went on serve and it was the German who got the first break and jumped out to a 6-3 and that lead was enough for him to serve out the match and give Team Europe a 7-1 lead.

After the match in his on-court interview, Zverev spoke about the second set and the level both he and Isner was playing at.

” Even the second set that I lost I didn’t do many things wrong so it shows that the match was very high level and obviously happy to give Team Europe the lead”. He said.

Day 2 results :

In the first match of the day, the Aussie Nick Kyrgios faced Stefanos Tsitsipas and it was the world number three who took the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes.

After the match, Krygios mentioned in his post-match press conference that the Laver Cup would be the last event he played in 2021, stating that his mother’s health is not doing well and he is planning to return to Australia to be with her.

In the night session Danil Medvedev, the current US Open champion, took on Denis Shapovalov and the Russian only needed one hour and 15 minutes to beat him 6-4, 6-0 to give Team Europe a 9-1 lead.

In the last match of the day, a doubles clash featuring Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev took on Isner and Krygios, and again it was the Europeans who managed to win 6-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Day 3 Preview :

On Sunday Team Europe will have a chance to clinch the trophy in their first match as they only need two more points and on Sunday a win is worth three. The day will start with a doubles match featuring Rublev and Zverev taking on Shapovalov and Rielly Opelka.

In singles, Zverev will face Felix Auger Aliassime, Medvedev will face Diego Schwartzman, and the last match scheduled is Isner vs Tsitsipas.

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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