TENNIS MASTER 1000 TORONTO – Novak Djokovic overcame a tough match against Gael Monfils in his first match since his third triumph at Wimbledon. Djokovic fended off six of seven break points. Andy Murray cruised past Australian 19-year-old rising star Nick Kyrgios in straight sets in his debut at the Toronto Master 1000. Murray dropped just six service points and converted four of his five break points chances. Diego Sampaolo
Gael Monfils was 4-3 in the tie-break of the second set when he committed a double fault before dropping the second set. World Number 1 Novak Djokovic was on the verge of defeat when Monfils went up a break to take a 3-1 lead in the fourth game of the third set. Djokovic managed to break straight back. In the 11th game the Wimbledon champion earned three break point chances at 5.5 but Monfils saved all of them. The Frenchman came just two points within a surprising win when he was leading 6-5 30-30 but Djokovic score nine of the next eleven point to take a hard-fought win in the tie-break. Djokovic extended his lead in the head-to-head matches against Monfils to 10-0.
Djokovic will face Monfils’ compatriot Jo Wilfred Tsonga who won the French derby against Jeremy Chardy in straight sets with 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.
Murray got off to a successful start to his hard-court campaign in his first tournament since his defeat in the quarter finals at Wimbledon against Grigor Dimitrov. He faced a very tough debut playing for the first time against Nick Kyrgios who is playing his first tournament since his surprising quarter final at Wimbledon after beating Rafa Nadal in the fourth round.
The Scotsman, twice Rogers Cup champion in 2009 and 2010, was unchallenged winning his second round match in less than hour against Kyrgios who advanced to the second round after beating Santiago Giraldo 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 in the first match.
The first set went on serve in the first two games before Murray got his first two break points in the third game. Kyrgios saved the first break point chance but he hit a forehand into the net dropping serve in the third game to go down 1-2. Murray held serve in the next game. Kirgyos faced three break points at 4-2. Murray got his double break to pull away to 5-2 and closed out the opening set on his first set point.
Murray hit four aces and won 93 percent of his serve points in the first set
Murray got the first break in the fifth game of the second set to take the 3-2 lead. Murray held serve in the next game before taking a double break in the seventh game to pull away to 5.2. The Scotsman served for the match and wrapped it up in 54 minutes. Murray will take on the winner of the match between Twice Rogers Cups finalist Richard Gasquet and Ivo Karlovic.
“I thought I did most things like pretty solid. I didn0t make too many errors. I moved well. It was a solid match after five weeks After Wimbledon I went over to Miami and I trained like I used to for the first time since the surgery and I felt much better”, said Murray.
“I am now training at 100 percent for the first time since the back surgery last autumn”, said Murray.
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells
The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…
Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.
It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.
Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.
” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.
Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.
In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.
Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status
The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.
The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.
However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.
“I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.
Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.
Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.
“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.
The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.
“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”
Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.
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