TENNIS US OPEN – For the first four days at the US Open, the men’s draw has had no real shake up. All the usual suspects have played to form and made it through to the next round. There was nothing dramatic beyond Andy Murray’s first day “cramping” and the various retirements in the men’s draw. From New York, Cordell Hackshaw
For the first four days at the US Open, the men’s draw has had no real shake up. All the usual suspects have played to form and made it through to the next round. There was nothing dramatic beyond Andy Murray’s first day “cramping” and the various retirements in the men’s draw. However, on Day 5, things got rather interesting with several upsets and other surprising results.
Well one knew that things were going to get interesting when David Ferrer (4) moved into the 3rd round without having to play a single ball. The ever enigmatic Bernard Tomic defaulted from his match claiming issues with his right hip and lingering effect of the flu.
The other more notable stars of the ATP had to go to work though and most of them had a relatively easy day. Roger Federer (2) moved past Sam Groth of Australia. Federer dealt with the 145+mph serves/bombs from Groth with much dexterity and secured the crucial break in each set for a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory. Groth had this to say after the match, “I was trying not to get caught up in the whole Roger act out there. You walk out, you get a few cheers. He walks out and the crowd goes ballistic … [H]e’s got an aura because of how good his tennis is. Yes, there’s an aura because of what he’s done, but his tennis speaks for itself … I knew I was playing Roger Federer. I was pretty nervous probably all day … I am not happy I lost to Roger. Not saying I could have won, but I enjoyed my experience out there, and I want to be there more often.” Also winning in straight sets was Grigor Dimitrov (7) who knocked out Dudi Sela 6-1 6-2 6-2. Dimitrov is quietly moving through the draw not drawing a lot of attention to himself but playing some great tennis while on court. The fans are definitely eager to see a possible Dimitrov v Federer quarterfinal match here if both players progress to that stage.
Richard Gasquet (12) and his countryman Gael Monfils (20), a huge crowd favourite, got through in 3 sets. Gasquet beat Paolo Lorenzi 7-6 6-3 6-3 and Monfils took out Alejandro Gonzalez 7-5 6-3 6-2. Marin Cilic (14) beat Illya Marchenko 7-6 6-2 6-4. Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut played extremely well against American Tim Smyczek 6-3 6-2 6-1. Smyczek had absolutely no idea on how to effectively deal with the Spaniard’s game despite the crowd’s loudly cheering him on.
There were several players who needed 4 sets in order to get through to the next round. Kevin Anderson (18) rallied after dropping the opening set to Jerzy Janowicz to take the match 6-7 6-2 6-1 6-3. Both Feliciano Lopez (19) and Gilles Simon (26) each won the opening set in their respective mathes but then dropped the 2nd set. They then took the following two sets; Lopez over Tatsuma Ito 6-4 3-6 6-4 7-6 and Simon over Federico Delbonis 6-4 3-6 7-5 6-1.
There were a couple of upsets of seeded players though by no means were they epic losses to the main plot of the US Open. France’s Adrian Mannarino totally dismantled the game of Italy’s Fabio Fognini in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 6-1. Fognini appeared as though he was not quite prepared for the match nor the intensity from Mannarino. Either way, he was dismissed in just under two hours. The Italian made a staggering 64 unforced errors in the match compared to 25 from the Frenchman. Another blowout win was from David Goffin who has been having an incredible summer particularly on the Challenger Curcuit (minor league of professional tennis). His good fortunes continued here as he knocked out Jaoa Sousa (32) 6-4 6-2 6-0. Mannarino and Goffin will also be joined in the 3rd by another surprised entrant, that of Teymuraz Gabashvili who took out his compatriot Alexander Kudryavtsev 6-1 6-4 7-6.
The biggest upset of the day has to be the dismissal of Ernests Gulbis (11) by rising start Dominic Thiem who incidentally is a friend of Gulbis. Gulbis won the opening two sets in routine fashion though he later claimed that it was far from the case, “[S]erve was good the first two sets. I call it low quality because, you know, when I broke him I didn’t play good … [H]e gave it to me.” Nonetheless, Gulbis was leading 6-4 6-3, a two sets to love lead. However, from the 3rd set on, Gulbis began to move gingerly, which he said was due to cramps which at the time in the match he thought was possibly a pulled hamstring. Thiem came back from this huge deficit to take the match 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-3 in 3 hours and 45 minutes. Gulbis had 78 total unforced errors in the match compared to Thiem with 41.
There were two other 5-setters on the day with surprising results. First up, Tomas Berdych (5) took on Martin Klizan. As always, Berdych’s commitment and concentration were in question in the big matches. He allowed Klizan back into the match after being up 2-1 sets. Klizan won the 4th set but Berdych broke early in the decisive set for a 3-1 lead. He maintained this break advantage to close out the match 6-3 4-6 6-2 3-6 6-3. “The conditions were tough again. You go from day till early evening. You start with the sun, then you end up with the lights. It was quite windy, as well. Really, I mean, he play good, so I’m happy to have that on my belt, to win another five-setter, and just go forward,” Berdych said after the match. Marcel Granollers took out Ivo Karlovic (25) 7-6 6-7 7-6 3-6 6-4. This match started in daylight and ended with the lights which at one point went total blackout.
So the 3rd round matchups for the bottom half of the men’s are as followed: Federer (2) v Granollers; Bautista-Agut (17) v Mannarino; Gasquet (12) v Monfils (20); Goffin v Dimitrov (7); Ferrer (4) v Simon (26); Anderson (18) v Cilic (14); Thiem v Lopez (19) and Gabashvili v Berdych (6).
Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo
World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo.
Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina.
Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown.
Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead.
Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2.
Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4.
Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.
“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit.
Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo
Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117 Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2.
Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5.
Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2.
Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets.
Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco.
Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point.
Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games.
Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance.
“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi.
Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open.
The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai.
Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006.
“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit.
Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia
ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital.
The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October).
“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi.
During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.
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