TENNIS ATP BASEL – Mikhail Kukushkin upset Stan Wawrinka in three sets with 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 6-3 in the first round of the Suisse Open at the St. Jackobhalle in Basel. It’s the third time in a row after Tokyo and Shanghai that Wawrinka lost in the first round. Diego Sampaolo
Mikhail Kukushkin is on fire in this period of the year. After playing a good third round match against Novak Djokovic and reaching the semifinal in Moscow, the Kazakh player won the first set with 6-4 after the match was interrupted for half an hour due to fluctuations in the power grid caused by gale-force winds outside the St. Jackobhalle.
Kukushkin was unstoppable on serve in the first set where Wawrinka won just four points on Kukushkin’s serve. On the contrary Wawrinka made 23 unforced errors.
Wawrinka came within two points of winning the second set at 5-4 at deuce while Kukushkin was serving. Kukushkin could not convert a break point chance in the 10th game. The second second set came down to the tie-break where Wawrinka prevailed with 7-1 forcing the match to the third set.
Kukushkin broke serve en route to cruising to 3-0 in the decider. Wawrinka broke back to draw level to 3-3 but he dropped serve in the eighth game to fall behind 3-5 after a double fault. Kukushkin sealed the win after 2 hours and 13 minutes.
Kukushkin converted four of his ten break point chances. He will take on German Benjamin Becker who cruised past Portuguese wild-card Gaston Elias with 6-3 6-2.
Milos Raonic, who is currently ranked 10th in the ATP Race to London and is bidding to a qualify for the ATP Finals in London, saved all five break points he faced and hit 12 aces to seal a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over US Steve Johnson. Raonic broke serve for the first time in the match in the 10th game of the first set. He set up a second round match against US Donald Young.
Ivan Dodig battled past Swiss wild card Marco Chiudinelli in three sets with 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 6-4
Croatian big server Ivo Karlovic hit 21 aces to take a 7-6 6-3 win over Lukas Rosol. Kenny De Schepper from France overcame Federico Delbonis from Argentina with 7-6 (7-3) 7-5
Roger Federer will make his debut in his home tournament tournament against Gilles Muller tomorrow. Federer reached the final in Basel ten times and won the Suisse Open title five times. He finished runner.up to Juan Martin Del Potro in the past two years. He made his main draw debut in Basel as a 17-year-old player against André Agassi in 1998.
“I have played here so many times. I know how the court feels. I played here for the first time in 1997 as a qualifier and I came back in 1998 when I played against André Agassi as a 17-year-old. It was quite a great experience. I came back so many times and I played ten finals and I know how I get the job done. There is home advantage but at the same time pressure always gets to you. I am really excited to be back on the centre court in Basel. It’s a nice feeling being back in the arena where I have had so much success. I feel the home support from the crowd cheering me on. I played solid tennis this year and I have good tennis left in me for this week”, said Federer at the press conference on the eve of his debut
Federer is currently ranked second in the Race to London 990 points behind Novak Djokovic. He could close the gap to 490 points if he wins the Suisse Open for the sixth time in his career.
“I hope to start of well in Basel. That I have got so close to Number 1 is a bit of a surprise because I have not won a Slam but I was extremely close at Wimbledon and I have been consistent throughout”
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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