ATP Champions Tour: Ivanisevic wins, McEnroe steals the show - UBITENNIS
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ATP Champions Tour: Ivanisevic wins, McEnroe steals the show

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TENNIS ATP CHAMPIONS TOUR – Goran Ivanisevic beat Ivan Lendl in the final of the “Grande Sfida”, the Italian leg of the ATP Champions Tour held on two days of fantastic tennis in Genoa and Milan in front of enthusiastic crowd who came in great numbers to cheer four legends. John McEnroe beat Michael Chang 6-3 6-3 in the final for third and fourth place stealing the show when he entertained the crowd with some spectacular shots. From Milan, Diego Sampaolo

 

The ATP Champions Tour made its return to Italy after six years and it lived up to the expectations of the fans who filled the 105 Stadium in Genoa on Friday evening and the Assago Forum in Milan creating a magic atmosphere. The two days attracted a total of 13000 spectators. Even the four stars John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Goran Ivanisevic and Michael Chang were surprised by the huge support from the crowd. The first evening at the 105 Stadium in Genoa attracted 5000 enthusiastic spectators on an emotional evening which followed a tragic week in which the city was hit by a devastating flood.

On Friday Ivanisevic, Wimbledon champion in 2001, beat McEnroe 6-2 7-6 (7-5) in the first semifinal. In this match the Croatian player showed his powerful serve, his favourite weapon which made him the second player in the world. Ivan Lendl won in straight sets over Michael Chang in a “re-match” of the famous fourth round clash of the 1989 Roland Garros where the then 17-year-old Chang won a epic five-set match and went on to clinch his first Grand Slam title beating Stefan Edberg in the final.

McEnroe was the most cheered player by the 8500 spectators who packed the Assago Forum during the presentation of the four players before the matches. “Super Mac” showed some spectacular shots which made him so famous in the Eighties when he won seven Grand Slams and 77 ATP titles. After a very long sixth and spectacular game in which McEnroe saved a break point at 2-3, the 55-year-old player broke serve in the seventh game for 4-3 with a fantastic forehand passing shot en route to winning the first set. McEnroe got another break in the fourth game of the second set to take a 3-1 lead before holding serve in the next game. He wrapped up the match with 6-3.

In the final for first and second place Lendl went to the lead with 4-3 in the first set but Ivanisevic won five consecutive games en route to leading 6-4 2-0 at the start of the second set with a series of big serves and took control of the match and clinched the second set with 6-4. Forty-three year-old Ivanisevic is still able to hit his serves at 220 km/h !

The four stars received the awards from Italian tennis Ambassadors Nicola Pietrangeli and Lea Pericoli during the award ceremony.

Apart from the results the Grande Sfida was a huge success with many families and children in the stands to support the four legends.

Goran Ivanisevic by Diego Sampaolo

Goran Ivanisevic by Diego Sampaolo

“I was surprised to see so many people this weekend in Genoa and Milan. There were more spectators today than in 1997 when I beat Sergi Bruguera in the ATP Tournament in Milan! People have missed tennis for a long time. It was really special to play in front of such amazing crowd. I have a special relationship to Italy and Milan. I love going shopping and I enjoy Italian food. The surface was very fast. I could have played at the same level with Marin Cilic for one set on this fast court. The win at Wimbledon in 2001 has changed my life. I could have won more Grand Slams but I am proud of my career”, said Ivanisevic.

McEnroe returned to Milan after so many years but he was still the most popular player among spectators who admired him when then they were children in the Eighties.

John McEnroe by Diego Sampaolo

John McEnroe by Diego Sampaolo

“I have made a lot of history in Milan. It’s great to be back. The crowd was fantastic. They made me feel special. I am old and grey but it was a special weekend for me. I have a lot of good memories in Italy. I played here against Bjorn Borg and Vitas Gerulaitis in 1978 during some exhibition matches. I love the food. This city is one of the best places where I have been playing for a long time. I definitely want to come back. It’s pretty good to be loved by young people.”

The US tennis legend paid tribute to his big rival Ivan Lendl during the post-match press conference for his decision to leave his native city Ostrava and become US citizen. “Ivan took a tough decision to walk away from his family and live in the USA. I give credit to him”, said McEnroe.

Lendl also made his return to Milan where he played at the start of his career at the Bonfiglio and Avvenire Tournaments. He won three editions of the Milan Indoor Tournament.

“A lot of people watched me and John when they were kids and they still want to watch us.I played so many times in Milan and I enjoyed to come back here. I played my first ever five-set match at the Bonfiglio Tournament”

Asked what he felt playing for the USA and not for his native Czechoslovakia, Lendl said: “I have the double citizenship. There are so many people who live in a different place from where they were born. I still enjoy going back to my native town and to recognize the place where I was used to practice at the start of my career”, said Lendl

Chang remembered his past years as professional player and talked about his life after the end of his career during the post match press conference.

“I was part of a special generation of players like Pete Sampras and André Agassi. I had the opportunity to play with different generations and I am looking forward to have more opportunities to play tennis. I got married to a wonderful wife in 2008. I have two beautiful girls. I also work with my Foundation”, said Chang

ATP

Dominic Thiem Downplays US Open Chances

The world No.4 has given a frank assessment about his hopes at the New York major shortly after the draw was made on Thursday.

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Dominic Thiem may be a top four seed in next week’s US Open, but the Austrian has played down the prospect of him winning his first grand slam title at the event.

 

The 25-year-old has experienced a setback in his build up to the tournament. Since winning the Kitzbuhel Open on clay, Thiem has only managed to play three matches on a hard court. Reaching the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in what what was his best-ever run at the tournament. However, more recently Thiem has been sidelined from action due to a virus and pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters.

Thiem’s first round opponent at the US Open will be Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano, who has suffered two consecutive first round losses on the tour. Fabbiano reached the third round in New York back in 2017, but has missed the two most recent editions.

“Without a doubt, there are much tougher rivals than Thomas Fabbiano in a first round, although I must say that, after overcoming this viral disease, I do not expect miracles.” Thiem told Sky Sport Austria on Thursday.

Heading into the event, Thiem has said he has set out no goal. He will be defending 360 ranking points after reaching the quarter-finals 12 months ago before losing in a five-set thriller to Rafael Nadal. Overall, Thiem’s win-loss at the US Open is 15-5 heading into this year.

“Right now I do not consider reaching a quarterfinals or a semifinal. I want to go round to round, looking beyond would be presumptuous.” He said.
“In the next few days I will keep my training to a minimum, the goal is to be in perfect shape on Monday.”

https://twitter.com/ZahrerLukas/status/1164574948528132097

Despite his recent setbacks, 2019 has been a season of success for the world No.4. In March he won the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. He would then go on to win trophies in Barcelona and Kitzhbuel. However, in the grand slams he has been less consistent. At the French Open Thiem reached the final, but has failed to win back-to-back matches at both the Australian Open (second round) and Wimbledon (first round). Although at the Australian Open he was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness.

The US Open will get underway on Monday.

Dominic Thiem at the US Open

2018
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Quarter-Finals 1
Rafael Nadal ESP
L 60 46 57 764 675
Round of 16 5
Kevin Anderson RSA
W 75 62 762
Round of 32 74
Taylor Fritz USA
W 36 63 765 64
Round of 64 31
Steve Johnson USA
W 675 63 57 64 61
Round of 128 81
Mirza Basic BIH
W 63 61 64
2017
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 28
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 61 62 16 671 46
Round of 32 34
Adrian Mannarino FRA
W 75 63 64
Round of 64 108
Taylor Fritz USA
W 64 64 46 75
Round of 128 186
Alex de Minaur AUS
W 64 61 61
2016
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 142
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 36 23 (RET)
Round of 32 39
Pablo Carreno Busta ESP
W 16 64 64 75
Round of 64 89
Ricardas Berankis LTU
W 64 63 62
Round of 128 66
John Millman AUS
W 63 26 57 64 63
2015
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 32 14
Kevin Anderson RSA
L 36 673 673
Round of 64 70
Denis Istomin UZB
W 64 64 10 (RET)
Round of 128 76
Daniel Gimeno-Traver ESP
W 75 63 75
2014
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 7
Tomas Berdych CZE
L 16 26 46
Round of 32 21
Feliciano Lopez ESP
W 64 62 63
Round of 64 12
Ernests Gulbis LTA
W 46 36 64 63 63
Round of 128 84
Lukas Lacko SLO
W 63 63 62

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Denis Shapovalov wins Next Gen clash against Miomir Kecmanovic to reach the quarter final in Winston Salem

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Denis Shapovalov beat Serbian Next Gen Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 16 minutes in Winston Salem winning two consecutive matches for the first time since he reached the Miami Open semifinal last March.

 

Shapovalov won 80 % of his service points and fended off four of the six break points he faced.

The Canadian Next Gen player earned six break points in the second game of the first set, but Kecmanovic saved them. Shapovalov earned the break in the fourth game at 15 to build up a 3-1 lead.

Shapovalov went up a double break in the next game after a forehand error from Kecmanovic. The Canadian player wrapped up wrapped up the first set 6-2 with two winners and two double faults from Kecmanovic after 37 minutes.

Shapovalov went up a 3-0 lead with a break, but he wasted three break points in the fourth game. Kecmanovic broke back to draw level to 3-3 and earned two break points in the seventh game, but Shapovalov saved them with two winners. The North American star broke serve in the next game to open up a 5-3 lead. Shapovalov hit four winners in the ninth game to close out the match.

Shapovalov is currently working with Mikhail Youzhny, who returned in St. Petersburg last September and is sitting in his coaching box in Winston Salem.

“Miomir is a very tough opponent. I have played him a lot in the past. We have had some crazy battles. I am really happy with the way I am playing”,said Shapovalov.

Shapovalov set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who battled past Sam Querrey 7-4 (7-4) 7-6 (12-10). In the tie-break of the second set Rublev saved three set points and Querrey fended off two match points. Rublev hit a forehand winner at 10-11 on Querrey’s serve to seal the win after 1 hour and 54 minutes. Rublev took a re-match against Querrey, who beat the young Russian player at Wimbledon in straight sets.

“It’s a special win for me. He just destroyed me, and now we had a great fight, and we were so close and I was a little more lucky”, said Rublev.

 Frances Tiafoe advanced to his fourth quarter final and his first since May when Filip Krajinovic had to withdraw from the match after losing the first set 6-2. Tiafoe went up a double break to race out to a 5-0 lead.

Hubert Hurkacz got three breaks to build up a 6-3 3-1 lead, when Feliciano Lopez was forced to retire from the match after 55 minutes.

Pablo Carreno Busta cruised past Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 6-0 after 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach his fourth quarter final of the season. Sonego got an early break to open up a 4-1 lead in the first set. Carreno Busta broke back in the sixth game before converting his sixth set point in the tie-break. The Spaniard broke three times to cruise to a bagel win in the second set after 25 minutes.

Benoit Paire came back from losing the first set to beat French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3. Paire broke serve, when Humbert was serving for the match at 6-5 in the second set. Paire went up a double break to a 4-1 lead. Humbert converted his third break-back point in the eighth point, but Paire broke for the third time to seal the win.

John Millman cruised past Robin Haase 6-3 6-4 setting up a quarter final match against Steve Johnson, who beat Casper Ruud 6-2 7-6 (7-5).

 

 

 

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Andy Murray To Play Rafa Nadal Open

The former world No.1 has announced where he will play next as his comeback from injury continues.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray is returning back to the Challenger tour for the first time since the year he turned professional back in 2005.

 

The Brit is set to take to the court in Manacor next week to play in a hard court tournament named after his rival Rafael Nadal. Murray is currently in the process of stepping up his comeback from a second hip operation earlier this year. The Rafa Nadal Open will be only his third singles tournament since January. Murray has previously lost in the first rounds at Cincinnati and Winston-Salem to Richard Gasquet and Tennys Sandgren.

Murray, who is currently ranked 329th in the world, had previously hinted that he may return back to the lower levels of competition in order to help regain his form. It will be the first time he has played a Challenger tournament since the 2005 Mons Open.

“I’m quite aware of sort of where I’m at just now and what my level is. It’s competitive at this level but it needs to be better,” Murray told atptour.com last week.
“Maybe I need to play a level down to get some matches and build my game up a little bit before I start playing on the Tour again.”

The 32-year-old had declined a wild card invitation to play at next week’s US Open due to concerns that he wouldn’t be fit enough to contest best-of-five set matches. He reached the second round of the tournament last year before losing to Fernando Vertdasco.

Murray’s return to the Challenger Tour is expected to be short lived. He has already confirmed his intention to play a duo of ATP Tournaments in Zhuhai and Shanghai. On Wednesday he added the European Open in Antwerp to his schedule, where a maximum of 250 ranking points will be on offer.

“With Andy Murray on our tournament poster, we are now reaching absolute world class and taking the European Open to an unprecedented level in Belgium.” Said tournament director Dick Norman.

Since his comeback in June, Murray has won one title on the ATP Tour. Doing so alongside Feliciano Lopez in the men’s doubles at The Fever-tree Championships.

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