TENNIS ATP SHANGHAI – On a day of big upsets three top players Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Grigor Dimitrov were knocked out in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Master. Roger Federer had to save five match points to battle past Argentina’s Leandro Mayer at the tie-break of the third set. Andy Murray beat Jerzy Janowicz in straight sets. David Ferrer fought back from a set down to overcome Martin Klizan. Diego Sampaolo
On a crazy day with a lot casualties where Stan Wawrinka lost against Gilles Simon, Grigor Dimitrov was upset by Julien Benneteau last week’s Tokyo champion Kei Nishikori lost against Jack Sock and Rafa Nadal was beaten by Feliciano Lopez, only Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray lived up to predictions qualifying for the third round.
Roger Federer, who had not played his first match since he help Switzerland reach the Davis Cup final in the semifinal against Italy in Geneva, had to dig deep to edge Leandro Mayer in three hard-fought sets. The Swiss Maestro had to save five match points to clinch the win with 7-5 3-6 7-6(7) after a thrilling match.
In the opening set Federer went down a break and fell behind 3-5 but he reeled off four consecutive games to clinch the first set with 7-5. Federer had to face a serious challenge when Mayer took a 3-1 40-15 lead. Federer fended off a set point as Mayer served at 5-4 before converted his fifth break point chance when Mayer hit a forehand into the net.
Federer dropped serve again in the first game of the second set but he did not recover and Mayer got a double break to draw level with a 6-3 win in the second set. Mayer won 80 percent of his first serve points in the second set.
The match became a thriller in the tenth game of the third set when Mayer earned two match points at 5-4 40-15. Federer managed to save both. Federer was lucky when a backhand passing shot down the line clipped the tape and fell back on his side of the net. The Swiss saved the second with a forehand down the line. It’s the second tournament in a row that Federer managed to save match points. At the US Open he saved two match points against Gael Monfils in the quarter finals and recovered from two sets down to clinch the win in the fifth set.
Mayer went up 2-0 and 5-2 and earned three more match points at 6-4 and 7-6 but Federer saved them before reeling off three points from 6-7 and converted his first match point with a backhand lob winner to scrape through with 9-7.
Thanks to this win Federer will overtake Nadal moving up to World Number 2 in the ATP Ranking. He will face Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round. Federer won their previous head-to-head match in three sets at the US Open.
Andy Murray, who won the Shanghai Rolex Master twice in a row in 2010 and 2011, took his second back-to-back win over Jerzy Janowicz with 7-5 6-2 one week after beating the Pole in three hard-fought sets in Beijing
Murray dropped just four points on his serve during the opening set. He earned a break point chance at 3-2 but Janowicz saved it with a forehand. The Polish player, semifinalist at Wimbledon 2013 and finalist at Paris Bercy in 2012, faced another break point in the following game but saved it with a powerful forehand and a volley.
The match went on serve until the final game of the first set. Janowicz served to stay in the set as he was 6-5 down, but Murray earned two break points. He converted on the first to wrap up the opening set when Janowicz hit his forehand into the net
The Dunblane star fended off two break points with aces at the start of the second set before getting the break to take a 3-1 lead. After Janowicz received medical treatment on his ankle when he was 1-3 down, Murray took control of the second set and got a double break in the fourth and in the eighth games to clinch the win. Murray has confirmed his good period of form in the Asian Swing winning nine of his last 10 matches including his first title of the year at Shenzhen and the semifinal in Beijing where he lost against Novak Djokovic.
“You have to play at a high level to win against him. He has not given me any matches when I have played against him”, said Murray
In the third round Murray will take on this year’s Cincinnati finalist David Ferrer who recovered from a set down to battle past Beijing semifinalist Martin Klizan with 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. It will be an important match for both players who are bidding for a spot in the ATP Finals (9-16 November). Murray and Ferrer are currently ranked number 9 and 10 in the ATP Race to London.
Klizan, who upset Rafa Nadal last week in the quarter final in Beijing, came close to another surprise when he served for the match when he was leading 6-5 against Ferrer in the second set. However the Slovak player dropped serve and then lost the tie-break. Ferrer fended off five break points in the third set before getting a decisive break at 4-4 to clinch the win.
The first big surprise was Giles Simon who rallied from a set down to battle past Stan Wawrinka with 5-7 7-5 6-4. The 2014 Australian Open champion got a break in the 12th game of the opener to win the first set with 7-5. The Swiss player made a lot of forehand errors allowing Simon to win the second set with 7-5 to force the match to the decider. Wawrinka built up a 3-0 lead in the third set but Simon overcame an early break to claim the win after two minutes and 30 minutes. It’s the second week in a row that Wawrinka lost in the opening match after his first round defeat against Tatsuma Ito in Tokyo.
“It wasn’t that I had everything under control. I did two stupid games when I was leading 3-0. I was rushing a little bit. It was not my best day. This year has been tough. It has been an amazing year but it was really tough. It is not easy to stay at the top.”, said Wawrinka
Simon, who reached the semifinals last week in Tokyo, will take on Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri, who eased past China’s World Number 553 Chuhan Wang who upset Fabio Fognini yesterday.
Rafa Nadal, who was diagnosed with appendicitis on Sunday and was not in his best form today when he faced his compatriot Feliciano Lopez who won his third match in eleven years against Nadal with 6-3 7-6 (8-6).
Feliciano got a break to go up 4-2 in the opening set en route to cruising to a 6-3 win in the first set. Lopez won 80 percent of his service points and hit 15 winners to 9 unforced errors. Lopez recovered from 3-5 down in the second set and saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie-break before clinching the win after 1 hour and 44 minutes. Lopez fended off four of the five break points he faced. He will take on John Isner who hit 24 aces to battle past Steve Johnson after two tie-breaks with 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (9-7).
“I hope to have the surgery to remove the appendix at the end of the season. My thought is to play in Basel, Paris and London. In the past few months I have not had the best of luck since Wimbledon. I was playing a very positive year. After that I was unlucky with the wrist. Even today the doctors told me that I was very lucky that I did not have to go for surgery and that I can treat with antibiotics. Pain is under control”, said Nadal
Many fans expected a third round match between Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori but this section of the draw will feature a match between their two conquerors Julien Benneteau and Jack Sock.
Few people would have bet on a win by Benneteau over Dimitrov, although the Frenchman had recently shown his good form by reaching the final in Kuala Lumpur where he lost to Nishikori. However Dimitrov, who is 11th in the ATP Race to London and is bidding to qualify for the ATP Finals, was upset in straight sets with 7-5 6-3.
Jack Sock knocked out Kei Nishikori 7-6(5) 6-4. The US player hit 13 aces and 80 percent of his service points to put an end to Nishikori’s nine-match winning streak. Unfortunately Nishikori suffered from pain in his hip and lower back. Sock claimed his first win over a top-10 player
“It’s been hurting these couple of matches, maybe two or three matches in Tokyo too. I could not really play my best tennis”, said Nishikori.
Tomas Berdych, runner-up last week in Beijing last week, beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-1. Mikhail Youzhny edged Ivan Dodig 7-6(7) 6-7(4) 6-3. Milos Raonic pulled out of the tournament due to illness when Juan Monaco was leading 5-2 in the first set.
Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days
The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.
The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.
Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.
There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.
“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”
Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.
“Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.
Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.
“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.
Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.
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.
Simona Halep cruises through to the second round with a straight-set win over Anastasia Potapova in Moscow
Andy Murray battles past Frances Tiafoe in a marathon match in Antwerp
Jenson Brooksby upsets Reilly Opelka to boost his chance to qualify for the Next Gen Finals in Milan
Ekaterina Alexandrova moves into the second round at the Kremlin Cup after Ons Jabeur’s retirement due to injury
Kim Clijsters Still Capable Of Top-Level Wins, Says Former world No.1 Murray
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