TENNIS ATP SHANGHAI – Andy Murray made a winning debut at the Shanghai Rolex Masters with a 6-1 7-5 win over Teymuraz Gabashvili. World Number 553 Chuhan Wang surprisingly beat Fabio Fognini with 7-5 6-4 Diego Sampaolo
Murray broke three times, including the first game, to cruise to a easy 6-1 in a one-sided first set. The 2013 Wimbledon champion committed the first of his three double faults in the second set to drop serve After Gabashvili got a second break in the second set, Murray faced a tough challenge when he went down 3-5 Murray drew level to 5-5 before breaking serve again in the 12th to clinch the 7-5 win in the third set.
“I started the match well. He wasn’t in much of a rhythm at the beginning. At the start o the second set, I played a sloppy game on my serve. He gained some confidence from that and and started playing better. He was timing the ball a lot better in the second set. I just had to find a way through in the end. I used smart tactics at the end of the set. It was a good start for me but there is some work to be done”, said Murray.
Murray set up a second round-match against Jerzy Janowicz who rallied from a set down to battle past Edouard Roger-Vasselin with 3-6 7-5 7-6 (8-6). Murray and Janowicz will meet for the second consecutive week after the first round in Beijing where the Dunblane player recovered from a set down.
Chinese wild card Chuhan Wang, who is ranked World Number 553, upset World Number 17 Fabio Fognini with a 7-6 6-4 win in front of his home supporters in his first appearance in a Master 1000 Tournament.
The home player played a solid match from the baseline, especially with his forehand. The first set went down to the tie-break where Wang got a mini-break to take a 3-1 lead. Fognini made a costly double fault at 2-4. Fognini clawed his way back to 4-5 but he faced two set points after a backhand error. Wang closed out the tie-break on his second set point.
Wang got a early break in the second set. Fognini broke straight back but made two double faults to drop his serve again. Wang hit a backhand down the line to seal a well-deserved win with 6-4.
Wang, who lost in the first round of the Beijing qualifying, fended off four of the five break point chances he faced. The home player set up a second round match against Malek Jaziri in the second round and could meet Stan Wawrinka in the third round. Wawrinka’s rival in the second round will be Gilles Simon who fought back from a set down to beat Guillermo Garcia Lopez with 3-6 6-0 6-1.
Wang’s win was a real surprise considering that he achieved his best results this year when he reached two semifinals at Futures Tournaments.
Fognini has lost his fifth consecutive match. He has won just one match since he reached the quarter final at the Cincinnati Master 1000 Tournament.
Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic, who knocked out US Open champion Marin Cilic, beat Yen Hsun Lu 7-6(6) 6-3. Karlovic hit 24 aces and dropped just nine points on serve. He will face either Tomas Berdych or Richard Gasquet.
Canadian Vasek Pospisil overcame Santiago Giraldo in three sets with 6-2 6-7(5) 6-1. Giraldo saved two match points in the 10th game of the second set which came down to the tie-break where Giraldo rallied from a 2-5 deficit by winning five consecutive games to force the match to the third set. Pospisil wrapped up the match as Giraldo made a double fault.
Mikhail Youzhny converted three of his four break points and dropped just 10 points on serve in his 6-4 6-1 win over this year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Ernests Gulbis. Youzhny will face Ivan Dodig who beat Pablo Cuevas 7-5 6-2.
Rafa Nadal will face his compatriot Feliciano Lopez in his second round match in Shanghai. Lopez fought back from a set down after losing a tough tie-break with 14-12 to battle past Australian qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-7 6-3 6-4. Lopez fired 19 aces. However, there a question mark on Nadal who is suffering from appendicitis. Nadal began feeling pain on his abdomen last Saturday, the day after losing to Martin Klizan in the Beijing quarter finals. The next day he went to to the hospital where the doctors confirmed he had the early stages of appendicitis. Nadal chose to try treatment with antibiotics rather than undergo surgery.
“I am not going to go for surgery. That’s great news for me today. That’s why I am practising here for 45 minutes and trying to play tomorrow but obviously I am not in my best condition”, said Nadal.
Martin Klizan, who upset Nadal in the quarter final in Beijing, continued his good period of form beating Sam Groth 7-6(1) 6-1.
Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker
According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.
Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.
Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.
This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.
The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.
Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.
“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.
“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”
Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.
Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.
Juan Carlos Ferrero Analyses Key Areas For Carlos Alcaraz’s Development
Juan Carlos Ferrero has outlined the next steps in Carlos Alcaraz’s development.
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero has analysed the key areas for the Spaniard’s development heading into the 2024 season.
The former world number one’s season has come to an end after a successful year which saw him win the Wimbledon title as well as winning two Masters 1000 titles.
Alcaraz capped off an incredible season by reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
However there is a long way for the Spaniard to go if he wants to consistently go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic.
Speaking to Marca Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero spoke about the Spaniard’s development and said that Alcaraz is too emotional, “Be more regular in games, not open doors. Sometimes there are mistakes and it is something that we have to improve a lot,” Ferrero commented.
“Although it is true that he opens doors, he always competes well and at the highest level. He knows it, the other day he already said that Novak doesn’t give you one. He has to improve his decision making and he will achieve that with experience. Carlos is very emotional and that sometimes helps him and other times not so much.”
It’s clear Alcaraz’s high-quality is there but to consistently do it against Djokovic is another task altogether as the Spaniard looks to go from strength-to strength next season.
One area that is clearly a priority for Alcaraz is physical conditioning especially considering what happened against Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier in the season.
Ferrero said that will be a clear focus heading into 2024 but couldn’t guarantee that Alcaraz will play a tournament before the Australian Open, “Because of the year and the fatigue he has been in, what he needs is rest and disconnecting for 8-10 days with his friends,” Ferrero stated.
“From there, the thinking must go back to working really hard, strong and well to start very strongly in Australia. One can never be sure of that. Sometimes you play a tournament and it doesn’t go well, you left home too early. There are many ways of thinking.
“This year we haven’t played Australia and he finishes number two. That means there is no urgency to play a tournament early. Carlos is a player who enters competition quickly, you don’t usually see him without rhythm.
“Although it is true that he becomes more dangerous from the round of 16, from the quarter-finals. I am confident that the two exhibition matches and the training sessions will help us play a good tournament.”
Alcaraz will be looking to play the Australian Open which starts on the 15th of January after the Spaniard missed last year’s tournament due to a leg injury.
Australian Open Chief Confident Nadal Will Play But Kyrgios’ Participation Uncertain
The tournament director of the Australian Open says he is ‘certain’ that Rafael Nadal will play at the Grand Slam even though the Spaniard has yet to outline his comeback plans.
Craig Tiley told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday he hopes to receive some clarity over Nadal’s intentions in the next couple of weeks but is confident he will play. However, the tennis official had previously claimed in October that the former world No.1 had already committed to play in the event before his team denied that statement.
Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam titles, hasn’t played a Tour match since his second round defeat at the Australian Open in January due to a hip injury. He was originally expecting to take an eight-week break but the recovery didn’t go to plan and he ended up having surgery. In May he confirmed that he will take an extended break from the sport to heal his body and admitted that retirement next year is a possibility.
“Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day because he’s a massive drawcard for us,” the Reuters News Agency quoted Tiley as saying.
“He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
“Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”
Earlier this month Nadal confirmed that he intends to return to the Tour but admits that he will continue to experience a degree of pain. Although he has yet to give any information about which tournament he will begin his comeback at. The 2024 season begins during the first week of January.
“I’m well, training, and happy. I’m at a good stage of my life,” atptour.com quoted Nadal as telling reporters in Barcelona.
“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again someday, and now I genuinely believe I will. I’m still not ready to say when, but I’m able to train increasingly longer, and the progress is good.’
Will Kyrgios play?
Another player Tiley is eager to welcome back is home player and former Wimbledon Finalist Nick Kyrgios who has only played one Tour-level match this season due to injury. He underwent knee surgery in January and then tore a ligament in his wrist during the summer. As a result, the Australian currently doesn’t have an ATP ranking due to his inactivity.
“We have spoken to Nick, and he obviously wants to do the best he possibly can to give him the best chance to play in January,” Tiley said of Kyrgios.
“Whether he’s playing, whether he’s doing something else, Nick will be here in January and to get him to play will be great. But we’ve got to take it as it comes and he’s got to make sure he takes care of his health …”
Kyrgios recently worked as an analyst for the Tennis Channel during this year’s ATP Finals in Turin and gave a brief update on his ongoing recovery during a segment.
“After last year, I had such a great year, and I’m so hungry to get back out there,” the 2022 Wimbledon finalist commented.
“So I’m doing everything I can to get back out there. Obviously, you know how injuries are every day, just doing the rehab, doing the gym work.”
The Australian Open will begin on Sunday 14th January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions.
World Tennis League: Swiatek And Medvedev Among Top Names To Play Exhibition Event
Nick Kyrgios Opens Up About His Self-Harm Battle And Murray’s Support
Hamad Medjedovic earns first place in Red Group at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah
Luca Van Assche rallies from two sets to one down to beat Alex Michelsen
Arthur Fils beats Dominic Stricker to end Green Group unbeaten
Record-Breaking Novak Djokovic Hungry For More Glory
Carlos Alcaraz Searches For Improvement Ahead Of ATP Finals
WTA Yet To Decide On Host For 2024 Tour Finals After Cancun Controversy
WTA Finals Daily Preview: Sabalenka and Swiatek Fight for the No.1 Ranking
WTA Finals & ATP Paris Masters Daily Preview: Djokovic Plays Rune in a Rematch of Last Year’s Final
(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Sets Rublev Quarter-Final Clash
Hot Topics2 days ago
REPORT: Rafael Nadal To Start Comeback In Australia
Hot Topics2 days ago
Andrey Rublev: ‘Everything Needs To be Improved’
Latest news3 days ago
Arthur Fils edges Luca Nardi in the opening match of the Next Gen Finals in Jeddah
Latest news3 days ago
Flavio Cobolli beats Dominic Stricker on his debut at the Next Gen Finals
Hot Topics1 day ago
Holger Rune Says New Coach Becker Helping Him Address Rough Patches
Latest news2 days ago
Luca Van Assche edges past Abdullah Shelbayh at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah
Hot Topics1 day ago
Carlos Alcaraz Targets Olympic Glory In 2024
Latest news1 day ago
Hamad Medjedovic moves to 2-0 in Red Group at the Next Gen Finals in Jeddah