Murray wins Vienna, Cilic in Moscow and Berdych in Stockholm - UBITENNIS
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Murray wins Vienna, Cilic in Moscow and Berdych in Stockholm

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TENNIS – Andy Murray recovered from a set down to win over David Ferrer in a crucial three-set match with 5-7 6-2 7-5 in one hour and 42 minutes in a decisive Play-off match for one of the remaining spots for the ATP Finals in London. Ferrer served for the match at 5-3 but he dropped serve allowing Murray to claw his way back into the match by winning four consecutive games. Thanks to this win Murray has moved up to World Number 8 with a gap of 110 points over Ferrer in the ATP Race to London. Tomas Berdych battled past Grigor Dimitrov in three sets in Stockholm with 5-7 6-4 6-4 and backs up his 7th place ahead of Murray. Diego Sampaolo

 

Ferrer got the first break of the match in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Murray broke back and earned a chance to take the lead at 4-4 but he made two forehand errors when he served at 5-6 and dropped his serve.

In the second set Murray broke serve twice in the third and the seventh games and fended off all the six break points he faced. The Scotsman reeled off five games in a row en route to winning the second set 6-2 and taking the third set with 2-0. Ferrer fought back by reeling four consecutive games to take a 4-2 lead but he dropped serve to 15 in the seventh game.

Ferrer served for the match at 5-3 but he made his seventh double fault and dropped serve to 15. Murray came back winning taking three breaks and reeled off four games in a row. He closed out the match with an ace to clinch his second title of the year after Shenzhen. Murray has become the third British player to win in Vienna after greg Rusedski in 1999 and Tim Henman in 2000.

Murray has boosted his chances to qualify for the ATP Finals in London as he is now ranked 7 110 points ahead of Ferrer.

The Dunblane player won his 30th career title and the second of the year after Shenzhen. He will next play in the Valencia ATP 500 and in the Master 1000 in Paris Bercy.

“It was an extremely difficult match. Ferrer deserved to win the first set. I deserved to win the second and the third could have gone either way”, said Murray

Kremlin Cup ATP 250 Moscow

Marin Cilic is ranked sixth and secured his spot as US Open winner. The Croatian player beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 6-4 to lift the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

Cilic has improved his record to 54 match wins becoming the second player this year behind Roger Federer who clinched 61 match wins. He lifted his fourth title of the season after Delray Beach and Zagreb and his 13th career title.

The first set was tough as it featured many deuces. Cilic saved three break points in his first game before breaking serve in the seventh game for 4-3. Bautista Agut put pressure on Cilic but the Croatian player claimed the first set with 6-4 before breaking serve at the start of the second set and held his serve to take the win after one hour and 24 minutes. Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanisevic who won the Kremlin Cup in 1996

The current stand of the ATP Race to London for the players who are still bidding to qualify is the following: 5 Kei Nishikori 4265 points, 7 Tomas Berdych 4105 points, 8 Andy Murray 3855 points points, 9 David Ferrer 3775 points, 10 Milos Raonic 3750 points, 11 Grigor Dimitrov 3555 points

IF Stockholm Open ATP 250:

Tomas Berdych fought back from a set down to battle past Stockholm defending champion Grigor Dimitrov with 5-7 6-4 6-4. With this wi Berdych makes a step forward to claim his spot for the ATP Finals for the fifth year in a row.

Berdych served for the set in the first set but Dimitrov recovered to take the edge in the first set. Berdych broke serve at the start of the second and the third sets to clinch the 10th title of his career with a solid performance. Berdych dropped just six points on serve in the second set and just four in the decider.

Dimitrov still leads 3-2 in their head-to-head matches but the Czech player won his first match on hard-court against the Bulgarian.

WTA Premier Moscow Kremlin Cup

Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova battled past Irina Camelia Begu from Romania 6-4 5-7 6-1 to clinch the Combined Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Pavlyuchenkova has become the fourth Russian player to claim the Kremlin Cup win but the first since Elena Dementieva in 2007. Pavlyuchenkova, who dropped just one set in the whole tournament, converted her second match point to claim her seventh WTA title and the second this year after Paris Indoor.

Begu broke serve in the first set but Pavlyuchenkova fought back to claim the first set. The Romanian cruised to a 3-1 lead en route to winning the second set. Pavlyuchenkova pulled away to 5-0 in the decider before closing out the match after two hours and 29 minutes. Begu player her first final at a Premier Tournament.

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Andrey Rublev: “I don’t expect anything from myself in Melbourne”

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Russian 22-year-old rising star Andrey Rublev started the 2020 season on a high note winning back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide. He beat French Next Gen player Corentin Moutet in the final of the Doha Qatar Exxon Mobil Open in the first week of the new year and repeated the feat by beating South African rising star Lloyd Harris in Adelaide.

 

Rublev has extended his winning streak to 12 matches, including 8 wins in the first two weeks of the 2020 season. He won the Doha title without dropping a set during the week. In Adelaide the Moscow native had to dig deep to beat Felix Auger Aliassime 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 in a hard-fought semifinal match. With the Doha-Adelaide double Rublev became the first player to win back-to-back titles in the first two weeks of the season since 2004, when Slovakia’s Dominik Hrbaty won two consecutive trophies in Adelaide and Auckland.

Rublev picked up where he left off in 2019, when he won the Kremlin Cup in his hometown Moscow beating Adrian Mannarino in the final and finished runner-up to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Hamburg final. The player coached by Fernando Vicente scored the biggest win of his career when he beat Roger Federer in Cincinnati to reach his first Masters 1000 quarter final before losing to eventual champion Danil Medvedev. At the US Open he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios en route to reaching the fourth round at the US Open before losing to eventual semifinalist Matteo Berrettini.

“I was not thinking about this statistic, but it’s an amazing feeling. I am really happy. I hope I keep working. I hope I keep improving, and we’ll see what’s going to happen”, said Rublev.

Rublev will open his Australian Open campaign against local favourite Christopher O’Connell in the first round. The Russian player is projected to play against David Goffin in a potential third round match, Alexander Zverev in the fourth round and Danil Medvedev in the quarter final.

Rublev, who has never advanced from the third round at the Australian Open, has no expectations for the first Grand Slam of the season.

“I am not waiting anything from myself in Melbourne. The only thing is that I want to fight and I believe well on court in my first match. Then we will see. I don’t think  I am invincible, but for sure I am more confident in what I do after two titles in a row. I am working to be more consistent, to be more mentally strong. This is what we were working for and I am happy that these two weeks went this way. I got two titles. It’s amazing. I never had this before”, said Rublev.

 

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Ugo Humbert claims the first title of his career after winning all-French final against Benoit Paire in Auckland

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Twenty-one year-old Ugo Humbert beat Benoit Paire 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 7-6 (7-5) after 2 hours and 34 minutes in the all-French final of the ASB Classic in Auckland to claim the first title of his career.

 

Humbert has become the first French player to win the Auckland tournament. He enjoyed a great week beating Denis Shapovalov and John Isner en route to reaching the final.

Humbert earned the first break of the match in the second game after a double fault from Paire and held his serve with a service winner in the next game to open up a 3-0 lead. Paire broke back in the fifth game with a backand return winner. Humbert broke serve again in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Paire broke back in the seventh game to claw his way back to 3-4. Humbert earned three set points, when Paire was serving at 5-6. Humbert reeled off five consecutive points from 2-2 to claim the tie-break with three mini-break after a forehand error from Paire.

Paire fended off three break points in the third game of the second set before breaking serve in the fourth game after a double fault from Humbert. Paire saved a break point at 5-3 with an ace and closed out the second set with a backhand down the line winner.

Humbert earned an early break in the second game of the decider with a backhand crosscourt passing shot, before saving three break points at 4-2. Paire hit three consecutive backhand winners, as Humbert was serving for the match at 5-3 30-0. Paire got the crucial break in the next point, when Humbert sent a forehand long. Paire saved a championship point with a backhand volley winner in the 10th game. Paire held his serve with a backhand volley winner to draw level to 5-5. Paire rallied from 0-30 down in the 12th game to force the decisive set to the tie-break.

Humbert earned a mini-break on the sixth point with a forehand return to take a 4-2 lead and earned three championship points at 6-3. Humbert sealed the win on his third chance when Paire sent a backhand wide after 2 hours and 35 minutes.

“It’s a tournament of revenge because I have lost to four of five players I played this week. It’s a great improvement for me and I could not dream of a beginning for the season”, said Humbert.

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Roger Federer Plays Down Air Quality Concerns Ahead Of Australian Open

Roger Federer has rejected concerns that air quality will affect the Australian Open ahead of his first round match on Monday.

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Roger Federer (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Roger Federer has rejected the idea that air quality concerns will be a factor at this year’s Australian Open. 

 

Recently air quality has been fairly unsafe as a recent result of the Australian bushfires that have impacted many parts of the country.

Melbourne has been one of the cities that has been impacted the most with many animals, firefighters and civilians suffering.

As the Australian Open approaches, it has also affected the first grand slam of the year with many players in qualifying suffering on Tuesday and Wednesday with conditions being deemed unsafe to compete in.

This has raised concerns about the tournament itself, which starts on Monday and one player that has been criticised in his lack of action is Roger Federer.

The 20 time grand slam champion is on the ATP Players Council and today he broke his silence, insisting that the air quality shouldn’t be a factor at this year’s Australian Open, “No, I don’t worry. From what we were told yesterday in the player meeting, the Olympic Games and other competitions have the numbers set at 300. Ours is set at 200,” Federer told the media on Saturday.

“From that standpoint, I think we’re moving in a very safe range. We’re not here for six months straight at over 200, 300, you know. That’s when maybe effects really become bad. No, I don’t worry too much, to be honest. I worry more for everybody else who is in the fire, in the smoke. Also we can stay indoors all day, quickly go out and play, go back in again. It’s not like we’re stuck outside at all times. 

I think communication is key from the tournament to the people, to the media, to the fans, to the players, because you do hear it’s not safe to be outside, keep your pets inside, close your windows. You have court calls, then you look at the haze and everything, it doesn’t look good. I think we’re going to get through it and it should be fine. It shouldn’t move, no.”

Conditions are expected to get safer in time for the first week of the grand slam as rain has hit the latter stages of the past week in Melbourne.

Although Federer has played down concerns of the air quality causing harm to the players, it is still is a cause for concern amongst tournament directors if the conditions played a part in the second week.

As for Federer, he starts his Australian Open campaign against Steve Johnson on Monday and is taking the tournament one match at a time, I got to really make sure I get out of the gates quick,” Federer said.

“Practice has been going well. Had plenty of time to pace myself and do all the things I had to do to get ready. I hope it’s enough. I know it’s a super long road to victory. That’s why I got to take it one match at a time. My expectations are quite low. No, I’m excited to play Steve. He’s a good guy. I think with his old-school playing – big forehand, slice backhand, good serve – I think it’s going to be a nice match for me, as well.”

The Swiss will be looking for his 7th Australian Open title in Melbourne and his third in four years but will have to play Novak Djokovic before the final. The match with Johnson will be third on Rod Laver Arena on Monday after Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams play their matches.

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