Bits and bobs from day 7 at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Bits and bobs from day 7 at the Australian Open

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – Aussie triumph with Kyrgios winning a five-setter after Seppi misses a match point, Rafa and Berdych cruising. Masha to meet Genie in the quarters. But it’s all about the crowd in Melbourne From Melbourne Robbie Cappuccio

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

First Sunday at the 105th Australian Open and definitely a family day. Don’t be fooled by an average age of around 35: that’s because of a number of kids aged 3 to 6 and grandparents in their seventies.

But why should kids go to the tennis? “because it’s fun”, “because there’s face painting”, “because I can get to see the players”. And so even outer courts, where the mixed doubles and the juniors tournaments are taking place, have their crowd cheering and asking for autographs to tomorrow’s champions. Wasn’t Nicky Kyrgios one of those boys a couple of years ago? Or Vika Azarenka a few years before, just to mention a couple.

There are the Hot-Shots courts, a program conceived by Tennis Australia to introduce children to tennis, and now taken up by a number of schools all over Australia. This means thousands of children playing more or less regularly. And guess what? More children means more probabilities of finding – if not the new Federer or Nadal – the new Hewitt or Rafter. Finally there’s a whole kids area in the square between the Rod Laver and Hisense arenas where they get their picture taken pretending to be on RLA, or play games and video-games of tennis and other activities of all sorts. Even Disney has made a deal with the Australian Open, introducing a sort of Disneyland within Hisense Arena in the last 3 days of the tournament before the night matches, which includes a Frozen based karaoke, a Neverland adventure and other themed kids zone with exhibitions based on popular movies.

aopenkids2015

Let’s move to played tennis now and women first. Bouchard wins but not without suffering against Romanian Begu 6-1 5-7 6-2 and asks the Genie Army to “practice more songs“. In the quarterfinals she’ll face Masha, who, despite having forgotten how to serve (45% first serve, and a handful of poor ball tosses), disposes of Shuai Peng 6-0 6-3. Do you see any of yourself in Genie? “I personally don’t know Genie very well. As a tennis player she’s a big competitor. She’s an aggressive player as well that likes to take the ball early and dictate points. From that perspective, yeah, definitely“.

Simona Halep flings her arms in the air as she reaches the quarterfinals for the 2nd year in a row, beating Wickmayer 6-4 6-2 and facing now Ekaterina Makarova who dispatched German Goerges in just over one hour.

In the men’s singles it takes just above 2 hours for Rafa to win over Kevin Anderson in straight sets 7-5 6-1 6-4. Despite being skeptical regarding his possibilities here, Rafa reaches the quarterfinals and is relaxed enough to smile to a ball kid who repositioned incorrectly (by a few millimiters) one of his water bottles which had fallen on the ground. He will now face Tomas Berdych who has been defeating for 17 consecutive times since 2006. We are waiting for a press release by the Czech who could sound like a déjà vu of 1980 “Nobody beats Tomas Berdych 18 times in a row”. By the way Berdych played Tomic and played strong and powerful winning 6-2 7-6 6-2. Tomic was expecting a tough match – “he hits so hard“- , but then said he was surprised by how strong Berdych started. Ah Bernie, make up your mind.

The night proposes a marathon between the local hero Nick Kyrgios and Andreas Seppi. The Italian, fresh from upsetting Roger Federer, up 2 sets to love, and owning the baseline, ends up losing 8-6 in the fifth. The young Aussie gun, supported by “an incredible crowd. Hisense Arena is now my favourite“, indulges in a number of selfies with screaming teenagers, and is now waiting for the Brit Andy Murray or Dimitrov, in case he beats the Scot. Looks like Andy is very Brit tonight though, showing sharpness and determination against Not-so-baby-anymore-Baby-Federer. So far 6-3 6-7 6-3 Murray.

 

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Alexander Zverev Insists Tennis Is In Good Hands After Generational Breakthrough In Shanghai

Alexander Zverev has praised his fellow next generation stars ahead of a bright future for tennis.

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Alexander Zverev (@atptour - Twitter)

Alexander Zverev has insisted that Tennis’ future looks good after a generational breakthrough in Shanghai. 

 

Last week saw a breakthrough in the next generation as all four semi-finalists in Shanghai were under the age of 24 years old.

It was the youngest semi-final line-up at a Masters 1000 for 12 years as both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic fell at the quarter-final stage.

Speaking after his loss to 23 year-old Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev thinks that Tennis’ future looks good without the ‘big three’, “The difference now this year than the last few years was I was the only young guy kind of up there,” Zverev admitted in his press conference in Shanghai.

“Now I see the other young guys. I see maybe still difference in, you know, how we act on court, how we behave on court, compared to the older guys. So before I didn’t pay attention to it because I was kind of the only one and the rest of it was fine.

“So I hope we, as young guys, we kind of understand that, we learn that, and, you know, then I think tennis will be just as interesting as it is now. And, you know, the Roger Federer fans or Rafa Nadal fans will fall in love with new players.

“I’m not saying it has to be me. I’m not saying it has to be anyone in particular. It may be a new superstar that we don’t even know about. But if we kind of learn the good things about those guys, I think this sport of tennis will be in very good hands.”

With the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime challenging Zverev at the top of the next generation pack, we are now in for an exciting next few years ahead at the top of the men’s game.

The next challenge though will be to see if they can translate this potential on the grand slam stage and beat Djokovic, Federer and Nadal when it really matters.

As for Zverev he looks to finish the season strong and book his place at the ATP World Tour Finals, where he won the title last year.

 

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beats Lorenzo Sonego to advance to the second round in Antwerp

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga broke once in each set in his 6-3 6-4 win in his 6-3 6-4 win over Lorenzo Sonego after 1 hour and 20 minutes improving his win-loss record over the Italian player to 2-0.

 

Tsonga got the first break at 15 in the fourth game and never looked back to win the opening set 6-3 after 31 minutes.

Sonego earned his only break in the fourth game of the second set, but Tsonga saved it before earning the decisive break. The Frenchman held on his service games to take the second set 6-4.

Tsonga will face either Gilles Simon or Steve Darcis in the second round.

Guido Pella fought back from one set down to beat Peter Gojowczyk 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7-2) setting up a second round match against either Richard Gasquet or Soonwoon Kwon from South Korean Soonwoo Kwon.

Tipsarevic beats Moutet in Stockolm

 Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic broke serve four times in his 6-2 6-4 win over Corentin Moutet in 73 minutes. Tipsarevic, who will retire at the end of the season, will take on top seed Fabio Fognini. Tipsarevic went up a 3-0 lead with a double break. Moutet pulled back a break in the fourth game, but Tipsarevic broke for the third game to clinch the first set 6-2. Tipsarevic converted his third break point chance in the seventh game and held his final two service games to win the second set 6-4.

Great Britain’s Daniel Evans battled past Bernard Tomic 6-4 1-6 6-3 setting up a second round match against either Casper Ruud or Filip Krajinovic.

Italy’s Stefano Travaglia stunned US giant Reilly Opelka 7-5 4-6 6-4 securing his spot in the second round, where he will face either Yuichi Sugita from Japan or Elias Yimer from Sweden. Opelka had to save a break point in the first game with five aces. Both players went on serve until the 11th game when Travaglia got the break before serving out for the set at love. Travaglia saved a break point at 4-5 15-40 but Opelka converted his second chance to seal the second set 6-4. Travaglia got the decisive break in the ninth game and sealed the win on his first match point.

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Andreas Seppi fends off two match points to beat Christian Garin in Moscow

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Italian veteran Andreas Seppi came back from one set down to beat Chile’s Christian Garin 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4) in 2 hours and 45 minutes at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

 

Garin broke serve twice in the second and ninth games to win the opening set 6-3.  Seppi converted his second break point chance in the first game of the second set, but he wasted two break points at 5-4 and dropped his serve. Seppi saved two match points in the 12th game at 5-6 15-40 in the second set before winning the tie-break 7-2.

Garin broke serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-2 lead. Seppi broke straight back to draw level to 4-4, but he did not convert four match points at 6-5. Seppi won five of the final six points in the tie-break of the third set to close out the match.

Czech qualifier Lukas Rosol fended off two match points to beat Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (9-7) 6-3. Rosol came back from 4-6 in the tie-break of the second set by winning five of the next six points. The Czech player broke serve in the eighth game to win the third set 6-3.

Adrian Mannarino edged past Damir Dzumhur 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 to improve his record in their head-to-head matches to 3-1. Dzumhur got the first break of the match in the opening game. Mannarino broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Dzumhur broke serve for the second time to take a 4-3 lead. Mannarino pulled the break back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5 before winning the tie-break 7-2. The Frenchman cruised through to a 6-0 win in the third set with three consecutive breaks.

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