Bits and bobs from day 8 at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Bits and bobs from day 8 at the Australian Open

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – It’s summer, it’s Australia Day. But it’s also Melbourne. And in Melbourne, Summer can mean 45C and hot wind from the North or 15C, rain and wind from South. Alas today the weather conditions were the latter, at least in the morning. From Melbourne Robbie Cappuccio

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

It’s summer, it’s Australia Day. But it’s also Melbourne. And in Melbourne, Summer can mean 45C and hot wind from the North (i.e. desert) or 15C, rain and wind from South (Southern Pole). Alas today the weather conditions were the latter, at least in the morning. The Australian Open day started with a temperature of 13.8C and rain, which forced the organisation to close the roof of the main courts. A maiden voyage for the new Margaret Court Arena, which takes only 5 minutes to seal compared to the almost thirty of Rod Laver. Play was stopped briefly though when part of the new retractable roof on Margaret Court Arena leaked. Oopsie Daisy: speed against effectiveness. The poor weather did not stop Aussies on national holiday: it’s Australia day, mate!

It was a fierce fight between Vika Azarenka and Dominika Cibulkova. Cibulkova put so much energy to play the kind of tennis that made her reach the final last year, pounding 44 winners, including a dozen on her backhand side, as she beat the two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Garbine Muguruza

Garbine Muguruza

She will face Serena Williams, which – under a sunny Melbourne sky (wasn’t it raining and miserable half an hour ago? Four seasons in one day)- won an arm-wrestling competition against Garbine Muguruza. It took her 17 aces and 41 winners to take home the match, after losing the first set 6-2, and awakening the ghost of Roland Garros 2014. Serena also thanked the crowd for the support “I don’t get this everywhere, so from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate it” and for the technical advice “Someone from the crowd was pushing me Come on Serena, use spin!, there are so many coaches here. Ah it was you”, Serena said pointing at a 10 y.o kid.

Madison Keys

Madison Keys

In the afternoon Margaret Court Arena became Madison Squared Garden as Americans Madison Keys and Madison Brengle played for spot in the quarter-finals. A one way match which Keys took home in one hour. She will be the only unseeded player in the quarterfinals (including mens’ singles) and will definitely have a chance against the winner between Aga Radwanska and Venus Williams (currently one set all). I said unseeded, but definitely not for long as she is now provisionally n.25. As for Brengle, she has almost no points to defend between now and Wimbledon. If she keeps winning some matches could be seeded already at Roland Garros.

The third quarter will see Ekaterina Makarova taking on Simona Halep, who is chasing her first Grand Slam. Both players are the only ones remaining who have not dropped a single set so far. Makarova conceded 23 games so far, Halep only one more.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

In the fourth, Sharapova will face rising star (actually risen star) Genie Bouchard. Aesthetic aside – we are here talking tennis – the match will show two great competitors and aggressive players. When asked if she sees any of herself in Genie, Masha replied “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.” There sure be fireworks in that match, even if after Australia Day

The men’s quarterfinals will see 8 players from 8 different countries.

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

It took three hours, four sets and two tie-breaks to champ Stan Wawrinka to survive a scare from Garcia-Lopez. Up 2 set to love, 4-3 and serving, ended up losing the third and being taken to the tie break in the fourth, where he came back from 6-2 to win 10-8.

Stan the Man will face Kei Nishikori, who on his side bundled out in straight set David Ferrer 6-3 6-3 6-3, breaking the Spaniard five times, hitting 42 winners in what could be called a perfect match for the Japanese.

The top part of the draw will see Milos Raonic who thundered down 30 aces and won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (9-7) 6-3 over 12th-seeded Lopez in just above three hours. He is now waiting either world number one and four-time champion Novak Djokovic or Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller. Guess what? The odds are for a Raonic Djokovic quarter. So far it’s 3-0 for Djokovic (or four including Davis cup) with one set only taking so far by the Canadian bomber. Raonic has achieved a record, being the first Canadian since Michael Belkin in 1968 to win through to the quarters at the Australian Open.

The bottom part will see Aussie young gun Nick Kyrgios – first teenager after Roger Federer to reach to quarterfinals of Grand Slam tournaments – facing Andy Murray who showed sharpness and character to beat Dimitrov. The last quarter is Berdych, who is playing solid aggressive tennis and feels confident of his performance so far charging Rafa, who started the tournament with low expectations and some scepticism, but is being improving day by day after an early scare against Smyczek.

Finally in the doubles top-ranked Bryan brothers were outed in third round losing 7-6, 6-3 to Inglot/Mergea.

ATP

Rudolf Molleker knocks out two-time champion Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg

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German 18-year-old Next Gen player Rudolf Molleker knocked out 2014 and 2017 Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes at the Hamburg European Open.

 

Molleker beat Mayer in 2017 in the Hamburg qualifying round, but Mayer got a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser and went on to win the title.

Molleker fended off all three break points in two consecutive games of the first set, before saving two set points in the tie-break. He sealed the second set with a single break.

The German teenager saved two break points in the seventh game with two service games with two service winners and one more chance in the ninth game to set up a tie-break. Mayer took the lead twice at 6-5 and 8-7, but Molleker saved both chances with two winners and sealed the tie-break on the 18th point after a double fault from Mayer.

Molleker earned an early break at the start of the second set and held his service games in the next games before sealing the win with a service winner at 5-4 to secure his spot in the round of 16.

Marton Fucsovics cruised past Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-0 dropping just 16 points on serve. Fucsovics got an early break in the fourth game to clinch the opening set 6-3. The Hungarian player broke three times in a one-sided second set and sealed the win with a service winner.

Andrey Rublev, who lost in the second round at Wimbledon and Umag, edged this year’s Munich and Houston champion Christian Garin 6-4 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 39 minutes to score his second win over the Chilean player this year. Rublev broke three times to seal the opening set 6-4. The Russian player got the break back at 4-5 in the second set to set up a tie-break, which he sealed 7-5.

Jeremy Chardy came back from losing the first set to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3 after 2 hours and 34 minutes. Paire fended off a set point at 4-5 in the opening set to clinch the tie-break 7-4. Paire got a late break in the second set, but Chardy won two games at 5-5 to force the match to the third set. Chardy went up a double break to seal the third set 6-3.

Martin Klizan converted all five break points to cruise past Daniel Altmaier 6-2 6-2.

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Alex De Minaur Learning Patience After Two Month Injury Lay-Off

Alex De Minaur is ready to be patient as he looks to build some momentum in Atlanta this week.

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Alex De Minaur (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

Alex De Minaur is learning the art of patience after missing less than two months of action earlier this year. 

 

The Australian had a rough start to the 2019 as he was forced to fight off a groin injury despite winning the Sydney title in January.

Then he had a couple of months off before once again struggling on his return at Indian Wells where he lost in his opening round.

But these setbacks haven’t stopped the 20 year-old from being patient as he looks to make his mark in the US hard court swing,“I feel like I’m doing all the right things, putting myself out there,” De Minaur told atptour.com.

“If it doesn’t happen this week, next week or the week after, I’m going to keep doing the same things. I’m going to do all the right things, be mentally strong, physically strong and I’m playing good tennis, so I think it’s just a matter of time.”

After Indian Wells, De Minaur spent a few weeks in his home in Alicante, Spain as he looked to regain match sharpness.

It was a period that proved challenging for the talented Aussie as he loves to compete, “I’m not used to being at home for that long and, I mean, us tennis players, we need to go out there and compete, at least me,” De Minaur explained.

I’m a very competitive person, and it was tough for me. I had my outlets. I was playing golf a lot. But still, I needed to get back on court. 

“Obviously seeing people go ahead of you and guys are playing these tournaments and seeing the results they were doing and me not being able to actually even be able to be out there and competing, that was very tough.”

Despite losing five of his seven ATP tour matches since returning properly in Estoril, De Minaur is determined to get back to the level that saw him rise to world number 24.

The Next Gen Star thinks it’s a confidence thing and is not easy to regain after an injury, “[It’s] just confidence. Playing matches, playing the big points right,” he explained.

“It’s something that you take for granted when things are going well. But when you have to stop and try to get back into it, it’s tough. Now I’m just keen to go out there and compete and play some good tennis.”

De Minaur continues his comeback surge this week when he competes in Atlanta, where he will face Bradley Klahn or Marius Copil in his first match.

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Nicolas Jarry Aims To Follow In Family Footsteps After Reaching Bastad Final

Nicolas Jarry looks to join his grandfather in winning an ATP title as he reaches the Bastad final.

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Nicolas Jarry (@FOXSport_Chile - Twitter)

Nicolas Jarry will look to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps tomorrow when he takes on Juan Ignacio Londero in the Bastad final. 

 

The Chilean was in fine form today as he beat another Chilean in Federico Delbonis in the semi-finals today, 6-3 6-2 in 64 minutes.

It is Jarry’s third ATP final and his second of the season following his final in Geneva, where he wasted two championship points to lose to Alexander Zverev.

Should the 23 year-old be triumphant on Sunday, he will join his grandfather as an ATP titlist after Jaime Fillol Sr. won six tour titles and finished a high of number 14 in the rankings in 1974.

Next up for Jarry is Cordoba champion Juan Ignacio Londero, who cruised past 2016 Swedish Open champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets.

The 6-3 6-4 victory included the Argentinian winning 73% of his first service points as he dominated the Spaniard in the 1 hour and 21 minute win.

It will be the second final of the season for Londero, who has enjoyed thriving on the clay in 2019 which has helped him reach a career high ranking of 58 in the world in June.

A good sign for Londero, was that en route to winning his lone title in 2019 in Cordoba, he beat Jarry in their only previous ATP World Tour meeting.

Both men will look to cap off an excellent week tomorrow as the final is scheduled for 2pm local time.

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