Bits and bobs from day 2 at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Bits and bobs from day 2 at the Australian Open

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – (Almost) everything according to the script for the seeded players. Serena show an outfit which brings out “a powerful and beautiful woman”, Rusty (Hewitt) is all but rusty. The gossip of the day though is the engagement of Berdych  From Melbourne Robbie Cappuccio

After an über-exciting day 1, with Aussie young guns taking over the stage, everything (almost) according to the script today in Melbourne. It was a cloudy and dry day with temperature just shy of 30C in the early afternoon, ideal for the colourful crowd (attendance of 64,801 today) to take advantage of the ice cooling fans at Melbourne Park.

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The main news is perhaps not strictly related to the game itself. LOVE is in the air and Thomas Berdych announces he is marrying his model girlfriend Ester Satorova. Given the size of the engagement ring Satorova will probably soon hire a physio to get the hand back in shape.

In the men’s singles Djoker disposed of the Slovenian Bedene in less than 2 hours. It took a little bit more, 1:08, and 31 aces, for American John Isner to win over Wang 7-6(5) 6-4 6-4. One minute less and one ace less for a philosophical Raonic (“it was what it needed to be”) who wins 7-6 7-6 3-6 over Marchenko. We are all looking forward to an ace competition between them and Aussie Sam Groth (24 aces yesterday).

Just a few notes out of tune, starting – alas – with Italian [18] Fognini who is the second seeded player – after Gulbis last night – to be kicked out of the men’s singles tournament in the opening round by the Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez (107). Other seeded players to pack up are the French [25] Benneteau by the German Becker (41), [27] Cuevas by another German Bachinger (142) and [21] Alexandr Dolgopolov by the Italian Lorenzi (64).

The evening brings more cheering and happiness to a young and not so young Aussie crowd: Lleyton “Rusty” Hewitt – at his 19th consecutive Australian Open which sets a new record – gets through to second round, with the Fanatics giving their best in choreography and chanting.

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After round one, the women’s singles shows a record of 11 seeded players out of the tournament, as three more are blown away today: [13] Petkovic loses against Brengle (64), but does not lose her smile. Former number one [15] Jankovic defeated by Bacsinszky (41) and Italian [12] Pennetta by compatriot Giorgi (33). In the all-Italian women’s singles derby, Pennetta and Giorgi bash each other from baseline for 2 hours in a match characterised by unforced errors and double faults. In the end Giorgi prevails in 3 sets, and is still compete for the most original outfit.
Wozniacki, who now plays “connected” with the new Babolat Play, appears in good shape and dismisses and concern on her wrist injury; she will now face Vika Azarenka in a blockbuster for round 2. Serena Williams shows a bright yellow and pink-trimmed outfit with a cut-out back, which “brings out a beautiful and powerful woman and focuses on the beauty of the shape of the back”. Today’s opponent Van Uytvank will definitely agree on the “powerful” part.

Ups and downs for the Aussies: after the performance of her compatriots in the opening day, great expectations for Sam Stosur, who does not betray her fans and herself and wins smoothly with Niculescu 6-4 6-1. Dellacqua is a copycat: 6-4 6-0 to Meusburger, whereas Rogowska reads the script upside down and loses 4-6 1-6 to Gibbs. Tomljanovic is still fighting with Rogers.

My final note is for Schiavone (record holder for longest grand slam women’s singles match ever played when she defeated Kuznetsova in 2011 in 4:44), who collects only a couple of games per set to the US Coco Vandeweghe. Bounce back Francesca, tennis still needs you!

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Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Sinner; now aims for Third Title in Monte Carlo

Stylish Greek completes comeback win and re-enters the top ten.

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After winning two in a row in 2021-2022, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now in reach of a third title at the prestigious Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, after beating World number two Jannik Sinner in three gruelling sets.

The 25-year-old had to battle hard and come from a break down in the third to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and now plays Casper Ruud in tomorrow’s final. The Greek has had an indifferent start to the year with a 11-6 win-loss record, but today was his first top three victory since the 2022 Cincinatti Masters – where he beat Daniil Medvedev – and ensures a return back into the top ten of the men’s rankings.

Tsitsipas recognised how hard he had to fight and revealed after the match just how satisfied he was of his performance:

“It was tennis at its highest level that I have been able to play. Jannik was an extremely difficult opponent and it can be seen throughout the year so far. He has been very consistent and I could see that throughout today with his game. He is one of the toughest opponents I have faced so far and to find ways when there weren’t that many, I am proud of that. He gave me a very difficult game and the way I overcame it is true excellence.”

Sinner double faulted at 30-40 to gift the break early with the score at one game all. From there, Tsistipas rallied with poise and confidence in a brilliant opening set lasting 44 minutes including a stunning backhand down-the-line winner to open the game when serving at 4-3. He took the first set 6-4 after a tiring 18-shot rally – where both players hit all angles of the court – before Sinner hit a forehand wide.

However, 22-year-old Sinner struck back immediately on his first breakpoint at the start of the second set when he won a close exchange at the net and then took a 3-0 lead.  He later survived a breakback point when 4-2 up and crucially held on for 5-2. He faced more pressure when serving for the set at 5-3 and was taken to deuce but levelled the match at one-set-all on his second set point to give the crowd exactly what they were asking f

Sinner was now in full flow hitting powerfully from the baseline and once again broke early at the start of the final set to take a 3-1 lead. But with the match now entering the third hour he began to tire physically and called for the trainer during the changeover with the score at 4-3.  When the match resumed, he lost the next three games and the Greek had completed a remarkable turnaround, handing his opponent just his second defeat of the season in two hours and forty minutes.

“It helps a lot knowing I have a win like this under my belt. Having a win like this and getting to the levels of tennis again brings a lot of satisfaction to me,” Tsitsipas said. “When there is a lot of work put in each day, these are the type of matches you are aiming for.”

Sinner’s only loss prior to today was against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells semi-finals. He has been the stand out player this year after already winning titles in Rotterdam, the Miami Open, and his maiden Grand Slam in Australia. Despite having won 25 matches overall though, he now trails Tsitsipas 3-6 in their head-to-head rivalry.

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Casper Ruud Reveals Shock After Knocking Out Novak Djokovic In Monte-Carlo

Casper Ruud is into his second career Masters 1000 final after beating Novak Djokovic for the first time.

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Casper Ruud is into his second Masters 1000 final of his career after recording his best ever win by beating Novak Djokovic 6-4 1-6 6-4.

The Norwegian defeated the world number one for the first time in his career as he overcame a mini-comeback from Djokovic to seal his place in the Monte-Carlo final.

Having lost his five previous meetings to Djokovic, Ruud played some fearless tennis under pressure as the eighth seed broke to close out a career-best win.

Speaking after the win Ruud admitted he was in a state of shock and was pleased with the victory, “I am super happy,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“This is a day I will remember for a long time. Beating a World No. 1 is something I have never done and beating Novak is something I have never done. I am very, very happy. I am a little bit in a state of shock right now.”

After achieving the seemingly improbable, Ruud will now look to win his first ever ATP title that’s above a Masters 1000 event when he takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Monte-Carlo final.

That’s a prospect Ruud is looking forward to as he prepares for one final challenge, “There is always one more match in tennis,” the Norwegian explained.

“Tomorrow is going to be a special day, playing a final here in Monte-Carlo. It is a great result but I have been chasing a big title for a few years now and tomorrow I will have another shot at it. I am going to give it my all. Stef is playing well. He is a great player on clay and on other surfaces as well, but I guess clay is maybe where he has had the most success and especially this tournament.

“So it is going to be another tough task, but I am up for it.”

The final will take place at 14:00 BST.

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Rafael Nadal Set For Opening Round Test Against Cobolli In Barcelona

Rafael Nadal will look to make his ATP tour return in Barcelona this week.

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Rafael Nadal is set for his return to tennis in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Nadal has been struggling with injury after being injured again in Brisbane this year.

The tournament in Brisbane was his first tournament back for a year as he suffered a hip injury at the Australian Open last year.

Now Nadal aims to return to competitive action in Barcelona as he has been drawn against Flavio Cobolli in the opening round.

Speaking earlier in the week Nadal was hopeful of a return to the tour in Barcelona, “Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“I’m here to see how it goes… can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see.”

Should Nadal play and win his opening round match then the Spaniard will play fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The former world number one has won the title on 12 different occasions but hasn’t won the title since 2021.

Elsewhere in the draw defending champion Carlos Alcaraz will begin against Luca Van Assche or Zhizhen Zhang with the Spaniard projected to meet Borna Coric in the third round.

Alcaraz suffered an injury in Monte-Carlo and will be beginning his clay court campaign in Barcelona.

Also in action in Barcelona are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud.

Main draw action will begin on Monday.

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