Sao Paolo: Luca Vanni pulls off another upset - UBITENNIS
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Sao Paolo: Luca Vanni pulls off another upset

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TENNIS SAO PAOLO – Luca Vanni continues his surprising run at the Brazil Open. The 30 year old Italian defeated Dusan Lajovic 7/6, 7/6 in the quarter finals and will face Joao Souza. Bruno Bergareche Sans

He hadn’t won a single ATP Tour main draw match in his entire career coming into the Brasil Open, but Italian Luca Vanni now finds himself only one win away from reaching a tour final. After achieving his first win in the round of sixteen against Thiemo De Bakker, Vanni continued with his fairytale week defeating world number 77 Dusan Lajovic 7/6 7/6. The Italian got off to a shaky start against an opponent who had defeated two top class clay courters in the shape of Pablo Andujar and Fernando Verdasco in the previous rounds, but soon Vanni’s hard hitting strokes settled him into the game. Both players were fully aware of the huge opportunity brandished to them with such an open draw and there was a sense of neither player wanting to let the chance slip away. In the end Vanni’s confidence was too much for Lajovic and the Italian will now be knocking on the doors of the top 100 after starting the week at 149.

“I feel good; it’s a dream. I won my second match on the ATP and now I’m here with the top players…I think I will be top 100 if I play like this”, said Vanni after his straight sets win. Next up for the Italian is another unexpected semi finalist: Joao Souza. Making the most of a wild card, ‘Feijão’ (bean in English) has fed off the crowd’s support to blast past Pablo Carreño and Martin Klizan in the opening rounds. The Brazilian booked his place in the semi finals after winning the local derby against Argentine Leo Mayer, in what could be an anticipation of the first round of the Davis Cup. With a final scoreline of 6/4 3/6 6/3, Souza arguably faces the biggest opportunity of his life to reach an ATP final when he takes on Vanni tomorrow with what is expected to be a Davis Cup atmosphere as the fans hope to see a Brazilian winning the title for the first time since Gustavo Kuerten in 2004.

The other semi final pits together the two strongest players left in the draw on paper. Pablo Cuevas rallied past Nicolas Almagro, who continues to look to rediscover his finest tennis, in three sets and will take on Colombian Santi Giraldo, who overcame Fabio Fognini in a fiery affaire. Both players constantly showed their frustrations and seemingly didn’t enjoy their time on court. After losing the first set 7/6, Fognini looked certain to take the match to a third set when he served for the second set at 5/3, but the Italian melted down and lost four consecutive games, handing Giraldo a place in the semi finals.

Luca Vanni v Joao Souza will open the order of play at 13:00 local time, followed by Santiago Giraldo v Pablo Cuevas.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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