ATP MASTERS ROME PREVIEW: DJOKOVIC BIDS TO WIN IN ROME FOR THE FOURTH TIME - UBITENNIS
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ATP MASTERS ROME PREVIEW: DJOKOVIC BIDS TO WIN IN ROME FOR THE FOURTH TIME

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Ana Konjuh

TENNIS – All the Fab Four players Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafa Nadal lead the star-studded draw of the Internazionali d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome, the fifth Master 1000 Tournament of the year. Nine of the top-ten feature in the impressive line-up of the Rome tournaments which starts on Monday. Diego Sampaolo

 

The Draw of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia took place in the beautiful backdrop of the Foro Italico in Rome. Italian tennis players Sara Errani and Luca Vanni and Italian legends Lea Pericoli and Nicola Pietrangeli attended the Draw Ceremony.

Novak Djokovic will be bidding to win his fourth title and defend his win from last year. After skipping Madrid to recharge his batteries after a very successful start to his 2015 campaign, Djokovic will be looking to clinch his fifth title of the year after the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Monte-Carlo.

The World Number 1 will start in the second round against either Nicolas Almagro, who won 12 clay titles in his career or Italian wild card Luca Vanni, who finished runner-up in his first ever ATP final earlier this year in Sao Paulo.

Djokovic is on a collision course for a possible blockbuster quarter final against Kei Nishikori (semifinalist in Madrid this year) who will start against Latvian Ernests Gulbis (who is looking to win his second match for a very disappointing year) or young Czech rising star Jiri Vesely and may face either Nick Kyrgios or Bernard Tomic in the third round.

Djokovic is on collision course for a possible semifinal against Andy Murray, who won his first clay title last week in Munich. The Dunblane star will start his Rome campaign against either Jeremy Chardy or Lukas Rosol and may face Jo Wilfred Tsonga in the third round. Murray may clash against David Ferrer in the quarter finals. The Valencia native will play in the second round against Richard Gasquet, who won in Estoril last week, or a qualifier. If Ferrer beats the Frenchman, he may face either Martin Klizan or Marin Cilic.

Roger Federer, who confirmed that he will play in Rome after losing in the second round against Nick Kyrgios in Madrid, will open against Pablo Cuevas or Paolo Lorenzi. If he clashes against Cuevas, he could renew his battle against the player from Uruguay in a re-match of the recent Istanbul final won by the Swiss Maestro after a very tight second set tie-break.

Federer, who never won in Rome (one of his only two Master 1000 trophies missing from his cabinet) but finished runner-up in 2003 (against Felix Mantilla) and against Rafa Nadal in 2006 (after an epic five-hour match).

Federer could clash against Kevin Anderson in the third round and either Tomas Berdych or Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter finals. Berdych is in impressive form this year. He reached three finals in Doha, Rotterdam and Monte-Carlo. He lost to David Ferrer in Doha, to Stan Wawrinka in Rotterdam and to Novak Djokovic in Monte-Carlo but he showed his good form reaching his second consecutive semifinal at the Australian Open (after breaking a 17-losing streak against Rafa Nadal in the quarter finals) and more semifinals in Dubai, Miami and Madrid and the quarter finals in Indian Wells. Berdych will start against Santiago Giraldo or Italian wildcard Matteo Donati before clashing against either Fabio Fognini or Grigor Dimitrov. The Italian could face the Bulgarian for the third consecutive Master 1000 Tournament after Monte-Carlo and Madrid.

In the same half with Federer and Berdych there is Rafa Nadal, who will be bidding to win his 8th title at the Foro Italico. Nadal will open against Adrain Mannarino or a qualifier. He is on collision course for a possible quarter final against Stan Wawrinka, who lost to Dimitrov in the third round in Madrid. Nadal and Wawrinka have not met since the 2014 Australian Open Final.. Their last clash on clay dates back to the 2013 Roland Garros

The first round features some exciting matches like Us Open champion Marin Cilic vs Guillermo Garcia Lopez (winner in Bucharest), Feiciano Lopez vs Nick Kyrgios (who beat Roger Federer in the second round in Madrid after an exciting tie-brea), Jo Wilfred Tsonga vs Sam Querrey, Kevin Anderson vs Florian Mayer, Simone Bolelli vs Dominic Thiem and Fabio Fognini vs Steve Johnson.

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Christian Garin extends his winning streak to ten consecutive matches in Santiago de Chile

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Chile’s Christian Garin beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 0-6 7-6 (7-4) in the quarter final in Santiago de Chile after two hours to extend his winning streak to 10 consecutive matches including six three-set matches. Garin, who won two titles this year in Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro, will take on Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild in the quarter final.

 

Garin converted on six of his seven break points. The Chilean started the opening set with three consecutive breaks and closed it out with a hold at love thanks to an ace in the eighth game.

Davidovich Fokina broke three times to take a bagel in the second set. Garin fended off two break points at 2-3 and earned a break at 15 in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Garin wasted two match points at 5-4 as he was serving at 5-4. Alejandro Fokina broke back with a drop shot to draw level to 5-5. Garin got another break in the 11th game after a double fault from Davidoch Fokina. The Spanish Next Gen player broke back in the 12th game to set up a tie-break. Garin clinched the breaker 7-4 with a forehand winner.

“This is a very important tournament for me. I hope I can play here every year. I want to compete well here after winning in the past two tournaments. I have won several matches. I have a lot of confidence. I feel the responsibility of always winning and much more in Chile. The crowd’s support helped me a lot. After the second set I started to feel pain in my back. I wasn’t feeling good, but the people’s support was important. It was nice to see the crowd helping me when I came down”,said Garin.

Thiago Seyboth Wild edged Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Seyboth Wild never faced a break point and converted one of his six break points to clinch the win in straight sets. Londero saved all three break points in the opening set, including two set points at 5-6 to set up a tie-break. The Argentine earned a set point with a service winner.

Seyboth Wild fended off the set point with an ace. Londero did not convert a second set point at 7-7 after a forehand error. Thiago Seyboth sealed the tie-break with a backhand down the line winner. The Brazilian player earned a break in the third game of the second set with a forehand down the line winner and lost six points in five service games and closed out the match with a service winner in the 10th game.

Seyboth Wild reached the second round in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month

Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro beat Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 6-4 after 1 hour and 23 minutes. The Brazilian player saved all three break points chances and broke three times to reach his second quarter final of the season after Buenos Aires.

Monteiro will face Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas, who beat lucky loser Juan Pablo Varillas 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 in one hour and 39 minutes. The Spanish player rallied from 3-5 down in the first set and fended off a set point at 4-5 to clinch the tie-break of the opening set 7-3.

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Novak Djokovic saves three match points to reach the final in Dubai

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This year’s Australian Open champion and four-time Dubai winner Novak Djokovic came back from losing the first set to beat Gael Monfils 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 after 2 hours and 35 minutes at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Tournament. He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in tomorrow’s final.

 

Monfils wasted a chance of defeating Djokovic for the first time in 16 head-to-head matches, when he did not convert three match points at 6-3 in the tie-break of the second set.

Djokovic dropped his serve three times in the first and second set and went down a set and a break in the second set.

Monfils dropped six points on his serve and broke Djokovic twice to win the first set 6-2. Djokovic saved a break point in the first game of the opening set before dropping his serve in a marathon third game, when he hit his backhand long. Monfils hit a service winner to open up a 3-1 lead. The Frenchman earned another break in the seventh game after a drop shot error from Djokovic. Monfils sealed the opening set 6-2 with a service winner in the eighth game after 45 minutes.

Monfils went up a set and a break in the third game of the second set at love after a loose forehand from Djokovic. Monfils earned a break with a forehand crosscourt winner. Djokovic broke straight back to draw level to 3-3 in the sixth game after Monfils netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve with an ace for 4-3. Monfils won his service game in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Djokovic held his third consecutive service game to take a 5-4 lead, but he wasted a set point in the next game with a loose forehand.

Djokovic earned five set points in the second set, but Monfils saved them to set up a tie-break. Monfils forced an error from Djokovic to take a 4-2 lead and hit a backhand down the line winner in the eighth game. Monfils brought up three match points with a forehand winner, but Djokovic saved them to draw level to 6-6.

Monfils fended off a set point at 6-7 with a service winner. Djokovic earned a mini-break, but he made a forehand error in the next point. Djokovic earned his eighth set point at 8-8 and converted it, as Monfils made his sixth double fault.

Djokovic earned two consecutive breaks in the third and fifth games and closed out the match with his third break at 5-1 in the seventh game with a forehand winner to complete the come-back setting up a final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“It’s anybody game really. Stefanos has won eight matches in a row now from last week in France winning the Marseille title, now playing more or less every single day, which is quite impressive. It’s not easy. I hope I can recover. I hope I can be atm y best be at my best because I need to start better than I have tonight. Hopefully I can get a title. Today I just wasn’t taking my chances when I was having rallies on those first five set points. That kind of turned around from 3-6 in the tie-break. From that moment onwards I felt I was going through the ball better”, said Djokovic.  

 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches the final in Dubai for the second consecutive year

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Daniel Evans 6-2 6-3 in 1 hour and 21 minutes in the semifinal of the Dubai Duty Free Championships to reach the final at this tournament for the second consecutive year. Tsitsipas will play his second consecutive final one week after lifting the Open 13 Trophy in Marseille.

 

Tsitsipas converted on four of his ten break points and did not face a break point. The Greek player has dropped just one of the 17 sets he has played since arriving in Marseille last week.

Tsitsipas earned his first break with a backhand winner in the fifth game of the opening set to take a 3-2 lead and consolidated it with a hold at love. Tsitsipas converted his second break point in a three-deuce seventh game after a forehand error from Evans before claiming the first set in the eighth game with an ace after 34 minutes.

Evans saved four break points at the start of the second set. Tsitsipas earned an early break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead and backed it up with a service winner for 3-1.

Tsitsipas held serve for 5-3 before closing out the second set with his fourth break in the ninth game.

Tsitsipas finished runner-up to Roger Federer in the final of last year’s edition of the Dubai tournament. Tomorrow the Athens native player will face either Novak Djokovic or Gael Monfils.

“I just managed to stay solid throughout the whole match. I didn’t have massive breakdowns and just played a quality of tennis which I enjoyed. I am really impressed by the quality of my game today and I really hope to bring the same and probably better in the next round”, said Tsitsipas.

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