ATP Basel: Main draw released, Federer starts with Kukushkin - UBITENNIS
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ATP Basel: Main draw released, Federer starts with Kukushkin

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Federer is a six time winner in Basel

Federer is a six time winner in Basel

 

The draw for one of the two events in the penultimate week of the season has been released, and unsurprisingly Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka are the top two seeds in a tournament flooded with big names.

The event in Basel marks essentially the home event for both Federer and Wawrinka, with Federer having won the title six times, including last year’s event, where he defeated David Goffin in straight sets. Wawrinka has never won the Swiss Indoors.

Federer will start against Mikhail Kukushkin, a player who he has not dropped a set to in their previous two meetings. Philipp Kohlschreiber could prove a tricky customer in the second round, if the German can negotiate a qualifier. Federer could meet last year’s beaten finalist David Goffin as early as the quarter-finals this year. The Belgian starts against the unseeded Andreas Seppi.

Second seed Wawrinka faces Ivo Karlovic, who recently became the official record holder of aces since the ATP began collecting the data. The tall Croat has only defeated the French Open champion once in five attempts. Wawrinka could face Richard Gasquet in the quarter finals. The Frenchman beat the Swiss in an enthralling Wimbledon quarter-final in July.

Third seed Rafael Nadal is scheduled to face Wimbledon 2013 conqueror Lukas Rosol, before a potential second round encounter with Grigor Dimitrov, who starts against Sergiy Stakhovsky. Nadal is in Wawrinka’s side of the draw, with that a possible semi-final.

John Isner will face Ernests Gulbis in a rematch of the Vienna second round meeting that saw Gulbis emerge victorious. Should Isner prevail, he could face a fellow American in Jack Sock, who starts against a qualifier.

Kevin Anderson faces an interesting task. He faces young up and comer Borna Coric, who suffered a disappointingly early exit in Moscow at the hands of Evgeny Donskoy.

Swiss wildcards Henri Laaksonen and Marco Chiudinelli face Donald Young and Marin Cilic, as they look to take advantage of their singles opportunities.

Basel Main Draw:

[1] Federer-Kukushkin
Qualifier-Kohlschreiber
Troicki-Baghdatis
Seppi- [8] Goffin

[4] Anderson-Coric
[WC] Laaksonen-Young
Qualifier-Sock
Gulbis- [6] Isner

[7] Cilic- [WC] Chiudinelli
Gabashvili-L. Mayer
Stakhovsky-Dimitrov
Rosol- [3] Nadal

[5] Gasquet-Vesely
Thiem-Qualifier
Dolgopolov-Qualifier
Karlovic- [2] Wawrinka

 

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Casper Ruud Hopeful Of Big Breakthrough Despite Monte Carlo Loss

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Casper Ruud believes he is heading in the right direction to winning one of the sport’s prestigious titles after losing in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters. 

Ruud, who has been ranked as high as second in the world, missed out on claiming his maiden Masters 1000 title after suffering a straight sets loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas. The defeat extends his hunt for a trophy at an event which is rated above the ATP 250 level. It is a frustrating situation for the Norwegian who is a three-time Grand Slam finalist. 

Ruud has settled for runner-up at seven tournaments categorised as an ATP 500 or above. However, only in one of those matches has he won a set which was against Carlos Alcaraz in the 2022 US Open final. 

“Today didn’t feel so close because I lost straight sets to Stef but he also played very well,” Ruud told reporters.
“I think I have taken a few steps this week, but today it just didn’t work out well.”

Whilst praising his opponent, the world No.10 admits he didn’t ‘find a good balance’ in his game against Tsitsipas. Failing to convert all eight of his break point opportunities. He also says playing in slightly warmer conditions compared to previous days presented a challenge to him. 

Despite the latest disappointment, Ruud exits Monte Carlo with a confidence boost following his semi-final win over Novak Djokovic. Not only was it the first time he had beaten the 24-time major winner, it was the first time he had beaten a current world No.1. Becoming the first player from his country to do so. Before that triumph, he held a dismal 0-11 record against top three players on the Tour. 

“I think I played well on the clay and also yesterday beating Djokovic was a fantastic win for me and something that I hope I can kind of take confidence from.” He said.
“Maybe not today but maybe next time I play a big match or hopefully next time if I’m in a big final again I will think about maybe the fact that I have beaten Novak before can be something that can give me confidence.”

Ruud has won 24 matches so far this season with Monte Carlo being his third tournament final of the year after Los Cabos and Alcapulco. He was also a semi-finalist in Estoril.

“I was able to play a final of a 1000. Wasn’t able to win, so I will continue to chase and try to improve my game always,” he stated.
“I have taken a few small steps I think in the right direction in the last six months tennis-wise, physically also, and I think we are doing something right, and hopefully can continue on this positive trend that I’m in.”

Up next for Ruud will be the Barcelona Open where he will be the second seed after Andrey Rublev. Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz has withdrawn from the tournament due to an arm injury. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Beats Erratic Ruud To Win Monte Carlo Masters

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image via twitter.com/ATPTour_ES

Stefanos Tsitsipas registered his 100th Tour-level win on clay with a comprehensive victory over Casper Ruud in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday.

The 25-year-old was in control throughout the majority of his 6-1, 6-4, triumph over the world No.10 at the Monte Carlo Country Club. Tsitsipas didn’t drop his serve throughout the clash (saving eight out of eight break points) as he hit 30 winners past an out-of-sorts Ruud who had beaten Novak Djokovic just 24 hours earlier. It is the first time he has won a title since last year’s Los Cabos Open and it is his 11th overall. 

The triumph in Monte Carlo comes after what has been a mixed past couple of months on the Tour for Tsitsipas. Coming into the tournament, he had lost seven out of his last eight matches against top 20 players and fell out of the world’s top 10. However, he has turned his fortunes around at the Masters 1000 event with a duo of top-five wins over Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner before defeating Ruud. It is the third time he has won the tournament after 2021 and 2022. 

“It’s been very difficult. To be back on the podium and winning tournaments feels amazing. I can’t thank enough my family, friends and if there is a god out there for making this moment possible,” said Tsitsipas. 
“I am extremely generous to every single person behind this journey. The trilogy is more special than the first or second time. This is unbelievable for me. Capturing this win today was nerve-wracking. I really wanted the trilogy and I got it. I’m extremely happy today.”

12th-seeded Tsitsipas inflicted his first blow three games into the final with the use of a forehand winner to break for a 2-1 lead. The Greek almost lost his advantage twice in the following game but dug deep to keep ahead. Meanwhile, a lacklustre Ruud struggled for consistency throughout the opener as he hit back-to-back errors from his forehand side later in the set to hand his rival the double break. In cruise control, Tsitsipas clinched the 6-1 lead after just 36 minutes of play following a Ruud double fault. 

At the start of the second frame, the world No.12 experienced some issues with his shotmaking and greater resistance from across the court but continued to weather the storm. Best illustrated at 3-3 when Tsitsipas survived a 13-minute service game by saving a trio of break points. Battling his way to a game away from glory, he earned his first match point after a backhand error from Ruud. He then sealed victory with a forehand winner down the line. 

Moments after the match concluded, Tsitsipas wrote the phrase ‘fate favours fearless’ on the camera lens.

“I had a chat with one of my team members last night. I had to go out here and show that kind of tennis because I promised every single one (of his team) that I’m not going to give up and make the most out of it,” he said. 
“I’m glad that I showed some unbelievable and ruthless tennis. From the beginning until the end my play was cohesive.”

As for runner-up Ruud, the Norwegian continues his quest for a title at a tournament above ATP 250 level. Despite coming up short, his win over Djokovic in the semi-finals was the first time he has beaten a current world No.1 in his career. Furthermore, he has won 24 matches already this season which is the second-highest on the ATP Tour after Jannik Sinner (25). 

“I feel like we (Ruud and his team) are getting closer to a big title. I’m looking forward to having another chance in the future. Hopefully we can break that last barrier and win a big tournament like this,” Ruud commented during the trophy presentation.

Tsitsipas will now rise to seventh in the PIF ATP rankings on Monday. He has become the fifth player to win the Monte Carlo crown three or more times. Following in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster and Illie Nastase.

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Disappointed Novak Djokovic Draws Positives From Monte Carlo Run

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Novak Djokovic is hopeful that his run at the Monte Carlo Masters has set strong foundations for the rest of the clay swing as he chases after his first title of the season. 

The world No.1 missed out on a place in the final of the Masters 1000 event following a three-set loss to Norway’s Casper Ruud. Djokovic trailed 1-4 in the final set of his latest match before fighting back to draw level. However, the comeback wasn’t enough to see him cross the finish line with the Serbian hitting a double fault when facing match point. It is the first time he has been beaten by Ruud who he still leads 5-1 in their head-to-head. 

“I had my chances but the last game was not great,” Djokovic reflected on his latest performance.
“Unforced errors and he (Ruud) was solid until the last shot and deserved to win.
“My game was kind of up and down. The positive thing is that I managed to come back after losing the first set and found strength in the game.
So there are positives to take away from this tournament but of course I’m disappointed with the loss.”

Djokovic currently has 11 wins against four losses so far this season (including the United Cup). He has yet to reach a tournament final but did reach the last four at the Australian Open before losing to Jannik Sinner. He has now failed to win a title during the first four months of a season in two out of the last three years. However, in 2022 he was prohibited from playing in Australia due to his vaccination status. 

Whilst he is hungry for more silverware, the 24-time Grand Slam champion isn’t too concerned about his recent title drought. The last tournament he triumphed at was the ATP Finals in Turin last November. 

“I’m used to really high standards in terms of expectations of the results, so not having a title compared with the last 15 years is not a great season at all.” He said.
“But I had semis of Australia, semis here (in Monte Carlo). I only played three tournaments this year so it’s normal to expect that you have some seasons where you don’t start well, and this is the one.
“Hopefully I can pick up, in terms of results. I can build from here because I played some good tennis. Hopefully, in the next tournaments I’ll be able to play even better.”

Djokovic has opted to not play in any of the three tournaments taking place on the Tour next week. His next scheduled event will be the Madrid Masters which he has won three previous occasions. 

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