Gael Monfils comes back from a seven-week lay-off with a win over Thomas Bellucci in Vienna - UBITENNIS
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Gael Monfils comes back from a seven-week lay-off with a win over Thomas Bellucci in Vienna

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Sixth seed Gael Monfils fought back from a set down to edge past Brazilian Thomas Bellucci with 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4. to advance to the second round of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Monfils had to fend off six of the eight break points he faced. Monfils has made a come-back from a seven-week lay-off due to lower back problems which forced him to withdraw from the first round at the US Open.

 

The first set started with 11 break points in the first five games. The match was marked by a lot of breaks and a series of spectacular rallies. Monfils went up 5-3 in the first set but Bellucci rallied to force the first set to the tie-break. After nine mini.breaks in 12 points Bellucci won the tie-break with 7-5.

The second set went on serve in the first five games. Monfils was forced to save four break points in the fifth game. Monfils got the break on the next game to win the second set with 6-3.

Monfils got another break of serve in the decider to seal the win Monfils entertained the crowd with a spectacular baseline jumping forehand smash winner

“I am happy to come back with a win. It’s been a long time since I was on a court. I was not able to do anything for six weeks. I have had just five or six days of practice. I lost a bit of a rhythm in the first set and that turned into a long match. We will see how I will pull up in the nnext match”, said Monfils

The Frenchman will take on World Number 71 Paolo Lorenzi. The Italian fought back from a set down to beat US Rajeev Ram 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-4. Ram fired 16 aces but was broken four times.

Third seed John Isner fired 16 aces to battle past Frenchman Kenny De Schepper after two tie-breaks with 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5).

The first set went on serve without any break points until the tie-break where Isner won with 7-4.

There were no break points until the sixth game of the second set when De Schepper was forced to save three break points. Isner did not face any break points but could not convert a break point on match point at 4-5 30-40 on De Schepper’s serve in the second set. The US player missed a match ppint at 6-5 but closed out on his second opportunity with 7-5 at the tie-break after 1 hour and 43 minutes setting up a second round match against Ernests Gulbis who ended a five-match losing streak .

“The match came down to a few points, which I was able to win. I am happy with my performance. My goal is to try and make London but David Ferreri s so many points ahead. It’s not a problemi f I don’t make it, at least I will have tried my best”, said Isner

David Ferrer rallied from one set down to edge past Albert Ramos Vinolas with 1-6 6-3 6-4. Ferrer won just two points on Ramos’ serve in the first set where he dropped his serve three times. He fought back in the second set earning a break point which Ramos Vinolas saved, Ferrer fended four break points at 3-2 down in the second set. The Valencia player broke serve twice in the seventh and in the ninth games to win the second set with 6-3. The third set went on serve until 5.4 when Ferrer clinched the decisive break. Ferrer will face his compatriot Guillermo Gracia Lopez who beat Santiago Giraldo 6-4 6-3

Jerzy Janowicz came back from a set down to overcome local favourite Dominic Thiem with 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. Thiem got a double break for 2-1 and 4-1 en route to winning the first set with 6-2.

Janowicz went up a break in the second set but Thiem broke back forcing the second set to the tie-break The young Austrian made two errors at 5-5 to lose the tie.break with 5-7. Janowicz got an earky break at the start of the third set The Polish player did not face any break points in the third set en route to winning the match with 6-4.

“I made a bad error in the tie-break. It was not a bad match for me but he deserved to win. In the third set he served better and played better”, said Thiem

Andreas Haider Maurer will carry the hopes of the local fans tomorrow when he plays against South African Kevin Anderson

Sergiy Stakhovskiy cruised past Jan Lennart Struff 6-4 6-4 to set up a second round against ace record holder Ivo Karlovic who beat Italian Andreas Seppi yesterday.

Steve Johnson overcame a second-set loss to edge past Aleksander Dolgopolov with 6-3 4-6 6-2. After losing the first set with 6-3 Dolgopolov dropped his serve at the start of the second set but he broke back to draw level before winning the second set. Johnson broke in the third set en route to closing out the match with 6-2.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome

The Canadian was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Filip Krajinovic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the second round of the BNL D’ Italia Masters in Rome after beating his Serbian opponent Filip Krajinovic in three gruelling sets 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

 

The marathon encounter saw the Canadian hit 45 winners and 12 aces en route to victory. Avenging his loss to Krajinovic at the same tournament last year. His win-loss for the season now stands at 13-8.

” It’s always a tough match against him and I was happy I was able to win today,” the world No.20 said afterwards.

It was Krajinovic who got off to a fast start earning a breakpoint on the Montreal natives opening service game of the match and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. The Canadian responded at 2-1 earning his first two breakpoints of the match and breaking with a solid forehand winner to get the break back and go back on serve. At 3-2 the world number 20 had a chance to take the lead but it was saved by the world number 36. Nevertheless, he would go on to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the match.

Auger-Aliassime started the second set with confidence and broke the Serb’s opening service game. It stayed on serve until the world number 20 was serving for the win when he ended up getting broken to level the set at five. The very next game the Montreal native had three looks at a breakpoint but again was denied and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker stayed on serve until 4-4 when Auger Aliassime managed to get the crucial break but squandered it the following point and gave his Serbian opponent a chance to serve it out which he did following a double fault.

The third and decisive set was a roller-coaster with the Canadian holding his opening service game and than having three more breakpoints which he would convert to take another early 2-0 lead. Krajinovic would respond once again earning a breakpoint the following game and getting the break back to go back on serve until 3-3 when the Serb had his first chance to take a lead in the third set but the Canadian would come up with a huge point to save it.

The next game Auger-Aliassime would have a look at another breakpoint and this time would convert to take a 5-3 and serve for the match but struggled to close it out and the world number 36 broke serve once again.

With the Serb serving to stay in the match the Canadian increased his game to another level and managed to earn two match points. Sealing his first match win in Rome with a huge forehand winner down the line.

After the match in his post match press conference Auger Aliassime spoke about how he was able to overcome the adversity of having two chances to serve it out.

” You have to believe and be resilient at times, I wanted to win badly so I dug deep and I found a way so I am happy that I was able to find a way with all the circumstances,” he said.

Auger Aliassime will next face the number eight seed at the tournament Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine currently has a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head with their last meeting coming last October in Cologne, Germany on a indoor hard court.

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Alexander Zverev and Tim Puetz reach the semifinals in the doubles tournament in Madrid

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Alexander Zverev followed up his win against Rafael Nadal in the singles quarter final with a 6-4 3-6 10-5 win alongside his teammate Tim Puetz against Denis Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna. 

 

On Saturday Zverev and Puetz will take on Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who beat Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (7-3) 6-2. 

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic battled past Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 10-7. Mektic and Pavic are bidding for their sixth title in 2021 and their Masters 1000 trophy after winning in Miami and Monte-Carlo. The Croatian team set up a semifinal clash against this year’s Munich BMW Open finalists and Singapore Open champions Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, who edged past Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 6-3 3-6 10-5.

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Five Takeaways From Men’s And Women’s Rome Draws

Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu all return to Rome next week.

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Novak Djokovic (@usopen - Twitter)

Here are five things to take away from Men’s and Women’s singles draw from Rome.

 

Next week is the start of the next stop on the road to Roland Garros as the ATP and WTA tour heads to Rome next week.

The Italian capital will host a star-studded line-up as Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep look to defend their titles.

With another week of stacked ATP and WTA draws here, let us take a look at the five key points to take from this week’s draws:

  • Nadal Set For Zverev Rematch

Rafael Nadal could have a rematch with Alexander Zverev again in Rome next week as has already faced a mixed start to the clay court season. A quarter-final defeat to Andrey Rublev in Monaco was followed by a Barcelona title before losing to Zverev in the Madrid quarter-finals this week. It looks set to be another week where Nadal could face the tall German, whom he has lost on three consecutive occasions to. Before Nadal can get to Zverev, Nadal may have to overcome Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud, two rising stars who are capable on this surface.

  • Serena Handed Good Draw On Tennis Return

Next week will see Serena Williams return to a tennis court for the first time since her Australian Open semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka. Having had her physical struggles since the end of last season, Serena now competes in a limited schedule but will be keen to boost her Roland Garros chances next week in Rome. The 23-time grand slam champion could face Roland Garros semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska in her first match before Belinda Bencic stands in her way of a rematch with Osaka in the last eight.

  • Djokovic Looks To Avenge Recent Clay Losses

After winning the Australian Open in January, Novak Djokovic would have wanted a better clay-court season than he has had after being knocked out by Dan Evans in the third round in Monaco and an epic semi-final loss to Aslan Karatsev in Belgrade. After taking Madrid off, Djokovic looks to build momentum and may have to face Dan Evans again this week in his first match. The likes of Grigor Dimitrov and Stefanos Tsitsipas await Djokovic en route to the last four where Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev will wait for the Serb.

  • The Barty Party Looks To Roll On

Ash Barty is silencing the critics week by week and proving why she deserves her world number one ranking after winning Miami, Stuttgart and reaching the final in Madrid. In two of those three tournaments mentioned Barty would have played Aryna Sabalenka in the final. Although that won’t be happening in the final, she could face the Belarusian in the quarter-finals in Italy as a fairly comfortable draw has presented itself for the Australian. Barty’s first opponent will be either Martina Trevisan or Yaroslava Shvedova.

  • Bianca Andreescu Returns

After suffering an injury in the Miami final and testing positive for COVID-19 in Madrid, Bianca Andreescu looks to finally settle into a clay-court season as she returns in Rome. The tricky Canadian will start off against Anastasija Sevastova or Jil Teichmann before facing Petra Kvitova. If Andreescu can negotiate the first two rounds then a dream match with Simona Halep could await in the last eight. As for Halep her Rome campaign could start against Angelique Kerber.

Here is the full ATP and WTA draw:

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