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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Andy Murray – “It’s Just Not Good Enough”

The three-time Grand Slam champion spoke to the media about his current form and plans for the coming weeks following his loss in Rotterdam on Wednesday.

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After falling to world number 8 Andrey Rublev in the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament Andy Murray shed light on his current form on the Tour.

 

The former world No.1 fell 7-5, 6-2, to the Russian in what was only his second match on the ATP Tour this season. Murray missed the Australian Open at the start of the year after testing positive for COVID-19 and subsequently turned to the Challenger Tour. Against Rublev, the illustrated Brit illustrated glimmers of her usual grit but admits that there is still more work that needs to be done as he aims to return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. Below is a summary of the key quotes from Murray in his latest press conference :-

He started by answering what positives he could take from the match despite the loss.

“From the positive side I thought I moved well for the first hour or so. He (Rublev) is one of the bigger hitters on the tour and in the first set I felt like he wasn’t getting that many free points from the back of the court and he’s having to work hard to get the ball through me so I thought that was positive. I did some things quite well in the first set but when it mattered I didn’t play well.”

Murray would continue to add what he felt he did wrong and what was the main reason he lost to such a young talented player who in the second set basically dominated from start to finish.

“It’s just not good enough and your playing one of the best players in the world like in those moments they come up with something great to win those points it’s understandable and you expect that but I felt in the moment at the end of the first set that I blew it. The second set he was for sure much better than me no question about that, there are things like I’m not used to making those errors in those moments and I find it quite frustrating mentally and find myself looking back on those moments little bit too much which affected me a bit in the second set, I’m disappointed and felt like I should have won that first set”

He was then asked about his upcoming schedule and the fact there aren’t a lot of hard court tournaments left before the clay court swing.

“So I don’t play well on clay is that the suggestion”

He would continue his answer and say the following.

“I want to play as much as I can but baring in mind that I still have to be smart with the decisions about which tournaments I play and how many events in a row I play, the last time I played four weeks in a row and a lot of consecutive matches I picked up an issue and I need to be mindful of that but I wanna try and play. Next week, I will have off, I will go home now and then hopefully be able to play in Dubai and Miami and than see from there. There is the option to play the full clay court swing, there’s the option to drop down and play challengers to get more matches and build more robustness in my body, I kinda feel like I want to play at this level because I learned a lot from a match like tonight even though I lost.”

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Andrey Rublev Ousts Andy Murray In Rotterdam To Reach Quarter-Finals

The Russian world number 8 booked his spot in the final eight after beating the Scott in rather convincing fashion.

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Andrey Rublev is into the last eight of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam after beating Andy Murray in straight sets 7-5, 6-2. The world number 8 fired 24 winners in the match while Murray hit 20 unforced errors.

 

Both players did a good job holding their opening service games and there were some amazing rallies to indicate that a was battle beckoning. The Scott got the first breakpoint of the match at 3-2 but it was quickly saved by the number 3 seed and he managed to hold serve.

It wasn’t until 5-5 when Murray seemed to crack in his service game and after giving up a breakpoint served a double fault to give the Russian the 6-5 lead. Rublev would serve out the first set to take it 7-5.

Winning the first set gave the world No.8 the momentum early in the second set and at 2-2 he earned two breakpoints off a unforced error from the world number 123. Breaking with a stunning forehand winner to take a 3-2 lead.

After securing the break and holding serve he continued to attack and pressure the Murray serve. Once again the Murray serve cracked and he double faulted again to give the Russian a 5-2 lead. Rublev would serve out the match in style and finished with his trademark forehand cross-court to seal the victory.

“It was a really tough match, I mean we had a lot of rallies, like I said before with Andy I cannot rush, I cannot play my usual style of play, he’s hitting every single ball so I need to slow down,” Said Rublev.
I need to mix (my shots) because Andy is really great at defense and he make you play tough balls that is not easy to attack. He is waiting for the moment for you to rush and in my case I needed to slow down and to wait for the right ball to play rallies and than when you have the right ball to play aggressive and take a lead.”

He will next play the winner of Jeremy Chardy vs and David Goffin in the quarter-finals.

A day of upsets

It was not a good day to be a seeded player in Rotterdam as three top names crashed out of the tournament. The top seed Daniil Medvedev was sent packing by Dusan Lajovic in straight sets 7-5,6-4, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beat the number 5 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2,7-6, while Alexander Zverev was stunned by Alexander Bublik 7-5,6-3.

Elsewhere David Goffin beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4,6-0, Tommy Paul beat Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 7-6, and Kei Nishikori kept his run going by beating Alex De Minaur in three sets 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Pledges To Raise Money For Charity In Doubles

The world No.6 has vowed to support a cause which is close to his heart.

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Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas has said he will donate €3000 to a charity close to his heart for every win he achieves in the doubles.

 

The world No.6 is playing at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam this week where he is the second seed. Tsitsipas has also paired up with his brother Petros to play in the doubles tournament. It is the fourth time they have played together on the ATP Tour and they are yet to win a match at that level. Earlier this year the Tsitsipas brothers lost in the first round of the Australian Open.

“I have not said this publicly again, but I do not mind sharing it. I decided that for every victory we will make with Petros on the tour, I will donate 3,000 euros to “Together for the Children,” Tsitsipas told reporters following his win first round win in the singles on Tuesday.
“They will go to this organization, I have been supporting them for a few years now as an ambassador and I see it as something that can push us to win even more.”

Together for Children is a Greek non-government Association of various member organizations that provides support to an estimated 30,000 children each year. Those organisations support children who have been affected by factors such as chronic illness, the loss of a family member, domestic violence and other issues. Tsitsipas is one of two ambassadors along with TV presenter Duchess Nomikou.

“I met the people of “Together for Children” and I was inspired by the work they offer to thousands of children in need in Greece who face difficulties in their daily lives. I believe it is my duty to contribute to the efforts made for these children,” the three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist is quoted as saying on their official website.

Tsitsipas’ first doubles match will be Wednesday afternoon when he and his brother face the Belgian duo of Joran Vliegen and Sander Gillé who won the Singapore Open last week. The last time they won a competitive match together was back in 2016 when they reached the final of a ITF Futures tournament in Santa Margherita Di Pula, Italy.

As for the singles, Tsitsipas will return to action on Thursday to take on Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the second round. This week he is seeking to win his first title of any sport since February 2020.

“We’ve played a lot in the past. He’s a great opponent, he’s been giving me a hard time. It’s a challenge going into that match,” he said of facing Hurkacz. “He can serve well, he has a great backhand that he can play both cross and down the line, so I think that’s one of his biggest weapons. His forehand, I would say he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes from that side. But overall he’s a very solid, very consistent player.”

Tsitsipas has a win-loss record of 7-1 so far this season.

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