Ivo Karlovic rallies from a set down to edge Stan Wawrinka in Basel - UBITENNIS
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Ivo Karlovic rallies from a set down to edge Stan Wawrinka in Basel

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Ivo Karlovic fought back from a set down to edge past Stan Wawrinka with 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4. Wawrinka looked to be in control of the match until the second set when he was leading 6-3 3-1 but Karlovic turned around the match winning the second set with 7-2 at the tie-break. Karlovic got the break at the start of the third set. Wawrinka saved two match points at 3-5 but Karlovic served out for the match to take the third set with 6-4.

 

Swiss hero Stan Wawrinka, 2015 Roland Garros champion, faced a very tough debut against Ivo Karlovic, who hit 1340 aces this year and broke the record of aces held by his countryman Goran Ivanisevic during the China Open in Beijing. Wawrinka led 5-1 in his previous head-to-head matches against Karlovic, including a three-set win last August in Cincinnati.

The first three games went on serve. Wawrinka held his serve with a service winner in the third game before breaking serve in the the fourth game as Karlovic made two double faults.

Wawrinka consolidated the break by holding his serve in the fifth game for 4-1. Karlovic hit a service winner to win his service game for 4-2. Both players held their next service games en route to 5-3. Wawrinka served for the first set. He saved two break points in the ninth game before closing out the first set with a service winner.

In the second set Karlovic faced three break points. Wawrinka converted his third opportunity to go up 1-0 before winning his service game in the second game. Karlovic managed to hold his serve in the third game for 1-2. Wawrinka won his service game with a service winner to open up a 3-1 lead.

Karlovic won two consecutive games breaking back to draw level to 3-3 and consolidated the break to love to take the 4-3 lead. The break-back turned around the match in favour of Karlovic. Wawrinka won his next service game to love for 4-4. Both players held their next service games en route to the tie-break.

Karlovic got two mini-breaks on the second and the seventh points to take a 5-2 lead and served out for the set forcing the match to the third set.

Wawrinka faced two break points at the start of the third set. Karlovic converted the break point with a forehand error by Wawrinka and held his service game to open up a 2-0 lead. Both players went on serve in the next five games en route to 4-3 for Karlovic.

The Croatian ace record holder earned two match points on Wawrinka’s serve at 5-3. Wawrinka saved both match points with his serve and his backhand winner. Karlovic served out for the match with his third consecutive ace  after 1 hour and 48 minutes.

“I had a poor first set and missed a lot of my volleys but I began improving in the second set and got a bit lucky when I converted my break points in the sixth game at 3-3. After that things started going my way”, said Karlovic

Wawrinka hit 35 winners to 24 unforced errors and converted two of his five break points. He won 82 percent of his first serve points. Karlovic hit 29 winners to 27 unforced errors and converted two of his six break points. He fired 21 aces and made 3 double faults

Karlovic will face Dusan Lajovic in the next round.

Wawrinka has lost for the fourth consecutive year and in eight of his twelve appearances in the first round in Basel.

“It’s never easy to lose a match like that, especially since I felt I played well for two sets. He is playing his best year. so far, he has improved his game a lot. He serves amazing and you don’t get many chances. Today I got my chances and I didn’t take them”, said Wawrinka

Kevin Anderson beat Croatian 18-year-old rising star Borna Coric (last year semifinalist in Basel) 6-3 6-2 in one hour to reach the second round of the Swiss Indoor Open in Basel where he will take on  Donald Young. The South African player did not drop any of his service points and hit 29 winners, including 14 aces.

Marin Cilic, who won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last week, beat local favourite Marco Chiudinelli 6-3 7-6 (7-3). The Croatian player dropped just four of his service points.

Jack Sock defeated lucky-loser Denis Kudla 6-4 6-2 setting up a second round against his compatriot John Isner. David Goffin rallied from a break down in the first set to beat Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-3. Teymuraz Gabashvili overcame a second-set loss to edge Leonardo Mayer 7-5 4-6 6-4.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval

Changes are coming to the men’s Tour which includes a brand new ‘profit-sharing formular’ for players.

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Masters tournaments in North America, Europe and Asia are set to be expanded over the coming months after the ATP Board recently approved some ‘key aspects’ of their strategic plan.

 

In a letter issued to players, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said an agreement has been reached concerning a variety of topics, which include the expansion of various Masters 1000 events. It is understood that the plan is for Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to be increased to 12-day events instead of just one week. Putting them more in line with Indian Wells and Miami. Tennis.com reports that under the new structure, ATP 250 events will also take place during the second week of those tournaments and they could receive a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

Masters 1000 events are the third highest-ranked category events in men’s tennis after Grand Slams and the ATP Finals in terms of prize money and ranking points on offer. The series was first introduced back in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the name ‘Masters 1000’ was born. The number represents how many ranking points the winner receives.

Besides the proposed changes to the Masters series, the Board has also given a green light to “a new Profit-Sharing formula” and “long-term prize money levels.” The prize money increase is reportedly said to be 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events.

“This represents significant progress for our sport and the way our player and tournament members operate under the equal partnership of the ATP Tour. It is only through the spirit of this partnership, transparency, and alignment of interests that we can truly maximise your potential and switch our focus to the competition we face in the border sports and entertainment landscape,” Gaudenzi wrote in his letter to players.

Part of the plan also include making changes to ATP Media, who are in charge of broadcasting the events. At present it is currently jointly owned by the Tour and each of the Masters 1000 events. However, in the future it has been proposed that those tournaments trade in their ownership rights for shares in ATP media. Exact details about this process have not been publicly disclosed and it is unclear if all of the tournaments would agree to such a move.

The ATP also wants to create a ‘Tennis Data Innovations’ which will be an independent entity.

All of these proposed changes are still subject to further agreement around additional matters. The ATP have been working on details of their strategic plan for the past 18 months.

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