ATP Challenger Circuit: Marcora shocks Sela in Brescia - UBITENNIS
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ATP Challenger Circuit: Marcora shocks Sela in Brescia



Dudi Sela is a Challenger specialist, but his challenge came unstuck against local Roberto Marcora in Italy

Montevideo: Top seed Pablo Cuevas progressed to the second round, with an easy 6-3, 6-3 win over wildcard Santiago Maresca. He was joined by Facundo Arguello, who made hard work of beating Gonzalo Lama of Chile in three sets 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Nicolas Kicker and Michael Linzer also won on Monday.


On Tuesday, Andrej Martin finished strongly to beat Andre Ghem 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. Second seed Diego Schwartzmann endured the challenge of qualifier Orlando Luz, winning 4-6, 7-6, 6-1, and Gastao Elias won a real battle with Guido Andreozzi 6-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Kyle Edmund faces qualifier Andrea Collarini, as he continues Davis Cup preparations, but the match to really be aware of is Maximo Gonzalez vs Guido Pella.

Brescia: It was not a good day for wildcards, as three tumbled out of the draw. Gianluca Mager did take Dustin Brown the distance, but the German eighth seed won 6-3 in third set. Lorenzo Sonego and Gregoire Barrere both succumbed in straight sets. Mikhail Youzhny was forced to retire with injury just six game into his match with Andrea Arnaboldi. Salvatore Caruso and Luca Vanni ensured a healthy home contingent did progress from round one.

On Tuesday, three lucky losers took their places, as a flurry of late withdrawals hit the tournament. Francesco Borgo lost 7-5, 6-4 to top seed Sergiy Stakhovsky, but Dimitar Kuzmanov progressed. Roberto Marcora scored the shock of the round, defeating one of the all-time greats of the Challenger circuit in Dudi Sela 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. German seeds Benjamin Becker and Michael Berrer were both pushed to the limit, but both progressed in three tight sets. The unseeded Lukas Lacko defeated the severely out of form Marsel Ilhan 6-1, 6-4. A surprise on the ranking maybe, but not the form book.

Yokohama: It’s very much as you were in Japan, with few shocks littering the first round action. Konstantin Kravchuk, Go Soeda, Yuichi Sugita, Tatsuma Ito, and Matthew Ebden all progressed. Only eighth seed Yoshihito Nishioka was troubled, in the middle of a third set battle when his qualifier opponent, American Peter Kobelt, retired with injury. Briton Brydan Klein and young Korean talent Duckhee Lee aslo won.

Champaign: Ryan Harrison has work to do to ensure he gets direct qualification to the Australian Open, and the young American made a good start in defeating Marek Michalicka 6-3 6-3. Taylor Fritz got back to winning ways, defeating Giovanni Lapentti 6-3, 6-2. Top seed Malek Jaziri finally won a match defeating Charlottesville champion Noah Rubin 6-4, 6-2. Daniel Nguyen was a winner, and so were Eric Quigley and Adrien Bossel, who both upset higher ranked opponents. Tuesday saw Mitchell Kreuger shock Jared Donaldson 6-4, 6-4, and second seed Austin Krajicek progressed to the second round with a win over qualifier Raymond Sarmiento by the same score.

Dan Evans vs Bjorn Fratangelo looks to be an intriguing match tonight, with Evans in top form, and Alejandro Falla vs Frances Tiafoe will be close too.

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World Tennis League: Swiatek And Medvedev Among Top Names To Play Exhibition Event



image via ATP Twitter

During the off-season, some of the world’s best players will head to the United Arab Emirates next month to play in a four-day team event. 


The World Tennis League (WTL) will host its second edition between December 21-24 at the Yas Island’s Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The event features a total of 16 players split into four groups with each of those teams competing for the trophy. Every group will have their own coach and even an owner. 

Earlier this week, organizers confirmed the last players to be added to the line-up. Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz will all play in the event which will feature a combination of singles and mixed doubles matches. Those who have already confirmed their entry include Iga Swiatek, Daniil Medvedev, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina, Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

As for who is in what group, the SG Mavericks Kites features Sabalanka, Tsitsipas, Paula Badosa and Grigor Dimitrov. The owners of that team are SG Sports, the sporting arm of APL Apollo Tubes. An Indian-based structural steel tube brand. Their coach will be former Australian Open doubles champion Robert Lindstedt.

Team Eagles will be made up of Medvedev, Rublev, Sofia Kenin and Mirra Andreeva. Their owners are the Punit Balan Group. Balan is an Indian film producer and owner of several sporting teams. They will be coached by John-Laffnie De Jager who has previously worked with the likes of Kevin Anderson, Daniella Hantuchova and Ajla Tomljanovic.

The Honor FX Falcons is named after owners Honor FX features. Rybakina, Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Leylah Fernandez are in that group which will be led by Chris Groh. Groh has previously coached Fritz during his teenage years. 

Finally, The Hawkes team has Swiatek, Hurkacz, Ruud and Caroline Garcia. The team are the only one yet to have an official owner. Sweden’s Simon Aspelin will be their coach. 

“We’re thrilled to be announcing more star names to our exceptional tennis line-up for season two of the World Tennis League,” Rajesh Banga, chairman of the World Tennis League, said.
“These players are of the highest calibre and prominent names around the world so we’re pleased they will be competing in the unique tournament at our new home in Etihad Arena.”

The schedule of the event will be the following:-

DAY ONE: Hawks Vs Honor FX Falcons, Team Eagles Vs SG Mavericks Kites

DAY TWO: Honor FX Falcons Vs SG Mavericks Kites, Team Eagles Vs Team Hawks 

Day Three: Team Eagles Vs Honor FX Falcons, SG Maverick Kites Vs Team Hawks

Day Four: knockout rounds

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Luca Van Assche rallies from two sets to one down to beat Alex Michelsen



Luca Van Assche came back from two sets to one down to defeat Alex Michelsen 4-3 (7-0) 3-4 (4-7) 3-4 (4-7) 4-1 4-3 (8-6) in 2 hours and 36 minutes at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah in the second longest match in the history of this tournament. 


Van Assche and Michelsen went on serve in the first three sets. Both players saved all five break points they faced in the first three sets. 

There were three consecutive breaks in the fourth set. Van Assche earned two of them and served out the set at love in the fifth game. 

Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games of the fifth set. Van Assche earned a chance to serve for the match, but Michelsen pulled back on serve to force a tie-break. 

Van Assche built a 3-0 in the tie-break with an early mini-break. Michelsen saved two match points to draw level to 6-6. Van Assche sealed the win with another mini-break on the second match point. 

“He was playing very well the whole match. It was really close. Not a lot of breaks and it was difficult for me but I am very happy”, said Van Assche. 

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Arthur Fils beats Dominic Stricker to end Green Group unbeaten



Arthur Fils battled past Dominic Stricker 4-2 3-4 (3-7) 4-2 4-3 (7-5) after 1 hour and 47 minutes in the final round-robin match to end the Green Group unbeaten with a 3-0 record at the Next Gen ATP Finals. 


Stricker knew that he would advance to the semifinals if he won just one set. The Swiss player won the set he needed against the already qualified Fils to secure his spot in the semifinal despite the defeat. 

Stricker saved a break point on the deciding point in the third game of the fourth set. Fils earned the break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out on his second set point. 

Stricker held serve at love in the first game of the fourth set. The Swiss player broke serve on the deciding point to open up a 2-0 lead. Fils broke straight back in the third game and held serve at 15 to draw level to 2-2. Fils earned three mini-breaks, but Stricker pulled back on serve each time. Fils sealed the tie-break 7-5 on his second match point. 

Stricker beat Fils 7-6 7-6 in Gstaad in their only previous head-to-head match last summer. 

Fils saved two break points in the first game to hold serve. Stricker fended off a break point in the fourth game on the deciding point to draw level to 2-2. Fils earned his first break on his third set point with a forehand return winner in the sixth game to clinch the first set 4-2. 

Stricker saved the only break point of the second set in the fourth game. Both players held on their serve en route to the tie-break. Stricker won six consecutive points from 0-1 down with two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Fils won his first title in Lyon and reached the final in Antwerp

“I knew before the match that I qualified, but I just want to win every match that I am playing. I think I put a little bit more focus out there out there today than the first two days because I know this opponent and he already beat me this year. It was a tough match but I am really happy to win and let’s see who I get in the semifinal”, said Fils in the post- match interview. 

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