Challenger Tour: Young Australian star takes on second seed in Toyota - UBITENNIS
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Challenger Tour: Young Australian star takes on second seed in Toyota

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Can Jasika cause an upset in Toyota?

The Challenger Tour is finally winding down, and there are now just two regular season events left. They are in Andria and Toyota.

 

Andria: The event in Italy sees the top two seeds, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Ivan Marchenko, qualify with rankings in the Top 100, at 93 and 97 respectively. The other seeds are very much as you were from other recent events in Italy, as Michael Berrer, Dudi Sela, Mirza Basic, Luca Vanni and Dustin Brown all appear again. Ivan Dodig is the only new name to appear since Brescia, though Benjamin Becker and Marsel Ilhan are not at the event this week.

In early play, one German seed progressed, and another fell. Michael Berrer made short work of Italian wildcard Julian Ocleppo, dropping just three games in a 6-2, 6-1 win. Things were not so easy for Dustin Brown, as he fell to the in-form Egor Gerasimov, who picked up his maiden Challenger title just two weeks ago. Gerasimov beat the erratic Brown for the loss of just five games, winning through 6-3, 6-2. Illya Marchenko also won 6-4, 6-0.

Tuesday sees Dudi Sela take on Swiss Adrien Bossel, and Ivan Dodig is up against Andrea Pellegrino (picks in bold). The match of the day however is likely to be eighth seed Mirza Basic’s encounter with local Roberto Marcora. Basic is in good form, but Marcora is an effective player, and with home support makes for a very tricky opening round tie. Marco Chiundinelli and Marton Fucsovics also feature.

Toyota: Like Andria, its very much as you were in Toyota, as seven of the eight seeds from Yokohama take part. The only change is the absence of last week’s top seed John Millman from play, he is replaced as top seed by last week’s second Matthew Ebden. Jordan Thompson comes in as the new eighth seed as a result.

It did not help that much though, as Thompson was the first to depart, beaten in straight sets by Jason Jung. Alexander Kudryavtsev won losing just one game, and Konstantin Kravchuk advanced to the second round, defeating Japanese wildcard Makoto Ochi 6-3, 6-1. James Duckworth took care of another wildcard in Sora Fukuda, 6-3, 6-4, though Sho Katayama did beat Gavin Van Peperzeel 6-4, 6-2.

The match of Wednesday is sure to be Omar Jasika taking on second seed Tatsumo Ito. Jasika is very highly thought of in Australia, and Ito is not the player he once was. The other young star involved in recent Asian Challengers, Duckhee Lee, is not playing in Toyota.

Other matches see Yoshihito Nishioka up against Hiroki Moriya, Yuichi Sugita against Brit Brydan Klein, and Go Soeda versus Yasutaka Uchiyama. Top seed Matthew Ebden is also in action against Greg Jones, who plays with a protected ranking.

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 

 

Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches the semifinal in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz edged past third seed Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-1 after 2 hours and 18 minutes to reach his second tour-level semifinal at the Playa Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the second youngest semifinalist in Umag tournament history. Nadal was the only player who reached the semifinal in Umag at a younger age. Nadal achieved this feat at the age of 17. 

Alcaraz broke serve in the fourth game at deuce to open up a 4-1 lead. Krajinovic broke back in the seventh game to claw his way back to 3-4. Both players traded breaks in the eighth and ninth games and held their next service games en route to the tie-break. Alcaraz earned four mini-breaks to take a 7-3 lead. 

Krajinovic broke twice in the second and eighth games to win the second set 6-2. Alcaraz got three breaks to claim the third set 6-1. The Spaniard attacked a second serve on break point in his first return game of the third set and hit a forehand volley to earn the break. Alcaraz did no drop his serve in his next service games to set up a semifinal against his compatriot Albert Ramos Vinolas, who cruised past Stefano Travaglia 6-1 6-1 after 68 minutes. Ramos Vinolas went up a 2-0 lead with an early break. Travaglia broke straight back in the third game. Ramos Vinolas broke twice in the fourth and eighth games to win the second set 6-2. 

The Spaniard earned two more breaks in the second and sixth games to claim the third set 6-2. 

Richard Gasquet edged past Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-6 (9-7). Gasquet fended off a break point in the opening game before breaking serve in the second game. Dzumhur earned another break point in the fifth game but Gasquet saved it to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet served out for the first set in the ninth game. 

The Frenchman broke Dzumhur in the third game to take a 2-1 lead and earned a chance for the double break, but Dzumhur saved three break points to claw his way back to 3-4.

Gasquet was not able to convert any of his three break points in the seventh game and Dzumhur broke back in the eighth game. 

Gasquet broke serve in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, but he was no able to serve out for the match in the 10th game. Gasquet earned a chance to get another break in the 11th game, but Dzumhur saved two break points to take a 6-5 lead. 

Gasquet served out the 12th game to force a tie-break. Gasquet converted his third match point to reach the semifinal. 

Gasquet set up a semifinal clash against Daniel Altmeier, who beat Dusan Lajovic 6-2 6-3. Gasquet has become the oldest semifinal in the tournament’s 31-year history behind Paolo Lorenzi, who reached the 2017 semifinal. 

“I started well. I could not manage to break him at 4-2 in the second set and then I struggled a little bit on my serve. It was tough, but I fought a lot to finish the match in the second set. It was a great tie-break and important to win. I need to be physically ready to go further, as I try to reach the final”, said Gasquet. 

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Astra Sharma beats Natalya Vikhlyantseva to reach the quarter final in Palermo

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Astra Sharma beat Natalya Vikhlyantseva 6-4 7-5 at the Ladies Open in Palermo to reach the quarter finals for the first time since her Charleston title. 

 

Vikhlyantseva made 11 double faults, including six in the second set. Sharma came back from 0-4 down by winning six consecutive game to take the first set 6-4. The Australian player was broken back, when she was serving for the match. 

Sharma set up a quarter final against Danielle Collins, who beat Maddison Inglis from Australia 6-4 6-1 after 1 hour and 20 minutes. Sharma has never met Collins before. 

After three trades of break Collins broke serve at love in the 10th game to win the first set 6-4. Collins broke twice in the first and sixth games to win the second set 6-1. 

Olga Danilovic beat Katarina Zavatska 7-6 (7-4) 7-5. Both players traded breaks twice in the first set en route to the tie-break. Danilovic won a tight tieak with three mini-breaks. Zavatska went up a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Danilovic broke straight back in the sixth game. The next games went on serve until the 12th game when Danillovic got the decisive break to win the second set 7-5. 

Lucia Bronzetti beat 2011 US Open Junior champion Grace Min 6-3 6-1. Bronzetti broke serve in the second game of the first set to take a 2-0 lead. Min broke straight back in the third game. Bronzetti converted her third break point in the eighth game to win the first set 6-3. 

Bronzetti went up a 3-0 lead with two breaks after two very long games. Min pulled back one break back in the fourth game, but Bronzetti earned two breaks in the fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-1. 

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