Adrian Mannarino wins but Julien Benneteau suffers heavy defeat in Noumea Challenger - UBITENNIS
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Adrian Mannarino wins but Julien Benneteau suffers heavy defeat in Noumea Challenger

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Mannarino proved too strong for James McGee (Image via Zimbio.com)

The top seed in Noumea, Adrian Mannarino, proved the gulf in ranking reflects a gulf in class at least at this stage of the event. The Frenchman downed the in-form James McGee 6-2, 6-2 to progress to the semi-finals having not lost a set in his first three matches. McGee had played well in previous rounds, including beating fifth seed Blaz Rola, but simply could not keep up with the top 50 star.

 

Despite Mannarino tearing through the draw, another high-profile Frenchman did fall. Julien Benneteau proved that he still has a long way to go if he is to prove that he is still a Top 50 player. The Frenchman, who has been seeded in Grand Slam singles events in the past, was dismissed by second seed Alejandro Falla 6-2, 6-1. Benneteau had won their last meeting when he was a regular fixture in the top 50 6-2, 6-2 in 2012. However, Falla proved too strong this time, though Benneteau can at least take three competitive fixtures going into the Australian Open.

Quentin Halys joined Benneteau in departing at the quarter-final stage, as the teenager struggled with the serving fire-power of Daniel Brands. Brands hit ten aces, and earned many more free points off his first serve, with Halys struggling to get a read on it. Brands was unconvincing on second serve, unable to win more than half his points on that statistic in either set, but was making enough first serves to make that academic. The German was broken only once, but was bale to break Halys four times to win 6-2, 6-4.

Jordan Thompson ensured that the semi-finals will be contested exclusively by seeds, as the sixth ranked man joined those ranked first, second, and seventh in making the last four. Thompson beat perhaps a surprise name to feature in a hard-court quarter-final draw in Marco Trungelliti, who nonetheless had a impressive win over third seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin to make it this far. He could not reproduce that form today however, as Thompson won 6-4, 6-2.

Semi-final draw and picks (in bold)

(1) Adrian Mannarino vs (7) Daniel Brands

(6) Jordan Thompson vs (2) Alejandro Falla

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Anna-Lena Groenefeld announces the end of her career

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Anna-Lena Groenefeld has ended her career to start a family. The 34-year-old German player started her professional career in 2003 after becoming the first German player since 1957 to win the Junior French Open and the junior world number 1 in both singles and doubles disciplines.

 

Groenefeld won a WTA singles title in Acapulco in 2006 beating Flavia Pennetta in Acapulco and advanced the quarter finals at the French Open in the same year. She achieved the best results of her career in doubles reaching her career-high of number 7, qualified seven Grand Slam semifinals at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open and won two mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon 2009 and at the US Open 2014. Groenefeld reached three Premier 5 doubles finals in Rome, Toronto and Cincinnati and the semifinals in her farewell tournament at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen with her partner Demi Schuurs.

Groenefeld announced on social media:

“This little girl had dreams. For the last 18 years, she was able to live one of them. Now it’s time to hopefully fulfil another dream of having a family. I want to say thank you to everyone, who was by my side through all those years in the ups and downs. My family, friends and all of you who followed and supported me all those years. Thank you”.

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Vincenzo Santopadre: “Berrettini has become the coach of himself”

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The Italian 23-year-old player broke into the top 10 of the ATP Ranking on 28 October and reached the career-high at world number 8 on 4 November.

 

Berrettini’s coach Vincenzo Santopadre talked about the Italian star’s exciting year during an interview to FIT (Italian Tennis Federation).

“The past year has been incredible and exciting. Matteo has contunued to outdo himself every day, managing to complete himself exponentally and gradually become the coach of himself. He has improved in every aspect. It is no coincidence that he has collected results on all surfaces”, said Santopadre.

In his breakthrough season Berrettini became the first ATP Finals singles qualifier from Italy since former number 8 player and current Davis Cup captain Corrado Barazzutti in 1978. Only three Italian players in history (Adriano Panatta, Corrado Barazzutti and Matteo Berrettini) have managed to qualify for the year-end ATP Finals

Berrettini won two titles in Budapest on clay and Stuttgart on grass and reached ATP 500 semifinals at Halle, Vienna and became the first Italian player in history to reach a Masters 1000 semifinal in Shanghai.

He became the second Italian player in history to reach the US Open semifinal and the fourth player in the history of Italian tennis to reach a Grand Slam semifinal following in the footsteps of Adriano Panatta, Corrado Barazzutti and Marco Cecchinato. Berrettini reached the Wimbledon fourth round by defeating Diego Schwartzman after saving three match points.

“Matteo has matured so much this year. We must continue to trust him because he is a guy, who gives so much passion and will.

 Berrettini will start the 2020 season at the ATP Cup in Perth before the Australian Open.

 “I don’t know if the season that will come will be more difficult, but it will certainly be different due to the expectations that Matteo was able to create: 2020 is upon us. Now it is right to recharge the batteries, but we must be ready because it will be an important year”, said Santopadre.

 

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Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Venus Williams are the stand-out names in Adelaide

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Four top 10 players Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens and former Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber will grab the headlines at the Adelaide International from 12 to 18 January 2020.

 

A total of seven Grand Slam champions and five former world number one players will take part in the Adelaide WTA tourament.

This year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty leads a star-studded line-up, which includes 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and seven other members of the top 20.

The Main Draw also features Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske, Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins, World Number 30 Quang Wang. World Number 12 and this Rome WTA Premier finalist Johanna Konta will play her first tournament since the US Open following a knee injury.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been announced as the Top 20 wildcard.

“It is always exciting to play at a new tournament in front of new fans. I have had so many memorable times times in Australia over the years and I am looking forward to discovering Adelaide and all it has to offer”, said Venus Williams.

The men’s line-up includes 2019 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, Alex De Minaur, Lucas Pouille and Andrey Rublev.

“The full list of players is a real who’s who of tennis, from Australia’s favourite Ashleigh Barty to the iconic Venus Williams, right through to the young talent of Alex De Minaur and the experienced campaigner Novak Djokovic in the men’s field”, said South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway.

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