Challenger Tour: Fritz starts 2016 with comfortable win in Happy Valley - UBITENNIS
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Challenger Tour: Fritz starts 2016 with comfortable win in Happy Valley

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Taylor Fritz started his season well, but two seeds fell on the first day in Happy Valley

One of the United States best hopes for the future of American tennis got his 2016 campaign off to the best possible start. Taylor Fritz defeated Australian wildcard Marc Polmans 6-2, 6-2.

Fritz dominated the match from start to finish, and despite struggling to put his first serve in play in set one, lost only nine points on serve in the match. Four of those points were grouped together, as he lost a service game in set two, but those were the only points he dropped on serve in the entire set. He compensated by breaking Polmans three times.

Fritz will now play the winner of compatriot Alexander Sarkissian and German Peter Gojowczyk. There was more god news for Fritz as his seeded opponent for the quarter-finals Alejandro Gonzalez, was knocked out in round one. Gonzalez was beaten in straight sets by Alex Bolt a wildcard at this event, though he has been ranked as high as  No. 160.

Renzo Olivo was another South American seed to depart in early play, as he lost to Austrian Dennis Novak in straight sets, 7-5, 7-6. Bradley Mousley ensured that two local wildcards would at least progress from round one, as he defeated Laslo Djere 7-5, 7-5.

Tuesday sees a number of players start their 2016 seasons. Top seed Dudi Sela plays Uladzimir Ignatik, Francis Tiafoe plays qualifier Peter Polansky, and Dan Evans starts against Dwayne Kelly. Second seed Bjorn Fratangelo faces local Andrew Whittington, Brydan Klein faces former Top 100 player Andrey Golubev, and Igor Sijsling faces Hiroki Moriya.

 

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Giovanni Mpetchi Perricard claims his first ATP title in Lyon

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Giovanni Mpetchi Perricard battled past sixth seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4 1-6 7-6 (9-7) in a thrilling final at the Open Parc tournament in Lyon. 

Mpetchi Perricard saved four break points in the first game of the opening set to hold serve at deuce. Etcheverry converted his third break point in the fifth game and held serve at love to take a 4-2 lead. Mpetchi Perricard won four consecutive games to clinch the first set 6-4. 

Etcheverry broke three times to win the second set 6-1. 

The third set went on serve until the 11th game when Mpetchi Perricard converted his third break point to take a 6-5 lead. Etcheverry broke straight back to draw level to 6-6. Mpetchi Perricard was a point away from defeat at 6-7 in the tie-break of the third set, but he reeled off the final three points to win the tie-break 9-7 on his second championship point. 

Mpetchi Perricard won three Challenger Tour titles this year in Nottingham, Cuernavaca and Acapulco. He beat Lorenzo Sonego, Yoshihito Nishioka, Hugo Gaston and Alexander Bublik en route to his first ATP Tour title in Lyon.

Mpetchi Perricard is the son of footballer player Ghislain Mpetchi, who is of Congolese origin. He sister Daphnée Perricard is also a tennis player. 

“It was crazy. It was a very good final. I was down in the second set, but I managed to do better. I am very happy to win this tournament and now I have a lot of confidence for Roland Garros”, said Mpetchi Perricard.

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Casper Ruud claims the third title of his career in Geneva

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Casper Ruud claimed the third title of his career at the Gonet Geneva Open after his previous triumphs at this tournament in 2021 and 2022. 

Ruud did double duty after rain postponed his semifinal match to Saturday. Ruud saved a match point to beat Flavio Cobolli 1-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in the semifinal. He returned less than three hours to defeat Tomas Machac 7-5 6-3 in the final. Ruud clinched the ATP Tour title of his career. 

Machac went up a break in the third game of the first set to take a 3-1 lead. Ruud won three consecutive games from 4-5 down with two breaks in the first set after Machac committed a double fault while he was holding a set point on serve at 5-4. 

Ruud broke serve in the second game of the second set. The Norwegian player held on his next service games and served out the win on his first match point in 1 hour and 47 minutes. 

Ruud improved to 2-0 in his two head-to-head matches against Machac. “It was a challenging week. All the matches are tough, no matter who will play. It was tough to find a groove. The weather has been a bit challenging all week, but today was fantastic. I feel very happy to win again to win again here in Geneva. It’s been a very good season so far”, said Ruud. 

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Casper Ruud saves a match point to beat Flavio Cobolli in the semifinal in Geneva

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Second seed Casper Ruud came back from one set down to beat Flavio Cobolli 1-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour and 51 minutes in the semifinal of the Gonet Geneva Open. Ruud set up a final against Tomas Machac, who upset Novak Djokovic 6-4 0-6 6-1 in yesterday’s semifinal.

Cobolli earned his first break in the second game with a forehand winner. The world number 56 broke for the second time to love in the sixth game to close out the first set 6-1. 

Ruud earned two breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the second set 6-1. 

Cobolli saved two break points in the first game of the third set before converting his third break point to open up a 3-0 lead. Ruud broke back in the seventh game and held serve to 30 to draw level to 4-4. 

Ruud, who won two titles in Geneva in 2021 and 2022, saved a match point on serve at 4-5 30-40 in the third set. The Norwegian player went up a 4-0 lead with three mini-breaks in the tie-break before going on to seal the win. 

Cobolli hit eight aces and won 67% of his first serve points. The Italian player hit 38 winners to 21 unforced errors. Ruud hit 12 winners to 6 unforced errors. 

“It was very difficult. I was one point away from losing. I was able to hang in there and it was a very tough match. I am happy to have been able to come back in the third set and pull through. It was a good confidence win for me and I am looking forward to the final”, said Ruud. 

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