Challenger Tour: Adrian Mannarino off to strong start, Alejandro Falla recovers - UBITENNIS
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Challenger Tour: Adrian Mannarino off to strong start, Alejandro Falla recovers




Top seed Adrian Mannarino’s ranking is separate to everyone else’s in the draw by a long margin but he got the win expected of him on the first day (Image va

The top seed in Noumea, New Caledonia got his 2016 campaign off to an excellent start. Adrian Mannarino easily dismissed Italian Federico Gaio in straight sets 6-0, 6-4.


Mannarino was joined by the second, fifth and sixth seeds respectively, as there were no early shocks to found on Monday.  Alejandro Falla’s match with American Mitchell Kreuger was the closest to result in a shock, as the American had stormed through the first set only to see Falla recover in an eventual for 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Blaz Rola and Jordan Thompson both secured their passage into with considerable winning their respectable matches over Luke Saville and Darian King for the loss of seven games apiece.

James McGee and Jan Mertl both progressed in straight sets, but it was a match between a pair of French wildcards that was the best of the day. Maxime Janvier managed to defeat Nicolas N’Godrela in a marathon match that latest just under three hours. The final score was 7-6, 5-7, 7-5. The match is already a contender to be the longest Challenger match of 2016 here in the first week.

The match of Tuesday is likely to be that of 4th seed Adrian Menedez Maceiras’ encounter with young Frenchman Quentin Halys. These two played out a close match in Segovia last year, with Maceiras eventually winning in the third. Halys has some good wins on the Challenger circuit in 2015, though his biggest came in Valencia Qualifying, where he ousted then No.98 Rajeev Ram in straight sets.

All eyes will also be on Julien Benneteau as he takes to court for the first time in nearly nine months. He starts against fellow Frenchman Florian Reynet.

Tuesdays singles matches (selected picks in bold)


Adrian Menendez Macieras vs Quentin Halys

Bastian Trinker vs Alessandro Giannessi

Florian Reynet vs Julien Benneteau

Maxime Chazal vs Edouard Roger-Vasselin

Isaac Frost vs Daniel Brands

Tristan Lamasine vs Stefan Napolitano

Marco Trungelliti vs Maximilian Marterer

Henri Laaksonen vs Mathias Bourgue

Jordi Samper-Montana vs Connor Smith

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Danka Kovinic becomes the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament




Danka Kovinic has become the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament after a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over last year’s US Open champion and number 17 seed Emma Raducanu after 2 hours and 38 minutes on Margaret Court Arena in the second round at the Australian Open. 


Kovinic had lost in the second round in her six previuos appearances at a Grand Slam tournament. The World number 98 recorded her fourth career top 20 win and her first on hard-court. 

Raducanu broke serve in the opening game and cruised into a 3-0 lead with a double break. Kovinic bounced back by winning the next two games to claw her way back to 2-3, before Raducanu took was hampered by a blister on her raquet hand and took a medical time-out for treatment on her hand. Raducanu double faulted, as Kovinic broke again to draw level to 3-3. Kovinic completed the turnaround by winning five consecutive games to take a 5-3 lead. Raducanu broke for the third time for 4-5, but Kovinic closed out the first set 6-4. 

Raducanu opened up a 3-1 lead in the second set with an early break in the first game but Kovinic broke back in the eighth  game to draw level to 4-4 . Raducanu broke for the second time in the ninth game with two consecutive forehand winners to take a 5-4 lead. The British teenager fended off two break points in the 10th game to clinch the second set 6-4. 

Raducanu missed four break points in the first and third games of the third set. Kovinic converted her break point in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Raducanu broke straight back at love in the fifth game. Kovinic broke for the second time in the sixth game with a lob to take a 4-2 lead and sealed the win on her second match point with a backhand winner down the line. 

Kovinic was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo due to calf and back injuries. 

“Basically only one good result was in Charleston last year. Everything else was really struggling and trying to recover my body for next events, which I wasn’t really successful. I was rushing a little bit, so I never really healed my back injury, but I took some time during the pre-season to really take care of that, so hopefully that’s in the past”, said Danka Kovinic. 

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Andrey Rublev, Alex De Minaur and Taylor Fritz reach the third round at the Australian Open




Andrey Rublev eased past Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-2 6-0 in 1 hour and 24 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 


Rublev earned breaks in the opening game of each set and did not face any break points.

Rublev set up a third round match against Marin Cilic, who beat Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos 6-2 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6). If Rublev beats Cilic, he could be on a collision course for a possible quarter final clash against his compatriot Danil Medvedev.

Rublev, who reached the quarter finals at Grand Slam level four times in his career, is aiming to reach his first semifinal in a Major tournament. 

Taylor Fritz beat Francis Tiafoe 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in an all-American clash to set up a third round clash against Roberto Bautista Agut, who cruised through Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-1 6-0 6-3. Fritz hit a backhand winner down the line to convert his match point. 

“Frances is one of my really good friends, and he is such a good guy. I said before the tournament too. He is probably one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw. I just keep playing my game, keep playing aggressive, like that last point. I have a really tough match next round, but it would be awesome to have a deep run here”, said Fritz. 

Alex De Minaur beat Kamil Majchrzak 6-4 6-4 6-2. The Australian player has now won six consecutive sets at the Australian Open this year after dropping the first set against Lorenzo Musetti in the opening round. De Minaur will take on Spain’s Pablo Andujar, who beat Slovakian wild card Alex Molcan 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 0-6 6-1. 

“For me to be able to play on Rod Laver Arena and at this stage on my merits, it’s not because I am playing one of the top guys, that’s a pretty cool feeling. It was a very solid win. I did everything I neeeded to do. I got the job done. I am very happy with my effort”, said De Minaur. 

Daniel Evans received a walkover into the third round when Arthur Rinderknech withdrew before the match with a wrist injury. 

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon

For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.




Felix Auger-Aliassime (Manuela Davies/USTA)

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.


The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.

The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.

It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.

The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.

The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.

The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.

For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.

Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.

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