Easy progress for Stan Wawrinka and Borna Coric in Chennai - UBITENNIS
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Easy progress for Stan Wawrinka and Borna Coric in Chennai

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Defending champion Stan Wawrinka is through to the quarter-finals in Chennai ( Image via tennisatlantic.com)

Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka eased through his potentially tricky second round match with Andrey Rublev for the loss of just five games, as he advanced to the Chennai quarter-finals 6-3, 6-2.

 

The defending champion looked every inch of his No. 4 ranking, as he proved a class above the youthful Russian in their first meeting. Wawrinka was remarkably consistent, managing to remain above eight percent in terms of service points won for most of the match. He lost just a total of eight points against serve and did not have to face a single break point.

Rublev in contrast, looked in trouble from the off, as he attempted to deal with six break points in the first set. Wawrinka only needed one to take the opening set. Rublev did at least managed to win more than half his second serve points in set two, something he had failed to do in the first set, but was actually broken twice compared to his first set effort. Wawrinka wrapped up the win in just fifty-two minutes.

The easy progress for seeds had been started by Borna Coric, who won a competitive first set with Austin Krajicek before pulling away in the second, eventually winning 7-5, 6-2. The young Croatian, who was beaten in the second round of this event by Wawrinka in 2015, produced similarly dominant numbers to the Swiss on serve to deny the American all but a glimmer of a break chance.

Ante Pavic’s run from qualifying was finally ended in the second round by fifth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 7-6, 6-1. Pavic paid the price for not taking advantage of nine break points through the first set, as Garcia-Lopez won on the strength of an improvement in the tie-break. Pavic’s challenger then crumbled, as he surrendered ten points from eighteen on his serve in the second set, with Garcia-Lopez taking advantage to break twice.

Roberto Bautista-Agut also booked his place in the quarter-finals, defeating John Millman 6-4, 6-1. Millman proved woeful on second serve, as he was able to win just four points when he missed the first. This included an unenviable run of failing to win a single second serve point in the final set from a total of eight. Bautista-Agut produced a consistent display to earn a match with Coric in the next round.

Benoit Paire and Gilles Muller are the two seeds that feature in later play in Chennai.

 

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Gael Monfils Joins Forces With Former Long-Time Coach Of Dominic Thiem

Will the Frenchman return to his best form with the help of his new mentor?

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Tennis star Gael Monfils will start the 2021 season with a new team setup after confirming the appointment of a new coach.

 

The former US Open semi-finalist has paired up with the renowned Gunther Bresnik who is best known for his time spent working alongside Dominic Thiem for over a decade until their split in 2019. Thiem is now coached by Nicolas Massu. Bresnik is the former Davis Cup captain of Austria and has worked with numerous top names such as Ernests Gulbis, Jerzy Janowicz, Boris Becker and Henri Leconte.

Monfils has been training with Bresnik during the off-season but only now has it been confirmed that the two have formed an agreement to work together. However, over the coming weeks Monfils will be guided by another Austrian. Co-coach Richard Ruckelshausen will work with the world No.11 in Australia and has been appointed as the captain of the French ATP Cup team.

“I’ve known Gaël for a long time,” Bresnik told krone.at on January 9th. “With Ernests Gulbis and Stefan Lochbihler’s son, he worked on his shape here in Spain (during the off-season).”

The 34-year-old will be looking to get back on top form following what was a roller-coaster 2020. Monfils started last year by winning 16 matches within a three-month period. However, following the pause in tennis due to the COVID-19 pandemic he struggled to regain that form. Ending the season with three consecutive first round losses.

Monfils had been working with Liam Smith. The upcoming Australian Open will be his 54th appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. He has only reached the quarter-finals at the Melbourne major once which was back in 2016.

So far in his career Monfils has won 10 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as sixth in the world.

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Alex de Minaur Says US Open Breakthrough Was A ‘Dark Time’ For Him

A milestone performance at a major is usually a reason for celebration but for the world No.23 it was bittersweet.

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A turbulent 2020 season marred by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has only added fuel to the fire for Australia’s top ranked player Alex de Minaur.

 

The 21-year-old Sydney-born player is currently ranked just five places below his career high at 23rd in the world. At present he is the third youngest player in the top 30 on the ATP Tour after the Canadian duo of Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Last year de Minaur broke new territory at the US Open with a run to the quarter-finals in what is his best performance at a Grand Slam to date. At Flushing Meadows he scored wins over the likes of Richard Gasquet, Karen Khachanov and Vasek Pospisil. He was stopped in his tracks by Dominic Thiem who went on to win the title.

Despite his New York run, de Minaur believes it wasn’t his ‘best achievement.’ Even though he had only reached the fourth round of a major once in 11 attempts leading up to it. For him, mentally he wasn’t in the best place due to the effects lockdown had on him last year. During the 2020 Tour shutdown he was residing in his training camp in Spain.

2020 was a tough year. Obviously I had my best result at a Slam (Grand Slam tournament) but it doesn’t feel like my best achievement, de Minaur told ABC News Australia.
“It was still a dark time. I wasn’t feeling great. It was just mentally — I wouldn’t say — my best performance.
“I ended up putting a couple of matches together and I had my best result. It’s still something to be proud of but still 2020 as a whole, I would say, I had a lot of expectations for it and … it’s just fuelling the hunger for 2021, to make it even better.”

Striving for a bigger and better year, the Australian started 2021 off in the best possible way by winning his fourth ATP title at the Antalya Open in Turkey. His most high-profile win at the tournament was over world No.16 David Goffin in the semi-finals. As for the months ahead, de Minaur is staying coy about his expectations.

I’ve got my goal in my head of where I want to be when 2021 finishes up, but it’s a goal that I don’t like to say out loud,” he said.
“It’s a goal that me and my team had and this is a strong start. Realistically I want to keep pushing myself up the rankings, keep putting myself at the end of weeks and keep pushing these top guys.
“That’s where I believe I should be and where I want to be and I’ll do everything I can to get there.”

The next test will be the ATP Cup where de Minaur will be hoping to guide his country to the title. It was at the tournament last year where he suffered an injury which ruled him out of the Australian Open.

“Hopefully I can be playing my best tennis at the ATP Cup and the Aussie Open,” he concluded.

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Andy Murray won’t travel to Australia

Andy Murray will miss next month’s Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago.

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Andy Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Andy Murray has made it official, he won’t be making the trip down under after working with Tennis Australia to find a viable solution to make it work.

 

“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”

Murray was scheduled to fly to Australia with one of charter flights but due to a positive Covid test wasn’t able to make the flight and put his tournament in jeopardy.

Although he missed the chartered flights there was still a small chance he would play but had to workout an agreement with Tennis Australia to make it work. However it didn’t work and was gutted with the news.

“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”

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