In early singles in play in Chennai there was a surprise as Ante Pavic ignored a nearly four hundred ranking difference to defeat former top ten star Nicolas Almagro 3-6, 7-5, 7-6.
Affairs had looked to be going according to ranking early on as Almagro took the first set 6-3. The Spaniard now ranked No. 73, broke twice, and managed to avoid a comeback from Pavic in taking the first set. The Croatian though ten settled behind stronger serving, with his ace count increasing in each set. Almagro also struggled to make as strong an impression on the Pavic second serve than he had in the opening set. Pavic was able to secure the solitary break late on in the second set to level at a set apiece.
Most would still have predicted an Almagro win however Pavic continued to hold his own, securing service games, and making stronger inroads against the Almagro serve than at any point in the first two sets. Yet it was not enough to force a break of serve Both men split four break opportunities but neither could convert, with the match going to a final set decider. It was arguably here that the match turned, as Pavic, with the stronger confidence behind serve surged ahead and won seven-one.
Pavic is better than his current ranking of No.449 suggests, as he once ranked at No.136 less than two years ago, in late 2014. However beating a player like Almagro will surely represent his best career victory.
The other two matches in Chennai also went the distance, as fans definitely got their money’s worth in terms of drama. John Millman opted to play Chennai despite events at both tour and challenger level in his home country of Australia. So far it has paid off, as Millman edged an opponent just one ranking place removed from him in the first week of the season. No.92 Millman and No.91 Evgeny Donskoy played out a match as close as their ranking difference would suggest, Millman finally winning 6-7, 6-4, 7-6.
The final match in Chennai saw a tour veteran battle gamely against one of the game’s brightest young talents. Marcel Granollers has seen his ranking slip to No.82 from a career high of No.19 nearly four years ago but played nineteen year-old Borna Coric close, with the Croatian eventually winning 7-6, 2-6, 6-4.
After Monday’s taster of the season, the Chennai begins in earnest on Tuesday with Andrey Rublev against Somdev Devvarman perhaps the most intriguing of the first ties, with the young Russian Rublev looking to make serious improvements in his fledgling ranking status over 2016. Briton Aljaz Bedene is also in action against Vasek Pospisil, and there is an All-American clash between Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek. Karen Khachanov is a young talent but has a tough match against wily lefty Gilles Muller.
Chennai Match-list Tuesday. (bold denotes British player/s)
Andrey Rublev vs Somdev Devvarman
Taro Daniel vs Guillermo Garcia-lopez
Santiago Giraldo vs Lukaz Rosol
Karen Khachanov vs Gilles Muller
Aljaz Bedene vs Vasek Pospisil
Rajeev Ram vs Austin Krajicek
Thomas Fabbiano vs Jozek Kovalik
Ramkumar Ramanathan vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver
Fans will likely have to wait until Wednesday to see the top four seeds in action as Stan Wawrinka, Kevin Anderson, Benoit Paire, and Roberto Bautista-Agut all enjoy first-round byes.
Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo
World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo.
Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina.
Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown.
Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead.
Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2.
Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4.
Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.
“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit.
Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo
Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117 Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2.
Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5.
Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2.
Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets.
Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco.
Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point.
Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games.
Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance.
“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi.
Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open.
The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai.
Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006.
“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit.
Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia
ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital.
The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October).
“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi.
During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.
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