Teenage Triumph For Noah Rubin and Omar Jasika as Nick Kyrgios Entertains The Crowd In Melbourne - UBITENNIS
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Teenage Triumph For Noah Rubin and Omar Jasika as Nick Kyrgios Entertains The Crowd In Melbourne

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Noah Rubin plays a forehand in his first round match against Benoit Paire of France during day one of the 2016 Australian Open. (Darrian Traynor/Zimbio.com)

There were cheers and cries from the young talents of the ATP Tour during the opening day of the Australian Open as Noah Rubin rewrote the record books.

 

World No.335 Rubin received a wildcard into the tournament after winning a Challenger tournament in Charlottesville  during the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge last year. In the first round, he faced a daunting prospect against French world No.18 Benoit Paire. The occasion didn’t faze Rubin on Monday as he stunned Paire 7-6(4),7-6(6),7-6(5).

The stunning victory produced by the 19-year-old has also sealed his name in the record books. Rubin is the first player ranked outside the top 300 to win a main draw match at the Australian Open since 1985. He is also the first player outside the top 300 to get a Grand Slam main draw win since the 2011 Wimbledon Championships.

Shortly after Rubin’s win, another shock triumph occurred for a youngster ranked outside the top 300. World No.311 Omar Jasika stunned Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko 6-4,3-6,6-0,6-4. Jasika is best known for winning the 2014 US Open Boys title. In the second round the 18-year-old will play either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Marcos Baghdatis.

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios required only 91 minutes to move past Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. In typical Kyrgios fashion, the 20-year-old received a warning from the umpire during the second set due to a verbal obscenity. He also bizarrely sang some Katy Perry lyrics during one of his changeovers. Besides the momentary lapses in concentration during the second set, Kyrgios remained dominant throughout the match.

Despite being known as a showman in the sport, Kyrgios admitted after his match that he was suffering from nerves.

“I was actually very nervous coming out here,” Kyrgios said.
“Obviously I haven’t played a real match (this year before this). I played the Hopman Cup and had a great week there.
“Coming out here with the memories I have from last year, it was really special to get the win on my favourite court in the world.
“It was really special to come out and play in front of you fans again and get the win.”

The opening day of action in Melbourne also saw disappointment for young players. Britain’s Kyle Edmund lead by two sets and 3-1 before suffering a five set loss to Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur. Edmund was hampered by a leg injury as well as cramping during the later stages of the match. The Brit spoke of his frustration during following the loss.

“You can’t play full out because you lose confidence in your movement and when you do move you start to cramp up again,” he told reporters.
“It was the same situation I felt in Davis Cup where I couldn’t do anything.
“To beat these guys you have to be 100%. You can’t play with your body cramping. It’s frustrating.”

Finally, Borna Coric produced a below-par performance during his straight sets loss to Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The Croat produced 36 unforced errors and convert 0/7 break points, losing 6-2,6-2,6-3.

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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