ATP Quito: Thomaz Bellucci comes from behind to defeat Paolo Lorenzi in Ecuador - UBITENNIS
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ATP Quito: Thomaz Bellucci comes from behind to defeat Paolo Lorenzi in Ecuador

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Bellucci is in the first final of the South American clay swing in 2016 (Image via zimbio.com)

Thomaz Bellucci is one of the most accomplished players on a clay court in men’s tennis, and the Brazilian lived up to that pedigree on Saturday in Quito, as he showed excellent resolve to recover from losing the first set to defeat Paolo Lorenzi in three sets 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

 

Lorenzi was expected to be a tough proposition after the Italian had taken out the top seed Bernard Tomic in the quarter-finals. The sixth seed proved exactly that by taking the first set from the third seed as he was on the right side of three breaks. Lorenzi was serving well, with five aces and above fifty percent on both first and second serve in the first set.

In the second set, Lorenzi’s fine serving came back down to earth, and Bellucci found more and more opportunities. The breaks came and Bellucci tidied up his own service, losing just seven points in total on his serve, with most of them coming in a single game where Lorenzi forced break points. When the Italian failed to take those opportunities, Bellucci ensured he was not handed another. A battle in the final game of the second set, with Lorenzi serving saw Bellucci break for the set, and the advantage of serving first going into the final set.

In the final set the transition from Lorenzi’s dominating play of the first set, to Bellucci’s form of the second set culminated in Bellucci running away with the match in the third. Lorenzi managed average serving numbers, whilst Bellucci lost only two points in the entire set on his serve. The relentless pressure took its toll on Lorenzi and Bellucci secured the break, and the match.

He will face the winner of Victor Estrella-Burgos and Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the final.

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Simona Halep moves into the quarter final in Stuttgart

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Number 2 seed Simona Halep beat 2019 Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3 without facing a break point to cruise into the quarter finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart for the fourth time in her six appearances at this toournament. Halep reached two semifinals in Stuttgart in 2015 and 2017. 

 

Vondrousova came into the match with a 2-0 lead in her head-to-head matches against Halep after her previous two wins over her Romanian player in Indian Wells on hard-court and in Rome on clay. 

Halep hit 22 winners to 13 unforced errors. Vondrousova held her first service game, but Halep broke serve three times to win the first set 6-1. Both players went on serve in the first seven games of the second set. Vondrousova went down 0-40 on return in the eighth game. She saved one break point with an ace, but Vondrousova double faulted on the second break point to drop serve. Halep made a double fault and a forehand error to trail 0-30 at 5-3, but she won the next four points to reach the quarter finals. 

Halep will face either Belinda Bencic or Ekaterina Alexandrova in the quarter final on Friday. 

Former champion Karolina Pliskova came back from one set down to beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 6-3 after 2 hours and 23 minutes. The Czech player has reached her second quarter final of the year. Pliskova fired 21 aces, equalliing her career-best amount in a single match. 

Before this match Pliskova was 3-3 level in her previous six head-to-head matches against Vondrousova, who beat her Czech rival 6-4 6-2 in the second round of Roland Garros last year. Pliskova beat Ostapenko in the quarter final of the 2018 Stuttgart Porsche Grand Prix en route to the title. 

Pliskova broke serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-2 lead in the first set. Ostapenko broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4 and fended off three break points at 5-5. 

Ostapenko went up a 4-0 lead in the tie-break. Pliskova came back by winning five consecutive points to take a 5-4 lead. Ostapenko saved a set point in the tie-break at 5-6 before winning the tie-break 9-7 on her second set point. 

Pliskova hit three return winners to break serve for 4-2 in the sixth game of the second set. Ostepenko fended off set points at 3-5 before breaking back with a return winner in the ninth game for 4-5. Pliskova broke again in the 10th game to seal the second set 6-4 after Ostapenko made her eighth double fault. 

Pliskova earned the decisive break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead after Ostapenko sent her backhand long. The Czech player hit two double faults serving for the match, but she sealed her first first match point after a wayward forehand from Ostapenko. 

Pliskova set up a quarter final match against world number 1 player and 2019 Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty. 

Number 5 seed Aryna Sabalenka beat German qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsman 6-4 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes. The 2021 Abu Dhabi champion hit 34 winners to 20 unforced errors and converted all of her four break points. 

Sabalenka converted her second break point in the third game of the opening set. Friedsam broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Both players went on serve until the ninth game, when Sabalenka got the break in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-4. Sabalenka went up a double break in the first and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches his seventh quarter final of the season in Barcelona

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Last week’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Alex De Minaur 7-5 6-3 in 84 minutes to secure his spot in the quarter finals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Tsitsipas has extended his win-loss record to 24-5 in the 2021 ATP Tour season.

 

The first set went on serve with no break points until the 12th game, when De Minaur made his seventh unforced error of the set to give Tsitsipas two set points. De Minaur saved a set point with a drop shot winner. Tsitsipas hit a forehand to get the first break of match on the next point to seal  the first set 7-5.

De Minaur converted his third break point in the first game of the second set and held his serve to take a 2-0 lead. Tsitsipas won five of the next six games with two breaks of serve in the fourth and eighth game to clinch the second set 6-3. 

The young Greek star has reached at least the quarter finals at all seven tournaments he has played in 2021. 

Tsitsipas set up a quarter final against Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-3. Tsitsipas leads 3-2 in his five head-to-head matches against Auger Aliassime and beat his younger Canadian rival 7-5 4-6 6-3 in the Acapulco quarter final. 

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Andrey Rublev sets up quarter final clash against Jannik Sinner in Barcelona

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Last week’s Monte-Carlo finalist Andrey Rublev battled past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 after 2 hours and 27 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

 

Rublev opened up a 4-1 lead with a break in the fourth game of the opening set. Ramos Vinolas broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4. Rublev claimed the first set 6-4 with his second break in the 10th game. 

Ramos Vinolas saved two break points to hold serve after six deuces for 3-3. The next games went on serve en route to the tie-break. The Spanish player won the tie-break 7-4 with two mini-breaks. 

Rublev went up a 4-2 lead with a break in the fifth game of the third set, but Ramos Vinolas recovered once again by breaking back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Rublev converted his second break point in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Ramos Vinolas was not able to convert four break points at 4-5 and Rublev closed out the third set with a forehand winner. 

“Nothing has changed. I didn’t learn my lessons. The most important thing is that I managed to win today. When you are not doing something correctly, but you are still winning matches, it gives you confidence. Albert was playing much better than me early in the third set, but you never know which way it will go”, said Rublev.  

Rublev set up a quarter final against Jannik Sinner, who edged past Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (11-9) 6-2 after 1 hor and 52 minutes. Rublev met Sinner only once in the Vienna Round of 16 last year, but the Italian was forced to withdraw from the match withdrew from the match due to a right foot injury.  

Bautista Agut earned his first break in the third game, but Sinner broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Sinner saved a break point in the fifth game to hold serve fo 3-2 at deuce. The world number 19 broke serve in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead, but he wasted a set point in the ninth game. Bautista Agut broke back to draw level to 5-5. Both players held their next service games en route to the tie-break. 

Sinner saved three set points at 5-6, 7-8 and 8-9 in the tie-break of the first set before winning the tie-break 11-9 on his third set point. 

Sinner earned an early break in the first game and saved a break-back point to open up a 2-0 lead. The Italian player saved three break points to hold his serve in a very long fourth game. The 2019 Sofia Open and Great Ocean Road Open champion went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Sinner has improved his head-to-head record to 3-0 against Bautista Agut. Earlier this year the Italian Next Gen player beat his Spanish rival in three sets in the Dubai Round of 16 and in the Miami semifinal.

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