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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(VIADEO) Australian Open Day Eight: Rafael Nadal Muzzles Kyrgios At Night

The match that everybody was talking about on the second Monday of the grand slam lived up to expectations.

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Rafa Nadal - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

Ben Rothenberg from The New York Times joins Ubitennis to look back on Rafael Nadal’s latest win over Nick Kyrgios. The four-set triumph now sees the top seed extend his winning head-to-head record to 5-3. However, was the latest match between the two tennis stars as good as their clash at Wimbledon last year?

 

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Rafael Nadal Protest Innocence Of Fellow Player Over Failed Drugs Test

The 19-time grand slam champion has jumped to the defence of the former top 50 tennis star from South America.

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World No.1 Rafael Nadal has said he is “100% sure” that one of his fellow rivals on the tour didn’t deliberately take an illegal substance after being issued with a provisional suspension by the International Tennis Federation.

 

Nicolas Jarry is currently prohibited from playing on the tour after failing a drugs test during the Davis Cup finals last year. A sample of the Chilean player tested positive for traces of Ligandrol and Stanozolo, which are both banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Jarry, who won his first ATP title at the Swedish Open last July, has since issued a statement in which he believes his failed tests was caused by the consumption of multivitamins made in Brazil.

“Last November, while I was playing Davis Cup for Chile, I underwent two urine tests. The first one was clean but the second one detected two banned substances.” Jarry said.
“The levels of these substances are so incredibly low that they are equivalent to a trillionth of a gram, levels so low that neither substances could have provided me any performance enhancing benefit.’
“I would like to let you know that I have never deliberately or intentionally taken any banned substance in my career as a tennis player and in fact, I am completely opposed to doping.”

Questioned about Jarry’s current suspension following his roller coaster win over Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open, Nadal believes the 24-year-old did not intentionally mean to break the rules. The two have never faced each other on the ATP Tour.

“I am 100% sure it was not of his own accord. I know both Jarry and his family and I know what kind of people they are.” Mundo Deportivo quoted Nadal as saying in Spanish.
“Sometimes things happen unconsciously. We go to restaurants and anyone can leave you in an unprotected situation. From here I want to encourage him and tell him that I believe in him.”

However, it has since emerged that a previous coach of Jarry had also failed a doping test in the past. Former Argentinian player Martin Rodriguez forfeited his prize money earned at the 2002 Swiss Indoors due to an ‘excessive amount of caffeine’ in his sample. It is unclear as to if Jarry is related to Rodriguez by blood. An article published by the ATP says they are, but The Telegraph contradicts this in a separate investigation they conducted.

Nadal isn’t the only player to stand up for Jarry, who has been ranked as high as 38th in the world. Another is Dominic Thiem. The two-time French Open finalist has branded the suspension as ‘ridiculous.’ Thiem is coached by Nicolas Massu, who is the captain of the Chilean Davis Cup team.

“He [Jarry] was tested negative in Paris Bercy,” Thiem told The Telegraph on January 20th. “Then his mother brought him multivitamin tablets to the Davis Cup finals in Madrid. He took them there. Then he was tested positive. For me the whole story, that he was tested positive, is ridiculous.
“First of all, he lost 12 or 13 matches in a row. Then he is not that type of player, where doping would help him.
“In general it is a complete farce how much we are restricted about things. If we forgot our electrolyte drinks at home, we cannot buy anything – not even in a supplement store in the US – without being worried that something is contaminated.”

Jarry is awaiting a hearing with the ITF where a verdict will be made on his future in the sport.

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Garbine Muguruza Doesn’t Care About Her Ranking As Australian Open Run Continues

The Spanish star has now achieved her best grand slam run in almost two years at Melbourne Park.

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After experiencing a roller coaster 2019 on the tour, Garbine Muguruza looks to be back on track at the Australian Open following her latest triumph.

 

The former world No.1 extended her winning run in Melbourne on Monday with a 6-3, 6-3, win over ninth seed Kiki Bertens. Making it the second top 10 player she has defeated in the tournament after Elina Svitolina. In her latest clash, the Spaniard was broken at the start of both sets, but managed to turn her fortunes around with the help of a dominant display behind her first serve. Where she won 28 out of 31 points. Muguruza also hit 19 winners to 18 unforced errors.

“I feel good in this tournament. I’m super concentrated on every single match, especially because I started the tournament so-so. I feel like my body’s getting healthier.” Said Muguruza.
“It’s a Grand Slam, we are all very concentrated here. For me, it’s one of the tournaments that motivates me the most.”

As a result of her latest win, Muguruza is through to the last eight of a major for the first time since the 2018 French Open. It is only the second time she has managed to reach the quarter-final stage in Melbourne and first since 2017.

The surge comes at a time where the 26-year-old is trying to establish her footing on the tour. Unseeded in the draw, she is currently ranked 32nd in the world. 14 places lower than where she was 12 months ago. Not that it bothers her in any way.

“You know what? Who cares about the ranking, honestly. I feel like it’s just a sign of probably the last results. At the end you go out there and you play.” She explained.
“I don’t even know the rankings of the ones I’m playing. I know who they are. I know the matches we’ve had. But it doesn’t affect me so much.’
“Of course, the higher you are, the more beautiful it is. But it’s not that important to me no more after these years.”

Muguruza’s laid back approach to her current position is understandable given the openness of women’s tennis. The past 12 major tournaments have been won by 10 different players. During that period Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep are the only players to win multiple titles. At present there are 16 active grand slam champions playing on the WTA Tour.

The question remains about whether Muguruza has what it takes to go all the way in Melbourne. No Spanish woman has reached the final of the tournament since Conchita Martinez back in 1998, who coincidentally is now coaching Muguruza on the tour.

“She’s very, very aggressive as she was when she was playing her best tennis.” Martinez told reporters about Muguruza’s current form.
“Physically, I see her (playing) very well. She’s getting to the balls early enough. You can see she’s holding her ground really well, accelerating, finishing at the net a lot. That’s always nice to see.’
“Things like that you can see a little bit more and more. So it’s good to see.”

Muguruza will play either Angelique Kerber or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the next round.

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