Challenger Tour: Marco Chiudinelli's resurgence in 2016 continues, disappointment for highly-rated Swede - UBITENNIS
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Challenger Tour: Marco Chiudinelli’s resurgence in 2016 continues, disappointment for highly-rated Swede

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Chiudinelli was once ranked inside the Top 100, but was last ranked inside in 2010 (Image via Zimbio.com)

Marco Chiudinelli has been around tennis for a long time, and been involved in some spectacular matches, notably a marathon Davis Cup doubles match were he partnered Stan Wawrinka to defeat against the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych and Lukaz Rosol in a seven hour thriller. Chiudinelli’s opponents today are far less illustrious, but the veteran Swiss is still going strong.

 

Wednesday in Bergamo, Chiudinelli defeated young Frenchman Quentin Halys 7-6, 7-5 to make the quarter-finals. Chiudinelli edged the tie-break, before saving numerous break points in the second before stealing in to break for the match as Halys tired to take it to another tie-break. It’s already an excellent run for the thirty-four year old, as he made the draw as an alternate before dismissing eighth seed Konstantin Kravchuk in straight sets.

First round highlights from Monday and Tuesday saw Trisan Lamasine defeat teenage Swede Elias Ymer 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. Gregoire Barrere looked down and out against fellow qualifier Dzmitry Zhrymont, with the Belorussian up five-two and then six-four in the final set tie-break. Barrere recovered to win that epic ten-eight.

Seeds fell like stones in play on Monday and Tuesday, with top seed Yuki Bhambri beaten by another alternate, Peter Gojowcyzk 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. The German took further advantage of his fortune by beating Andrey Kuznetsov again in a come-back victory in the second round, this time 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Incredibly, just two seeds emerged from the first round, as Egor Gerasimov beat third seed Nikolaz Basilashvili 7-5, 6-3, and Farrukh Dustov defeated Mirza Basic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Second seed Ruben Bemelmans rounded up the shocks as he went down 6-3, 6-4 to Marton Fucsovics. Go Soeda dropped a set to qualifier Andreas Beck, but won through 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Michael Berrer almost went one further, as he was outplayed in the first set by Radek Stepanek, but edged the veteran 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

With the draw massively open going into Wednesday, yet another seed fell, this time in second round action. Go Soeda escaped a tough first round match but was easily defeated by Pierre Hugues-Herbert 6-4, 6-3. Egor Gerasimov also took care of former Top 100 player Igor Sijsling 6-1, 6-2.

There is still one first round encounter left to play, as Dustin Brown and Aldin Setkic highlight the night session in Bergamo.

Quarter-Final Draw and Predictions:

Peter Gojowcyzk vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert: Gojowcyzk has done exceptionally well in two tough matches this week, but he has made a slow start, losing the first set in each encounter. If the same happens against Herbert I do not see him working his way out of trouble. Prediction: Herbert in straight sets.

Other quarter-final match-ups yet to be determined.

 

 

 

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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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