Grigor Dimitrov copes with windy conditions to reach Delray Beach semi-finals, faces surprise opponent in Rajeev Ram (Highlights included) - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov copes with windy conditions to reach Delray Beach semi-finals, faces surprise opponent in Rajeev Ram (Highlights included)

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Grigor Dimitrov rebounded strongly from a minor wobble in the second set to win in straight sets against Adrian Mannarino (Image via Zimbio.com)

Grigor Dimitrov was in the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2014, but that represented his career highlight to date. The Bulgarian has since struggled, and has not won a title since the year of his excellent Wimbledon run. He managed to ensure that he remains on track to change things though, as he beat Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 7-5 to reach the semi-finals in a blustery Delray Beach. His opponent will be veteran American Rajeev Ram, who defeated German Benjamin Becker 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

 

Both men held strongly through most of the first set, with Dimitrov imperious on first serve, winning all eleven points on that statistic. Mannarino was also playing well in their first career meeting, consistently staying with Dimitrov despite serving from behind. The problem with serving from behind though, is that you are under pressure first as the set nears conclusion, and Dimitrov pounced at five-four, earning three break points, and taking the third. In the blink of an eye Dimitrov had the first set and would again serve first in the second.

Dimitrov did start dropping a few points on first serve in the second, but not nearly enough to give Mannarino a proper look at breaking. To his credit, the Frenchman dusted off the disappointment of the first set, returning to holding serve fairly comfortably through the second, and again stayed with Dimitrov, to four-all. Neither man had faced a break point in the second.

Dimitrov faced a wobble at four-all, double-faulting to give Mannarino a glimmer of a chance at love-thirty, and Mannarino would eventually break to fifteen to serve for the second set. Dimitrov mounted a furious charge, breaking back at the same point he had broken in the first, at five-four though this time it was Mannarino serving ahead, and the break of serve merely meant level terms and not the end of the match.

Dimitrov continued to struggle, double-faulting for the second successive game, and his fourth of the set and match. Going down love-thirty again, Dimitrov this time limited it to a minor wobble, winning the next four points to then put Mannarino under pressure to take the match to a tiebreak. Mannarino could not accomplish the task, going down love-forty after struggling to put first serves in play, and Dimitrov would complete the break and win the match having won the last three games in a row.

Dimitrov on the weather pre-match: “It was so swirly out there that I only practised for 20 minutes. You just have to stay focused and get the job done.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lRcZVLwe_A

Dimitrov’s opponent will be a surprise in Rajeev Ram. Ram achieved his career-high ranking of no.78 in 2009, seven years ago, but looks in great shape to surpass that at the veteran age of thirty-one. Ram is a surprise semi-finalist given that his only previous hard-court semi-final came four years ago at the LA 250,where he lost to Sam Querrey. His ranking is largely based on challenger success and his excellent record at the Hall of Fame Championships in Rhode Island, a grass-court tournament played shortly after Wimbledon, where he is the current defending champion. Yet Ram managed to defeat in-form German veteran Benjamin Becker in a come from behind victory.

In a match featuring a number of service breaks, Ram managed to spread his four breaks across the two sets that he won, whilst Becker could only two in the first and his third early in the final set, when he and Ram traded breaks before the American pulled away.

 

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Marcos Giron overcomes Jaume Munar at the Sofia Open

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Marcos Giron converted his 10th match point in a 20-minute final game to overcome Jaume Munar 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-4 in almost three hours at the Sofia Open. Giron claimed his seventh win in his past ten matches. 

 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Giron edged Munar 7-2 with two mini-breaks. Munar broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the second set 6-1. 

Giron fended  off three break points in the 10th game before serving out the match in the 10th game of the decider. The US player saved all five break points he faced and converted three of his break point chances  

“The first set was close. I feel like I had chances, but he played better than me in the tie-break. I thought I did a great job resetting and adjusting in the second set, and then in the third set I was able to get the break early, but he kept holding on. I am happy to get through that, it was a battle. That might be the most match points I have ever had”, said Giron. 

Giron set up a second round match against Alex De Minaur. In their previous head-to-head match Giron beat De Minaur 7-5 7-6 (7-5). 

Bulgarian wild card Dimitar Kuzmanov came back from one set down to beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 after 3 hours and 5 minutes. 

Musetti went down 0-3 but he pulled the break back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. Musetti broke in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, but he dropped his serve in the tenth game. Musetti went up a 4-0 lead in the tie-break with two mini-breaks. He earned five set points at 6-1. Kuzmanov saved three set points, but Musetti converted his fourth chance to win the tie-break 7-4. 

Musetti missed six break points in three return games in the second set. The Italian Next Gen player saved two break points at 5-5. Kuzmanov rallied from 0-2 down to win the tie-break 7-3. Kuzmanov won 12 points from 2-2 in the third set to cruise through to a 6-3 lead. 

John Millman beat Mikael Ymer 6-2 6-4 in their first head-to-head match. Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the opening set. Millman broke serve at love in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. The second set started with three consecutive breaks, as Ymer took a 2-1 lead. Millman came back from 2-4 down by winning four consecutive games to close out the second set 6-4. “At this level every match is a bit of a battle, but I was really happy with how I played here in my first match. Getting used to the conditions is so important and right from the start I thought I set a really good level”, said Millman.

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Brandon Nakashima rallies from one set down to beat Fabio Fognini in San Diego

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US Next Gen player Brandon Nakashima came back from one set down to beat former world number 9 Fabio Fognini 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 7-5 at the San Diego Open. Nakashima set up a second round match against Andrey Rublev. 

 

Nakashima won 80% of his first serve points, including hit eight aces, and won 63% of second serves. 

Fognini went up a 2-0 lead with a break, but Nakashima broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Fognini saved a break point in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and two match points n the 10th game but Nakashima broke serve at 15 in the 12h game to close out the third set 7-5. 

“I did not think I played bad in the first set. He just played a bit better at and that’s all it takes against a player like that, but luckily I was able to regroup quickly, get a break in the first game of the second set and tried to ride the momentum from there”, said Nakashima. 

Aslan Karatsev won 84% of his first set points and did not face a break point in his 6-1 7-5 win over Federico Delbonis. Karatsev broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the first set 6-1. Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games. Karatsev earned his second break in the 11th game on the fourth deuce to win the second set 7-5. Karatsev is bidding for his second ATP Tour level title after winning in Dubai last March. The Russian player will face either Metz Moselle Open champion Hubert Hurkacz or Australian qualifier Alex Bolt.

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International Tennis Hall Of Fame To Mark Emma Raducanu’s US Open Win

The teenager has donated some of her clothing to the ITHF collection.

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2021 US Open Women's Singles Champion Emma Raducanu at the 2021 US Open, Saturday, Sep. 11, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

The outfit worn by Emma Raducanu during her historic run at the US Open has a new home after the tennis star agreed to donate it to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.

 

Raducanu stunned the tennis world in New York by becoming the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam title. The 18-year-old defeated two top 20 players en route to the title and didn’t drop a set in 10 matches played. She is the first British woman to win a major since Virginia Wade in 1977 and the first in history to win a Grand Slam on what was only her second main draw appearance.

To celebrate Raducanu’s rapid rise in the sport, her Nike Heritage classic style V-neck red tank top with contrast trims and a blue skirt with red pleats will be put on display in the Tennis Hall of Fame’s museum in Rhode Island.

“A legendary run: preserved,” the Tennis Hall of Fame tweeted.
“Thank you, @EmmaRaducanu, for donating your memorable #USOpen outfit to the ITHF collection!”

Raducanu is currently at a ranking high of 22nd in the world which is more than 300 places higher than the position she was in at the start of the year. She is currently on a search for a new coach after parting ways with Andrew Richardson. Raducanu says she wants to collaborate with somebody who has more experience of the WTA Tour.

In the wake of her US Open success, there have been suggestions that the rising star could be among the favourites to win the Australian Open which will take place in January. Coincidentally next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the last time a British woman won the tournament. However, Raducanu has dismissed such suggestions.

“If I’m seeded, then I’m seeded, but favourite? I think one tournament, you can’t really say I’m a favourite. I’m still so new to everything.” She said during a recent LTA event celebrating British winners of the US Open.
“I just feel like I’m learning and absorbing all the knowledge that I’m gaining like a sponge and soaking it all in.
“That’s what I really want to do. I’m not focused on results, I’m focused on how much I can learn because that’s what’s really going to drive me forward.”

Raducanu has pulled out of this week’s Chicago Fall Tennis Classic but she is expected to return to action next week in Indian Wells.

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