Second seed Bernard Tomic shocked by Rajeev Ram, Top seed Kevin Anderson retires in Delray Beach - UBITENNIS
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Second seed Bernard Tomic shocked by Rajeev Ram, Top seed Kevin Anderson retires in Delray Beach

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Kevin Anderson’s injury-ridden start to the year continued with a retirement loss to Austin Krajicek (Image via Zimbio.com)

It was a good day for Americans in Delray Beach, as two of the home contingent accounted for the top two seeds. Austin Krajicek won when Kevin Anderson retired after the top seed had lost the first set on a tie-break, and second seed Bernard Tomic was beaten by Rajeev Ram 7-6, 6-1. 

When the draw was announced, Austin Krajicek was likely cursing his luck that he had been placed in the same bracket as Kevin Anderson. Yet Krajicek, who fell out of the Top 100 this week, earned his luck, winning a place in the second round when Anderson retired 6-7 down. It marks a bad start to the year for South African, after he had enjoyed the best year of his career in 2015. He was forced to retire from the Australian Open with a knee injury, but it was a shoulder injury that curtailed his chances at this event. Anderson had led 3-0 before Krajicek levelled with Anderson’ service notably struggling, and the top seed decided enough was enough after losing the tie-break.

Bernard Tomic had no such excuses against Rajeev Ram however, as the American scored a huge shock over the Australian second seed. Ram is best known for his exploits on grass, having won the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport twice. A number of his points responsible for his Top 100 ranking are as a result of having won the second of his two titles in 2015. Yet he proved his worth on the hard-courts as he edged a tie-break. Tomic then lost his composure, as Ram raced away with the second set, breaking twice and losing just two points on serve. Tomic’s season is off to a slow start. After a reasonable run at the Australian Open, Tomic lost early on the South American clay, before heading north for this event.

Steve Johnson was another home winner, as the sixth seed put his defeat to Taylor Fritz swiftly behind him. Johnson banished the ghosts of that two tie-break loss, edging a thrilling decider ten-eight after he and John Millman had split the opening two sets. The final score was 6-3, 5-7, 7-6.

Dennis Novikov ensured that the Americans did not remain perfect in the daytime matches however, as he lost 6-2, 6-2 to fellow qualifier Tatsuma Ito. Finally Damir Dzumhur gained revenge for his defeat in Memphis last week, as he beat Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-2.

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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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