Taylor Fritz produces brilliant comeback win to beat Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis and earn a place in his first ATP final - UBITENNIS
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Taylor Fritz produces brilliant comeback win to beat Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis and earn a place in his first ATP final

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Fritz defeated Berankis in three tough sets to advance to the finals of a ATP event for the first time in his career.

Taylor Fritz produced yet another stunning comeback as the American teenager as he recovered from the loss of the first set to  beat Ricardas Berankis 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. 

 

The American had struggled badly in the first set, as the Lithuanian came out of the blocks firing, breaking Fritz three times for a six-two score as Berankis did himself surrender a break to the young American. Fritz lost twenty points on serve in the first set, and Berankis looked well placed to win the match.

Fritz broke in the second as he earned a break point by hitting a passing shot that Berankis found too hot to handle and then defending well, forcing Berankis to miss fractionally up the line with a backhand. Fritz’s overall numbers improved dramatically in the second set, as he dropped just eight points in total, Berankis continued to struggle on second serve, and a drop of his first serve percentage was ultimately his undoing in the second set.

Fritz managed to take the lead in the third when Berankis double-faulted. Berankis was able to retrieve the break, and at four-all the match looked like it could go either way. Berankis then gave Fritz a helping hand, double-faulting yet again on break point to give the young American the advantage. Fritz then served for a place in his first ever ATP Tour final. Berankis however, put up a fight, and forced it back to deuce, saving two match points in the process. He even earned a break back opportunity, but it was Fritz who once again showed the mental strength and character, holding to win the match, and going through to face the winner of Kei Nishikori and Sam Querrey.

He is the youngest American to reach the final of a main tour tournament since Michael Chang. Fritz has now beaten Michael Mmoh, Steve Johnson, Benjamin Becker, and Ricardas Berankis to reach the final.

If Fritz wins the title, he will break into the Top 100 as a teenager.

Fritz has a habit of producing come from behind victories from wins against the likes of Dustin Brown and earlier this week he broke then defeated Benjamin Becker in a tiebreak after the German had served for the match at six-five in the third.

Fritz is three-one in Challenger finals having recorded wins over Jared Donaldson, Dustin Brown, and Dudi Sela. The win over Sela came earlier this year in Happy Valley. His lone defeat in a final came to Swiss Henri Laaksonen last year.

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New British No.1 Cameron Norrie Inspired By Compatriot Raducanu

The Indian Wells champion believes Raducanu’s triumph will trigger a new generation of players in the country.

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Cameron Norrie ad Indian Wells 2021 (Credits: @BNPPARIBASOPEN on Twitter)

Cameron Norrie says he drew inspiration from Emma Raducanu prior to winning the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

 

The world No.16 stunned the men’s field at the tournament where he had never won a main draw match prior to this year. Norrie defeated Diego Schwartzman, Grigor Dimitrov and Nikoloz Basilashvili to become the first player from his country to win the prestigious title. The run has resulted in him achieving a series of career milestones. After claiming his maiden Masters 1000 title, Norrie has broken into the world’s top 20 for the first time this week and has overtaken Dan Evans to become British No.1.

Norrie credits Raducanu’s US Open run for inspiring him and believes her success is ‘huge for British tennis.’ The 18-year-old became the first qualifier in history to win a major title in New York as she won 10 matches in a row without dropping a set. Her victories include wins over top 20 players Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari.

“That was utterly incredible what she did in New York. To come through qualifying and then to go out and just whack every opponent that she had,” he told Sky Sports.
“She won in straight sets and to do that at such a young age. To do it with that kind of confidence and come out and own every match was extremely impressive.
“It will definitely give the girls around her ranking where she was before the US Open a lot of confidence and a lot of belief.
“I was inspired by her triumph in New York. It’s huge for British tennis. I think for sure it’s going to put a lot of rackets in hand for the next generation of younger boys and girls to start playing tennis at home in the UK.”

Norrie himself is currently in the midst of what has been a breakout season for the 26-year-old who was a former top-ranked player in the US during his college years. He ties Novak Djokovic for most appearances in a Tour final this season at six. Three of those finals were on a hardcourt, two on the clay and one on grass. He won his maiden Tour title in July at the Los Cabos Open. Norrie has also scored multiple wins over top 10 players this season for the first time in his career – beating Dominic Thiem in Lyon and Andrey Rublev in San Diego.

“I want to get to world No 1, that’s the ultimate goal. Everyone on my team has the same target. Clearly it’s extremely difficult to do, and there’s a long road ahead. But we set high expectations and we’re going to strive towards them.” Norrie told The Telegraph earlier this week.

Norrie enters the final stretch of the 2021 season with 47 match wins to his name and is within contention of qualifying for the ATP Finals. To put that into perspective, since its inception in 1970 only three British players has ever participated in the event.

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Flavia Pennetta Believes Raducanu’s US Open Win Is A Bad Sign For Women’s Tennis

The former star of Italian tennis explains why she doesn’t like what is currently happening in the sport.

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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 fairytale run of Emma Raducanu to her first ever Grand Slam title at the US Open has been hailed by many. However, one former player isn’t happy about it.

 

Flavia Pennetta, who reached a ranking high of sixth back in 2015, believes the shock run by the Brit highlights the lack of consistency among women’s players. Raducanu was playing in only her second Grand Slam main draw at the age of 18. Coming through qualifying she didn’t drop a set in 10 matches played, scoring wins over top 20 players Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari. In the final she defeated Leylah Fernandez, who was also making her debut in a major final.

“I don’t like it. What is happening, this very strong discontinuity, in my opinion, is not good for tennis,” Pennetta told Corriere della Sera earlier this week.
“In my time it could never have happened that a young girl played from qualifying, like Emma Raducanu in New York, to win a Grand Slam.
“Top athletes made too much difference.
“There is something wrong.
“Charisma is missing, so women’s tennis is more difficult to sell.”

Raducanu has been tipped as the next big thing in the sport with a surge in sponsorships and fans. Her more recent endorsement is French fashion house Dior who has named her as their new ambassador. Raducanu, who is currently ranked 24th in the world, also has a high-profile deal with jewellery brand Tiffany & Co.

It has been five years since a woman successfully defended a Grand Slam singles title which was Serena Williams at Wimbledon back in 2016. Since then, the last 20 major titles have been won by 14 different players. The only women to have won multiple titles during that period is Naomi Osaka (four), Simona Halep (two), Angelique Kerber (two) and Ash Barty (two).

“The youngsters, Raducanu and Fernandez, have still to confirm themselves at that level. A Slam champion can’t totally disappear,” Pennetta replied when asked if a decline in Williams’ form has caused this level of inconsistency. “I have never been among the superstars but I stayed at a high level for 15 years, and the same for Francesca Schiavone.”

39-year-old Pennetta is a former US Open champion herself who also produced a surprise run to the title. Seeded 26th in the 2015 draw she knocked out Petra Kvitova and Halep to set up a final showdown with Roberta Vinci which she won in straight sets. Shortly after her shock triumph she announced her retirement from tennis.

Recently it was announced that Pennetta has been shortlisted for the 2022 Hall of Fame ballot. Besides her US Open trophy, she won an additional 10 Tour titles and reached world No.1 in the doubles during her career. Should she receive nomination into the prestigious Hall of fame, she would become only the third Italian in history to do so after former player Nicola Pietrangeli and journalist Gianni Clerici.

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Only Double Vaccinated Players Will Be Allowed To Play Australian Open – Government Minister

Players will not be exempt from a ‘universal application’ applied to those wishing to travel to the country.

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A high ranking official from the Australian government has confirmed for the first time that players will not be allowed to enter the country next year if they have not been double vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

Immigration minister Alex Hawke has stated that there will be no exemptions in force for tennis players hoping to play in the Australian Open amid recent speculation. According to Andrey Rublev, he had been told that unvaccinated players could be allowed to play but will have to enter into a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. However, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday that it was unlikely visas would be issued to those who are unvaccinated.

Trying to clarify the current situation, Hawke has told ABC radio that all entrants into the country will be required to be vaccinated regardless of who they are. His comments come before Tennis Australia has made any official announcement regarding the tournament and it’s entry requirements.

“The government in establishing its borders has said that you’ll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia. That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke said on ABC radio.

The move raises further questions about the prospect of Novak Djokovic being able to attend the Australian Open. The 20-time Grand Slam champion recently said he doesn’t want to reveal his vaccination status to the public. In the past he said he was against the idea of being forced to have a vaccination but rejects allegations that he is an anti-vaxxer.

“I don’t have a message to Novak. I have a message to everybody that wishes to visit Australia. He’ll need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke later added.

Unlike other sports, tennis’ governing bodies have not issued any public statements outlining the vaccination rates among players on their Tour’s. Reuters news agency estimates the vaccination rate is 65% for the ATP and 60% for the WTA based on recent media reports. However, The Age newspaper reports those who are double vaccinated are below half with 35% for the ATP and 40% for the WTA.

As for the suggestion that players who had already contracted COVID-19 should be allowed into the country regardless of their vaccine status, the president of the Victorian Australian Medical Association has dismissed the idea.

“I understand he [Djokovic] had it [coronavirus] but, believe it or not, the immunity from the vaccination is better than the immunity from catching the disease,” Dr Roderick McRae told The Age.
“I think there is an element of standards [here]. It’s important our leaders make these decisions in our interests and it [banning unvaccinated travellers] demonstrates to the community just how important we take this.”

The Australian Open will begin on January 17th. Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are the reigning champions.

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