Indian Wells: Men's Qualifying First Round sees progress for seeds including Austin Krajicek and Andrey Rublev - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells: Men’s Qualifying First Round sees progress for seeds including Austin Krajicek and Andrey Rublev

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Tommy Paul made good progress in his first-round win in Indian Wells Qualifying. The current French Open Junior Champion will next face compatriot Tim Smyczek (Image via Zimbio,com)

There were a few shocks to be found on the first day of ply at Indian Wells, as nineteen of a total twenty-four seeds in action won their openers in the Men’s Qualifying Tournament.

 

Top seed Yuichi Sugita (1) eased past Australian Matt Reid for the loss of just three games, 6-1, 6-2. He will now face Renzo Olivo (17) who struggled in parts against Italy’s Salvatore Caruso, though did eventually win 6-4, 6-7, 6-2.

Austin Krajicek (2) played a particularly erratic match against Brazil’s Caio Zampieri. Things had looked good for the American when he won the first set, dropping just a single game. Zampieri roared back in the second though, breaking three times before both men traded two breaks of serve in the third before Krajicek eventually sealed an unconvincing win 6-1, 2-6, 7-6.

Krajicek’s reward for edging Zampieri is a match with Vicent Millot (16), who defeated Nicolas Meister 7-5, 6-3. The men traded four consecutive breaks of serve midway through the first set before Millot settled, breaking in the penultimate game in the first, and breaking twice without reply in the second.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert got his tournament off to a promising start, winning 6-3, 6-2 against Benjamin Mitchell. The Frenchman broke four times to ensure that he will feature in the second round of qualifying.

Herbert will face another big-serve in that match, as he will face German Mischa Zverev, who dispatched Brazil’s Fernando Romboli 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and four minutes. Zverev broke four times and saved the single break point that Romboli managed to create.

Veteran German Michael Berrer (4), who performed a U-turn on a decision to retire from tennis, is also into the second round, defeating Frenchman Jonathan Eysseric 7-6, 6-2.

That sets up a fascinating encounter with in-form Andrey Rublev (13) who came from a set down to defeat former Top 100 player Somdev Devvarman 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

(5) Tim Smyczek managed an even more remarkable comeback. After taking the first set in a tiebreak against young American Michael Mmoh, Smyczek lost nine of the next twelve games, and found himself down a break and facing more break points. He recovered, broke and eventually won without the need for a third set tiebreak as Mmoh had untimely double-faults.

Smyczek will face another compatriot, Tommy Paul (24) in the qualifying round. Paul defeated Czech Marek Michalicka 7-6, 7-5 after recovering from a break deficit in the first.

(6) John-Patrick Smith was the highest-profile casualty as he fell to Jason Jung 6-3, 6-4. Jung will now face Ryan Harrison (18) after he defeated Matthew Barton 6-3, 6-3.

(7) Go Soeda suffered a shock loss to Marcelo Arevalo, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, and James McGee also fell to (PR) Peter Polansky, the Canadian overturning a two-four tiebreak situation, and then an early break in the second to progress.

(8) Daniel Brands also fell to Ecuador’s Giovanni Lapentti 7-6, 6-3. Lapentti is now the opponent for Jozef Kovalik (20), who defeated Philip Bester 6-4, 6-2.

(9) Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who has enjoyed a decent season so far, edged young American wildcard Ernesto Escobedo 6-2, 1-6, 7-6, and will now face Marco Trungelliti (21) after he beat Connor Smith 6-1, 6-4.

Mitchell Krueger scored a good win as he beat (10) Alejandro Gonzalez 7-6, 6-4. Krueger let slip a 4-0 lead in the second, but recovered to break Gonzalez at the end to reach the second round. Krueger will face countryman Alexander Sarkissian(19) for the right to qualifying after he defeated Sekou Bangoura 6-2, 6-2.

(11) Bjorn Fratangelo made short work of Britain’s Josh Milton, winning 6-2, 6-2, and will now face veteran Radek Stepanek after he beat fellow veteran Victor Hanescu 7-5, 0-6, 6-1.

(12) Dennis Novikov beat the lowest direct acceptance entry Facundo Mena 6-1, 6-0 and will face Noah Rubin (23) after he won 6-4, 6-2 against wildcard Mikhail Ledoviskikh

 

 

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Grigor Dimitrov – ‘Tennis Is A Microscopic Thing In The World Right Now’

The world No.19 speaks out about how he is coping during the tour suspension.

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Former grand slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov has become the latest player to urge the governing bodies of tennis to make a united decision regarding when play will resume again.

 

The ATP and WTA Tours are currently suspended until June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it is likely that the suspension will be extended further with rumours that Wimbledon will be cancelled for the first time since the second world war later this week. Dimitrov’s last tournament was at the Acapulco Open in Mexico, where he reached the semi-finals before losing in straight sets to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

“Tennis is a microscopic thing in the world right now. The ATP supervisors I’ve talked to in recent days have a variety of theories, but for the time being, we can really only guess if we’re being honest.” Tenniskafe quoted Dimitrov as saying during an interview with bTV.
“The tournaments are cancelled, but we have a big luxury in tennis – there is always next week. Yes, it is very difficult right now, you have seen the Olympics cancelled. The only thing that is at the forefront is to go through this situation we are in, and then start rebuilding. “

The world No.19 is currently residing in California during the lockdown. Describing the situation where he is as ‘more casual’ compared to other parts of the world. California is where the Indian Wells tennis tournament was set to take place earlier this month before it was cancelled.

“In my opinion all federations and players, no matter what rank they are, must come together and make a general decision. Because it’s really not easy at the moment to talk to everyone about points, tournaments, competitions … But now other things are really more important – to be safe, to be healthy and to go through this thing.” He said.

During the suspension, the 28-year-old is keeping himself busy in other ways. Recently he has signed up for an online course with Harvard Business School. Becoming the latest of a series of players to do so. He also manages to keep in touch with his fellow rivals on the tour thanks to the world of social media.

“One of the first players I wrote to was Fabio (Fognini) because he was in Italy. Everyone is on Instagram, we know everyone what they do every minute.”

When the restrictions related to the pandemic comes to an end, Dimitrov has vowed to return back to Europe as he outlines the first thing he would do.

“I just want to go back to Europe. Whether it will be in Bulgaria or in Monaco – I do not know. I certainly want to go home, gather all my relatives and just spend time together. I’ve been in the US for over a month now. As things currently look, there will certainly be another two months. Hopefully it will be faster, but I just want to go home and be with my loved ones.” He concluded.

In the fight against Covid-19 in his home country, Dimitrov has made a donation to a hospital in Haskovo. The city where he was born.

Dimitrov has started the 2020 season with a win-loss record of 7-5. Besides his run to the semifinals in Acapulco, he also reached the second round at the Australian Open and Rotterdam. He has been ranked as high as third in the world.

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Tennis Could Be Suspended For ‘A Long Time,’ Warns Millman

The top 50 player isn’t expecting to play on the tour anytime soon.

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Australian player John Millman has indicated that he believes the current suspension of the ATP Tour is all but certain to be extended in the coming weeks.

 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both the ATP and WTA Tour have been suspended until at least June 8th. Although those in change of both of those governing bodies have previously admitted they are uncertain as to when play will resume. ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has said that ‘it is unknown at this time’ as to when men’s tournaments will resume. Meanwhile, Steve Simon has echoed a similar view during an interview with The Tennis Channel.

Speaking about the current situation, world No.43 Millman said the sport is in a difficult situation due to its global reach with both tournaments and players based around the world. For example the Australian started his season by playing four tournaments in four different countries across three continents within five weeks.

“We’re going to have to be pretty unified in terms of our recovery process before the tour can resume,” Millman told The Age.
“Maybe the tournament location has got the COVID-19 situation under wraps and then manage to contain it, but if someone’s flying in from South America, say, and their country hasn’t got a hold of it, then the tournament can’t (go ahead).
“You can’t have the tournament going when only certain players can get there. I think that’s
where the problems lie.”

The 30-year-old didn’t speculate as to when he and his rivals will be returning to the court, but believes it could be a while. During the coming week the fate of Wimbledon will be decided at an emergency meeting. The All England Club is pondering the motion of cancelling this year’s tournament. A move that has never been taken during peacetime. Wimbledon has been scrapped a total of 10 times during the first and second world wars.

“It’s almost like we have to have a vaccine or the virus has to run its course before there’ll be any let-up there.” Millman commented.

Besides trying to maintain fitness, many players like Millman are in a difficult situation financially due to a lack of income. He has managed to earn $290,705 on the tour this year before the suspension. This is the 44th highest total on the men’s tour. In total, 131 players have surpassed the $100,000 mark. Although the earnings don’t take into account travel costs, coaching, accommodation and so on.

“I just can’t see us playing tennis for a long time and now it’s a matter of trying to stay (the) fight, trying to scrape by a little bit while not much is coming in,” he said.
“You’re used to a bit of money coming in and obviously that’s not the case anymore. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s just not easy. You try and make do.
“But I don’t want to be a sob story, that’s for sure, because I know Australians are doing it a lot tougher than me.”

Millman reached the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year before losing to Roger Federer in a five-set thriller.

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Jamie Murray Speaks Out On Wimbledon Dilemma

The two-time mixed doubles champion shares his thoughts about the current situation and the problems that could arise.

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Former world No.1 doubles player Jamie Murray says he is unsure how much longer Wimbledon can be delayed this season ahead of a crucial meeting on its future next week.

 

The All England Club is set to hold an emergency meeting to make a final decision as to what to do with this year’s tournament. Including the possibility of cancelling the event for the first time since 1945. The tennis calendar has been brought to a standstill due to the covid-19 pandemic. There have been more than 500,000 cases of Coronavirus worldwide, according to John Hopkins University.

Speaking about Wimbledon’s potential decision during an interview with BBC Scotland’s The Nine, Murray admits that organisers face a difficult decision. Saying it would pose as a big challenge for them to reschedule the event. Both the ATP and WTA are currently reviewing their calendars with the French Open now taking place a week after the US Open.

“I don’t know how long they could push it back,” said Murray.
“They’re desperate to have their event on, it’s still over three months away and a lot can change in that time,” he added.

Murray has featured in the doubles main draw at Wimbledon every year since his debut back in 2006. He has won the Mixed doubles trophy twice in 2007 (with Jelena Jankovic) and 2017 (with Martina Hingis). The 34-year-old currently has a doubles ranking of 34th.

“For them, optics don’t necessarily look great, I guess, if there’s sporting events all over the world getting cancelled and they’re trying to crack on with things.” He commented on the scheduling difficulties.
“There’s a lot of other stakeholders, a lot of other tournaments to consider. Even things like daylight for the tournament. Once the tournament gets put back, there’s less and less daylight. When you play at Wimbledon normally, you can play until 10 at night.”

The UK is currently in a lockdown with members of the public only allowed to leave their houses for specific reasons. Furthermore, 1.5 million people have been advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks. The government is hopeful that they can flatten the spread of the disease within this period, which is extremely close to the Wimbledon start date.

According to AFP News, any decision to scrap this year’s tournament is likely to have a massive financial impact. Between 2017-2018 Wimbledon made an estimated pre-tax profit of $52 million with over 90% of that invested back into British tennis. Furthermore, the BBC could also suffer a big blow. It is reported that the broadcaster pays in the region of $72 million for the TV rights.

It is unclear as to what day the decision will be made next week. Since its creation in 1877, Wimbledon has been cancelled a total of 10 times before. All of which happened during the first world war (1915-1918) and second (1940-1945). The event has never been delayed or scrapped during peacetime.

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