Monte-Carlo Main Draw: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the semis, Nadal with Murray and Wawrinka - UBITENNIS
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Monte-Carlo Main Draw: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the semis, Nadal with Murray and Wawrinka

Rafael Nadal pitted with a nightmare draw to clinch a 9th title in Monte-Carlo, with both Wawrinka and Murray in his half. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic could clash in the semi-finals.

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The main draw for the 2016 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, the first Masters 1000 played on clay in the season, is finally out.

Here is the complete main draw:

(1) Djokovic bye
Vesely vs Gabashvili
Fognini vs Lorenzi
Muller vs (13) Monfils

(11) Goffin vs F.Lopez
(WC) Verdasco vs Delbonis
Zverev vs (WC) Rublev
(7) Ferrer bye

(3) Federer bye
Garcia-Lopez vs Bellucci
Chardy vs Kuznetsov
Ramos vs (14) Bautista-Agut

(9) Gasquet vs Almagro
(WC) Pouille vs Mahut
Q vs Carreno
(8) Tsonga bye

(5) Nadal bye
Rosol vs Bedene
Mannarino vs Q
Q vs (12) Thiem

(15) Simon vs Troicki
Dimitrov vs Q
Kohlschreiber vs Coric
(4) Wawrinka bye

(6) Berdych bye
Haase vs Q
Q vs Cuevas
(WC) Cecchinato vs (10) Raonic

(16) Paire vs Cervantes
Karlovic vs Sousa
Q vs Pella
(2) Murray bye

Possible third round clashes are as follows:

Djokovic-Monfils
Ferrer-Goffin
Federer-Bautista Agut
Tsonga-Gasquet
Nadal-Thiem
Wawrinka-Simon
Berdych-Raonic
Murray-Paire

Let us now analyze each quarter.

Quarter-final Djokovic vs. Ferrer

Looking for a third title in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic will make his debut in the second round against either Jiri Vesely or Teymuraz Gabashvili. Following his first match, Djokovic should meet Gael Monfils in the third round, for a clash that on clay could become spectacular. The World No.1 would then set up match-up against David Ferrer.

That said, the Spaniard could find it hard to reach the last 8 in Monte Carlo, considering how he will find already in the second round a rising star like Alexander Zverev to then possibly play against the two-time Masters 1000 semi-finalist this year, the Belgian David Goffin. Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco would try to stop Goffin from going that far.

Quarter-final Federer vs. Tsonga

Roger Federer doesn’t find a tough draw to reach the quarters. The only player who seems really able to challenge the Swiss is Roberto Bautista-Agut, even though a third round against a clay-court expert like Albert Ramos-Vinolas could seem like a trip to memory lane Roger would rather not take.

Tsonga could find a tough resistance on clay already in the second round, in the name of Pablo Carreno-Busta. In the third round Jo would find in an all-French clash his friend Richard Gasquet. Lucas Puille and Nicolas Almagro are also part of this quarter.

Quarter-final Nadal vs. Wawrinka

Rafael Nadal was pitted with a very though route to a possible 9th success in Monte-Carlo. After a possibly easy debut in the tournament against either Lukas Rosol or Aljaz Bedene, Nadal would already find a player who has beaten him on clay this year, the young gun Dominic Thiem.

Wawrinka will have a complicated path to the quarters too, having to start probably against consistent Borna Coric. Stan would then face in the third round one between Gilles Simon, Viktor Troicki and Grigor Dimitrov.

Quarter-final Berdych vs. Murray

Tomas Berdych will make his debut against Robin Haase to then set an interesting third-round match with Milos Raonic.

After his great run throughout the clay court season last year, where he won his first title and first Masters 1000 title in Madrid on the surface, Murray will face tough competition, but not clay court experts, as he will try to reach the quarters facing players such as Ivo Karlovic, Joao Sousa, Inigo Cervantes or Benoit Paire.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas To Raise Money for Hurricane-Stricken Acapulco At Mexican Open

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Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas has pledged to donate $1000 for every ace he hits at this week’s Mexican Open to a fundraiser set up to support the recovery effort from Hurricane Otis. 

Last October Hurricane Otis caused widespread devastation to Alcapulco, which is where the Mexican Open is staged. According to Reuters, 52 people were killed and most of the city’s resort hotels were significantly damaged. The cost of damage was estimated to be in the region of $22M based on an El Pais report published on November 1st. 25,000 Mexican soldiers have also been sent to the region since the hurricane and there are ongoing issues with crime. Prompting the Mexican Open to issue an advisory to their players urging them not to go off-site due to the threat of crime, as well as poor infrastructure.

Throwing his support behind Acapulco, Tsitsipas has opted to take part in fundraising efforts. He is the fifth seed in this year’s ATP 500 event and a former runner-up back in 2021. 

“Very good to be back, happy that the tournament is still going strong, it is something we did not expect after the tragedy of a few months ago,” Tsitsipas told reporters earlier this week.
“It gives me happiness that so many people came together and made this possible to return everything to this beautiful city of Acapulco. I am here with my tennis to give the best I can to the communities”.

Significant efforts have taken place to get this week’s tournament restored following the hurricane. According to the Mexican newspaper Milenio, more than 200 million pesos and 35 companies were involved in the restoration. Furthermore, tournament director Geoffrey Fernández has claimed that his event has helped generate more than 11,000 jobs. 

“We work with the community, with our thousands of collaborators and families united by the same cause: moving Acapulco forward. We have achieved a lot together and together with the federal, state and municipal governments to make this event one of the best.” Fernández recently told Caras
“The response (from players) has been wonderful, no one has cancelled, and they have helped a lot in making the decision to go (ahead).” He added. 

On the opening day of the Mexican Open, there was a duo of shocks with seeds Tommy Paul and Taylor Fritz suffering first round exits. Paul was ousted in three sets by British rising star Jack Draper and Fritz was beaten by Matteo Arnaldi. 

Meanwhile, Tsitsipas will play his first match on Tuesday against Roman Safiullin.

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‘I Needed To Make Tough Decisions’ – Jessica Pegula Opens Up About Coaching Change

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Jessica Pegula - Dubai 2023 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Would No.5 Jessica Pegula says her decision to split with her long-term coach ‘naturally happened’ and she has now enlisted the help of two former doubles specialists. 

Earlier this season the American split from David Witt after spending more than four years working alongside him. During their time together, Pegula won two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a Grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. The decision was publicly announced shortly after she lost in the second round of the Australian Open in January. 

Speaking about Witt’s departure for the first time, Pegula explained her reason for doing so was due to where she is currently at in her career. Adding that she didn’t want to regret not making changes to her team after retiring from the sport. 

“I just felt like I needed something different,” she told reporters at the San Diego Open.
“I’ve just turned 30 so I feel like I’m getting to that point where I am maybe more near to the ending of my career phase so I just kind of needed to make some tough decisions to try something different.’
“I didn’t want to regret not doing this. I think it was just something that naturally happened.”

Pegula has now brought two new coaches to her team but neither of them can travel full-time with her. Mark Knowles is a three-time Grand Slam doubles champion and former world No.1 who won a total of 55 ATP titles during his career. He has previously worked with Milos Raonic, Jack Sock and Mardy Fish. 

The other new face in the team is Mark Merklein who is a former top 40 doubles partner that played alongside Knowles at the 2000 Olympic Games. 

“Right now I’m working in a combination with Mark Merklein and Mark Knowles. Both of them can’t travel full time so I am kind of in the process of trying to figure that out. But one is based in Boca which is really helpful as that is where I live. It’s been nice to have that set up.” Pegula explained. 
“Mark Knowles is in Dallas so I have just spent a week there. It has been nice. I like having a collaborative setup where I feel like I can talk to multiple people and have different feedback.”

Pegula is the top seed at the San Diego Open. She will play her opening match against Germany’s Jule Niemeier. 

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Andy Murray Makes Retirement Hint After 500th Hard Court Win In Dubai

Andy Murray won his 500th hard court match in Dubai, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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Andy Murray further hinted at retirement after securing a 500th hard court win of his career in Dubai.

The former world number one picked up his second win of the year with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov.

In typical Andy Murray fashion, the Brit came back from a set down to defeat the out-of-sorts Canadian as he progressed to the second round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVj537F-wQ

The win means Murray now has 500 career wins on a hard court and that is an achievement the world number 67 is proud of, “It’s not bad,” Murray told the ATP website as he sits fifth on the all-time list of hard court wins.

“Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

However those post-match comments weren’t the most shocking ones as Murray once again hinted at retirement this season.

The Brit has made subtle remarks that this year may be his last one but Murray’s comments today suggests that he may have already made his decision, “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” Murray was quoted by ESPN as saying.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh.”

If the end is near for Murray than the Brit will look to end his career on a high for the next few months.

Before thinking about retirement Murray will look to go further in Dubai when he takes on either Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the second round.

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