Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka Come Through In Striaght Sets, Kei Nishikori Struggles. - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka Come Through In Striaght Sets, Kei Nishikori Struggles.

The top two seeded players that played on Day 6, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka advanced through their seeded opponents in striaght sets. 5th seed Kei Nishikori was pushed to 5 sets by Fernando Verdasco, but pulled through in the end.



After his excruciating opening matches against Stepanek and Bourgue, both going five sets, Murray seemed to regain his form from Rome and defeated the 27th seed Ivo Karlovic 6-1 6-4 7-6. Granted, Karlovic’s worst surface is definitely clay, but this is still a good practice against big servers, especially because Murray’s next opponent will be the American No. 1, John Isner. Isner struggled today with Teymuraz Gabashvili in tough five sets. With this match, Murray now lead this H2H seven to one over Karlovic.

“I was off to a quick start and against someone like Ivo, that’s important,” said Murray afterwards. “The quicker you can get it done the better. It gives me a chance to recover from the first few days, which is good. He fought right to the end. I was very glad to win the tiebreak and get off. The return is normally the strongest part of my game, but even so against him it’s not always up to you. When he serves well, you can’t do much. I tried to stay patient and take care of my own service games. Didn’t give him any break point opportunities. Very few unforced errors. So a lot of positives – and if you’re getting good looks on returns against Ivo, then there is a good chance moving forward that I will be getting good looks on other players’ serves.”

The defending champion from last year’s French Open, Stan Wawrinka also advanced to the Round of 16, defeating the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in straight sets 6-4 6-3 7-5. Wawrinka also has an impressive record against his opponent, winning all 5 of their matches. This was also the Swiss’ 7th match won in a row, winning a title in Geneva and reaching 4th round here. Wawrinka’s next opponent will be the 22nd seed Viktor Troicki, who easily upset the Frenchman seeded No. 14, Gilles Simon 6-4 6-2 6-2.

Kei Nishikori had to go through a much more struggle than other Top 8 seeds, defeating Fernando Verdasco in grueling five sets, 6-3 6-4 3-6 2-6 6-4 after 3 hours and 21 minutes. For two sets Verdasco was replicating his form from the Australian Open match against Nadal, but ended with a horrendous ratio of 53 winners to 65 unforced errors, ousting himself from the tournament

First of all, I’m very happy. Tough, tough five sets. He started playing much better in the third and fourth, and even in the first couple of games in final set, too. So it wasn’t easy,” conceded Nishikori. “I think I start hitting much better, deeper, and stepped in a little more. I think in the third and fourth sets, I let him use his forehand too much. Also, I have to say, he was playing good tennis. Even in the final set, too.”

Nishikori’s opponent in Round of 16 will be the Frenchman Richard Gasquet, in what seems like the most equally matched Round of 16 match. Gasquet won his match over Nick Kyrgios surprisingly easily 6-2 7-6(7) 6-2. Gasquet developed quite a rivalry, especially at grandslams. Gasquet is leading the head-to-head 5-2. Kyrgios won their match earlier this year, in the quarterfinals of Marseille.

“He’s been playing well,” Kyrgios said. “He’s obviously comfortable on that court. I mean, he’s got one of the best backhands in the world. I thought I might have overplayed it a little bit. But … I just didn’t play well at all. He played well.”

“Not easy,” Gasquet said, downplaying the scoreline. “You never know what could happen, if I’m losing the second set, another set. It could take a lot of confidence [away].Great for me to win against Nick in three sets. He’s one of the biggest players now, played very good the last two months. Of course it’s a big victory, especially for me on centre court at home with my crowd. It’s very nice for me.

Other matches played today were the 8th seed Milos Raonic putting a stop to the dream run of Andrej Martin, ranked 133rd, lucky loser from Slovakia. Raonic won 7-6 6-2 6-3. Raonic will not face a seeded player in Round of 16 either, as the Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas upset the American Jack Sock in five sets to reach his best result at a Slam yet.


Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence



Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils



Gael Monfils (image via

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis



Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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