- Luca Vanni wins Brescia title with come-back win (6-7, 6-4, 7-6), James Duckworth 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 winner in Toyota.
It’s been a tough year for Luca Vanni, but the tall Italian is ending it on a high. Vanni had not won consecutive matches in the main draw of any event, at ATP or Challenger level, since July when he won the Segovia Challenger. Once ranked at an even 100, he went into the Brescia event ranked outside the top 200.
Tennis does not always take into account form. Vanni took down Blaz Kavcic, survived a marathon against Tommy Robredo, and beat top seed Lukas Lacko in straight sets to earn his place in the final against lucky-loser Laurynas Grigelis. This all after he had lost in the first round of his last three events including a straight sets defeat to Lorenzo Sonego last week.
The final against Grigelis was a tale of two statistics. The sheer number of aces (Vanni’s thirteen to Grigelis’ twenty-two), and the number of break points created but not converted (Vanni broke twice from fifteen chances, and Grigelis once from eleven).
Two sets were decided by tie-breaks, the first and the third, with Vanni securing the third set with a single break. Vanni was forced to save a match point in the tie-break, but clung on for a ten-eight record in the decider.
Player of the tournament: Laurynas Grigelis Sometimes life hands you and opportunity and for Grigelis, he took his chance this week. Having been defeated by Egor Gerasimov in qualifying, he replaced Stefano Napolitano in the draw after the Italian retired with pharyngitis. Wins against Andrea Arnaboldi and Leonardo Mayer, and a retirement win over Gerasimov brought Grigelis to the semi-finals, before he dispatched Salvatore Caruso in straight sets. Grigelis can expect to move around seventy places in the rankings.
Toyota: James Duckworth continued his strong end to the year, winning his second title in three consecutive Challenger finals in the last three weeks. Having won in Canberra and finishing runner-up to Hyeon Chung in Kobe, Duckworth swept the field in Toyota, winning in straight sets in all matches en route to the final including against top seed Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarter-finals.
Duckworth started well, breaking late against Tatsumo Ito to edge the first set 7-5. The Japanese seventh seed recovered to take the second set, setting up a grandstand third set. Duckworth riding the confidence of three final runs, pulled away, breaking twice, and discouraging an attempted come-back from Ito by saving all three break points in the final set.
Shock Exit: Hyeon Chung is in great form, well on the way to recovering his Top 100 ranking that injury so cruelly robbed him of. The Kobe winner was shocked though, losing in straight sets to Japanese wildcard Yusuke Takahashi 7-5, 6-3 in the second round. Takahashi ignored a ranking disparity of more than four-hundred places to shock the fourth seed and make his first challenger quarter-final.
Roberto Bautista Agut reaches his second career final in Doha
Roberto Bautista Agut reached the second final of his career at the Qatar Exxon Mobil with a 6-3 6-3 win over defending champion Andrey Rublev.
Bautista Agut broke serve in the fourth game with a forehand winner to open up a 3-1 lead and held on his next service games to close out the first set 6-3 after 29 minutes.
The Spaniard started the second set with an early break. Rublev broke straight back in the second game and won his next two service games to take a 3-2 lead. Bautista Agut saved two break points to hold serve before getting two consecutive breaks to claim the second set 6-3.
Rublev was playing his first match this week after two walkovers. The Russian player claimed the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam last week.
“It was very difficult to play tennis today, with the windy conditions, but I put a lot of pressure on his second serve and played really good tennis. I played a long match yesterday against Dominic Thiem, but I felt fresh and I had a lot of power on the court. This is one of my favourite tournaments. I played one of my best matches here in Qatar two years ago, and I hope I can win one more match tomorrow”, said Bautista Agut.
Bautista Agut set up a final against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7-3) 6-1.
Basilashvili, who beat Roger Federer in the quarter final, rallied from one break down to win the tie-break of the first set 7-3. The Georgian player broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1. “To reach the final means a lot. I am playing well and I am relaxed. It’s great to play in front of a crowd and a nice atmosphere”, said Basilshvili.
Andy Murray defeated in the final of the Biella Challenger
The former world number was runner-up to the Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko. Both will feature in next week’s event in the same location
Andy Murray suffered a surprising defeat in the final of this week’s tournament in Biella. Playing his second Challenger event in 16 years (the other one occurred in Mallorca in 2019 when, limping on a battered hip, he lost against Matteo Viola in the eighth of finals). Before today’s runner-up finish, he had played twice against his opponent, Illya Marchenko from Ukraine (N.212 in the ATP Rankings), both times at the Australian Open, in 2011 and 2017 respectively, winning both times.
But it was the Ukrainian who got off to a flying start, while the Scotsman looked a bit cumbersome and immediately lost his serve, giving a nice boost of confidence to his opponent, who broke his serve once more in the fifth game, taking a 4-1 lead. Murray couldn’t control his changes of pace, while Marchenko was pretty much spotless. The 6-2 score in his favour was the logical consequence, as confirmed by the numbers, which saw him win 83% of points on his first serve (against a meagre 53% for Murray), with no break points allowed.
In the first game of the second set, Marchenko immediately leapt ahead, breaking the Brit’s serve and even earning a chance for a 3-0 lead. Murray managed to stay close and started to play in a more conservative way, with great humility, in an attempt to reduce the number of unforced errors. Murray saved a match point at 3-5 with his second serve, exploiting Marchenko’s clumsiness with the backhand, but couldn’t do the same on the return, conceding defeat at the third match point. must defend with the second. Luckily for him, Marchenko is a bit clumsy in his preparation steps and puts up a not particularly difficult backhand. The former world number one will try to exact revenge in the same location starting tomorrow, as a Challenger 125 will take place once more in Biella, with players like Lorenzo Musetti (the seventh seed), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ATP N.54) and Sebastian Korda (N.88).
Report by Massimo Gaiba; edited by Tommaso Villa
ATP announces five-week ATP Challenger calendar for 2021
The ATP has issued a five-week schedule for the start of the 2021 ATP Challenger Tour, which is scheduled to launch on 18th January with a 125-event in Istanbul. The Turkish city celebrates its 31st consecutive year on the Challenger Tour.
Turkey will host three consecutive tournaments at the start of the season. Istanbul will host a hard court tournament from 18th January. The tour will move to the seaside town of Antalya, the venue of two clay tournaments on 25th January 2021 and 1st February 2021.
The week of 25 Januray will be the first of back-to-back Challenger events in Antalya and an indoor hard-court tournament in the French town of Quimper.
France will host two more indoor tournaments, the 125-level tournament in Orleans (1 February) and the 28th edition of Cherbourg (8 February).
Cherbourg will be held in the same week as hard-court tournaments in Biella in Italy and Potchefstroom in South Africa. Biella will also host a 125-level tournament in the following week on 15 February. Potchefstroom will host a second consecutive tournament on 15 February. Challenger-level tournaments will feature 32 singles players and qualifying draws with 16 players.
EXCLUSIVE: Brian Vahaly on coming to terms with his sexuality, dealing with hate and making tennis inclusive
Lorenzo Sonego reaches the semifinal in Eastbourne
Dominic Thiem Vows ‘To Come Back Stronger’ Following Wrist injury Diagnosis
Danil Medvedev reaches the third grass-court semifinal of his career in Mallorca
Camila Giorgi overcomes Aryna Sabalenka in Eastbourne
Rafael Nadal Addresses French Open Seeding Criticism
Roger Federer Says Having ‘High Goals’ Motivates Him To Continue Playing
‘Exhausted’ Rafael Nadal Taking A Break To Avoid Mental Fatigue, Says Coach Moya
Holger Rune Fined Over Homophobic Remarks
Former Finalist Milos Raonic Joins List Of Wimbledon Withdrawals, Halep Also In Doubt
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is the clear favourite, but Tsitsipas and Djokovic have a shot”
French Open, the women’s draw. Flink: “Osaka’s press conference boycott is a mistake”
French Open, the men’s draw. Steve Flink: “It’s too bad that we won’t have a Nadal-Djokovic final”
Steve Flink: “Jannik Sinner Will Be a Top 10 Player by the US Open”
(VIDEO) Miami Open Final Preview: Jannik Sinner Is The Favourite But Don’t Underestimate Hurkacz
ATP3 days ago
Vasek Pospisil dispatches James Ward in Eastbourne
ATP2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Confirmed For Olympics But Del Potro Pulls Out After Medical Advice
Hot Topics2 days ago
Dominic Thiem In Doubt For Wimbledon After Wrist ‘Crack’
Focus3 days ago
Bianca Andreescu Battles Past McHale In Eastbourne
Latest news2 days ago
Dayana Yastremska Cleared Of Wrongdoing Over Failed Drugs Tests
Focus2 days ago
Kontaveit upsets Bianca Andreescu in Eastbourne
Focus2 days ago
PTPA Outline Vision After Appointing Executive Director And Advisory Board
Latest news3 days ago
Danil Medvedev moves into the quarter final at the Mallorca Championships