Gael Monfils: The Artist Of The Court, But Not Of His Mind - UBITENNIS
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Gael Monfils: The Artist Of The Court, But Not Of His Mind

A generous Gael Monfils provides a good show to the London crowds in his match with Dominc Thiem, but falters on the final straight as he (almost) ends his ATP Finals run

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The Day 3 match between a recovering Gael Monfils and a Dominic Thiem running on fumes after his 28-tournament freshmen season in the Top 10 was supposed to be one of the least attractive in the schedule of the 2016 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. So much so that on the previous day it was possible to scoop a lower bowl ticket for less than 20 pounds on the secondary online market. However both players put on a decent display for the predictably not-numerous crowd showing up at the O2 Arena in Greenwich for the workday afternoon event, even if, as games went by, it became increasingly apparent that Monfils could not find within himself the stamina to face his opponent with his usual running game, therefore being forced to go for the winner much earlier than expected: his first serves pushing 140 mph, repeated serve-and-volley openly challenging Thiem’s deadly backhand and explosive winners attempted from far behind the baseline certainly made the eager crowd’s day, but exemplified Monfils lack of physical condition due to the chest muscle tear that kept him out of last month’s BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. Nonetheless, the Parisian honored the match and pushed the match to the wire, when he totally crumbled under pressure gifting his opponent of the victory with three double faults in the final game.

 

The first set was decided by a single break of serve on the sixth game, when a single winning return was enough for Thiem to gain the decisive advantage thanks to three unforced errors by Monfils, who could not do much on his opponent’s serve, almost untouchable with his 76% of first serves and 89% of first serve conversion. Twenty-six minutes were enough for the Austrian to secure a one set lead but certainly not enough to dismantle Monfils’ resistance. The Frenchman intensified the frequency of his attacks and his serve-and-volleys, forcing Thiem to rush his shots and increase his error count. The 23-year old conceded his first break of the match on his opening service game of the second set, wasting a 30-0 lead and after Monfils had the crowd on their feet for a winning forehand down-the-line returning from a lob. Clearly rattled by his opponent’s intention to shorten the rallies and take the initiative from his own hands, the Austrian produced three horrible mishits also in his following service game, conceding a commanding 4-0 lead to his opponent, who went on to bring the match to the decider after only 51 minutes of play.

With their chances to advance to the semifinals on the line, the two players started the third set taking care of business on their own respective serves, with the only partial hiccup coming from an easy backhand volley missed by Thiem in the third game forcing him to handle a deuce situation. Even if there was no shortage of errors, Monfils and Thiem kept trying to take control of the game by increasing their number of net approaches, displaying some very entertaining shot-making: from a short half-volley by the Austrian to a one-handed backhand passing shot by Monfils. The Frenchman survived three break points at 3-4 with some good serves, but two games later three double faults sealed his fate and left his chances of continuing his adventure here in London in the hands of his group mates and arithmetic.

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Singapore Champion Alexi Popyrin Dedicates Maiden ATP Title To Family

The world No.114 battled back from a set down to become the fifth active Australian player to win an ATP singles title.

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Rising star Alexi Popyrin has claimed the biggest title in his career to date after triumphing in the final of the Singapore Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old battled back from a set down to defeat world No.46 Alexander Bublik 4-6, 6-0, 6-2, in what was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. Popryin, who had never got past the quarter-final stage of a Tour event prior to this week, managed to turn his fortunes around with the help of an emphatic service display. During the second set he dropped no points behind serve and only one in the third. Overall, the Australian produced 11 aces and broke Bublik five times en route to victory.

A former junior world No.2 who won the 2017 French Open boys’ title, Popyrin has become the fifth active player from Australia to have won an ATP title. The other four are Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, Bernard Tomic and John Millman. During the trophy ceremony Popyrin said the breakthrough was a result of hard work as he paid tribute to his family.

“I’ll definitely have very fond memories of Singapore now, I’ll definitely remember this for the rest of my life,” he said.
“We put a lot of hard work in the pre-season and it’s paying off in the start of the year I’ve had. In Australia I felt really good so it’s just good to see all the hard work paying off.
“My family behind the scenes, they’ve sacrificed so much for me and to finally win a tournament just shows how much hard work they put in with me also. This is for them 100 per cent.”

Prior to Bublik, Popyrin also scored a win over former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. The breakthrough continues what has been an encouraging start to the season for the Next Gen star. At the Murray River Open in Melbourne he took Grigor Dimitrov to three sets before losing in the third round. Then at the Australian Open he knocked out top 20 player David Goffin.

Meanwhile, Bublik is left wondering what might have been. It was the second time the Kazakh has reached a Tour final this season after Antalya where he had to retire due to injury.

“His first final, his first title, I have four finals, which hurts now but just congratulate you and next time we’ll see if we can face in the final,” Bublik said.

Popyrin will rise to a ranking high of 82nd when the standings are updated on Monday.

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beats Hubert Hurkacz to reach the quarter final in Montpellier

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina came back from 1-3 in the opening set and converted four of the ten break points to claim a 7-5 6-2 win over Hubert Hurkacz in 1 hour and 34 minutes at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. 

 

Hurkacz went up a break in the fourth game at deuce to take a 3-1 lead. Davidovich Fokina broke back in the fifth game at 15 and held serve to draw level to 3-3. Hurkacz saved a break point in the seventh game to hold serve after two deuces. Davidovich Fokina converted his second break point in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Hurkacz saved three break points in the third game of the second set, but Davidovich Fokina broke twice in the fifth and seventh games at deuce to win the final four games from 2-2 securing his spot in the quarter final. 

The 21-year-old Spanish player set up a quarter final against Egor Gerasimov, who knocked out Aljaz Bedene 6-4 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 51 minutes. Bedene converted his second break point at deuce in the first game. Gerasimov broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gerasimov closed out the first set 6-4 with a break on his opportunity in the 10th game.

Bedene went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Gerasimov broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Gerasimov earned five match points at 6-1 in the tie-break. Bedene saved the first three chances, but Gerasimov closed out the tie-break 7-4 on his fourth opportunity. 

Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Gregoire Barrère 6-0 6-3. The Spanish player built up a 6-0 2-0 lead with four consecutive breaks. Barrère came back by winning three consecutive games to take a 3-2 lead with a break in the fourth game. Bautista Agut reeled off four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-3 

Dennis Novak came back from 3-5 down by winning the final four games in the second set to beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 35 minutes. Novak set up a quarter final clash against German Peter Gojowczyk, who came back from one set down to beat Juri Vesely 6-7 (3-7) 7-4 (7-4) 6-3 after 2 hours and 28 minutes. Gojowczyk hit 17 aces and won 86 % of his first service points. Gojowczyk saved four break points in the ninth game. Vesely earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-brek 7-3. The second set went on serve en route to the the tie-break. Gojowczyk earned one mini-break to win the tie-break 7-4. The German player converted his only break point in the second game to seal the third set 6-3.

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John Isner not happy with the cut in prize money for Miami Masters

John Isner took to Twitter to raise some issues about the ATP and latest state of affairs in Tennis.

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John Isner (@usta - Twitter)

The American took to social media to vent his frustration saying it doesn’t make sense.

 

John Isner took to twitter today after hearing the news that the Miami Open will be cutting its prize money down with the singles champion only taking $300,110 with a first round loser only winning $10,000 in prize money.

Isner and many other players on tour believe the tournament should be forced to due an audit to truly reveal what their finances are and to see if they are hiding anything.

“How about a true audit to see how much tourneys are actually hurting and then a money formula after the event to reconcile?”

“Amazing we still don’t have this in a lot of our big events. How does that make any sense?” 

He also tweeted about the promoters saying the system the ATP uses is broken.

The American also spoke of the unfairness in the cuts the players are taking in comparison to the actual events.

“So players should take a 60% cut and 80% champions cut while ATP executives keep full salaries, benefits, and expense accounts? Make that make sense. Seems just a little bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?”.

Isner finally believes the players should benefit from the tournament not just in the short term but over a long tenure.

““Tennis is plagued by conflict and lack of transparency”

The tournament is scheduled for March 23rd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the tournament has confirmed they won’t be doing a quarantine like the Australian Open.

The players will need to provide a negative PCR test to board a flight to the US and once they land they will be tested once again and isolate until a negative result is shown.

The players will only be allowed at the hotel and the venue and any player who doesn’t respect the rules will be subject to penalties and be withdrawn from the tournament.

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