Adrian Mannarino eases past Alejandro Falla to move into Noumea final, Omar Jasika continues run in Happy Valley - UBITENNIS
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Adrian Mannarino eases past Alejandro Falla to move into Noumea final, Omar Jasika continues run in Happy Valley

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Adrian Mannarino looks untouchable in Noumea (Image via Zimbio.com)

The final for the Noumea Challenger is now set, whilst the Happy Valley and Bangkok tournaments now have semi-final match-ups to look forward to.

 

Noumea:

(1)Adrian Mannarino defeats Alejandro Falla 62 61. Adrian Mannarino is the player to beat in Noumea this week. In a re-match of last year’s final, Mannarino easily defeated Alejandro Falla. Mannarino is yet to drop a set this week and the defending champion looks in ominous form.

Nikola Milojevic defeats (2) Roberto Carballaes Baena 64 64. The unseeded Serbian has been in superb form this week, and his win over the second seed represents his third seeded scalp of the week after he defeated Quentin Halys (4) and Mathias Bourgue (8) in earlier rounds. Carballes Baena is more well known for his clay exploits, and will not be too disappointed with a semi-final showing here despite being seeded second.

Happy Valley:

Peter Gojowczyk defeats Ruben Bemelmans 76 64. Bemelmans contribution to the draw was knocking out top seed Donald Young in the first round, but the Belgian’s run ended here. The German Gojowczyk edged a tight first set, and despite failing to land his first serve often in the first set (44%), won an impressive amount of points on second serve (60%) to keep the Belgian at bay.

(3) Denis Kudla defeats (6) Darian King 62 76. A very uncomfortable match despite the relatively sound scoreline for Kudla. The American lost his serve five times, and only was only offered a way out by King proving on serve, Kudla breaking six time. The bulk of the breaks appeared in the second set, with eight breaks, as both men failed on serve more often than they succeeded. Kudla got the edge in the tiebreak though, and moves into the semi finals, where he will face Gojowczyk.

Omar Jasika defeats (4) Peter Polansky 64 62. Jasika may have needed a wildcard to get into this event, but the Australian has more than repaid that faith. This win over Polansky represents his second win over a seed this week, after knocking out fifth seed Norbert Gombos in the first round.

Joris De Loore defeats (8) Marton Fucsovics 76 63. Like Jasika, Fucsovics is the surprise of the week to date. This was De Loore’s first seeded opponent of the week, but it did little to dampen his form, dropping serve just once and breaking three times for a double break advantage in the second set. De Loore will have to face the in-form Jasika in the next round.

Bangkok:

(1) Yuichi Sugita defeats Jeremy Jahn 60 64. The run for the German ended with a comprehensive defeat to the top seed here. Jahn was blown away in the first set, before settling somewhat in the second. Sugita always had too much for him though, and the Japanese completed the win in fifty-nine minutes.

(5) Janko Tipsarevic defeats Yannick Mertens 62 64. The former Top Ten pro had little trouble with his match against the Belgian, easing through each set. Tipsarevic won exactly half of the points against Mertens’ serve in the first set, with the result being two breaks. The second set was slightly tighter, as Mertens yielded just a single break, and forced his own break point opportunities, after failing in the first. Tipsarevic saved all three though, and is into the semi-finals.

(7) Maximillian Marterer defeats (3) Marius Copil 64 76. Marterer is perhaps Germany’s other young hope apart from Alexander Zverev. Both are big players with big serves, and the match featured only three breaks. A single advantage for the German in the first set, resulting in the lead. The second set saw the players trade breaks before a long tiebreak saw Marterer win ten-eight, securing the straight sets victory.

Blaz Kavcic defeats Christian Garin 76 61. A comfortable win for the Slovenian against a player more comfortable on clay. Garin had had a great win against Denis Istomin in the second round, but could not replicate that form against Kavcic, winning just a single point in the first set tiebreak, and then just a single game in the second set.

 

ATP Challenger

Roberto Bautista Agut reaches his second career final in Doha

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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. 

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ATP Challenger

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

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Andy Murray - ATP Challenger Biella 2021 (Credit: Felice Calabrò)

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

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ATP announces five-week ATP Challenger calendar for 2021

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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. 

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