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

Dominic Thiem To Return At Marbella Challenger, Joins Wawrinka In Stacked Field

Dominic Thiem will be joining Stan Wawrinka in making his return to action at the Marbella challenger next week.

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Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem (@SK_Tennis - Twitter)

Dominic Thiem will finally make his return to the ATP tour at the Marbella challenger next week.

 

The Austrian hasn’t played a tennis match since retiring at the grass court event in Mallorca last June due to a wrist injury.

Despite being scheduled to play at the Australian Open and at the Indian Wells-Miami swing, Thiem had to postpone his return as he wasn’t quite ready to compete in matches.

However now Thiem has decided to return as he will begin his clay court swing next week at the Marbella Challenger.

The former Roland Garros finalist took to Instagram to announce the news as he looks to climb back up the rankings.

The world number 50 will face tough competition with former Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka also making his comeback at the event in Spain next week.

At the blockbuster event there will also be the likes of Holger Rune, Pablo Cuevas, Jaume Munar and Lucas Pouille competing.

The winner of the event will receive 125 ranking points but much more importantly for Thiem and Wawrinka much needed match practice ahead of a busy European clay-court swing.

Thiem will be the top seed while Wawrinka will be unseeded with their being a possibility of the two heavyweights meeting in the opening round.

Play will start on Monday with Jaume Munar being the defending champion.

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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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