Andy Murray made a winning start to his campaign at the Qatar Open in Doha with a 6-0 7-6 (7-2) victory over Jeremy Chardy after one hour and 21 minutes. With this win Murray has extended his winning streak to 25 consecutive matches since September.
Murray broke three times in the second, fourth and sixth games to cruise to a bagel win after 20 minutes in the first set where he dropped just seven points. Chardy served at only 44 percent.
Chardy rallied from 15-40 on return in the first game to break serve at deuce. Murray broke straight back in the second game to draw level to 1-1 after Chardy made a double fault. Chardy saved a break point in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Murray took a 4-2 lead before firing an ace down the line to race out to a 6-2 lead. He clinched the tie-break 7-2 as Chardy sent his volley long.
Murray hit 18 wnners to 9 unforced errors
The World Number 1 player, who won the Doha tournament in 2008 and 2009, will take on Gerald Melzer, who rallied from one set down to beat Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-7 6-3 6-2.
“Jeremy did not start well but it’s always difficult to play well in the first match of the year, He played aggressive and pushed me hard in the second set. It is always nice to come back to Doha. The tournament has a lot of history and tradition. I have played a number of times and I enjoy playing here. It’s a very nice court to play on. Hopefully I will have a good run. I played my best tennis in the past 5-6 months butI am trying to keep improving. I lost tough matches and had a lot of ups and downs but I manged to get the number 1 after 12 years of trying”, said Andy Murray.
Ivo Karlovic hit 13 aces and did not face any break points to beat Iliya Marchenko 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-0) in one hour and 35 minutes. Marchenko earned a break point in the sixth game of the second set but Karlovic saved it en route to the tie-break. Both players dropped just ten points in the twelve games of the first set, but the tie-break featured seven mini-breaks in twelve points. They traded three mini-breaks en route to 5-5 before Karlovic won another return point to take a 6-5 lead before clinching the first set on the next point. Karlovic saved the only break point he faced in the second set. The Croatian giant cruised to a 7-0 win in the tie-break to close out the match.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is making his first appearance in Doha since beating his compatriot Gael Monfils in the 2012 final, overcame the loss of the second set to prevail over Andrey Kuznetsov by 6-1 4-6 6-2 to set up a second round match against either Dustin Brown or Facundo Bagnis. Kuznetsov converted his first break point of the match at 5-4 in the second set to force the match to the decider.
Phillip Kohlschreiber rallied from one break down in the second set to edge Malek Jaziri 6-2 7-6 (7-3) in one hour and 43 minutes. Next Gen star Karen Khachanov cruised past local favourite Mubarak Shannan Zayid 6-1 6-3 in just 57 minutes.
Casper Ruud and Cristian Garin reach the semifinal in Hamburg
Last week’s Rome Masters 1000 semifinalist Casper Ruud reached his second consecutive semifinal in Hamburg after beating Ugo Humbert 7-5 3-6 6-1 after 2 hours and 36 minutes.
Ruud, the son of former Norwegian star Christian Ruud, converted four of his 17 break points and dropped his serve twice.
Both players traded breaks in in the fifth and sixth games in the opening set and stayed neck and neck in the next games. Humbert earned two set points in the 10th game, which featured six deuces. Ruud saved both opportunities to draw level to 5-5 and broke serve to take a 6-5 lead. The Scandinavian player held serve at love with a smash winner to seal the first set 7-5 after 64 minutes.
Humbert broke serve in the fourth game of the second set with a backhand winner and saved all five break points in the fifth and seventh games before closing out the first set 6-3 with an ace. Ruud fended off a break point in the first game of the decisive set and broke serve at love in the second game.
Ruud broke serve at 4-1, as Humbert netted a forehand, and served out the match in the next game. Ruud set up a semifinal match against last year’s finalist Andrey Rublev.
Chile’s Cristian Garin came back from one set down to beat lucky loser Alexander Bublik 3-6 6-4 6-4. Garin will play against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the oher semifinal.
Bublik earned breaks in the first and ninth games to win the first set 6-3. Garin broke serve in the second game and saved two break points in the sixth and eights games to win the second set 6-4. Garin earned his only break at love in the fifth game to seal the decisive set 6-4. Garin will face Stefanos Tsitsipas for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour in the semifinal.
“I am happy to be in the semifinals. Hamburg is a really special tournament. I am having a good week and I am playing my best tennis”, said Garin.
‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances
John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.
One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.
Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.
Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.
“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”
This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.
During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.
“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.
De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.
Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome
Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion.
The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome.
Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve.
Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0.
Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand. Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman.
Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4.
Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner.
Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes.
Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide.
Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.
Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final.
“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic.
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