Dominic Thiem edges Benoit Paire in four sets to reach the fourth round in the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem edges Benoit Paire in four sets to reach the fourth round in the Australian Open

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Thiem is the first Austrian since Jurgen Melzer to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open (Zimbio.com)

Austrian eighth seed Dominic Thiem moved into the fourth round of the Australian Open after he edged mercurial Frenchman Benoit Paire 61 46 64 64 early on Saturday.

 

Thiem had dropped a set in each of his two rounds against Jan-Lennard Struff and Jordan Thompson respectively, and continued the trend in his match with the Frenchman.

Thiem came out and started strongly, breaking Paire in his first service game, and then holding for a three-love lead. Paire at least got on the board, but Thiem added a second break for a one-sided first set.

Paire rarely plays a match against a big player without finding at least some form, and so it proved it the second, the Frenchman improving to take care of matters on his own serve, and then break late in the set to level the scores.

However, Thiem’s backhand kicked into gear in the third all it took was for the Frenchman to go absent in one service game, and the Austrian led by two-sets-to-one. Thiem broke in the first game of the fourth, when Paire played an ill-advised drop shot into the net. Paire showed some mettle though, rattling off the next three games, looking to force a fifth and deciding set. Thiem’s retrieved the break, but immediately handed it back yet again, with a poor smash off of a relatively short defensive shot from Paire contributing to a poor game from the Austrian.

Paire just could not keep his consistency either though, and Thiem was once again back on serve. It was the Austrian who then broke again, to serve for the match. He helped Paire back into the game at deuce, but eventually sealed the win when Paire could only push a service return into the tramlines.

Thiem betters his result from last year, where he went out in third round. For Paire, he earns eighty points because he had lost in the first round last year.

Thiem will face David Goffin in the fourth round after the Belgian sealed a little piece of history. The eleventh seed defeated the 6’11 Ivo Karlovic 63 62 64, giving a master-class in how to break a big-server regularly. The win was rather easier than Goffin’s five-set marathon in the first round against American qualifier Reilly Opelka, who is also 6’11. Goffin becomes the first player to defeat both these players in the same grand slam tournament.

Though Karlovic had won his second round in straight sets, he had played a first round match against Horacio Zeballos that had lasted more than five hours, and it could easily have had an effect on the thirty-eight year-old twentieth seed. Reaching the third round represents a good effort for the big-serving veteran.

Goffin owns a narrow head-to-head lead against Thiem, leading 4-3, including a four-set win against the Austrian in the Australian Open last year in the third round. Thiem levelled the head-to-head in grand slam tournaments by winning at Roland Garros, also in four, en route to his first grand slam semi-final.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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