Excellent day for Americans as they go five for five on the second day of Australian Open Qualifying - UBITENNIS
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Excellent day for Americans as they go five for five on the second day of Australian Open Qualifying

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Tim Smyczek was one of five Americans that won their second round matches in Australian Open Qualifiying (Image via Zimbio.com)

It was a special day if your were an American in action in the Men’s Qualifying draw on the second day of Australian Open Qualifying 2017. All five scheduled to feature in the first day of second round action progressed to the final round.

 

(18) Denis Kudla defeats Darian King 46 64 64. The eighteenth seed Kudla looked down and out when he went down a break at four-three in the final set. The former Top 50 player recovered to win the final three games of the set and the match to move within a win of the main draw.

(6) Bjorn Fratangelo defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas 46 61 63. An excellent win for the former Roland Garros junior champion, who has struggled at times to improve that junior record at tour level. Tsitsipas like Fratangelo, is a junior prodigy trying to make it in the main tour. The young Greek took the first set but from then on was always second best, Fratangelo breaking immediately in the second set, and also winning the third set by a double break margin.

(2) Frances Tiafoe defeats Yannik Reuter 64 60. No such problems for second seed Tiafoe, as in contrast to his aforementioned compatriots, Tiafoe eased into the final round, dropping just four games as he beat Yannik Reuter. A much easier win for Tiafoe after his close first round encounter with Marco Cecchinato.

(25) Tim Smyczek defeats Mohamed Safwat 64 63. Tim Smyczek is defending full qualifying and main draw second rounds points from 2016. Australia however, is a happy hunting ground for Smyczek, and he continued his fine form by defeating Safwat. Smyczek has not yet dropped a set in his first two matches, but someone will go out when he faces compatriot Frances Tiafoe in the final round.

(21) Ernesto Escobedo defeats Tatsuma Ito 61 63.  Escobedo was the final American in action on day two, and he raced through his match with Tatsuma Ito in straight sets for the loss of just four games. Escobedo qualified for the Brisbane event last week, losing two tie break sets to Kyle Edmund, but will be a favourite now to qualifying for the main draw.

(10) Lukas Lacko defeats Maximo Gonzalez 46 62 62. Tenth seed Lacko rebounded from the loss of the first set to secure a double break in each of the next two to knock out the Argentinian. He will face eighteenth seed Denis Kudla in a section that went with the seedings.

Di Wu defeats Miljan Zekic 64 62. Zekic’s marathon win over Benjamin Becker in the first round became little more than a gift for the Chinese, as the Serbian was unable to back up the win. Wu was comfortable and pulled away in the second set.

Marco Trungelliti defeats Peter Gojowczyk 50 ret. A real shame for Gojowczyk, as the German had been flying in the early part of 2017, winning the Happy Valley Challenger, and dropping just two games in his first round match against Saketh Myneni. He was troubled throughout in this one though, and Trungelliti, who reached the third round of the main draw after qualifying last year, is still alive in this year’s event.

John-Patrick Smith defeats Kenny De Schepper 64 63. De Schepper was another player who struggled through a long first round match in his dismantling of the twenty-seventh seed Norbert Gombos. Smith struggled in 2016, but is in the final round of qualifying and will certainly fancy his chances.

Ivan Dodig defeats Laslo Djere 63 16 62. The Croatian veteran overcame a second set blip to make the final round. Dodig now splits his time between the singles tour and the doubles tour, and his powerful serve returned in the final set to blow away Djere.

Andre Ghem defeats Yuya Kibi 26 63 61. The Japanese started the first set as he had finished against Brian Baker, in excellent form but the defensive persistence of Ghem eventually told, drawing more and more errors through the last two sets to back up his win against Joao Souza and make the final round.

Yuki Bhambri defeats Pedja Krstin 63 64. Bhambri backed up his superb win over Stefan Koslov with another straight sets win, this time against Krstin. He will look to increase the Asian contingent in the main draw but will face the tough task of defeating Ernesto Escobedo if he is to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

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Roberto Bautista Agut overcomes Dominik Koepfer in three sets in Hamburg

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Nine-time ATP Tour champion Roberto Bautista Agut came back from a break down in the third set to beat last week’s Rome quarter finalist Dominik Koepfer 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes at the European Open in Hamburg. The nine-time ATP Tour winner converted on 7 of his 17 break points.  

 

Koepfer, who was the only player to win a set against Novak Djokovic last week in Rome, got an early break to take a 2-0 lead. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take the first set 6-3. 

Koepfer earned an early break to open up a 3-1 lead in the second set. Five consecutive breaks followed, before Koepfer sealed the second set with an unreturned serve after saving two break points in the 10th game. 

Koepfer came back from 0-2 down in the third set by winning three consecutive games to take a break lead at 3-2. Bautista Agut won four consective games with a double break in the sixth and eighth games to win the third set at 6-3. 

Bautista Agut set up a quarter final against last year’s finalist Andrey Rublev, who overcame Tommy Paul 6-1 3-6 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes. The Spaniard leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against his younger Russian rival.

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Aryna Sabalenka comes back from one set down to beat Anna Blinkova in Strasbourg

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World number 12 and this year’s Doha champion Aryna Sabalenka came back from a set down to edge past Anna Blinkova 1-6 6-4 6-2 reaching the quarter final at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. 

 

Sabalenka qualified for the quarter final in Adelaide and Dubai in 2020, but she scored just three wins across the US tournaments in Lexington, the Western and Southern Open and at the US Open. 

Blinkova came through the qualifying round in Rome, where she beat Jil Teichmann and Aliona Bolsova before losing to eventual finalist Karolina Pliskova in the Round of 16. 

Blinkova went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Sabalenka held serve at love in the fifth game to win her first game. Blinkova served out the first set 6-1 with her third break. 

Sabalenka got her first break at the start of the second set to take a 1-0 lead. Blinkova broke straight back in the second game to draw level to 1-1. Both players went on serve until the seventh game, when Sabalenka got a crucial break to take a 4-3 lead after a marathon game that went to three deuces. Sabalenka held her next two service games to take the second set 6-4. 

Sabalenka earned an early break in the third game to open up a 3-1 lead. She broke again in the seventh game for 5-2 at deuce and served out the win on her second match point. Sabalenka hit 27 winners to 32 unforced errors. 

Sabalenka set up a quarter final match against Katerina Siniakova, who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 6-4. Siniakova broke twice to take a 5-1 lead. Alexandrova pulled the break back at love in the seventh game, but Alexandrova came back from 15-30 to break serve in the 10th game closing out the first set 6-4. The second set went on serve until the 10th game when Siniakova converted her third break point at deuce to close out the match. 

Former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the quarter final after Kiki Bertens was forced to retire due to an Achilles tendon injury from the match at 2-6 6-4 4-2. Ostapenko will face Japan’s Nao Hibino, who beat Zarina Diyas 7-5 6-3. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Daniel Evans to reach the second round in Hamburg

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Last year’s ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised past Daniel Evans 6-3 6-1 in 59 minutes to set up a second round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas. 

 

Tsitsipas forced a forehand error from Evans to get a break for 3-1 and sealed the first set at love with a forehand volley winner. 

The Greek player broke serve in the third game of the second set with a forehand return and a a foehand approach. Tsitsipas broke three times in a row to win the second set 6-1. 

Tsitsipas hit 17 of his 24 winners off the forehand wing and won 14 of his points at the net. 

“It’s very satisfying to be playing that level of tennis, as I have missed playing on clay. It helps for my confidence. I have watched this tournament on TV since I was very young and I am delighted to have gotten off to a strong start”, said Tsitsipas. 

Chile’s Christian Garin beat German wild card Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 7-6 (7-3) to become the first player to reach the quarter final in Hamburg. Garin broke twice in a row in the sixth and eighth to win the first set 6-2. 

The South American player went up a break at deuce to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. Yanfmann converted his third break-back point in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. The German player earned another break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead earning a chance to serve for the set. Garin broke straight back sending the second set to the tie-break. Hanfmann took a 3-1 lead, but Garin reeled off six consecutive points to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Benoit Paire withdrew from his first round match against Casper Ruud as he was a set and a break down at 4-6 0-2. The Frenchman revealed after the match that he has tested positive for the coronavirus twice since arriving at the tournament. Paire claimed that he had been told the rule in Germany is different to that in Paris, where positive players have been withdrawn from the French Open qualifying round due to covid-19. 

“The only negative test was yesterday but I was positive in two consecutive tests. The ATP has to explain to me what the rule is. In Paris some are negative, but because the coach is positive they can’t play. Here in Germany you are positive and can play”, said Paire.  

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