Quentin Halys the highest seed to fall in Noumea, Henri Laaksonen suffers surprise exit in Bangkok - UBITENNIS
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Quentin Halys the highest seed to fall in Noumea, Henri Laaksonen suffers surprise exit in Bangkok

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Henri Laaksonen struggled against Yannick Mertens, and was a high-profile casualty in Bangkok (Zimbio.com)

It was not a good day in the Challengers if you were seeded fourth, as two players in as many tournaments with that seeding fell in just the second round of play.

 

Noumea:

(1) Adrian Mannarino defeats Jose Statham 62 61. The top seed and defending champion continued his serene progress into the quarter-finals, dropping just three games in his win over the Australian Statham. Can expect a tougher quarter-final than his first two matches have provided.

(5) Kenny De Schepper defeats Pedja Krstin 46 64 75. For the second time this week De Schepper surrendered the first set to a suprising opponent. Though he then negotiated Jose Hernandez Fernandez for the loss of just four games after losing the first set, Krstin gave him a tougher battle, forcing a match that lasted nearly two hours and twenty minutes. De Schepper will meet compatriot Mannarino in the quarter-finals as the top quarter goes with the seedings.

Alejandro Falla defeats Cameron Norrie 62 36 75. The Colombian most famous for nearly knocking Roger Federer out of Wimbledon in 2010 struggled past the young Brit, who had shocked third seed Duckhee Lee in the first round. Falla has a low ranking this year and is defending finalist points in this tournament from 2016.

Tristan Lamasine defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas 64 63. This match shows that the highly rated Greek still has a long way to go as Frenchman Lamasine produced a classy display to negotiate the teenager. Lamasine is in good form after ousting sixth seed Dennis Novikov in the previous round. A dark horse for the title at this stage.

Nikola Milojevic defeats (4) Quentin Halys 62 46 76. Despite being seeded fourth in this event the young Frenchman has flattered to deceive, with a number of poor results at the end of 2016 only continuing here. A good win for Milojevic,but with more than eighty ranking positions between them, Halys would have been expecting better.

Other results:

Adrian Menendez Maceiras defeats Noah Rubin 64 61

(8) Mathias Bourgue defeats Finn Tearney 64 76

Roberto Carballes Baena defeats Corentin Moutet 76 60

Happy Valley:

Ruben Bemelmans defeats Yasutaka Uchiyama 63 60. Bemelmans is finding some impressive form after knocking out top seed Donald Young in the first round. This win was more routine for the Belgian, knocking out the Japanese in under an hour.

Peter Gojowczyk defeats Michael Mmoh 62 63. The winner of the American Wildcard Challenger Mmoh proved that his development still has some way to go after falling comprehensively to the big-serving German.

 (3) Denis Kudla defeats Kimmer Coppejans 62 62. Kudla’s win over Uladzimir Ignatik could be a turning point for the American. After struggling through that match, Kudla breezed through here against an established Challenger opponent.

(6) Darian King Defeats Luke Saville 46 76 62. Former Wimbledon Junior Champion Saville gave the sixth seed a tough match over two hours and twenty-five minutes. King however progresses to a quarter-final with Denis Kudla.

Bangkok:

Yannick Mertens defeats (4) Henri Laaksonen 62 63. A real shock as Laaksonen had performed well in Challengers at the end of 2016 but was thrashed by Mertens.

(5) Janko Tipsarevic defeats Cedrik Marcel Stebe 62 63. No such problems for Janko Tipsarevic who eased into the quarter-finals dropping just five games against his German opponent.

Other results:

(7) Maximillian Marterer defeats Lloyd Glasspool 67 64 63.

(3) Marius Copil defeats Zdenek Kolar 64 61.

 

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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