ATP Quito Preview: South American clay swing gets under way, Ivo Karlovic leads the field - UBITENNIS
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ATP Quito Preview: South American clay swing gets under way, Ivo Karlovic leads the field

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Ivo Karlovic is the top seed in Quito, but does not have the best record on South American clay (Zimbio.com)

The first ATP event of the South American clay season gets under way in Quito this week, with a number of South American based players looking to gain some ATP points.

 

6’11 Ivo Karlovic, is the top seed, at No.19. The Croat is normally more successful on fast hard and grass courts, but has had success on clay occasionally, having won the US Men’s Clay Court Championships back in 2007. American clay is considered very different from the European and South American version, though, with the American variant considered far quicker than the norm.

More typical clay experts also litter the draw. Albert Ramos-Vinolas is in the bottom half of the draw, and is joined by third seed Paolo Lorenzi.

Thomaz Belllucci is the fourth seed, and is in the same section of the draw as top seed Karlovic. Defending champion Victor Estrella Burgos made headlines when he won the event in 2015, and followed it with a second consecutive title in 2016. He is successful at this event, but is unseeded, starting against Andrej Martin before a potential meeting with Karlovic in the second round.

Eighth seed Renzo Olivo can look at the time between the 2016 event and this year’s championships very fondly. The Argentinian needed to qualify for this event in 2016, but is now seeded this time around.

Karlovic, Ramos-Vinolas, Lorenzi, and Bellucci all benefit from byes in the first round as the top four seeds.

ATP Quito Draw (with picks in bold):

(1) Ivo Karlovic – Bye

Andrej Martin vs Victor Estrella Burgos

Joao Souza vs (Q) Federico Gaio

Gerald Melzer vs (6) Horacio Zeballos

(4) Thomaz Bellucci – Bye

Daniel Gimeno-Traver vs (WC) Janko Tipsarevic

Benjamin Becker vs Santiago Giraldo

(WC) Emilio Gomez vs (8) Renzo Olivo

(5) Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Rajeev Ram

Nicolas Kicker vs Guido Andreozzi

(Q) Agustin Velotti vs (PR) Matthew Ebden

Bye – (3) Paolo Lorenzi

(7) Thiago Monteiro vs Giovanni Lapentti

(Q) Roberto Carballes Baena vs Rogerio Dutra Silva

(Q) Alejandro Falla vs Alessandro Giannessi

Bye – (2) Albert Ramos-Vinolas

  • I personally like the chances of Thiago Monteiro. The young Brazilian has some very good wins on this surface including over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and is certainly a dark horse to do well.

 

 

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Danil Medvedev and David Goffin reach the semifinal at Diriyah Cup in Ryadh

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World number 5 Danil Medvedev cruised past Jan Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1 to reach the semifinal at the Diriyah Tennis Cup in Ryadh. The 2019 US Open finalist dropped just five points on his first serve and never faced break points.

 

The Russian player earned a break in the fifth game when Struff netted a forehand and held on his service game at 15. He sealed the break with a double break in the ninth game.

Medvedev broke serve in the second game with a forehand and raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break. He hit three winners, as he wast serving for the match at 5-1, to close out the match setting up a semifinal against David Goffin.

“It was a great match. It’s never easy like this after the end of the season, holidays and in the middle of pre- season to know how you are playing at this moment. Today was a great match, beating Jan so easy is a great achievement because he is a great player, so I am really happy. The atmosphere was really god and warm”, said Medvedev.

Goffin beat Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-2 6-4. The Belgian player broke serve in the opening game, as Pouille made a forehand error. Pouille did not convert a break point at 1-2. Goffin went up a double break to open up a 5-2 lead with four winners.

Goffin went up a break at the start of the second set. Pouille broke back in the eighth game when Goffin hit a double fault. Goffin got his fourth break in the ninth game and sealed the win with a hold of serve.

“Super oragnisation. The stadium is really nice. First time for me playing in Saudi. It’s a great atmosphere. It was great for us and people in the stadium. It’s a nice court. It’s a nice court and stadium. It could be a nice centre court in a big tournament”,said Goffin.

 

 

 

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Fabio Fognini sets up semifinal against Gael Monfils at Diriyah Tennis Cup

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Fabio Fognini beat John Isner 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in 1 hour and 25 minutes in the opening match of the Diriyah Tennis Cup, the first professional tennis tournament in Saudi Arabia. The exhibition tournament is held at the Diriyah Arena in Riyadh.

 

Fognini saved two break points at the start of the opening set. Isner fended off one break point in the second game. Fognini won eight of the nine break points to open up a 4-2 lead with a break in the sixth game. Isner broke back to draw level to 4-4. Both players went on serve to set up a tie-break.

Fognini earned a mini-break to open up a 3-1 lead in the tie-break. Isner got back the mini-break to draw level to 3-3, when Fognini hit a double fault.

Fognini earned another mini-break on the seventh point to take a 4-3 lead before sealing the opening set 7-4 on the second of his three set points, when Isner made a forehand error from Isner.

Fognini converted his third break point chance in the third game of the second set with a forehand error from Isner and held his service game to take a 3-1 lead. Fognini did not face any break points in his next service games and held his final service game at love to close out the second set 6-4 in 31 minutes with a service winner in the 10th game.

“I won the first game of the tournament. It’s nice. It’s something I will remember for sure and the people will remember as it is first year we play here. I know they want to do something, especially to improve tennis in this country, so I am happy”, said Fognini.

Fognini set up a semifinal against Gael Monfils, who beat Stan Wawrinka 6-3 6-3 after 66 minutes. Wawrinka broke serve at 15 in the opening game and held serve to open up a 2-0 lead. Monfils got the break back in the fourth game in the fourth game when Wawrinka hit his forehand long. Both players traded breaks in the next games to draw level to 3-3.

Monfils earned another break in the eighth game with a forehand down the line winner and sealed the set with a service winner in the ninth game.

Monfils forced a backhand error to get a break at the start of the second set. The Frenchman went up a double break on return at 5-3 to seal the win in straight sets.

“So far it’s great. The offering they have here for us to perform is incredible. The people are very nice. I feel vert nice”, said Monfils.

 

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The ATP announces nominees for the Coach of the Year Award

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Apostolos Tsitsipas, Carlos Moya, Gilles Cervara, Nicolas Massu and Vincenzo Santopadre are the candidates for the ATP Coach of the Year Award. The five coaches have been nominated and voted by fellow ATP coach members. This award goes to the ATP Coach who helped guide his players to a higher level of performance during the year.

 

Apostolos Tsitsipas guided his son Stefanos to the ATP Finals title in London just one year after his triumph at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Apostolos and his wife Julia Salnikova (a former top 200 WTA player) started coaching Stefanos when he was just three. During a spectacular 2019 season Tsitsipas also won two more titles in Marseille and Estoril and reached the Australian Open semifinal and three finals in Dubai, Madrid and Beijing.

Carlos Moya guided Rafael Nadal to two Grand Slam titles in 2019 at Roland Garros and at the US Open and two Masters 1000 titles in Rome and Montreal. Nadal ended the season as world number 1 player in the ATP Ranking and clinched the Davis Cup title at the Caja Magica in front of his home fans. Nadal has won five Grand Slam titles since he started working together with Moya in 2016.

Frenchman Gilles Cervara played a vital role in Danil Medvedev’s rise to the top five during a spectacular 2019 season. Medvedev won two Masters 1000 finals in Cincinnati and Shanghai, two ATP tournaments in Sofia and St. Petersburg and reached the final in Brisbane, Barcelona, Washington, Montreal and at the US Open,. The 23-year-old Russian player qualified for the ATP Finals in London for the first time in his career.

Former Chilean star Nicolas Massu started working with Dominic Thiem at the start of March. Under the guidance of Massu Thiem won his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells. The Austrian player continued his successful season winning in Barcelona, Kitzbuehl, Beijing and Vienna and reached the French Open final.

Vincenzo Santopadre, who reached a career-high world number 100 on 3 May 1999, has coached Matteo Berrettini since 2011 and guided the 23-year-old player to his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open last September. Under the guidance of Santopadre Berrettini has become the third Italian player in history to qualify for the ATP Finals after Adriano Panatta and Corrado Barazzutti.

 

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