Launceston Challenger gets underway, Sam Groth forced to withdraw with right abductor injury - UBITENNIS
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ATP Challenger

Launceston Challenger gets underway, Sam Groth forced to withdraw with right abductor injury



Omar Jasika is already underway as he searches for consecutive Challenger titles after his win in Burnie last week (

The final Challenger of the Australian swing is under way in Launceston, and already there have been a few major stories to tell.

Omar Jasika picked up his maiden title last week in Burnie, and would have hope for a easy-ish first round draw. That was not the case, as he instead faced the man he beat in the Burnie semi-finals in Dmitry Popko. Fortunately for Jasika, the end result was the same, as he beat the Kazakh in straight sets 63 75, improving on the up-and-down performance he delivered in the Burnie semi-finals.

In other early matches, Mitchell Krueger scored a good win, knocking out eighth seed and Burnie semi-finalist Akira Santillan 64 75.The American was impressive when facing break points, saving nine from ten faced.

A blow for the draw occurred before Daniel Nguyen’s match, as his scheduled opponent fifth seed Sam Groth was forced to withdraw with a right abductor injury. Nathan Pasha was moved up as a lucky loser replacement. Nguyen took full advantage of his fortune, defeating Pasha 76 76.

Italian Riccardo Bellotti was another beneficiary of seeded misfortune, as second seed Jan Satral was forced to retire with Bellotti leading 62 31.

Satral, Santillan, and Groth continue the exodus of seeds in the first round, as they join third seed Jason Jung as early departures, with out-of-form top seed Go Soeda still yet to face young talent Alex de Minaur.

There were early wins for Alex Bolt, Christopher O’Connell, sixth seed Mohamed Safwat, Maverick Banes (over Jung), and Tsung-Hua Yang.

The early defeats for seeds have opened up the draw, in particular the bottom half, as no seed is still in the bottom quarter following the withdrawal of Groth and the retirement of Satral. It offers the likes of Daniel Nguyen and Max Purcell to perhaps make a run to the quarter-finals.

Third quarter seeds Noah Rubin and Andrew Whittington might fancy their chances of making the final after seeing the higher-ranked Satral fall so early.

ATP Challenger

Danielle Collins beats Caroline Garcia to reach the second semifinal of her career in Miami



Danielle Collins beat Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-2 in 80 minutes to reach her second semifinal at the Miami Open. Collins became the first qualifier to reach the semifinal in the history of this tournament. 

Collins achieved her third win against a seeded player in five matches over the past seven days. 

Collins dropped just 11 points in nine service games against Garcia and hit 22 winners to Garcia’s 12. 

Collins earned a break in the eighth game and held serve to seal the first set 6-3. The US player broke serve in the third game of the second set and never looked back to close out the match in 1 hout and 19 minutes. 

Collins has extended her record to 4-0 in her head-to-head matches against Garcia and has not lost a set to her French opponent. 

Collins set up a semifinal match against the winner of Wednesday night’s match between Jessica Pegula and Elena Alexandrova, who beat world number one player Iga Swiatek in the fourth round.  

Collins won two WTA titles in Palermo and San José in 2021 but she has not reached a WTA Tour level final since losing to Ashleigh Barty in Melbourne in 2022. 

“I think Caroline Garcia comes out here and fights her butt off. She hits some really strong shots. I don’t think the set scores are a reflection of how close the match really is”, said Collins. 

Garcia beat Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff to reach the quarter finals in Miami for the first time in her career. The French player was troubled by an injury to her right shoulder and received treatment early in the second set. 

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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.



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



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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