Dominic Thiem Gets Indian Wells Campaign Underway With Victory Over Jeremy Chardy - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Gets Indian Wells Campaign Underway With Victory Over Jeremy Chardy

Joshua Coase

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Dominic Thiem booked his place in the third round in Indian Wells after seeing off Jeremy Chardy in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 14 minutes.

 

In this, their first meeting, the Austrian made the perfect start as his opponent attempted to go toe to toe with him from the back of the court. Upon an adjustment in tactics, Chardy found more joy and got involved in the contest but could not break the 23-year-old’s serve in set number one. An early break in the second gave the Frenchman real belief, but that advantage did not last long and a poor conversion rate on break point chances proved to be the 30-year-old’s undoing in this encounter.

In the opening game Chardy allowed a 40-15 advantage on serve to slip as he threw in a couple of double faults to hand his opponent an immediate break of serve. After a tough beginning to the match the Frenchman quickly acknowledged that trading from the back of the court was going to be a losing tactic against the Austrian.

In the fourth game Chardy began to mix his game up, approaching the net frequently. Thiem struggled to deal with the shift in play and found himself having to save two break back points. He saved the first with a fierce forehand down the line winner before the Frenchman went after the second serve and missed his return to squander the second opportunity. An erratic forehand from the Austrian spurned a chance to hold before he had to face a third break point. In the rally which ensued it was Chardy who broke down first, failing to get down low enough to return one of the Austrian’s trademark one-handed backhands into court. Thiem managed to come through and hold to move 3-1 in front.

The tactic of coming to the net was proving to be effective for the Frenchman, winning six out of the eight points over the course of the first set as he moved to 0-30 on the Austrian’s serve once again. This time Thiem was able to reel off four points in a row, closing with aces to extend his lead. The missed chances for Chardy came back to bite him as his opponent, seeded eight at this event, struck a stunning backhand cross court passing shot on the run to secure a double break.

The 23-year-old had no trouble closing out the first set, making just four unforced errors compared to Chardy’s 13, as he held to love to seal it 6-2.

The start to the second set was a complete contrast to the first, with Chardy holding with ease before racing to a 0-40 advantage on the Austrian’s serve. In an error-strewn game from the eighth seed, Thiem netted yet another forehand to relinquish his serve for the first time in the match.

After making such a positive start to the set, all Chardy’s good work was undone as Thiem came bouncing right back. At break point down the 30-year-old looked out of ideas as he attempted a forehand down the line winner off a rallying ball. The Frenchman missed the mark by a considerable margin and dropped serve before the Austrian quickly levelled things up at two games all.

After a series of routine service holds from both players, it was Chardy whose serve broke down first at a crucial time in the ninth game. Thiem stepped up further into the court to go after the Frenchman’s serve and it worked as he brought up two break points. After deciding to retreat when presented with the first chance he was punished, but the Austrian drew an error from his opponent in the following extended rally to earn the chance to serve for the match.

The tenth game was a tough battle and Thiem had to rely on firing down aces down the middle when down 15-30 and at break point. The 23-year-old had to face another break point, but once again found a timely first serve which Chardy could not return. After that scare the Austrian only needed one chance to secure victory, hitting another first serve, which went unreturned, to seal a 6-2, 6-4 win.

The eighth seed advances to the third round and now awaits the winner of the match between 29th seed Mischa Zverev and Joao Sousa.

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Laver Cup Deserves More Respect From ATP, Says Captain McEnroe

The American tennis great believes more needs to be done to make the team competition more prestigious in the future.

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Former world No.1 John McEnroe has called for the Laver Cup to be turned into a stand alone event with no other ATP tournaments taking place at the same time it takes place.

 

The multiple Grand Slam champion is the captain of Team World who lost 14-1 to Europe in the latest edition of the event which took place over the weekend. This year’s Laver Cup featured ten top 20 players but the six highest-ranked individuals all represented Europe – Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud.

However, McEnroe believes the three-day event needs to be given more priority if it wishes to emulate the success of Golf’s Ryder Cup which also pitches Europe against the rest of the world. This year’s Laver Cup took place during the same time as ATP 250 events in Metz, France and Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

This is my personal opinion, but I don’t think there should be any tournaments going on if they want to try to get to the level of a Ryder Cup, say. It’s got to stand on its own,” McEnroe said.
“It’s not going to be like, ‘Well, other players need to be able to play and … get their points in Kazakhstan or wherever they are right now.’ I just don’t agree with that. I think it’s a mistake by the ATP.”

The Laver Cup first took place in 2017 and became an ATP Tour sanction event just two years later. Meaning they receive the same back-up and logistical support as other events on the Tour. However, ranking points are not awarded to players unlike the ATP Cup which does. The 2021 edition saw each member of the winning team take home prize money of $250,000.

“Yet it’s difficult to sort of get, sort of, the respect that I think this deserves,” McEnroe continued.
“It tears me up.”

It is the fourth time in a row that Europe has come out on top against their rivals. The only players to score a point for McEnroe’s side this year was Denis Shapovalov and John Isner in the doubles on the opening day of the tie.

“We battled our best. These guys are a great team, no question, incredible team,” McEnroe commented.
“Obviously, if you get a couple different results, could have put more pressure on them (Europe), but we just came up short in I think four tiebreakers. (If) you win half those, totally different story. Other matches we had a chance to get in. We gave it our best, but they were too good.”

The Laver Cup will move to Europe next year with it being held at The O2 in London which was the home of the ATP Finals for more than a decade.

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Alexander Zverev Pushed But Manages To Beat Isner As Europe Storms To Lead In Laver Cup

The German gave Team Europe a massive lead after winning a tight match.

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image via https://twitter.com/LaverCup/

Alexander Zverev needed a trademark ” Laver Breaker” to beat the 6ft 10 Amercian John Isner 7-6, 6-7, 10-5 in two hours and 17 minutes on the saecond day of the Laver Cup.

 

The German hit 13 aces in the match, meanwhile Isner went 0 for 3 on breakpoints.

” I think in this format playing John (Isner) is one of the toughest opponents there can be and he is the best server of all time plus he was hitting the ball extremely hard and well today,” said Zverev.
To be honest I played a pretty good match,” he added.

In the first set, both players had zero issues holding serve. In the opening tiebreak it was extremely tight but the world number four managed to get the crucial break at 4-3 and that was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second frame stayed on serve until 3-3 when the American had two chances to break but the Hamburg native managed to save both. In the following game he responded by earning three break points of his very own but Isner saved all three and held serve.

Isner had another chance at 5-5 but was unable to convert and again proceedings went into another tiebreaker to decide the second set. In that breaker, the world number 22 jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the German responded winning the next three points to make it 3-3.

After that, it stayed on serve until 7-6 and it was the American who managed to break Zverev to win the second set and force a match tiebreak to decide the match.

The first four points went on serve and it was the German who got the first break and jumped out to a 6-3 and that lead was enough for him to serve out the match and give Team Europe a 7-1 lead.

After the match in his on-court interview, Zverev spoke about the second set and the level both he and Isner was playing at.

” Even the second set that I lost I didn’t do many things wrong so it shows that the match was very high level and obviously happy to give Team Europe the lead”. He said.

Day 2 results :

In the first match of the day, the Aussie Nick Kyrgios faced Stefanos Tsitsipas and it was the world number three who took the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes.

After the match, Krygios mentioned in his post-match press conference that the Laver Cup would be the last event he played in 2021, stating that his mother’s health is not doing well and he is planning to return to Australia to be with her.

In the night session Danil Medvedev, the current US Open champion, took on Denis Shapovalov and the Russian only needed one hour and 15 minutes to beat him 6-4, 6-0 to give Team Europe a 9-1 lead.

In the last match of the day, a doubles clash featuring Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev took on Isner and Krygios, and again it was the Europeans who managed to win 6-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Day 3 Preview :

On Sunday Team Europe will have a chance to clinch the trophy in their first match as they only need two more points and on Sunday a win is worth three. The day will start with a doubles match featuring Rublev and Zverev taking on Shapovalov and Rielly Opelka.

In singles, Zverev will face Felix Auger Aliassime, Medvedev will face Diego Schwartzman, and the last match scheduled is Isner vs Tsitsipas.

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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