Fabio Fognini; "It's going to be a very tough match against Rafa Nadal" - UBITENNIS
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Fabio Fognini; “It’s going to be a very tough match against Rafa Nadal”



Fabio Fognini has reached a Masters 1000 semifinal for the second time in his career four years after Monte-Carlo where he lost to Novak Djokovic. By beating Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-2 in the quarter final Fognini has become the first Italian player to reach a Masters 1000 semifinal in a US hard-court tournament. He will face Rafael Nadal in the semifinal. Nadal leads 7-3 against Fognini, but the Italian beat the 14-time Grand Slam champion three times in 2015 in the Rio de Janeiro semifinal (1-6 6-2 7-5), in the Barcelona second round (6-4 7-6) and in the US Open third round (where the Italian came back from two sets down to win 3-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 in an epic five-set match). In the most recent six clashes Nadal and Fognini tied 3-3. Nadal leads 4-2 on clay and 3-1 on outdoor hard-court.


“We know each other very well. He beat three times. It will be a good test. I am happy to have reached the semifinal, but it will be a very hard match and I will have to play my best tennis to beat Fognini”, said Nadal

Miami will mark the third Masters 1000 semifinal for an Italian player after Andreas Seppi in Hamburg in 2008 and Fognini in Montecarlo 2013. Fognini is one of the few players to have beaten Nadal twice in a row (Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona).

Fognini talked to the media about the chance to meet Roger Federer in the finali f he beats Rafa Nadal.

“It’s not bad what you say about the prospect to meet Federer. I would like for sure. At the moment I am just happy. Of course it’s a big tournament for me at the moment. I am feeling really good on court and other times, so this is the best thing that we can have this week. I am happy about my performance. Of course the result is positive. It’s like a dream maybe. I play Rafa in the next match. It’s going to be really tough match. I try to focused on my game and try to do my best, and then if it’s dreaming coming true, I am here”.

Kei Nishikori was not in his best shape after suffering from a knee injury during his Round of 16 round match against Federico Delbonis. The problem probably affected the Japanese player but Fognini refuses to think too much that it had an impact on Nishikori’s performance against Fognini.

“I don’t care if Kei Nishikori was not 100 percent physically. Don’t be like Italian press. I was excited to do my game since the beginning, but I was knowing that he was injured. I saw in the last match against Delbonis he called the physio to treat his knee. Today during the middle of the first set he was missing a lot of balls with his forehand. I think he had a little bit pain on his wrist. because the conditions here in Miami are completely different from Indian Wells. That’s the sport”.

Fognini received a special support from his sister Fulvia and former football star Christian Vieri, who is a very good friend of the Italian top player. Vieri, who lives in Miami, celebrated in the stands every time Fognini won a point.

“We know each other really well. I made the pre-season training here in Miami because my coach Franco Davin lives here. We know each other very well and we we went dinner a few times. We are chatting every day. He is a football champion and always tries to give some tips. You have to understand that football is different from football. I am happy because he is a very good friend. He knows sport very well”.

Fognini is going to become father after marrying to Flavia Pennetta one year ago. He was asked if fatherhood is going to slow down his career or motivate him to play more in the future.

“I think it’s a good motivation for sure. Flavia is at home. I have been away away from home for 60 days, so it’s really difficult. After Sao Paulo I was not sure whether to play Indian Wells or not. At the same time I start to feel another time well on court competing better and better, but I have the priority now. You can decide or tell me if you are feeling good, you are happy, you stay at home and I am going to play. It’s not big problem but it’s the next problem that we have to talk after Miami, because it’s going to be really important. I think it’s one and a half months left, so we are really. We have to decide what is the best solution to me after Miami, what we are gong to do if she is feeling good or not. She is going to move to Barcelona during Monte-Carlo. We will see. I would like to ask her after Miami if she is feeling good. I mean I will play every week on clay. That’s the big thing. I have also the Davis Cup. It’s a lot of tournaments, so I have to make a really good plan and we will see”.

Nishikori admitted that he was not feeling 100 percent.

“I think he played good enough. I don’t think he played extremely well today. I had too many unforced errors and my serve wasn’t there today. That’s cost me most of the match. I think he played good tennis. I had a couple of spots really hurting but I don’t think it’s a big deal. I have three weeks to Barcelona, so I have a lot of time to recover well. For sure I will spend a few days without tennis”, said Nishikori.


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Miami Open Daily Preview: Pegula/Collins, Rybakina/Badosa Square Off on Saturday



Jessica Pegula with Tournament Director James Blake (twitter.com/MiamiOpen)

WTA third round action begins on Saturday in Miami, the first day where seeds begin to meet in the draws.


American No.1 Jessica Pegula faces fellow American and 2022 Australian Open finalist, Danielle Collins, while a pair of recent Indian Wells champs will collide, in Elena Rybakina and Paula Badosa.  Other WTA matches on Saturday feature three-time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka and Florida resident Coco Gauff.

ATP second round competition concludes on Saturday, with names like Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Matteo Berrettini making their 2023 Miami Open debuts.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Jessica Pegula (3) vs. Danielle Collins (30) – Third on Stadium Court

Pegula is 16-5 this season, and easily dispatched of qualifier Katherine Sebov on Thursday.  She is 7-3 lifetime in Miami, and was a semifinalist a year ago, losing to eventual champion Iga Swiatek.

Collins is 9-8 this season, and has not been able to rediscover her top form while battling multiple injuries over the course of the past year.  But she’s been very successful in Miami, with an overall record of 11-4 thanks to a semifinal run in 2018, and a quarterfinal run in 2022.

Pegula claimed their only tour-level meeting, which was an extremely tight affair.  Two years ago in Montreal, Jess prevailed 7-5 in the third on her sixth match point, which ended Danielle’s 12-match win streak at the time.  Pegula is again a favorite to prevail on Saturday, as she’s become one of the WTA’s most consistent performers, and rarely fails to make the second week of big events.  However, Collins always has the power to dictate matters if her aggressive game is clicking.

Elena Rybakina (10) vs. Paula Badosa (21) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium Court

Rybakina is 17-4 in 2023, and is coming off a three-set victory on Thursday night over Anna Kalinskaya.  She sits at a career-high of No.7 in the world, though it’s worth noting she’d be in the top five if she had received ranking points for her Wimbledon triumph.  Elena has lost in the third round of Miami in both of her previous appearances.

Badosa is just 6-3 on the year, having pulled out of the Australian Open due to injury.  She defeated Laura Siegemund in three sets in the last round.  Paula’s 7-5 lifetime in Miami, and was a quarterfinalist here a year ago.

Badosa leads their head-to-head 3-2 at tour level, though in this same round of Indian Wells two weeks ago, Rybakina beat Badosa in straight sets.  Elena may be due for a drop in form, coming off the second biggest title run of her career.  But based on her recent level of play, Rybakina must still be considered the favorite on Saturday.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Richard Gasquet vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) – Tsitsipas is 11-3 this year, but lost his opening round match at Indian Wells to Jordan Thompson in a final-set tiebreak.  Gasquet is 9-7, and began the year by winning a title in Auckland.  These two one-handed backhanders have split two previous meetings, which both occurred in 2018.

Magda Linette (20) vs. Victoria Azarenka (14) – This is a battle between 2023 Australian Open semifinalists.  Azarenka is 2-0 against Linette, which includes a comfortable victory seven years ago at this event.

Anastasia Potapova (27) vs. Coco Gauff (6) – Gauff is now 15-4 on the year, while Potapova is 13-7, having won a hard court title last month in Linz.  Coco leads their head-to-head 2-0.

Mackenzie McDonald vs. Matteo Berrettini (19) – McDonald is now 8-0 in first round matches this season, but just 5-7 in rounds thereafter.  Berrettini has suffered some tough losses in 2023, and is a modest 7-6 at all levels, having played a Challenger event in Phoenix last week following his early exit at Indian Wells.  Matteo is 2-0 against Mackie, with both matches taking place on hard courts.

Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis (LL) – Hurkacz won this tournament two years ago, and advanced to the semifinals in 2022.  Kokkinakis is a lucky loser who saved three match points in his opening round against Zizou Bergs, prevailing in a final-set tiebreak.  Five years ago in qualifying for Atlanta, Thanasi beat Hubi in straight sets.

Roberto Carballes Baena vs. Daniil Medvedev (4) – This is Medvedev’s first match since his 19-match winning streak was ended by Carlos Alcaraz in the final of Indian Wells.  He beat Carballes Baena in straight sets two years ago at the Australian Open.

Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Dominic Thiem Pondering Return To Challenger Tour After Latest Defeat In Miami



Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem admits he is lacking self-confidence after crashing out of the Miami Masters. 


Thiem, who has been ranked as high as No.3 in the world, fell 7-6 (7), 6-2, to Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego during what was yet another frustrating match. Thiem didn’t drop serve throughout the opener and even had a set point in the tiebreaker but failed to convert. However, a poor start to the second set which saw him get broken two times in a row enabled Sonego to claim victory. Overall, he produced 13 winners against 30 unforced errors in the match.

“It was a tight first set,Thiem said afterwards. “Unfortunately, after the tie-break, I lost my tension for a very short time, then I’m 4-0 down and only then can I get back into the game – the holes are just not good.”
“The slight loss of concentration or the slight drop in tension was also the reason why I lost the second set.”

The 29-year-old now heads into the clay swing winning just one out of 10 matches played so far this season and is currently ranked outside of the world’s top 100. Miami is the fourth consecutive Masters 1000 event where the Austrian has lost his opening game.

Thiem won the biggest title of his career at the 2020 US Open but the following year he sustained a wrist injury which sidelined him for months. Since returning he hasn’t been able to regain the form which brought him Grand Slam glory. Although he did manage to reach the semi-final stage of three ATP 250 events last season.

“Of course, there is also a bit of a lack of self-confidence, and I have to make sure that I get that back,” he admits.

It is expected that Thiem will return to action during the first week of April at the Estoril Open. After that tournament, he is contemplating playing a couple of Challenger events to in his words ‘get a few victories’ for his confidence. 

Thiem has won 17 ATP trophies so far in his career and has earned more than $29M in prize money.

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ATP Coach Accused of Sexually And Emotionally Abusing Players



Dirk Hordorff 2 (c) Lana Roßdeutscher

One of Germany’s most well-known tennis coaches has been accused of serious misconduct against players who he guided on the Tour during his career. 


A joint investigation conducted by NDR, Sportschau and SZ has spoken to two different individuals who claim that they were mistreated by Dirk Hordorff. Hordorff is an established figure in the world of tennis who is best known for working with former world No.5 Rainer Schuettler for 20 years. He has also previously coached Janko Tipsarevic, Danai Udomchoke, Kristian Pless, Jens Knippschild, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Vasek Pospisil. He is currently the mentor of former junior world No.1 Ricardas Berankis.

One of the players who has publicly accused Hordorff of abuse is former player Maximilian Abel who reached the world’s top 200 before being suspended from the sport following a failed drugs test. He was a promising junior player who reached a ranking high of No.6 in the world. 

“In the beginning, he touched his back and stomach, and then he worked his way down to his buttocks,” said Abel.  “It was very uncomfortable and I thought, what the heck is he doing there?”

Abel also said one time he went to Hordorff’s apartment where he was requested to do naked press-ups. In another incident, the German said as a punishment he was asked by Hordorff to undress and go onto a bed naked in ‘a dog position.’ Hordorff would then strike Abel’s buttocks with his belt.

“I was shocked, felt like shit,” said Abel who alleges that his former trainer was aroused at the same time as hitting him with his belt.

 According to Abel, he was emotionally blackmailed by Hordorff who pledged to train him for free until he reached the top 100. 

These allegations were first flagged up with the German Tennis Federation (DTB) in 2022 when its president, Dietloff von Arnim, received a letter from Abel detailing the allegations. An investigation subsequently concluded that “the allegation of misconduct cannot be proven with certainty.”

Albe’s credibility has been questioned by some due to his criminal history. He is currently in prison for credit card fraud. According to Sportschau, he is described by some as a ‘notorious liar.’

However, another player who is still active on the Tour has also made accusations against Hordorff. World No.89 doubles player Sriram Balaji spent three months at the Hessian State Association tennis facility in 2010 where at the time Hordorff was president.

Balaji, who was 20 at the time, said Hordorff came into his room once a week. He was asked to undress to his underwear and then completely. Balaji said he also stayed one night at Hordorff’s apartment where he was supposed to sleep naked on his sofa. Meanwhile, on the court, he felt that he was being ‘humiliated’ in front of others. 

“He touched me all over my body, just not on my genitals,” said Balaji
“I had the feeling he wanted to treat me like his slave.”

Hordorff is yet to personally comment on the allegations against him but a law firm acting on his behalf has said that they are ‘simply untrue.’ Besides coaching Berankis, he is also the Vice President of the German Tennis Federation for High-Performance Sport. However, his role within the DTB has been put on hold until further notice. 

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