Next Gen Star Karen Khachanov Grabs First Masters Win In Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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Next Gen Star Karen Khachanov Grabs First Masters Win In Indian Wells

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Karen Khachanov (zimbio.com)

By Giovanni Vianello

With the big names in the men’s draw yet to play in Indian Wells, Thursday provided an opportunity for the less established players to shine at the Californian tournament.

 

The first match on Stadium 1 was between Karen Khachanov and Tommy Robredo, who entered the tournament with a Protected Ranking. In the first set the Russian rising star outplayed a very low-performing Robredo with the result being 6-1 in his advantage. In the second set Robredo played better and in the first game gained a break of advantage, making rallies longer, but when it came to serving for the second set, Robredo failed, being afterwards broken another time and succumbing 6-1, 7-5.

“It feel great. It’s my first time here in Indian Wells,” said Khachanov, who won his first Masters 1000 match. “I’ve heard a lot about this tournament and I’m really happy that I could get through to the second round. Today I had to be ready from the first point, concentrate 100 per cent and play my game. That is the main focus in all the matches at the ATP World Tour level. I had to be there the whole match and fight to the end to get the win.”

Khachanov’s reward will be a second round clash with David Goffin in what will be their first meeting on the tour.

Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi, who looks like he’s becoming better with age, eased past Robin Haase. The Italian player went up 4-0 in the first set, got counter-broken once and let Robin Haase recover to 3-4, but the Italian then kept the break and won the first set 6-4. In the second set a similar scenario occurred, Lorenzi gained two breaks (the score was of 5-2), was counter-broken once, but in the end broke the opponent once again, winning the match 6-4 6-3. The world No.38 now faces a clash with Stan Wawrinka.

Australia’s Jordan Thompson was forced to retire in his match against Mikhail Youzhny after injuring his ankle whilst trailing 0-3 in the final set.

Adrian Mannarino held his nerve to dismiss Argentina’s Juan Monaco 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1. The Frenchman went down a break twice in the second set and served for the match on 6-5 in his advantage before losing the tiebreaker. In the third set a no-contest happened as Monaco looked too tired to compete and so Mannarino strolled to straightforward third set triumph.

Barbados player, Darian King, surprisingly won his match against the Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in 2 sets, 7-5, 7-5.

During an emotional roller-coaster match, Joao Sousa defeated the Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6 6-3 6-4. In the first set the Argentinian looked likely to dominate the match, but then, as the match went on, the Portuguese player was able to play at a better level and at first clinched the second set 6-3, then, battled his way through a tricky deciding set.

Indian Wells Men’s Singles Round 1 matches

Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) beat Viktor Troicki (Serbia) 6-1 6-4
Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan) beat Jordan Thompson (Australia) 1-6 6-1 3-0 (J. Thompson retired)
Peter Gojowczyk (Germany) beat Reilly Opelka (U.S.) 6-4 3-6 6-1
Paolo Lorenzi (Italy) beat Robin Haase (Netherlands) 6-4 6-3
Karen Khachanov (Russia) beat Tommy Robredo (Spain) 6-1 7-5
Bjorn Fratangelo (U.S.) beat Bernard Tomic (Australia) 6-2 6-2
Vasek Pospisil (Canada) beat Lu Yen-Hsun (Taiwan) 6-7(6) 6-4 6-3
Jeremy Chardy (France) beat Radu Albot (Moldova) 7-6(2) 6-2
Yoshihito Nishioka (Japan) beat Elias Ymer (Sweden) 6-4 6-1
Fabio Fognini (Italy) beat Konstantin Kravchuk (Russia) 0-6 7-5 6-4
Martin Klizan (Slovakia) beat Thiago Monteiro (Brazil) 7-6(6) 6-3
Joao Sousa (Portugal) beat Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) 4-6 6-3 6-4
Darian King (Barbados) beat Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) 7-5 7-5
Dusan Lajovic (Serbia) beat Frances Tiafoe (U.S.) 6-3 6-3
Adrian Mannarino (France) beat Juan Monaco (Argentina) 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1

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Unseeded Ugo Humbert Becomes First Player In Over A Decade To Win Halle On Debut

The 22-year-old fired nine aces and 29 winners to claim his first ATP 500 title.

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image via https://twitter.com/ATPHalle

France’s Ugo Humbert has clinched his maiden ATP title on the grass after defeating Andrey Rublev in straight sets at the Noventi Open in Halle.

 

Humbert remained unbroken throughout his 6-3, 7-6(4), win over the Russian fourth seed who has won more matches on the ATP Tour than any other player since the start of 2020 (74). The Frenchman was particularly impressive behind serve where he won 83% of his first service points and 55% on his second. It is the first time he has beaten Rublev on the Tour after losing to him on two previous occasions in 2019 (Monte Carlo) and 2020 (St. Petersburg).

“It’s incredible,” said Humbert. “The best victory of my career. I’m very proud because it wasn’t easy, I was a little but tired today but I tried to stay focused on each point. It’s very nice.”

The triumph concludes what has been a marathon week in Halle for the 22-year-old. En route to the final he had to come through four three-set matches where he scored wins over Sam Querrey, Alexander Zverev, Sebastian Korda and Felix-Auger Aliassime. Becoming only the second player in Halle’s 28-year history to have reached the final by playing only three-set matches.

Meanwhile, runner-up Rublev paid tribute to his opponent following their clash. The world No.7 is now 1-2 in finals played so far this season after winning Rotterdam before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo. To put that into perspective, in 2020 he won all six finals he played in.

“I have often told my coach that you play in an incredible way,” he said. “You have everything to be a very great player. So keep working, doing everything you do. You play very well, you have incredible shots. I wish you a great career.”

Humbert, who won two ATP titles last year in Auckland and Antwerp, is the first player to win Halle on the debut since 2010. On that occasion Lleyton Hewitt prevailed over Roger Federer in the final. He is now projected to rise to a ranking high of 25 on Monday when the ATP standings are officially updated.

The Frenchman will be hoping that he can continue his winning streak heading to Wimbledon where he reached the fourth round back in 2019. His best ever result in a Grand Slam to date.

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David Goffin Out Of Wimbledon Following Halle Accident

It has been reported that the unfortunate injury he suffered is ‘more serious’ than a sprain.

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David Goffin has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after suffering an ankle injury during the Noventi Open earlier this week.

 

The former top 10 player was taking on Corentin Moutet in Halle where he slipped on the grass and subsequently hurt his right ankle. Forcing the Belgian to retire from the match at the start of the third set. Providing an update on Goffin’s health, agent Martin Roux said he is unsure how long he will be absent from the Tour for.

“Yes, David has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon following his ankle injury in Halle. For the moment we do not know more about the exact duration of unavailability, ” Roux told lesoir.be. “He is of course disappointed to miss a Grand Slam tournament, especially since he had recovered well on grass before his injury. “

Elaborating further, Roux confirmed Goffin’s injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprain and tests are ongoing to assess the extent of the damage which has been caused to the ankle. It is not the first time he has suffered a freak accident on the court. During the 2018 Rotterdam Open he hurt his eye after a tennis ball rebounded into his face, forcing him to pull out of Marseille and Indian Wells that year.

“David told me that it was more serious than a minor sprain, after exams in Belgium.”Roux added. “The ankle has not yet deflated (stopped swelling). David realizes that ice and bandages won’t be enough to play. The ligaments must be affected in one way or another. The idea is to do new exams at the end of the week in order to then have a healing protocol, especially since after Wimbledon the Olympic Games will arrive quickly. These are now his next goals. “

The 30-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 14-13 so far in 2021 and won his fifth ATP title in Montpellier. He has also reached the semi-finals in Antalya and quarter-finals in Monte Carlo. However, recently Goffin has struggled on the Tour with Halle being the fifth tournament in a row where he has failed to win back-to-back matches.

Goffin is currently ranked 13th in the world.

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Dominic Thiem Follows Nadal In Olympic Games Snub

The world No.5 says his decision is related to his performance on the Tour so far this season.

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Dominic Thiem training at the 2021 Lyon Open (photographer Sammy Dancyger - Owned by Sport Plus Conseil - GM Sports Consulting)

Austria’s Dominic Thiem has pulled out of the Olympic Games in order to focus on his title defence at the US Open later this year.

 

The 27-year-old issued a statement on Thursday saying he was ‘not ready’ to play in Tokyo following what has been a roller-coaster start to the season. Thiem enters Wimbledon with a win-loss record of 9-8 and recently lost in the first round of the French Open. His best results so far this year were reaching the last 16 of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

“Hi everybody, I have some sad news to share with you all. After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics,” the 27-year-old Austrian wrote on Twitter.
“For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher.
“However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don’t feel ready to play my best in Tokyo.
“My goal is to work hard the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.”

Thiem, who also skipped the 2016 Olympics, had previously said that his views on the multi-sport event have changed over recent time. During one interview with Tennis Deutschland he said it would be a ‘dream’ to play at the Olympics and he would ‘definitely play’ at the event if he had the chance to. Thiem is coached on the Tour by Nicolas Massu who won a gold medal back in 2004.

The world No.5 says he hopes to be able to play at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris where the tennis tournament will be held at Roland Garros. The same venue as the French Open.

On the same day as Thiem’s announcement on Thursday, Rafael Nadal was another player to confirm he would not be travelling to Tokyo, as well as Wimbledon, in order to recover from the clay season. The Spaniard said he wants to take a break from the Tour in order to preserve his body and prolong his career on the Tour.

The Olympic tennis event will take place between July 24th – August 1st. Andy Murray is the defending champion in the men’s tournament.

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