Pablo Carreno Busta And Pablo Cuevas Both Reach Maiden Masters 1000 Quarterfinal - UBITENNIS
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Pablo Carreno Busta And Pablo Cuevas Both Reach Maiden Masters 1000 Quarterfinal

Joshua Coase

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Pablo Carreno Busta (Photo: zimbio.com)

Pablo Cuevas celebrated reaching his first Masters 1000 quarterfinal after defeating last year’s semifinalist David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in Indian Wells. The Uruguayan set up a clash with another first time quarterfinalist in the form of Pablo Carreno Busta, who saw off Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-6(5)

 

Both Cuevas and Carreno Busta made strong starts, needing just the one break of serve to help secure their opening sets respectively. Goffin bounced back against the Uruguayan to force a decider, but the 27th seed made a pivotal breakthrough in the sixth game to help secure victory. Meanwhile the 21st seeded Spaniard squandered an early second set lead against Lajovic but recovered from 5-3 down in the tiebreak to see off the Serb.

Cuevas Shocks Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3

Cuevas looked in complete control of his game early on, capitalising on errors from his Belgian opponent to break the 11th seed to love midway through the set. Holding serve was routine for the 27th seed as he sealed the set with an ace after exactly half an hour.

In the second set the Uruguayan dropped his opening service game after back to back unforced errors. The seventh game saw Goffin under pressure at 30-30 on serve but the 11th seed won a 17 shot rally with an overhead to hold for a 5-2 lead.

When serving for set, a double fault and sprayed forehand left Goffin facing break point. The Belgian saved it with a strong first serve, but sprayed another forehand wide to face a second break point. The 11th seed showed great discipline in the next point, closing with a cross court forehand winner back behind his opponent before a mishit one handed backhand flew long from Cuevas to secure the second set for Goffin 6-3.

Cuevas faced the first pressure which either player had faced on serve in the fifth game of the final set, getting pushed to 30-30. Goffin narrowly missed an attempted backhand cross court winner wide, allowing the Uruguayan to keep his nose in front in the set. After missing that, a couple of errors from the 11th seed left him having to save a break point of his own. His opponent broke down in an extended rally to spurn the chance but earned another opportunity to make a crucial breakthrough. It was a chance which the 27th seed duly took, forcing Goffin into an error to move two games away from a maiden Masters 1000 quarterfinal.

Cuevas closed out the match with a strong second serve, much to his delight as he let out a roar to celebrate a landmark win in the 31-year-old’s career.

Carreno Busta Sees Off Lajovic 6-4, 7-6(5)

In the opening match on Stadium 2 Carreno Busta ended the qualifier Lajovic’s excellent run in the desert. The 21st seed had only played one match prior to this encounter having received a bye in the first round and due to Roberto Bautista Agut’s injury withdrawal in the previous round. By contrast, his opponent had already come through the qualifying and had played six matches, three of which went to three sets.

The huge difference in the two players court time looked to be an important factor early on as Carreno Busta broke in the fifth game. The Spaniard was exceptional when serving, dictating the play after dropping just one point behind his first serve (93%) and only losing one point behind his second serve too (86%). That form allowed him to wrap up a routine first set, which he finished with a forehand winner to take it 6-4.

Lajovic looked a beaten man as he dropped serve in the opening game of the second set. However, that set back spurred him on as the Serb broke back after finding more joy in returning his opponent’s serve, taking three points on the first serve and six points on the second over the course of the set.

After a series of holds Lajovic moved close to forcing a decider at 30-30 on Carreno Busta’s serve when leading 5-4. An attempted cross court backhand pass from the Serb narrowly went wide and the 21st seed was able to escape with the hold.The Spaniard had a half chance of his own in the following game at deuce but missed a guilt edged chance after his attempted forehand cross court winner struck the net.

The second set went into a tiebreak and the match looked set to go the distance following errors from the 21st seed, which saw him squander a 2-0 advantage to quickly find himself 5-3 down. With Lajovic on the verge, Carreno Busta raised his level, nailing a backhand down the line winner to stay in touch before serving strongly to reach match point. The Serb went wide with an attempted slice backhand, securing a quarterfinal spot for the 25-year-old.

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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