Albert Ramos-Vinolas Stuns Andy Murray To Reach First Quarterfinal in Monte Carlo - UBITENNIS
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Albert Ramos-Vinolas Stuns Andy Murray To Reach First Quarterfinal in Monte Carlo



Albert Ramos-Vinolas produced a huge upset in Monte Carlo in the third round, knocking out the world number one Andy Murray 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 to secure the biggest win of his career.


The Spaniard, enjoying a career-high ranking of 24 this week, struggled in the first set, not holding serve once as Murray made every return of serve into play. Neither player played particularly well in the early exchanges, with the Brit winning just 47% of points behind his first serve, but he was able to get over the line. It was a complete contrast for the Spaniard in set number two, he never looked like dropping serve and only made four unforced errors, frustrating the top seed as he levelled at one set all. Leading 4-0 in the final set it looked as though the world number one was going to survive, but Ramos-Vinolas refused to give in and despite some setbacks closed out the match to reach the quarterfinals in Monte Carlo for the first time.

Having been broken in the first game of the match against Gilles Muller yesterday, the Brit was eager to make a better start this morning on Court Rainier III. In what was the players first meeting, getting the first hold proved to be a tough task for the world number one as Ramos-Vinolas moved into a 15-30 advantage. Murray outlasted his opponent in a 24 shot rally to move to 30-30 before squandering a couple of game points as both players traded brutal groundstrokes from the back of the court. The top seed was able to hold on the third opportunity to take the first game.

His opponent’s opening service game was a marathon, lasting just under 11 minutes. A sublime drop shot from the Brit followed by a forehand error from Ramos-Vinolas brought up a break point for Murray, but a backhand down the line winner following a poor drop shot helped the Spaniard save that chance. A daring forehand from from the world number 24 caught the back of the line to save a second break point before the 29-year-old squandered a game point of his own. Ramos-Vinolas battled hard to save two more break points but was not to deny the former semifinalist here on a fifth occasion as he ripped a backhand winner to move 2-0 in front.

What followed in the next few games were four successive breaks of serve. First Ramos-Vinolas hit back after some poor errors from the world number one, closing with an inside out forehand down the line winner. Murray then responded and capitalised on his first chance to break with a backhand winner, but then played a terrible service game to go down 0-40. His opponent squandered one opportunity but did not miss the next, finishing with a cross court forehand winner. After suffering that disappointment the Brit bounced back and was far more aggressive with his court positioning and ball striking, breaking the Spaniard once again to stay in front.

After finally managing to hold serve for the first time since the opening game, that was the chance to breakaway which Murray needed as he broke Ramos-Vinolas yet again, closing with a backhand cross court, his 18th winner of the match so far, to seal the opening set 6-2 after 48 minutes.

Murray recovered from 0-30 down in his opening service game of the second set to hold but could not prevent the Spaniard from getting his first hold of his own in the match before breaking the Brit’s serve in the next game, seeing Ramos-Vinolas take control for the first time in the match.

Things got even better for the world number 24 after a double fault from Murray put the Brit in all kinds of trouble on serve down two more break points. Ramos-Vinolas only needed the one as he moved further ahead, moving into a 5-2 lead. The Spaniard was unable to take his first set point when serving for it, but after a defensive lob from the world number one went wide Ramos-Vinolas deservedly sealed the second set 6-2 to force a decider.

In the final set the world number one raised his level and capitalised on a lull in his opponent’s play, securing an immediate break after the Spaniard went wide with a forehand cross court. Murray quickly established a 3-0 advantage and the scoreline pressure proved telling on Ramos-Vinolas, as three unforced errors saw the world number 24 fall 0-40 down. A second double fault in the game proved incredibly costly for the 29-year-old as he fell even further behind.

It looked as though the world number one had the match in the bag at this stage, but Murray’s concentration dropped as he fell 0-40 down on serve. The Brit saved two of the three break points, but could not prevent the Spaniard from getting a game back. Ramos-Vinolas then staved off three break points on his own serve to escape with a hold before breaking once again to close the gap to just one game behind.

Ramos-Vinolas held to love to level at four games all and came mightily close to earning the right to serve for the match. The Spaniard did brilliantly to bring up three break points at 0-40, but Murray demonstrated why he is world number one, resisting everything which the world number 24 threw at him, taking five points in a row to move 5-4 in front. A 40-0 lead on serve then evaporated for Ramos-Vinolas and it looked to be curtains, but the 29-year-old stood firm and eventually converted on his fifth game point to level the scores once again.

The world number one’s intensity dropped in the 11th game and resulted in the Brit facing two break points yet again. This time Murray could not escape, going long with a forehand to hand the chance to Ramos-Vinolas to serve for the match. The Spaniard got a little tight when 30-0 became 30-30 before a match point passed the 15th seed by, but the 29-year-old held his nerve to secure the biggest win of his career.


Gael Monfils Targets Spot At Home Olympics Before Retirement 



Image via ATP Twitter

Gael Monfils may be starting his 2023 season later than usual but he isn’t contemplating stepping away from the sport anytime soon. 


The former top 10 star has been absent from the Tour since August due to a foot problem during what has been an injury-stricken year for the Frenchman. Monfils also missed the French Open and Wimbledon due to a heel injury which required surgery. Overall, he has won 14 out of 21 matches played on the Tour in 2022. 

Providing an update on his current fitness during an interview with Canal+, Monfils confirmed that he will not be playing at the Australian Open in January which will be the fourth major tournament in a row he has missed. Whilst his recovery is progressing well, he is targeting a return during the clay season which concludes at the French Open. He is also unable to access his protected ranking at Melbourne Park because the rulebook states that a player must be absent for at least six months to be eligible. 

“I know that there is a protected ranking, when you don’t play for a certain amount of months. I know that if I take it, I have to not play the Australian Open to reach the six months needed and that will be my decision,” Tennis Head quotes Monfils as saying.

However, the 36-year-old isn’t planning to stop playing just yet with aspirations to play at his home Olympic Games, which will be held in Paris in 2024. Monfils is already a three-time Olympian and has reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice before. 

Despite some speculation over his retirement, Monfils hopes to continue playing until the age of 40. Although he admits this depends on his family after he and his wife Elina Svitolina welcomed their first child earlier this year.

“2023 is an important year for me, a year of transition, transition between my injuries and the fact to be competitive to try to qualify for Paris 2024. I would not like to miss the Olympics, it would be my last one,” he added.
“I hope that 2024 would not be my last year but maybe the one after that. Before, I said that I wanted to play until I’m 40 but the more time I spend with my daughter, the more time I’m thinking maybe I’ll play a bit less.”

Monfils has won 11 Tour titles so far in his career, including this year’s Adelaide International. He has reached at least one final every year since 2005. 

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The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter



By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.


We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

13Carreno BustaSpain2495

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?


Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match



Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.


2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.

Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.

Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.

Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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