Emirates ATP Rankings Update: Federer Back To Number 4, Fognini Up 12 Places - UBITENNIS
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Emirates ATP Rankings Update: Federer Back To Number 4, Fognini Up 12 Places

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Roger Federer lifts the Miami Open trophy

Following the Miami Open, Roger Federer’s rise up the rankings has continued and it was also a profitable week for Fabio Fognini. Meanwhile, three American’s have made significant climbs in the rankings, making them the biggest movers of the week. Here are the latest updates on the Emirates ATP Rankings and the Race To London.

The Miami Open concluded on Sunday, with Roger Federer being crowned as the champion after he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4. The Swiss completed the ‘Sunshine Double’ for the second time in his career following his victory in Indian Wells a couple of weeks ago. These points, added to his Australian Open triumph in January, have seen him rise two places in the rankings, up to four in the world.

Perhaps what is more notable for Federer is the lead which he is enjoying at the top of Race To London rankings. Based on this season’s results alone, the Swiss boasts three titles and a 20-1 record, meaning that he is already sitting on 4,045 points, 1810 points clear of Nadal, who sits in second place. Just to put into context how far ahead he is of the world’s current top two player’s in the world, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, the Brit is currently 12th in the race with 840 points. What comes as more of a surprise is that Djokovic, who completed the sunshine double last season, as well as winning in Melbourne, is down at 22nd in the race and only has 475 points, 3,570 less than Federer.

It is no secret that Federer has desires to get back to the top of the rankings and that is certainly a possibility for the 18-time Grand Slam champion this year. The Swiss trails world number one Murray by 6,655 points as it stands, but the Brit has plenty of points to defend in the coming months having won in Rome, Queen’s Club and Wimbledon last year, as well as reaching the final at the French Open and in Madrid. By contrast, Federer has little points to defend and can make up plenty of ground, even if he is to skip the Masters 1000 series events in Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome, which he hinted at after his victory in Miami.

Nadal may have suffered defeat in a final for the third time this season (Australian Open, Acapulco, Miami), but there are plenty of positives to take as he heads into the clay court season, a surface which he can very much dominate on. The Spaniard has climbed two places in the world rankings up to fifth, overtaking Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori, who has slipped three places having failed to defends his points in Miami.

It was Fabio Fognini who ousted Nishikori last week at the quarterfinal stages, making it a memorable event for the Italian, who celebrated reaching just the second Masters 1000 series semifinal of his career. It did not go as well as he would have liked when going up against Nadal, leaving the court having suffered a 6-1, 7-5 defeat, but the Italian will benefit from a big boost in his ranking. Fognini has climbed back into the world’s top 30, ranked at 28, climbing 12 places.

It was also a great week for three Americans, all of which have enjoyed significant improvements in their rankings. Donald Young is getting back to the level which he showed five years ago. The 27-year-old reached the last 16 in Indian Wells and backed up that performance in Miami, also reaching the last 16, before succumbing to Fognini 6-0, 6-4. That achievement has seen Young move up nine places up to world number 42, just four places shy of his career high ranking of 38, which he reached way back in February 2012.

Young’s compatriot Jared Donaldson also had a memorable fortnight on home soil after he also reached the last 16. The 20-year-old saved three match points against young British talent Kyle Edmund in round one and rolled on from there, eventually being halted by fellow American Jack Sock, who won 6-2, 6-1. These results have taken the young American firmly inside the world’s top 100, up 20 places to a career high ranking of 75. Donaldson is the biggest mover of the week.

19-year-old Frances Tiafoe has also shown a lot of potential of late and put in a highly commendable performance against Federer in the second round, particularly in the first set, as he fell to the Swiss 7-6(2), 6-3. Tiafoe is back inside the world’s top 100 this week, climbing 12 places back up to 89, three places below his career high ranking which he reached one month ago.

The ATP World Tour now takes a week’s break, but will return on April 10th with ATP 250 level events taking place in Houston and Marrakech, meaning that there are plenty of points on offer to those just below the upper echelons of the game who are looking to improve their ranking.

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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