Casper Ruud a shock casualty in French Open Qualifying, Stakhovsky survives - UBITENNIS
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Casper Ruud a shock casualty in French Open Qualifying, Stakhovsky survives

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Sergiy Stakhovsky rallied after losing the first set to Stefan Kozlov (Zimbio.com)

  • Seeds out Round two: (10, 17, 19, 20, 24, 25, 28,)

He has been touted as the future star of clay tennis. Yet the young Norwegian Casper Ruud suffered a disappointingly early exit in the second round of French Open Qualifying.

 

The teenager was beaten 7-6, 6-4 by Bordeaux Challenger quarter-finalist Maxime Janvier. It is the second time in a row that Ruud has failed to qualify for a grand slam main draw. He was beaten by Reilly Opelka in Australian Open Qualifying.

Opelka was in action today and again the tall American flirted with an exit. He lost the first set and faced match point against former Top 30 player Leonardo Mayer before winning 5-7, 7-6, 6-3. This came after a tight win against Daniel Munoz de la Nava in the first round. He faces Nicolas Jarry after the Chilean defeated Dmitry Popko 6-4, 6-3.

There was though a second round exit for a number of other Americans. Tim Smyczek fought hard against twenty-second seed Guido Andreozzi before succumbing 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. The American had recently recovered from a leg strain.

Stefan Kozlov lost 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 to Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Mackenzie McDonald fell to Teymuraz Gabashvili 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. There was some success for Americans as Bjorn Fratangelo edged fellow American Bradley Klahn 6-4, 7-6, and Denis Kudla beat Ricardo Ojeda Lara 6-4, 6-3.

Kudla will face retiring French veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu in the final round after the sixteenth seed beat Alejandro Gonzalez 7-5, 6-1.

Top seed Marius Copil had no trouble in easing to the qualifying round, defeating Ilya Ivashka 6-2, 6-2. Copil will face Peter Gojowczyk in a section that went according to seeding.

Daniel Masur followed up his excellent win over Adam Pavlasek with a strong win against in-form Filip Krajinovic. He will face Arthur de Greef.

Taro Daniel against Andrey Rublev promises to be one of the most intriguing matches of the final qualification round. Rublev edged Mirza Basic 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 and Daniel eased past Matija Pecotic 6-3, 6-2.

Fifth seed Norbert Gombos remained perfect with another straight sets win. He defeated Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-6, 6-3. He faces the unseeded Jozef Kovalik who knocked out twentieth seed Luca Vanni 6-4, 6-4.

The next section sees no seeds take part in the final match as Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Oscar Otte. Tsitsipas continued his strong run with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Gleb Sakharov, and Otte defeated twenty-eighth seed Laslo Djere 7-5, 2-6, 7-6.

Roberto Quiroz will take part in the final round. He defeated American Dennis Novikov who was unable to follow up his excellent win over Henri Laaksonen. Quiroz will face Maxime Hamou who surprised seventeenth seed Blaz Kavcic 7-6, 7-5.

Marco Cecchinato faces Simone Bolelli in an all Italian affair. Cecchinato thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-1, and Bolelli edged twenty-fourth seed Maximillian Marterer 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.

Thirteenth seed Guido Pella survived young Aussie Marc Polmans comeback 6-3, 6-7, 6-4. He’ll face Ruud’s conqueror Maxime Janvier.

Stefano Napolitano won a battle of two very in form players by downing Marton Fucsovics 6-1, 6-7, 7-6. He will face Alexander Bublik who beat twenty-fifth seed Peter Polansky 6-4, 2-6, 7-6.

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Arthur Rinderknech claims his first Challenger title in Istanbul

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French 25-year-old player Arthur Rinderknech started his 2021 season with his third career Challenger title in Istanbul after beating his compatriot Benjamin Bonzi 4-6 7-6 (7-1) 7-6 (7-3) after 2 hours and 17 minutes. In the erlier rounds he beat Next Gen player Brandon Nakashima, Marc-Andrea Huesler in the quarter final and Jozef Kovalik in the semifinal. 

 

Rinderknech becomes the first qualifier to win an ATP Challenger since Carlos Alcaraz won the Trieste tournament last August. 

Rinderknech won seven matches in eight days as a qualifier on the indoor hard courts of the TED Sports Club in Istanbul. The Frenchman has improved his best ranking by 43 spots to reach a career-high number 135 in the ATP Ranking. 

Rinderknech improved his best ranking by nearly 200 spots to a year-end position inside the top 200 in 2020. He started last year’s season with a Challenger title in Rennes and claimed his second title in Calgary. He received a main draw wild-card at Roland Garros and made his Grand Slam debut in the French capital. 

Rinderknech is playing this week in another Challenger tournament in the Open Quimper Bretagne Occidentale. He is one of nine players in the top 150 in Quimper. 

“It feels great to win the first Challenger of the year and even more when it’s a 125-level tournament. I am happy about the way I handled things this week and went through seven matches in eight days”, said Rinderknech. 

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Jannik Sinner, Nick Kyrgios, Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta in the spotlight in Montpellier

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Jannik Sinner, Nick Kyrgios, Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta and David Goffin will grab the headlines at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, an ATP 250 tournament. The Southern French tournament is scheduled from 22 to 28 February 2021. 

 

Sinner made his Open Sud de France debut in 2020, but he lost to Swede Mikael Ymer in the round of 32. The 19-year-old Italian player will play in his first indoor tournament in 2021. Last year Sinner advanced to his first ATP 500 quarter final in the ABN AMRO indoor tournament in Rotterdam. In his most recent indoor tournament the 2019 Next Gen Finals champion beat Alex De Minaur, Adrian Mannarino and Vasek Pospisil to claim his maiden ATP 250 title at the Sofia Open. 

On French soil Sinner reached his first Grand Slam quarter final in his Roland Garros debut before losing to Rafael Nadal in three sets. He was the first debutant to reach the Roland Garros quarter final since Nadal achieved this feat in 2005 en route to his first Paris title.

Nick Kyrgios won his first ATP Tour title in Marseille in 2016. The Aussie star will be bidding to win his seventh title in his first appreance in Montpellier. Kyrgios beat Rafael Nadal en route to his first Grand Slam quarter final at 2014 Wimbledon, his first Masters 1000 final in Cincinnati 2017 and the second of his third ATP 500 titles in Acapulco 2019. He reached the 2015 Australian Open quarter final at the age of 19, becoming the youngest quarter finalist in Melbourne since Andrej Cherkasov in 1990.

The line-up will also feature three top 20 players: 2019 Wimbledon semifinalist and Davis Cup champion Roberto Bautista Agut, two-time Montpellier finalist David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta (two-time US Open semifinalist in 2017 and 2020). Eight French players from ten editions have won the Montpellier title since the first edition in 2010. Richard Gasquet has won three Montpellier titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lifted his only tophy in the French tournament in 2019. Ugo Humbert will be bidding to win his career title after claiming two tournaments in Auckland and Antwerp in 2020. 

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Next Gen Star Carlos Alcaraz Praises ‘Idol’ Nadal

The rising star talks Nadal, Ferrero and his hopes for the future.

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Growing up in Spain is unsurprising that Carlos Alcaraz is inspired by the achievements of tennis legend Rafael Nadal.

 

The 17-year-old tennis star is labelled as one of the most promising youngsters on the ATP Tour following a breakthrough 2020 season where he won a trio of Challenger titles. Becoming the second-youngest player in history to do so after Richard Gasquet. It was also during the same season where he became the youngest player to win an ATP 500 match since the series began in 2009 and he ended the year ranked 136th in the world.

Finding his footing on the Tour, Alcaraz is hoping that he will be able to follow in the footsteps of his idol Nadal who has won 20 major titles so far in his career. The teenager believes the mentality of his compatriot is one that can serve as an example for everybody to follow.

Rafa is my idol,” Alcaraz told itftennis.com. “His hunger, his attitude. It doesn’t matter if he plays a first match or a final, his level of concentration is the same. He wants to win every match.
“His mentality is an example for anyone, a tennis player or any person. He motivates everyone because he never surrenders. Everyone wants to be the best, no matter if you´re an athlete, a football player, a doctor, a journalist… everyone has an objective in life.”

Alcaraz is currently preparing for the Australian Open after successfully qualifying for the tournament earlier this month. In Doha he scored wins over Filip Horanský, Evgeny Karlovskiy and Hugo Dellien. It is the first time he has qualified for a grand Slam main draw in his career. An impressive achievement for a player who is also currently studying for his Segundo de Bachiller exams and driving test.

Guiding the tennis prodigy on the Tour is Juan Carlos Ferrero. A former world No.1 player who won the 2003 French Open. The two have been working together since 2019.

“I’m very proud to have Juan Carlos as a coach,” said Alcaraz. “He has great experience and knowledge and I’m very proud to be able to learn from him.
“He contributes to my knowledge in a way that other coaches probably wouldn’t be able to. He understands the situations that I’m living now, because he experienced them in the past. He knows how to manage the pressure.”

It remains to be seen just how successful Alcaraz will become but the expectations are high. He is already the youngest player ranked in the world’s top 600 and the only player born in 2003 to be inside the top 400.

“I don’t focus on the records or if I’m the youngest player,” he stated. “I want to improve every day and to focus on my objectives. My aims in 2021 are to play at Roland Garros, to be in the top 100 and to finish the season in the top 50.”

Alcaraz is set to return to competitive tennis next week.

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