Juan Martin del Potro Leads Tributes As Juan Monaco Announces Retirement - UBITENNIS
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Juan Martin del Potro Leads Tributes As Juan Monaco Announces Retirement



Juan Monaco (zimbio.com)

Tennis players from both the men’s and women’s tour have paid tribute to Argentina’s Juan Monaco after he announced his retirement from the sport on Monday.

The 33-year-old won nine ATP titles during his career and reached a ranking high of 10th in 2012. He was also part of the Argentinian team that won the 2016 Davis Cup, but he didn’t play in the final against Croatia. Known by nickname ‘Pico’ (a name given to him from his Father’s friends), the Argentine is a respected figure on the tour for his charisma and friendliness.

“We will miss him on tour, for sure. He’s a nice guy, friend of mine, friend of most of the players on tour.” Juan Martin del Potro said in Rome on Monday.
“He had a fantastic career. He reached top 10 position a few years ago. He won many tournaments, and I think he took a good decisions to move the way of his life for another things.”

Throughout his career, Monaco has scored 20 wins against top-10 players. Last year he stunned Stan Wawrinka in three sets at the Rome Open in what was his final victory over a high-profile player. Against the ‘big four’ he has defeated Andy Murray twice and Rafael Nadal once (via retirement).

“Congratulations for your incredible career but above all for being as you are @picomonaco that is the greatest triumph of your life” – Feliciano Lopez wrote on Twitter

Despite Monaco’s talent, he was never able to secure a breakthrough in the grand slam events. Playing in 31 major tournaments, his best result was reaching the fourth round four times (twice at the French Open and twice at the US Open).

In recent years the Argentine has been troubled by injury. In 2015 he missed six months of the tour after injuring his wrist during a match in Austria, leading to surgery. At it’s worst, the Argentine woke up ‘four or five times a night’ due to the pain.

Still, Monaco wasn’t ready to end his career and triumph at the 2016 US Men’s Clay Court Championships in what was the final title of his career. He was unable to defend that title after losing to Dustin Brown in the first round of this year’s tournament. That loss turned out to be his final competitive match.

He ends his career with a win-loss record of 438-224 in the singles and 139-177 in doubles.

Monaco’s retirement statement

The tributes

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Jasmine Paolini reaches the first WTA 1000 final of her career



Italy’s Jasmine Paolini saved six set points in the second set to beat Sorana Cristea 6-2 7-6 (8-6) in 1 hour and 57 minutes in a match between two unseeded players at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Paolini reached the first WTA 1000 Final of her career. 

Paolini earned her first break after four deuces in the fourth game and held her serve at 30 to open up a 4-1 lead. The Italian player closed out the first set 6-2 on her second set point in the eighth game.  

Paolini converted her second break point in the fourth game of the second set to build up a 6-2 3-1 lead. Cristea broke straight back in the fifth game, but Paolini hit two forehand winners to regain the break lead for 4-2 in the sixth game. Cristea, who saved six match points to come back from 6-2 5-1 against Marketa Vondrousova in the quarter finals, saved a match point with a backhand winner down the line. 

Paolini had to fend off five set point, as Cristea served out the second set at 6-5. Cristea converted her fifth break point with a forehand winner on the return. 

Paolini saved a sixth set point with a forehand winner in the tie-break. The Italian player sealed the win on her second match point, as Cristea sent her backhand wide. 

Paolini has improved her lead to 3-0 in her head-to-head matches, to secure her spot in the fifth WTA Tour final of her career. She will play her first title match since Monastir last October. Paolini played in the Billie Jean King Cup final and reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her career at the Australian Open. She received a nomination in the WTA Awards for the Most Improved Player. With this result she has moved up to world number 16 in the World Rankings. 

She has become the fifth Italian player to reach a WTA 1000 level final following Francesca Schiavone, Sara Errani, Flavia Pennetta and Camila Giorgi. 

“I gave you a little bit of drama at the end. I had a chance on 4-2 40-15, but she starting to play better, to hit winners. The last two matches I play against her, more or less was the same score. I won the first set, the second set was a little bit complicated, then I won again the third set. I was like, please, if I am going to lose this set, start again in the third set, and to move and to play deep again, to push again, but I was just trying to stay in the present. It was tough. She is playing really well when she is little bit down in the score. She is trying to hit more winners, to play faster. I just said to myself to move the legs and try to keep hitting hard the ball, because if she is not going to move me and if she is going to hit the winner first”, said Paolini. 

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Iga Swiatek beats Zheng Qinwen to extend her winning streak in the Middle East



Iga Swiatek beat Zheng Qinwen 6-3 6-2 in 83 minutes to reach the semifinals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Swiatek has extended her winning streak in the Middle East to seven consecutive wins. 

Swiatek beat Zheng for the sixth consecutive time in their all-time head-to-head clashes and for the second time this year. The Polish player has won four of her matches against Zheng on hard court. 

Swiatek saved all three break points she faced in the match and broke Zheng’s serve three times. The world number 1 hit 17 winners to 10 unforced errors. Zheng hit 19 winners to 18 unforced errors, but landed just 48% of her first serves. 

Swiakek broke serve in the second game and saved a break-back point the third game to race out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set. The Pole held on her next service games and served out on her first set point in the ninth game. 

Swiatek saved a break point in the fourth game of the second set before winning the final four games with two breaks in the fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. 

“Zheng has great power, great topspin. You have to be ready for that. She wants to really be proactive, so you have to keep up with the intensity. I have been doing that during our matches”, said Swiatek. 

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Next Gen Jakub Mensik upsets Andrey Rublev to reach his first ATP Tour semifinal in Doha



Next Gen Czech player Jakub Mensik upset world number 5 Andrey Rublev 6-4 7-6 (8-6) to reach his first his ATP Tour semifinal at the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open. Mesnik becomes the youngest player to beat a top-5 player since Carlos Alcaraz defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas at the 2021 US Open. 

Mensik was playing in his first ATP Tour quarter final after beating world number 1 and two-time Wimbledon and Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray in the second round in the longest match in tournament history. 

Rublev was not able to convert any of his six break points. 

Mensik converted his second break point in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead in the first set and served out the win with a hold at 15. 

Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rublev went up a mini-break twice in the tie-break, but Mensik pulled back on serve both times to draw level to 5-5. Mensik earned his third mini-break at 7-6, when Rublev netted a mid-court forehand. Mensik closed out the match on the next point to set up a semifinal match against Gael Monfils. 

“It’s just been an incredible week. From the beginning I played very well and I knew I could play with the big players. It’s an amazing feeling to reach the semifinals after beating those goo players, but the job is not done yet. Hopefully I can play like this in the semifinals tomorrow an dgo on to make the final”, said Mensik. 

Several Next Gen players performed very well this week on the ATP Tour. Alex Michelsen beat Alex De Minaur to reach the quarter final in Los Cabos. Seventeen-year-old Brazilian Joao Fonseca upset Arthur Fils to become the first player born in 2006 to win an ATP Tour match. 

Gael Monfils beat Ugo Humbert 6-2 6-4 in an all-French clash to become the oldest semifinalist in tournament history. Monfils won the title in his previous appearance at the Doha tournament. The match started with four breaks in the first five games, as Monfils opened up a 4-1 lead. Monfils sealed the first set on his second set point in in the eighth game. Monfils started the second set with a break in the first game of the second game. Humbert broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Monfils broke for the second time in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and sealed the win on his first match point. 

Alexei Popyrin beat Alexander Bublik 6-4 6-4 to reach the third tour-level in his career and his first in the 2024 season. Popyrin is aiming to win the second title of his career after winning in Umag last July. 

Popyrin broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The Australian player held on his next service games and served out the first set on his third set point. Popyrin converted his fifth break point in the first game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead. The Australian player went up a double break in the seventh game to take a 5-2 lead. Bublik pulled one break back in the eighth game. 

Karen Khachanov was leading 3-0 in the first set as Emil Ruusuvuori was forced to withdraw from the match due to a lower back injury. 

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