Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta beat 4th seed David Ferrer 6-3 6-3 to secure his spot in the ATP 250 final at Estoril for the second consecutive year. Carreno Busta and Ferrer met for the second time in their careers.
Carreno Busta has clinched his 21st match win in 2017. Last year he lost the Estoril final to Nicolas Almagro. Earlier this year he finiished runner-up to Dominic Thiem in the final of the Rio Open in Rio de Janeiro.
Ferrer came to Estoril without a win since last January’s Australian Open and is now ranked outside the top 30.
Carreno Busta, who reached the semifinal in Indian Wells last March, was solid on serve and faced only one break point in the whole match. Ferrer served only at 53 percent and won just 9 out of 27 points on the second serve. The former Roland Garros finalist faced eight break points and dropped her serve three times. The first set went on serve in the first five games before Carreno Busta got the first break to open up a 4-2 lead, as Ferrer made two double faults and hit a backhand error. Carreno Busta failed to convert on four set points at 5-3 after a couple of forehand errors and a pair of forehand errors from Ferrer. Carreno sealed the first set on his fifth set point in the 9th game to wrap up the first set on his serve, as Ferrer sent a backhand long.
Ferrer saved three break points at the start of the second set but dropped his serve in the fifth game, as he netted a forehand. Carreno Busta fended off a break point in the eighth game to open up a 5-3 lead and got another break in the 9th game after winning a 16-stroke rally to close out on his first match point with a backhand volley winner. Carreno Busta will play the sixth final of his career.
Carreno Busta will take on Gilles Muller, who overcame Kevin Andrerson 7-5 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes. Muller now leads 3-2 in his five head-to-head matches against Anderson, who reached his first semifinal since Winston Salem since 2015 and the first on clay since Houston in 2015.
Muller won just four more points than Anderson and saved four of the five break points he faced. Andreson saved eight of the eleven break points he faced.
Muller converted his fourth break opportunity in the third game of the third game, when Anderson sent his backhand into the net. Anderson broke straight back with a forehand return winner. Anderson fended off five break points with five winners to take a 5-4 lead in the ninth game and earned three set points on Muller’s serve in the 10th game. Muller fought them off with three winners (a first serve, a forehand winner and an ace), while he was serving at 4-5 and held his service game with a service winner to draw level to 5-5. Muller broke serve to 15 in the 11th game with a backhand error from Anderson and sealed the set with another service winner.
Muller got his only break of the second set at the start of the second set, as Anderson hit a backhand into the net. The player from Luxemburg held his next service games easily to seal the second set by 6-4 after dropping six points in five service games. Muller won his first title last January in Sydney and reached his career high of number 27 last February.
Carreno Busta and Muller are tied 1-1 in their previous two head-to-head matches, but the Spanish player won their most recent clash in the quarter finals in Estoril in 2015.
Alexander Zverev Ditches Federer’s TEAM8 Management Firm To Return To His ‘Roots’
Zverev speaks out about his ‘short and long term strategies going forward.’
German tennis star Alexander Zverev has confirmed his departure from TEAM8 as he set out his coaching plans for the season ahead.
The world No.7 posted a statement on Instagram saying that he no longer wants to be represented by the management firm, which was co-founded by Roger Federer and his agent Tony Godsick. Zverev says part of his decision was because he wanted his family to take a greater role once again. Instead, he will be managed by his brother Misha, who is the captain of the German ATP Cup team, as well as Sergei Bubka.
“I have decided to go back to the roots and have my family help me with my coaching, as well as Mischa and Sergei Bubka with my management,” Zverev wrote.
“I want to thank TEAM8 for the great work and tremendous experience, but we both feel that it’s the right decision to have my family take on a bigger role once again.”
Zverev’s announcement comes less than two weeks after it was confirmed he will no longer be working with David Ferrer. A former world No.3 player who joined his camp last year. Ferrer confirmed that the ending of their partnership was on mutual terms and there was no conflict between the two. The Spaniard said his role as tournament director of the Barcelona Open and family commitments contributed towards his decision.
Last year the 23-year-old broke new territory in his career by reaching the final of the US Open which he lost in five sets to Dominic Thiem. Zverev also won two ATP titles in Cologne. However, his on-court success was overshadowed by events in his personal life. He has been accused of mental and physical abuse by his former girlfriend Olga Sharypova, which Zverev has denied. Meanwhile, it was revealed that another former partner of his is pregnant with his child.
Heading into the Australian Open, Zverev is likely to face more scrutiny over the domestic abuse allegations after it was confirmed that a new account from Sharypova will be published in the coming weeks. New York Times journalist and freelance writer Ben Rothenberg confirmed that a second interview will be released before the start of the Melbourne major. It is unknown as to what the interview will entail but there has been a prior reference to one ‘incident’ in China.
Zverev’s Instagram statement in full
“What a year 2020 has been, for the whole world and for myself. I reached my first Grand Slam final without my parents and brother being court-side due to them contracting COVID-19. An almost 2 year long legal dispute with my former agent finally came to a successful resolution, so I have spent a lot of time thinking about my short and long term strategies going forward. For this reason and because of the ongoing worldwide restrictions, I have decided to go back to the roots and have my family help me with my coaching, as well as Mischa and Sergei Bubka with my management. I want to thank TEAM8 for the great work and tremendous experience, but we both feel that it’s the right decision to have my family take on a bigger role once again.”
No Special Treatment For Andy Murray, Says Australian Government
The three-time Grand Slam champion still wants to travel to Melbourne later this month but will it be possible?
Andy Murray must provide a negative COVID-19 test and no preferential treatment will be given to him if he attempts to play the Australian Open, according to a government minister.
The former world No.1 was set to travel to Australia later this week but is unable to after testing positive for the coronavirus. As a result, Murray is currently self-isolating in his London home and is therefore unable to start the mandatory 14-day quarantine period along with other players. Although he is hopeful to still travel to Melbourne at a later date.
Whether or not he will be allowed to do so in the coming weeks is unclear. In a statement Tennis Australia wished the three-time Grand Slam champion a ‘happy recovery’ but didn’t address the possibility that Murray can travel at a later date than his peers. It is understood that negotiations are currently ongoing with coach tournament director Craig Tiley.
“The Australian Open fans love Andy, and we know how much he loves competing here in Melbourne and how hard he’s worked for this opportunity,” a statement reads.
Murray is not the only player unable to travel this week as a result of a positive test. Others include Madison Keys, Davidovich Fokina and Dominic Thiem’s coach Nicolas Massu. Tennys Sandgren also tested positive but has been allowed to fly because health officials say he is ‘viral shedding from a previous virus’. Sandgren tested positive for the virus back in November.
Martin Foley, who is the Minister of Health for the Victorian government, says no special treatment will be provided to Murray in his bid to play in the Grand Slam. The Brit was granted entry into the main draw thanks to a wild card. He missed the 2019 tournament due to pelvic bruising and the year before he stunned the sport by saying he may be forced to retire before later undergoing career-saving hip surgery.
“In regards to Mr Murray, we’ve been clear from the start that anyone who tests positive is not able to be part of the program coming into Melbourne and Australia,” Foley told reporters on Friday.
“Mr Murray, and the other 1240 people as part of the program, need to demonstrate that if they’re coming to Melbourne they have returned a negative test.
“So should Mr Murray arrive, and I have no indication that he will, he will be subject to those same rigorous arrangements as everyone else.
“Should he test positive prior to his attempts to come to Australia, he will be refused.”
This year’s Australian Open is taking place under strict COVID-19 protocols. During quarantine players will be allowed to train up to five hours each day but not play in any professional tournaments. Those who break the rules could face a fine of AUS$20,000, prosecution and even deportation.
The Melbourne major will start on February 8th.
Andy Murry Tests Positive For COVID-19, Australian Open Hopes In Doubt
A representative for the former world No.1 has confirmed that he is currently in isolation.
Andy Murray faces a race against time to make the Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19.
Multiple British media sources have confirmed that the three-time Grand Slam champion has been in self-isolation since testing positive and it is believed that he is in good health. The Daily Mail has reported that Murray is experiencing only ‘minor symptoms’ of the virus. He undertook the test as part of the requirement by Tennis Australia under their COVID-19 protocols which requires all arrivals to test negative. However, Tennys Sandgren has been given the all clear to travel despite testing positive.
Murray and his team are now hoping that they will still be able to make it in time for the Australian Open which begins on February 8th. Nicolas Massu, who is the coach of Dominic Thiem, finds himself in the same situation as Murray. Besides being required to test negative, players must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Australia before they are allowed to play in any tournaments. Although they are allowed to train during this period for up to five hours a day. Tennis Australia is yet to comment on Murray and if they will allow him to join their ‘bio-secure bubble’ at a later date.
There is no proof of where Murray caught the virus but growing speculation surrounds the National Tennis Center in Roehampton where it has previously been reported that a minor outbreak occurred. The Brit had been training at the facility and it is understood that fellow player Paul Jubb have also contracted COVID-19.
The 33-year-old is eager to return to the Australian Open two years after admitting at the tournament that he may be forced to retire from the sport due to a serious hip injury. In 2018 he stunned reporters by saying ‘I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months’ before going on to say that the Australian Open may be his last tournament. Following his first round loss, the Brit even had a video tribute played to him at the event. However, since then he had managed to continue his career with the help of hip resurfacing surgery. It was another injury (pelvic bruising) that also forced him to skip the Melbourne major last year.
Murray is a five-time finalist at the Australian Open.
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