Tommy Robredo recovered from a set down to defeat Dan Evans 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to book his place in the second round in what is his last tournament with a protected ranking.
Evans has been very public about his dissatisfaction and lack of confidence playing on the clay but any signs of that looked far from his mind as he took a set and a break lead. Robredo did not panic and dug deep to get himself back in the set and once he snatched that he was in command. Breaks were traded but the 35-year-old was always in control and wrapped up the match after two hours and 47 minutes.
Elsewhere on day one at Roland Garros there were victories for three of Robredo’s Spanish compatriots. 19th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas defeated qualifier Marius Copil 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, while 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta eliminated Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez upset 26th seed Gilles Muller, winning 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-2. There were also wins for Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi, Mikhail Kukushkin, Taro Daniel and Horacio Zeballos.
Evans got off to the perfect start in the blistering Paris heat, breaking his opponent’s serve immediately. The Brit was very fired up and swiftly took a 2-0 lead, but the highly experienced Spaniard hit back immediately, reeling off three games in a row to move in front.
After a series of service holds Evans capitalised at the perfect time, breaking in the eleventh game after forcing Robredo wide with a forehand to give himself the opportunity to serve for the opening set.
The Brit had impressed throughout the match on serve and only dropped two points behind his first serve as he closed it out on his second set point, sealing it with a powerfully struck forehand which his opponent could not return.
The British number three appeared to be struggling with an issue regarding his stomach and left the court at the end of the set but that did appear to affect him back on the court. Evans quickly moved to two break points and despite Robredo saving the first with a backhand volley, a backhand down the line winner from the Brit secured an immediate break and put him in charge of the first round match.
After losing five games in a row Robredo responded with three in a row of his own, breaking Evans to love as he closed out a perfect game with a forehand cross court winner. In the 10th game Evans’ level dropped, with a double fault, two missed volleys and a forehand long costing the Brit the game and the set as the 35-year-old levelled at one set all.
Robredo was the more animated player at the start of the third and it was his time to make the perfect start, winning four points in a row from 30-0 down to break his opponent’s serve before swiftly taking a 3-0 lead.
With Evans’ challenge in this match somewhat fading, his opponent offered up a lifeline in the fifth game, playing several loose points on serve and the Brit capitalised to get back on serve. The reprieve did not last long as Robredo re-engaged, racing to a 0-40 advantage. The Brit saved the first break point with an overhead smash but has no answers to his opponent’s groundstrokes on the second opportunity to regain the break advantage.
The lapses on serve continued, with Robredo once again failing to stamp his authority on the match, dropping serve to love before regaining the break once again to move 5-3 in front. On this occasion the Spaniard had no trouble closing out the set on serve, moving just one set away from a place in the second round.
With Evans hitting 10 unforced errors compared to just five winners the odds of the Brit turning the match around looked slim. The odds of a comeback became even greater when Robredo secured an immediate break of serve. Seemingly on his last legs, the Brit staved off a break point in the third game to keep himself in the match.
Evans had the chance to hold in the fifth game to continue to stay in touch, but could not resist the pressure from Robredo as he moved up a double break and closed in at 5-1 up. Robredo broke serve in the very next game courtesy of a double fault from the Brit to secure a four set victory 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.
Andrey Rublev wins Rotterdam dispatching Marton Fucsovics in straight sets
The Russian and world number 8 won the title in Rotterdam beating his Hungarian opponent in straight sets.
Andrey Rublev is the 2021 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament champion after beating Marton Fucsovics in Sunday’s final 7-6 (4),6-4. He was clinical from the word play not giving an inch in a match that was pretty tight.
The triumph has extended the unbeaten run of the 23-year-old in ATP 500 tournaments to 20 matches. To put that into perspective, only Roger Federer and Andy Murray has achieved more consecutive wins in that tournament category. In his latest match Rublev won 75% of his first service points and 63% of his second.
“Marton was playing with a lot of confidence, having come through qualifying,” said Rublev.
“He played an extraordinary tournament. It was a tricky final for me as I was favourite. But in a final, that doesn’t matter.”
Initially it was Fucsovics who got off to a very fast start as it seemed nerves were playing a factor in the early on going for the Russian and he was facing three breakpoints in the opening service game of the match.
Thanks in large part to his big serve the number four seed was able to save those break points and hold his opening service game. From there the nerves had gone and tennis fans were witnessing the Rublev they had watched all week with his powerful serve and ground strokes.
The following game the Russian earned two breakpoints of his very own but it was the world number 59 who would save them this time with his forehand. There wasn’t another breakpoint until 6-5 when Rublev earned a set point but it was Fucsovics again coming up big to save it and force a tiebreak.
In that breaker Rublev would bring his game up an extra level and broke on the opening point with his ferocious forehand up the line. After jumping out to a 3-1 lead the world Fucsovics wasn’t going to throw in the towel and managed to win two straight points with some solid groudstrokes to tie the breaker at 3-3.
It was then Rublev’s turn to respond and he won three points off the trot with three stunning winners that were unreturnable and would take the first set when the Hungarian sent a return long.
The momentum clearly with the Russian from winning the first set and in the first game of the second set earned an early breakpoint and would break playing another amazing rally and finishing the net with a volley winner.
At 4-2 the number four seed had a chance to go up a double break when he had two more breakpoints but the world number 59 came up with two huge serves to save them and eventually hold serve.
Rublev would serve it out to take the set and the match and the title and was very pleased with the win.
” I’m doing everything right, I’m moving in the right direction, I need to keep working the same way to improve the things I need to improve to be able to compete even better”
On the other side of the spectrum Fucsovics spoke on the fact that he started in qualifying and made it all the way to the final.
“I’m very happy, I’m very satisfied with my performance, it wasn’t too bad to play two matches in the qualies, I got used to the court, and I think physically I was fit the whole time all the matches even today, I’m very happy to be in the top 50, to reach the final in the 500, my goal is to win a 500 or win a tournament “
Rublev has now won eight ATP titles in his career.
Rankings Monopoly Of ‘Big Four’ To End
The will be a brand new world No.2 for the first time in more than a decade!
Later this month there will be a change to the ranking system which hasn’t occurred in almost 16 years on the Tour.
Daniil Medvedev is set to overtake Rafael Nadal and climb into the world No.2 position to become the first player outside of the Big Four to do so since Lleyton Hewitt on July 25th 2005. The Russian has been on the verge of taking the spot away from the Spaniard following his run to the final of the Australian Open last month. He had an opportunity to secure the spot in Rotterdam but suffered a shock loss in the first round.
Confirmation of Medvedev’s rise to the second spot was announced by the ATP on Saturday after Nadal officially withdrew from the Acapulco Open. Meaning that a series of points will drop off.
25-year-old Medvedev has won three out of the past five tournaments he has played in on the Tour. During that period he won 12 out of his 13 matches against a member of the top 10. The only loss was to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne. He is already the highest ranked Russian man since Nikolay Davydenko in 2007.
“There’s some confidence when you win tournaments. I won three in a row, one of them [the ATP Cup] was a team competition, of course,” Medvedev said prior to playing Rotterdam. “When you get the confidence going, in the tight moments you feel like you can always make the winners or put the ball back in the court when you have to and make your opponent miss.”
There is still a way to go for a player outside of the elusive Big Four to top the rankings with Djokovic currently having a lead of more than 2000 points. The last player outside of the quartet to do so was Andy Roddick back in 2004.
Medvedev returns to action next week at the Open 13 in France. Granted a bye in the first round, he will start his campaign against either Egor Gerasimov or Yannick Hanfmann.
Marton Fucsovics upsets Borna Coric to reach Rotterdam Final
The Hungarian is into his third ATP final after stunning the Croatian with a straight sets win.
Marton Fucsovics is through to his third ATP final after beating Borna Coric 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 25 minutes at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.
The 29-year-old Hungarian broke Coric fives time and won 75% of his first service points at the Ahoy Arena to become only the second qualifier in history to reach the title match. The first was France’s Nicolas Esdcude back in 2001. It is also the first time Fucsovics has beaten Coric on the Tour following on his forty attempt.
” I come here every year, it’s not my favourite surface but I can say after this week I love it, I love the atmosphere, I love the people here,” the world No.59 said during his press conference.
“It’s a very famous tournament, it has a long history and I haven’t seen any Hungarians on the winners list but hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”
Coric, who is ranked 33 places higher, didn’t get off to a good start and Fucsovics made sure to take advantage of it in the first game of the opening set by earning three early breakpoints. He broke by winning an intense rally and finishing the point with a sensational forehand winner down the line that was almost picture perfect. There was a small lapse in his game at 3-2 when he served an off game and the Croat would break to put the set back on serve.
That’s when the world number 59 went into full overload earning two more breakpoints the following game after playing a solid point and finishing with a powerful smash at the net. He would break once more as the world number 26 would send a ball long to regain a 4-3 lead. The underdog would save two breakpoints from the Zagreb native who was starting to find his game playing some outstanding tennis and eventually serve out the first set.
The second set is where the Hungarian dominated and went for the kill. Eager to book his spot in the final against Andrey Rublev on Sunday afternoon. At 1-1 he would earn another breakpoint winning a long intense rally with a stunning forehand winner.
He would break the following point as Coric hit another unforced error and was visibly frustrated as he belted out in Croatian. After holding serve to consolidate the break Fucsovics smelled blood and once again unforced errors were creeping into the Croats game and he would break once again to take a commanding 4-1 lead.
Once again after having no issues holding serve the world number 26 was serving to stay in the match but the day belonged to the Fucsovics as he finished the match in style overpowering his opponent to break for a third time to take set and the match.
When asked what it is going to take to end up victorious on Sunday against one of the best players in the world, the Hungarian hopes he will be cheered on by his country.
” It’s going to be a tough match, I just want to enjoy it, I want to play my best tennis, I hope the people from Hungary will be supporting me “
Fucsovics beat Rublev in a Davis Cup World Group Playoff while Rublev got his revenge three years later at Roland Garros. Although both those meetings were on a outdoor clay court and this will be their first meeting on indoor hard.
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