19th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas Upsets Home Crowd Favorite Lucas Pouille - UBITENNIS
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19th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas Upsets Home Crowd Favorite Lucas Pouille

19th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas upset 16th seed Lucas Pouille on Suzanne-Lenglen Court 6-2 3-6 5-7 6-2 6-1 after 3 hours and 41 minutes, next up is Novak Djokovic.

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Ramos-Vinolas has had a breaktrough this clay season, reaching the final of Monte Carlo. En Route to the final in Monaco, the leftie Spaniard defeated Lucas Pouille as well. Before this match, Ramos-Vinolas dropped a set to Marius Copil, and beat Benjamin Bonzi in straight sets. Pouille was Ramos-Vinolas’ first real test in Paris, and he passed with flying colors. Pouille had a dodgy lead-up, losing opening rounds in Madrid and Rome. He had a tougher draw in Paris than his opponent today. He faced his countryman Julien Benneteau in the opening round and battled past, then beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil.

First set was dicatated by Ramos-Vinolas. The Spaniards unbreakable defense led to many terrific rallies, and Pouille just didn’t have the tools to get past it. Pouille’s serve was made ineffective by Ramos-Vinolas, winning only 36% of points after second serve. The Spaniard’s ability to get to almost all balls showed us why he has risen so high in the past 52 weeks. Pouille’s desperation brought on 18 unforced errors to Ramos-Vinolas’ 4, and the 19th seed took the opening set 6-2.

Pouille regrouped after the first set, played the aggressive game and ended points early. Ramos-Vinolas didn’t have a reply for that, so he tried to end points early, which didn’t work. At 3-0 for Pouille, the 16th seed slipped and seemed to hurt his ankle. He took a medical timeout, but continued without even taping it, so there seemed to be no injury. Pouille kept on with his active game , punished Ramos-Vinolas’ mistakes with 15 winners, and took the second set 6-3.

The third set had both players play their best game wanting to break the tie, and have the foothold on the match. It was by far the longest set, and produced the best rallies of the match. The significance of the serve was far exceeded by the significance of the rallies, which is why the produced tennis was so attractive to watch. Both players traded two breaks apiece and the set was at 4-4. Ramos-Vinolas held for 5-4, but Pouille won the next 3 games and won the set 7-5.

Pouille seemed to have all the momentum, but Ramos-Vinolas played incredible defense, just 7 unforced errors all set. Pouille looked to get more tired and exhausted as the match wore on, and tried his best to end points early, which led to some failed dropshots and 17 unforced errors. Ramos-Vinolas got two breaks and won the set 6-2.

It was more of the same in the deciding set, Ramos-Vinolas dominated the rallies, winning 86% of points after Pouille’s second serve. The Frenchman was loudly supported by the crowd, but managed to win only one game. Throughout the match, the World No. 2o antagonized the French crowd by often arguing with the umpire over line calls. By the fifth set, the crowd was booing every time the Spaniard called for a mark to be checked. 19th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas won 6-2 2-6 5-7 6-2 6-1 after 3 hours and 41 minutes. The 29 year old will challenge World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the Round of 16. This will be the Spaniard’s best chance yet to score a win over Djokovic, losing the 3 previous meetings in straight sets.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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