Aegon Open Nottingham: Day Four Roundup - UBITENNIS
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Aegon Open Nottingham: Day Four Roundup

Joshua Coase

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Aegon Open Nottingham

The lineup was completed for the quarterfinals in both the women’s and men’s draws at the Aegon Open in Nottingham on Thursday. Three WTA seeds were looking to book their place in the last eight and two Brits were hoping to advance as they all competed in the sunshine as well as tough windy conditions at Nottingham Tennis Centre. Here is a complete roundup of all the singles results on day four.

 

WTA Roundup

Top seed Johanna Konta had little trouble in reaching the last eight at the Aegon Open after she defeated Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets 6-4, 6-1. The British number one delighted the home crowd with a superb start as she raced into a 4-0 lead hitting a number of winners. Her opponent hit back to cause some concern to the top seed as the scoreline was reduced to 4-3, but the Brit regrouped and got over the line in the first set. Having had that scare Konta went to another level in the second, swiftly establishing a 5-0 lead before finishing the match in one hour and 14 minutes.

The match of the day saw Magdalena Rybarikova come through a tough three set battle to see off fourth seed Alison Riske 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 in a match lasting two and a half hours. The Slovakian was in full control leading by a set and 5-3 and even had a match point, but a spirited comeback from last year’s runner-up saw the American force a decider. It was Riske who went up a break of serve first in the final set but the recent champion in Surbiton recovered to keep her fine grass court form going.

The final match on Centre Court was also a thriller as fifth seed Lucie Safarova rallied back from a set down and saved two match points to see off Hsieh Su-Wei 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(7). The woman from Chinese Taipei raced through the first set in no time at all, but the Czech fought back and one break in the third game was enough to level the match at one set all. The fifth seed had the chance to serve for the match in the twelfth game but was unable to and it looked as though she was down and out when facing match points in the tiebreak at 6-5 and 7-6. Hsieh double faulted on her first match point and went long with her backhand return on the second. Another double fault unfortunately brought an end to her hopes and a disappointing end to an otherwise terrific contest.

In the only women’s match to not be played on Centre Court Maria Sakkari came back from a set down to knock out Christina Mchale 1-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 in another match which lasted two and a half hours. After a hammering in the first set, the 21-year-old from Greece regrouped to see off a player ranked 40 places above her in the WTA rankings.

ATP Roundup

Second seed Marius Copil opened up proceedings on Centre Court with a straight sets win over Reilly Opelka 6-3, 7-6(2). The Romanian broke his opponent’s serve twice in the opening set and both players had their chances to break in the second but neither could capitalise. The big-serving American saved a match point in the 10th game and was able to force a tiebreak, but Copil took control from the outset, firing down three successive aces as he ran away with the breaker to seal the victory.

Qualifier Sam Groth ended Brit Brydan Klein’s hopes with a straight sets win 6-3, 6-4 in a match which lasted one hour and five minutes. The Australian will certainly be a real threat heading into the business end of the tournament.

Bjorn Fratangelo also booked his place in the last eight with a straight sets victory over Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-4 in a match which last just over an hour. The American saved all six break points he faced over the course of the match and won an impressive 14 out of 17 points behind his second serve.

The all-Australian tie out on Court 1 was a longer contest which went the distance as qualifier John-Patrick Smith saw off John Millman 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3. Ranked just under 90 places lower than his compatriot it was a fine win as Smith’s great run continues.

Looking Ahead To Day Five

It is quarterfinals day on Friday and there is a packed schedule across the grounds in the women’s and men’s draw. All four women’s matches take main stage on Centre Court with top seed Konta opening up play. Last British hope in the men’s draw Lloyd Glasspool is also due to close play on Centre against third seed Sela.

ATP Challenger

Roberto Bautista Agut reaches his second career final in Doha

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Roberto Bautista Agut reached the second final of his career at the Qatar Exxon Mobil with a 6-3 6-3 win over defending champion Andrey Rublev. 

 

Bautista Agut broke serve in the fourth game with a forehand winner to open up a 3-1 lead and held on his next service games to close out the first set 6-3 after 29 minutes. 

The Spaniard started the second set with an early break. Rublev broke straight back in the second game and won his next two service games to take a 3-2 lead. Bautista Agut saved two break points to hold serve before getting two consecutive breaks to claim the second set 6-3. 

Rublev was playing his first match this week after two walkovers. The Russian player claimed the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam last week. 

“It was very difficult to play tennis today, with the windy conditions, but I put a lot of pressure on his second serve and played really good tennis. I played a long match yesterday against Dominic Thiem, but I felt fresh and I had a lot of power on the court. This is one of my favourite tournaments. I played one of my best matches here in Qatar two years ago, and I hope I can win one more match tomorrow”, said Bautista Agut.

Bautista Agut set up a final against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. 

Basilashvili, who beat Roger Federer in the quarter final, rallied from one break down to win the tie-break of the first set 7-3. The Georgian player broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1.  “To reach the final means a lot. I am playing well and I am relaxed. It’s great to play in front of a crowd and a nice atmosphere”, said Basilshvili. 

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ATP Challenger

Andy Murray defeated in the final of the Biella Challenger

The former world number was runner-up to the Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko. Both will feature in next week’s event in the same location

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Andy Murray - ATP Challenger Biella 2021 (Credit: Felice Calabrò)

Andy Murray suffered a surprising defeat in the final of this week’s tournament in Biella. Playing his second Challenger event in 16 years (the other one occurred in Mallorca in 2019 when, limping on a battered hip, he lost against Matteo Viola in the eighth of finals). Before today’s runner-up finish, he had played twice against his opponent, Illya Marchenko from Ukraine (N.212 in the ATP Rankings), both times at the Australian Open, in 2011 and 2017 respectively, winning both times.

 

But it was the Ukrainian who got off to a flying start, while the Scotsman looked a bit cumbersome and immediately lost his serve, giving a nice boost of confidence to his opponent, who broke his serve once more in the fifth game, taking a 4-1 lead. Murray couldn’t control his changes of pace, while Marchenko was pretty much spotless. The 6-2 score in his favour was the logical consequence, as confirmed by the numbers, which saw him win 83% of points on his first serve (against a meagre 53% for Murray), with no break points allowed.

In the first game of the second set, Marchenko immediately leapt ahead, breaking the Brit’s serve and even earning a chance for a 3-0 lead. Murray managed to stay close and started to play in a more conservative way, with great humility, in an attempt to reduce the number of unforced errors. Murray saved a match point at 3-5 with his second serve, exploiting Marchenko’s clumsiness with the backhand, but couldn’t do the same on the return, conceding defeat at the third match point. must defend with the second. Luckily for him, Marchenko is a bit clumsy in his preparation steps and puts up a not particularly difficult backhand. The former world number one will try to exact revenge in the same location starting tomorrow, as a Challenger 125 will take place once more in Biella, with players like Lorenzo Musetti (the seventh seed), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ATP N.54) and Sebastian Korda (N.88).

Report by Massimo Gaiba; edited by Tommaso Villa

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ATP Challenger

ATP announces five-week ATP Challenger calendar for 2021

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The ATP has issued a five-week schedule for the start of the 2021 ATP Challenger Tour, which is scheduled to launch on 18th January with a 125-event in Istanbul. The Turkish city celebrates its 31st consecutive year on the Challenger Tour.

 

Turkey will host three consecutive tournaments at the start of the season. Istanbul will host a hard court tournament from 18th January. The tour will move to the seaside town of Antalya, the venue of two clay tournaments on 25th January 2021 and 1st February 2021. 

The week of 25 Januray will be the first of back-to-back Challenger events in Antalya and an indoor hard-court tournament in the French town of Quimper. 

France will host two more indoor tournaments, the 125-level tournament in Orleans (1 February) and the 28th edition of Cherbourg (8 February). 

Cherbourg will be held in the same week as hard-court tournaments in Biella in Italy and Potchefstroom in South Africa. Biella will also host a 125-level tournament in the following week on 15 February. Potchefstroom will host a second consecutive tournament on 15 February. Challenger-level tournaments will feature 32 singles players and qualifying draws with 16 players. 

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