It might just be the first time that Casper Ruud has faced someone younger than him in professional tennis. The young Norwegian, 18, is set to take on Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime, 16, in the quarter-finals of the Caltanissetta Challenger.
This match could well be historic as both Ruud and Aliassime are highly touted youngsters.
Ruud comes from a tennis family as his father Christian Ruud was a former Top 100 ranked player. The teenager is well known for his exploits on clay. He won the first Challenger event he entered, defeating Taro Daniel in straight sets at the Seville Challenger last year. In 2017 he reached the semi-finals of the Rio Open, defeating the likes of Rogerio Dutra Silva, Roberto Carballes Baena, and Thiago Monteiro. Other strong performances have seen him inch close to entering the Top 100 for the first time. Ruud holds a singles ranking of No.112.
Despite the good results, his recent attempt to qualify for Roland Garros failed when he lost to the in-form Maxime Janvier. He has bounced back strongly so far this week. Ruud defeated Lorenzo Giustino 6-4, 6-0 in the first round, and Jan Satral earned just one more game in the second.
Auger Aliassime is a name that is likely to be unfamiliar to many. The Canadian is famous for being the youngest person ever to qualify for a ATP Challenger event. He had not yet turned 15 when he qualified for the Drummondville Challenger in 2015. Further accolades came when he beat Darian King (currently No.113) before turning 16. This year, despite playing sparingly, he reached the semi-finals in Drummondville. Auger Aliassime holds a current ranking of No.336 though should break the Top 300 even if he loses.
His ranking should move that high regardless because he has already reached the quarter-finals this week. Impressive wins against Nicolas Jarry and Laurynas Grigelis (both in tough three-set battles) show that even at 16 he is ready to compete at Challenger level. Auger Aliassime has a good record on clay. He was the runner-up at in the Boy’s Singles at Roland Garros in 2016.
Dominic Thiem To Return At Marbella Challenger, Joins Wawrinka In Stacked Field
Dominic Thiem will be joining Stan Wawrinka in making his return to action at the Marbella challenger next week.
Dominic Thiem will finally make his return to the ATP tour at the Marbella challenger next week.
The Austrian hasn’t played a tennis match since retiring at the grass court event in Mallorca last June due to a wrist injury.
Despite being scheduled to play at the Australian Open and at the Indian Wells-Miami swing, Thiem had to postpone his return as he wasn’t quite ready to compete in matches.
However now Thiem has decided to return as he will begin his clay court swing next week at the Marbella Challenger.
The former Roland Garros finalist took to Instagram to announce the news as he looks to climb back up the rankings.
The world number 50 will face tough competition with former Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka also making his comeback at the event in Spain next week.
At the blockbuster event there will also be the likes of Holger Rune, Pablo Cuevas, Jaume Munar and Lucas Pouille competing.
The winner of the event will receive 125 ranking points but much more importantly for Thiem and Wawrinka much needed match practice ahead of a busy European clay-court swing.
Thiem will be the top seed while Wawrinka will be unseeded with their being a possibility of the two heavyweights meeting in the opening round.
Play will start on Monday with Jaume Munar being the defending champion.
Roberto Bautista Agut reaches his second career final in Doha
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.
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
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
Danil Medvedev is on a collision course for a potential quarter final against Jannik Sinner in Shanghai
Jannik Sinner beats Grigor Dimitrov to set up semifinal against Carlos Alcaraz
Iga Swiatek beats Sara Sorribes Tormo to reach the second round in Beijing
Carlos Alcaraz beats Casper Ruud to reach the semifinal in Beijing
‘My Brain Works Different’ – Coco Gauff Talks Positives From Online Criticism After China Open Win
‘Bulls**t’ – Expert Involved In Simona Halep’s Anti-Doping Case Blasts Four-Year Ban
Maria Sakkari ‘Scared’ Of Anti-Doping Testing Measures After Halep Ban
Gutsy Novak Djokovic Prevails In Grueling Battle With Medvedev To Win US Open
Iga Swiatek Dismisses Criticism Over Recent US Open Exit
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Sets Rublev Quarter-Final Clash
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Plenty Of Surprises Could Occur In This Year’s Wimbledon Women’s Draw
Hot Topics2 days ago
Iga Swiatek Says Her Priority Is Form, Not Reclaiming No.1 Spot
Hot Topics14 hours ago
Iga Swiatek Reacts To Row Over Use Of Performance Byes At China Open
Latest news2 days ago
Ons Jabeur beats Diana Schnaider at the Ningbo Open to claim her fifth WTA Tour title
Latest news1 day ago
Jannik Sinner sets up a quarter final against Grigor Dimitrov in Beijing
Latest news2 days ago
Danil Medvedev beats Alex De Minaur to reach the quarter final at the China Open
Latest news2 days ago
Alexander Zverev reaches his 10th quarter final of the season in Beijing
Latest news2 days ago
Aryna Sabalenka and Anhelina Kalinina reach the second round at the China Open in Beijing
Hot Topics2 days ago
Resurgent Veronika Kudermetova Upsets Pegula To Win Pan Pacific Open