Jo Wilfried Tsonga battles past Damir Dzumhur in three sets to secure his spot in the quarter final in Vienna - UBITENNIS
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Jo Wilfried Tsonga battles past Damir Dzumhur in three sets to secure his spot in the quarter final in Vienna

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Last week’s Antwerp champion Jo Wilfried Tsonga fought back from one set down to beat Kremlin Cup champion Damir Dzumhur 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (9-7) 6-1 and secured his spot in the quarter final at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. With this win win the French player has boosted his chance of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

 

In the first set Dzumhur converted his first break break point at deuce in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead after rallying from 30-40 down. Tsonga broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Dzumhur rallied from 4-5 by winning three consecutive points to take the tie-break by 7-5. After a trade of breaks in the third and fourth games of the second set both players went on serve until the tie-break.

Tsonga saved a match point at 6-7 in the tie-break of the second set to force the match to the third set. Dzumhur held serve for 1-1 but Tsonga reeled off 12 consecutive points to open up a 3-1 lead with a break at love in the fourth game for 3-1. The Frenchman sealed the third set with a double break in the sixth game.

Tsonga is currently ranked 15th in the ATP Race to London but he could overtake Kevin Anderson, if he wins his second title in Vienna and his fifth seasonal trophy this weekend.

Another French star Richard Gasquet came back from one set down to upset local favourite Dominic Thiem 4-6 7-5 6-1 after 2 hours and 22 minutes. Thiem has not reached the quarter finals in eight of the last eleven tournaments he played after reaching the semifinals at this year’s Roland Garros. Gasquet continues his good period of form reaching his third consecutive quarter final after Tokyo and Shanghai. The Frenchman saved four break points and converted three of his five break points.

Thiem did not face any break points in the first set and earned his only break in the fifth game when Gasquet sent a backhand wide. Thiem did not convert four break points at the end of the first set. Gasquet dropped one point in his first five service games. Thiem saved three break points at the start of the set and held his serve after two deuces in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Gasquet held his serve in the 11th game after four deuces. Thiem wasted two game points before Gasquet sealed the second set with a break in the 12th game to send the match to the third set. Gasquet broke in the second game of the decider as Thiem made a forehand error. The Frenchman got another break in the sixth game, thanks to another error from Thiem, earning the chance to serve for the match in the next game. Gasquet held his serve easily securing a spot in the quarter final where he will take on his compatriot Lucas Pouille.

Diego Schwartzman rallied from one set down to beat Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7 6-1 6-1. The Argentine avenged his recent defeat against his Spanish rival in the quarter finals at this year’s US Open.

Carreno Busta went down a double break to trail 0-3 but got three consecutive breaks to win five consecutive games for 5-3. Schwartzman got the break back on his third opportunity in the ninth game and held serve at 30 to draw level to 5-5. Carreno Busta sealed the first set with a break at 15 in the 12th game, as Schwartzman mad ea double fault.

Schwartzman got three consecutive breaks in the third, fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-1. He broke twice in the second and fourth games to seal the third set by 6-1.

Carreno Busta is ranked eighth in the ATP Race to London and still holds the final qualifying spot for the ATP Finals with 2605 points, but Juan Martin Del Potro could overtake the Spanish player and move into the final qualifying spot if he wins the title in Basel, which could bring him to 2615 points.

 

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France’s Lucas Pouille To Undergo Surgery

The 26-year-old has suffered another setback to his plans for a return to the Tour.

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Lucas Pouille (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Lucas Pouille says he is hopeful that he will be able to play tennis again this season after announcing plans to undergo surgery.

 

The world No.58 confirmed on Tuesday morning that he will be having an operation on his right elbow later this month in Paris. Pouille has only managed to play one match this year on the ATP Tour due to the injury, which was at the Indian Wells Challenger tournament where he lost in straight sets to Noah Rubin.  The issue has been bothering the Frenchman since last October when he shut down his season early after the Shanghai Masters.

“It’s never an easy decision to take, but I will get surgery on my right elbow this month in Paris. After new medical exams, it appeared it was the best solution in order to finally be able to play pain-free. I still hope to play before the end of the season.” Pouille said in a statement.

Pouille initially looked to be on track to making a return to action after participating in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in June. An exhibition tournament created by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou. However, he lost two matches to Feliciano Lopez and Elliot Benchetrit before being forced to withdraw from the competition due to his elbow.

In recent days the coach of the former world No.10,  Loic Courteau, said they will not be travelling to the US Open next month. Although it is unclear if Courteau’s comments were made before or after the decision to undergo surgery was made.

“I will not be in New York, for the good reason that Lucas… is not going to play the tournament,” he told French television.

Pouille has won five ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $7 million in prize money. He is currently the eighth highest ranked French player on the ATP Tour.

Pouille’s ATP titles breakdown

2018 1 Montpellier (Indoor/Hard)
2017 3 Vienna (Indoor/Hard)
Stuttgart (Outdoor/Grass)
Budapest (Outdoor/Clay)
2016 1 Metz (Indoor/Hard)

 

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.

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Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

 

The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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