In the United States’ Taylor Fritz is still considered one of the most promising players. Fritz recently turned 20, but has seen his ranking drop out of the Top 100 this year after playing a limited schedule.
The young American was in action in the Knoxville Challenger this week. He came up against Canada’s Filip Peliwo in the last four. A close first set gave way to a rout in a 7-6, 6-1 win for the Canadian.
Peliwo had been touted as one of the best young Canadian stars after winning both Junior Wimbledon and the Junior US Open in 2012. His career hasn’t quite reached the heights expected of him since. Now 23, the young man is in with a chance of reaching his first career Challenger final. If Peliwo were to win the title it would push him to a new career-high ranking somewhere around No.220.
In other matches Henri Laaksonen put to an end Tim Smyczek’s season best seven match winning streak. Laaksonen had been one of the victims of Smyczek’s run to the title in Charlottesville last week. The Swiss was able to rectify that loss with a 7-6, 6-4 win. Laaksonen will face the in-form Peliwo for a place in the final.
Bradley Klahn is in search of his third Challenger final of the season. The American is on the comeback tour after a back injury ruled him out for nearly two years. He has almost a year of tennis under his belt since returning late last season. He defeated Britain’s Ed Corrie in 6-3, 7-6.
The final match of the day will see Denis Kudla take on Bjorn Fratangelo, with the winner of that one taking on Klahn.
The American Challenger circuit continues next week, with the tour moving to Champaign.
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
ATP announces five-week ATP Challenger calendar for 2021
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.
Emma Raducanu Looking For Experience After Splitting With Coach
Petra Kvitova set semifinal against Anett Kontaveit in Ostrava
Berrettini pulls off comeback win over Auger Aliassime at Laver Cup
Iga Swiatek sets up semifinal against Maria Sakkari in Ostrava
Pablo Carreno Busta moves into semifinals in Metz with a win over Holger Rune
Novak Djokovic ‘All In’ For History After Outlasting Zverev In US Open Semis
ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval
Boris Becker Hits Out At ‘Unacceptable’ Treatment Of Novak Djokovic
WTA Luxembourg Open Axed Over Disagreements Between Tour And Organisers
Top Names Come In Support Of Openly Gay Players On The Men’s Tour
US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic’s loss had more to do with fatigue than pressure”
US Open, Steve Flink on the Murray-Tsitsipas Controversy
(VIDEO) Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin Del Potro Gathering Momentum In Comeback Bids
Steve Flink On Wimbledon: “Bautista Agut would be a tough semifinal test for Djokovic”
Wimbledon, Flink: “Djokovic Will Beat Zverev in the Final”
Hot Topics2 days ago
Roger Federer Eyes Laver Cup Captaincy Role Post-Retirement
Latest news2 days ago
Former Trainer Hits Out At Dominic Thiem Over Sudden Dismissal
Latest news3 days ago
Simona Halep Ends Six-Year Collaboration With Coach Cahill
Hot Topics1 day ago
Fresh Faces Descend Upon The Laver Cup To Fill Void Left By Big Three
Latest news3 days ago
John Millman beats Jaume Munar in three sets in Nur Sultan
ATP2 days ago
Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019
Latest news2 days ago
Naomi Osaka Withdraws From Indian Wells, Unclear If She Will Play Again This Year
Latest news2 days ago
Maria Sakkari beats Jelena Ostapenko to reach the quarter final in Ostrava