Feliciano Lopez Set To Take Over As Director Of The Madrid Open - UBITENNIS
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Feliciano Lopez Set To Take Over As Director Of The Madrid Open

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World No.36 Feliciano Lopez has been appointed the assistant director of the Madrid Open, in what is set to be the start of a new era for the Spanish tournament.

The announcement was made on Thursday during a press conference at the AC Cuzco Hotel by tournament CEO Gerard Tsobanian. Lopez will be deputy to four-time grand slam champion Manolo Santana, who is credited for bringing the combined event to Madrid. During 2018 Lopez will be mentored by both Santana and Tsobanian for his new role.

“I have a lot to learn from Manolo and from Gerard. I have seen them run this tournament for more than 15 years and I have always admired what they have achieved.” Lopez told reporters.
“As time has gone by the Mutua Madrid Open has become one of the best tournaments on tour and one of the most valued by the players. And that is thanks to both of them. It will be a huge responsibility to make sure that their legacy continues for many years to come.”

The Madrid Open is a combined event played on the clay. It is categorised as a Masters 1000 event for the men and a Premier Mandatory event for the women. This year’s edition, which was won by Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep, attracted a record audience of 260,228 spectators. An increase of over 15,000 compared to the previous year. The current owner is former player and multimillionaire Ion Tiriac.

Lopez’s appointment is the start of his path to the top position. In plans outlined by the tournament committee, the 36-year-old will take over from Santana after 2018 to become chief director. Santana will maintain ties with the Madrid Open, but in a different format as an ‘honorary president’ after he turns 80 next May. Both of those plans are subjected to the approval of the board of directors, who will be holding meetings in the near future to discuss the motions.

“The Mutua Madrid Open is and always will be my home. We put a lot of effort into getting this tournament off the ground and I will always be working to help it grow.” stated Santana.
“I am really happy that Feli is joining the team, he is a wonderful addition to it and I will try to teach him as much as I can. He knows the tournament very well because he has played in it in every year. At first he will be the person by my side to learn and then I will be the one who is by his side to support him in everything he does. We will make a great team.”

During his career, Lopez has played in the Madird Open 16 consecutive times between 2002-2017. Overall, he has won 21 out of 37 matches played at the event, reaching the quarter-finals on four occasions. The Spaniard has been ranked as high as 12th in the world and currently has six ATP titles to his name. Including one from this year’s Aegon Championships.

“I can still remember when Manolo gave me a wildcard to play in the first tournament in 2002. That was when I realised that I could take on the best in the world (and I came close to beating Agassi!). I have a very special bond with the Mutua Madrid Open and I feel very lucky to work at the tournament. Today I feel as if Manolo has given me another wildcard to work with him and I hope to be able to make the most of it.” He said about his new posistion.

Next year will be the 17th edition of the Madrid Open and the tenth anniversary of it being held at the Caja Magica. It will take place from 4th – 13th May.

(Video in Spanish)

 

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WTA Bronx: Camila Giorgi Set For Title Showdown With Magda Linette

Camila Giorgi has twice survived a third set tiebreak this week, and saved four match points just yesterday, but can she claim the title?

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In Friday’s semifinals, Giorgi faced the top seed and world No.18 Qiang Wang.  This match would see a ton of service breaks, with each set consisting of five or more.  They would split the first two sets by identical scores of 6-4. In the third, the 27-year-old from China served for the match at 5-4, and would hold a match point, but Giorgi would save it and break for 5-5.  Camila’s firepower allows her to dictate play more often than not, and she’s continually lifted her game at the right moments this week.

 

Giorgi would then garner a match point of her own on Wang’s serve at 6-5, but also failed to convert.  In the deciding tiebreak, Qiang gained the early mini-break on the first point with a backhand winner down the line.  But Camila would punish an extremely soft second serve and get the breaker right back on serve. Wang then took advantage of a Giorgi forehand clipping the net, giving her extra time to rip a forehand and regain the mini-break.  They switched sides with Wang leading 4-2.

A few Giorgi errors gave Wang three more match points 6-3, with two of them on Qiang’s serve.  But Wang’s forehand misfired on both of the match points on her serve, and then Giorgi would put away a backhand volley to level things at 6-6.  Camila would again strike some deep and powerful groundies when she needed them, granting herself a match point at 7-6 on Wang’s serve. And Wang would sail a backhand beyond the baseline, sending the 27-year-old Italian into tomorrow’s final in dramatic fashion.

It’s the second final in four weeks for Giorgi, who was stunned in the Washington final by a first-time WTA champion, Jessica Pegula.  Camila saw her ranking fall outside the top 50 last month when her Wimbledon quarterfinalist points from 2018 dropped off her 52-week tally, but she’ll return to the top 50 with today’s win.  In her career, Giorgi is 2-5 in WTA tournament finals, with her most recent title coming last October at the Linz Open.

On Saturday in the first Bronx Open singles final, she’ll face another 27-year-old in Magda Linette of Poland.  This is only Linette’s second WTA-level final in her career, with the last coming four years ago in Tokyo. She lost in that final to Yanina Wickmayer, so a win today would give Magda her first career singles title.  Linette had to qualify to get into this draw, meaning this will be her seventh match in nine days. On Friday, she ousted Katerina Siniakova in straight sets, a day after surviving a third set tiebreak of her own in the quarterfinals against Karolina Muchova.

As much tennis as Linette has played in the Bronx, she may be the fresher of the two finalists.  Giorgi’s semifinal was played later in the day on Friday, and lasted nearly three hours. In their only previous meeting, Giorgi prevailed in three sets, on a hard court in Linette’s home country four years ago.

The first Bronx Open doubles champions were crowned on Friday, with Darija Jurak and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defeating Margarita Gasparyan and Monica Niculescu in a deciding 10-point tiebreak 10-7.  This is the first title for this team, which was formed just a few weeks ago in Canada.

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Jannick Sinner saves two match points to reach the third round at the US Open qualifying round

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Italian 18-year-old rising star Jannick Sinner came back from one set down to beat Croatia’s Viktor Galovic 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 after two hours and 49 minutes advancing to the third round of the US Open qualifying round.

 

Galovic went up an early break in the first game and held his serve until the 10th game, when Sinner earned two break-back points. Golovic held his serve to win the first set 6-4.

Sinner wasted a break point in the fourth game, but he broke serve in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead. Galovic broke back, when Sinner was serving for the set. Galovic saved two set points at 6-5 forcing the second set to the tie-break, where Sinner cruised through to winning the second set 7-2.

Galovic went up a break in the fourth game to build up a 4-1 lead.

Sinner saved two two match points at 2-5 on his serve before winning five consecutive games to win the third set 7-5. Galovic dropped his serve, when he was serving for the match. Sinner broke again in the 11th game, but he had to save two break-back points, as he was serving for the match.

Sinner won his first match on the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome beating Steve Johnson in three sets and is currently ranked world number 131.

The player from SudTyrol will play against Spain’s Mario Vilella Martinez for a spot in the main draw.

Martinez fought back from losing the first set to beat Akira Santillan 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2.

 Jiri Vesely overcame Jason Jung 6-4 5-7 7-5 setting up a match against Paolo Lorenzi for a spot in the main draw. Lorenzi beat Enzo Couacaud 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

Guillermo Garcia Lopez cruised past Noah Rubin 6-1 7-6 (7-3) securing his spot in the third round where he will face Constant Lestienne, who swept aside Paolo Lorenzi 6-3 6-0.

 

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Dominic Thiem Downplays US Open Chances

The world No.4 has given a frank assessment about his hopes at the New York major shortly after the draw was made on Thursday.

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Dominic Thiem may be a top four seed in next week’s US Open, but the Austrian has played down the prospect of him winning his first grand slam title at the event.

 

The 25-year-old has experienced a setback in his build up to the tournament. Since winning the Kitzbuhel Open on clay, Thiem has only managed to play three matches on a hard court. Reaching the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in what what was his best-ever run at the tournament. However, more recently Thiem has been sidelined from action due to a virus and pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters.

Thiem’s first round opponent at the US Open will be Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano, who has suffered two consecutive first round losses on the tour. Fabbiano reached the third round in New York back in 2017, but has missed the two most recent editions.

“Without a doubt, there are much tougher rivals than Thomas Fabbiano in a first round, although I must say that, after overcoming this viral disease, I do not expect miracles.” Thiem told Sky Sport Austria on Thursday.

Heading into the event, Thiem has said he has set out no goal. He will be defending 360 ranking points after reaching the quarter-finals 12 months ago before losing in a five-set thriller to Rafael Nadal. Overall, Thiem’s win-loss at the US Open is 15-5 heading into this year.

“Right now I do not consider reaching a quarterfinals or a semifinal. I want to go round to round, looking beyond would be presumptuous.” He said.
“In the next few days I will keep my training to a minimum, the goal is to be in perfect shape on Monday.”

Despite his recent setbacks, 2019 has been a season of success for the world No.4. In March he won the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. He would then go on to win trophies in Barcelona and Kitzhbuel. However, in the grand slams he has been less consistent. At the French Open Thiem reached the final, but has failed to win back-to-back matches at both the Australian Open (second round) and Wimbledon (first round). Although at the Australian Open he was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness.

The US Open will get underway on Monday.

Dominic Thiem at the US Open

2018
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Quarter-Finals 1
Rafael Nadal ESP
L 60 46 57 764 675
Round of 16 5
Kevin Anderson RSA
W 75 62 762
Round of 32 74
Taylor Fritz USA
W 36 63 765 64
Round of 64 31
Steve Johnson USA
W 675 63 57 64 61
Round of 128 81
Mirza Basic BIH
W 63 61 64
2017
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 28
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 61 62 16 671 46
Round of 32 34
Adrian Mannarino FRA
W 75 63 64
Round of 64 108
Taylor Fritz USA
W 64 64 46 75
Round of 128 186
Alex de Minaur AUS
W 64 61 61
2016
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 142
Juan Martin del Potro ARG
L 36 23 (RET)
Round of 32 39
Pablo Carreno Busta ESP
W 16 64 64 75
Round of 64 89
Ricardas Berankis LTU
W 64 63 62
Round of 128 66
John Millman AUS
W 63 26 57 64 63
2015
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 32 14
Kevin Anderson RSA
L 36 673 673
Round of 64 70
Denis Istomin UZB
W 64 64 10 (RET)
Round of 128 76
Daniel Gimeno-Traver ESP
W 75 63 75
2014
Round Rank Opponent W-L Score
Round of 16 7
Tomas Berdych CZE
L 16 26 46
Round of 32 21
Feliciano Lopez ESP
W 64 62 63
Round of 64 12
Ernests Gulbis LTA
W 46 36 64 63 63
Round of 128 84
Lukas Lacko SLO
W 63 63 62

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