Grigor Dimitrov Tops Halep To Be Named Balkan Athlete Of 2017 - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov Tops Halep To Be Named Balkan Athlete Of 2017





World No.3 Grigor Dimitrov has been named Balkan Athlete of Year following his rise on the tour this season.

Dimitrov topped the poll with a total of 62 points, narrowly beating second placed Simona Halep, who had 60 points. A total of nine news agencies across the Balkan region took part in the annual poll, which is in its 45th year. Dimitrov is the first Bulgarian winner since wrestler Stanka Zlateva won the honour back in 2010.

“I am happy to learn that I have been named Best Balkan Athlete of 2017. Good work yields good results. Perseverance, confidence and complete dedication always pay off.” Dimitrov told The Bulgarian News Agency.
“This year has been strong and special for me and my coaching team. I want to thank my family and my team, and all who believe in me and support me in bad times and in good times.”

Official results show that Dimitrov was awarded points from every news agency that took part in the poll. Apart from Halep, he also finished ahead of track and field stars Ramil Guliyev (200M), Katerina Stefanidi (pole vault) and Sandra Perkovic (Discus). All three of those athletes won a gold medal at this year’s World Athletics Championships.

The 26-year-old has won four titles on the ATP Tour this year. At the Cincinnati Open Dimitrov defeated Nick Kyrgios to win his first Masters 1000 trophy. Then at the end of the season, he became the first player from his country to win the ATP World Tour Finals after defeating David Goffin in the finale. Dimitrov also claimed titles in Brisbane and Sofia, winning 49 out of 68 matches played on the tour this season.

Runner-up Halep has also enjoyed a successful year. The world No.1 is the first player from her country to top the WTA rankings. Halep has featured in five WTA finals, winning her sole title at the Madrid Open in May. Her best grand slam performance occurred at the French Open when she was runner-up to Jelena Ostapenko. Overall, she has won 47 out of 64 matches played this year.

Next year Dimitrov will start his new season at the Brisbane International during the first week of January. Meanwhile, Halep will play at the Shenzhen Open the same week.

Top 10 Balkan athletes of 2017

1. Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria (men’s tennis) – 62 pts
2. Simona Halep, Romania (women’s tennis) – 60 pts
3. Ramil Guliyev, Turkey (men’s sprinting) – 49 pts
4. Katerina Stefanidi, Greece (women’s pole vault) – 48 pts
5. Sandra Perkovic, Croatia (women’s discus throw) – 46 pts
6. Luka Modric, Croatia (men’s football) – 31 pts
7. Eleftherios Petrounias, Greece (men’s artistic gymnastics) – 21 pts
8. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serbia (men’s basketball) – 19 pts
9. Tijana Boskovic, Serbia (women’s volleyball) – 17 pts
10. Stojance Stoilov, Macedonia (men’s handball) – 16 pts

List of agencies involved in the voting process

Agerpres (Romania), Anadolu Agency (Turkey), ANA-MPA (Greece), ATA (Albania), FENA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), HINA (Croatia), MIA (Macedonia), MINA (Montenegro), Tanjug (Serbia) and BTA (Bulgaria).

Source: BTA.BG

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Simona Halep cruises through to the second round with a straight-set win over Anastasia Potapova in Moscow




Simona Halep cruised through to the second round at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow with a 6-1 6-4 win over Anastasia Potapova after 90 minutes. 


Halep has extended her winning record against Potapova after beating her Russian rival in their only previous head-to-head match at the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne last winter. The Romanian star is making her first appearance since she won the title in 2013.

Four of the first six six games went to deuce. Halep went up an early break to take a 2-0 lead. Potapova broke straight back, but Halep earned two breaks at deuce to take a 5-1 lead before serving out the set at love. 

Four of the first six games of the second set went against serve. Halep converted the first of her two break points to take a 5-4 lead. As Halep was serving for the match at 5-4, Potapova earned three break points.

Halep saved them, before converting her second match point to secure her spot in the second round, where she will face world number 32 Veronika Kudemertova. Halep beat Kudemertova 6-1 6-3 in the third round at this year’s Australian Open. Kudemertova came back from one set down to beat Oksana Selekmetheva 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 after 2 hous and 20 minutes. 

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Andy Murray battles past Frances Tiafoe in a marathon match in Antwerp




Andy Murray battled past Frances Tiafoe 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 3 hours and 45 minutes to advance to the second rund at the European Open in Antwerp. 


Murray came back from a set down in the first set before prevailing in the tie-break. 

Tiafoe opened up a 3-1 lead with an early break in the third game and a hold. Murray reduced the deficit to 2-3 before Tiafoe needed a medical time-out to treat a back problem. Murray broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Both players traded breaks in the next two games. Tiafoe wasted a set point. Murray closed out the tie-break with two mini-breaks followed by two consecutive aces.

Both players fended off break points to stay on serve in the second set. Murray saved a set point to hold and forced the second set to to another tie-break. Murray hit a forehand down the centre of the court to open up a 3-1 lead. Tiafoe pulled back on serve after a return into the net from Murray. Tiafoe earned two mini-breaks to take a 4-3 lead. The US player hit a forehand down the line to earn a set point, but Murray saved it to draw level to 6-6. Tiafoe converted his sixth set point with a forehand half-volley to win the 81-minute second set forcing the match to the third set. 

Tiafoe earned a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, but Murray broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Murray saved two break points to hold for 4-3. Tiafoe held serve to draw level to 5-5 forcing the decider to a third tie-break. Both players earned two mini-breaks in the tie-break before Murray gained a two-point lead, but Tiafoe drew level to 5-5. Murray saved two match points before sealing the win with a backhand dropshot, which Tiafoe could return into the net. 

Murray avenged a defeat against Tiafoe, who beat the Scotsman in the second round at Winston Salem last August. 

Murray will face Diego Schwartzman on Thursday. 

“I think it’s the longest three-set match I have played by quite a distance. I am tired right now, obviously it was an unbelievable battle. Nowadays, obviously my body is old now. I have played a lot of matches on the Tour. I don’t mind playing long matches, but that was taking it to another level. Brilliant match. Amazing atmosphere. Thanks to everyone who came and supported. It’s just so nice. To be back and playing in front of crowd again”, said Murray.  

Murray and Tiafoe played the longest best-of-three set match of 2021, improving the previous record set by Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who played for 3 hours and 38 minutes in the Barcelona final. 

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Jenson Brooksby upsets Reilly Opelka to boost his chance to qualify for the Next Gen Finals in Milan




US Next Gen rising star Jenson Brooksby continues his chase for a spot in the Next Gen Finals in Milan with a 6-4 6-4 win over Reilly Opelka after 1 hour and 12 minutes. 


Brooksby earned his first break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Opelka saved two break points to hold serve at deuce, as he serving to stay in the first set. Brooksby served out the first set in the 10th game before breaking at love in the fourth game to seal the second set 6-4.

Brookby won a set against Novak Djokovic in the fourth round at the US Open and lost the semifinal against Jannik in Washington this year. 

“It’s been a great year. I am happy. I feel like I have been focused, playing well. I will hopefully finish this year strong. He has definitely got one of the best serves on Tour. I thought we had a good game plan. I have been hitting them well and executed pretty well here, so I am happy with that”, said Brooskby. 

Brooksby will face this year’s US Open quarter finalist Botic van de Zandschulp. 

Another US Next Gen player Brandon Nakashima cruised past Alex De Minaur 6-4 6-0. Nakashima converted five of his ten break points. 

De Minaur converted his second break point in the fifth game at deuce to take a 3-2 lead. Nakashima broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Nakashima broke serve on his third chance at deuce to close out the first set 6-4 and earned three more breaks to take a bagel win in the second set. 

Nakashima reached his first two ATP Tour finals in Los Cabos and Atlanta. 

Lorenzo Musetti beat Gianluca Mager 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-3) after 2 hours and 8 minutes in the all-Italian first round match. Musetti set up a Next Gen clash against his compatriot Jannik Sinner, who won their only previous clash 6-7 7-6 6-3 in the pre-qualifying round of the Rome Internazionali d’Italia. Mager earned the first break in the third game at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. Musetti pulled back on serve in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, but he dropped his serve in the seventh game to trail 3-4. Musetti broke back in the 10th game to draw level to draw level to 5-5. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Musetti earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Musetti did not convert two break points in the first and third games of the second set. Mager earned a set point in the 10th game, but Musetti saved it to force the set to the tie-break. Musetti earned three match points at 6-3 with his fourth mini-break and converted his first chance with a spectacular serve and volley.  

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