Borna Coric saves three match points to beat Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets in Doha Qatar Open - UBITENNIS
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Borna Coric saves three match points to beat Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets in Doha Qatar Open

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Croatian rising star and world number 48 Borna Coric came back from one set down to edge last year’s US Open semifinalist and world number 10 Pablo Carreno Busta 5-7 6-2 7-6 (10-8) in two hours and 41 minutes after saving three match points in a hard-fought match after 2 hours and 41 minutes in the first round of the Qatar Open in Doha.

 

Carreno Busta got the first break of the match in the seventh game of the first set to take a 4-3 lead and served for the set in the 10th game. Coric broke back to draw level to 5-5 but Carreno Busta got another break in the 11th game and held serve to seal the first set for 7-5 after coming back from 0-30 down.

The second set went on serve in the first four games at 2-2 before Coric reeled off four consecutive games to win the second set 6-2. Coric saved two break points in the fifth game and broke twice in the sixth and eighth games.

Carreno Busta earned an early break in the decisive set to open up a 2-0 lead and held his serve until the 10th game to open up a 5-3 lead. Carreno Busta served for the win in the 10th game but Coric broke back to draw level to 5-5. Coric wasted a 40-0 lead in the 11th game to drop serve once again. The Spanish player served for the match once again but he could not close out the match. Coric broke serve to draw level to 6-6 forcing the match to the tie-break. Carreno Busta earned three match points at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7 in the tie-break but Coric saved all three chances and converted his first match point to seal the third set 10-8.

Coric won 17 out of 21 points at the net in the third set and fired 44 winners.

The Croatian player, who has started working with Italian coach Riccardo Piatti, will play against Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round.

“It was such a tough match, as Pablo was serving for the match twice in the third set and I was just thinking to myself that I was playing good for the whole match and that was my main focus. I did not know what to expect. It’s the first match of the year. It’s always a little bit tricky, but i can say from the beginning that I was playing very good. In the offseason I was working a lot on the net. I am happy with that stat”, said Coric.

Jan-Lennard Struff edged past number 3 seed and 2015 Doha finalist Tomas Berdych 6-4 1-6 7-6 (7-4) after two hours and eight minutes. Berdych won more points than Struff, but the German player converted on his second match point to secure his spot in the second round.

“I played very aggressive in the tiebreak and I was very happy after that one. It was a pretty tough match. It was very close I know Tomas, he beat me in the French Open. I knew what to expect in the game”, said Struff.

Three-time Doha semifinalist Gael Monfils beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-3 3-6 6-4. The French player got an early break in the first game on his third opportunity to open up a 3-0 lead. Lorenzi broke back in the seventh game to claw his way back to 3-4. Monfils broke at love in the eighth game as Lorenzi made a double fault after 28 minutes. Lorenzi converted his second break point at deuce in the sixth game after two double faults from Monfils en route to winning the second set 6-3. In the third set Monfils saved two break points in the fifth game. The French player converted his second break point at deuce to open up a 4-2 lead after coming back from 0-30 down in the sixth game. Lorenzi broke back at 30 in the ninth game for 4-5, but Monfils sealed the win with another break at love in the 10th game with two passing shots.

Feliciano Lopez battled past Guillermo Garcia Lopez 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7-3) in an all-Spanish match to secure a spot in the second round against qualifier Mirza Basic. Feliciano Lopez converted his second match point to win the decisive tie-break.

Richard Gasquet, who won the Doha tournament in 2013, beat Victor Estrella Burgos 6-0 6-2 setting up a second round match against Greek Next Gen player Stefanos Tsitsipas, who came back from one set down to beat Florian Mayer 4-6 7-5 6-4. Gasquet dropped just 8 points in his service games and won 63% of the points on his return. The French player broke converted five of his eight break points. He won the first set by a bagel after 20 minutes dropping just seven points. Estrella Burgos held his serve in the first games of the second set, but Gasquet broke twice to win the final four games for 6-2 after taking 16 of the last 19 points. Gasquet hit 18 winners to just 6 unforced errors.

German Peter Gojowczyk, who won the Moselle Open ATP 250 in Metz, broke five times to beat last November’s Paris Bercy finalist Filip Krajinovic 6-4 6-1 in 66 minutes.

Italian Next Gen player Matteo Berrettini came back from one set down to beat world number 55 Viktor Troicki 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 scoring the first win on the ATP Tour of his career.

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ATP Montreal: Ruud Thrashes Auger-Aliassime To Reach Semis, Mixed Results For Brits

Casper Ruud eased past Felix Auger-Aliassime to set up a semi-final meeting with Hubert Hurkacz in Montreal.

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Casper Ruud (@OBNmontreal - Twitter)

Casper Ruud only dropped three games against Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach the semi-finals in Montreal.

 

The Norwegian is into the semi-finals in Canada after a dominant performance over home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Ruud dominated from the start of the match as he produced a sublime performance only committing nine unforced errors throughout the match to reach the last four.

Ruud has had a good season on hard courts this season and is looking to make his second consecutive hard court Masters 1000 final after reaching the final in Miami.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted he got a bit lucky but is happy to be in the last four in Canada, “It was one of those days where everything goes in one favour and luckily it was in my favour,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“With a player like Felix, you need to rely on some margins going your way. I didn’t expect them to all go on my side. It was a bit of a difficult start. I got broken but then was able to turn everything around. I hit my spots, made the shots I needed to and make him hit a lot of balls. That was the game plan and it worked well.

“The last hard-court tournament I played in was in Miami where I reached the final. I wanted to make a deep run here. I didn’t think it was too likely, being the first hard-court tournament back, but I have been playing great from the first point in the first match.”

Ruud will look to claim his first Masters 1000 title this week and rise to four in the world in the ATP rankings.

Next for Ruud is the only Masters 1000 champion left in the draw in the form of Hubert Hurkacz.

Hurkacz defeated the in-form Nick Kyrgios 7-6(4) 6-7(5) 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in Canada.

The eighth seed produced some big-serving and bold decision making as he reached his first semi-final since winning the Halle title.

Heading into their match, Ruud leads the head-to-head 1-0 where the Norwegian was victorious at Roland Garros this year.

Mixed results for British hopefuls

Meanwhile it was a mixed night for British players as Dan Evans reached his second career Masters 1000 semi-final while Jack Draper exited the tournament in the last eight.

Evans defeated Tommy Paul 1-6 6-3 6-4 to reach a landmark moment in his career in Montreal.

After his win Evans described the win as ‘extra special’ as he looks forward to a semi-final meeting with Pablo Carreno Busta, “The crowd, that’s what they buy their tickets for. That’s live sport,” Evans told the ATP website.

“You never know what’s going to happen. It was an amazing match, amazing atmosphere. I played on the court before. In the day it was amazing, but at night, there’s something about playing sport at night, it’s extra special.”

Evans will now play Carreno Busta in the last four after the Spaniard defeated British qualifier Jack Draper 7-6(4) 6-1.

Draper defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the week but was no match for the resilient Spaniard.

Saturday’s semi-final will be the first meeting between Evans and Carreno Busta.

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Canada Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday Features Ruud/Hurkacz and Pegula/Halep

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Simona Halep on Friday in Toronto (twitter.com/NBOtoronto)

The singles and doubles semifinals will be played on Saturday in Canada.  In Montreal, a new men’s singles champion will be crowned, and Hubi Hurkacz is the only semifinalist to have previously won a Masters 1000 event (Miami, 2021).  Hurkacz is also in the doubles semifinals, so it will be a busy day for Hubi.  In singles, he faces a finalist from this year in Miami, Casper Ruud.

 

In Toronto, Simona Halep is the only former champion remaining, and is two wins away from her third title at this event.  On Saturday, she plays Jessica Pegula, who is into the semifinals in Canada for the second straight year.  Like Hurkacz, Pegula is also in the doubles semifinals.  She’s teaming with Coco Gauff, who will become the new doubles No.1 if they win the title.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Hubert Hurkacz (8) vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Hurkacz ended the winning streak of Nick Kyrgios on Friday, taking him out in three sets for the second time this season.  But Ruud was even more impressive on Friday, bouncing back from a marathon victory on Thursday over Roberto Bautista Agut to overwhelm Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, dropping only three games.  Predominantly known as a clay court player, Casper is also establishing himself as a considerable threat on hard courts.  That’s especially true in North America, where Ruud has claimed 16 of his last 19 matches.  But Hubi’s success on this surface remains superior, as does his serving prowess.  While Ruud prevailed in their only previous encounter, just a few months ago at Roland Garros, Hurkacz is the favorite on a hard court.


Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Halep has been dominant through four rounds this week, advancing without the loss of a set.  Simona has quietly put together a strong record of 36-10 this season, though she’s yet to achieve a big result, with only one title at the 250 level at the start of the year.  Pegula only dropped one set this week, to defending champion Camila Giorgi.  And similar to Halep, she’s accumulated a solid record this year (29-14) without winning a title.  This will be the first career meeting between these two players.  Considering Halep is now 25-6 lifetime at this event, and the way in which she has easily prevailed all week, her superior movement and defense should be enough to reach her fourth final in Canada.


Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Dan Evans – Carreno Busta has played superbly this week, eliminating the likes of Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini without losing a set to this stage.  Dan Evans has survived two grueling three-setters in as many days.  This is their first career meeting.

Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Karolina Pliskova (14) – Haddad Maia has earned three big wins across the last three days over Iga Swiatek, Belinda Bencic, and Leylah Fernandez.  Pliskova is looking to reach the Canada final for the second straight year.  They have split two previous encounters, both on hard courts.


Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Canada Daily Preview: Quarterfinal Friday in Montreal and Toronto

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Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday in Montreal (twitter.com/OBNmontreal)

Canadian No.1 Felix Auger-Aliassime has thrilled crowds in his home country on back-to-back days in Montreal.  On Friday, he faces Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud, who outlasted Roberto Bautista Agut on Thursday in a marathon match that went well over three hours.  Other ATP action in Montreal includes Washington champion Nick Kyrgios taking on Halle champ Hubi Hurkacz in a rematch from the Halle semifinals.

 

Coco Gauff has survived two extremely dramatic affairs in as many days, ousting both Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka in third-set tiebreaks.  In the quarterfinals, she plays a two-time champion of this event, Simona Halep.  Toronto’s matches on Friday also feature Jessica Pegula and Karolina Pliskova, both of whom reached the semifinals or better of this tournament a year ago.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 12:00pm local time in Montreal and 1:00pm in Toronto.


Coco Gauff (10) vs. Simona Halep (15) – 1:00pm on Centre Court in Toronto

Between Wednesday and Thursday, Gauff spent exactly six hours on court during the heat of the early afternoon, in two physically and emotionally taxing matches.  By contrast, Halep spent less than half that time on court across those two days, and is yet to drop a set this week.  And their three previous encounters have all been straight-set victories for Simona.  She prevailed on grass three years ago at Wimbledon, on a hard court this year at Indian Wells, and on clay this year in Madrid.  And considering Halep will be the far fresher player on Friday, there’s not much evidence to suggest a different result in her fourth meeting with Coco.


Casper Ruud (4) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Not Before 2:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

What will Ruud have left after a three-set match that lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours?  Auger-Aliassime had a much easier time on Thursday, avenging a loss from less than a week ago in the Los Cabos semifinals over Cam Norrie.  Casper and Felix have split four previous meetings at all levels: two at Challenger events, and two at Masters 1000 events such as this.  Three years ago in Miami on a hard court, Auger-Aliassime won in three sets.  Last year in Madrid on clay, Ruud prevailed in straights.  Accordingly, a hard court would seem to favor Felix, especially considering his superior serving abilities.  Most of Casper’s big results have come on clay, though he did reach the final of Miami earlier this year.  I expected the Canadian to play nervously at this event, as Auger-Aliassime was only 3-3 lifetime here ahead of this week, and had lost four of his last six matches since June.  But Felix has embraced the spotlight of playing in front of a packed Canadian stadium, and should be favored over a depleted Ruud on Friday.


Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Nick Kyrgios vs. Hubert Hurkacz (8) – Between singles and doubles, Kyrgios is 13-0 over the last 10 days.  Hurkacz saved a match point on Thursday, eventually defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a third-set tiebreak.  Earlier this year in Halle when he played Nick, Hubi also prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.

Karolina Pliskova (14) vs. Qinwen Zheng – Both players were victorious after tough three-setters on Thursday: Pliskova over Maria Sakkari and Qinwen over Bianca Andreescu.  This is their first career meeting.


Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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