David Ferrer Proclaims ‘The Juniors Are Coming’ After Stern Auckland Test - UBITENNIS
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David Ferrer Proclaims ‘The Juniors Are Coming’ After Stern Auckland Test

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David Ferrer (zimbio.com)

Experience was key for four-time champion David Ferrer during his first round clash at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

 

The 35-year-old was pushed to his limits during his 7-6(7), 6-4, win over reigning US Open boy’s champion Wu Yibing. A player who is 17 years younger than him. During the two-hour clash, Ferrer could only convert three out of his 12 break point opportunities, but crucially prevailed in the crunch moments of the match. Saving two set points during the first set before breaking two consecutive times in the second to move into the last 16.

“It was really tough. The juniors are coming and it was not easy,” Ferrer said following the match.

Despite securing the win, Ferrer only had admiration for his younger rival following the match. Yibing is tipped to be the future star of Chinese tennis. Currently ranked 308th in the world, he won his first Challenger title in Shanghai last year. Becoming only the fourth player within the past five years to win a junior grand slam title and Challenger title within the same season. This week Yibing is playing in only the third ATP tournament of his career.

“It was difficult. He’s a young player with a lot of power in his shots,” he commented about the Chinese teenager.
“Experience was the key. I have 18 more years than him so I tried to play with my experience in the important moments.”

Next up for Ferrer will be Joao Sousa, who downed Donald Young in three sets in his first round match. He is currently tied at 1-1 in his head-to-head against the Portuguese player, but won their most recent meeting at the 2016 Vienna Open.

“It’s going to be a tough match, for sure,” Ferrer said of Sousa. “He’s a very tough player, we will do a lot of rallies and it will be a very physical match. Now I will rest but I hope to play better than today.”

Young guns through

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The next generation of players was a hot topic at the tournament on Monday with a duo of rising stars showing their talent on the tour. Canada’s Denis Shapovalov kicked-off his 2018 season with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-3, win over Brazilian qualifier Rogério Dutra Silva. The Canadian was in sublime form as he dropped seven points on his serve throughout the entire match. Converting all three of his break point opportunities.

“I played really well today, served really big and that gave me the confidence to free up on my shots.” Shapovalov evaluated about his performance.
“I think I played the perfect match today.”

Shapovalov will take on Juan Martin del Potro in what promises to be a mouthwatering second round clash. Last year the teenager got the better of the Argentine at the Canadian Open by prevailing in straight sets. The prospect of a rematch is something that Shapovalov is relishing.

“He (Del Potro) is a champion and whenever you played guys ranked like this you’ve got to hope for the best, hope you bring out your best game,” he said.
“It’s what I grew up wanting to do, I wanted to play these big guys, so it’s going to be fun for me and hopefully it’s going to be a great match.”

21-year-old Karen Khachanov overcame a mid-match blip to dismiss Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. The world No.48, who is unseeded in the draw, won 80% of his first service points to battle past his rival. Breaking in the final game of the match to secure victory.

Finally, fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut experienced little difficulty during his opening match. Easing his way past wildcard Michael Venus 6-2, 6-1, in less than an hour.

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Daniil Medvedev Ousts Former Quarter-Finalist Tiafoe, Kyrgios Reigns Supreme At Australian Open

Both players endured a testing start to their campaigns at Melbourne Park.

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Two players tipped to fill in the void when the big three of men’s tennis departs from the sport have got off to a winning start at the Australian Open.

 

US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev manoeuvred his way past a tricky encounter with Frances Tiafoe. Who reach the last eight of the tournament 12 months ago in what is his best grand slam performance to date. Despite the threat posed, Medvedev held his nerve to prevail 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, on the premier Rod Laver Arena. The night-time encounter saw the Russian fired 13 aces and 42 winners past Tiafoe en route to the second round.

“It was a really tough match. I think it was a bit up and down from both of us.” Medvedev said during his on-court interview.
“I’m really happy to win because the first round is never easy. Especially against Frances, who was in the quarters last year.”

Medvedev, who turns 24 next month, has been labelled as one of potential players who can end the reign of Roger Federer and Co by winning a grand slam title this season. Last year he claimed 59 wins on the ATP Tour, which was more than any other player. During his breakthrough season he clinched his first two Masters titles as well as a duo of ATP 250 events.

Despite his victory, the world No.4 was far from contempt when it came to his latest performance. Medvedev dropped serve at least once in every set played and also leaked 35 errors. The same amount of mistakes as Tiafoe.

“There were many moments during the match where I felt I was getting momentum and then he came back.” He reflected.
“I think I can do many things better, but for the first round it’s a big win and I’m really happy.’
“I didn’t like my serve today to be honest. But hopefully I can do better in the next round, otherwise I will be in trouble.”

Kyrgios Topples Italian rival

Taking to the court at the same time as Medvedev, Nick Kyrgios also experienced a tricky start to his title bid in Melbourne. Seeded 23rd in the draw this year, the home favourite roared his way to a 6-2, 7-6(3), 7-6(1), win over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego. Claiming his fourth tour win of the season following his trio of singles victories at the ATP Cup earlier this month.

“I was just excited to get out here. It has been a pretty emotional couple of months for all of us,’ Kyrgios commented in reference to the ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia.
“I just wanted to come out here and put on a good performance.”

Kyrgios has been one of the driving forces behind Tennis Australia’s series of fundraisers to support the bushfire appeal. He has pledged to donate $200 for every ace he produces during the Australian Open. Working out at $2800 from his latest match along after firing 14 past Sonego. Overall, Kyrgios won an impressive 87% of his first service points during the 135-minute clash.

“I feel good. I’m not looking ahead in the draw at all.” Kyrgios stated.
“Everyone can play in the draw, they are all capable. So I’m just going to take it one match at a time.” He added.

During his on-court interview, John McEnroe make an unexpected announcement. The former world No.1 has said he will donate $1000 for every set Kyrgios wins in the remainder of the tournament to the bushfire appeal. Prompting a huge cheer from the crowd.

Both Medvedev and Kyrgios will play their second round matches on Thursday.

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Ernests Gulbis upsets Felix Auger Aliassime to advance to the second round in Melbourne

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World number 256 Ernests Gulbis upset Canadian Next Gen star Felix Auger Aliassime 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to reach the second round at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

 

Auger Aliassime was the second Canadian Next Gen player to lose in the first round at this year’s edition of the Australian Open after his compatriot Denis Shapovalov was defeated by Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics on Monday.

Auger Aliassime started the 2020 season with just one win in four matches at the ATP Cup, but he reached the semifinal in Adelaide last week, losing to eventual champion Andrey Rublev in three sets.

Auger Aliassime earned the first game in the ninth game at 30 to take a 5-4 lead, but Gulbis broke twice in the 10th and 12th game to win the first set 7-5. In the second set Auger Aliassime saved three break points in both the eighth and tenth games and broke in the ninth game at deuce to seal the second set 6-4.

In the third set Auger Aliassime saved four break points to hold his serve at deuce in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gulbis fended off a break point in the fifth and eleventh games before winning the tie-break 7-4.

Gulbis earned an early break in the first game of the opening set. Auger Aliassime broke back in the third game and held his serve at deuce to draw level to 2-2 after saving two break points. Gulbis broke for the second time in the fifth game and held his next service games to close out the fourth set 6-4.

“Every time you come to Australia the main goal is the Aussie Open, so it’s not good. That’s what the result show, but at the same time I am staying calm and positive because I feel I am not far from playing well and winning matches”,said Felix Auger Aliassime.

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Dominic Thiem beats Adrian Mannarino to reach the second round in Melbourne for the fifth consecutive year

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Fifth seed and last year’s Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem beat Adrian Mannarino 6-3 7-5 6-2 to extend his winning record in his head-to-head against the French player to 8-0. The Austrian player hit 36 winners to 34 unforced errors. Thiem set up a second round match against either Albert Ramos Vinolas or Australian wild card Alex Bolt.

 

Thiem earned the first break in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Mannarino fended off two break points in the eighth game while he was serving at 2-5, but Thiem sealed the first set 6-3 on his third set point after a 27-shot rally.

Thiem went up a set and a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, but Mannarino pulled the break back to draw level to 4-4, as Thiem sent a forehand long. Thiem got his second break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead after a 28-shot rally and reeled off 12 of the last 14 points to clinch the second set 7-5.

Thiem started the third set with an early break and won 16 of the first 20 points to seal the win after 2 hours and 21 minutes. The 2019 ATP Finals runner-up reached the Australian Open second round for the fifth consecutive year.

Thiem leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against Ramos Vinolas, but the Spaniard won their only clash on hard-court in Chengdu four years ago.

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