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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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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Alexander Zverev eases past Hugo Dellien to set up a third round match clash against Kei Nishikori in Rome

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This year’s Madrid Mutua Open champion Alexander Zverev cruised past qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 on Nicola Pietrangeli Court to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Zverev fired 27 winners and fended off all six of the break points he faced. The German won five consecutive games from 0-1 down with a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead and served out the opening set at 15 in the eighth game. 

Zverev went up a break in the third game to take a 2-1, but he had to save six break points in a 12-game fourth game. Zverev managed to hold serve after seven deuces before breaking serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. The German served out the win on on his second match point in the eighth game. 

The  German star will face Kei Nishikori for the second time in two weeks. He beat Nishikori, Dan Evans, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini last week at the Madrid Mutua Open en route to the fourth ATP Masters 1000 title of his career after claiming three previous trophies in Rome and Canada in 2017 and Madrid in 2018.  

Federico Delbonis didn’t face a break point and converted four of his nine break points in his 6-2 6-1 win over David Goffin. The Argentine player will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who cruised past last year’s Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3. 

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Aslan Karatsev beats Danil Medvedev in all-Russian clash in Rome

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Aslan Karatsev beat his compatriot Danil Medvedev 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 18 minutes in an all-Russian match to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Karatsev has scored his fifth career win against top 10 opponents.

 

Karatsev has improved his win-loss record to 21-6 in his 27 matches this year, including the ATP 500 title in Dubai, the semifinal at the Australian Open and the final at the Serbian Open in Belgrade. 

Karatsev has scored his second top 5 win in the past month after taking an upset win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in Belgrade. 

Karatsev earned a double break in the fifth and seventh games to open up a 5-2 lead. The 27-year-old Russian player earned another break in the seventh game with a volley to take a 4-3 lead. He never looked back and served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game. 

Karatsev won 90% of his first serve points and saved just one break point. 

Karatsev faced Medvedev for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour. They teamed up with Andrey Rublev at the ATP Cup in Melbourne last winter helping Russia win the final against Italy. 

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