Jo-Wilfried Tsonga survives thrilling marathon five-setter, Pablo Carreno Busta through - UBITENNIS
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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga survives thrilling marathon five-setter, Pablo Carreno Busta through

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Tsonga came back from the brink of defeat to win in five sets against Denis Shapovalov (Zimbio.com)

15th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was able to enact some measure of revenge as he defeated Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5. Tsonga recovered from a 2-5 deficit in the fifth set to win the last five games. Shapovalov had beaten the veteran Frenchman at the US Open in 2017.

 

Shapovalov took early control of the match as Tsonga failed to land his first serve with any consistency. The Canadian showcased his full repertoire of skills, taking the ball on aggressively on both the forehand and the backhand sides.

The break came in the 4th game, and Tsonga failed to make any serious inroads into the Shapovalov serve.

Tsonga’s first serve continued to evade him, but the former Australian Open finalist finally made impressions against serve. After being thwarted by some big serving in the second game, Tsonga broke in game six. He saved a break back point in serving for the set to level.

Far from being disheartened by losing the second, Shapovalov returned re-energised in the 3rd. He was helped by Tsonga throwing in a poor game immediately, and consolidated with a second break. A comfortable hold saw Shapovalov build the lead once more.

The 4th saw both men finally settle on serve as it featured no break points. Shapovalov showed some highlight reel passing shots as he chased down Tsonga volleys. However, when it came to the tie break, it was Tsonga who grabbed the lead. He never relinquished it, dragging the match to a 5th set.

As in the 3rd set, Tsonga gifted his opponent the early break. This time it proved terminal, with forehand errors, and a double fault contributing. After failing to get back on serve despite two break points, Tsonga nearly fell down a double break once again. He held, and it proved crucial, as a tight Shapovalov donated the next game with a pair of backhand errors. Tsonga held, and then set to work against Shapovalov, for whom the errors continued to flow.

Tsonga broke again, and served out the match to love as Shapovalov’s challenge quickly faded.

Tsonga could play Nick Kyrgios in the 3rd round, in what would be a very high-profile match-up.

Tsonga: “I’m tired but really happy. I did a big fight today. You know its not easy to play these young guns, they play great. Its difficult for me to defend. Thank you for the support.

In other early matches, 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta dominated a below par Gilles Simon before the Frenchman retired with what appeared to be a left groin injury. Carreno Busta won 6-2, 3-0 ret.

23rd seed Gilles Muller appeared to have his match with Malek Jaziri under control. However, the Luxembourgian was eventually forced to win in five, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 3-6, 6-2.

Nikoloz Basilashvili ensured a career best run at the Australian Open to date whatever happens the rest of this tournament. The Georgian is into round three for the first time with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-3  win over Ruben Bemelmans.

Basilashvili will face Britain’s Kyle Edmund, who backed up his impressive win over Kevin Anderson with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win over Denis Istomin.

Italian veteran Andreas Seppi defeated young Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-3, 6-4

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Jannik Sinner beats Norbert Gombos to set up second round clash against Danil Medvedev in Marseille

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Last year’s Next Gen Finals champion and world number 68 Jannik Sinner beat Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos 6-4 7-6 (7-5) at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Sinner went down 1-4 in the tie-break of the second set. The Italian player saved all six break points he faced and did not face any break points in the 2-hour and nine-minute match.

Last week Sinner scored his first top 10 win against David Goffin in Rotterdam to reach his maiden ATP 500 quarter final.

The first set went on serve until the 10th game, when Sinner earned three consecutive set points with a backhand lob and sealed the opening set 6-4 with a break at love.

Sinner saved a break point in the first game of the second set with an ace. He saved another break point with an ace. Gombos earned two two more break points, but Sinner saved them with a forehand and and an ace. Sinner saved two break points to force to set up a tie-break. Gombos went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Sinner came back by winning six of the next seven games to win the tie-break 7-5.

Sinner set up a second round match against 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev, who reached the quarter finals on his tournament debut in 2017.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz cruised past France’s Antoine Hoang 6-4 6-1 in just 64 minutes. Hurkacz dropped just points on his first serve to set up a second round match against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.

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Mikael Ymer overcomes Richard Gasquet to advance to the second round in Marseille

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Swedish 21-year-old Next Gen player Mikael Ymer edged past Richard Gasquet 6-3 3-6 7-5 after 2 hours and 22 minutes to reach the second round at the Open 13 in Marseille.

 

Ymer fended off 7 of the 10  break points he faced and broke serve in the third match point in a marathon third game setting up a second round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ymer raced out to a 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks. Gasquet pulled back one break in the seventh game to close the gap to 2-5, but Ymer served out the first set in the ninth game with an ace.

Ymer saved three break points in the sixth game, but Gasquet earned the break on his third chance in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3.

Ymer got an early break in the second game of the third set to open up a 3-0 lead. Gasquet broke back in the ninth game and held serve to draw level to 5-5. Ymer converted his third break point at deuce to seal the third set 7-5 in the 12th game.

Benoit Paire beat Gregoire Barrere 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the all-French match. Paire earned his only break of the match in the third game of the opening set. He saved two break points in the fourth game of the second set. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Paire cruised through to a 7-1 win.

Ilya Ivashka overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-1 3-6 6-4. Ivashka broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Popyrin earned one break in the fourth game to clinch the second set 6-3. Popyrin got an early break at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Ivashka sealed the win with a break.

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Alexander Zverev Going In The Right Direction, Says Becker

The German tennis legend gives his verdict on Zverev’s current form following his grand slam breakthrough.

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Former world No.1 Boris Becker believes Alexander Zverev’s recent run at the Australian Open was confirmation that he belongs at the top of men’s tennis.

 

Last month the 22-year-old achieved his best ever grand slam performance by reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne Park before losing to Dominic Thiem. At the tournament he scored wins over Andrey Rublev, who won two consecutive titles prior to the event, and former champion Stan Wawrinka. Zverev has been tipped as a future world No.1 in recent years and remains the only active player outside of the Big Four to have won three or more Masters trophies. Although he has previously struggled to shine in the biggest events of the sport.

“Alexander Zverev has made a great step forward with his first participation in a grand slam semi-final.” Becker told reporters in Berlin on Sunday. “Although he had difficult weeks before, for which there were reasons.”

At the start of the year it looked as if the world No.7 was in trouble. At the ATP Cup he lost all three of his matches played. A performance Becker blames on his off-season training. During November and December Zverev played a series of exhibition matches with Roger Federer across South America and China.

“He didn’t train enough during the winter break and came to Brisbane unprepared.” He said.
“We exchanged some serious words off the court and he took them to heart.’
“Of course I’m happy he had such success. This is also a confirmation for him that he belongs at the top of the world (in tennis).”
“But the competitors never sleep, that’s a never ending story. He has to confirm this again and again.”

So far in his career, Zverev has won 11 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world. His biggest triumph occurred towards the end of 2018 when he won the ATP Finals in London.

Reflecting on his Melbourne run last month, Zverev believes he managed to achieve the milestone thanks to a new approach he took to the event. Instead of looking at the whole tournament, he narrowed his focus to match-by-match.

“I went here in a different way. I went match by match. Didn’t look very far. I just knew I had opponents in front of me. I had to play well to beat them. That was it.” He said last month. “Whenever I won, I’d sit down in the locker room and somebody told me who I’m playing next.’
“I went step by step, match by match. Usually I [haven’t done] that in Grand Slams.”

Zverev will return to action next week at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. A tournament where he finished runner-up 12 months ago. Becker believes his compatriot could do some damage on the hard courts over the coming weeks with two prestigious North American events taking place next month in Indian Wells and Miami.

“The next tournaments are on hard courts in America. He will play there as well. There he can take a lot of points.” Becker concluded.

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