Pablo Carreno Busta beats spirited wildcard, Ryan Harrison back from the brink at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Pablo Carreno Busta beats spirited wildcard, Ryan Harrison back from the brink at the Australian Open

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Pablo Carreno Busta may have been unconvincing at times, but the 10th seed progressed to the second round (Zimbio.com)

It was a tough opening match at the Australian Open in 2018 for Spanish 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta. Playing in his first Grand Slam since reaching the semi-finals at the US Open for the first time, Carreno Busta took on wildcard Jason Kubler. Carreno Busta was unconvincing at times, but emerged the victor 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.

 

Carreno Busta earned the first break after a marathon 18 point game. Kubler broke back to love immediately before taking a shock 5-2 lead. Carreno Busta took advantage of a tight game to get back on level terms, before edging the set.

Kubler looked unfazed from having dropped the first from a winning position. On the contrary, the Australian looked encouraged of having competed so strongly. Serving first, the young Aussie always had the scoreboard on his side in the second. He used that to his advantage in the tenth game. Break point happened to be set point, and Kubler took it to the delight of the home crowd.

Kubler led briefly in the third. However, Carreno Busta stopped the rot, winning six of the last seven games to take the set, breaking crucially with a well judged short volley winner in game eleven.

Kubler’s challenge faded quickly after that, as superior conditioning started to play a role, Carreno Busta dropped just one game in winning the fourth. The result showcased Kubler, who though a talented junior, had struggled with knee injuries throughout much of his pro career.

Also into the second round is American Ryan Harrison, though it took the Brisbane finalist five sets to edge Israel’s Dudi Sela. Harrison won the first before dropping sets two and three. Sela served for the match in the fourth at 5-4. Cue a storming comeback from Harrison, who the won nine of the last eleven games to win 6-3, 5-7, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Harrison sets up a meeting with 31st seed Pablo Cuevas. The Uruguayan defeated Mikhail Youzhny 7-6, 6-3, 7-5. Youzhny had served for the first set in the tie break, but the Russian rarely challenged after that.

23rd seed Gilles Muller secured his passage with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 win over Federico Delbonis. Muller is into the second round. For Delbonis his season record now moves to 0-3.

Denis Istomin may have knocked out Novak Djokovic last year. The Uzbekistani may not have faced a six-time winner, but he did beat Pierre-Hugues Hebert 6-2, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6. Alexandr Dolgopolov is also through after a 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Andreas Haider-Maurer.

 

 

 

 

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Canada beats Italy 2-1 in the opening day of the Davis Cup in Madrid

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Denis Shapovalov battled past Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-5) in a hard-fought second match of the round-robin Group F at the Davis Cup in Madrid to give Canada a 2-0 lead over Italy

 

Berrettini faced three break points in the third game of the opening set. Shapovalov earned two break points in the ninth game, but Berrettini held on his serve at deuce. Both players held on their service games. In the 10th game Berrettini earned three set points on return, but Shapovalov fended them off. Barrettini saved another break point to set up a tie-break. Shapovalov took a 6-3 lead earning three set points. Berrettini won two consecutive points to claw his way back to 5-6, but Shapovalov sealed the tie-break with a backhand passing shot.

Both players went on seve setting up a second tie-break. Berrettini got an early mini-break, but Shapovalov broke straight back. Berrettini took another mini-break to take a 3-2 when Shapovalov hit a volley into the net and sealed the second set 7-3 on his first set point.

Shapovalov earned a break point in the fifth game of the third set with a forehand winner. Berrettini held on his serve with his 11th ace. Both players went on serve in the next games setting up a third tie-break. Berrettini got the first mini-break to take a 4-3 lead after a double fault from Shapovalov. The young Canadian player broke straight back, when Berrettini made a forehand volley error. Shapovalov sealed the tie-break 7-5, when Berrettini fired his forehand long on his first match point after 2 hours.

“After making semifinals in the Madrid Mutua Open here, and winning the Junior Davis Cup in 2015, I feel like Madrid is a really good city for me. We will see how this week goes, but it’s a good step today”, said Shapovalov.

Fognini and Berrettini won the doubles match over beating Shapovalov and Pospisil 6-2 3-6 6-3. The Italian team got a double break to win the first set 6-2. Shapovalov and Pospisil drew level by winning the second set with a break in the eighth game. Italy saved two break points in the seventh game of the decisive set before breaking serve in the eighth game. Berrettini sealed the win for Italy with an ace.

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claim their first ATP Finals title in London

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The French team formed by Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claimed their first men’s doubles title with a 6-3 6-4 win over Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus in 70 minutes at the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London ending the 2019 ATP season on a high note with back-to-back titles in Paris Bercy and London. They remained unbeaten during the whole week at the ATP Finals in London winning all five matches in straight sets.

 

Herbert and Mahut fended off all four break points they faced scoring their ninth consecutive match win. The French doubles specialists have become the first team to win the doubles ATP Finals title without dropping a set since Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in 2015.

Herbert and Mahut fended off break points in the third game of the match before earning the only break of the opening set in the next game. The Frenchmen saved a break point in the sixth game before breaking serve in the seventh game.

They have become the French team to win the ATP Finals doubles title since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro, who triumphed in Shanghai in 2005.

Herbert and Mahut have won 15 doubles titles as a team during their career. This year they became the eighth men’s doubles team to complete the career Grand Slam at last January’s Australian Open and also won the Rolex Paris Masters in front of their home fans.

Last year they came within one point of winning the ATP Finals title against Mike Bryan and Jack Sock after holding a match point.

“Thank you Nicolas for sharing the court, for having so much enjoyable moments and giving me so much joy, when I am with you on the court. You played an unbelievable final, so thank you for that”, said Pierre Hugues Herbert.

 

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Jannik Sinner wins his third ATP Challenger in Ortisei

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Jannik Sinner won the ATP Challenger in Ortisei adding another title to his impressive collection of trophies he lifted during a memorable 2019 season.

 

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion beat world number 173 Sebastian Ofner from Austria 6-2 6-4 in 1 hour and 6 minutes in the final of the Sparkasse Challenger Val Gardena Sudtirol at the Tennis Center in Ortisei.

Sinner won his third ATP Challenger title in 2019 after his previous wins in Bergamo and Lexington. He also reached the final in Ostrava. During the tournament the 18-year-old player from San Candido beat Lucas Miedler in the first round, Roberto Marcora in the second round, Federico gaio in the quarter final and Antoine Hoang in the semifinal without dropping a set.

Sinner will improve his ranking to his career-high at world number 78 in the ATP Ranking becoming the sixth best ranked Italian player after Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego, Marco Cecchinato and Andreas Seppi.

Sinner broke serve in the fifth game of the opening set to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner missed two game points in the seventh game. The Austrian player faced another break point after his third double fault. In the next game Sinner saved the first break point he faced. Sinner closed out the first set 6-2 after two backhand errors from Ofner in the eighth game.

Sinner went up a break to open up a 2-0 lead, but Ofner broke back in the fourth game and held on his serve to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner saved three break points in the seventh game to take a 4-3. Sinner converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and served out the win with two consecutive aces.

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