Shocks hit Australian Open Qualifying, Nicolas Mahut among them - UBITENNIS
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Shocks hit Australian Open Qualifying, Nicolas Mahut among them

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Tennis fans may see Nicolas Mahut in Australian Open doubles action, but they won’t see him in the Men’s Singles after a qualifying defeat to Danilo Petrovic (Zimbio.com)

There were a number of shocks in the first round of Qualifying at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 124 men began the day contesting for what will ultimately be 16 qualifying spots for the main draw proper, which begins on Monday.

 

The first big shock of the day saw 2nd seed Nicolas Mahut go out to Danilo Petrovic. The 35 year-old veteran Frenchman was beaten 7-6, 6-3. 3rd seed Marco Cecchinato joined Mahut as a shock early exit. The Italian was beaten 6-3, 7-6 by Australian wildcard Bradley Mousley.

Britain’s 6th seed Cameron Norrie endured a tough battle with Canada’s Filip Peliwo before emerging the winner 6-1, 6-7, 6-4. Norrie was joined by 17th seed Dustin Brown, who edged Argentina’s Guido Andreozzi 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. 9th seed Alexander Bublik had a major win in the first round last year, when he beat Lucas Pouille. This year, he struggled past Goncalo Oliveira to the second round of qualifying 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.

The Czech Republic’s Vaclav Safranek ended the interests of 32nd seed Renzo Olivo 7-6, 6-2. Olivo qualified and reached the second round in 2016, but there would be no repeat of that this year for the Argentine. Henri Laaksonen, the 14th seed, bowed out in the first round of qualifying for the second year in a row. The Swiss was beaten 7-6, 6-3 by Italy’s Federico Gaio. 7th seed Roberto Carballes Baena drew American Denis Kudla in the first round. Kudla won through 6-3, 7-5.

Kevin King followed Kudla’s lead as he also took down a seed. 31st seed Uladzimir Ignatik was the casualty on this occasion, 7-6, 6-2. 8th seed Gastao Elias is far more suited to clay, and it showed. He was beaten by the more versatile Jozef Kovalik 6-2, 6-2. 30th seed Sebastien Ofner had a great run at Wimbledon, reaching the third round as a qualifier. He would not reproduce the feat in Melbourne though, beaten 7-6, 7-5 by France’s Stephane Robert.

In some of the more interesting matches came from unremarkable matches on paper. Stefan Kozlov of the United States saved four match points to defeat Blake Ellis 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 in just over three hours. Ellis had served for the match in third.

Bradley Klahn was another who failed to win despite serving for the match. The American had the chance to knock out 28th seed Ramkumar Ramanathan, but was eventually beaten 6-7, 7-6, 6-2.

20th seed Matteo Berrettini was forced to fight hard to edge Britain’s Liam Broady. Broady had taken the first set before Berrettini came back to win 5-7, 6-3, 7-6.

10th seed Yannick Hanfmann moved to the second round with a 6-1, 7-6 win over Evan King, but 23rd seed compatriot Oscar Otter was beaten 6-3, 7-6 by Go Soeda. 16th seed Sergiy Stakhovsky was also an unlikely casualty, beaten by Matthias Bachinger 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

 

 

 

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Doubles Player Dream French Open Debut Ended By Instagram Message

Portugal’s Francisco Cabral said he found out he will not be playing in Paris through social media.

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Francisco Cabral - Image via https://twitter.com/EstorilOpen/

Playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam is the pinnacle of many players’ careers but one player missed out on that opportunity due to an unfortunate situation. 

 

Portugal’s Francisco Cabral was set to play in the men’s doubles tournament for the first time at this week’s French Open. The world No.72 is currently at a career-high after winning his maiden Tour title in Estoril last month with compatriot Nuno Borges. In Paris, he entered into the draw alongside Denmark’s Holger Rune. 

However, shortly before he was set to make his Grand Slam debut Rune pulled out at the last minute. Leaving Cabral unable to look for another partner in such a short time. Rune’s withdrawal from the doubles was based on medical advice after he hurt his ankle during his second round clash against Henri Laaksonen. The Dane tripped over the court cover at the back of the court but fortunately wasn’t seriously injured and managed to continue playing. 

“Right now I feel a huge sadness because it’s a dream to play in a Grand Slam tournament. I’ve been here since Saturday training, waiting, watching games, experiencing a new world because it was my first Grand Slam and it’s another dimension and I was really, really looking forward to being able to play,” Cabral told Raquetc. “And having waited until 15 minutes before game time to know that I wasn’t going to play after all, it cost me a lot, but I did everything I could.”

Caral went on to criticize the behavior of Rune who informed him that he would not be playing in the doubles event via a message sent on Instagram. It is unclear why the two never spoke face-to-face. 

“He only told me that he had sprained his foot, that he was at the doctor’s, and that he had told him not to play the doubles. I’m sad about his attitude because he didn’t even say this to my face, he just sent me a message on Instagram. I don’t think it went well, but as I said, I couldn’t have done anything differently, so I’ll just wait for the next opportunity.” He said. 

25-year-old Cabral is targeting Wimbledon as the event where he will play his first main draw match. 

Meanwhile, Rune will continue his singles campaign at Roland Garros on Saturday when he plays Hugo Gaston in the third round. The former world No.1 junior has shot up the rankings this season to a high of 40th. 

Cabral and Rune has been replaced in the draw by Sander Arends and Szymon Walków. 

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French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur

The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.

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Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.

 

The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.

During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.

“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”

De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.

“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“

Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.

Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.

Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”

As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal

The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.

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Novak Djokovic (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.

 

Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.

“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.

Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.

“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.

Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.

He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.

Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”

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