Alexander Zverev and Tomas Berdych start their Rotterdam campaign with straight-set wins - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev and Tomas Berdych start their Rotterdam campaign with straight-set wins

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Alexander Zverev and Tomas Berdych won their first-round matches in straight sets to advance to the second round at the ABN AMRO in Rotterdam.

 

Alexander Zverev beat David Ferrer 6-4 6-3 in one hour and 24 minutes. The 20-year-old German fended off nine of the eleven break points and broke five times.

The German Next Gen player had to save nine of the eleven break points and broke serve five times.

Zverev survived a tough second game at 1-1 after saving three break points with three winners. He broke for the first time in the third game at deuce with a drop shot to take a 2-1 lead. He went a double break at love to open up a 4-1 lead. Ferrer earned four break points in the sixth game and pulled one break back on his fourth chance with a volley winner at deuce to close the deficit to 2-4. Zverev held his final two service games and closed out the first set 6-4 with a service winner.

Both players traded breaks in the first two games and held at 30 in the next four games to draw level to 3-3. Zverev got another break at 30 in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead, as Ferrer made a double fault. Zverev held a tough service game at deuce for 5-3 after saving three break points. Ferrer went up 40-0 on the return in the eighth game after a 23-shot rally but Zverev hit two service winners before forcing the game to deuce when Ferrer netted a forehand.

Zverev hit tw service winners to win the eighth game. The German wrapped up the match with another break in the ninth game with a lob winner.

Former Rotterdam champion Tomas Berdych made his debut in Rotterdam with a 7-5 6-3 win over Alexander’s elder brother Misha Zverev. Berdych converted three of his break points. Misha Zverev created six break points (including four in the opening game of the match).

Berdych won the Dutch tournament in 2014 beating Marin Cilic and lost the final to Stan Wawrinka one year later.

Misha earned six break points in Berdych’s first four service games. He failed to convert four opportunities in the first game but broke serve in the third game with a forehand winner to take a 2-1 lead and held his next three service games to open up a 5-3.

The Czech player broke back and held serve at love in the 11th game before breaking serve with a solid return in the following game to close out the first set 7-5.

The Czech star dropped just four points on serve and broke serve in the fourth game with a volley winner at the net. He held serve at 15 in the ninth game to reach the Round of 16.

Berdych has won 20 matches in this tournament, including nine consecutive wins from 2014 to 2015. He is playing at this tournament for the eleventh time in his career.

Berdych will face either Jan-Lennard Struff or Viktor Troicki in the second round.

“It almost feels like a home match here. I love this tournament and like to come back every year. It is very well organised, because the facilities for the players are great. The centre court being the highlight. Misha Zverev is just a tough opponent who likes to play indoors. I gradually got better and better in my rhythm. I am pleased with this good victory. It’s a good start to the tournament”, said Berdych.

Feliciano Lopez beat 2016 Rotterdam champion Martin Klizan 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to secure his spot in the second round. Klizan held his serve in the fourth game at deuce after saving three break points for 2-2. Lopez reeled off four of the next five games including a break in the sixth game en route to winning the first set 6-3.

Klizan broke serve in the fourth game and held his next two service games to open up a 5-3 lead. Lopez broke back in the ninth game and consolidated it to draw level to 5-5. Both player held their serve in the next two service games to set up a tie-break. Lopez prevailed by 7-4 in the tie-break to seal the win in straight sets.

In the second round Lopez will play against the winner of the Tuesday match between David Goffin and Benoit Paire.

Seppi got his only break in the third game at 30 and held his next four service games to take the first set 6-4. Sousa bounced back by breaking serve in the second game of the second set to take a 3-0 lead.

Sousa held his serve at deuce in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead after saving a break point. The Portuguese player got the double break at deuce and served out the second set at 30 with two aces.

Seppi earned an early break in the second game of the decider to open up a 4-2 lead. The Italian player, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open last month, held his serve at deuce after saving two break points for 5-2. He converted his third break point at deuce in the final game to close out the third set 6-2.

“I am very happy with this win. I played on clay in the Davis Cup in Marbella against a lefty player, because you don’t encounter many lef-handed players on the Tour”, said Lopez.

The 45th anniversary edition of the famous Dutch tournament will be highlighted by Swiss legend Roger Federer, who will play his first tournament since his second consecutive triumph at the Australian Open. Roger will play in Rotterdam for the ninth time in his career. The tournament features four top-ten players

“I am happy to be back at the tournament in Rotterdam where I have good memories. In 1999 I received a wildcard for the qualificatons from the tournament director and made it to the qualifications in the main draw. That ultimately meant a breakthrough in my career. Rotterdam remains one of the largest indoor tournaments in the world and everything is well organized here”.

Federer is just 155 points away from the first position in the ATP Ranking, which is currently held by Rafa Nadal. If he reaches at least the semifinal, the Swiss Maestro could become the oldest number one player in the ATP Ranking in history replacing André Agassi, who last held to number 1 spot on 7 September 2003 at the age of 33. He would return to the top of the ranking for the first time since 4 November 2012.

“I did not expect to be the number one in the world after the ATP World Tour Finals last November in London. I only ever said I would think about the ATP Rankings after the Australian Open was over. I did not expect to win the Australian Open again and by not winning the ATP Finals. I never thought it would happen again and it may be out of sight. I played at the Australian Open not thinking about the rankings, but I knew I had the flexibility in February over my calendar. I could choose between Rotterdam and Dubai. I like to play in both tournaments, but I have chosen Rotterdam because I like to play indoors. I am very motivated to be the number one in the ATP Ranking again”.

He will play his first match against Ruben Bemelmans on Wednesday evening.

“I know him a lot, but not well enough yet. I still have some scouting to do. Perhaps it’s more important to be ready for that game myself.”

Federer could meet his compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the the quarter finals.

“I would love to be in that position to attain number 1 against anybody. If I get back to that spot you don’t want it to happen in an easy way. The achievement would be quite incredible. It’s exciting to have Stan in my section of the draw.”

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Auger Aliassime overcomes slow start to beat Seppi in Washington

The Canadian looked down and out early in the match but bounced back to avenge a loss he suffered at the French Open in June.

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Second seed Felix Auger Aliassime survived a huge scare in his opening match at the Citi Open in Washington.

The Canadian was on the verge of being upset by the Italian Andreas Seppi but battled back to beat him 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 59 minutes. Blasting a total of 25 winners and nine aces in the win.

 

“In my mind, I wanted to find a way to come back. To get that early break in the second really helped me a lot and I think I served a little bit better and I put more volume and height on my shot,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I was more patient and in the first set I was missing too quickly in the rallies so digging deep physically and mentally allowed me to come back nicely in the match and to finish strong in the third set. I am happy with the way things turned around for me today”.

It was the world number 88 with the better start to the match and after both players held their opening service games he had two chances to get the early break and took a 2-1 lead. After consolidating the break, the Italian set up another breakpoint with a stunning forehand winner, broke again for a 4-1 lead, and served out the first set.

Auger-Aliassime was keen on getting back into the match and wanted to avoid a second straight upset loss to the Italian. After holding serve in the first game of the second set he had two chances to take an early lead and broke for the 2-0 lead with a forehand up the line of his very own on breakpoint. That was enough for him to serve out the second set and send the match into a decisive third set to decide the winner.

It was the Canadian who repeated what he did in the second set holding the opening service game and breaking Seppi’s serve with a sublime passing shot. The Italian responded the next game by breaking right back but failed to consolidate the break as the world number 15 broke again with his powerful backhand winner.

At 5-2, the Auger-Aliassime found himself at match point and it took him five attempts before being able to convert and seal the match. Avenging a loss he suffered at Roland Garros.

After the match in his post-match press conference, the Canadian was asked if he had the loss to Seppi at the French Open in the back of his mind during the match.

” In a way yes of course because we played once and he beat me and as a player, you never want to go down twice in a row against a player but it happens but in my case, I really wanted to find a way to win that match and get revenge just for myself to try and get the win”. he said.

Auger Aliassime will now face the winner of the second-round match between Jenson Brooksby or Frances Tiafoe in the third round.

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Vasek Pospisil survives scare at Citi Open

The Canadian battled back from a set down in what was a tricky opening encounter.

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Vasek Pospisil was pushed to limits by qualifier Emilio Gomez in his opening match at the Citi Open.

The Canadian required three sets to beat the Ecuadorian qualifier 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and 11 minutes of play. He hit a total of 10 aces en route to the second round.

 

” It’s always good to get through a tough one and I felt dialed in during the second set,” said Pospisil. “I was a little bit distracted during the first set but I am glad to get match play and getting the win is important so I am happy I got it done”.

The first three games of the opener went on serve and at 2-1 the Canadian had three chances to take an early break but the world number 165 saved all three and held serve. At 3-3, Pospisil played a poor service game and Gomez took full advantage by breaking him at love. That one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The Canadian was determined to stay alive in the second and broke the Ecuadorian early to take a 2-0 lead and managed to turn it into a double break for a commanding 4-0 lead. Gomez got one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the world number 61 would serve out the second set to force a decider.

The third set started with three breaks of serve but it was the Canadian that was finally able to hold serve and consolidate a break. That break was enough for him to serve out the match and complete the comeback.

Pospisil will next face the young American Sebastien Korda in the third round who is the 12th seed this week in the American capital.

” It’s going to be a tough one because he is playing some great tennis this year and he is an up and comer and a great player,” he said of Korda. “I will have to play really well to win that one because he is a dangerous player so I will have to serve well and return well”.

Other results

It was a busy day one at the Citi Open being held at Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC with some thrilling matches. Kei Nishikori beat Sam Querrey in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 and Marcus Giron pulled a three-set comeback against Ilya Marchenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.

In the battle of the Belorussians, Ilya Ivashka beat Egor Gerasimov in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. Meanwhile, Jenson Brooksby avenged a loss to the South African Kevin Anderson by beating him in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

Andreas Seppi needed three sets to dispatch Yasutka Uchiyama of Japan 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, Ricardas Berankis beat the American qualifier Mitchell Kreuger in straight sets 7-6, 6-2, and Daniel Elahi Galan beat another American Tommy Paul in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

Finally, in the last match of the day an American favourite, Jack Sock advanced to round two after his Japanese opponent Yoshito Nishioka was forced to retire due to injury during their match.

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John Isner Wins 16th ATP Title In Atlanta

The 6ft 10 American got revenge on his American opponent for the loss he suffered last week in Los Cabos.

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John Isner has continued his love affair with the Atlanta Open by ousting Brandon Nakashima to win the tournament for a record sixth time.

 

The sixth seed beat the American teenager 7-6, 7-5 in one hour and 57 minutes. Firing a total of 21 aces and winning 81% of his first-serve points en route to the victory.

“I think if you count the last two weeks playing singles and doubles I played 12 matches in about 10 or 11 days so I have played a lot which is exactly what I need,” Isner said following his win. “Hopefully I can take this and go forward and build some momentum for tournaments ahead.’
This tournament has meant everything to my career it’s amazing”. He added.

The first set was extremely tight and neither player gave an inch in their respective service games. The opener was decided by a tiebreaker which Isner is accustomed to. Whilst the first set was tight, the tiebreaker was an even tighter affair Isner squeezing out a 10-8 win to take the first set 7-6.

Again the second set was competitive and again neither player got an edge on their return game. It was only at 5-4 that the Dallas, Texas native found himself at triple match point but the world number 115 saved all three.

Nakashima would save a fourth before holding serve and at 6-5, the world number 35 earned a fifth match point. That’s where he closed out the match and sealed the win and the title.

After the match, Isner was asked about his history of playing numerous tiebreakers throughout his career.

” I play a lot of those and it’s a situation I am comfortable in since I have been on tour forever,” he explained. “Honestly I think today (Sunday) I was just a little bit luckier and that’s what It really came down to. It’s amazing to be out here again playing on a Sunday and it was awesome”.

Isner confirmed that he will not be making the trip to Washington, DC for the Citi Open and instead he will take a week off after playing back-to-back tournaments in Los Cabos and Atlanta. He is next scheduled to be in Toronto for the National Bank Open.

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