Dan Evans Set For Glasgow Comeback Following Doping Ban - UBITENNIS
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ATP Challenger

Dan Evans Set For Glasgow Comeback Following Doping Ban

The former British No.2 is making his return to the sport with support from his national tennis federation.

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Dan Evans will return to the tour at a Challenger tournament in Glasgow after receiving a wildcard from the British LTA.

 

The former world No.41 has been suspended from the tour since June after serving a 12-month doping ban. During last year’s Barcelona Open he tested positive for cocaine in a out-of-competition test. He received a more lenient sentence after the ITF accepted that he inadvertently got the substance in his system. Evans said he had accidently mixed some ‘leftover cocaine’ in his wash bag with other medication. He was also forced to pay back £92,205 in prize money.

‘I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this difficult period,’ Evans said in a statement.
‘I have learned a lot about myself in my time away from the game, a sport that I love very dearly.
‘I am now committed to training hard, resuming my career and getting back to where I was, although appreciate this will take time.
‘If there is a lesson to be learned here it’s that it is every athlete’s responsibility for what they put into their bodies.’

Evans’ pass into the upcoming event was granted after he met a series of guidelines set out by the LTA. This includes showing a ‘general commitment’ to the sport,’ passing a series of agreed checks over the last six weeks and joining an anti-doping campaign.

“He has passed our agreed checks over the last six weeks.” Said LTA Performance director Simon Timson. “‘[Dan] has begun to support the development of the LTA’s anti-doping.”

The public declaration of the reason why Evans received a wildcard comes as no surprise. Last year a row erupted over the ethics of handing a player a pass into the tournament following a drugs ban. Triggered by Maria Sharapova and her return from a 15-month suspension.

A former British No.2, 27-year-old Evans has been has been previously criticised over his commitment to the sport during his career. Nevertheless, the Birmingham-based player is regarded as one of the most talented in his country. Recording wins over players such as Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem.

Three months prior to his failed drugs test, Evans reached his first ATP final in Sydney. Losing in straight sets to Gilles Muller. Following on from that, he also made the fourth round of the Australian Open. His best performance in a grand slam tournament to date.

The Glasgow challenger will get underway on April 30th at the Scotstoun Leisure Centre. It will be an Evans’ first tour event since the Surbiton Open.

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ATP Challenger

Dominic Thiem To Return At Marbella Challenger, Joins Wawrinka In Stacked Field

Dominic Thiem will be joining Stan Wawrinka in making his return to action at the Marbella challenger next week.

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Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem (@SK_Tennis - Twitter)

Dominic Thiem will finally make his return to the ATP tour at the Marbella challenger next week.

 

The Austrian hasn’t played a tennis match since retiring at the grass court event in Mallorca last June due to a wrist injury.

Despite being scheduled to play at the Australian Open and at the Indian Wells-Miami swing, Thiem had to postpone his return as he wasn’t quite ready to compete in matches.

However now Thiem has decided to return as he will begin his clay court swing next week at the Marbella Challenger.

The former Roland Garros finalist took to Instagram to announce the news as he looks to climb back up the rankings.

The world number 50 will face tough competition with former Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka also making his comeback at the event in Spain next week.

At the blockbuster event there will also be the likes of Holger Rune, Pablo Cuevas, Jaume Munar and Lucas Pouille competing.

The winner of the event will receive 125 ranking points but much more importantly for Thiem and Wawrinka much needed match practice ahead of a busy European clay-court swing.

Thiem will be the top seed while Wawrinka will be unseeded with their being a possibility of the two heavyweights meeting in the opening round.

Play will start on Monday with Jaume Munar being the defending champion.

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ATP Challenger

Roberto Bautista Agut reaches his second career final in Doha

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Roberto Bautista Agut reached the second final of his career at the Qatar Exxon Mobil with a 6-3 6-3 win over defending champion Andrey Rublev. 

 

Bautista Agut broke serve in the fourth game with a forehand winner to open up a 3-1 lead and held on his next service games to close out the first set 6-3 after 29 minutes. 

The Spaniard started the second set with an early break. Rublev broke straight back in the second game and won his next two service games to take a 3-2 lead. Bautista Agut saved two break points to hold serve before getting two consecutive breaks to claim the second set 6-3. 

Rublev was playing his first match this week after two walkovers. The Russian player claimed the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam last week. 

“It was very difficult to play tennis today, with the windy conditions, but I put a lot of pressure on his second serve and played really good tennis. I played a long match yesterday against Dominic Thiem, but I felt fresh and I had a lot of power on the court. This is one of my favourite tournaments. I played one of my best matches here in Qatar two years ago, and I hope I can win one more match tomorrow”, said Bautista Agut.

Bautista Agut set up a final against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. 

Basilashvili, who beat Roger Federer in the quarter final, rallied from one break down to win the tie-break of the first set 7-3. The Georgian player broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1.  “To reach the final means a lot. I am playing well and I am relaxed. It’s great to play in front of a crowd and a nice atmosphere”, said Basilshvili. 

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ATP Challenger

Andy Murray defeated in the final of the Biella Challenger

The former world number was runner-up to the Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko. Both will feature in next week’s event in the same location

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Andy Murray - ATP Challenger Biella 2021 (Credit: Felice Calabrò)

Andy Murray suffered a surprising defeat in the final of this week’s tournament in Biella. Playing his second Challenger event in 16 years (the other one occurred in Mallorca in 2019 when, limping on a battered hip, he lost against Matteo Viola in the eighth of finals). Before today’s runner-up finish, he had played twice against his opponent, Illya Marchenko from Ukraine (N.212 in the ATP Rankings), both times at the Australian Open, in 2011 and 2017 respectively, winning both times.

 

But it was the Ukrainian who got off to a flying start, while the Scotsman looked a bit cumbersome and immediately lost his serve, giving a nice boost of confidence to his opponent, who broke his serve once more in the fifth game, taking a 4-1 lead. Murray couldn’t control his changes of pace, while Marchenko was pretty much spotless. The 6-2 score in his favour was the logical consequence, as confirmed by the numbers, which saw him win 83% of points on his first serve (against a meagre 53% for Murray), with no break points allowed.

In the first game of the second set, Marchenko immediately leapt ahead, breaking the Brit’s serve and even earning a chance for a 3-0 lead. Murray managed to stay close and started to play in a more conservative way, with great humility, in an attempt to reduce the number of unforced errors. Murray saved a match point at 3-5 with his second serve, exploiting Marchenko’s clumsiness with the backhand, but couldn’t do the same on the return, conceding defeat at the third match point. must defend with the second. Luckily for him, Marchenko is a bit clumsy in his preparation steps and puts up a not particularly difficult backhand. The former world number one will try to exact revenge in the same location starting tomorrow, as a Challenger 125 will take place once more in Biella, with players like Lorenzo Musetti (the seventh seed), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ATP N.54) and Sebastian Korda (N.88).

Report by Massimo Gaiba; edited by Tommaso Villa

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