Denis Shapovalov Credits Past Junior Triumph For Breakthrough Run In Madrid - UBITENNIS
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Denis Shapovalov Credits Past Junior Triumph For Breakthrough Run In Madrid

The world No.43 explains how one experience in his youth has helped him break new ground at the Madrid Open.



Denis Shapovalov (

MADRID: Prior to this week, Denis Shapovalov had only ever won one clay-court match on the ATP Tour. Now he finds himself in the semifinals of the Madrid Masters with the chance of creating history.


The 19-year-old Canadian progressed to the last four of the tournament with a three sets triumph over Kyle Edmund on Friday. A player who has won two Challenger titles on the clay and recently reached the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Morocco. The win follows his victory over compatriot Milos Raonic in what was his first ever tour meeting with him.

Making his debut in the tournament this year, the Caja Magica is a place of fond memories for Shapovalov. In 2015 he was part of the junior Davis Cup team that defeated Germany in the final. Earning the country their first ever win in the competition. Two-and-a-half years on from that event, the memories are still fresh in the mind of the world No.43, who partly credits that milestone for his latest performance in Madrid.

“I think that a huge part of it.” Shapovalov replied when asked if his previous experience of the venue has helped him. “I had unbelievable memories here, winning the first junior Davis Cup for the country. So I was really excited to be back here as a pro player. As the clay season was starting, this was the tournament I really wanted to be back at.”

Previous experience isn’t the only factor in Shapovalov’s triumphs. The high altitude aides his game, which features a fierce serve and heavy ground-strokes. So far in the tournament he has produced a total of 31 aces heading into Saturday’s semi-finals.

“I think it’s a bit of everything. It’s a bit of the altitude, the fast courts, and definitely this experience when I played juniors. I didn’t lose one match in the whole event.” He explained. “It’s Definitely unbelievable feelings being back here.”

Zverev awaits

Shapovalov will take on World No.3 Alexander Zverev next. At stake is the chance to become the youngest finalist of a Masters event since Richard Gasquet at the 2005 Hamburg Open. He is already the youngest ATP quarter-finalist and semi-finalist (since 1990) following his run in Montreal last year.

“I’m not thinking of the title at all. I always take it one match at a time.” Shapovalov insisted. “Everything thus far that I’ve done, it’s all a bonus. Every match I’m playing, just freely, just swinging away.“

A win over Zverev would result in the rising star overtaking Raonic to become the new Canadian No.1. Now he has finally managed to break through on the clay, expectations for Sharapovalov will be higher as he heads into the French Open. A tournament where he fell in the first round of qualifying at a year ago.

“After a week like this, it definitely shows myself that I’m capable, more than capable, to play against these guys and win matches on this surface.” He concluded.

Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, Shapovalov will break into the top 30 for the first time. He trails Zverev 0-1 in their head-to-head, losing in straight sets in Montreal last August.


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



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



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.



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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