Denis Shapovalov takes hard-fought win over Tomas Berdych in Rome - UBITENNIS
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Denis Shapovalov takes hard-fought win over Tomas Berdych in Rome

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Denis Shapovalov came back from one set down to beat number 15 seed and 2013 semifinalist Tomas Berdych in a final set tie-break 1-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in one of the most intriguing matches of the Tuesday programme of the BNL Internazionali d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome.

 

It was a clash between two different generations, a veteran player on one side and a Next Gen star on the other side. Shapovalov came into the Rome event one week after reaching the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his young career last week in Madrid. Before Madrid the 19-year-old Canadian player had not achieved any wins on clay at ATP level. He has now clinched five wins in two Masters 1000 tournaments. He became the third youngest player in history to reach the semifinal of the Madrid Masters 1000 tournament after Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet. He followed up this achievement with a hard-fought win over Berdych.

Berdych and Shapovalov met for the second time in their careers one year after their first head-to-head clash at the Queen’s, where the Czech veteran beat his younger rival 7-5 in the third set.

Berdych broke twice in the second and fourth games to race out to a 5-0 lead in the opening set, as Shapovalov made forehand errors. Shapovalov failed to convert two break points at 1-5, before Berdych wrapped up the first set on his third set point after 37 minutes.

Shapovalov bounced back by breaking serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead after Berdych netted a forehand. The Canadian world number 29 player converted his third set point in a seven-minute ninth game at 5-3, when Berdych hit a crosscourt backhand into the net.

Berdych rallied from 0-30 down by winning four consecutive points at 4-4 in the third set to hold serve. The Czech player came within two points in the next game but Shapvalov bounced back to force the third set to the tie-break. Shapovalov reeled off the first four points of the tie-break, but Berdych won five of the next six points to draw level to 5-5. Shapovalov won the final two points to clinch a tight match. Shapovalov made 36 winners to 52 unforced errors.

Shapovalov will become the top Canadian ranked player overtaking Milos Raonic, who had taken the position of best player from his country since 2010.

Shapovalov will face Robin Haase in the second round. They will meet for the first time in their careers.

Number 16 seed Lucas Pouille edged Andreas Seppi 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-3) after 2 hours and 4 minutes in a match delyed by almost three hours. The French player scored his 99th win of his career at ATP level. Pouille hit seven aces and won 75 % of first-serve points.

Seppi went down 0-40 in the first game of the opening set. He managed to claw his way back to 40-40 but dropped his serve at deuce, after Pouille hit two forehand winners down the line. At 3-1 Pouille went up a double break and held on to his next service games to close out the first set 6-2 after 28 minutes.

Seppi got the only break of the second set to force the match to the decider. The Italian player got a break to take a 3-2 lead, before Pouille converted his first match point in the decisive tie-break.

The Frenchman set up a second round match against this year’s Australian Open semifinalist Kyle Edmund, who beat Tunisian qualifier Malek Jaziri in three sets.

Pouille leads 2-1 in his previous head-to-head matches against Edmund.

Damir Dzumhur from Bosnia Herzegovina beat Fernando Verdasco 6-3 6-1 to set up a second round match against seven-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal.

Nikoloz Basilashvili battled past Filippo Baldi 6-4 4-6 6-4 in two hours setting up a second round match against four-time Rome winner Novak Djokovic.

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Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo

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World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 

 

Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina. 

Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown. 

Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.

“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit. 

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Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo

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Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117  Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

 

Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2. 

Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. 

Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. 

Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point. 

Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance. 

“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi. 

Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open. 

The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006. 

“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit. 

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Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia

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ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital. 

 

The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October). 

“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi. 

During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.

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