Team Europe Takes Commanding 7-1 Lead at Laver Cup - UBITENNIS
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Team Europe Takes Commanding 7-1 Lead at Laver Cup

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-Chicago, Illinois

 

Team Europe has taken a commanding 7-1 lead after the day session matches at the Laver Cup in Chicago. In front of another packed house at the United Center, Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer came away victorious. Zverev coming from a set down to defeat John Isner 3-6, 7-6, 10-7 while Federer easily dispatched Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2 in just 65 minutes.

Team Europe has now won five of the six matches so far at the event and guarantees themselves a lead heading into Sunday’s final day no matter what happens in the two remaining matches this evening. Each of Saturday’s wins was worth two points. The winning team needs 13 to capture the Laver Cup trophy.

Zverev started off slowly going down 3-0 in the first set with Isner playing some knockout tennis. The 6’11 American hit 15 winners including eight aces.

Zverev turned around his play in the second set keeping the ball in the court and forcing a tiebreak. In the breaker, the 6’6 German saved a match point with a huge backhand winner which drew a great reaction from Zverev and his European teammates. Another backhand winner locked up the tiebreak as well.

In the match tiebreak Zverev got ahead 4-0 and 5-2 but Isner fought back to make it interesting with help from his big serve. On match point it was another Zverev backhand winner which sailed past the approaching Isner. The youngest member of the European team dropping to his knees in celebration.

In the second match of the day, Federer played some of his best tennis of the year against Kyrgios on Saturday. His beautiful one-handed backhand was on target throughout, he served reasonably well and he broke his opponent three times. Kyrgios was left dumb-founded and frustrated on several occasions as Federer’s winners were just catching the lines.

There was an entertaining moment in the second set, hard to believe in a match involving Kyrgios. Down a set and 3-1, a Kyrgios serve appear to be called “out” but was quickly changed to “in” with Federer barely getting his racquet on the ball. The chair umpire said they should replay the point which irked both the Australian and Team captain John McEnroe. Both players had their turn criticizing the umpire with the on court microphones picking up the commentary. Kyrgios called the umpire “delusional”, McEnroe in an angry voice yelled “No chance was he going to get that return back” and waved his arms in disgust. Kyrgios went on to lose the game and the match. As Kyrgios said to the press afterwards, the call didn’t impact the match as he was getting beaten quite badly.

“I had a good training week,” said Federer. ” I have been now in the States for almost two months, so I didn’t fight with jet lag, you know, like maybe some of the other guys on my team. I think that all helped. And then I think I had a clear game plan and just had the feeling like I was making a lot of returns against Nick. And from the baseline I was calm, composed, knew when to attack, when to wait. I was moving my feet very well.”

@Sportshorn

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Matteo Berrettini boosts his chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London with win over Grigor Dimitrov in Vienna

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Matteo Berrettini boosted his chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London with a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-1) over Grigor Dimitrov in a match between two US Open semifinalists at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. With this win Berrettini reached the third round at this ATP 500 event boosting his chance to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

 

Both players held serve in the first eight games of the first set. Dimitrov saved two break points in the ninth game of the opening set at deuce. Berrettini won his service game at 15, as he was serving to stay in the set.  They went on serve setting up a tie-break. Berrettini got a mini-break on the 11th game to win the tie-break 7-5.

Dimitrov saved a break point in the second game of the second set. The Bulgarian player fended off a match point forcing the second set to the tie-break. Berrettini cruised through to a a 7-1 lead in the tie-break setting up a third-round match against either Hyeon Chung or Hyeon Chung.

Berrettini will face the winner of the match between Hyeon Chung and Andrey Rublev.

Gael Monfils beat Austrian wild card Dennis Novak 2-6 7-5 6-3 setting up a re-match against Italian Next Gen star Jannik Sinner.

Sinner beat Monfils last week in Antwerp. The 18-year-old Italian player became the youngest ATP Tour semifinalist since Borna Coric in Basel in 2014.

Karen Khachanov was leading 6-3 4-6 4-1 when Marton Fucsovics was forced to retire. The Moscow player will face either Sam Querrey or Diego Schwartzman in the quarter final.

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Franulovic talks about the present and the future of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

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Director Franulovic, what does it mean for you to have an Italian winner in your tournament after 50 years ?

 

“For me it was an amazing result. Italian fans love Monte-Carlo. They are knowledgeable and warm like in football. It was fantastic to have an Italian winner after Pietrangeli”.

 Would you have imagined one year ago that two Italian players would fight for one of the qualifying spots for the ATP Finals in London and that one of the two players would win your tournament ?

 “No, I would have not expected it. As I always say you can never say anything in sport because everything is cyclical. Fognini won our tournament. Berrettini made a big breakthrough and went on to reach the US Open semifinals and has now a good chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London. Sonego has also achieved good results. Sinner is now coming to the fore..”

 It’s the first time after decades that Italian tennis is doing better than French tennis. How do you explain that ?

 “I don’t think it’s a problem of facilities, because French tennis can rely on the income from Roland Garros. It’s simply a matter of players. Italy has a new generation of young players. France has remained still and has not produced new tennis players after the generation of Tsonga and Gasquet, who are no longer young. I don’t think it’s an organisation problem, but simply because sport in cyclical.

 How has the Country Club changed since you became the Tournament Director in 2005 ?

 “A lot has changed, but we cannot expand the Country Club for obvious reasons. We have done everything possible to improve the comfort of players, the quality of our service for media starting from the new press room. The biggest difference is at communication level. Social media, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter did not exist in 2005. Everything has changed and the Country Club looks a different place compared to the venue of 2005”.

What about the line-up of players of the 2020 edition. Are you still dreaming to have Federer in Montecarlo ?

 “It’s very unlikely, if you look at his schedule, it is more restricted due to anagraphic reasons. I think it will be even more restricted. He will play the Grand Slam tournaments and the tournaments, which he likes visiting with his family. All the other big players starting from Nadal and Djokovic are expected to take part in our tournament”

 Will Next Gen players take over the “Old” Gen ? Danil Medvedev is the hottest player at the moment ?

 “I expected that this could happen two years ago. It did not happen, but it is clear that it is going to be more likely every year. I did not expect that Medvedev would be the first player to produce a major impact on the ranking. I expected that Tsitsipas, Shapovalov would take over and instead….

 

Another question from a tennis fan, how can the Davis Cup live together with the ATP Cup on too close dates ?

 

“The two team events are too close, but before giving my opinion I would wait to see how they will work. I am sure that if they should not work well, the ATP and the ITF will be open to find an agreement. I think that the ATP will be more willing to take a step back, because the Davis Cup is more than 100 years old, like our tournament and it’s the only event run by the ITF.

 

Does the new Davis Cup convince you ?

 

“The old formula felt the burden of the years. The world has changed compared to the times when I played with Panatta and Bertolucci. Players had to travel to South America three days after playing at the Australian Open. It is no longer manageable. When I played tennis travels were more complicated, but they were not so long”.

 

 

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Zeljko Franulovic: “The success of Italian players is very important for our tournament”

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The 114th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters was officially presented to the Italian media representatives today during a press conference at the Palazzo Giureconsulti in Milan near the Duomo cathedral. Every year the organisers of the Monte-Carlo Masters 1000 tournament hold their traditional press conference in Milan to promote their event among Italian fans.

 

The Monte-Carlo tournament is the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the European clay season. The next edition of the Monte-Carlo tournament will be held from 11th to 19th April at the historic Country Club clay court.

Zeljiko Franulovic, who won the Monte-Carlo tournament in 1970, has been working as Tournament Director since 2005, the year when Rafael Nadal won the first of his eleven titles at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Franulovic looked back to another very successful edition of the famous Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

“The quality of players, a record number of spectators and TV viewers have contributed to the success of the past edition. Prince Albert opened the doors to players, who visited the Prince’s Palace in Monaco. Monte-Carlo loves tennis and players love this tournament. About 400 journalists from all over the world attended the tournament. Our tournament was broadcast in over 200 countries. Ten television channels, including Sky Italy, attended the tournament on site. This was a record for our tournament. We have improved our facilities in the Monte-Carlo Country Club by adding a new restaurant, a new interview room for media and a “Club de Loge”,said Zeljko Franulovic.

Last April Fabio Fognini won the first Masters 1000 tournament of his career by beating Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4. Fognini became the first Italian player to win the Monte-Carlo title since 1968, when Nicola Pietrangeli triumphed for the third time in his career.

 “The 2019 edition of our tournament was highlighted by the triumph of Italian tennis star Fabio Fognini. Next Gen players, like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Danil Medvedev and 18-year-old Canadian player Felix Auger Aliassime, Alexander Zverev have made their breakthrough this season. In Monte-Carlo Auger Aliassime was beaten by Alexander Zverev. Medvedev reached the semifinal after beating Novak Djokovic. This season has been particularly successful for Italian tennis players. The 2019 edition was very successful in terms of ticket sales with 135.650 spectators. No less than 40000 spectators came from Italy. I am very happy with the recent results of Italian players Fabio Fognini, Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner. Berrettini continued his progress in the months after our tournament and reached the semifinal at the US Open. Italian Next Gen star Jannik Sinner has recently come to the fore breaking into the top 100 for the first time of his career at the age of 18 and I hope that he will be in the group of the best Next Gen players soon. The success of Italian players is very important for our tournament. The ticket sale for the 2020 edition is going well. Italian fans and Italian tennis clubs have shown their continuous support over the years. We suggest our loyal Italian fans should go on our official website to buy the still available tickets as soon as possible”.

 

The 2020 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters promises to be another successful edition. The Draw Ceremony will be attended by defending champion Fabio Fognini on Friday 10th April. The Kids Day, which attracted 1700 children in 2019, will be held on 12th April (Easter’s Day). The calendar of events also features the Great Night of Tennis on Friday 17th April.

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