Jaume Munar and Andrey Rublev take crucial straight-set wins at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan - UBITENNIS
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Jaume Munar and Andrey Rublev take crucial straight-set wins at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan

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Jaume Munar beat Frances Tiafoe 4-1 4-3 (7-3) 4-1 in just 56 minutes to keep his chance of qualifying for the semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals alive. Munar will reach the knock-out stage if Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Hubert Hurkacz.

 

Munar lost against Hurkacz in the decisive fifth set after coming back from two sets down and needed a win against Tiafoe to have the chance to qualify. He broke once in the first set and in the third sets.

Tiafoe lost 40 % of the points in his service games and dropped his serve twice from the four break point chances he faced.

Tiafoe saved a break point with a forehand winner in the second game.

Munar, who trains at the Rafa Nadal Academy, got the first break of the match in the fourth game at 30 with a volley winner to clinch the opening set 4-1.

Tiafoe saved a break point at the start of the second set with a service winner.  The second set went on serve until the tie-break. Munar earned an early mini-break and sealed the tie-break on his first set point 7-3 with a running forehand winner.

Munar went up a break in the second game of the third set to open up a 2-0 lead. Tiafoe earned a break point, but Munar hit two first serve winners to win the deciding point. Munar served out the third set at love to wrap up the third set 4-1.

“I did what I had to do. It’s not in my hands anymore. The most important thing was to play better and better every day. I will follow this evening’s matches in my hotel to see if I qualify or not. Maybe we can buy a Greek flag. At least i felt like I was a good tennis player, so it is important for me. It was another match for me. I knew I had to play a little bit better tennis. We did the same. Morning gym and then we took breakfast just warm-up. A long warm-up with a little bit of practice. They were the things we didn’t do well yesterday. I just tried to be motivated and fight. This is what I did today”, said Munar.

Rublev takes crucial straight-set win over Caruana:

Andrey Rublev clinched a much needed win in straight sets beating Italian wild card Liam Caruana 4-3 (9-7) 4-1 4-2. Taylor Fritz will need to beat Alex De Minaur in three or four sets this evening to survive the round-robin stage in the Group B. If Fritz beats De Minaur in five sets, he will qualify for the semifinal joining the Australian player, who has already secured his spot for the knock-out stage.

Rublev hit 28 winners to 19 unforced errors.

Rublev earned an early break point with a forehand winner in the opening game. Caruana saved the first chance with his first serve winner, but Rublev converted his second opportunity with another passing shot. Rublev backed up his break with a hold at love. Caruana got his first game on the scoreboard at love. Caruana broke back in the sixth game at 30 to draw level to 3-3 to set up a tie-break, when Rublev was serving for the set.

In the tie-break Caruana got an early mini-break to open up a 2-0 lead in the tie-break. Rublev got back on serve with a return winner and took a 3-2 lead, when Caruana made a forehand error. Rublev earned two set points at 6-4. Caruana saved both chances with a forehand return and an ace to draw level to 6-6. Caruana saved another set point on Rublev’s serve to draw level to 7-7, but Rublev sealed the set by 9-7 on his fourth chance with his backhand.

Rublev faced a break point on the deciding point in the first game of the second set and he saved it with a forehand winner. Rublev rallied from 0-30 down to get the break in the second game with another forehand winner to open up a 2-0 lead. Rublev served well in the rest of the second set to close it out 4-1.

Rublev earned an immediate break in the opening game of the third set on the deciding point and never looked back by holding his three service games to seal the third set 4-2.

“It was a tough match, as I had a lot of pressure. Today I played a completely different performance than yesterday. My attitude was the best out of these three matches. I was focused. I was not complaining. I was trying to fight for every point, because every point cost a lot. I was trying to win every point. I won in three sets. Let’s see how it’s going to happen later. In the match against De Minaur I was completely emotional. I have to be stronger than this, and I left it in the past and just move on. It’s not going to change anything if I am going to watch this evening’s match or not. I am going to do my routine and in the end, we will see what’s going to happen. I am not going to stay for the match. If you want to win matches, you need to be focused and not talk about thing around. Just focus thinking about how to win. In the end you just learn to do it.

 

Rublev found his rhythm after winnng the crucial tie-break in the first set.

 

“To be honest, the way I was playing today was the worst level I showed today, but my attitude was double or triple better than in the past matches, so I compensated a little bit. It was tough because I was serving for the set and I made the double fault, and then there was the tie-break. I was just talking to myself. It doesn’t matter. Just fight for myself. You will still have a chance”, said Rublev in the post match interview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kei Nishikori recovers from a slow start to beat Taylor Fritz in Barcelona

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Kei Nishikori beat Taylor Fritz 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 41 minutes to advance to the second round at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

 

Kei Nishikori raliied from 1-4 down in the first set to reel off 12 of the next 15 games.

Fritz converted his second break point in the fourth game and held his service game to open up a 4-1 lead. Nishikori broke twice in the seventh and eleventh games to take a 6-5 lead. The Japanese player served out the first set 7-5 at deuce after saving a break point.

Nishikori went up a double break in the third and fifth games to seal the second set 6-2.

Nishikori and Fritz met once before in the 2016 Memphis final, when the Japanese player beat his younger US rival to clinch his fourth consecutive Memphis title.

Nishikori bounced back from his opening round defeat against Pierre Hugues Herbert last week in Monte-Carlo.

Nishikori claimed two consecutive titles in Barcelona in 2014 and 2015 and finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal, who won the Barcelona title 11 times.

The Japanese player will face Canadian 18-year-old Next Gen star Felix Auger Aliassime or Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri.

Jaziri came back from one set to beat Guido Andreozzi 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-2 after 2 hours and 42 minutes.

Spanish veteran David Ferrer dropped just 11 points in his service points to ease past Germany’s Misha Zverev 6-3 6-1 after 65 minutes. Ferrer will face Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the second round.

Teenager Nicola Kuhn from Spain edged past Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 30 minutes scoring the biggest win of his career.

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Matteo Berrettini beats Mikhail Kukushkin in Budapest

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Italy’s Matteo Berrettini claimed his first win on clay this season with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Mikhail Kukushkin in the opening round of the Hungarian Open.

 

The first set started with four breaks of serve in the first five games, as Berrettini built up a 4-1 lead. Kukushkin pulled back one of the three breaks in the sixth game for 2-4. Berrettini held his final two games at love to claim the first set 6-4.

Berrettini went up a double break in the first and fifth games to open up a 5-1 lead. The Italian player wasted his first match point. Kukushkin got one break back and saved another match point to hold his service game to win his third consecutive game for 4-5, but Berrettini served out the win at love in the 10th game.

Berrettini set up a second round against Aljaz Bedene, who came back from a double break down in the opening set to beat Bernard Tomic 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

Radu Albot from Moldova broke serve twice in each set to seal a 7-5 6-4 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky on his fourth match point after 1 hour and 41 minutes setting up a second round against Filip Krajnovic, who edged Andreas Seppi 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 after wasting four match points in the second set.

Marco Cecchinato has pulled out of the Hungarian Open and will not defend the title he won last year.

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Fernando Verdasco wins all-Spanish clash against Feliciano Lopez in Barcelona first round

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Fernando Verdasco beat Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-3 in 81 minutes at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

 

Former Barcelona champion Verdasco, who won this tournament in 2010, improved his win-loss record against his compatriot to 6-5 in their 11 head-to-head matches.

Verdasco claimed his only break point at love to close out the first set 6-4. Lopez got his first break at deuce in the opening game of the second set. Verdasco won four consecutive breaks from 2-3 down with two breaks to wrap up the second set 6-3. Verdasco will face Grigor Dimitrov in the second round.

Taylor Fritz won an all-American first round clash against giant Reilly Opelka 6-3 6-4 after just 55 minutes In the match between two US rising stars Fritz never faced a break point and converted one break point in each set from the four chances he created to cruise into the second round.

Fritz earned the only break in the fifth game of the first set at 15 to take a 3-2 lead after Opelka made a volley error in the fifth game. Fritz hit three service winners in the ninth game to seal the opening set 6-3.

Fritz went up a set and a break in the third game of the second set with a forehand winner. He hit a forehand winner to close out the match, as he was serving for the match at 5-4.

Diego Schwartzman came back from one set down to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 4-6 6-4 6-2.

Nishioka converted his fourth break point in the first game, but Schwartzman broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. After a trade of breaks in the sixth and seventh games Nishioka saved saved three break points to hold his serve in the eighth game. The Japanese player converted his fifth break point after a double fault from Schwartzman in the ninth game. Nishioka served out the first set at love.

Both players traded breaks twice in the second set en route to drawing level to 4-4. Schwartzman broke serve in the 10th game to close out the second set 6-4. Schwartman reeled off four consecutive games from 2-2 with two breaks of serve to win the third set.

Schwartman was playing his third match in Barcelona because he had to play the qualifying round. He forgot to sign before the tournament deadline.

Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer battled past Marius Copil 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 after two hours and 36 minutes to score his ninth match win of the season.

Mayer earned his first break to race out to a 3-0 lead and saved four break points at 3-1. He held his final two service games to close out the second set 6-3. Both players saved a total of four break points in the second set to hold their service games en route to the tie-break. Copil earned three mini-breaks to claim the tie-break 7-3 forcing the match to the third set. Mayer got the only break at love in the 12th game to seal the third set 7-5.

German Jan-Lennard Struff cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-3 6-1 after just 51 minutes. Struff saved all three break points and dropped 14 points in 8 service games. He broke once in the fourth game of the first set and three times in a row to seal the win.

Jaume Munar came back from one set down to beat Portuguese qualifier Pedro Souza 2-6 6-4 6-0 setting up a second round match against US Frances Tiafoe. Sousa got four of the six breaks to win the first set 6-4. The second set went on serve until the 10th game, when Munar got his first break on his third chance to close out the second set 6-4. The Spaniard broke three times to take a bagel win in the third set.

Mackenzie McDonald saw off Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-2 6-2 in just 57 minutes. Mackenzie converted four of hi sten break points and dropped nine points in eight service games. He won the final four games of the first set from 2-2 with two breaks to close out the first set 6-2. He got two more breaks in the third and eighth games to wrap up the match with with a forehand crosscourt winner.

Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics cruised past Denis Kudla 6-4 6-1. The Hungarian player saved two break points he faced and converted four of his nine break points.

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