Taylor Fritz edges his friend Liam Caruana in four sets at the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan - UBITENNIS
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Taylor Fritz edges his friend Liam Caruana in four sets at the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan

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Taylor Fritz came back from losing the first set to beat Italian wild card Liam Caruana 1-4 4-1 4-3 (11-9) 4-2 after 1 hour and 21 minutes. Caruana gave Fritz run for his money in a very close tie-break in the third set, but he lost it 11-9.

 

Fritz wasted a game point in the fourth game of the opening set. Caruana won the killer point with a backhand return winner on the deciding point in the fourth game. The Italian player sealed the first set 4-1 on the deciding point in the fifth game.

Fritz earned the break in the fourth game of the second set on the deciding point to seal the second set 4-1, when Caruana sent his backhand long. Fritz closed out the set with three winners in the fifth game.

Caruana fended off a break point at the start of the third set. Both players went on serve setting up a tie-break. Fritz earned a mini-break on the fourth point for 3-1, when Caruana made a double fault. Caruana got back on serve on the sixth point with an unforced error from Fritz. Caruana made a double fault on the eighth point for 4-4. After a trade of mini-breaks Fritz earned a set point at 6-5, but Caruana saved it with a forehand winner. Caruana did not convert three set points at 7-6, 8-7 and 9-8. Caruana hit a spectacular diving drop volley winner to earn the second of his three set points, but Fritz saved this chance with an ace at 9-9 before winning the final two points to win a dramatic tie-break by 11-9. The fourth set went on serve until the sixth game, when Caruana went down 0-30, as he was serving to stay in the match. He rallied to 30-30 but Fritz broke serve for the second time in the match on the next point to close out the match, when the Italian player hit a forehand long.

Fritz, who lost against Andrey Rublev yesterday, will face Alex De Minaur on Thursday. The US player won 23 matches on the ATP Tour this season and reached the semifinals in Houston and Chengdu.

“I think I was a little worried because he definitely has it in his mind that he can beat me. I lost against Liam lots of times when were juniors. I remember a certain match with him where he beat me 2-0 in the semifinals of a National in Claremont. We are really good friends. I can’t count how many times we must have played each otherwhen were were 12 and 14 years old. That was definitely an interesting thing going into the matchto think about. I stayed in the system of playing in Southern California, sometimes playing nationally. I went to a regular high school. I decided to leave school and go to USTA to train in Florida where all the real good guys are. That’s when I realized that, if I actually wanted to be a pro, I was going to have be better than those guys”,said Fritz.

 Fritz enjoyed playing in Milan with a new format.

“As far as the format goes, I like it a lot. It makes tennis more entertaining and it’s trying something new. I think tennis needs to try to appeal to be more exciting and get younger fans involved. Everyone I have talked to said they find this more exciting. There is certain things I would definitely change. I disagree with coaching. I think tennis is individual and how you analyze yourself should have an important impact on the result”.

Hubert Hurkacz wins five-set match over Jaume Munar

Sixth seed Hubert Hurkacz edged Spain’s Jaume Munar 4-2 4-2 2-4 3-4 (5-7) 4-1 after two hours and 3 minutes to move to 1-1 in Group A keeping his chances of qualifying for the semifinals alive. The Polish player took his first win against Munar, who took beat his Spanish rival in their previous head-to-head clashes at junior level.

Hurkacz won just four points more than Munar in a very close match. The Pole saved six of the nine break points he faced and converted six of his twelve break points.

Hurkacz dropped just three points on serve in the opening set and converted his fourth set point on return with a backhand down the line in the sixth game of the first set on the deciding point to claim the first set 4-2.

The second set went on serve in the first three games before a streak of three consecutive break. Hurkacz broke in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead, when Munar sent a backhand long. Munar broke straight back in the next game. Hurkacz broke again to close out the second set, whne Munar netted a forehand.

The third set started with three consecutive breaks. Munar broke serve at love in the first game of the third set. Hurkacz broke straight back to draw level to 1-1, but Munar broke again in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. The Spanish player won his next two service games to close out the third set 4-2 with a service winner.

Munar won the killer point in the second game of the fourth set and fired a backhand down the line to bring up a set point at 6-5 in the tie-break. He closed out the tie-break 7-5 to force the match to the fifth set after Hurkacz made a backhand error.

Hurkacz converted his second break point in the first game of the fifth set and hit a service winner on the killer point in the second game to back up the break. Munar went up 40-0 on return to earn three chances to pull the break back, but Hurkacz won four consecutive points to save all break points for 3-1. The Pole broke serve on the deciding point with a backhand return to close out the five-set match.

Hurkacz started the year as world number 238, but he won two ATP Challenger tournaments to break into the top 100 for the first time in his career. Hurkacz will face number 1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday.

“The new format is different. It’s funny because you get on the court and do everything quick. You need to the racket in the hand and sprint to the center and do the coin toss. For the warmup it actually works out. If there would maybe one minute after, it might be good. You can get used to it, but for the first time it’s different”, said Hurkacz.

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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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