Tsitsipas To Face De Minaur in Final of Next Gen Finals in Milan - UBITENNIS
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Tsitsipas To Face De Minaur in Final of Next Gen Finals in Milan

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Milan Italy

 

On Thursday Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alex de Minaur easily won their final round robin matches in straight sets. 24 hours later, it was anything but the same for the two youngest players at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

The number two seed de Minaur, had a Friday to remember starting off the night needing five sets to defeat seventh seed Jaume Munar 3-4, 4-1, 4-1, 3-4, 4-2 in a highly entertaining affair. That was followed by another cracker of a match as top seed Stefanos Titsipas got past No. 5 Andrey Rublev in five sets as well 4-3, 3-4, 4-0, 2-4, 4-3.  Fans who packed the arena definitely getting their moneys worth on the night with some stellar shotmaking and a little bit of drama thrown in as well.

De Minaur, who still hasn’t been broken in the entire tournament, should have won his match in four sets. Up 3-2 with Munar serving at 0-40, the 19-year old had four chances to close things out but credit to the Spaniard for fighting back and then going on to win the tiebreak.

However, De Minaur broke Munar in the first game of the final set and then held serve the rest of the way to advance. There were some memorable rallies throughout but in the end it was the faster Australian who made the right shots at the right time who came away victorious. It was icing on the cake for de Minaur who also won the ATP Newcomer of the Year Award earlier in the day. Once ranked World No. 208 at the start of 2018, de Minaur has now reached his third final of the year and his ranking has shot up to World. No 31.

“It was a roller coaster of a match,’ said the Aussie. “Always knew coming in playing against Jaume that he’s an incredible fighter and competitor, and I was going to have to win this match. He played some really good tennis when he needed it in the fourth set. There was stages where it wasn’t looking too good for me, especially after that fourth set. But I’m very happy with my attitude and composure and the way I’ve been playing this whole week.”

Tsitsipas will also remember November 9, 2018 for years to come as he also received some hardware from the ATP winning the ATP Most Improved Player of the Year Award. He was presented the trophy immediately after his hard fought match with Rublev, one that could have gone either way.

Tsitsipas, ranked No. 15 in the World after starting the year at No. 91, split the first two sets with the 21-year old Russian after each player won a tiebreak. Tsitispas dominated the third, registering the first 4-0 score in 14 matches of the Next Gen Finals tournament.

But in the fourth Rublev stormed back and after he broke with a backhand winner to go up 3-2, Tsitispas unleashed some frustration during the changeover. He banged his hand down on a stack of towels three times and then took his anger out on the coaches headset smashing it down on the table. The device allowing the players to speak to their coaches was blown to pieces.

Before the start of the next game, the 20-year old was then forced to take a medical timeout after chair umpire Ali Nili noticed a cut on his left finger likely from the obliterating the headset.  After getting taped up, it was Rublev who then held to force a decider.

More drama in the fifth. Rublev facing a match point down 2-3 and Deuce was called for his second time code violation of the match. That meant he lost his first serve and would only have a second serve on match point. Rublev, appeared not to realize the implications and unleashed a 196 km/hr rocket into the corner. Luckily it went in and Tsitsipas couldn’t get the return forcing a final set breaker.

In that tiebreak Tsitispas jumped out to an early 4-1 lead after a big serve wide which Rublev was unable to return. After a pair of unforced errors and a fall behind the baseline it was the Greek native who was victorious and moving on to the Final

“I want to go to sleep. That’s how I feel,” said a fatigued Tsitsipas speaking to the press after Midnight in Milan. “You feel great after this, after winning such matches, because there has been a lot of effort, really, I mean, hard work. You know, we were hours on the court fighting, you know, wanting that win. But, yeah, the one that gets it at the end, I think, is the most happy person on earth. And, yeah, I’m very satisfied.”

Saturday’s final between Tsitispas and de Minaur won’t start before 9pm local time in Milan. Munar and Rublev will play for third place before the finale starting at 7. The winner of the No.1 vs No. 2 seeded final will take home a $407,000US undefeated first place pay cheque. A nice early Christmas present for one of these Next Gen stars of the game.

Tsitsipas won the lone head-to-head meeting against de Minaur just over a month ago in Japan. A three sets win in the second round 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

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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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