Karen Khachanov, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Danil Medvedev lead a quality-field in Sofia - UBITENNIS
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Karen Khachanov, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Danil Medvedev lead a quality-field in Sofia

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Karen Khachanov, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Danil Medvedev, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Stan Wawrinka and Fernando Verdasco will highlight the fourth edition of the Sofia Open from 4th to 10th October.

 

Despite the absence of local star Grigor Dimitrov the Sofia Open is set to be one of the best editions of this tournament. The Bulgarian tournament features seven top 30 players.

World number 11 Karen Khachanov will lead the high-quality field as number 1 seed. The 22-year-old Russian player beat four top 10 players in one week (number 9 John Isner, number 5 Alexander Zverev, number Dominic Thiem and world number 1 Novak Djokovic) en route to winning his maiden Masters 1000 title in Paris Bercy. The 22-year-old Russian player won two ATP titles in Marseille and Moscow and reached the semifinal at the Masters 1000 tournament in Toronto before losing to Rafael Nadal. He reached the fourth round at Roland Garros for the second consecutive year before losing to Alexander Zverev after leading 2 sets to 1. He earned five-set wins over Marcos Baghdatis and Frances Tiafoe to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. He lost in four sets to Rafael Nadal in the third round at Roland Garros after 4 hours and 23 minutes.

Twenty-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek player to win an ATP title in Stockolm and triumphed in the final of the Next Gen Finals in Milan beating 19-year-old Alex De Minaur. He also lost two finals in Barcelona and Toronto against Rafael Nadal. At this year’s Canadian Open in Toronto Stefanos beat Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Kevin Anderson becoming the first player to score four consecutive wins against top-10 players in the same tournament. The Athens native player started the 2018 season ranked world number 91 and ended the year ranked world number 15. In recognition of his breakthrough season Tsitsipas was also voted by players as the Most Improved player at the ATP World Tour Awards.

The latest addition to the field is 22-year-old Russian player Danil Medvedev, who won three titles this year in Sydney, Winston Salem and Tokyo. Medvedev started the 2018 season ranked outside the top 60 and came through the qualifying round to win his maiden ATP title in Sydney after beating Australian Next Gen star Alex De Minaur in a thrilling match. Medvedev did not drop any sets en route to winning his second title in Winston Salem. Medvedev lost against Borna Coric in the third round at the US Open. He lost to Dominic Thiem in St. Petersburg. In Tokyo he beat Kei Nishikori in the final after a perfect week in which he scored five straight-set wins.

The line-up also features this year’s Hamburg and Beijing Nikoloz Basilashvili, Gael Monfils, 2018 Auckland and Dubai Roberto Bautista Agut and three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka (Australian Open 2014, Roland Garros 2015 and US Open 2016).

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Singapore Champion Alexi Popyrin Dedicates Maiden ATP Title To Family

The world No.114 battled back from a set down to become the fifth active Australian player to win an ATP singles title.

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Rising star Alexi Popyrin has claimed the biggest title in his career to date after triumphing in the final of the Singapore Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old battled back from a set down to defeat world No.46 Alexander Bublik 4-6, 6-0, 6-2, in what was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. Popryin, who had never got past the quarter-final stage of a Tour event prior to this week, managed to turn his fortunes around with the help of an emphatic service display. During the second set he dropped no points behind serve and only one in the third. Overall, the Australian produced 11 aces and broke Bublik five times en route to victory.

A former junior world No.2 who won the 2017 French Open boys’ title, Popyrin has become the fifth active player from Australia to have won an ATP title. The other four are Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, Bernard Tomic and John Millman. During the trophy ceremony Popyrin said the breakthrough was a result of hard work as he paid tribute to his family.

“I’ll definitely have very fond memories of Singapore now, I’ll definitely remember this for the rest of my life,” he said.
“We put a lot of hard work in the pre-season and it’s paying off in the start of the year I’ve had. In Australia I felt really good so it’s just good to see all the hard work paying off.
“My family behind the scenes, they’ve sacrificed so much for me and to finally win a tournament just shows how much hard work they put in with me also. This is for them 100 per cent.”

Prior to Bublik, Popyrin also scored a win over former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. The breakthrough continues what has been an encouraging start to the season for the Next Gen star. At the Murray River Open in Melbourne he took Grigor Dimitrov to three sets before losing in the third round. Then at the Australian Open he knocked out top 20 player David Goffin.

Meanwhile, Bublik is left wondering what might have been. It was the second time the Kazakh has reached a Tour final this season after Antalya where he had to retire due to injury.

“His first final, his first title, I have four finals, which hurts now but just congratulate you and next time we’ll see if we can face in the final,” Bublik said.

Popyrin will rise to a ranking high of 82nd when the standings are updated on Monday.

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beats Hubert Hurkacz to reach the quarter final in Montpellier

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina came back from 1-3 in the opening set and converted four of the ten break points to claim a 7-5 6-2 win over Hubert Hurkacz in 1 hour and 34 minutes at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. 

 

Hurkacz went up a break in the fourth game at deuce to take a 3-1 lead. Davidovich Fokina broke back in the fifth game at 15 and held serve to draw level to 3-3. Hurkacz saved a break point in the seventh game to hold serve after two deuces. Davidovich Fokina converted his second break point in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Hurkacz saved three break points in the third game of the second set, but Davidovich Fokina broke twice in the fifth and seventh games at deuce to win the final four games from 2-2 securing his spot in the quarter final. 

The 21-year-old Spanish player set up a quarter final against Egor Gerasimov, who knocked out Aljaz Bedene 6-4 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 51 minutes. Bedene converted his second break point at deuce in the first game. Gerasimov broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gerasimov closed out the first set 6-4 with a break on his opportunity in the 10th game.

Bedene went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Gerasimov broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Gerasimov earned five match points at 6-1 in the tie-break. Bedene saved the first three chances, but Gerasimov closed out the tie-break 7-4 on his fourth opportunity. 

Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Gregoire Barrère 6-0 6-3. The Spanish player built up a 6-0 2-0 lead with four consecutive breaks. Barrère came back by winning three consecutive games to take a 3-2 lead with a break in the fourth game. Bautista Agut reeled off four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-3 

Dennis Novak came back from 3-5 down by winning the final four games in the second set to beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 35 minutes. Novak set up a quarter final clash against German Peter Gojowczyk, who came back from one set down to beat Juri Vesely 6-7 (3-7) 7-4 (7-4) 6-3 after 2 hours and 28 minutes. Gojowczyk hit 17 aces and won 86 % of his first service points. Gojowczyk saved four break points in the ninth game. Vesely earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-brek 7-3. The second set went on serve en route to the the tie-break. Gojowczyk earned one mini-break to win the tie-break 7-4. The German player converted his only break point in the second game to seal the third set 6-3.

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John Isner not happy with the cut in prize money for Miami Masters

John Isner took to Twitter to raise some issues about the ATP and latest state of affairs in Tennis.

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John Isner (@usta - Twitter)

The American took to social media to vent his frustration saying it doesn’t make sense.

 

John Isner took to twitter today after hearing the news that the Miami Open will be cutting its prize money down with the singles champion only taking $300,110 with a first round loser only winning $10,000 in prize money.

Isner and many other players on tour believe the tournament should be forced to due an audit to truly reveal what their finances are and to see if they are hiding anything.

“How about a true audit to see how much tourneys are actually hurting and then a money formula after the event to reconcile?”

“Amazing we still don’t have this in a lot of our big events. How does that make any sense?” 

He also tweeted about the promoters saying the system the ATP uses is broken.

The American also spoke of the unfairness in the cuts the players are taking in comparison to the actual events.

“So players should take a 60% cut and 80% champions cut while ATP executives keep full salaries, benefits, and expense accounts? Make that make sense. Seems just a little bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?”.

Isner finally believes the players should benefit from the tournament not just in the short term but over a long tenure.

““Tennis is plagued by conflict and lack of transparency”

The tournament is scheduled for March 23rd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the tournament has confirmed they won’t be doing a quarantine like the Australian Open.

The players will need to provide a negative PCR test to board a flight to the US and once they land they will be tested once again and isolate until a negative result is shown.

The players will only be allowed at the hotel and the venue and any player who doesn’t respect the rules will be subject to penalties and be withdrawn from the tournament.

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