Denis Shapovalov reaches the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his career - UBITENNIS
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Denis Shapovalov reaches the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his career

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Denis Shapovalov advanced to the Australian Open third round for the first time in his career

 

Canadian Next Gen star Denis Shapovalov beat Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 after 2 hours and eight minutes to reach the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in his career. Shapovalov hit 43 winners including 16 aces.

Shapovalov broke serve for the first time in the eighth game to win the opening set 6-3. He fended off break points at 1-1 and at 4-4 in the second set. Both players went on serve until the tie-break, where Shapovalov earned four set points at 6-2 and converted his first chance.

Shapovalov broke serve in the fourth game of the third set to take a 3-1 lead and rallied from 15-40 in the fifth game. He held his next two service games to close out the third set 6-3.

“It was another exceptional match for me. Obviously he is a very tough opponent. I knew going in. I knew it was going to be tough. I am really happy to get through that in straight sets. I was not expecting that, to be honest. I felt that in the second set he had a couple of chances. I was able to play big tennis. I am really proud today. After I got that tie-break in the second set, I knew that the momentum was kind of with me, so I just tried to stay on it. I played a good game to break, then just served well. I think I have been serving really well in the last couple of day”,said Shapovalov in the post match interview.

Shapovalov will face the winner of the second round clash between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the re-match of the 2008 Australian Open final.

“It’s a great spot for me to be in right now. Playing third round against either Tsonga or Novak whoever it is, in a slam like this. I am 19 years old. It’s a dream come true for me. I am just going to go out there, enjoy myself. Like I said. I have been playing really good tennis. I feel like I can take it to them and hopefully come up with the win. I am definitely going to try to go out there and win. I am not just going to come out on court and enjoy my time. I am going to put out a fight and try to do everything I can to try to come out with the win”.  

Australian wild-card Alexei Popyrin was leading 7-5 6-4 2-0, when 2018 Roland Garros champion Dominic Thiem was forced to retire injured. The 19-year-old Sydney born player reached the third round at the Australian Open for the first time on his second appearance at this tournament. Popyrin will face Lucas Pouille, who battled past German Maximilian Marterer 7-6 (10-8) 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 6-4 after 3 hours and 22 minutes. The Frenchman fended off one set point at 6-7 in the tie-break of the first set and two more set points at 5-6 and 7-8 in the tie-break of the second set.

Fabio Fognini beat Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in a match interrupted by rain setting up a third round match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, who beat Ilya Ivashka 6-2 6-3 7-6 (9-7).

Fognini did not convert two break points in the first game of the opening set. The Italian player fended off a break point at 2-2. The first set came down to the tie-break, where Fognini got two mini-breaks with a deep return and a down the line backhand.

In the second set Fognini broke serve in the fourth game with a backhand down the line to open up a 3-1 lead and held his service game in the fifth game before the match was interrupted by rain. He held his next service games to cruise through to winning the second set 6-3.

Fognini got his second break of the match in the third game after a double fault from Mayer to open up a 4-1 lead. Mayer broke back for the first time in the match in the seventh game after three unforced errors from Fognini. The former Australian Open doubles champion sealed the tie-break of the third set 7-5 on his first match point after 2 hours and 23 minutes.

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Thomas Musters Hints At Conflict With Thiem After Sudden Axe From Team

The unexpected move by Thiem has left more questions than answers.

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Australian tennis legend Thomas Muster has seemingly suggested that a difference in opinion was behind his sudden departure from Dominic Thiem’s team after just two weeks.

 

On Saturday the world No.5 unexpectedly confirmed that the former French Open champion has left his team. Exactly 18 days after Thiem said during a press conference at the ATP Cup that the two have arranged a ‘working relationship.’ The announcement followed Thiem’s four-set win over Taylor Fritz in the third round of the Australian Open.

“We ended our working relationship,” He told Austrian reporters in Melbourne. “It did not fit. It’s easy like that. It is just about work. We get along well personally, and we said in the beginning, if anything is not all right we will tell each other.”

Questions are left remaining about what the exact reason for the two to go their separate ways. Especially given their short period spent working together. Both have been coy on the subject, but Muster has shed some light during an interview with Eurosport.

Speaking with fellow former world No.1 Becker, Muster said he was initially expecting to be working with Thiem for a two-year period. Adding to the mystery, the 52-year-old fuelled further speculation when he gave a cryptic insight about the two-time French Open finalist. Who had previously said that his career was to emulate and surpass Muster’s career achievements.

“To be honest, I have seen myself in this role for the next two years.” He told Becker.
“Why he chose differently…l I know why, but I don’t want to say the details.’
“It’s like this. There are houses which look nice from the outside, wonderfully from the outside, but you rarely know who lives inside.”

Speaking about Thiem’s performance on the court, Muster believes there are still areas of his game that requires further improvement. Last year the 26-year-old won five titles on the ATP Tour, including his first at Masters level. Something that was only matched by Novak Djokovic.

“He’s a fine guy and likes to learn a lot,” he told Eurosport.
“But he has also got some shortcomings, he has to work on if he wants to be at the top. He has improved a lot, but he to catch up in the technical, physical and foremost in the mental area.”

Muster isn’t the only former professional with a view that Thiem needs to improve. Mats Wilander recently called on the tennis star to improve his attitude on the court.

Thiem will play fifth seed Gael Monfils in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday.

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Injury-Stricken Juan Martin Del Potro Suffers New Blow And An Uncertain Future

There is more bad news for fans of the former world No.3 and his hopes of a return to tennis.

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Hopes of Juan Martin del Potro returning to the tour in the coming weeks have ended after it was announced that he will undergo further surgery on Monday.

 

The former US Open champion hasn’t played a competitive match since June after fracturing his right kneecap at the Fever-Tree Championships in London. The same one he also hurt towards the end of the 2018 season. Shortly after his mishap the Argentine underwent surgery in Barcelona in an attempt to fix the issue and have been undergoing rehabilitation ever since.

Unfortunately for the former top-five player, the surgery hasn’t been a success with him continuing to have pain in the region. In an official press release published on Sunday, it was confirmed that the issue is affecting the Argentine in everyday tasks such as walking up a flight of stairs. As a consequence, Del Potro will have yet another operation on his knee in Miami.

“We want to update you that after long weeks of inter consultations in Argentina, Europe and the United States, most doctors have come to the conclusion that a new intervention in the right knee of Juan Martin del Potro is necessary.” A statement reads.
“After analyzing the options, Delpo trusted Dr. Lee Kaplan to perform the surgery scheduled for Monday, January 27th in Miami.”
“We hope that this is the definitive solution to eliminate the pain that not only has prevented Delpo from playing tennis, but also making it difficult for him to perform daily activities.”

Speculation over the future intentions of the 31-year-old started earlier this week when he withdrew from the Delray Beach Open. The tournament were where he was set to make his comeback next month.

During his rehabilitation, Del Potro has sought various treatments. Including types of diets, training and trips to specialists. All of which failed to deliver the desired outcome and forced him to undergo surgery.

“Thank you for your patience and for understanding that these past weeks we have taken our time before communicating his next steps. The situation is never easy when it comes to the physique of an athlete and, more importantly, the health of a person.” Team del Potro said.

The latest revelation has cast concerns over Del Potro’s future career. Who at one stage said he was unsure if he would be able to continue playing due to his knee injury (prior to his first surgery). It is the latest setback for the injury-stricken player who have also been forced to undergo four wrist surgeries.

So far in his career, Del Potro has won 22 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world last year.

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Milos Raonic reaches the Australian Open quarter finals for the fifth time in his career

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Milos Raonic beat Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3 7-5 to advance to the quarter final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career and for the second consecutive year. The Canadian player has advanced to the quarter final for the tenth time in his career at Grand Slam level.

 

Raonic saved an early break point with a big serve and hit a backhand down the line to force an error to break in the 10th game closing out the first set 6-4.

The former Wimbldon finalist and eight-time ATP Tour champion hit a backhand return winner in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead in the second set.

Cilic brought up two set points on Raonic’s serve in the 10th game of the third set, but Raonic fended them off with three serves. Raonic got a break in the 11th game at 15 and sealed the win on his first match point with an ace.

“It feels pretty good. I have got to say. I can’t complain about it and I am just happy with how things are going. I am happy I have another chance to play in two days here and it’s been an exciting tournament for me so far, but hopefully there are more exciting things ahead. I did a lot of things really well, and I had the idea of how I wanted to play. I was happy I could execute and live up to that”, said Milos Raonic in the post-match interview.

 

 

 

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