Karolina Pliskova sets up fourth round match against Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne - UBITENNIS
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Karolina Pliskova sets up fourth round match against Garbine Muguruza in Melbourne

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Former world number 1 player and 2016 US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova came through a tough three-set match against 27th seed Camila Giorgi by the scoreline of 6-4 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 11 minutes.

 

Giorgi converted all her three break points and stayed neck and neck with Pliskova until the end of the match, but the Czech player converted five of her 16 break points to advance to the second week in Melbourne for the third year in a row.

Pliskova has extended her winning record in her six head-to-head matches against Giorgi to 5-1.

Pliskova has won her third three-set match against her Italian rival following wins in the 2014 Linz final and in the 2017 Cincinnati third round match. Giorgi went down 0-40 in the fifth game to face three break points. The Italian player saved the first break point with her second serve, but Pliskova got her only break of the first set on her second chance to take a 3-2 lead, when Giorgi made a double fault. Pliskova did not face any break points in her next service games and held her serve at 15 to clinch the first set 6-4.

Giorgi won 12 of the first 15 points to build up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game. She held her service games at love for 3-0. Pliskova broke back in the fifth game with a volley to claw her way back to 2-3. Giorgi got another break in the sixth game at deuce for 4-2 and saved two break back points at deuce in a nine-minute game. Pliskova converted her third break point chance at deuce. Giorgi came back from 15-40 down by winning four consecutive games to break serve for 5-3 to earn her chance to serve for the set. Giorgi closed out the second set 6-3 on her third set point at deuce after saving another break point.

The first three games of the decisive set went on serve before Giorgi saved three break points at 1-2. Pliskova converted her fourth break point after six deuces. Pliskova dropped four points on serve in the decider and sealed the win 6-3 on her fourth match point with her double break in the eighth game, when Giorgi sent her forehand long.

“It’s giving me special confidence. If you are winning matches, it does not matter how you win, just that you are winning those matches, close matches. It’s not always going to be like 6-1 6-2. Some players are difficult for me. Sometimes I just have ups and downs”, said Pliskova.

Pliskova’s next rival in the fourth round is two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, who recovered from her late-night match against Johanna Konta to beat Swiss player Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after one hour and 54 minutes.

Garbine Muguruza advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the fourth time in her career. She achieved the best best result of her career in 2017, when she qualified for the quarter final after two fourth-round appearances in 2014 and 2015.

Muguruza and Bacsinszky met for the sixth time in their careers. The Spaniard scored the first of her four consecutive wins over the Lausanne player with her 6-4 3-6 6-0 win in the third round at 2015 Roland Garros. Bacsinszky stopped the losing streak by winning her only head-to-head clash against Muguruza in the first round in Madrid in 2017.

Muguruza showed that she had fully recovered from her match against Johanna Konta, which started at 12.30 (the latest ever match) and ended at 3.12 am.

Bacsinszky, who moved up from world number 745 to number 145 in just five months following hand surgery, got an early break with a half-volley. Bacsinsky broke back at 30 in the second game. Muguruza converted her fourth break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead but Bacsinszky pulled the break back for the second time at deuce to draw level to 4-4.

Muguruza earned a set point on Bacsinszy’s serve at 6-5, but Bacsinszky saved it with a backhand winner to set up a tie-break.

Muguruza built up a 5-2 lead in the tie-break and wrapped up the first set with a service winner.

The second set looked to be a close match after an early trade of breaks, but Muguruza broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 before holding serve for 4-2 after a three-deuce sixth game. Muguruza won eight of the final eleven points to earn two match points. Bacsinszky fended off the second match point with her backhand winner, but Muguruza sealed the win on her third chance with her backhand.

“She has a very unique style of game, very smart, very talented. We played four or five times already. All of matches were very difficult. I know I was going to have to fight a lot to get it. So it counts a lot, this one. After the late match against Johanna Konta, I went back to sleep around 5, so it’s very messed up. I will not forget to play tennis in a few hours. I didn’t play. I woke up late. I prioritized. Rest a little bit, work with my physio, just get a little bit of distance, recover for today, because I knew it was going to be a battle”, said Muguruza.   

 

 

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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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