Lorenzo Musetti and Clara Tauson clinch the Australian Open Junior title - UBITENNIS
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Lorenzo Musetti and Clara Tauson clinch the Australian Open Junior title

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Top seeds Lorenzo Musetti and Clara Tauson clinched the Junior titles at the Australian Open. Musetti saved a championship point before claiming the decisive tie-break in the boys final, while Tauson won the girls title. 

 

Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti came back from a set down to beat US Emilio Nava 4-6 6-2 7-6 (14-12) in the final of the Australian Open Junior final. The 16-year-old Italian player saved a championship point in the tie-break of the third set.

Musetti won the first Grand Slam Junior title of his career four months after losing the US Open Junior final against Brazil’s Seyboth Wild last September. Last year he also reached the quarter final at Wimbledon. The player born in the Italian town of Carrara trains in La Spezia under the guidance of Simone Tartarini and is among the most promising talents, who work at the Patrick Mouratoglou Tennis Academy as part of the Champ’Seed program. His idol is Roger Federer and plays a spectacular and aggressive tennis. He entertained the crowd with a spectacular drop-shot tweener during the quarter final match against Spain’s Alvarez Varona earlier this week. Musetti is ranked fourth in the ITF Junior Ranking, but he is the youngest player in the top 10.

Musetti won just three points more than Nava in a very tight match, which featured only three breaks of serve.

Nava got the first break of the first set at 3-3 in the first set with a deep return to take the first set 6-4 after 37 minutes. This was the first time Musetti dropped a set in the tournament. Musetti saved three break points in the fifth game of the second set before earning his first break in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead. Musetti got another break in the eighth game after a poor forehand from Nava to send the match to third set.

The third set went on serve with no breaks of serve until the tie-break. Nava fought back from 3-5 to move within two points of the title at 8-7. Nava saved a match point at 8-9 with a smash winner and another chance at 9-10 when Musetti made a double fault. Musetti wasted the third match point on the 20th point before saving a match point at 11-12. Musetti hit a service winner to draw level to 12-12 before sealing the win on the 16th point, when Nava made a forehand error. Musetti has become the first Italian player in history to win the Australian Open boys’ title.

“I was not thinking. I was just playing, living every point. It was a fantastic tie-break. Emilio played really well and he saved three match points. It was a fantastic tie-break. The match point was unbelievable. I had a lot of pressure since the first rounds, but I got a lot of experience last year in New York, so I knew how to manage the pressure and the feelings of the final. Today was a crazy match. The first set was really tough, the second set was really good. He went down a bit. The third set was really a fight. I am really happy to win my first Grand Slam. I thank my family and the Italian Federation for their support. I will travel back to Italy very early and I will not have a lot of time to celebrate, but it will be a nice journey with a trophy in my hands. This win means that I will have the chance to play the qualifying round at Grand Slam tournaments”,said Musetti.  

 The first to congratulate with Musetti was Novak Djokovic, who watched the match

“It was a hard match. Luck was not on my side, but I was able to win thanks to my mental strength. To know that Novak Djokovic was following my match is something that does not happen every day. He knew that I lost in New York and told me that I have a good mental coach. I told him that I have tried to learn from him and I wished him good luck for tomorrow’s final against Nadal”,said Musetti.

Sixteen year-old Dane Clara Tauson beat Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the girls singles final. The Dane won her fifth title in the last seven tournaments.

Tauson is the second Danish Junior player to win a girls title at Grand Slam level following in the footsteps of her compatriot Caroline Wozniacki.

Tauson earned her first break in the fifth game of the opening set, but Fernandez broke straight back in the next game. Tauson broke again in the seventh game and held her serve in the eghth and tenth games to seal the first set 6-4. Tauson broke twice in the third and fifth games of the second set to race out to a 4-1 lead. Fernandez pulled one break back at 15 in the next game to claw her way back to 2-4 but Tauson got her third consecutive break in the seventh game to earn her chance to serve for the match. Fernandez fended off a match point to get the break back, but Tauson broke serve again in the ninth game before serving out the match.

The Danish player lost the first set of the tournament 6-1 to Australian wildcard Anastasia Berezov and did not drop another set en route to the title.

“I feel like it was a big court. We haven’t played on it, either of us, so I  think both of us were nervous. She was playing really good in the beginning I feel like I won because I kept fighting and try to keep my emotions. I wasn’t expecting actually to win here after the first round, but I kept working hard and had some tough matches in the beginning. I got through it, so I am happy about that. The start of the the year has been good for me, of course. I am not thinking too much about if I never lose a match in juniors anymore, because I will. I am very happy about the last 12 matches”, said Tauson.

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Alexander Bublik reaches his third career semifinal with win over Denis Shapovalov in Marseille

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Alexander Bublik reached the third ATP Tour semifinal of his career after beating Canadian Canadian Next Gen player Denis Shapovalov 7-5 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Bublik fended off a total of four break points in the first set, including three chances from 0-40, got the break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5, when Shapovalov hit a forehand volley wide at 30-40 after 45 minutes.

Both players traded breaks at the start of the second set. Bublik did not convert three break points at 3-2, when he hit a forehand into the net on his first break point chance. Shapovalov broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead with a drop shot and wrapped up the second set with his third ace.

Bublik opened up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Shapovalov broke straight back in the third game. Bublik got another break lead in the eighth lead at 15, when Shapovalov hit a forehand wide. Bublik sealed the win with a hold at love.

“He is a great player and serve. It was our first match, but I have known him for a very long time. I was happy to break in the first set, then in the second set he was better, and I had my chances in the third and I held on. So I am very happy”,said Bublik.

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Milos Raonic, Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe and Ugo Humbert reach the quarter final in Delray Beach

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Milos Raonic hit 11 aces and saved the three break points he faced to beat German Cedrik Marcel Stebe 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 36 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Delray Beach, an ATP Tour 250 tournament.

 

Raonic earned a break in each set. Stebe earned a break point in the ninth game with a forehand down the line, but Raonic saved it with a forehand. Raonic faced two more break points in the 11th game, but Raonic saved them with service winners. Raonic earned a break with a forehand down the line winner in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5. Raonicwon four consecutive points on return to earn a break and closed out the match 6-3 with a hold of serve.

“I got lucky through that first set and then I tried to be a bit more aggressive, create more things and that put a bit more pressure on him. It opened up the match for me a bit more”, said Raonic.

Raonic set up a quarter final against Steve Johnson, who edged past his compatriot Jack Sock 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach his first quarter final at ATP Tour level in six months. Johnson came back from losing the second set by racing out to a 5-0 lead.

“This is just one of those tournaments where you feel comfortable coming back every year. It’s great to see Sock back. I thought he played a really good second set and I just got bit of a momentum in the third set”, said Johnson.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert edged Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after 1 hour and 42 minutes to reach his third quarter final in 2020. Humbert fended off eight of the ten break points he faced and earned three breaks to win the last four games of the first set from 2-4 down. Humbert broke Kecmanovic, as the Serbian player was serving for the second set at 6-5. The Frenchman saved a set point and came back from 5-6 down by winning the final three points of the tie-break to clinch the win after 1 hour and 43 minutes. Humbert has improved his win-loss record this year to 8-3.

“It’s always tough to play against Miomir, because he is a great player. He always plays at a high level. I lost to him last week and I was a little bit stressed before the match, so I am very happy to get the win today. You have to enjoy the victory because it’s not easy every week. Winning in Auckland gave me a lot of confidence. I beat some great players, but I have to continue my improvement every day”,said Humbert.

Humbert will face US player Frances Tiafoe, who battled past Tommy Paul 7-5 7-6 (7-4). Both players stayed neck and neck in the first set until the 11th game when Tiafoe earned a break with a return winner. He served out the set 7-5 with a service winner in the 12th game.

Paul earned a break in the sixth game, but he dropped his serve, while he serving for the set at 5-3. Tiafoe closed out the match with a backhand crosscourt winner at 6-4 in the tie-break.

“It’s never easy playing a good friend. It’s awkward, but I thought it was a pretty good match overall. My forehand was definitely on, so that helped. I am starting to play good tennis again and just competing hard in every match”,said Tiafoe.  

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Simona Halep rallies from one set down to beat Aryna Sabalenka in Dubai

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Simona Halep came back from one set down to beat Aryna Sabalenka 3-6 6-2 6-2 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in one hour and 35 minutes to advance to the semifinals in Dubai one day after saving a match point against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

 

Halep earned her third win in four head-to-head matches against Sabalenka.

Halep broke in the second game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead, but Sabalenka broke straight back in the next game. Halep broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and never faced any break point in the next games.

Halep earned a break in the fourth game of the decider and backed it up to open up a 4-1 lead. The 2019 Wimbledon champion was taken to deuce once in her last eight service games of the match.

“I think I started to play a little bit stronger in the second set and find rhythm. It’s always tough to play against her because she is very strong and hits the ball really hard, so I had to play faster, be quicker on court and give everything I had to win”, said Halep.

Halep will face US qualifier Jennifer Brady, who clinched a win against a top 20 player for the third consecutive year by beating this year’s Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4. Brady has reached her third WTA semifinal and the first at Premier level.

Muguruza earned a break point with a forehand winner, as Brady was serving for the set. Brady was broken, when she hit two consecutive forehands into the net. Muguruza rallied from 1-3 to draw level to 5-5 and earned her first set point. The Spaniard sealed the tie-break, as Brady sent her backhand long.

Muguruza earned a break point in the sixth game with a backhand winner. Brady saved the break point with a forehand crosscourt winner and held serve with a backhand winner down the line. Brady broke serve to take a 4-3, as Muguruza made two forehand errors and hit two double faults. Muguruza dropped her serve again with another double fault.

Both players held serve in the first nine games of the third set. Muguruza held three break points in the third game, but Brady saved them with a backhand crosscourt winner. Brady sealed the win with a break on her second match point, as Muguruza sent a backhand long.

 

 

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