Fabio Fognini rallies from a set down to oust Andrey Rublev in Montecarlo - UBITENNIS
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Fabio Fognini rallies from a set down to oust Andrey Rublev in Montecarlo

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Fabio Fognini came back from one set down to knock out Andrey Rublev 4-6 7-5 6-4 after 2 hours and 30 minutes in the opening round at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

 

Fognini, who reached the semifinal in Monte-Carlo in 2013, saved a break point in the second game before breaking serve in the third game. Rublev broke straight back in the next game.

Fognini got another break at 15 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Rublev reeled off eight of the next 10 points to take a 4-3 lead with a break-back in the sixth game. Fognini won three consecutive points in the eighth game to hold his serve for 4-4. Rublev converted his second break point chance in the 10th game to clinch the first set 6-4.

Rublev went up a set and a break in the fourth game on his second opportunity and held his service game to take a 4-1 lead. In the sixth game Fognini saved five break points to hold his service game. The Italian player broke back on his first chance in the seventh game to claw his way back to 3-4 and saved a break point in the eighth game to hold on his service game for 4-4. Fognini turned around the match in the 11th game, when he converted his second break point to take a 6-5 lead. Fognini sealed the second set 7-5 on his second chance sending the match to the third set.

Fognini went up a break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. He held his service game in the fourth game with a half volley for 3-1. He saved a break point to hold serve for 4-2. Fognini won a crucial point at 5-4 15-15 after a long rally before sealing the win on his first match point to the delight of the Italian fans, who packed the Court Rainier III.

Fognini will face either Alexei Popyrin or Gilles Simon in the second round,

Diego Schwartzman fought back from a break down to beat Kyle Edmund 4-6 6-3 6-1 after just over two hours. Edmund got the break in the 10th game to clinch the first set 6-4. He built up a 3-0 lead with a break, but Schwartzman reeled off six consecutive games to close out the second set 6-3. Schwartzman built up a 3-0 lead to extend his winning streak to nine consecutive games. Edmund stopped the losing streak by taking the fourth game, but Schwartzman won the final three games to close out the third set 6-1. Schwartzman set up a second round clash against either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Taylor Fritz.

Lorenzo Sonego edged past Andreas Seppi 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 after 1 hour and 45 minutes setting up a second round match against Karen Khachanov.

The first set went on serve without break points and was decided by the tie-break. Sonego, who reached the quarter final in Marrakesh last week and came through the qualifying round in Monte-Carlo, earned two set points at 6-4 and sealed the first on his first chance. Seppi saved two set points in the first game of the second set. Both players went on serve until the seventh game when Sonego got the decisive break. Sonego served out the win 6-4 on his second match point at deuce.

David Goffin beat Argentina’s Guido Andreozzi 6-1 6-4 after 85 minutes to clinch his 10th win in Monte-Carlo. Goffin beat Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic to advance to the semifinal in Monte-Carlo before losing to Rafael Nadal. Goffin will face Dusan Lajovic, who beat Malek Jaziri 6-4 6-4.

Mikhail Kukushkin beat France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-4 setting up a second round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Last year’s Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato was leading 4-0 before Damir Dzumhur was forced to retire due to injury. Cecchinato will face Stan Wawrinka in the second round.

This year’s Sofia semifinalist Marton Fucsovics edged Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5 3-6 6-1 to secure his spot in the second round, where he will face either Adrian Mannarino or Cameron Norrie.

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Novak Djokovic Confirmed For Olympics But Del Potro Pulls Out After Medical Advice

The Serbian will be bidding to win gold in Tokyo later this year for the first time in his career.

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This year’s Olympic tennis tournament has been given a boost after officials confirmed world No.1 Novak Djokovic will be playing at the Games.

 

The 19-time Grand Slam champion had been contemplating whether to play at the event or not amid ongoing COVID-19 conditions. Djokovic previously said he would reconsider travelling to Tokyo if fans weren’t allowed to attend. Since that comment, organisers have given the green light for up to 10,000 domestic fans to attend Olympic venues. Although foreign fans are banned from attending this year due to the pandemic.

Amid questions over Djokovic’s participation, the Serbian Tennis Federation has told Sportski Zurnal that he has pledged to play. It will be the fourth time the 34-year-old has represented his country in the Olympics. So far in his career, Djokovic has only won one medal which was bronze back in 2008. He also finished fourth in 2012.

“Novak has confirmed his desire to participate in the Olympic Games and we have already sent a list with his name on it to the Olympic Committee of Serbia. It will be forwarded from there,” the Tennis federation told Sportski Zurnal.

As it currently stands Djokovic is on course to achieve the calendar ‘golden slam.’ A rare achievement where a player wins all four Grand Slam titles, as well as the Olympics, within the same year. In singles competition the only person to have ever achieved this was Stefi Graf back in 1988.

“Everything is possible, and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam,” Djokovic said after winning the French Open
“But, you know, I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon. This year we have only two weeks between the first round of Wimbledon and the finals here, which is not ideal because you go from really two completely different surfaces, trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“So obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days’ time. I don’t have an issue to say that I’m going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course, I am.”

Del Potro’s comeback delayed again

There is less positive news for Juan Martin del Potro, who was the player who beat Djokovic to win a bronze medal back in 2012. The Argentine hasn’t played a competitive match on the Tour since June 2019 due to a troublesome knee injury. Back in March the former US Open champion said playing at the Olympics again was motivating him during his rehabilitation.

However, since then progress has been slower than what Del Potro would have liked. As a result, he has been advised not to play in the event and continue his recovery.

Delpo won’t be able to play the Olympics Games. The knee rehab is going well according to the doctor’s plan but he suggested Juan Martin to go on with his rehab process and training, and skip Tokyo 2020,” a statement from Del Potro’s communication team reads.

Since 2010, the former world No.3 and two-time Olympic medallist has undergone eight surgeries.One on his right wrist, three on his left wrist and four on his knee. He has won a total of 22 ATP titles so far in his career.

The Olympic Tennis event will start on July 24th at the Ariake Coliseum.

RELATED STORY: Why Are So Many Tennis Players Skipping The Olympics?

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Vasek Pospisil dispatches James Ward in Eastbourne

Vasek Pospisil is into the second round at Eastbourne.

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Vasek Pospisil (@TennisCanada - Twitter)

The Canadian won his first match on grass of the year beating the local favourite James Ward.

 

Vasek Pospisil is through to the second round of the Viking International ATP 250 in Eastbourne after beating the Brit James Ward in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 13 minutes on court number two.

“It was a good match, I played pretty well, I thought I served well and he is a tough opponent on grass because he has a tough first serve but I was pretty sharp and played well when I needed to and happy to get the win”.

It was the Canadian who had the first chance to break at 1-1 and he got the early break and that one break was good enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second set was much of the same and actually was identical to the first with the world number 66 getting the break to take a 2-1 lead but faced a breakpoint when consolidating the break.

Again that one break was enough for him to serve out the match and book his spot in the next round. This is Pospisil’s first win since the month and after the match, he spoke about how the last couple of months have been for him.

“It was good I just took a break from the tour just to refresh the mind and the body and I hadn’t seen my family in nine months so it was a good reset and I felt I needed a break to kinda be excited about touring and the covid conditions and now I’m back and I am happy to be back and I am playing well so it was a nice break.”

Pospisil will now face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the next round after the Spaniard beat the Swede Mikael Ymer in straight sets 7-5, 6-1.

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Daniil Medvedev Searching For Confidence Boost Ahead Of Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says he is not the same player as he was two years ago when he last played Wimbledon.

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When it comes to playing on the grass this year Daniil Medvedev admits that the biggest issue for him might concern the mental side of the sport as opposed to the physical side.

 

The world No.2 kicked-off his grass swing last week in Halle where he was stunned in the first round by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the Tour in 2020, that was the first time the Russian had played a match on the surface in almost two years. Short on matches, Medvedev is back in action this week in Mallorca after taking a wildcard into the tournament.

“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev told atptour.com. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”

Since he last played at Wimbledon, Medvedev surged on the ATP Tour by winning six titles with all of them being on a hardcourt. Furthermore, he also reached the final of the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. He is the first player outside of the Big Four to be ranked in the world’s top two since July 2005.

Despite his previous success on the grass, Medvedev admits he remains wary about playing on the surface and the conditions he may face.

“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” he said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”

In Mallorca Medvedev has a bye in the first round. His opening match will be against either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or France’s Corentin Moutet.

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