Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal face a tough draw in Monte-Carlo - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal face a tough draw in Monte-Carlo

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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal lead the main draw in the 113th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 1000 tournament, which traditionally kicks off the European clay season.

 

Nadal claimed his 11th Monte-Carlo title last year and went on to win Barcelona, Rome and his 11th trophy at Roland Garros. Djokovic won two titles in 2013 and 2015. Stan Wawrinka broke the dominance of Nadal and Djokovic when he won in 2014 beating Roger Federer in an all-Swiss final.

The Draw Ceremony was held in the Mediterrenean gardens of the Monte-Carlo Bay and Resort, the official tournament hotel.

Djokovic, who won the Monte-Carlo title twice in 2013 and 2015, will start his Monte-Carlo campaign against either Phillip Kohlschreiber or Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round in the top half of the draw. Kohlschreiber in the second round. Kohlschreiber upset Djokovic at Indian Wells last month. If Djokovic overcomes the first hurdle, he could face either 2016 Monte-Carlo finalist and this year’s Rotterdam champion Gael Monfils or this week’s Marrakesh semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round. Djokovic is projected to meet either 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals Stefanos Tsitsipas or Danil Medvedev in the quarter final. Tsitsipas beat Djokovic in their only head-to-head match at last year’s Rogers Cup. This year’s Indian Wells champion and 2018 Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem or Karen Khachanov loom as potential Djokovic’s rivals in the semifinal. Thiem has been drawn in the top half and will start against either Slovakia’s Martin Klizan or a qualifier before a possible third round clash against David Goffin, who leads 7-3 in his 10 head-to-head matches against the Austrian player.

Rafael Nadal, who skipped Miami to prepare for the European clay season, has been drawn in the bottom half and will face a tough second round clash against either John Millman or this year’s Doha champion Roberto Bautista Agut. Nadal is on a collision course for a potential third round against this year’s Miami semifinalist Denis Shapovalov or Grigor Dimitrov. Nadal’s potential quarter final rivals could be Marin Cilic, 2014 Monte-Carlo champion Stan Wawrinka or 2018 Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato.

 

Alexander Zverev has been drawn in the bottom half and could face a very tough second round match against this year’s Miami semifinalist Felix Auger Aliassime in the second round. The young German player, who lost to Jaume Munar in Marrakesh, is on a collision course against last year’s finalist Kei Nishikori or Borna Coric in the quarter final and could meet Nadal in the semifinal.

 

The draw features intriguing first round matches like Borna Coric vs Hubert Hurkacz (this year’s Indian Wells quarter finalist), Kyle Edmund vs Diego Schwartzman and Stan Wawrinka vs Lucas Pouille.

 

“This has always been a very special place for me. I watched all of the great champions here as a kid, so it was always a dream for me to be here”, said Nadal during the draw ceremony.  

 

 

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Winning Return For Injury-Stricken Kevin Anderson At Queen’s

The world no.8 is playing in his first tournament since the Miami Masters.

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Kevin Anderson of South Africa is seen in action during first round match against Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, on day one of Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club, London on June 17, 2019.

LONDON: Second seed Kevin Anderson has ended his three-month hiatus from the ATP Tour with a marathon win in the opening round at the Fever-Tree Championships.

 

The Wimbledon runner-up overcame a scare to edge past Britain’s Cameron Norrie 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4. Requiring almost two-and-a-half hours on the court, the South African only managed to break his rival in one out of 10 attempts. Still, Anderson found a way to down his rival with the help of 19 aces and 47 winners.

“Cameron is a very tough opponent and I thought it was a very tough, good match,” Anderson told the BBC after his win.

This week is only the fourth tournament the 33-year-old has contested in 2019 and his first since March. He has been sidelined from the tour due to lateral epicondylitis, which is more commonly known as tennis elbow. A condition where there is pain and swelling around the joint.

“It feels fantastic to be back. It’s always difficult to miss tournaments, it’s been a tough year, but there has been a lot of time and effort put in to get me back out there.” He said.

Fortunately, there were no physical problems for Anderson during his latest clash at The Queen’s Club. Over the coming weeks, he will be defending 1200 points on the grass. Working out as 33% of his total points. The highest percentage among top-10 players this season.

“It’s hitting too many serves, but just an injury when you’re in agony, but I’m really pleased with how I served.” Anderson evaluated about his latest performance.
“It feels good now, and it held up well today with a long three-set match. I found a nice rhythm and on the grass that helps.”

Earlier in the day, defending champion Marin Cilic also booked his place in the second round. Taking on Chile’s Christian Garin, he prevailed 6-1, 7-6(5). It was far from a simple task for Cilic, who failed to serve the match out on his first attempt before coming through in the tiebreaker.

Cilic will play Diego Schwartzman in the second round.

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Adrian Mannarino claims his first title at s’Hertogenbosch

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Thirty-year-old Adrian Mannarino finally claimed his first ATP Tour title after beating Australia’s Jordan Thompson 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 on grass at s’Hertogenbosch. Mannarino had lost the previous six finals he played during his career.

 

Mannarino lost his first five matches this year, but claimed the win in 11 of his 19 matches since Delray Beach.

With this win Mannarino has improved his head-to-head record against Thompson to 3-1 after his previous two matches at s’Hertogenbosh in 2017 and Newport in 2018.

Mannarino converted two of his four break point chances and saved six of the seven break points he faced.

Mannarino drew the first blood at love in the opening game. Thompson broke back in the sixth game and faced two set points on serve at 5-6, but he did not convert the first chance with a forehand error. Thompson earned a 6-4 lead in the tie-break. Mannarino saved both set points before claiming the tie- break 9-7 with a backhand down the line winner after 65 minutes.

Mannarino saved two break points after eight deuces in the third game of the second set, before breaking serve in the fourth game. The Frenchman held his next three service games and hit three winners in the ninth game to claim his first title.

“People are going to stop talking about my finals record. In France we have another player Julien Benneteau, who lost 10 finals and never won a title. Every time I was losing a final, I was on my way to Benneteau. This title is a big achievement for me”, said Mannarino.

 

 

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Matteo Berrettini beats Felix Auger Aliassime in Stuttgart final to claim his third career title

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Italian 23-year-old player Matteo Berrettini beat Felix Auger Aliassime 6-4 7-6 (13-11) in the final of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart to claim his third title from four finals in the past 18 months and his second title in 2019 after Budapest. He also finished runner-up in Munich last May. In the roll of honour of the Stuttgart tournament Berrettini follows in the footsteps of Roger Federer, who won last year’s edition of the German tournament. 

 

Berrettini joins an elite group of players born in 1995 or after to win three ATP titles that includes Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios, Karen Khachanov, Danil Medvedev and stefanos Tsitsipas.

Berrettini breaks into the top 30 and makes a big step forward in his career by getting closer to the top 20.

Berrettini has become the first player to win a tournament on grass since Andreas Seppi at Eastbourne 2011.

Berrettini served very well winning all 50 of his service games and won 89 % of his first serve points in this tournament. He was again very solid on serve in the final, where he did not face any break points against Auger Aliassime. Berrettini won five matches in straight sets and faced only two break points against Germany’s Jan Lennard Struff.

The Canadian teenager, who was bidding to win his maiden ATP title, hit 16 aces and fended off five of the six break points he faced.

Berrettini earned the first break in the third game, when Auger Aliassime netted a backhand. The Italian player served well in the next games and held his serve with a volley winner to claim the opening set 6-4 after 32 minutes.

Auger Aliassime saved five break points in the first and fifth games of the second set (recovering from 0-40 down at 2-3) and held his next service games to set up a tie-break. The young Canadian wasted two set points at 6-4 in the tie-break. Auger Aliassime was looking to become the youngest ATP singles champion since Kei Nishikori at Delray Beach in 2008.

Berrettini saved all five set points, while he was serving at 6-7, 8-9 and 10-11 and got a mini-break on the 24th point to claim the win on his third match point.

Berrettini has become the first player to reach the semifinal on three different surfaces this season (Sofia indoors, Munich on clay and Stuttgart on grass).

“On grass, the first tournament of the year on this surface beating these unbelievable guys, there were a lot of tough moments. I never lost my serve, but all the matches were so close and I am very happy for what I did on the court because it was mentally really difficult to stay there and I am really proud of myself”, said Berrettini.

Last year just two players won tournaments without being broken during the whole tournament: Novak Djokovic in Shanghai and Alexander Zverev in Madrid.

 

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