Feliciano Lopez Dashes Auger-Aliassime’s Top 20 Dream To Reach Queen’s Final - UBITENNIS
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Feliciano Lopez Dashes Auger-Aliassime’s Top 20 Dream To Reach Queen’s Final

The 37-year-old has booked a place in his first ATP final since 2017.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

LONDON: It was a case of experience prevailing over youth at the Fever-Tree Championships on semi-finals day as Feliciano Lopez outlasted Next Gen star Felix Auger-Aliassime in three sets.

 

The 37-year-old Spaniard withstood some fierce play from his opponent, which featured 25 aces, to clinch the 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4, win in what was a clash of the generations. Not since 1977 has there been a final or semi-final match contested on the ATP Tour with a bigger age difference than the one that took place at Queen’s. Lopez is 18 years and nine months older than his opponent.

Nevertheless, age proved irrelevant in the 136-minute clash as the world No.113 held his nerve against the Canadian. Hitting 15 aces, 35 winners and saving all eight of the break points he faced.

“It’s a great win for me, Felix is a tough opponent. He served unbelievably during the whole match. I managed to return better as the match went on.” A delighted Lopez said during his on-court interview with the BBC.
“I’m so happy, I can’t believe I’m in the final here again. It’s crazy how we old guys can still perform well.”

With both players illustrating their potential on the court, the proceedings of their clash headed into a decider. Lopez, who won the tournament back in 2017, was the first to draw blood. Capitalizing on a lackluster service game by Auger-Aliassime, he broke to love on route to a 3-2 lead. Immediately his rival threatened to break back in the next game, but he managed to tame that threat posed with the help of a forehand shank from across the court. Closing in on 24th win at the Queen’s Club, four match points came and went thanks to some impressive resilience from Auger-Aliassime. It was on the fifth attempt when Lopez prevailed after hitting a delicate drop shot at the net.

“I feel very lucky to still be competitive at this stage of my career. I would never have imagined I could reach the final of Queen’s at 37 years old.” He said afterward.

Lopez’s win has denied his opponent the chance to break into the world’s top 20 on Monday. Nevertheless, the Canadian is already the youngest player to crack the top 25 since Lleyton Hewitt back in 1999. Auger-Aliassime also missed out on the chance to become the youngest Queen’s finalist since Boris Becker back in 1985.

France’s Gilles Simon will be Lopez’s opponent in the final. The Spaniard leads their head-to-head 5-2 and won their three most recent meetings since 2017. Two of those took place on the grass.

“I have a tough record against Feliciano, especially on grass. I lost the final against him in Eastbourne already.” Said Simon. “He’s a difficult player to beat on grass. He keeps the ball low. He has this huge serve that is giving him a lot of free points. And then he’s moving really well and covering well the court.’
“So it’s gonna be a physical match, also. And I hope I will be ready for that.”

Lopez is also playing in the doubles draw with Andy Murray. Their quarter-final match will follow later today.

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Andrey Rublev overcomes Yuichi Sugita to reach the third round at the Australian Open

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Number 17 seed and this year’s Doha and Adelaide champion Andrey Rublev extended his winning streak to ten consecutive matches with a 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7-5) win over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita after 1 hour and 53 minutes.

 

Rublev won 38 of his 42 first-service points and 8 of his 10 net points. Rublev earned two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to win the second set. Both players held serve in the third set. Sugita saved the only break point in the 12th game to hold his serve. Rublev sealed the tie-break 7-5 on his second match point.

The 22-year-old Russian player has dropped just three sets in ten matches and won back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide in the first two weeks of the 2020 season.

Rublev hit 20 aces and dropped only four first serve points and never faced a break point.

“The back injury was really tough. Even when I already started to play, I was feeling that I was still not there. Even when I came back after the back injury, it took me four, five months to start again to feel I am here, I am playing tennis again. I started telling to myself: “Try to enjoy, you are on court. Then, when the wrist injury happened, at the beginning it was even worse. Finally, when I play my first tournament, and actually I lost my first match, it was in Halle, I was 7-6 in the third against Mats Moraing. Inside I was feeling that even though I lost, I was a little bit happy that I am here. I am playing. I am enjoying it. From that time, I started to play better and better every week”.  

Rublev set up a third-round match against David Goffin, who beat Pierre Hughes Herbert 6-1 6-4 4-6 1-6 6-3. Rublev earned two breaks of serve in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. The Belgian player went up a double break in the fifth and seventh games to take a 5-2 lead. Herbert pulled one break back in the eighth game at love for 3-5. Goffin served out the second set in the 10th game. Goffin got an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Herbert broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Herbert sealed the third set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game. Herbert earned two breaks to race out to a 4-0 lead. Goffin got one break back in the fifth game at deuce, but he dropped his serve for the third time to lose the fourth set 1-6.

In the fifth set Herbert broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Goffin broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games. Goffin sealed the win with a break in the eighth game to seal a thrilling win after 3 hours and six minutes.

Ernests Gulbis beat Aljaz Bedene 7-5 6-3 6-2 in 2 hours and 20 minutes. Gulbis saved all eight break points and broke four times. Gulbis sealed the first set with a late break at 6-5. The Latvian player got another break in the fifth game to clinch the second set 6-3 and raced out to a 6-2 win in the third set with two breaks of serve.

Gael Monfils came back from losing the first set to beat Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic 4-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 7-5. Monfils dropped his serve in the first game of the opening set. Karlovic missed a set point in the tie-break of the second set. Monfils earned two breaks in the third and fourth games to close out the match.

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Daniil Medvedev Eyes Further Improvement Despite Straight Sets Win At Australian Open

The world No.4 rates his performance so far in the grand slam tournament.

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Daniil Medvedev (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev believes he is yet to reach full throttle at the Australian Open after cruising into the third round of the tournament with a straight sets victory.

 

The US Open runner-up eased to a 7-5, 6-1, 6-3, win over Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez Portero. Who was playing in the main draw of a grand slam for only the second time in his career at the age of 22. Dropping serve only one during the match, Medvedev blasted 19 aces and 40 winners past his rival. He also won 74% of his first service points.

Through to the last 32 in Melbourne Park for the second year in a row, the 23-year-old still believes that he could improve further on the court. Earlier in the week he also defeated Frances Tiafoe, who was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open last year.

“I think there are still some things to improve. I think I could be more aggressive few moments of the match.” Said Medvedev.
“At the same time when you win three sets, you don’t want to discuss too much your level or something.’
“Of course, my next match is going to be completely different, so I’m happy with the win and happy to finally win in three sets without a tiebreak.”

As well as battling Martinez on the court, Medvedev was also forced to temporarily halt his match due to a nose bleed. Which occurred during the second set when he was leading 5-0. The Russian insisted that his bleed was not tension related and is something he has gotten used to.

“Let’s say it happens maybe two times a year or maybe once.” He said.
“I remember it actually happened last year Australian Open in first round. I think it was the only time last year, so it can happen sometimes but it’s nothing.”

Medvedev is one of a group of players who have been tipped to break the dominance of the Big Three in grand slam tennis this year. A group consisting of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Last year he won 59 matches on the ATP Tour, which was more than anybody else.

Despite the high expectations, the world No.4 is playing down the hype surrounding him. Branding the Australian Open as ‘just another slam.’ It was during the last major at New York, where he reached his first final before losing to Nadal in three sets.

“I don’t know about other people, but for me, it’s just another slam where I have to win round by round again and again, where I had two tough rounds in my opinion in terms of games, especially the first one against Frances.” He stated.
“So I just take it as any new tournament, as an ATP one, any tournament I play. I just take it round by round. I try to win my matches.”

This year, Medvedev is seeking to go beyond the round round in Melbourne for the first time in his career.

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Fabio Fognini wins epic five-set match against Jordan Thompson

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Fabio Fognini battled past local favourite Jordan Thompson 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 3-6 4-6 7-6 in an epic five set match to score his five-set win at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

 

The first set went on serve in the first five games. Fognini earned the first game in the sixth game, but Thompson broke back to draw level to 4-4. Fognini won the tie-break 7-4 after saving two set points in the 10th game.

Fognini earned an early break in the second game of the second set with a forehand passing shot. The Italian star went up a double break at 15 to race out to a 4-0 lead and closed out the second set 6-1 on his second set point.

Thompson saved two break points in the first game of the third set before breaking serve in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead. The Australian player saved a break point at deuce in the ninth game and held his serve to win the third set 6-3.

Both players went on serve with no break points in the first four games of the fourth set. Thompson converted his only break point in the fifth game and held his serve at 15 to open up a 4-2 lead. The home player did not look back in the next games to win the fourth set 6-4 forcing the match to the fifth set.

Fognini started the fifth set with a hold at love. The fifth set went on serve with no break points until the eighth game when Fognini earned the first break point of the set, but Thompson saved it at deuce to draw level to 4-4. Fognini earned his first match point at 5-4 with a forehand down the line. Thompson saved it with a big ace down the middle.

Thompson fended off another match point with a forehand down the line before holding serve after five deuces to draw level to 5-5. Fognini earned two consecutive match points, but Thompson saved them to force a super tie-break. Thompson made a forehand error at 1-1, but Fognini  double faulted. Fognini took a 7-3 lead after two unforced errors from Thomson. Fognini sealed the fifth set 10-4 with a backhand down the line after 4 hours and 5 minutes. Fognini will face Argentina’s Guido Pella.

“It was a good fight. It was amazing. It’s perfect. I feel good. I am tired for sure. I was two sets to zero in front. He was playing better, he was serving unbelievable. I had 75 match points, and it is more sweat, because it is tood easy winning in three sets”, joked Fognini.

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