Bronx Open Recap: Andrea Petkovic Brings the Fun, While Yulia Putintseva Brings the Drama - UBITENNIS
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Bronx Open Recap: Andrea Petkovic Brings the Fun, While Yulia Putintseva Brings the Drama

For the first time since 2012, the WTA is back in the Bronx, replacing the tournament that previously took place in New Haven, Connecticut.

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NEW YORK: In the first match of the day on Victor Kiam Stadium, Andrea Petkovic took on Shuai Zhang. Petkovic is a former top 10 player, but finds herself ranked 89th in the world with an 8-14 record this season. With that ranking, she’s been forced to play qualifying at many tournaments. Painfully, she’s failed to qualify at six tournaments this year despite winning the first round of qualifying at all of those events. She’s directly into this new, smaller WTA event. But in the opening round faced a tough draw in the fourth seed Zhang, who was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon just last month.

 

In the first set, the players would trade three straight breaks, with Petkovic breaking twice thanks to some penetrating forehands. After serving out the first set, the 31-year-old German would break two more times to open the third, yet Zheng returned the favor to even the second at 3-3. Much like the first set though, a few crucial forehand winners would get Petkovic the break to go up 5-4. All that was left was a Petko hold, followed by a Petko dance, to cap off a satisfying win in straight sets.

After missing some critical serves earlier in the first set, Petkovic would say tell the on-court interviewer that her ace on set point was out of frustration. “Sometimes you’ve got to use violence, I guess,” she cheekily said in the post-match interview. Andrea will faYce another recent Wimbledon quarterfinalist in the next round in Camila Giorgi, who comfortably defeated Margarita Gasparyan today in the second match on the Bronx Open’s main court.

The crowd was rather sparse to start the day, not surprising for a new event about an hour outside midtown Manhattan at 10:00am local time on a Monday. However, there were a few vocal Petko fans, who Andrea came over to thank after the match. Contrarily, Yulia Putintseva wouldn’t have quite as much fun on this day.

In the second match of the day on Pershing Square Stadium, Putintseva faced Lin Zhu, a 25-year-old qualifier from China. It all started off well for Yulia, who moved Zhu all around the court with drop shots, lobs, and passes, gaining herself the break in the third game. But it all started to unravel when she attempted to serve out the set at 5-4, as a few close line calls didn’t go Putintseva’s way. She had no recourse as there is no Hawkeye at this tournament, and the chair umpire would not overrule.

After getting broken for 5-5, Yulia would call the trainer to have her right arm and shoulder worked on. She’d earn three break points immediately following the medical timeout, but after failing to capitalize on any of them, Yulia would become even more frustrated. She would complain about another close line call, and regarding the ball kids not retrieving her towel quickly enough. She’d eventually toss her racket against the wall, as well as slam it down on the ground after serving a double fault in the tiebreak. When she went down 5-1 in the tiebreak, she hit a ball in the direction of her coach. Her coach spent much of this time looking down at his nails, especially when she sought his eye contact. Zhu would take the first set tiebreak 7-2.

The second set would see drive Putintseva find even more things to complain about: more close line calls, more ball kid frustration, fans talking in the crowd, and police sirens. She would even mock Zhu’s team for cheering their player on, feeling they were cheering her errors. In between service points, Yulia could be heard saying, “Unbelievable, this tournament is unbelievable.” That was shortly followed by, “God help me.” Putintseva would lose the second set and the match, and immediately gripe to the chair umpire regarding the conditions she had to play under. That may have been both the first and the last match in the Bronx for Putintseva.

In other action on Monday, American CoCo Vandeweghe continued to fight her way back from a foot injury that sidetracked her 2018 season and caused her to miss most of this season as well. Two years ago, she reached the quarters or better at three of the four Majors. Now she finds herself ranked 466th in the world, and received a wild card into this event. Today in just her third match of 2019, she took just three games at the hands of Anna Blinkova. It’s going to be a long road back for CoCo, was just 19 months ago was ranked inside the top 10.

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Jannik Sinner reaches the quarter final at the ATP Challenger in Ortisei

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Just five days after winning the ATP Next Gen title in Milan Italian 18-year-old rising star Jannik Sinner returned to the court to play at the Sparkasse Challenger in Ortisei in Val Gardena, less than two hours from his hometown of San Candido in the Italian region of Sudtyol.

 

Sinner started his tournament in Ortisei with a 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 win over Lucas Miedler and continued his campaign with a 6-3 6-4 win over his compatriot Roberto Marcora in a sold-out night session to qualify for the quarter finals.

Sinner broke Marcora in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and held on his next service games to close out the first set 6-3 with an ace after rallying from 0-30 down in the ninth game. Sinner broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead in the second set and never looked back in his next service games to seal the win. Sinner will face Federico Gaio, who beat world number 172 Danilo Petrovic 6-4 6-4.

Sinner became the youngest winner ever in the ATP Challenger circuit last February in Bergamo. He won his second Challenger title in Lexington last summer. He has improved his ranking by 600 points to a career-high of number 96 in the ATP Ranking.

Italian wild card Lorenzo Musetti swept aside Bernabé Zapata Miralles 6-4 6-0 setting up a quarter final match against Austria’s Sebastian Ofner, who beat his compatriot Dennis Novak in the tie-break of the third set 3-6 6-3 7-6 (8-6).

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Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek end the season with a win over Rain Klaasen and Michael Venus

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Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek beat Jonas Bjorkman Group winners Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London ending their season with a win.

 

Klaasen and Venus got the first break of the match in the fifth game, but they were broken back in the eighth game, as they failed to serve out for the first set.

Dodig and Polasek earned a chance to close out the first set in the 10th game. Klaasen and Venus fended off two set points to force a tie-break. Klaasen and Venus took a 4-3 lead, but Dodig and Polasek reeled off four points to seal the tie-break 7-4.

Dodig and Polasek earned an early break at the start of the second set and held on their serve to claim the win.

“I think we had amazing season. We played 11 tournaments together and now we are here in London. To close the season with a win here is a great feeling. We are looking forward to next year”,said Dodig.

 “It’s awesome to win here. The atmosphere throughout the week has been great. It’s been an unbelievable journey. I am really happy we can finish the season with a win here. There is no better feeling”, said Polasek.  

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Matteo Berrettini Scores Historic Win Before Exit From ATP Finals

The 23-year-old ends his breakthrough season on the ATP Tour with another milestone in his career.

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LONDON: Matteo Berrettini has become the first Italian man in history to win a match at the ATP Finals after defeating Dominic Thiem on Thursday afternoon.

 

The world No.8 managed to dismantle the game of his rival, who was far from his best at times, with the help of his blistering serve to seal the 7-6(3), 6-3, victory. Ending Thiem’s streak of four consecutive wins over top 10 players, including Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer earlier this week. In total Berrettini hit 30 winners to 21 unforced errors and converted both of his break point opportunities.

“I’ve always had great fights against him. I was able to stay mentally focused, especially in the first set when I lost my serve because I didn’t play a great game.” Berrettini said afterward.
“I’m really happy with my performance because I am not feeling great physically.” He added.

The downside to the round-robin format of the event is that some matches end up being irrelevant with this being one of them. Regardless of the outcome, Thiem has already qualified for the semi-finals and Berrettini is on his way out. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Italian was playing for pride at The O2 Arena.

A close start to the match saw neither playing managing to gain any momentum during the first eight games. Then inconsistencies in Thiem’s game started to haunt him. Berrettini’s ability to hit the ball deep into the court forced his rival to make a series of errors as he broke for a 5-4 lead. However, it was his turn to stumble behind his serve as Thiem broke back to level with relative ease.

Despite neither player capitalizing on their advantages, the tiebreaker was a one-sided encounter. Three Thiem unforced errors, as well as a winning Berrettini slice, saw him go behind 0-4 in the blink of an eye. Creating enough of a margin for Berrettini to seal the first set with the help of a 134 mph ace.

Thiem clearly looked flat on the court compared to two days ago when he downed Djokovic, however, nothing should be taken away from Berrettini. Who kept focus and stuck to his game plan throughout the match. A backhand passing shot, followed by a crosscourt winner enabled him to break once again midway through the second set. Easing towards victory after just 76 minutes play, Berrettini closed the match out with a delicate drop shot.

“I’m really proud of myself, but also for my team, my family and my friends. It’s been an unbelievable season.” He reflected on his year.
“I didn’t expect at the beginning of the season to be here (in London). I hope to come back next year, but now I just want to say thanks to those guys (his team). Without them, it couldn’t be possible.”
“I’m happy to finish with a win.“

Despite the loss, Thiem will finish at the top of the Bjorg Born Group. He will play the runner-up of the other group in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Whilst Berrettini’s ATP season is over, he can’t rest yet. Next week he will be in Madrid playing for his country in the Davis Cup along with many other of his fellow players.

“There is one more event. I have to rest a little bit and then I think I deserve a holiday.” He declared.

Berrettini ends 2019 with 43 wins on the ATP Tour in what is a career best. He started the year ranked 54th in the world and didn’t make his top 10 debut until last month.

Italian men in the ATP Finals

-C. Barazzutti in 1978 – 0 wins and 3 loses
-A. Panatta in 1975 – 0 wins and 3 losses
-M. Barrettini in 2019 – 1 win and 2 losses

 

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