Khachanov Outlasts Crowd Favourite to Reach Montreal QF - UBITENNIS
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Khachanov Outlasts Crowd Favourite to Reach Montreal QF

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Courtesy: ATP Media/TennisTV

-Montreal, Quebec

 

Karen Khachanov spoiled the party in Montreal on Thursday afternoon. Not only did he defeat Montreal native Felix Auger-Aliassime at his home tournament, he sent him home on his birthday no less.

Khachanov and Auger-Aliassime played a two hour 50 minute entertaining three setter on Court Central in the 3rd Round of the Rogers Cup and it was the 22-year old Russian who got the better of the 19-year old Canadian 6-7 (7-9), 7-5, 6-3.

It wasn’t the cleanest of matches between the two opponents. Both players combining for 98 unforced errors as opposed to just 53 winners. 12 of Auger-Aliassime’s 52 mistakes were double faults, something that has plagued the teenager in matches of late.

The crowd was understandably very pro Auger-Aliassime but at times they got a little too carried away. Fans began shouting “out” on a couple of occasions when a Khachanov ball appeared close to the baseline. The World No. 8 got somewhat agitated and chair umpire Mohammed Lahyani had to ask the crowd to be respectful to both players.

Khachanov who has won four career ATP titles, had a chance to take the opening set on several occasions. He served for the opener up 5-4 but was quickly broken after making three of his 23 errors in the set. He then lead 6-4 in the tiebreak but couldn’t convert either of his set points. After missing a forehand to go down 8-7 in the breaker, Khachanov whacked a ball entirely out of the stadium in frustration and received a warning from Lahyani. Auger-Aliassime hammered a big serve a short time later and the set was his.

In the second set, Auger-Aliassime looked to be building momentum breaking Khachanov in the opening game and then quickly  holding serve at Love to go up 2-0.

However, the Canadian couldn’t contain the lead. Auger-Aliassime was broken in three straight service games which again gave Khachanov a chance to serve out the set. But he couldn’t do it, as he was broken at Love.

Three games later he did get the job done. A double fault and a pair of forehands including one that went long on set point evened up the match for the No. 6 seed.

The difference in the third set came in the fourth game. With Auger-Aliassime beginning to look tired Khachanov gave himself two break point chances in the game. He converted the second after Auger-Aliassime sent a backhand long. That gave the Russian a 3-1 lead. Despite the Canadian crowd urging their player on, Khachanov was unfazed and wasn’t really challenged in his final service games. He finished things off with a big serve down the middle and sent the pro Auger-Aliassime crowd home disappointed.

“I’m happy. I have to stay proud of what I’ve done,” said the birthday boy. “For sure frustrated because it was a big occasion. There was a lot of expectations, pressure, you name it. I think I handled that well. But to be playing in the end good and to lead in a match, to have a chance to win… It’s tough to see it slip away, but there’s reason for that. It just means that I still have things to improve to win these type of matches and to deal better with these type of moments.”

“It was rollercoaster match. Sometimes it’s called winning ugly,” said Khachanov.  I think of the conditions and everything, it was completely different comparing when I played against Stan yesterday. I think it was really a competitive match from both of us. Felix is a great player, as I said many times before.”

At the end of the match as the players shook hands, the TV microphones picked up the Russian saying “Sorry” to his opponent. It was a moment Khachanov explained after the match to the Press.

“I didn’t have anything against him, so I just said sorry like in terms if he felt that I was going against him, that I was not polite to him. I just said sorry so he doesn’t think it was against him. I just explain him that it was the crowd. I don’t have anything against when they cheer for Felix. It’s normal. He’s home favorite, especially from Montreal. I wish they could cheer the same way in Russia for me (smiling). But still, you know, not when I miss or not wishing me to miss, screaming during the points, Out. I think it’s unrespectful. I just got crazy. On the other side, I provoke the crowd, and that gave me also some kind of energy, as well.”

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claim their first ATP Finals title in London

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The French team formed by Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claimed their first men’s doubles title with a 6-3 6-4 win over Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus in 70 minutes at the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London ending the 2019 ATP season on a high note with back-to-back titles in Paris Bercy and London. They remained unbeaten during the whole week at the ATP Finals in London winning all five matches in straight sets.

 

Herbert and Mahut fended off all four break points they faced scoring their ninth consecutive match win. The French doubles specialists have become the first team to win the doubles ATP Finals title without dropping a set since Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in 2015.

Herbert and Mahut fended off break points in the third game of the match before earning the only break of the opening set in the next game. The Frenchmen saved a break point in the sixth game before breaking serve in the seventh game.

They have become the French team to win the ATP Finals doubles title since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro, who triumphed in Shanghai in 2005.

Herbert and Mahut have won 15 doubles titles as a team during their career. This year they became the eighth men’s doubles team to complete the career Grand Slam at last January’s Australian Open and also won the Rolex Paris Masters in front of their home fans.

Last year they came within one point of winning the ATP Finals title against Mike Bryan and Jack Sock after holding a match point.

“Thank you Nicolas for sharing the court, for having so much enjoyable moments and giving me so much joy, when I am with you on the court. You played an unbelievable final, so thank you for that”, said Pierre Hugues Herbert.

 

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Jannik Sinner wins his third ATP Challenger in Ortisei

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Jannik Sinner won the ATP Challenger in Ortisei adding another title to his impressive collection of trophies he lifted during a memorable 2019 season.

 

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion beat world number 173 Sebastian Ofner from Austria 6-2 6-4 in 1 hour and 6 minutes in the final of the Sparkasse Challenger Val Gardena Sudtirol at the Tennis Center in Ortisei.

Sinner won his third ATP Challenger title in 2019 after his previous wins in Bergamo and Lexington. He also reached the final in Ostrava. During the tournament the 18-year-old player from San Candido beat Lucas Miedler in the first round, Roberto Marcora in the second round, Federico gaio in the quarter final and Antoine Hoang in the semifinal without dropping a set.

Sinner will improve his ranking to his career-high at world number 78 in the ATP Ranking becoming the sixth best ranked Italian player after Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego, Marco Cecchinato and Andreas Seppi.

Sinner broke serve in the fifth game of the opening set to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner missed two game points in the seventh game. The Austrian player faced another break point after his third double fault. In the next game Sinner saved the first break point he faced. Sinner closed out the first set 6-2 after two backhand errors from Ofner in the eighth game.

Sinner went up a break to open up a 2-0 lead, but Ofner broke back in the fourth game and held on his serve to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner saved three break points in the seventh game to take a 4-3. Sinner converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and served out the win with two consecutive aces.

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Tomas Berdych: It Is Up To Others To Decide My Legacy

The former top-10 player spoke with reporters for the first time since officially retiring from the sport

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Tomer Berdych (far left) among group of recently retired player's attending special presentation at The 2019 ATP Finals

LONDON: Tomas Berdych has said his future plans is ‘to not have a plan’ after officially retiring from tennis on Saturday at the age of 34.

 

The former Wimbledon runner-up joined a series of other former players to celebrate their careers in a special on-court presentation at the ATP Finals. Also present was Radek Stepanek and David Ferrer. News of Berdych’s decision to walk away from the sport surfaced earlier this week after a Czech newspaper spoke with his father Martin.

Speculation has mounted in recent months about Berdych’s future in the sport after struggles with injury issues concerning his back and hip. He hasn’t played on the tour since the US Open. Overall, he has only managed to play 22 matches this season. Winning 13 of them.

“I was able to train, practice, prepare, and then you get to the tournament, and then I play three games, the problem came back.” Berdych explained during a press conference about his decision.
“You put all the negative stuff on the one side, and then the positive is to go on court, fight, win the match, and there was no chance to achieve that. There is really no point to continue.”

Playing in the shadows on the Big Four contingent, the Czech still managed to establish himself as a household name. Albeit on a smaller scale. As of this week, he is ranked as the 11th highest-earning player on the ATP Tour in history with more than $29 million in prize money. His achievements include winning 13 ATP titles and spending 794 consecutive weeks in the top 100. At his peak, he was fourth in the world rankings and finished seven seasons inside the top 10.

Like any other player, it hasn’t always been a smooth journey for Berdych. One example was during the 2012 Australian Open where he was booed off the court after defeating Nicolas Almagro during what was a bad-tempered encounter. However, fortunately, most of his career has been free from controversy.

“Do I have any regrets? No, I think even the bad things or the negative experience that I went through or I experienced or I have done, I think they were there for the reason. I think without them, I wouldn’t be as good as I was.” Berdych stated.
“I think even the bad ones were there for a reason.”

Now he has stepped away from the sport for good, what does the future have in store? According to the Czech, he is in no intention of rushing into anything else soon. Although he admits that it may not be tennis-related.

“The plan is actually not to have any plans. The last 15, 20 years was so hectic and so demanding that I just need to just to breathe out easily after all those years.”

As the chapter closes on the career of one of the Czech Republic’s most successful male players in the Open Era, he leaves the sport with high respect from both his fans and fellow rivals. As for his legacy, he says that it is not for him to decide.

“I think I’m not the correct one to judge that. I was trying to do the best I possibly can, and I think this is something that you created with your achievement and with your behavior.” He concludes.

Berdych’s career in numbers

2 – number of Davis Cup titles won
4 – highest ATP ranking achieved
13– number of ATP titles
53 – number of wins over top 10 players
342 – number of losses on the ATP Tour
640 – number of wins on the ATP Tour
2002 – the year he turned pro
2019 – the year he retired
29,491,328 – career prize money (in US dollars)

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