Stefanos Tsitsipas Thumps Zverev To Qualify For Next Stage Of ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas Thumps Zverev To Qualify For Next Stage Of ATP Finals

The anticipated batle of the young guns ended up being a one-way dominance by Tsitsipas.

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LONDON: Stefanos Tsitsipas’ dream debut at the ATP Finals is gathering momentum after he produced a clinical straight sets win over defending champion Alexander Zverev. 

 

The world No.6 was relentless in his attacking of his opponents game as he rallied to a convincing 6-3, 6-2, win. Expanding his head-to-head record against Zverev to 4-1 in his favor and qualifying for the semi-finals of the tournament. Achieving yet another historic milestone for Greek tennis. The dominant 73-minute performance saw Tsitsipas win 86% of his first service points as he blasted 21 winners past his rival.

“I am really surprised by my performance today.” Said Tsitsipas. “I mean, I did everything right and once again it was not just me out there (on the court). A whole bunch of people came and supported me. It was a cool situation.”

Taking to court at The O2 Arena was the two youngest players in this year’s tournament. The combined age of 21-year-old Tsitsipas and 22-year-old Zverev made it the youngest match to take place in the tournament for a decade (43.94). Andy Murray locked horns with Juan Martin del Potro back in 2009 with a total age of 32.72.

Billed as a clash between two rising stars of the sport, proceedings got off to a level footing. Both could produce some blistering serving as well as some impressive defensive skills. Tsitsipas was the first to be tested in the fifth game after battling his way through a four-deuce game. Avoiding the scare, the Greek went on to break for a 5-3 lead with the help of a lackluster Zverev service game that featured three unforced errors in the row. The breakthrough was enough to enable him to close the opening set with the help of another mistake from across the court.

It was evident that Zverev was clearly rattled as he struggled to conjure up the form that saw him dismantle Rafael Nadal just two days ago. Yet another error-stricken service game from the German at the start of the second set enabled a determined Tsitsipas to break once more. Continuing to carefully construct his points and bully a growingly frustrated Zverev around the court, the double break was sealed shortly after as he strolled to a one-sided victory with little resistance.

“I’m just playing my game. I have a clear picture and a clear mindset out there on the court.” The Australian Open semi-finalist stated.
“I’ve been trying to mix my game up a lot, trying to be unpredictable and that has helped me.’
“I have also devoted a lot of time on my serve, which has improved tremendously over the past couple of months. Me and my team are doing a great job together.”

The win means that Nadal is required to defeat the Greek if he wishes to progress to the semi-final stage of the tournament. He leads their head-to-head 4-1, but did lose to Tsitsipas earlier this year on his beloved clay at the Madrid Masters.

“I will have to give it my all. I know it won’t be easy.” Tsitsipas previewed his next match. “He is one of the toughest players out there. He plays with a lot of intensity. It requires a lot of focus and a lot of concentration.”
“I’m going to have to serve past my limits.”

The final round-robin matches, which is when Tsitsipas plays Nadal, will take place on Friday.

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Nikoloz Basilashvili survives scare in Sardinia

The third day of the Italian 250 event saw a trio of seeded players secure their places in the quarter-finals.

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A strong Mediterranean wind was not enough to blow away Nikoloz Basilashvili at the Sardegna Open as he came through a tense 3-setter against Slovakian qualifier Jozef Kovalik.

 

The fourth seed’s typically aggressive style at times threatened to prove his undoing in Cagliari. A topsy-turvy encounter in blustery conditions was ultimately defined by the marathon tenth game in the deciding set, Kovalik missing five match points as his opponent’s serve just about held firm. Basilashvili then immediately broke himself, going on to complete a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, victory.

He will take on Jan-Lennard Struff in the quarter-finals. The fifth seed overpowered Britain’s Liam Broady 6-4 6-2, a much-improved performance from the German after his nervy first-round slugfest with Joao Sousa.

Qualifier Broady, whose strong start to the year has seen him reach a career-high ranking of 152, started well. He broke the fifth seed in the second game, but Struff was able to respond immediately before going on to take the first set 6-4. The Brit faded in the second set, Struff’s superior ranking showing as he overpowered his opponent with some brutal forehands and booming serves. If both men bring their best form, his match-up with Basilashvili on Friday should be an entertaining encounter.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1379725700949770242

Elsewhere, Aljaz Bedene defeated Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 7-6(5). Fresh from an impressive win over Guido Pella in round one, qualifier Gerasimov would have had high hopes to progress further, facing an opponent ranked only 22 places higher. It looked good for the Belarussian as he edged a break ahead early on, but the ever-reliable Bedene reeled off three games in a row to take the first set. A similarly tight second set looked to be going Gerasimov’s way when he stormed to a 4-0 lead in the tie break, but Bedene once again took charge, winning 7 of the next 8 points to book a spot in the next round.

His opponent there will be second seed Taylor Fritz, who enjoyed a relatively easy ride in the final match of the day. He breezed through the opening set against Andrej Martin 6-2, looking strong in his first outing on clay in 2021. The players traded two breaks each in the second set before Fritz took the tie break 7-4. This week is the first tournament Fritz is playing as American No.1 after recently overtaking John Isner.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1379857536912924675

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Roger Federer Set To Start Clay Campaign In Madrid

The world No.7 will be back on the Tour shortly as he seeks his first title since the 2019 Swiss Indoors.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is set to return to competitive tennis later this month after being included in the entry list for a key Masters 1000 tournament.

 

The former world No.1 is currently down to play the Madrid Open which will start on April 30th and takes place over 10 days. Federer returned to the Tour at the Dubai Tennis Championships last month in what was his first tournament in over a year due to a knee injury which required two operations. In Dubai he reached the quarter-finals before losing to Nikoloz Basilashvili who went on to win the title.

Since then the Swiss maestro has returned to the practice courts to “work his way back out on tour,” according to his agent Tony Godsick. Federer has already confirmed that he will play on the clay this season but admits that it is because he has little choice. The 39-year-old has already stated that his goal is to be in top shape in time for the grass-court swing which starts after the French Open.

“What comes before the grass courts are the clay courts,” Federer told reporters on March 11th. “So I have no choice but to play on clay if I want to play matches.
“The clay could be good or bad for me. I will only know in practice, but I don’t think it’s going to be bad. I assume I will play some clay.”

It isn’t the first time Federer has started his return to the clay in Madrid. In 2019 he played his first match on the surface in almost three years at the tournament after skipping the clay-court season the two previous years.

Also on the Madrid entry list is Federer’s rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal who both missed the Miami Open. Dominic Thiem is also set to play in the tournament after he recently announced a delay to his return to professional tennis because he isn’t ready to compete yet.

The Madrid Open has been largely dominated by the Big Four (including Andy Murray) for more than a decade. Since 2008 only one player outside of the quartet has won the title which was Alexander Zverev back in 2018. Last year’s edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Rafael Nadal Will Be Ready For Start Of Clay Season, Says Doctor

A member of Nadal’s team has issued some encouraging news.

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Rafael Nadal (image via twitter.com)

It appears that Rafael Nadal’s recent woes are behind him as he looks to get back on track at next week’s Monte Carlo Masters.

 

The 34-year-old hasn’t played a tournament since his loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open earlier this year. Throughout the first quarter of the season Nadal has been troubled by a back problem which he first picked up in Melbourne. The injury forced him to pull out of both the Rotterdam Open and Miami Masters. Overall, he has played just five matches so far in 2021.

Nadal will be looking to regain momentum on his beloved clay. A surface which he has won 60 ATP titles on, including a record 13 French Open trophies. According to his doctor, Ángel Ruiz-Cotorro, the world No.3 is ‘training well’ at present.

“He is training well, he is training hard. His goal is clay. First is Monte Carlo and his final goal is Roland Garros. It is clear,” Cotorro told RTVE.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will be seeking his 12th title in Monte Carlo in what is a tournament record. He has won three out of the four past editions with the only exception being Fabio Fognini who won the title in 2019. Last year’s tournament was axed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking further on in the calendar, Nadal is expected to play tournaments in Barcelona, Madrid and Rome before the French Open which is set to start in May. Although it is possible that his commitments could change. A member of the French government has also admitted that it is possible that Roland Garros could be delayed for a second year in a row due to the pandemic but no such change has been formally announced.

So far in his career Nadal has won 86 ATP titles and earned more then $123 million in prize money. He is only the fourth player in the Open Era to have won 1000 or more matches on the men’s Tour.

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