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Croatia clinches decisive doubles match over Poland

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Croatia’s Nikola Mektic and Ivan Dodig defeated Poland’s Hubert Hukacz and Lukacz Kubot 6-2 6-1 in the decisive doubles match to clinch Croatia’s second tie win at the ATP Cup at the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney.

 

Dodig and Mektic broke twice in each set and saved all four break points they faced, They dropped only four first-serve points.

“There are some days when you feel great on the court, like we felt today many things were going our way. I am happy it was the deciding match, and I am happy that we managed to play on the high level today on the deciding point”, said Dodig.

Croatia has clinched wins over Austria and Poland. If Croatia beats Argentina on Wednesday, they will secure their spot in the knock-out stage.

In the first opening match former world number 3 Marin Cilic beat 20-year-old Pole Kacper Zuk 7-6 (10-8) 6-4. Zhuk saved a total of four break points in the first set but he held on his serve. Cilic edged Zhuk 10-8 in a tight tie-break. Cilic won the second set 6-4 with a break in the first game and held his serve in the fourth game after saving three break points. Zhuk fended off a total of seven break points in the second set.

Hubert Hurkacz upset Borna Coric 6-2 6-2 two days after beating Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in the opening tie. Hurkacz did not convert a break point in the second game of the second set, but he broke Coric two games later to open up a 3-1 lead. Hurkacz clinched his fourth break of the match in the final game to seal a straight-set win.

“This was one of the best matches I have played. Borna is a great player and I had to play very well to beat him”, said Hurkacz.

 

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Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos win their doubles team title in 2020 in Rome

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Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos clinched their third doubles team title in 2020 after beating Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin 6-4 5-7 10-8. They are the only team to win multiple ATP Tour trophies this year. 

 

Granollers and Zeballos won their second ATP Masters 1000 trophy as a team after lifting the Rogers Cup in Canada last year. They earned a championships point when Zeballos hit a forehand return winner at 8-8 in the Match Tie-Break. Zeballos and Granollers have improved their record on clay this season to 16-1. They won two consecutive titles in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janiero last February and reached the final in Kitzbuhel. 

“This is one of the best moments in my career. This tournament has a lot of history. I watched it for many years, since I was a little kid, so this tournament is really important. Winning Rome is a huge thing for me and for sure for Marcell too, so can I say ? I am so happy. You could see in our faces when we finished the match”, said Zeballos. 

“After Buenos Aires and Rio, I think we felt very good on clay playing together. We both grew up playing on clay when we were young and we feel very good on clay. I think we can play very good and we are very happy to win our third title of the year on clay”, said Granollers. 

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Diego Schwartzman battles past Denis Shapovalov to reach his first Masters 1000 in Rome

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Argentine’s Diego Schwartzman battled past Denis Shapovalov 6-4 5-7 7-6 after three hours and 15 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Schwartzman broke six times and hit 25 winners to 27 unforced errors. The Argentine held serve in the first game when Shapovalov hit a forehand error. Schwartzman broke serve at 15 when Shapovalov made a double fault in the second game. 

Schwartzman held his service game to open up a 3-0 lead when Shapovalov netted a forehand. Shapovalov held serve at love with a smash winner to claw his way back to 1-3. Both players went on serve in the next four games. Shapovalov forced an error from Schwartzman to convert his third break point, as the Argentine player was serving for the set at 5-3. Schwartzman sealed the first set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game after 48 minutes, as Shapovalov netted a forehand. 

Shapovalov earned two breaks and dropped his serve once to win the second set 7-5. Both players held serve in the first four games, before Shapovalov got the break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The Canadian player consolidated the break with a service winner for 4-2. 

Schwartzman saved two break points in the seventh game before Shapovalov held serve at 15 to build up a 5-3 lead. Schwartzman held serve at love in the ninth game and got the break back to draw level to 5-5, when Shapovalov made a double fault as he was serving for the set.

Schwartzman wasted a game point in the 11th game before dropping serve in the 11th game at deuce. Shapovalov fended off a set point and served out the set at deuce to force the match to the decider. 

Shapovalov saved three break points in the second game before breaking serve with a smash winner to take a 2-1 lead. Schwartzman broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Shapovalov broke serve to take a 3-2 lead, as Schwarzman sent a forehand wide in the fifth game. Shapovalov held serve at 15 to build up a 4-2 lead. Schwartzman broke back in in the eighth game. Shapovalov got his third break in the decisive set with a volley winner. 

Schwartzman broke back to draw level to 5-5, as Shapovalov netted a backhand. They held serve in their next service game to send the match to the tie-break. Shapovalov got an early mini-break in the tie-break, but dropped his serve in the second point, when he sent a forehand wide. Schwartzman open up a 3-1 lead, when Shapovalov made a double fault and hit a drop shot error. 

Shapovalov got the mini-break back, but he made a forehand error to fall behind 2-4. Shapovalov drew level to 4-4 when Schwartzman hit a backhand wide. Schwartzman took a 5-4 lead, as Shapovalov made a backhand error. 

Schwartzman opened up a 6-4 lead after a forehand wide from Shapovalov and converted his first match point to reach his first Masters 1000 final. 

“I am very happy. I think today was a crazy match. It was really tough for us. On my side I am very happy because I won the match. I have two dreams tomorrow. One is winning a tournamnent like this and the secondo ne is being top 10. I need to play more than my 100 per cent. I don’t want to say i twill be impossible because it is not impossible. I know I can beat him, but it’s going to be difficult.”, said Schwartzman.  

Schwartzman will face Novak Djokovic in tomorrow’s final. If the Argentine wins the title match, he will break into the top 10. 

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Karolina Pliskova wins all-Czech semifinal against

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Defending champion Karolina Pliskova cruised past 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-2 6-4 on the Central Court after 82 minutes to set up a final against Simona Halep at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome.

 

Pliskova has reached her second consecutive final in the Eternal City. 

Pliskova had already beat Vondrusova last year in Miami en route to reaching the final, where she lost to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty. 

Pliskova got her first break in the fourth game to open a 4-1 lead. Vondrousova earned a break point in the seventh game, but Pliskova saved it with an overhead. Vondrousova saved two set points in the eighth game, but she faced a third chance after a forehand error. Pliskova broke serve with a backhand return on her third set point. 

Vondrousova broke serve in the first game of the second set with backhand. Pliskova broke straight back in the second game at deuce and saved two break point in the third game to hold serve for 2-1. Pliskova converted her third break point chance in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Vondrousova broke straight back at 15 and held her service game to draw level to 4-4. Pliskova saved a break point to hold serve for 5-4 and sealed the win with a break at 30 in the 10th game. 

Pliskova set up a final against Simona Halep, who beat Garbine Muguruza in the first semifinal. Pliskova won her last two head-to-head against Halep in 2019 in Miami and at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, but Halep leads 7-5.  

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