Russia aims at winning inaugural ATP Cup title - UBITENNIS
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Russia aims at winning inaugural ATP Cup title

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Danil Medvedev is practising in Perth ahead of with the rest of the Russian team ahead of his debut in the inaugural edition of the ATP Cup against Italy’s Fabio Fognini on 3 January.

 

Russia is one of the strongest contenders for the ATP Cup title, as it features two players (Medvedev and Karen Khachanov) in the top 20. Russia has been drawn in a tough Group D against the United States, Italy and Norway.

Medvedev is aiming at his first Grand Slam title at this year’s Australian Open after losing an epic five-set US Open final against Rafael Nadal. The 23-year-old Russian player started his successful 2019 season by reaching the final in Brisbane. He lost to Novak Djokovic in a 3-hour and 15-minute fourth round battle at the Australian Open.

The young Russian star won his first title of last season in Sofia before reaching the semifinal in Rotterdam, Monte-Carlo and the final in Barcelona. He started the grass season with a semifinal at Queen’s before losing in the third round at Wimbledon.

He reached six consecutive finals during a highly successful hard-court season. He lost to Nick Kyrgios in the Washington final before suffering another defeat against Rafael Nadal in the Montreal Masters 1000 final. Mevdedev clinched two consecutive Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai and became the first Russian Grand Slam finalist since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open and the highest-ranked Russian player since number 4 Nikolay Davydenko in 2008.

“Being in a Grand Slam makes you confident for the upcoming significant tournaments because you know you are capable of achieving that. Before the US Open, my best result was the fourth round and I was not sure about my abilities at Majors and in the best-of five encounters. I know it is possible to compete for the titles there but it is not granted that you have to win a Major in your career. I am going to do my best”, said Medvedev.  

 In the second singles match Karen Khachanov will face Stefano Travaglia before the final doubles match.

“Even without Matteo Berrettini, Italy still has a strong team. It is crucial to make a good start. We will prepare well and do our best on the court. You never know what is going to happen and you have to be ready. Everyone can play tennis and all teams are dangerous. That’s why we have to give our 100%. That’s what I can promise and the results should come. We don’t really have a good record playing with each other. This is the opportunity to change that at the beginning of the new season. I think Danil and I have different styles of play and sometimes you just don’t fit each other, but we could play the doubles if necessary”, said Khachanov.

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Adrian Mannarino sets up quarter final match against Radu Albot at the Singapore Open

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Top seed Adrian Mannarino beat Roberto Marcora 6-3 7-5 to advance to the quarter finals at the Singapore Tennis Open. 

 

Mannarino converted his second break point at deuce in the fifth game of the opening set after six deuces to take a 3-2 lead, as Marcora hit his forehand into the net. The Frenchman earned three set points in the ninth game. Marcora saved the first two chances, but Mannarino sealed the first set on his third chance after 50 minutes. 

Marcora went down 0-40 in the second game of the second set, but he saved all three break points to hold serve at deuce. Mannarino held his serve in the next games and earned two match points on return in the 12th game. He sealed the win, as Marcora sent his backhand into the net. 

“At this stage there is no easy match. I never played against Marcora before, but I knew he had a couple of good games before. In the second set, he got used to the pace and was winning points in the big moments and it looked like it could go either way. I am pretty happy that I managed to keep my focus and win the second set”, said Mannarino. 

Mannarino set up a quarter final against Moldova’s Radu Albot, who fended off three match points to beat Yannick Hanfmann after 2 hours and 42 minutes. Albot fended off match points at 4-5 15-40 and in the second set and at 6-7 in the tie-break. 

Australia’s Matthew Ebden cruised past his compatriot John Millman 6-4 6-1 in 72 minutes. Soonwoo Kwon won 31 of his 38 first service points to beat Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3 6-4 setting up a quarter final against Marin Cilic. Soonwoo Kwon claimed his third ATP Challenger Tour title in Biella beating Italian Next Gen star Lorenzo Musetti.

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Benoit Paire beats Nicholas Jerry to move into the quarter final at the Cirdoba Open

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Benoit Paire claimed a 6-2 6-4 win over Nicholas Jarry after 1 hour and 17 minutes to advance to the quarter finals at the Cordoba Open. Paire has improved his head-to-head record against Jarry to 4-0. 

 

The Frenchman fended off the eight break points he faced and broke twice in the third and fifth games and once in the second set. 

“I am really happy because I didn’t make too many double faults. I saw I was number one at the Australian Open with only one match and 23 double faults, so I am really happy to save it. Even when I was under pressure in the second set, I tried to push a little bit more. I am really happy about how I saved my break points in the second set. He made some mistakes on a few, but I was happy to fight. I did not say anything”,said Paire. 

Paire set up a quarter final against Federico Coria, the younger brother of former world number 3 Guillerrmo Coria. 

Federico Coria came back from one set down to beat Francesco Cerundolo from Argentina, who won three ATP Challenger titles in 2020. Coria reached the quarter final at Rio Open and qualified for his first Masters 1000 main draw in Rome. Slovakia’s Jozef Kovalik rallied from one set down to beat Chilean qualifier Marcelo Tomas Vera 4-6 6-2 6-3 after 2 hours and 12 minutes setting up a quarter final match against Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis, who beat his compatriot Federico Delbonis 6-4 7-5. 

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Iga Swiatek reaches her first WTA Tour semifinal since her Roland Garros triumph

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Iga Swiatek has advanced to her first semifinal since her Roland Garros title last October, when Danielle Collins was forced to retire as she was trailing 2-6 0-3 in the second set. 

 

The 19-year-old Polish player fired 17 aces and and won all 10 points on Collins’ second serve. She held three hard fought service games at deuce at 2-0 and 5-2 in the first set and 1-0 in the second set. 

Swiatek earned an early break to open up a 3-0 lead. Collins broke back in the fifth game for 2-3, but Swiatek broke twice in the sixth and eighth games of the first set and once in the second game of the second set to build up a 6-2 3-0 lead, before Collins was forced to retire following a medical time-out. 

Swiatek set up a semifinal clash against Jill Teichmann, who battled past Anastasjia Sevastova 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 7-5 after 2  hours and 57 minutes. Sevastova saved five match points in the tie-break of the second set. Teichmann faced two match points, as she was serving at 4-5 in the third set. 

Sixteen year-old qualifier Coco Gauff came back from 2-6 2-4 down to beat Shelby Rogers 2-6 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes. 

Rogers broke twice in a row in the fifth and seventh games to win the first set 6-2 and earned two of the three breaks at the start of the start of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Gauff rallied from 2-4 down by winning four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take a 6-4 lead. The third set started with a trade of breaks. Rogers broke at love in the fifth game to take a 4-2 lead. Gauff reeled off four games with two consecutive breaks to close out the third set 6-4. The 16-year-old US player won 14 of her 38 WTA main draw and qualifying matches in three sets and came back from one set down in 10 matches.

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