‘The Most Stressful Tiebreak I've Ever played’ - Australia Ousts Great Britain In ATP Cup Epic - UBITENNIS
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‘The Most Stressful Tiebreak I’ve Ever played’ – Australia Ousts Great Britain In ATP Cup Epic

The host nation was on the verge of exiting the tournament multiple times before fighting back to secure victory in a classic encounter.

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Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur (image via twitter.com/atpcup)

Australia is the first team through to the semifinals of the ATP Cup after claiming a dramatic victory over Great Britain in Sydney.

 

The duo of Nick Kyrgios and Alex de Minaur was issued with a stern test by the British contingent over the three matches that amounted to eight hours of pulsating action on the court. First, it was Kyrgios who got the home favourites off to a strong start as he eased to a 6-2, 6-2, win over Cameron Norrie. However, British No.1 Dan Evans battled back to level the tie after triumphing over de Minaur in a marathon encounter lasting almost three-and-a-half hours. Ousting the world No.18 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(2), to snap Australia’s run of 10 consecutive wins in the tournament.

With the tie level at 1-1, Australian captain Lleyton Hewitt opted to take a gamble and make a change to the doubles pairing. Asking both Kyrgios and de Minaur to return to the court and face former world No.1 player Jamie Murray and his partner Joe Salisbury.

“Nick was playing extremely well in his singles today, he felt fresh coming out. I feel like Alex is a hell of a doubles player when he plays. He doesn’t play that much.” Said Hewitt.
“We threw in some firepower and it paid off.” He added.

It was a nail-biting conclusion to the tie with both teams being on the verge of victory in the doubles. Splitting the match at one set all, it would be a 34-point final tiebreaker that would separate the two. The British team had four match points to clinch victory, but was unable to convert any of those chances. Including one seemingly straightforward shot from Murray that drifted beyond the baseline. Australia also saw opportunities came and went before snatching the 3-6, 6-3, 18-16, victory after a backhand from Salisbury went long. Prompting Kyrgios and de Minaur to fall to the ground in delight.

“It’s just amazing that we were able to get the win in Sydney, here in my home town.” Said de Minaur.
“This guy over here (Kyrgios), he just blatantly carried my out here (on the court).”

https://twitter.com/ATPCup/status/1215164113187373056

Kyrgios said the key to the win was trying to revitalise his teammate following his loss to Evans earlier in the day. Joking that he will have some alcohol following what he describes as a ‘stressful’ tiebreak.

“He just gets down on himself really easy and I just try to do as much as I can.” Kyrgios said of de Minaur.
“Especially after that unbelievable singles performance where he just came up short. I just tried to bring in as much energy as I could.’
“That was probably the most stressful tiebreak I’ve ever played in my life. I’m definitely having a bit of red wine tonight.” He added.

Hewitt, who is also his country’s Davis Cup captain, has hailed the latest achievement by his players. Heading into the semi-finals, Australia has won 11 out of 12 matches played so far at the ATP Cup.

“That was incredible tennis. The whole three matches played everybody came out and gave 100 percent. Left it all out on the court.” Said the former world No.1.
“I’m really proud of the boys. The way they were able to turn it around after Alex went down in a tight singles match.’
“It could have gone either way and it went out way today.”

Australia will play either Spain or Belgium in the semi-finals.

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Mikael Ymer overcomes Richard Gasquet to advance to the second round in Marseille

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Swedish 21-year-old Next Gen player Mikael Ymer edged past Richard Gasquet 6-3 3-6 7-5 after 2 hours and 22 minutes to reach the second round at the Open 13 in Marseille.

 

Ymer fended off 7 of the 10  break points he faced and broke serve in the third match point in a marathon third game setting up a second round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ymer raced out to a 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks. Gasquet pulled back one break in the seventh game to close the gap to 2-5, but Ymer served out the first set in the ninth game with an ace.

Ymer saved three break points in the sixth game, but Gasquet earned the break on his third chance in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3.

Ymer got an early break in the second game of the third set to open up a 3-0 lead. Gasquet broke back in the ninth game and held serve to draw level to 5-5. Ymer converted his third break point at deuce to seal the third set 7-5 in the 12th game.

Benoit Paire beat Gregoire Barrere 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the all-French match. Paire earned his only break of the match in the third game of the opening set. He saved two break points in the fourth game of the second set. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Paire cruised through to a 7-1 win.

Ilya Ivashka overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-1 3-6 6-4. Ivashka broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Popyrin earned one break in the fourth game to clinch the second set 6-3. Popyrin got an early break at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Ivashka sealed the win with a break.

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Alexander Zverev Going In The Right Direction, Says Becker

The German tennis legend gives his verdict on Zverev’s current form following his grand slam breakthrough.

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Former world No.1 Boris Becker believes Alexander Zverev’s recent run at the Australian Open was confirmation that he belongs at the top of men’s tennis.

 

Last month the 22-year-old achieved his best ever grand slam performance by reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne Park before losing to Dominic Thiem. At the tournament he scored wins over Andrey Rublev, who won two consecutive titles prior to the event, and former champion Stan Wawrinka. Zverev has been tipped as a future world No.1 in recent years and remains the only active player outside of the Big Four to have won three or more Masters trophies. Although he has previously struggled to shine in the biggest events of the sport.

“Alexander Zverev has made a great step forward with his first participation in a grand slam semi-final.” Becker told reporters in Berlin on Sunday. “Although he had difficult weeks before, for which there were reasons.”

At the start of the year it looked as if the world No.7 was in trouble. At the ATP Cup he lost all three of his matches played. A performance Becker blames on his off-season training. During November and December Zverev played a series of exhibition matches with Roger Federer across South America and China.

“He didn’t train enough during the winter break and came to Brisbane unprepared.” He said.
“We exchanged some serious words off the court and he took them to heart.’
“Of course I’m happy he had such success. This is also a confirmation for him that he belongs at the top of the world (in tennis).”
“But the competitors never sleep, that’s a never ending story. He has to confirm this again and again.”

So far in his career, Zverev has won 11 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world. His biggest triumph occurred towards the end of 2018 when he won the ATP Finals in London.

Reflecting on his Melbourne run last month, Zverev believes he managed to achieve the milestone thanks to a new approach he took to the event. Instead of looking at the whole tournament, he narrowed his focus to match-by-match.

“I went here in a different way. I went match by match. Didn’t look very far. I just knew I had opponents in front of me. I had to play well to beat them. That was it.” He said last month. “Whenever I won, I’d sit down in the locker room and somebody told me who I’m playing next.’
“I went step by step, match by match. Usually I [haven’t done] that in Grand Slams.”

Zverev will return to action next week at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. A tournament where he finished runner-up 12 months ago. Becker believes his compatriot could do some damage on the hard courts over the coming weeks with two prestigious North American events taking place next month in Indian Wells and Miami.

“The next tournaments are on hard courts in America. He will play there as well. There he can take a lot of points.” Becker concluded.

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New York Open Sunday Recap: Kyle Edmund Wins His Second Career ATP Title

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Kyle Edmund raising the trophy at the New York Open (newyorkopen.com)

And in an exclusive interview with UbiTennis, runner-up Andreas Seppi of Italy reveals he is pulling out of Delray Beach next week due to an injury suffered in the final.

 

In Sunday’s championship match, neither player faced a break point until 6-5 in the first set.  In that twelfth game, Seppi struggled to make first serves, with Edmund hitting winners off both sides to break and secure the first set 7-5.

Kyle would break again to open the second, as Seppi played another loose game with neutral ball errors and a double fault. Up a set and a break, Edmund began to swing freely. Despite that, Seppi was able to survive a barrage of Edmund groundstroke winners to save multiple break points at 0-3. Edmund would then hold at love to make it 4-1, when Seppi left the court for a medical timeout. When Andreas returned, Edmund broke again by outlasting Seppi in the longest rally of the match. Kyle then closed out the match 7-5, 6-1 to win the second ATP title of his career.

When I spoke with Andreas after the match, he told me he felt something in his left hamstring as he was running for a drop shot in the fifth game of the second set.  Seppi shared he will be skipping the Delray Beach event next week due to the injury, and will head home a week earlier than expected to rest and await the arrival of his first child.

“I just felt like I could really never put him under pressure today,” Seppi told me, when asked about how difficult it was to get into Edmund’s service games.

Edmund had a great serving day, striking 11 aces and facing no break points.  He won 94% of first serve points in the match (31/33), against a player in Seppi who had won 36% of his return games this week prior to today’s final.  I asked Kyle about how crucial his serving was in Sunday’s victory.

“When I got my first serve in I lost a couple points on it, so it really worked well for me. When you get that first strike in- I mean that big first serve in- when I can get on my forehand, that’s where I want to be, and I was winning a lot of points like that this week,” said Edmund.

Kyle also spoke about how important this title is to him.

“When you’re young and training, or playing tennis, these are the sort of things you imagine: wanting to win professional titles,” said Edmund.

In the doubles final, Dominic Inglot and Aisam-ul-Haq-Qureshi won their first title as a team, defeating Reilly Opelka and Steve Johnson 7-6(5), 7-6(6). Inglot and Qureshi initially served for the championship at 5-4 in the second, yet failed to close out the match. In the eventual second set tiebreak, Johnson narrowly missed a forehand down the line at 6-6. On the next point, an unreturned Inglot serve ended the American team’s quest for a title on home soil. Inglot and Qureshi were also finalists last week in Montpellier.

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