Stefanos Tsitsipas Emulates 'Nice Guy' Enqvist And Rosset With Second Straight Marseille Title - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas Emulates ‘Nice Guy’ Enqvist And Rosset With Second Straight Marseille Title

The grand slam semi-finalist has returned back to the winner’s circle after a lacklustre start to 2020.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (photo Cristina Criswald)

Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has become just the third player in the Open Era to win back-to-back Marseille titles after cruising to victory on Sunday.

 

The world No.4 dropped serve only once during his 6-3, 6-4, win over fellow top 20 player Felix Auger-Aliassime. A player who Tsitsipas had only beaten once in their three previous meetings on the tour prior to this week. In their latest clash the Greek claimed 78% of his first service points as he broke his Canadian rival three times. Once in the first set and twice in the second.

“I played a good quality of tennis today and I showed everyone what I am capable of,” said Tsitsipas. “Serving well, returning well, just being there behind every single ball, executing, dominating and being clever in my decision-making.”

The 21-year-old didn’t drop a set throughout the entire week in Marseille. Earlier in the tournament he also scored victories over Vasek Pospisil and Alexander Bublik. Tsitsipas entered the tournament winning just three out of seven matches played so far in 2020.

Claiming his first title since the ATP Finals in November and fifth in his career overall, the Next Gen player has hailed his mental performance in the final. During the opener, he was forced to save a trio of break points before closing it out. Then in the second, he lost his break advantage before breaking again in the following game to restore his lead.

“I am proud of the fact that mentally I didn’t even crack, not once,” said Tsitsipas. “That was really good. Although I got broken, I wouldn’t say that that was a mental lapse. Personally, I am very happy with my mental state throughout the whole match.”

Tsitsipas’ triumph extends Auger-Aliassime’s wait for his maiden ATP title. The world No.18, who is two years younger than his rival, has now featured in five finals on the tour within the last 12 months. He has lost all of them in straight sets.

“Playing a final is wonderful, you have to have that perspective, remember that everything is going in the right direction despite everything,” said Auger-Aliassime.
“It’s heavy, losing every time in the final. There is a little doubt… when will it be my turn?”

Claiming his second Marseille in a row, Tsitsipas joins Marc Rosset and Thomas Enqvist as the only players to have ever done so. Rosset won the first two editions on the event (1993 and 1994), whilst Enqvist went unbeaten between 1997-1998.

“I know [Thomas] pretty well,” said Tsitsipas. “He was our Laver Cup captain… He is a really nice guy. I am really happy that I get to break records and be part of some records. It is what keeps me going in the sport. It makes me hungry for more, in general. I want to go out there and break records and do things that others haven’t done yet. That’s what defines my personality.”

Tsitsipas leaves the tournament with 250 ranking points and €116,030 in prize money.

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Monte Carlo Breakthrough Leaves Andrey Rublev With Mixed Emotions

The world No.8 takes confidence from his latest run but admits it is ‘impossible’ to play at his very top level every week on the Tour.

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After achieving a career milestone at the Monte Carlo Masters, Andrey Rublev was sent crashing down to earth on Sunday.

 

The Russian tennis star broke new territory at the tournament by reaching his first ever Masters 1000 final at the age of 23. However, he was denied the title by Stefanos Tsitsipas who produced a clinical performance to seal victory in just 71 minutes. Ending Rublev’s run of winning seven finals in a row.

“I feel happy with the week, and I feel super sad with the final, that I couldn’t show my game,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“Of course, I’m happy with the week because I beat so many great players and I beat one of the best players in history. It’s a special week.”

Earlier in the tournament Rublev stunned the draw when he upset Rafael Nadal in three sets en route to the semi-finals. Making it the fourth time in his career he has scored a win over a player ranked No.3 in the world. He is also the first player in history to come back from a set down to defeat Nadal at the tournament.

Besides the king of clay, Rublev also dismissed Roberto Bautista Agut and Casper Ruud. He has now won 24 matches on the ATP Tour this season which is more than anybody else. However, he is reluctant to link all of his match play with his latest performance.

“I feel tired after all the matches that I play, exhausted. But this is not excuse. He was just better than me, and that’s it,” he stated.
“Not always everything goes your way. It happened today. I was completely exhausted. Stefanos, he showed great game. He was just better than me, and that’s it.”

Despite his recent success, Rublev is eager to not get too far ahead of himself heading into the French Open. A Grand Slam where he has only played in the main draw twice before, including last year where he reached the quarter-finals.

“I would like to play really good in Madrid and I would like to play really good in Rome. I would like to play all of the weeks good. But it’s impossible,” he explains.
“Some of the weeks for sure will be better, some will be worse and some will be amazing.’
“For the moment I’m playing really consistent. I’m really happy I’m playing my best season so far. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Rublev is set to return to action next week at the Barcelona Open where he will be the third seed.

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Former Australian Open Semi-Finalist Kyle Edmund Undergoes Surgery

It has been reported that the world No.69 may not be able to return to the Tour for ‘several more months.’

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British world No.69 Kyle Edmund is set to be sidelined from the Tour for some time after having surgery to treat a long-standing problem in Switzerland. 

 

The former British No.1 has confirmed he had a ‘small procedure’ on his knee after being hampered with issues in the area ever since 2018 when a scan revealed that he had fluid behind his left knee. Details of the surgery have not been disclosed by the person who conducted the operation was Dr Roland Biedert, according to BBC Sport. A specialist Orthopaedic surgeon who has also operated on Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin del Potro.

“I had a small procedure on my knee. I’m currently rehabbing. The recovery is going well and I hope to be back on court as soon as possible.” Edmund said.

Currently ranked 69th in the world, Edmund hasn’t played a competitive match since losing in the first round of qualifying at the Vienna Open last October due to his knee. 2020 saw mixed fortunes for the 26-year-old. After winning the New York Open during February of that year, he lost seven out of 10 matches played during the rest of the season. Including five defeats in a row.

No return date has been outlined by Edmund or his team following the surgery. However, British media have reported that he may be out for ‘several more months.’ Casting doubts over his chances of being ready in time for Wimbledon which starts on June 28th. He hasn’t been absent from a Wimbledon main draw since 2012.

Edmund has been ranked as high as 14th in the world with his best Grand Slam run being to the semi-finals of the 2018 Australian Open. Overall, he has won two ATP titles and has earned more than $5.7 in prize money. 

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Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’

The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.

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Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.

 

The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.

Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.

“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”

It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.

“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”

Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.

“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.

Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.

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