Yet To Win A Match In 2020, Reilly Opelka Sets Sight On Title Defence At New York Open - UBITENNIS
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Yet To Win A Match In 2020, Reilly Opelka Sets Sight On Title Defence At New York Open

The world No.40 reflects on his performance on the tour over the past 12 months.

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It was a year ago at the New York Open where 22-year-old Reilly Opelka achieved a major breakthrough in his professional career.

 

Unseeded in the draw the fast-serving American stunned top seed John Isner and then underdog Brayden Schnur en route to his first ever ATP title. Since then Opelka has endured a mixed run on the tour and is yet to play in another final. However, he has featured in three semi-finals since his New York triumph.

Currently ranked 40th in the world, Opelka is confident that he is heading in the right direction. Although his start to this year hasn’t gone to plan. At the Sydney International he lost in the first round to Pablo Cuevas. Then at the Australian Open Opelka lead Fabio Fognini by two sets before losing his opening match.

“The season’s long, been a lot of places, played a lot more matches, grown a lot on and off the court as expected,” Opelka told reporters on Tuesday. “Everything has just gotten a lot better, even when I’m losing matches I’ll go back and look at them. I’m playing good tennis. There’s not that many matches where it’s like ‘geez, that was bad.’ In previous years I can definitely find some.”

Ironically the marathon encounter with Fognini was in one way a confidence boost. Nursing a sore knee during the off-season, Opelka said he has been working hard on his fitness in the gym. Something he blames for some of the losses he encountered throughout 2019. The former Wimbledon boys champion won 27 out of 50 matches played last year.

“I lost a lot of matches last year because my body wasn’t recovering well,” he explained.
“Wimbledon I was struggling. U.S Open was a disaster; my body just completely collapsed on me and I lost in the second round [to Dominik Koepfer]. “I have been doing a lot of work in the gym, moving a lot of weight. Making my body a lot stronger so my body can tolerate those five-set matches. I usually play those matches fine, it’s just the recovery the next day or two days later. I have no problem playing them, I can play all day.”

Opelka’s first test in New York this week will be against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka on Thursday. A player who reached the third round of the Australian Open last month in what was the best grand slam run of his career so far. Nishioka, who unlike Opelka didn’t have a first round bye, defeated Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 0-6, 6-2, in his opening match.

This year’s draw is headed by John Isner and Milos Raonic. Two players Opelka may have to play in the semi-finals and final if he wishes to defend his title.

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Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo

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World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 

 

Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina. 

Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown. 

Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.

“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit. 

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Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo

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Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117  Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

 

Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2. 

Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. 

Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. 

Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point. 

Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance. 

“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi. 

Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open. 

The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006. 

“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit. 

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Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia

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ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital. 

 

The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October). 

“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi. 

During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.

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