Carlos Alcaraz is following in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal - UBITENNIS
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Carlos Alcaraz is following in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal

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Carlos Alcaraz Garfia grabbed the headlines in April 2019 when he beat Jannik Sinner in Alicante becoming the first player born in 2003 to win an ATP Challenger tournament in his first event at this level. Alcaraz broke Sinner’s winning streak of 16 consecutive matches before losing to Lukas Rosol in the next round.

 

The 16-year-old Spanish player won his first ATP Tour debut match beating his compatriot Alberto Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 7-6 (7-2) in a first-round match that finished at 3.00 am after 3 hours and 37 minutes. He became the first player born in 2003 to win at ATP 500 match.

Alcaraz is coached by former world number 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero at the Equelite academy since the age of 15 and started playing at the age of four thanks to his father. His idol growing up is Nadal.

Ferrero spoke about the Spanish rising star, his tennis style in an interview to ATP Tour.com.

“Alcaraz likes to be aggressive all the time. He likes to play close to the baseline. He is not the typical player who only plays on clay courts. He likes to play on hard courts and he loves to play on grass. He played last year for the first time on grass and he loved it. He likes to finish points at the net. At the beginning I was almost sure that his best level was on clay, when I first met him. He is now improving so much on hard court and I think he can even give a little bit more level on hard court. He is playing very aggressive from the baseline and he needs to improve a little bit his serve. At 16 he is serving well. If I have to say someone that I can compare him to, it’s the game of Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer”.

Ferrero spoke about how and when he got to know Alcaraz for the first time.

“I saw him here at the JT Ferrero Equelite Sports Academy playing a tournament. We have a lot of tournaments here at the academy. I saw him for the first time playing a tournament and it helps that he lives very close to the academy in Murcia, just an hour from here. It was very easy seeing him play some matches. I remember him playing a Futures when he was 14 and got his first ATP Ranking point. I went to see some matches and I heard about this little boy who was playing at such a good level at the age of 14, so I drove over there to watch him. He was always competing against people older than him. Even the match against Albert Ramos Vinolas in Rio, the guy was 32 and Alcaraz is 16. The most important thing for him is that he improved physically very much. That’s why he can stay in the match for three and a half years and he can play against guys who are older than him”.

 The Spanish teenager has been compared to his illustrious compatriot Rafael Nadal.

“Usually he hears people who say he is going to be the next Rafael Nadal. It’s going to be difficult to keep things normal and stay calm and not tell me: Why are they saying this to me. He is a little bit used to it, because most of the people here in Spain. It’s been a long time that we haven’t had anyone at the age of 16 or 17 playing this kind of level. The team that is around him, we have to try to keep a circle around him try to put this pressure away, to make him calm, to keep thing normal, so he can go his own way”, said Ferrero.

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Anett Kontaveit beats Elisabetta Cocciaretto to reach the semifinal at the Palermo Ladies Open

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Number 4 seed and world number 22 Anett Kontaveit ended Italian teenager Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1 4-6 6-1 to reach the semifinals at the 31st edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo. Kontaveit broke serve seven times and hit five aces. 

 

Kontaveit, who reached the Australian Open quarter final, broke twice and saved two break points in the second game to race out to a 4-0 lead. Cocciaretto got her first game on the scoreboard in the sixth game to avoid the bagel before Kontaveit served out the first set in the next game. 

Cocciaretto earned an early break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead. Cocciaretto earned three game points for 5-2 in the seventh game, but Kontaveit broke back in a marathon seventh game. The second set ended with four consecutive breaks, as Cocciaretto claimed the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the third set after 1 hour and 54 minutes. The Estonian player set up a semifinal clash against Martic in a re-match of last February’s quarter final in Dubai. 

“It was really tough tonight. She played great and she had the home crowd definitely behind her. I am really happy with how I fought in the third set and that I managed to turn it around in the end”, said Kontaveit. 

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Petra Martic secures her spot in the semifinal in Palermo after hard-fought win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich

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Top seed and world number 15 Petra Martic from Croatia secured her spot in the semifinal at the 31st edition of the Ladies Open in Palermo after a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) win over former world number 30 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus. Martic produced 54 winners to 23 unforced errors. 

 

Martic fought back from a break down in the opening set and secured a hard-fought win on her fourth match points, as she served for the match twice in the second tie-break. 

The first set went on serve in the first eight games before Sasnovich broke serve in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Martic broke straight back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. The Croatian player fended off three break points at 5-5 and did not convert her first set point in Sasnovich’s service game. 

Martic led 5-3 in the tie-break, but Sasnovich won the next two points to draw level to 5-5. Martic hit a forehand that forced a Sasnovich error and an unreturned serve to close out the tie-break after 75 minutes. 

Martic broke twice in the first and fifth games to build up a 4-1 lead in the second set. Sasnovich pulled one of the two breaks back in the sixth game. Sasnovich trailed 40-15 at 5-4 on Martic’s serve, but she saved both match points. The Belarusian player later fended off another match point after deuce to draw level to 5-5. Martic broke again in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead, but Sasnovich broke straight back at 15 to force the second set to the second tie-break. Martic won five of the final six points to win the tie-break 7-3 reaching her second semifinal of the season after Dubai. 

“Overall, it was a great fight. I knew she was not going to give up until the match was over, and that’s what she proved once again. I think today was better than yesterday. There was some things that I was happy with, some things that I am not really happy with, but I am really just happy that I managed to win this match in two sets. I had two tough matches and my body’s holding up well. I have no major issues, just maybe soreness that I am sure we all have in the first tournament back. It feels nice to be reminded of how it feels to be that kind of tired, but all in all, I am happy. I had some good weeks of practice and it’s paying off”, said Martic. 

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Dayana Yastremska reaches quarter finals in Palermo

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Number 7 seed Dayana Yastremska cruised past Oceane Dodin 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 17 minutes. The young Ukrainian player fired 11 aces and converted three of the four break points in the opening set. 

 

Yastremska saved a break point in the opening game before breaking twice in the second and sixth games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Dodin got a break back, as Yastremska was serving for the set. Yastremska sealed the first set in the eighth game, as Dodin made a double fault. 

Both players traded breaks early in the second set and stayed neck and neck until the 10th game. Dodin saved a match point in the 10th game, but Yastremska secured the second match point with a backhand return to seal the second set 6-4. 

Yastremska hit 39 winners to just 7 unforced errors. 

Earlier this year Yastremska upset 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in Doha. Dodin reached two consecutive quarter finals in St. Petersburg and Lyon. 

“I am very happy to be in a quarter final after so long of playing no tournaments. It was a good match, starting pretty late. All day, I had to be very focused to stay in a good way with the mind”, said Yastremska.   

Yastremska set up a quarter final match against Italy’s Camila Giorgi, who came back from one set down to beat Slovenian 19-year-old Kaja Juvan. 

Yastremska beat Giorgi 6-3 6-3 in their only previous clash at Wimbledon in 2019. Giorgi joins her compatriots Sara Errani and 19-year-old Elisabetta Cocciaretto in the quarter finals. 

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