Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini claim wins in the opening day at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini claim wins in the opening day at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged Benoit Paire 24-5 22-6 13-14 15-10 in his first match at the 2020 Ultimate Tennis Showdown organized by Patrick Mouratoglou and Alex Popyrin, who launched this innovative tournament at his Academy in Southern France with the goal to attract new fans at a time, in which the ATP Tour is suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Tsitisipas cruised through to a two-set lead before Paire bounced back by winning the third quarter. Tsitsipas pulled away to claim the win.

“The first two quarters were phenomenal. I got off to a very good start. In the third set he found his serve, his shots were deeper and he started missing less. Things got tense in the third quarter. I had a lot of fun”, said Tsitsipas.

World number 8 and last year’s US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini fought back from 7-11 in the fourth quarter to claim a 14-10 12-13 22-5 13-12 win. Berrettini won the first quarter 14-10, but Brown drew level to one set apiece by winning the second set 13-12 with a brilliant forehand. Berrettini cruised through to a 22-5 win in the third set. Brown took a 11-7 lead in the fourth quarter. Berrettini won four consecutive points to draw level to 11-11. Brown took a 12-11 lead after a double fault from Berrettini with 20 seconds to go. Berrettini hit a smash to take a 13-12 win after Brown tried to lob a tweener over his head.

“It was tough, physically, mentally, everything. Dustin always plays fast but with 15 points between points, the UTS cards and everything, it was really tough”, said Berrettini.

Richard Gasquet won the first two points of sudden death to claim a 13-11 12-14 12-11 10-15 victory over David Goffin. Gasquet took a tight first set with one-handed backhands. Goffin clinched the second set 14-12. Gasquet claimed the third quarter when Goffin made a double fault on the deciding point. Goffin won the fourth quarter 15-10, before Gasquet claimed the first two points of sudden death to clinch the win. In the sudden point Gasquet hit a forehand pass to win the opening point and sealed the second point on Goffin’s serve when the Belgian player hit a forehand into the net.

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin beat Elliot Benchetrit 13-9 9-12 15-12 14-12 to claim the first ever win in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown. Popyrin took a 8-2 lead in the third set. Benchetrit fought back to 12-11, but he made a double fault to lose the second set. Popyrin clinched the third set 15-12 before pulling away to win the fourth set 14-12.

Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez clinched a sudden-death win over Lucas Pouille by the scoreline of 17-14 13-12 9-13 11-12.

 

Lopez took a 7-1 lead in the second set before Pouille came back to take the quarter to a deciding point. Lopez hit a serve and volley to win the second set 13-12.

 

Lopez led 9-7 in the third quarter but Pouille came back by winning six consecutive points to clinch the third quarter 13-9.

 

Pouille fended off a match point to win the fourth quarter on a deciding point forcing the match to the sudden death. Lopez won the opening point on his serve, when Pouille netted a return. Lopez hit a backhand return onto the baseline to claim the win. Lopez was a late replacement for injured Felix Auger Aliassime.

 

The revolutionary format of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown consists of four quarters of ten minutes each and just 15 points.

 

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Danka Kovinic becomes the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament

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Danka Kovinic has become the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round at a Grand Slam tournament after a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over last year’s US Open champion and number 17 seed Emma Raducanu after 2 hours and 38 minutes on Margaret Court Arena in the second round at the Australian Open. 

 

Kovinic had lost in the second round in her six previuos appearances at a Grand Slam tournament. The World number 98 recorded her fourth career top 20 win and her first on hard-court. 

Raducanu broke serve in the opening game and cruised into a 3-0 lead with a double break. Kovinic bounced back by winning the next two games to claw her way back to 2-3, before Raducanu took was hampered by a blister on her raquet hand and took a medical time-out for treatment on her hand. Raducanu double faulted, as Kovinic broke again to draw level to 3-3. Kovinic completed the turnaround by winning five consecutive games to take a 5-3 lead. Raducanu broke for the third time for 4-5, but Kovinic closed out the first set 6-4. 

Raducanu opened up a 3-1 lead in the second set with an early break in the first game but Kovinic broke back in the eighth  game to draw level to 4-4 . Raducanu broke for the second time in the ninth game with two consecutive forehand winners to take a 5-4 lead. The British teenager fended off two break points in the 10th game to clinch the second set 6-4. 

Raducanu missed four break points in the first and third games of the third set. Kovinic converted her break point in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Raducanu broke straight back at love in the fifth game. Kovinic broke for the second time in the sixth game with a lob to take a 4-2 lead and sealed the win on her second match point with a backhand winner down the line. 

Kovinic was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo due to calf and back injuries. 

“Basically only one good result was in Charleston last year. Everything else was really struggling and trying to recover my body for next events, which I wasn’t really successful. I was rushing a little bit, so I never really healed my back injury, but I took some time during the pre-season to really take care of that, so hopefully that’s in the past”, said Danka Kovinic. 

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Andrey Rublev, Alex De Minaur and Taylor Fritz reach the third round at the Australian Open

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Andrey Rublev eased past Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-2 6-0 in 1 hour and 24 minutes to advance to the third round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

Rublev earned breaks in the opening game of each set and did not face any break points.

Rublev set up a third round match against Marin Cilic, who beat Slovakian qualifier Norbert Gombos 6-2 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6). If Rublev beats Cilic, he could be on a collision course for a possible quarter final clash against his compatriot Danil Medvedev.

Rublev, who reached the quarter finals at Grand Slam level four times in his career, is aiming to reach his first semifinal in a Major tournament. 

Taylor Fritz beat Francis Tiafoe 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in an all-American clash to set up a third round clash against Roberto Bautista Agut, who cruised through Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-1 6-0 6-3. Fritz hit a backhand winner down the line to convert his match point. 

“Frances is one of my really good friends, and he is such a good guy. I said before the tournament too. He is probably one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw. I just keep playing my game, keep playing aggressive, like that last point. I have a really tough match next round, but it would be awesome to have a deep run here”, said Fritz. 

Alex De Minaur beat Kamil Majchrzak 6-4 6-4 6-2. The Australian player has now won six consecutive sets at the Australian Open this year after dropping the first set against Lorenzo Musetti in the opening round. De Minaur will take on Spain’s Pablo Andujar, who beat Slovakian wild card Alex Molcan 6-4 7-6 (8-6) 0-6 6-1. 

“For me to be able to play on Rod Laver Arena and at this stage on my merits, it’s not because I am playing one of the top guys, that’s a pretty cool feeling. It was a very solid win. I did everything I neeeded to do. I got the job done. I am very happy with my effort”, said De Minaur. 

Daniel Evans received a walkover into the third round when Arthur Rinderknech withdrew before the match with a wrist injury. 

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon

For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Manuela Davies/USTA)

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.

 

The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.

The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.

It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.

The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.

The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.

The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.

For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.

Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.

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