Old Habits Die Hard For Some In Palermo - UBITENNIS
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Old Habits Die Hard For Some In Palermo

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic even a traditional post-match gesture is now not frown upon.

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As the players return to competitive tennis for the first time in five months this week some are still not used to the new post-match rules.

 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are a series of protocols in place at this tournament and ones that will follow on the WTA Tour. In Palermo specifically players are prohibited from showing on site, signing autographs and posing with fans. Something which would have been routine at the start of this year. However, old habits are hard to break for some.

Sara Errani celebrated her marathon first round win over Sorana Cirstea by throwing her wristbands to fans. Something which has always been traditionally done by the winner of matches. However, such a well-meaning gesture is prohibited at the event due to the potential transmission of illnesses. Although all players have been COVID-19 tested and cleared before playing.

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Fortunately for Errani, she isn’t the only person to unintentionally go against protocol. Qualifier Kaja Juvan did the same on Tuesday following her shock 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, win over second seed Markéta Vondroušová. The win was Juvan’s first ever over a top 20 player.

Apart from a stern glare from the match umpires, neither Errani or Juvan will be penalised in any way for doing something that is a force of habit.

Tournament director Oliviero Palma has told AFP that he is ‘proud’ that Palermo is hosting the return of tennis and the protocols implemented at the event are ones that can be copied at other events. However, he admits that it could be more challenging in certain parts of the world. Most notably America, which will host the US Open whilst there is a rise in OVID-19 cases in some areas of the country.

“The protocol is good, it’s applicable everywhere, so far it’s safe, it works. But we’re in a quiet part of the world. I understand the difficulties that the US Open could have with many more people,” he said. “But New York’s budget is not Palermo’s budget.”

Heading into the second round of the tournament on Wednesday, five out of the eight seeded players remain in the draw. Besides Vondroušová, Maria Sakkari (3) and Elise Mertens (5) have been knocked out of the tournament.

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David Goffin beats Lorenzo Sonego to advance to the third semifinal of his career in Montpellier

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Second seed David Goffin beat Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 6-4 after 87 minutes to advance to his third career semifinal at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

 

Goffin is a match away from reaching the 14th final of his career. The Belgian player reached the semifinal at the Antalya Open last January. 

Goffin earned an early break to 30 in the opening game and saved a break point in the sixth game to hold his serve. The Belgian player held his next two service games to close out the first set 6-4. 

Sonego got his first break in the second game of the second set at deuce with a crosscourt forehand, but Goffin broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Goffin went up a double break at 30 in the seventh game, as Sonego hit his forehand into the net. Sonego saved a match point with a forehand down the line before holding serve with a drop-shot to claw his way back to 4-5. Sonego saved a second match point in the 10th game, as Goffin sent his crosscourt forehand out. Goffin sealed the win on his third match point with a forehand to reach his second semifinal in 2021. 

Goffin set up a semifinal against Egor Gerasimov, who beat the Belgian player 6-4 7-6 (7-5) at the 2020 Open 13 in Marseille in their only previous head-to-head match. 

Egor Gerasimov came back from one set down to beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6 6-4 7-5. Davidovich Fokina saved three break points to hold his serve in the second game. The young Spanish player converted his third break point at deuce in the ninth game to win the first set 6-4. 

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the second set. Gerasimov got his second break at love in the sixth game and saved two break points in the seventh game to hold serve after four deuces for 5-2. Davidovich Fokina broke back in the ninth game at deuce from 40-15 down to claw his back to 4-5. Gerasimov converted his third break point to win the second set 6-4. 

Davidovich Fokina broke serve at 30 to take a 2-1 lead in the third set, but Gerasimov broke straight back to draw level to draw level to 2-2. Davidovich Fokina saved a break point to hold serve after two deuces but Gerasimov converted his second break point at deuce in the 12th game to close out the third set 7-5. 

German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk eased past Dennis Novak 6-4 6-1 with breaks of serve. Novak saved two break points in the fifth and seventh games, but Gojowczyk converted his third break point in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Gojowczyk served out the first set on the fifth deuce after saving a break point. Gojowczyk went up a 4-0 lead with a double break in the third set. Novak held his first service game on the second deuce after saving two break points. Gojowczyk earned his third break at deuce from 15-40 down to close out the second set 6-1.

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Radu Albot reaches his first semifinal since 2019

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Moldova’s Radu Albot reached his first ATP Tour semifinal since Los Cabos in August 2019 after claiming a 6-3 6-4 win over Adrian Mannarino in 1 hour and 35 minutes at the Singapore Open. 

 

Albot earned the first break in the eighth game to win the opening set 6-3. The Moldovan player went up a 4-0 lead. Mannarino saved four break points in the seventh game before pulling one break back on his third chance to claw his way back to 4-5, but Albot served out the win on his first match point. 

Albot set up a semifinal against Alexander Bublik, who beat fifth seed Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-2 with 15 aces. 

Albot saved three match points against Yannick Hanfmann in the second round in Singapore earlier this week. The Moldovan player beat Roberto Bautista Agut en route to the Australian Open third round. 

Former world number 3 and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic beat Soonwoo Kwon 6-2 2-6 7-5. Cilic broke twice in a row in the third and fifth games to win the first set 6-2. The second set went on serve in the first five games before Soonwoo Kwon broke twice in a row to win the second set 6-2 sending the match to the third set. Cilic broke in the seventh game at deuce to take a 4-3 lead. Soonwoo Kwon broke straight back in the eighth game. Cilic saved a match point at 4-5 30-40 before converting his third break point in the 11th game. The Croatian player served out the win on his match point. Cilic will take on Alexei Popyrin, who reached his ATP Tour semifinal with a 6-4 7-6 (9-7) win over Matthew Ebden. Popyrin earned his only break in the 10th game of the first set and saved two set points at 4-6 in the tie-break of the second set and sealed the win on his second match point.

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Diego Schwartzman cruises past Marco Cecchinato to reach the quarter final at the Cordoba Open

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Last year’s Rome Masters 1000 finalist Diego Schwartzman beat 2018 Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-2 with five breaks to reach the quarter final at the Cordoba Open. 

 

Cecchinato saved a break point in the first game, but Schwartzman earned a double break in the third and fifth game to race out to a 5-1 lead. Cecchinato held his serve in the seventh game and earned two break-back points but Schwartzman held his serve at deuce to serve out the first set 6-2. 

Schwartzman started the second set with a break at deuce and built up a 6-2 3-0 with a double break. Cecchinato pulled back one break point on his fourth chance in the fourth game. Schwartzman broke serve for the third time in the fifth game and served out the second set 6-2 in a hard-fought eighth game after three deuces. 

Schwartzman has extended his win-loss record to 3-1 in his four head-to-head matches against Cecchinato. Cecchinato beat Schwartzman 6-1 6-2 in the 2019 Buenos Aires final, but Schwartzman won their previous two matches in three sets in the Madrid Mutua Open and at the Canadian Open in 2019. 

“He beat me really easily in Buenos Aires in 2019 and really killed me that match. Coming back and playing with 500 people in the stadium was a really good start for me. I played good, aggressive tennis”, said Schwartzman. 

Schwartzman set up a quarter final against Albert Ramos Vinolas, who came back from one set down to beat Tomas Martin Etcheverry 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 2 hours and 59 minutes. Ramos Vinolas converted his three break points. Etcheverry broke twice in the second and eighth games  to win the opening set 6-2. Ramos Vinolas got a break in the third game of the second set to open up a 3-1 lead. Etchevarry broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Etchevarry raced out to a 5-1 lead with a double mini-break, but Ramos Vinolas reeled off six consecutive points to win the tie-break 7-5. Ramos Vinolas got the break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Etcheverry broke back in the ninth game and held serve at love to draw level to 5-5. Ramos Vinolas sealed the third set 7-5 on his first match point at deuce in the 12th game. 

Argentine Juan Manuel Cerundolo battled past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 6-2 after 2 hours and 19 minutes to reach his first ATP Tour quarter final. Both players traded breaks three times en route to the tie-break. Kecmanovic rallied from 2-3 down to win the tie-break 7-3 after winning four consecutive points. The second set went on serve until the 12th game when Cerundolo got the break to take the second set 7-5. The Argentine qualifier broke twice in the fourth and eighth games to win the decider 6-2 setting up a quarter final against Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, who beat Roberto Carballaes Baena 6-3 6-4 in 86 minutes. Cerundolo, the brother of ATP Tour player Francisco Cerundolo, had not played a tou-level match before this week’s Cordoba Open. Monteiro earned the first break in the second game and held his serve to win the opening set 6-3. The Brazilian player got two of the three consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-4.

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