Alexander Zverev and Felix Auger Aliassime secure their spot in the final in Cologne - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev and Felix Auger Aliassime secure their spot in the final in Cologne

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This year’s US Open finalist Alexander Zverev battled past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 7-6 (7-3) after 1 hour and 56 minutes to get through to the final at the bett1 HULKS Indoors in Cologne. 

 

Zverev will be bidding to win his first final since Geneva in May 2019. The German player beat Davidovich Fokina at last September’s US Open in 1 hour and 34 minutes dropping just fives games, but this time he had to work harder. He converted on two of his seven break points. 

Zverev held serve at 15 in the opening game. Davidovich Fokina hit a service winner in the second game to draw level to 1-1. Zverev hit a volley winner at 15-30 in the fifth game and held serve with two powerful serves to take a 3-2 win. Zverev rallied from 0-30 down to hold serve with four winners in the seventh game. Both players held on serve until the 12th game, when Zverev got the break to take a 6-5 lead, when Davidovich Fokina made a forehand error. 

Zverev fended off a break point in the first game of the second set before breaking serve in the fourth game to build up a 7-5 3-1 lead. The 2018 ATP Finals champion consolidated the break with ace for 4-1, but he dropped his serve at 4-2, as he hit his forehand wide. Davidovich Fokina held serve at 15 to draw level to 4-4. The Spaniard held serve easily before serving to stay in the match at 5-6. He saved a break point to force the match to the tie-break. Davidovich Fokina got an early mini-break, but Zverev rallied to take a 6-3 lead. Davidovich Fokina injured his right hand and required the medical time-out. Zverev closed out the match at 6-3, as Davidovich Fokina made a forehand error. 

“Alejandro played much better tennis and I think he is somebody who is going to go up the ATP Rankings very quickly. For me he is a great guy as well. He is very talented, extremely with the hands. I think he is a great guy as well. He is very talented, extremely good with the hands. I think he is somebody who is going to find his way up and it’s going to be interesting to see what the future weeks hold for him this year and next year as well”, said Zverev. 

Zverev set up a final against Felix Auger Aliassime, who edged Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 1-6 6-3. The Canadian Next Gen player reached his sixth ATP final and will be bidding to win his first title after five defeats. 

Auger Aliassime held at love in the opening game and converted his fourth break point in the second game with a volley winner to take a 2-0 lead. Bautista Agut broke back in the fifth game, as Auger Aliassime sent two forehands wide. The Spaniard held serve at 15 to draw level to 3-3. Bautista Agut broke serve in the eighth game at 15, when Auger Aliassime hit a forehand down the line wide, and held serve at 15 to seal the first set 6-3. 

In the second set Bautista Agut held serve in the first game with a service winner and broke serve at 15. The 2019 Davis Cup held serve for 3-0 before breaking in the sixth game. He sealed the set with a hold at love at 5-1. 

Auger Aliassime rallied from 30-15 down in the first game of the third set and forced an error from Bautista Agut to build up a 2-0 lead. Auger Aliassime hit an ace to build up a 3-0 lead. Bautista Agut held serve at love in the sixth game and earned a break point in the seventh game. Auger Aliassime saved the break point with a service winner and held with his serve and volley. The Canadian player hit four winners to serve out the match at 5-3. 

“It’s a good win. It’s positive for my confidence to be able to beat Roberto, since he beat me last year in a tough match”, said Auger Aliassime.  

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Carlos Alcaraz wins his third ATP Challenger title in Alicante

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Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz won his third ATP Challenger title of the season at the Juan Carlos Academy in Alicante. The 17-year-old Spanish rising star beat world number 97 and top seed Pedro Martinez 7-6 (8-6) 6-3. 

 

Both players broke twice in the first set en route to the tie-break. Alcaraz saved two set points at 4-6 in the tie-break. The 17-year-old Murcia native player won the final four points of the tie-break and converted his first set point at 7-6 with a backhand down the line in 1 hour and 44 minutes. After a trade of breaks at the start of the second set Alcaraz got another break in the sixth game to claim the second set. Alcaraz has extended his win-loss record to 20-3 since the ATP Challenger tour restarted last August. He also extended his record in tie-breaks to 14-1 and 9-0 in 2020. 

Alcaraz becomes the youngest player in the top 500 in the ATP Ranking. Earlier this year he won two more Challenger tournaments in Trieste and Barcelona. He is now ranked world number 136 and is the only player born in 2003 in the top 500. 

At the age of 17 years and 5 months Alcaraz is the youngest player to lift trophies in consecutive weeks and the second youngest to win three Challenger titles. Only Richard Gasquet was younger than Alcaraz when he clinched his third title in Neaples in 2003. 

Comparing Alcaraz to the current big stars of the ATP Tour, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic claimed two Challenger titles, when they were 17 years old. Only Gasquet did better winning five Challenger titles at Alcaraz’s age. 

Alcaraz joins an elite club of players who have won at least three titles before turning 18 following in the footsteps of Richard Gasquet, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro and Felix Auger Aliassime. 

Alcaraz opened his 2020 season ranked just inside the top 500 and is now projected to a career-high world number 136. 

Carlos started playing tennis at the age of four thanks to his father. He has been coached by former world number 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero at his Equelite Academy since the age of 15. 

“It feels incredible to win at home in Villena. It was a great match. Pedro is an amazing player and we both played at a high level. It makes me proud to play like this at home and in front of everyone I know. I am very happy and this is motivation to continue fighting for more”, said Alcaraz. 

Alcaraz will play at the Casino Admiral Trophy Marbella this week.  

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Alexander Zverev Confident ATP Finals Will Be Safe To Attend

The US Open finalist speaks out about travelling to the British capital during the pandemic.

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Alexander Zverev at the US Open 2020 (photo Twitter @usopen)

Germany’s Alexander Zverev believes the ATP Finals will be one of the safest places to be amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The world No.7 will head to London next month to play in the season-ending event which features the eight best players in the world of men’s tennis. London has recently been moved from level one to level two on the British Government’s COVID-19 tier system following a rise in cases of the virus towards 100 per 100,000. People from different households are now no longer allowed to mix inside under the new rules. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, recently said that the number of infection cases is doubling every 10 days.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Zverev says he is confident that the event will be safe to attend. For the first time this year it is taking place behind closed doors in accordance with government rules. In 2019 242,883 fans attended the tournament over an eight-day period.

“We will stay in a hotel next to the stadium, which will be bolted. I think this will be the last place, where people are vulnerable to the coronavirus disease,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.

US Open runner-up Zverev is hoping for a strong end to what has been a testing season for the sport which was halted for five months due to the pandemic. On Sunday he added to his title collection by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets to win the bett1HULKS Indoors in Cologne. The tournament was also held without fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Although we didn’t have any fans inside the arena, I felt the support from home. I had the feeling playing on home soil and I hope that many fans watched the final on TV,” Zverev commented.
“It is different and more difficult this year, as we played less tournaments than usual. I hope that I can keep it up like this.” He added.

At present six players have already qualified for the ATP Finals. Besides Zverev, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev are all set to play. World No.4 Roger Federer has also qualified but will not be playing after deciding to pull the plug on his season due to a knee injury.

The O2 Arena has been home to The ATP Finals since 2009 and has welcomed more than 2.8 million fans to the event over that period. However, the event will be moved to Italy from next year.

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Andrey Rublev claims his fourth title of the season in St. Petersburg

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Third seed Andrey Rublev has claimed his sixth career ATP title and his fourth trophy of a highly successful 2020 season in St. Petersburg with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 win over Borna Coric in the final after 1 hour and 39 minutes. 

 

Rublev has become the fifth Russian player to win the St. Petersburg title after Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1995), Marat Safin (2000, 2001), Mikhail Youzhny (2004) and Danil Medvedev (2019). 

Rublev is currently ranked eighth in the ATP Race to London and is 249 points ahead of 2020 Rome Masters 1000 Diego Schwartzman, who holds the final qualifying spot. 

Rublev has won four ATP Tour titles in Doha, Adelaide, Hamburg and St. Petersburg and is now level with Novak Djokovic. The 22-year-old Moscow native player has a 34-7 win-loss record in 2020 and is currently second on the ATP Tour list behind Djokovic, who won 37 of his 39 matches this year. 

The first set featured just one break point and went on serve en route to the tie-break. Coric went up a 5-2 lead in the tie-break. Rublev reeled off five consecutive points to win the tie-break 7-5. 

Rublev held serve in the first game of the second set with an ace. Coric got his first game on the scoreboard after a service winner to draw level to 1-1. Rublev hit a forehand down the line winner to hold his serve in the third game. The home player fired a forehand winner in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and earned a break point in the sixth game with a return winner. Coric fended it off with an ace. Both players served well in the next games to set up a tie-break. 

Coric built up a 5-2 lead in the tie-break, but he made four forehand errors to trail 5-6. Rublev closed out the tie-break 7-5 with a service winner. Rublev went up a set and a break in the fifth game, as Coric netted a backhand, and held on his serve with a service winner. 

Rublev hit an ace to open up a 5-3 lead forcing Coric to serve to stay in the match. Coric held serve at 30 in the ninth game when Rublev netted a forehand. Rublev held serve at 15 to clinch his first title as the top 10 player. 

“Borna was playing really well. In the tie-break I was down 2-5 I was a bit lucky. Today is my day. Borna is one of the players who are famous for their fighting spirit. He beat a lot of players before. It is also important he is a good person”, said Rublev. 

Coric was bidding to lift his first ATP Tour title since Halle 2018. 

“When I go back home, I can train harder. Next year I will come back for sure and hopefully I can win the title”,said Coric. 

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