Andrey Rublev reaches the quarter final in St. Petersburg - UBITENNIS
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Andrey Rublev reaches the quarter final in St. Petersburg

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World number 10 Andrey Rublev came back from losing the first set in his 4-6 6-4 7-5 win over Frenchman Ugo Humbert after 2 hours and 13 minutes to reach the quarter final at the St. Petersburg Open ATP 500 Tournament. 

 

The first set went on serve in the first nine games. Humbert converted his second break point chance in the 10th game to win the first set 6-4. 

Rublev went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Humbert pulled one break back in the sixth game to claw his way back to 3-4. Rublev served out on his second set point in the 10th game. 

Both players went on serve until the 11th game when Rublev got the decisive break at love to close out the third set 7-5. 

Rublev has improved his seasonal record to 31 wins to 7 losses. 

US Reilly Opelka also recovered from one set down to beat defending champion Danil Medvedev 2-6 7-5 6-4 after 1 hour and 55 minutes. 

Medvedev went up a double break in the fifth and seventh games to win the first set. Both players held on their serve until the 11th game of the second set. Opelka converted on his third break point chance in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5. 

Opelka saved four break points in the fifth and seventh games of the third set before hitting a crosscourt forehand winner on his first break point chance in the 10th game to win the third set 6-4. Opelka has reached his fourth quarter final of the year. 

Medvedev still holds a 2-1 lead in his head-to-head matches against Opelka. The Russian player beat his US rival in his previous two clashes in Washington 2017 (6-7 6-3 7-6) and in Miami 2019 (7-6 6-7 7-6). 

Opelka set up a quarter final clash against Borna Coric, who beat Russian wild card Roland Safiulin 6-3 7-5. Opelka recovered from a set down to defeat Coric in their only previous head-to-head match in Cincinnati. 

“It is always a tough match, playing one of best players in the world in general, but generally at his home. It is a great win for me. It was ugly for the first set and a half. I felt like I barely won any points on his serve , but part of that is just because of my opponent. Danil is an absolute nightmare to play, especially for a guy like me because he just runs every ball down”, said Opelka.  

Denis Shapovalov reached the quarter final in St. Petersburg for the second time in three years after his 6-1 6-4 win over Ilya Ivashka with two breaks in the fourth and sixth games of the first set and another break in the first game of the second set. Shapovalov will take on Stan Wawrinka. 

Shapovalov ties 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Wawrinka, but the Swiss player won their most recent clash 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in Rotterdam. 

Karen Khachanov recovered from one set down to beat Aslan Karatsev 4-6 7-5 6-3. Karatsev converted his second break point at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. Khachanov broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Karatsev broke serve in the seventh game and held his next service games to win the first set 6-4. 

Karatsev earned the only break in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5 forcing the match to the decider. The third set went on serve until the seventh game before Khachanov got the decisive break to take a 5-3 lead. Khachanov served out the match at deuce in the ninth game. 

Khachanov will take on Milos Raonic, who beat Alexander Bublik 6-3 6-2 with one break in the second game of the first set and two breaks in the first and fifth games of the second set.   

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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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