Denis Shapovalov beats Stan Wawrinka to set up semifinal against Andrey Rublev in St. Petersburg - UBITENNIS
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Denis Shapovalov beats Stan Wawrinka to set up semifinal against Andrey Rublev in St. Petersburg

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Number 2 seed Denis Shapovalov beat Stan Wawrinka 6-4 7-5 to set up a semifinal against Andrey Rublev.

 

Shapovalov saved four break points and held serve after four deuces. The Canadian player converted his only break point chance in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and held his next three service without facing any break points to win the opening set 6-4. 

Shapovalov converted his third break point chance in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Wawrinka broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Shapovalov got his second break in the 11th game. Wawrinka wasted two break points in the 12th game. Shapovalov served out the second set 7-5 at deuce.

Shapovalov is now just 30 points away from world number 11 Gael Monfils in the ATP Ranking. 

In the semifinal Shapovalov will take on Andrey Rublev cruised past Cameron Norrie 6-2 6-1 in 63 minutes to reach the semifinal at the St. Petersburg Open. 

The 22-year-old Moscow native has risen to world number 9 in the ATP Ranking ahead of Matteo Berrettini. Rublev and Berrettini are in contention for the final two spots for the Nitto ATP Finals in London. 

Rublev broke twice in the first and fifth games of the opening set and three times in the first, fifth and seventh games of the second set. The Russian player has a record of 17-4 win-loss record in his 21 matches since the ATP Tour resumed last August. 

Borna Coric beat Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to return to the semifinals after finishing runner-up last year. Coric went down 2-5 in the opening set and fended off three set points at 3-5. Coric broke back in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5 before winning the tie-break 7-3. Coric converted his only break point to win the second set 6-3. 

“In the first set I did not start very good. I was very nervous coming into the match. I did not know what to expect what to expect. I was not playing good and then I obviously found my rhythm and started to play much better. I started to read his serve a little bit as well and I was very solid on my serve”, said Coric. 

Coric set up a semifinal match against Milos Raonic, who beat Karen Khachanov 6-1 7-6 (7-1) in 86 minutes. Raonic got two consecutive breaks to win the first set 6-1. Khachanov saved the only break point he faced in the fifth game of the second set, which went on serve until the tie-break. Raonic hit two aces to win the tie-break 7-1. 

Raonic saved all 10 break points he has faced in his first three matches at this tournament. 

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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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