Diego Schwartzman is the eighth Argentine player to qualify for the ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Diego Schwartzman is the eighth Argentine player to qualify for the ATP Finals

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Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman secured the final spot for the 20th edition of the Nitto ATP Finals in London. 

 

Schwartzman is the eighth singles player from Argentina to qualify for the ATP Finals and the first to play at this event since Del Potro in 2013.

Schwartzman follows in the footsteps of 1974 champion Guillermo Vilas, José Luis Clerc, Guillermo Coria, 2005 champion David Nalbandian, Gaston Gaudio, Mariano Puerta and 2009 finalist Juan Martin Del Potro. Nalbandian beat Roger Federer in the 2005 final. Del Potro reached the final in 2009 but lost against Nikolay Davydenko.

Schwartzman did not drop a set en route to his second ATP Tour title in Rio de Janeiro in February 2018. He rallied from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson and advance to his second Grand Slam quarter final at Roland Garros. He beat Dusan Lajovic 11-9 in the fifth set en route to the Australian Open fourth round. He also advanced to the semifinals in Antwerp and to the second round at Wimbledon. 

The Argentine player finished runner-up in two ATP Tour finals in Buenos Aires and Vienna in 2019 and reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal in Rome. He equalled the biggest win of his career by beating Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter final at the US Open and advanced to the Wimbledon third round for the first time before losing to Matteo Berrettini after holding three match points. 

The Buenos Aires native player broke into the top 10 for the first time in his career on 12 October, after he reached his maiden Grand Slam semifinal at Roland Garros. A few weeks earlier Schwartzman beat Rafael Nadal en route to his maiden Masters 1000 final in Rome. The Buenos Aires resident finished runner-up in two ATP 250 tournaments finals against Christian Garin in Cordoba and  Alexander Zverev in Cologne. 

Schwartzman is the son of Ricardo and Silvana Schwartzman. His parents have Jewish roots. During the Holocaust his Polish maternal great-grandfather was put on a train to a Nazi concentration camp. Diego has two brothers (one is a computer programmer, the other is a travel agent) and a sister, who works as a lawyer. 

Schwartzman was named after former football legend Diego Armando Maradona. 

“One of the sports I played was football. When I was little , my grandmother bought me uniforms from European teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona. The first team I played for, I scored a lot”, said Schwartzman in an interview to the ATP website. 

As a junior he and his family sold rubber bracelets with names and logos of popular football teams to help pay for travel expenses. 

“I never imagined my career being where it is now. No matter what I have dealt with, I have always worked hard, and I think pushing through those hurdles has made me a better competitor and an even better person. I was never a top junior, the only junior Grand Slam I played was the 2010 US Open qualifying, where I lost in the first round”. 

At the age of 15 Schwartzman practised with former top 10 player Juan Monaco and Maximo Gonales. 

His idols growing up were Rafael Nadal and football player Juan Roman Riquelme. His hobbies include playing football, watching Boca Junior football matches and listening to reggeaton music. 

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Marin Cilic wins his first title since Queen’s 2018

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Marin Cilic claimed the 19th ATP Tour title of his career and his first since Queen’s 2018 with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 win over Felix Auger Aliassime  after 1 hour and 50 minutes in the final of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. 

 

Cilic won 100% of his first-serve points in three of his five matches and did not drop a set this week. 

The Croatian star is not 3-3 in grass court finals and 19-14 in his overall title matches. 

Both Cilic and Auger Aliassime saved three break points in their first service games. Cilic converted his ninth break point to take a 6-5 lead in the 11th game. Cilic was not able to serve out the first set, but he cruised through the tie-break 7-2, when Auger Aliassime hit a forehand long. 

The second set went on serve in the first seven games. Auger Aliassime won 64% of his first-service points, while Cilic claimed 90% of his second serve points. Cilic earned the only break of the second set in the eighth game to seal the second set 6-3. 

Cilic will play at Queen’s next week. 

“It was a very important win. I played two semifinals and did not win a title since 2018, also on grass at Queen’s. Winning here brings out joy for me, good confidence and a good feeling. Experience plays a big part, especially on grass. The conditions can be difficult, the court plays quite quick. I felt this was a good chance for me to give it my all, keep my intensity. Even though  some games were up and others down, that was a big part of my victory today”, said Cilic. 

Auger Aliassime has dropped to 0-8 in his eight ATP Tour Finals. “Today I am not facing a final. I am facing Marin Cilic. It is two different things. There has been times when I have not played my best then I felt I was not playing well, but this time around, I felt like it was close, but overall I think he was a better player overall”, said Auger Aliassime. 

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Felix Auger Aliassime sets up Stuttgart final against Marin Cilic

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Felix Auger Aliassime beat Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 in 80 minutes to advance to the eighth ATP Tour Final of his career at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart without dropping a set this week. 

 

Auger Aliassime did not face a break point and hit seven aces. The Canadian Next Gen converted his first break point in the ninth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

The 20-year-old Canadian rising star won 89% of his first service points before earning a break point at 6-5 to seal the win. He lost to Matteo Berrettini in the 2019 final in Stuttgart. 

Auger Aliassime will face 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who won the first set 6-3 before Jurij  Rodionov, before the Austrian wild card was forced to withdraw from the match at 0-1 due to an injury problem at the start of the second set. 

“I am feeling really good and very excited to be in the final after quite a period that I didn’t reach a final. I think this was very positive week. I have played good tennis, served very well. Considering it is a shorter season, with one week less. It was great to play this week. Losing to Roger Federer gave me more time to prepare for the week. I have not enjoyed being at a tournament so much in a long period of time, because it is the first time my son, my wife and I are together at one tournament. The set up in Stuttgart is really nice. There is a lot of grass and open space aroung the hotel for my sonto play and it is so much fun having them around”, said Cilic. Cilic leads 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Auger Aliassime. They will play their first match on grass. 

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Barbora Krejcikova reaches both singles and doubles final at Roland Garros

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Barbora Krejcikova has qualified for the singles and doubles finals at Roland Garros this weekend, as she and Katerina Siniakova claimed a 6-1 6-2 win over Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera. 

 

Krejcikova has the chance to become the first player to win both the women’s singles and doubles titles at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce claimed both tournaments in 2000. Serena Williams is the most recently player to win both the singles and doubles titles at any Grand Slam tournament, at Wimbledon 2016.

The Czech team will take on Bethanie Mattek Sands froand last year’s Roland Garros singles champion Iga Swiatek, who beat Irina Camelia Begu and Nadia Podoroska 6-3 6-4. Swiatek reached the quarter final this year in the singles tournament. Krejcikova and Siniakova have qualified for both Grand Slam women’s doubles finals this season. They lost to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka at the 2021 Australian Open last February. 

Krejcikova and Siniakova are bidding to win their second Roland Garros women’s doubles title. 

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