Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the spotlight in Paris Bercy - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the spotlight in Paris Bercy

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Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas grab the headlines at the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 tournament at the Accor Hotel Arena in Paris Bercy. 

 

Top seeded Nadal returns to Paris three weeks after his 13th Roland Garros title. The 20-time Grand Slam champion will be bidding to score the Roland Garros – Paris Bercy double in the same year. He has a record of 19 match wins to 5 defeats in Paris Bercy but he has never won the this indoor tournament in his career. He achieved his best result in Paris Bercy in 2007 when he lost to David Nalbandian in 2007. Nadal will open his Paris Bercy campaign against either 2017 finalist Filip Krajinovic or Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez. 

Nadal, who will attempt to win his 1000th ATP Tour match in his opening match of the Paris Bercy tournament, could meet Borna Coric in the third round. Nadal and Coric are tied 2-2 in their five head-to-head macthes. If Nadal wins his second-round match would become the fourth male player in the Open Era to join the milestone 1000-match wins club. 

Nadal shares the same half of the draw with former ATP Finals champion and 2020 US Open finalist Alexander Zverev, this week’s Vienna champion Andrey Rublev, Pablo Carreno Busta, Stan Wawrinka and David Goffin. 

Carreno Busta reached the semifinal at the US Open and the quarter final at Roland Garros after forcing Dominic Thiem to five sets on Court Philliippe Chatrier in Paris.

Zverev, who won back-to-back titles in Cologne, will face either Nur Sultan champion John Millman or Miomir Kecmanovic in the second round. 

Rublev will be bidding to win his sixth title this season after Doha, Alicante, Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna. The 22-year-old Russian player has secured his spot in the 2020 ATP Finals in London. (15-22 November). Rublev will face either Pole Hubert Hurkacz or a qualifier in the second round. 

Reigning ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will headline the bottom half of the draw. The Greek player will be bidding to win his maiden Masters 1000 title. He recently reached his second Grand Slam semifinal at Roland Garros. The Athens native player will face a tough second round clash against either 2020 Antwerp champion Ugo Humbert or Rome Masters 1000 semifinalist Casper Ruud. 

Tsitsipas has been drawn in the same quarter of the draw as last year’s US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini, 2014 Paris Bercy finalist Milos Raonic and Felix Auger Aliassime. Tsitsipas could face 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev in a potential semifinal. Medvedev, who won two Masters 1000 titles in Shanghai and Cincinnati last year, could face 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson in the second round. Anderson beat Medvedev in Vienna this week. Anderson will start his Paris Bercy campaign against a qualifier or a lucky loser. 

Sixth seed and Rome Masters 1000 finalist Diego Schwartzman is the other top name in the third quarter of the draw. Schwartzman, who reached the semifinalist at this year’s Roland Garros, will take on either Richard Gasquet or Taylor Fritz in the second round. Schwartzman could meet 2018 Paris Bercy champion Karen Khachanov. 

Lorenzo Sonego will be looking to continue his impressive period of form in Paris one week after reaching his first ATP 500 final in Vienna, where he finished runner-up to Andrey Rublev. The 25-year-old will renew his battle against Alexander Bublik. It will be a re-match of the recent second round clash at Roland Garros, where Sonego prevailed over his Kazakh opponent in straight sets en route to reaching the fourth round at Roland Garros. 

This week’s Vienna semifinalist Daniel Evans will face three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in one of the most interesting first round matches. Wawrinka saved three match points to extend his unbeaten streak against Evans in St. Petersburg. 

Felix Auger Aliassime will take on 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the first round. Auger Aliassime will make his debut in Paris Bercy. Cilic will make his 12th appearance in the French capital’s tournament. The Croatian player reached the semifinals in Paris Bercy in 2016. 

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Matteo Berrettini reaches his second Masters 1000 semifinal

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Matteo Berrettini has reached the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career with his 5-7 6-3 6-0 win over Cristian Garin at the Madrid Mutua Open at the Caja Magica. 

 

Berrettini fought back from 3-6 1-3 down by winning 11 consecutive games to take the win in the third set. 

Garin earned an immediate break in the first game, but Berrettini broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Garin won seven consecutive points from 5-5 15-30 to claim the first set 7-5 with a break in the 11th game thanks to a backhand passing shot. 

Garin went up a 3-1 lead in the second set with a break in the third game. Berrettini broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 with a forehand winner on the break point. 

Berrettini earned his second break to take a 5-3 lead, when Garin made three unforced errors. The Italian player served out 6-3 at love with an ace.

Berrettini broke serve in the first game and saved two break-back points in the second game to hold serve for 2-0. Berrettini earned his double break in the third game, as Garin made two consecutive unforced errors at 40-40. Berrettini held serve at duece to race out to a 4-0 lead. Garin missed four game points in the fifth game before dropping serve to trail 0-5, when he committed a double fault and an unforced error. Berrettini served out the third set at love with his 14th ace after 2 hours and 6 minutes to secure his spot in his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Shanghai 2019.    

“I am really proud that I came back from not an easy place mentally after my injury. I really worked hard. There were days. There were days where I wasn’t really feeling into practice because I felt like kind of there was a lot of work to be done. Sometimes I was feeling kind of unlucky that I got injured again. It was just tough, but I came back stronger in Belgrade. For here, I proved to myself that I am strong inside”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini will take on Casper Ruud in the semifinals. They will battle for a spot into their first Masters 1000 final. Ruud beat Berrettini in the quarter final in Rome last year. 

“I think he is a great player, especially on clay. He has been playing really good, really solid so far this season. We always had tough matches. Last year in Rome it was a really tough match. Still if I think about it, it hurts. I am really looking forward to get my revenge, not in a bad way, but just in a way that’s in a sport way”, said Berrettini. 

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Casper Ruud reaches his third consecutive clay Masters 1000 semifinal

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Casper Ruud beat Alexander Bublik 7-5 6-1 to reach his third career Masters 1000 semifinal at the Madrid Mutua Open after advancing to this stage in Rome in 2020 and Monte-Carlo in 2021. 

 

Ruud backed up his win in the third round against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday with a straight set win over Bublik. Ruud won 8 of the final nine games and hit 19 winners to seal the win in 69 minutes. Ruud hit nine forehand winners to just two unforced forehand errors.

Ruud broke Bublik in the 11th game on his fourth set point to take the first set 7-5, as Bublik was serving at 5-6. The Norwegian player broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to claim the second set 6-1 in 69 minutes. 

The son of former Norwegian player Christian Ruud has not broken yet and faced his first break point this week against Bublik. 

Ruud becomes the seventh unseeded ATP player to advance to the semifinals in Madrid. He will face either Matteo Berrettini or Christian Garin in the semifinal. 

 “It’s a great feeling. It’s my third Masters 1000 semifinal and my third in a row on clay. I am just playing the tennis of my life for the moment and I am enjoying it. I have just had an unbelievable motivation to play the European clay swing and when we didn’t get to play it last year, I was very sad. I think I have just double motivation compared to last year”, said Ruud.

Ruud will move up to at least world number 16 in the ATP Ranking next week. 

“I did a lot of good work when we had the corona break last year. I trained really hard on the weekdays and took the weekends off. I think that worked well. When we started well, I felt good again. I think I am a much better player mentally, physically and playing-wise as well. I am hitting the ball and playing the heavy clay-court game that I like to play”, said Ruud. 

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Aryna Sabalenka beats Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova to set up a re-match of the Stuttgart final against Ashleigh Barty

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Aryna Sabalenka has reached her third final of the season with a 6-2 6-3 win over six-time Grand Slam quarter finalist Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinal of the Madrid Mutua Open. 

 

Sabalenka earned her first break to take a 3-1 lead. She hi a series of forehands in the final game to close out the first set 6-2. 

Sabalenka raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break. Pavlyuchenkova earned her first break points, but Sabalenka held serve for 5-0. Pavlyuchenkova pulled one break in the seventh game and held serve to claw her way back to 3-5. Sabalenka hit two backhands to earn her first match point and sealed the win with her fourth ace .  

Sabalenka has extended her win-loss record to 23-6 (including 9-1) this year. She has won the opening tournament of the season and lost the Stuttgart Porsche Grand Prix final to Ashleigh Barty. 

Barty and Sabalenka will meet again in the Madrid Mutua Open this week in the re-match of the Stuttgart final

The Belarusian player has not dropped a set this week. The Belarusian player won 73 % of her second service points and converted four of her break points against Pavlyuchenkova, who had won their only previous head-to-head match in Toronto in 2019. 

“I think my game has improved a lot on the clay court. For sure, it’s given me some confidence, but there are still so many things to work on. I am just really with my level here in Madrid. I think from the side it looks like everything is going my way. Some games I did not feel my serve. Some games something wasn’t working. It’s always part of the process, but I am really happy that from the side, it looks like everything is going my way”,said Sabalenka. 

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