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Delray Beach will limit the attendance to 2000 spectators

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The Delray Beach Open will open the 2021 ATP Tour season from 4 to 13 January at the Delray Beach Tennis Centre. The US tournament changed its original date after the Australian Open was moved to 8 February. 

 

Organisers of the Delray Beach Open have made significant changes in the midst of the global pandemic to ensure that the tournament in Florida takes place safely. The 2021 edition will be the only ATP Tour event to feature both the ATP 250 and the ATP Champions Tour. 

Attendance will be capped at 2000, just under 25 % of the Delray Beach Tennis Center’s capacity, to accomodate proper social distancing. All attendees will be required to wear masks during the tournament. 

The Delray Beach Open will feature the ATP Tour Legends tournament from 4 to 6 January and the ATP 250 qualifying round on 5-6 January. The main draw for the ATP 250 tournament, which will feature 28 singles players and 16 doubles teams, will start on 7 January. There are two sessions every day until the day of the final on Wednesday 13 January. 

“As soon as the Australian Open was postponed to 8 February, we immediately knew that we had no choice. We decided to grit our teeth. The ATP wanted to give players opportunities and Florida is a great place to do it right now, so we thought let’s do it. The first challenge to face was the health and safety protocols and the Covid test because it was new for us and we are talking about many things like on-site testing, creating bubble with the hotel, transport from airport to hotel, from hotel to tournament, then back and forth between tournament and hotel. We are talking about hundreds and hundreds of tests over the course of 10-12 days. It’s going to be tough and i twill take a couple of years to get back on par. We are limiting ourselves to 2000 spectators per session. We are currently implementing the highest standards. We are not obliged to do this under the rules of Florida, but we are doing it to ensure the safety of the crowd”, said Delray Beach tournament executive director John Butler. 

The Delray Beach line-up will feature four former champions Kei Nishikori (2008), Sam Querrey (2016), Frances Tiafoe (2018) and Reilly Opelka (2020), three-time Grand Slam champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray, John Isner and Christian Garin. 

Murray will start the Delray Beach tournament as a wild-card. The Dunblane star has won 34 of his 46 titles on hard court. He won his last tournament on US soil in Miami in 2013. 

Murray beat Alexander Zverev in the second round at the Western and Southern Open in New York when the ATP Tour resumed after the lockdown last August. With his victory over Zverev in the Big Apple he scored the biggest win since beating Novak Djokovic for the 2016 Nitto ATP Finals in London. Murray lost to Milos Raonic at Western and Southern Open Masters 1000 tournament. 

Murray saved one match point against Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round at the US Open before losing to Felix Auger Aliassime in the second round. 

Murray is the 11th current or former World number 1 to take part in the Delray Beach tournament. 

“I am looking forward to starting the 2021 season in Delray Beach. This event will be a good test for me and I am excited to be back playing on the Tour”, said Murray. 

The host site for the tournament is the Delray Beach Tennis Center, a facility which contains 14 clay courts, 6 hard courts  and an 8200-seat stadium. 

“These are unprecedented times and I would like to thank the tournament organizers for their willingness to adapt by moving into week one of the ATP Tour calendar at such short notice. Providing playing opportunities for our players and ensuring our sport is delivered to fans worldwide in a safe and secure environment is our number one priority”, said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.

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Anhelina Kalinina beats Daria Kasatkina at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Anhelina Kalinina eased past Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 23 minutes at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. 

 

Kalinina, who reached the final in Budapest this year, hit 24  winners to 18 unforced errors. She scored her second top 30 win this year after beating Angelique Kerber in the first round at this year’s edition of the French Open. 

The match between Kalinina and Kasatkina featured 12 breaks of serve. Kalinina went up a 3-0 lead with a double break in the second set. Kasatkina pulled one break back in the fourth game and saved four break points to hold serve in the fifth game for 2-3 in the longest game of the match. 

Kalinina saved two match points in the sixth game before breaking serve in the seventh game to open up a 5-2 lead. She was not able to serve out the match after two double faults, but she sealed the second set with a drive volley. 

Anna Kalinskaya rallied from 3-5 down in the first set to beat Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. Yastremska started the tie-break with six consecutive unforced errors, but she saved five set points, but she sent a return outside the court. Kalinskaya set up a second round match against Maria Sakkari. 

Lesla Tsurenko beat 18-year-old Chinese player Zheng Qinwen 6-4 6-3. Bernarda Pera beat Aleksandra Krunic 7-6 (7-3) 6-3. Pera converted her sixth point to close out the first set.  Pera will face Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova. 

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Arthur Rinderknech beats Federico Delbonis to reach the second round in Antwerp

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Arthur Rinderknech won 85% of his first service points in his 6-4 6-4 win over Federico Delbonis after 1 hour and 31 minutes to reach the second round at the European Open in Antwerp. 

 

Rinderknech earned two breaks to open up a 4-1 lead. Delbonis pulled back one break in the sixth game, but Rinderknech held on his next service games to win the first set 6-4. 

The Frenchman went up an early break in the first game to take a 4-2 lead. Delbonis saved three break points to hold serve at deuce in the seventh game for 3-4. Rinderknech served out the win at deuce after saving a break point in the 10th game. 

Rinderknech has extended his winning record to 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Delbonis.

“I am really pleased with the win. There were some crazy points here and there and sometimes they did not go my way. These kind of points can change the match but I tried to stay focused and I am pleased I was able to close out the match”, said Rinderknech. 

US Next Gen player Jenson Brooksby cruised past Norbert Gombos 6-4 6-2. Brooksby went up a 4-1 lead with a double break. Gombos pulled one break back for 2-4 in the sixth game. Brooksby held on his next service games to win the first set 6-4 and earned two breaks in the first and seventh games to seal the second set 6-4. 

Another US Next Gen rising star Brandon Nakashima beat Pierre Hugues Herbert 6-2 6-4. Nakashima broke serve in the fifth and seventh games and earned a break in the fifth game of the second set. 

Dusan Lajovic beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. Gasquet earned a break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Lajovic broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Lajovic saved two break points in the ninth and eleventh games. Lajovic earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. The Serbian player broke three times to win the second set 6-1. 

Botic Van de Zandschulp beat Alexei Popyrin 6-4 3-6 6-0. Van de Zandschulp won the first set 6-4 with a break in the fifth game. 

Popyrin saved five break points in the first game before converting his third break point to take a 2-0 lead. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Popyrin served out the set after saving two break points. 

Van de Zandschulp earned three breaks to win the third set 6-0. 

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Marin Cilic overcomes Damir Dzumhur at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Marin Cilic edged past Damir Dzumhur 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-1 after 1 hour and 51 minutes to reach the second round at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Cilic won two consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015. 

 

Cilic came back from losing the tie-break of the first set by winning 12 of the last 13 games. He will face either Tommy Paul or Winston Salem finalist Mikael Ymer.

The opening set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Dzumhur earned three set points at 6-3 with two mini-breaks and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-4. Cilic broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the second set. The 2014 US Open champion saved a break point in the third game before breaking at deuce in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Cilic closed out the third set with a double break at love in the sixth game. 

The Croatian player has extended his winning record to 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Dzumhur. 

Cilic won his 19th career ATP title in Stuttgart against Felix Auger Aliassime and reached two semifinals in Singapore and Estoril.  

“It always feels great to be here. It is always a pleasure and it is great to see a nice crowd here. I know that Damir always enjoys these conditions where the court is a bit slower and the ball stays a bit slower, so I was having a little bit of difficulty on his serve in the first set”, said Cilic. 

John Millman also rallied from one set down to beat Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3 after two hours and 35 minutes. Millman will play against either Alexander Bublik or Ukrainian qualifier Ilya Marchenko. 

Millman went up a 5-2 lead with a double break. Bonzi pulled both breaks back to draw level to draw level to 5-5. Bonzi earned two mini-breaks to take a 4-2 lead. Millman pulled back on serve to draw level to 5-5, but Bonzi earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5.

Bonzi went up a set and a break to take a 4-3 lead, but Millman won the final three games with two breaks to claim the second set 6-4. Millman raced out to a 4-0 lead with two breaks. Bonzi got one break back in the fifth game for 1-4. Millman won his final service games to close out the third set 6-3. 

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