Felix Auger Aliassime aims to qualify for the 2021 Finals in Turin - UBITENNIS
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Felix Auger Aliassime aims to qualify for the 2021 Finals in Turin

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Felix Auger Aliassime recently trained at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca this month with the goal to reach the top 10 in the ATP Ranking and qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin in November 2021. 

 

Despite the global pandemic Auger Aliassime played in 17 tournaments and held a record of 23 wins and 19 defeats in singles matches. The 20-year-old Canadian player ended the 2020 season at world number 21 in the ATP Ranking. This year he reached three finals in Rotterdam, Marseille and Cologne 1. 

At the age of 19 he became the youngest player to reach finals in consecutive weeks since Novak Djokovic. 

Last February Auger Aliassime reached his second ATP 500 final in Rotterdam finishing runner-up to Gael Monfils. One week later he saved two match points against Stefano Travaglia and three match points against Pierre Hugues Herbert en route to reaching the final at the Open 13 in Marseille. 

At Grand Slam level Auger Aliassime beat 2012 US Open champion Andy Murray en route to reaching his first Grand Slam fourth round in New York. 

Last autumn Auger Aliassime beat Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinal in Cologne 1 before finishing runner-up to Alexander Zverev in the final. He ended the year with a doubles title in the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 tournament. 

During the off-season Auger Aliassime spent more than one week training at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca. 

“I want to obviously keep on improving. I came to Mallorca to train hard and reach another level. I would love to reach the top 10 and be part of the ATP Finals next year. I think I have what it takes in me and now I need to do well, do work and play good matches. I have to improve my consistency and and play good tennis week after week with good engagement and good intensity every week. If I can do that, I will give myself chances to attain my objective”, said Auger Aliassime. 

During his stay in Mallorca Auger Aliassime had the chance to learn from Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni, who provided him some useful tips. 

“It was great. I did not have the chance to talk to Toni as much as Rafa at the tournaments. To have Toni on the court, to share tennis with him and have him give his feedback on court has been great. That is one of the biggest reasons I came here, to share some experience and to have some knowledge from Toni and it has been amazing. He has helped me a lot so far and he gives me great tips. I like his ethic and mentality”, said Auger Aliassime. 

The young Canadian player was impressed by the Manacor-based Nadal Academy tennis centre, which is currently expanding its facilities with three indoor hard courts and seven covered clay courts. 

“It was my first time, but I have been happily surprised by everything. It is as good as I imagined, even better. I feel like everybody has a very good energy here, a lot of respect, a lot of engagement and passion for the game. For me, as a professional tennis player, there is everything I need to train, recover and have a good time”. 

Auger Aliassime faced many challenges in this difficult year, but this experience made him a more matured player. 

“This year has taught me that there are things that are beyond my control and I have to embrace the challenges. Because of this, I feel like I have matured as a person and I am able to look at the bigger picture. I always want to win and do everything right, but when I think about the bigger picture, I can focus on being the best player and where I want to go in the long term”. 

Auger Aliassime looks forward to the 2021 season, but he admitted that there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the calendar of tournaments. 

“My objectives for next year include preparing myself for each tournament and trying go as far as possible. I am at a stage in my career where I play every tournament to win”. During this year Auger Aliassime has continued contributing to his charitable work with “FAA Points for Change”. For each point he won, he donated money for the education of children in Togo (the country of origin of his father) and the protection of their rights. 

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Andrey Rublev comes through a hard-fought clash against Roberto Bautista Agut in Monte-Carlo

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Eight-time ATP Tour champion Andrey Rublev battled past Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-2 in a hard-fought match to set up a quarter final match against Rafael Nadal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

 

Bautista Agut entered the match with a 3-2 lead in his head-to-head matches against Rublev and beat his Russian opponent in their most recent head-to-head matches. 

Bautista Agut went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game. Rublev saved a break point to hold serve after two deuces before breaking serve in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4. Rublev earned two break points in the ninth game, but he did not convert them. Rublev broke serve in the 11th game, but he was not able to serve out the first set. Rublev got three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Bautista Agut raced out to a 4-1 lead with two breaks in the first an dfifth games in the second set, but Rublev pulled both breaks back to win four consecutive games for 5-4. Bautista Agut won the final three games, including a break in the 11th game to  close out the second set 7-5. 

Rublev earned an early break in the first game to take a 2-0 lead. Bautista Agut broke back in the fifth game at deuce, but Rublev broke for the second time in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and saved a break point to hold serve after three deuces in the seventh game. He served out at love in the eighth game. 

Rublev won the ATP 500 title in Rotterdam and reached three semifinals in Miami, Dubai and Doha. 

Rublev will face 11-time Monte-Carlo champion Rafael Nadal, who leads 2-0 in their previous two head-to-head matches in the quarter final of the 2017 US Open in New York and in a round robin match of the Nitto ATP Finals in London. 

Casper Ruud edged past Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 7-5 to set up a quarter final against defending champion Fabio Fognini.

Ruud got an early break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead in the first set. Carreno Busta broke back to love in the ninth game. Carreno Busta got a mini-break to take a 3-2 lead. Ruud won five of the next six points, including three mini-breaks, to clinch the tie-break 7-4. Carreno Busta saved three break points to hold serve after four deuces for 4-3 in the seventh game and broke serve in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5. 

Carreno Busta converted his second break point in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead. The Spaniard saved a break point in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Ruud rallied from 3-5 down by breaking twice in the ninth and eleventh games to clinch the third set 7-5. 

Ruud leads 2-0 in in his two head-to-head matches against his next opponent Fognini. 

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New Setback Forces Dominic Thiem Out Of Belgrade

The Austrian tennis star has written a blog post on his website titled ‘my knee hurts!”

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Dominic’s Thiem’s return to the Tour has been postponed for a second time due to a physical problem which he recently visited a doctor about.

 

The US Open champion has confirmed that he is currently suffering from pain in his knee and has decided to pull out of next week’s Belgrade Open. An ATP 250 event which will be headlined by world No.1 Novak Djokovic. It is unclear as to what kind of injury Thiem is suffering from or when the pain started. Earlier this year he confirmed that he had been suffering from a long-standing foot issue which gives him intermittent pain. Although there is no indication that these are linked in anyway.

“2021 just doesn’t want to get going. Unfortunately I will have to cancel my start at next week’s tournament in Novak Djokovic’s hometown Belgrade,” Thiem wrote in a statement. “My knee hurts and I went to see a doctor. It is not a big issue but I need to take care of it. I am definitely not fit enough to play next week.”

Earlier this month Thiem delayed his expected return to the Tour at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters because he was ‘not 100% yet.’ In a blog post on his website the Austrian admitted that he had ‘a lot of work to do’ and ‘tough weeks’ ahead. Thiem hasn’t played a match since the Dubai Tennis Championships after deciding to take a break from the sport in order to reset himself.

The hope for the world No.4 is that he will be back on track and ready to play at the Madrid Open which will begin on April 30th with the ultimate goal remaining to be back to full fitness at the French Open. Thiem’s most successful Grand Slam where he has reached finals in 2018 and 2019.

“I want to be completely fit at the beginning of May and play proper tennis,” he states.
“There is something positive, though: Coach Nicolas Massu arrived in Austria yesterday, we are going to continue my program even though at the moment we have to be careful. In the meantime I have also been working on my physical fitness with sports scientist Mike Reinprecht.’
“There is no doubt, the big goal till the summer are the French Open – in Paris I must be at my best.”

So far this season Thiem has only won back-to-back matches in one out of four tournaments played. Doing so at the Australian Open where he reached the fourth round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov. Since then he has suffered second round losses in Doha and Dubai. His win-loss record for 2021 currently stands at 5-4.

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Fabio Fognini continues his title defence with straight-set win over Filip Krajinovic in Monte-Carlo

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Fabio Fognini continues his title defence at the Monte-Carlo with a 6-2 7-6 (7-1) win over Filip Krajinovic after 1 hour and 28 minutes.

 

Fognini has reached the quarter finals for the second consecutive edition without dropping a set. He will face either Pablo Carreno Busta or Casper Ruud on Friday. 

Fognini went up a double break in the third and fifth games to race out to a 4-1 lead. The reigning champion missed his first two set points at 5-2 40-15, but he hit a crosscourt backhand winner at 40-40 before serving out the first set 6-2 with a forehand winner. 

Krajinovic went up a break in the second game of the second set. The World number 37 saved four break points and held his next service games to open up a 5-2 lead. Fognini broke back in the ninth game at 30, as Krajinovic made a forehand error on the break point. 

Fognini won seven consecutive points from 0-1 down with three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-1. 

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