Lucas Pouille pulls out of the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Lucas Pouille pulls out of the Australian Open

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After the shock news that Roger Federer will skip the 2021 Australian Open, Lucas Pouille also pulled out of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year for the second consecutive year. 

 

According to the French sport newspaper Pouille will take in two Challenger tournaments in Quimper (25-31 January) and Orleans (1-7 February). The Frenchman played just one match in 2020 at the ATP Challenger in Indian Wells losing to Noah Rubin and fell back to world number 70 in the ATP Ranking. He underwent elbow surgery last July. 

The French player decided against a trip to Melbourne after consultation with his team formed by Nicolas Renevand and Thierry Ascione. 

Pouille lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal of the Australian Open in 2019 and rose to a career-high of number 10. 

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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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