Revealed: Where Players Will Be Playing During The First Week Of 2021 - UBITENNIS
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Revealed: Where Players Will Be Playing During The First Week Of 2021

Matteo Berrettini, David Goffin, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Sofia Kenin, Karolina Pliskova and Karolina Pliskova are just some of the names who are set to start the new season during the first week of January.

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The International Tennis Complex of Zayed Sports City, venue of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Women’s Tennis Open

In two weeks time the new tennis season will kick off with three tournaments held in different continents. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Tour calendars have been revamped to take into account the 14-day Australian quarantine players will have to go through ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2021.

 

Whilst the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will not start their campaigns until Australia, other top names will be returning to the court a lot sooner. Earlier this week details of the entry lists for the first trio of tournaments was published and here is everything to know about who is playing where.

Turkey – ATP 250

The Antalya Open will be a brand new tournament kicking off the season after being granted a one-year licence. The city is already a regular feature on the men’s calendar after hosing a grass-court event over the past three years, but this tournament will take place on a hard court.

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini is set to be the top seed at the 250 event and the only top 10 player. He will be seeking his fourth Tour title and first since 2019 in the Turkish city. Also confirmed to be taking part is Belgium’s David Goffin and Fabio Fognini. The top eight seeds will also feature rising star Jannik Sinner (8), Alex de Minaur (4) and Borna Coric (5).

The tournament is one of only two ATP tournaments that will take place before players will enter their mandatory quarantine period ahead of the Australian Open. Unlike the usual schedule, it will end on a Wednesday instead of the weekend.

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Details of the prize money breakdown have not been published.

Entry list

Delray Beach – ATP 250

The Delray Beach Open will be taking place a month earlier than their usual time slot with the only top 20 player on the entry list being Canada’s Milos Raonic. Nevertheless, former champions Kei Nishikori, Sam Querrey, Reiley Opelka and Frances Tiafoe have been included in the entry list. At present world No.41 Nishikori will be seeded eighth.

“We look forward to welcoming this terrific field to open the 2021 season in Delray Beach,” said Tournament Director Mark Baron. “While there are plenty of very familiar faces, including these former champions, returning to Delray Beach, we’re also excited to see some new names from the next generation of ATP stars for the first time.”

21 players are on the initial entry list for Delray Beach with eight of those having previously never played at the tournament before. There wil be more players over the age of 30 taking part (nine) than those under 25 (eight).

Entry list

  • (14) Milos Raonic 29, Canada
  • (22) Cristian Garin 24, Chile
  • (25) John Isner 35, USA
  • (32) Daniel Evans 30, Great Britain
  • (34) Hubert Hurkacz 23, Poland
  • (35) Adrian Mannarino 32, France
  • (39) Reilly Opelka 23, USA
  • (41) Kei Nishikori 30, Japan
  • (53) Sam Querrey 33, USA
  • (54) Tommy Paul 23, USA
  • (59) Frances Tiafoe 22, USA
  • (60) Pablo Andujar 34, Spain
  • (61) Vasek Pospisil 30, Canada
  • (66) Dominik Koepfer 26, German
  • (71) Cameron Norrie 25, Great Britain
  • (82) Federico Delbonis 30, Argentina
  • (84) Thiago Monteiro 26, Brazil
  • (94) Mikael Ymer 22, Sweden
  • (95) Soonwoo Kwon 23, Korea
  • (100) Gianluca Mager 26, Italy
  • (101) Andrej Martin 31, Slovakia

NOTE: there will be seven additional players in the main draw with three entering via a wildcard and four through qualifying.

Abu Dhabi – WTA 500

In terms of star quality taking place during the first week, the lone women’s tournament leads by a large margin. The Abu Dhabi Women’s Tennis Open currently has eight top 20 players on their entry list. Categorised as a 500 event, it will be held at the International Tennis Complex of Zayed Sports City.

Among the 51 direct acceptances are Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka.

“We are delighted to welcome to Abu Dhabi WTA’s 2021 kick-off event, the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open. Abu Dhabi is a global capital of world sport and the presence of top tennis players from around the world at this time only strengthens that position and reinforces our esteemed reputation.” H.E Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, told wtatennis.com.

Unlike the men, this will be the only event taking place prior to the Australian quarantine. A total of 64 players will be participating with the total prize money pool being $565,530.

Entry list

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Italy leads 2-0 against Romania in Billie Jean King Cup Play-off

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Italy leads 2-0 over Romania in the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Play-off against Romania in Cluj-Napoca.

 

World number 111 Elisabetta Cocciaretto beat debutant Irina Bara 6-1 6-4 to give Italy a 1-0 lead in the first tie. Cocciaretto cruised through to a 6-1 lead. Bara bounced back by taking a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Cocciaretto won six of the next seven games to claim a straight-set win. 

Italy took a 2-0 lead after last year’s Roland Garros quarter finalist Martina Trevisan battled past Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-5) after 3 hours and 7 minutes after saving two match points. The third set featured 10 breaks in 12 12 games. Trevisan won four consecutive games from 2-2 with two breaks to win the first set 6-2. 

Buzarnescu went up a double break to take a 3-0 lead and never looked back to claim the second set 6-2. 

The third set started with four consecutive breaks. Both players held their serve in the fifth and sixth games. Trevisan saved missed two match points at 4-5 15-40 to hold serve. Buzarnescu did not close out the match after serving after serving at 6-5. Both players traded breaks in the next two service games to send the match to the tie-break, which featured six mini-breaks in the first ten points. Trevisan won the final two points from 5-5 to take a thrilling tie-break 7-5.

“I fought for every ball, even if I did not feel very well in the latter stages of the match. This fighting spirit brought me the victory”, said Trevisan. 

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Andrey Rublev reaches his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal after three-set win over Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo

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Andrey Rublev battled past Rafael Nadal 6-2 4-6 6-2 on Court Rainier III after 2 hours and 32 minutes at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters to move into his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal. Rublev beat Nadal for the first time in his career. 

 

Rublev played his second hard-fought match one day after beating Roberto Bautista Agut in almost three hours. 

Rublev equalled the biggest result of his career on clay and reached his second consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal after Miami.

“I don’t know what to say. I cannot imagine being in the situation of Rafa, knowing that you are the best player on clay and you have the pressure every time. I think it must be incredibly tough every time. I am in shock with the way he is playing under the pressure and that is why he is a legend”, said Rublev. 

Rublev saved eight of the twelve break points and earned seven break points. The Russian player got three breaks to cruise through to a 6-2 lead. 

Rublev started the match with an immediate break in the first game, as Nadal made a double fault. Nadal broke back at love in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Rublev converted his third break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Nadal netted a forehand to drop serve, as he was serving at 2-4. Rublev served out the first set 6-2 after 38 minutes, as Nadal sprayed a forehand. 

Rublev went up a set and a break in the first game, as Nadal sent a backhand wide. The 2021 Rotterdam winner saved a break point in the fourth game for 3-1 and earned three break points in the fifth game. Nadal fended them off for 2-3. Rublev saved four break points to open up a 4-2 lead. 

Nadal saved a break point with a forehand winner in the seventh game. The Spaniard broke back to draw level to 4-4 and held serve at 30 in the ninth game to open up a 5-4 forcing Rublev to serve to stay in the set. Nadal claimed his second consecutive break to seal the second set 6-4  after 74 minutes forcing the match to the third set. 

Rublev got a break in the first game before wasting two game points. Nadal broke straight back, as Rublev netted a forehand. Rublev broke serve for the sixth time in the third game to take a 2-1 lead and consolidated the break with a forehand down the line winner to open up a 3-1 lead. Rublev broke at 15 to race out to a 4-1 lead with a forehand winner and held serve with an unreturned serve in the seventh game. Rublev served out the match at 5-2 setting up a semifinal against Casper Ruud. 

“Casper is playing really well. I have known him for a long time. He is an amaziong player player and every match against him was dramatic. We had really great rallies and a really great level of tennis. It is going to be super tough. He is in great shape. He finished today much earlier than me. We will see what is going to happen tomorrow. I will try to recover as best as I can and to do my best tomorrow”, said Rublev. 

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Casper Ruud advances to his second Masters 1000 semifinal

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Casper Ruud beat defending champion Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-3 to reach the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career. 

 

Fognini saved a break point in the second game to hold serve at deuce in the second game. Ruud fended off four break points in the fifth game and held his next two service games. Fognini dropped his serve at 4-5 to lose the first set after wasting a 40-15. 

Ruud went up an early break at love in the second game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead. Fognini had to save three break points in the fourth game before breaking serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. 

Ruud rallied from 15-40 down on Fognini’s serve to break serve at deuce in the eighth game earning his chance to serve out the match. The Scandinavian player sealed his win on his first match point in the 10th game after a net cord error from Fognini. 

Last September Ruud beat another Italian star Matteo Berrettini to reach the Masers 1000 semifinal in Rome. He became the highest-ranked player and the first ATP Tour champion from Norway by winning the 2020 Buenos Aires title, surpassing his father Christian Ruud, who peaked at number 39 after reaching the 1995 Bastad final. He advanced to Grand Slam fourth round for the first time at the 2021 Australian Open. 

“It was a tough match today. It has been a great week for me so far. I have beaten good players and today was a very big challenge. Fabio is the defending champion here and he plays very tricky. He can hit winners from anywhere and you really need to be ready for anything to come at you. I was happy with the way I was able to stay steady and make him play an extra ball here and there to force an error out of his play. It’s a nice feeling to be in the semifinals”, said Ruud. 

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