Ex-No.1 Hewitt Backs Nick Kyrgios For Deep Run At Australian Open Despite Break - UBITENNIS
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Ex-No.1 Hewitt Backs Nick Kyrgios For Deep Run At Australian Open Despite Break

Lleyton Hewitt provides some insight into how the game of the world No.47 is shaping up ahead of his return.

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After a lengthy absence from professional tennis Nick Kyrgios’ current form is good enough to take him deep into the Australian Open, according to Lleyton Hewitt.

 

The former top-20 player is set to return to the Tour later this week in Melbourne at the Murray River Open where he will be the 13th seed. Kyrgios hasn’t played on the Tour since February 26th when he retired during his first round match at the Acapulco Open in Mexico. The last match he completed was at the Australian Open 12 months ago where he lost to Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.

25-year-old Kyrgios has been sidelined from action due to a combination of both injury and the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike others, the Australian chose not to travel to North America or Europe due to concerns related to the virus. A decision which was also taken by women’s world No.1 Ash Barty.

Despite his lengthy absence, ATP Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt is confident that Kyrgios could still have a good run at the upcoming Grand Slam. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Hewitt believes the break in tennis is a blessing in disguise for his fellow countryman.

“I think as a whole him having a bit of a break away from the sport where he’s positioned, for his body and mind I think is a good thing. Because he hasn’t played a match for so long, though, it’s not going to be easy for him just to come out and switch it on either,” he explained.
“I think it’s perfect for him to hopefully get through a few rounds in one of the ATP tournaments that he’s playing this week.”

Whilst there will be the inevitable rust in Kyrgios’ form when he steps onto the court, Hewitt has provided a glimpse into how his game is holding up on the practice courts. Describing him as hitting as ‘clean’ before adding that the world No.47 is ‘serving big.’

“I think it’s important for him to get some of those nerves out of the way this week, so come the Australian Open in a bit over a week’s time he’s ready to go,” he said.
“Trying to just switch it on for five-set tennis when you haven’t played for nearly a year isn’t going to be easy.’
“He’s hitting the ball well enough to push deep in the Australian Open for sure. I think next week’s a good challenge for him. Yeah, just to get out there and feel it again.”

It was six years ago where Kyrgios achieved his best ever run at the Australian Open by reaching the quarter-finals in 2015. Since then, he has enjoyed mixed success in Melbourne Park by reaching the fourth round twice and losing in the first round once since 2018.

Despite Hewitt’s words of encouragement, Kyrgios himself is more reserve when it comes to his chances over the coming weeks.

I feel like I am playing well and am ready to go. Everyone is really playing it by ear. Nobody really knows who is in form and who is not. I’m going to take it day by day and try to enjoy myself as much as I can,” he recently told reporters.

Kyrgios will play France’s Alexandre Müller in the first round of the Muller River Open on Monday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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Alexander Zverev eases past Hugo Dellien to set up a third round match clash against Kei Nishikori in Rome

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This year’s Madrid Mutua Open champion Alexander Zverev cruised past qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 on Nicola Pietrangeli Court to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Zverev fired 27 winners and fended off all six of the break points he faced. The German won five consecutive games from 0-1 down with a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead and served out the opening set at 15 in the eighth game. 

Zverev went up a break in the third game to take a 2-1, but he had to save six break points in a 12-game fourth game. Zverev managed to hold serve after seven deuces before breaking serve in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. The German served out the win on on his second match point in the eighth game. 

The  German star will face Kei Nishikori for the second time in two weeks. He beat Nishikori, Dan Evans, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini last week at the Madrid Mutua Open en route to the fourth ATP Masters 1000 title of his career after claiming three previous trophies in Rome and Canada in 2017 and Madrid in 2018.  

Federico Delbonis didn’t face a break point and converted four of his nine break points in his 6-2 6-1 win over David Goffin. The Argentine player will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who cruised past last year’s Rome finalist Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3. 

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Aslan Karatsev beats Danil Medvedev in all-Russian clash in Rome

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Aslan Karatsev beat his compatriot Danil Medvedev 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 18 minutes in an all-Russian match to move into the third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Karatsev has scored his fifth career win against top 10 opponents.

 

Karatsev has improved his win-loss record to 21-6 in his 27 matches this year, including the ATP 500 title in Dubai, the semifinal at the Australian Open and the final at the Serbian Open in Belgrade. 

Karatsev has scored his second top 5 win in the past month after taking an upset win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in Belgrade. 

Karatsev earned a double break in the fifth and seventh games to open up a 5-2 lead. The 27-year-old Russian player earned another break in the seventh game with a volley to take a 4-3 lead. He never looked back and served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game. 

Karatsev won 90% of his first serve points and saved just one break point. 

Karatsev faced Medvedev for the first time in his career on the ATP Tour. They teamed up with Andrey Rublev at the ATP Cup in Melbourne last winter helping Russia win the final against Italy. 

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