Marco Cecchinato is looking to continue his good period of form in 2021 - UBITENNIS
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Marco Cecchinato is looking to continue his good period of form in 2021

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Former Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato talked about his come-back during the 2020 season after a diffcult period and the birth of his son Edoardo. 

 

Cecchinato made the history of Italian tennis at 2018 Roland Garros, when he became the first player from his country to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Corrado Barazzutti at the 1978 French Open. 

During a successful 2018 season Cecchinato reached won his first match in a Masters 1000 tournament in Monte-Carlo, claimed his maiden ATP title in Budapest and advanced to his first semifinal in a Grand Slam tournament at Roland Garros after beating 2016 champion Novak Djokovic as world number 72. The Palermo-native player was then beaten by Dominic Thiem in the semifinal. He became the lowest-ranked Roland Garros semifinalist since Andrey Medvedev in 1999. He rallied from two sets down against Marius Copil in Roland Garros first round and also beat Pablo Carreno Busta and David Goffin en route to the semifinal. He clinched his second ATP Tour title in Umag beating Guido Pella in the final and reached the semifinal in Eastbourne. He started the 2019 season very well winning his third title in Buenos Aires beating Diego Schwartzman improving his best ranking to world number 16 and reached the semifinals in Doha and Munich, but he let two set leads slip away in the first round against Nicholas Mahut at Roland Garros.

In the next two years Cecchinato was not able to deal with the pressure and did not fulfil the expectations of Italian fans. He fell to world number in the ATP Ranking on 9 March 2019, his lowest ranking since number 136 on 8 May 2017. 

Cecchinato made a successful come-back when he snapped a 7-match tour losing streak by beating Kyle Edmund in Rome first round as qualifier. He returned to Roland Garros, where he came through the qualifying tournament en route to the third round, where he lost to Alexander Zverev. 

Last October Cecchinato saved a match point against his compatriot Gianluca Mager en route to reaching his fourth ATP Tour Final at the Sardinia Open and finished the 2020 season at number 79 in the ATP Ranking. 

“I found again the old spirit. There are many positive aspects. I feel in good shape and I have worked very hard on the court. I needed the long period without tournaments due to the pandemic to continue working hard. I have had the chance to reset. I spent many hours on the court with Max Sartori. I needed time to find the right motivation that I had lost. After reaching my career-high at world number 16 I fell outside the top 100. I got through a difficult period. People started criticising me. I suffered from this situation, but at the same time I wanted to bounce back”, said Cecchinato in an interview to Sky Sport. 

The 28-year-old Italian player has returned to his best form thanks to the advice of his coach Massimo Sartori, who also trains Andreas Seppi. 

“For me Max is the best Italian tennis coach. I trained with him when I was 17 years old and I matured as a player. I am now more solid at physical level. My son Edoardo was born this year. This has been the biggest joy of my life. Edoardo has changed my life and given me the extra motivation. I am now more relaxed. I have missed this positive feeling for a long time during 2019 and in the first part of 2020. I have improved on outdoor hard court. I think that this will help me improve on clay ”. 

With his semifinal at Roland Garros Cecchinato inspired other Italian players. Matteo Berrettini reached the semifinal at the 2019 US Open. Fabio Fognini won the Monte-Carlo title in 2019. Jannik Sinner won the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan in 2019 and his first ATP title in Sofia last November. 

“The golden period of Italian tennis started with my semifinal at Roland Garros. I am pleased to hear from many players and coaches that I was an inspiration for other players. There are now many Italian good players. We push each other and this has helped the growth of Italian tennis. Matteo Berrettini achieved an incredible result when he qualified for the ATP Finals. This great result has inspired other Italian players”. 

Cecchinato will start his 2021 season at the ATP 250 in Melbourne one week before the Australian Open. 

“For 2021 I don’t set any goals, but I would like to play 70-80 matches with the same positive energy I had during the final part of 2020”

Max Sartori is happy with Cecchinato’s season in 2020. 

“Marco played very well in Rome. After reaching the quarter final in a Challenger tournament in France he came through three qualifying rounds before beating Kyle Edmund. It was a very important match for him. After Rome he reached the main draw at Roland Garros after playing three qualifying matches. He also qualified at Paris Bercy”. 

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Another Defeat For Iga Swiatek – Should Her Fans Start To Worry?

Iga Swiatek unexpectedly lost to Beatrice Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open in Toronto. This was the third defeat of the WTA world No.1 in a month and a half. Is there anything to worry about?

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Iga Swiatek - Roland Garros 2022 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Article written by Dominik Senkowski (@dsenkowski07)

 

It was an extremely close match played in difficult conditions. Swiatek lost to Beatrice Hadad Maia 4:6, 6:3, 5:7 in Toronto.

The Polish woman admitted that she could not deal with the strong wind, saying during her press conference “I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”

Haddad Miai, who is the first Brazilian to reach the last eight of a WTA 1000 event, revealed that she also had problems with the weather.

”We have no influence on the weather, we have to deal with it somehow. I think mentally I managed to overcome it,” she said.

Three failures

This was the third defeat for Swiatek in a month and a half. She had been undefeated since February, winning six tournaments in a row, including a Roland Garros. After that, however, she did not reach the semi-finals even once. In Wimbledon she was eliminated in the third round by Alize Cornet and then in Warsaw in the quarter-finals by Caroline Garcia. Now she did not make it past Beatrice Hadad Maia in Toronto. Do fans of the Polish woman have anything to worry about?

Of course, Swiatek as the top seed should have played better against the Brazilian. However, it must be remembered that she is still only 21 years old and has the right to fluctuate in form. Even the best tennis players of recent years – Roger Federer, Serena Serena, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic – did not win all the games in their best time. Swiatek still has a phenomenal balance of 49 wins to 5 defeats this year. She is the undisputed leader of the WTA rankings and will probably end the year as number one in the world.

There is no doubt that the rivals are more motivated to clash with Iga. In addition, they increasingly believe that they are able to defeat her since Cornet, Garcia and Hadad Maia did it. But still, it all depends on Iga. If she improves her serve, she can be unstoppable again. Recently with Garcia and Hadad Maia, she had problems with the second serve. She must pay more attention to it.

Time for Iga

Time should play in favour of Swiatek. Before Toronto, she played exceptionally on clay courts in Warsaw in a tournament organized by her father Tomasz. Frequent changes of the surface from grass to clay and hard courts in 1.5 months are not easy at such a young age. In Poland Iga said that she had no experience with it, she was just learning. She continues to learn valuable lessons and still can be better. We should remember it.

It seems that in the coming days she will be training on hard courts. She could feel more confident and come stronger as in spring. In Warsaw Iga said that she treats the first tournament before the US Open swing less seriously. She was aware that she needed more playing time to get better results. Her increasing self-esteem makes her behave calmer, even after defeats. That is why she can return to the right path soon.

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Rafael Nadal Returns To Cincinnati With Shot At No.1 Ranking

This is what the king of clay has to do to reclaim the top position.

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ATP RAFAEL NADAL OF SPAIN - PHOTO: DIEGO SOUTO / MMO

It has been over a month since Rafael Nadal last played a match on the Tour but in the coming days, he will have a chance to return to the top of the ATP rankings.

 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from action ever since pulling out of his semi-final match at Wimbledon due to an abdominal tear. He was set to play at this week’s National Bank Open in Montreal but withdrew after feeling a ‘slight bother’ in his abdominal region following training. Nadal decided not to play after consulting with his doctor.

Instead, the Spaniard will return next week at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. He confirmed his return in an Instagram post, where he wrote: “Very happy to play again in Cincy. Flying there tomorrow (Thursday).”

Whilst the Spaniard will be finding his feet in the coming days, in Cincinnati he has a chance to dethrone Daniil Medvedev from the world No.1 position. Medvedev lost his opening match in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios. To do this he would need to win the Masters 1000 event for the second time in his career and hope that Medvedev doesn’t make the quarter-finals. Nadal won Cincinnati back in 2013 after defeating John Isner in the final.

So far in his career, Nadal has spent 209 weeks as world No.1 with his longest streak being 56 weeks in a row (2010-2011). In total, he has been at the top of the rankings for eight separate periods and last held the position in February 2020.

Nadal’s No.1 stints
-Aug 18 2008 – Jul 5th 2009 (46 weeks)
-Jun 7 2010 – Jul 3rd 2011 (56 weeks)
-Oct 7th 2013 – Jul 6th 2014 (39 weeks)
-Aug 21 2017 – Feb 18 2018 (26 weeks)
-Apr 2nd 2018 – May 13th 2018 (6 weeks)
-May 21st 2018 – Jun 17th 2018 (4 weeks)
-Jun 25th 2018 – Nov 4th 2018 (19 weeks)
-Nov 4th 2019 – Feb 2nd 2020 (13 weeks)

At present nine out of the world’s top 10 players will participate in the Western and Southern Open. The only exception is Novak Djokovic who is currently banned from entering America because he isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career

The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.

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Image via https://twitter.com/OBNmontreal/

British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.

 

The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.

Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.

Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.

Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).

Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.

According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.

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