Ash Barty Exceeding Expectations At Australian Open, Says Coach - UBITENNIS
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Ash Barty Exceeding Expectations At Australian Open, Says Coach

The mentor of the world No.1 has also shed some light on her plans for the year ahead.

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The return of Ash Barty to professional tennis couldn’t have gone much better than it has, according to her coach Craig Tyzzer.

 

The world No.1 took an 11-month break from the Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic before returning to action last month. Since then, Barty has already won a WTA title at the Yarra Valley Classic and is currently on a eight-match winning streak. At the Australian Open she has cruised to the quarter-finals without dropping a set. Recording wins over Danka Kovinic, Daria Gavrilova, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Shelby Rogers.

Barty’s winning comeback has been hailed by Tyzzer who was named WTA Coach of the Year back in 2019. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he believes the benefits of having ‘the longest pre-season ever’ is starting to pay off.

“She’s been playing well each match. There’s probably been a few dips and a few rises, so there’s a bit of that flow as well,” he said.
“I think it’s ideal that she’s still alive and still playing, still able to keep progressing in the Australian Open. It’s obviously great for us and for her.’
“She’s put it together really well, probably better than I expected.”

At the start of the Australian Open the 24-year-old had the added boost of being cheered on by fans in Melbourne Park but that has since changed. The city is currently in the middle of a five-day lockdown and therefore the event is taking place behind closed doors. Whilst the absence of a crowd is noticeable, Tyzzer believes that it will not affect how she plays over the coming days.

“I know from last year when she won, she loved the crowd in Adelaide last year when she won. It’s a nice venue, really close, really loud. I think she enjoys the Aussie crowd behind her,” he said.
“She’s also good at going, Okay, I have to focus on what’s going on on the court. It doesn’t distract her. I think she’s done that really well. We played with crowds the first week, a bit here during the Australian Open, and she’s been able to focus on what’s going on.”

This year Barty is seeking to become the first home player to win the Melbourne title since Chris O’Neal in 1978. She reached the semi-final stage last year before losing to eventual champion Sofia Kenin.

Looking ahead to what the rest of the season may have in store, Tyzzer confirmed that Barty plans to return to Europe, as well as the Middle East. She skipped the French Open last year where she was the defending champion due to concerns related to travelling during the pandemic.

“We’re hoping that we’ll set up some sort of base somewhere probably in Europe where we can at least switch off and relax and spend some time away from tennis, maybe a bit of golf for Ash,” Tyzzer outlined.
“We’re yet to finalise anything in that regard. But we’re planning on being away for a while.”

Another tournament on Barty’s mind is the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Only once in history has an Australian female tennis player won an individual Olympic medal. That was Alicia Molik at the 2004 Games.

She’s down to play. She’s pretty keen to play,” he commented on going to the Olympics.
“We’re hoping for her that goes ahead. She’s very excited.”

Barty will play Karolína Muchová is the quarter-finals at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

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Aljaz Bedene rallies from one set down to beat Jannik Sinner in Montpellier

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Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene came back from one set down to beat 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner 3-6 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to reach the second round at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. Sinner was hindered by a back injury in the final stages of the match. 

 

Bedene entered the match with a 2-1 lead in his head-to-head matches against Sinner, but the Italian 19-year-old player won their most recent clash at the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne en route to the second title of his career.  

Sinner earned his only break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 and held his next service games to close out the opening set 6-3 with a forehand down the line. 

Sinner went down 0-40 in the fourth game of the second set on serve, but he saved three consecutive break points. Bedene converted his fourth break point at deuce, as Sinner made an error at the net. Sinner forced the next game to deuce, but Bedene held his serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Bedene closed out the second set 6-2 with his double break at 15.

Sinner saved a break point and held serve after two deuces in the second game. The Italian player wasted two break points in the third and fifth games. 

Sinner earned an erly mini-break, but Bedene got back on serve immediately. Bedene opened up a 4-2 lead with two more mini-breaks in the tie-break before Sinner received a medical time-out to a lower back injury. Bedene earned two more mini-breaks to close out the match after 2 hours and 39 minutes. 

Bedene becomes the first player outside the top 10 to defeat Sinner indoors in a year. Sinner entered the match on a 10-match indoor winning streak against players outside the top 10, which dated back to the quarter final defeat against Pablo Carreno Busta in Rotterdam. 

“In the first set Sinner was the better player. Afterwards, I became more aggressive and was making less mistakes. I think that decided it. On the important points I was there. I didn’t lose my focus”, said Bedene. 

Bedene set up a second round match against Egor Gerasimov, who beat Andy Murray 7-6 (10-8) 6-1on Tuesday evening. 

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina converted six of his fifteen break points to overcome Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-2 setting up a second round match against Hubert Hurkacz. 

French qualifier Gregoire Barrere broke twice in each set and won 65 % of his second service points to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4 6-4. 

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Marin Cilic beats Taro Daniel to reach the quarter final at the Singapore Open

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Former US Open champion and world number 3 Marin Cilic won 82% of his first-serve points and and fended off three of the four break points he faced to claim a 7-5 6-4 win over Taro Daniel after 1 hour and 40 minutes at the Singapore Tennis Open. 

 

Cilic converted his second break point at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Daniel broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Cilic earned his second break in the 11th game and served out the first set at love in the 10th game. Cilic earned the only break in the 10th game to seal the second set 6-4. 

Cilic set up a quarter final match against South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon, who came back from one set down to beat Thai-Son Kwiatkowski 4-6 6-3 6-4. 

Fourth seed Alexander Bublik fired 10 aces to beat Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek 6-3 6-2. Bublik will take on Yoshihito Nishioka, who won 62 % of hsi second serve points to claim a 6-4 6-2 win over Maxime Cressy. 

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin overcame Adrian Andreev 6-1 5-7 6-3. Popyrin earned two breaks in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Andreev sealed the second set 7-5 with his only break in the 12th game. Poppyrin broke twice in the fifth and ninth games to close out the third set 6-3.  

Italy’s Roberto Marcora broke once in each set to upset former top 10 player Ernest Gulbis 7-5 6-4 setting up a second round match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. Matthew Ebden edged Yuki Bhambri 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to secure his spot in the second round where he will face second round match against second seed John Millman.

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Lorenzo Sonego beats Sebastian Korda to reach the quarter final in Montpellier

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Lorenzo Sonego cruised past US Next Gen player Sebastian Korda 6-3 6-2 after 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach the quarter final for the eighth time in his career on the ATP Tour. Sonego will face either David Goffin or Benjamin Bonzi. 

 

Sonego did not convert a break point at 2-1 in the opening set. Korda earned two break points in the fifth game, but Sonego saved them at deuce. The Italian player broke serve at 15 to open up a 4-2 lead and held his next service games to claim the first set 6-3.

The second set went on serve the first four games before Sonego earned a break with a forehand passing shot to take a 3-2 lead. The 2020 Vienna finalist came back from 0-30 down to hold his serve before breaking for the second time in the seventh game at 15 to race out a 5-2 lead. Sonego served out the win on his first match point in the eighth game to reach his first ATP Tour quarter finals this year.

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