Germany Sweeps Canada To Send Them Packing At ATP Cup - UBITENNIS
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Germany Sweeps Canada To Send Them Packing At ATP Cup

Canada faces Germany in their second tie of the ATP Cup on day two of the event as Jan Lennard Struff took on Milos Raonic while Denis Shapovalov took on Alexander Zverev.

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Jan-Lennard Struff (image via https://twitter.com/ATPCup)

Germany have set up a must-win showdown again Serbia at the ATP Cup after travailing over Canada in their opening group match on Wednesday. Despite a loss it the doubles, wins by Jan-Lennard Struff and Milos Raonic secured their victory in the tie.

 

Struff surprises Raonic 7-6(4), 7-6(2)

First on court was Milos Raonic taking on the tricky German Jan-Lennard Struff in the first singles match. Both players did well at holding serve and it was proving to be a tight match.

There wasn’t a breakpoint during the entire first set and it would be decided by a tiebreaker and the German number two got off to a flying start winning the first three points of the breaker playing some great tennis and winning some great points with his big forehand.

He won three more points and at 6-1 Raonic made a attempt at a comeback and made it all the way back to 6-4 but that was as close as he got as Struff would seal the set with another error from the Canadian 7-6.

The Canadian put pressure on the German in the first game of the second set earning his first breakpoint of the match with a scintillating backhand winner passing shot.

The Warstein, Germany native would immediately save it with a big serve that the tall Canadian couldn’t return and would go on to hold serve and respond by earning a breakpoint in the very next game and he would convert as Raonic sent a ball long to earn the first break of the match.

The Monte Carlo resident responded right away winning four straight points on the German serve including an amazing forehand down the line winner to go back on serve in a match that was going back and forth.

He would hold serve and there wasn’t another breakpoint until 4-3 when Struff had five chances but Raonic would save each of them to survive the game.

Once again the set headed to another tiebreaker and it was almost deja vu as Struff jumped out to a 6-1 lead but this time he wouldn’t crack under the pressure and take the breaker 7-2 and the match in straight sets.

“I played him three times before, lost two, and I’m very happy to have tied against him, and it was a very tough match. He was serving really good in the first games, and it was very tough to put the ball back in play. But I managed to stay good in my service games, and I’m very happy with the win,” said Stuff.

Zverev gets by Shapovalov 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4)

Next on court was the battle of the number ones as Denis Shapovalov took on Alexander Zverev and ironically the last time these two players met was the ATP last year and the Canadian won that one easily in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.

The first set was a pretty tight affair with both young guns going at it and once again proving to be another great match. The first breakpoint of the match occurred at 5-5 which belonged to the world number 7 but it immediately saved by the 12th ranked player.

A tiebreaker decided the first set where Shapovalov got the early break on the second point of the breaker winning a long intense rally with a great forehand winner.

That break was all he needed and he would end up taking the tiebreaker 7-5 and was one set away from evening the tie at one point apiece.

The German responded in the seconded set breaking in the third game of the set with an amazing backhand return winner that caught the Canadian by surprise to take a 3-1 lead.

He would consolidate the break by holding serve and on the next changeover Shapovalov took a medical timeout to have the trainer work on his shoulder.

It seemed to work as the world number 12 held serve and had two chances to break right back but Zverev was up to the task of saving them and managed to hold serve.

He would serve out the second set to take it 6-3 and force a deciding third set to decide the winner of the match. The Nassau, Bahamas resident got off to the faster star getting a break point early in the set but couldn’t finish the point and an unforced error cost him dearly.

At 2-2 the Richmond Hill, Ontario native served an untimely double fault which gave the German two break points but Shapovalov came up with two big serves to save them and managed to hold serve.

Once again at 3-3 there was breakpoints for the world number seven but they were quickly saved by the Canadian in a match that was going back and forth. Zverev had two more chances at 5-5 but again couldn’t finish and the 21 year old held serve.

The match would be decided by a tiebreaker once again and it was the world number 12 who got off to the faster start jumping out to a 3-1 lead before Zverev stormed back to win the next two points and even the breaker at 3.

Shapovalov would throw in another untimely double fault at 3-4 to give the German the break he needed and he would serve out the match to take it 6-7, 6-3, 7-6.

“It was kind of a typical first match of the season where I had a lot of chances but let them go a little bit. In the end I did a good job I think winning the tiebreak, played some good points and getting the win for Germany is the most important thing right now,” the 2020 US Open runner-up told reporters.

Canada is officially eliminated from the ATP Cup with a 0-2 record meanwhile Germany and Serbia will meet on Thursday to decide who goes to the semi finals.

“Winning a team event, winning something for your country it’s one of the biggest things in our sport. I think the ATP Cup is just as big as the Davis Cup right now, with the new format that the Davis Cup is having, so it’s — we want to go match by match. Tomorrow we got the defending champions, that’s not going to be easy for us,” Zverev commented on the tournament.

There was some consultation for Canada who won their doubles match to end the tie 1-2 in Germany’s favour.

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Former Sampras And Federer Coach Offers Advice To Dominic Thiem

Paul Annacone explains why tennis fans shouldn’t be too concerned by the current difficulties Thiem is experiencing.

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Dominic Thiem - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

The difficulties US Open champion Dominic Thiem is facing are similar to those experienced by both Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, according to one of their former coaches.

 

Earlier in the week the world No.4 said he ‘fell in a hole’ after lifting his maiden Grand Slam title in New York and admits to struggling with travelling on the Tour during the COVID-19 pandemic. During a recent interview with Der Standard he hinted at changing his approach to tennis after dedicating so much of his life to the sport over the past 15 years. The ongoing mental struggles come during what has been a mixed start to the season. Thiem has won five out of nine matches played so far in 2021 but he has only won back-to-back matches in one tournament.

Offering some comfort to the 27-year-old, Paul Annacone believes what he is going through is normal and there is no need for alarm bells to be ringing. Annacone is a former world No.12 player who is perhaps best known for his work with Sampras over a seven-year period. He has also coached Federer for three years and Tim Henman for four.

“When you get to that level where he is, now it’s like: ‘Now what?’ Roger and Pete both talked to me a lot about the difference between getting there and staying there,” Annacone told The Tennis Channel.
“And I think that once you get there there’s another evaluation of: ‘Hey, where do I go from here, what do I do and what gives me the joy of doing it? Is it the pursuit or is it the accomplishment?’
“Those are the things that Dominic Thiem has to realize. I think everyone does it for a different reason.
“Pete was all about excellence, accumulating all the trophies and Major titles. Roger lives the life and loves the life. Thiem’s got to figure out what is it for him, what’s gonna keep driving him.”

Annacone said it took former world No.1 Sampras ‘a couple years to settle in’ after winning his maiden US Open title back in 1990. The American didn’t win his next major title until three years later at the 1993 Wimbledon Championships and eventually ended up claiming a total of 14 Grand Slam trophies.

“The one other thing that resonates with me a little differently, is that I remember talking to Pete Sampras when he won the US Open for the first time – something he had been chasing his whole life,” he said.
“He won it and it kind of took him a couple of years to settle in, to go ‘Okay this is what I’m doing’ because after he won he went through a whole process of ‘Why do I play, what do I want to do, this is what I do’.
“It took him a while to get comfortable, so I wonder if that is part of the equation for Thiem right now as well.”

After taking time away from the Tour to ‘reset’ both physically and mentally, Thiem is expected to return to action next week at the Madrid Open in what will be his first clay event of the season. His aim remains to peak in time for the French Open where he has reached the final at on two separate occasions.

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Rafael Nadal Goes The Full Distance To Beat Nishikori And Reach Barcelona Quarter-Finals

The number one seed was forced to go the distance once again.

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Rafael Nadal was made to work hard once again as for the second straight day he played a three set match beating the Japanese world number 39 Kei Nishikori 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 in two hours and 20 minutes.

The 11-time champion hit a total of 21 winners and broke his opponent five times during what was a roller-coaster encounter. Nadal has now won 63 matches at the tournament during his career and has defeated Nishikori twice in Barcelona. The two also met in the final of the 2016 Championships.

 

” I think Kei played a great level of tennis, it was a very tough match, anything could happen,” said Nadal. “It was clear to me I needed something else in the second set and in the beginning of the third . He was playing very clean and I think I did it, I played more aggressive. I’m quite happy with the way I survived and the way that I played”.

The Spaniard got off to a great start holding his opening service game and then earning his first breakpoint of the match by winning a long intense rally and he would go on to break to take an early 2-0 lead.

The very next game Nishikori had two chances to break back to go back on serve but was denied by the Mallorca native as he held serve.

Nadal continued to dominate and it looked like it was going to be a quick and convincing victory. He would set up another breakpoint with a great passing shot, broke once again and would eventually serve out the set to take it 6-0 in 31 minutes.

The world No.3 faced some pressure in the opening service game of the second set but managed to save a breakpoint and hold serve. Nishikori finally made a breakthrough at 1-1 after breaking the Spaniard to take a 2-1 lead.

At 3-1 Nishikori had a chance to go up a double break but again the number one seed hung in and saved both breakpoints. At 4-2 the Florida resident would earn his second break of the set and serve it out to send it to a deciding third set.

In the first game of the final set the Japanese world number 39 earned three more breakpoints but Nadal wasn’t giving in and saved all three before holding serve.

Nishikori had another chance at 1-1 but the Spaniard held his ground and he would eventually make the breakthrough to take a 3-1 lead. At 4-1 the number one seed had a chance to increase his lead but Nishikori again saved both chances.

At 4-2 the world number 39 had a chance to get back in the set and the match but the Spaniard was on his game and the following game broke him one last time to seal the match with a forehand winner down the line.

“I hadn’t played difficult matches for a long time. I hope that will give me more confidence,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion reflected. “Having played two consecutive matches in three sets is not something negative, on the contrary: I have to need to spend time on the court,”

Nadal will next face Cameron Norrie of Great Britain who advanced when David Goffin had to retire due to injury.

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Fabio Fognini Hits Out At ‘Inexplicable’ Disqualification From Barcelona Open

The world No.27 has protested his innocence after losing his temper over a call made by an official.

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Italy’s Fabio Fognini describes the decision to kick him out of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday as a ‘shock’ and has vowed to look further into the matter.

 

The 33-year-old was taking on Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the second round of the tournament where he was trailing the match 0-6, 4-4. After losing his temper, the world No.27 is said to have been verbally abusive towards a lines official and was subsequently defaulted from the match for his behaviour. The incident occurred over a line call decision which Fognini didn’t agree with.

On court, he tried to protest his innocence by telling the umpire ‘I didn’t say anything’ but it failed to overturn the decision. Leaving Fognini fuming as he broke his racket on purpose.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Italian continued to protest his innocence in the match and said he would ‘investigate’ the matter. It is unclear what he is referring to but players are allowed to make an appeal against any fine if they feel it is unjust.

“I’m really surprised with the ATP, especially the chair umpire and the supervisor, because I was here to play tennis, I was here to fight in the match, and even if I was losing, doesn’t matter,” he said. “But what they did to me was something inexplicable, so I’m going to investigate it, but nothing more, I paid for something that I didn’t do, that’s the first and clearest thing that everybody has to know.”

Zapata Miralles said he was initially unaware of what was going on in his clash with Fognini as he was focusing on closing out the match. Barcelona is only the seventh ATP main draw he has played in so far in his career.

“I was on the other side of the court, I wasn’t listening to be honest,” Tennis Majors quoted the 24-year-old as saying afterwards. “When I saw the referee on the court, I asked the umpire what’s going on. But I was focused on my work on the court, I was thinking on the next point, the next game, on things I had to focus on.”

Fognini has never previously been defaulted from a tennis match but he is no stranger to controversy. At the 2017 US Open he was fined $24,000 for insulting a female chair umpire and at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships he was heard saying ‘I wish a bomb would explode on this club.’ He later apologised for his remarks.

Zapata Miralles will play compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round.

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