'It's Great To Be Back' - Simona Halep Cruises Through Australian Open Opener - UBITENNIS
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‘It’s Great To Be Back’ – Simona Halep Cruises Through Australian Open Opener

The world No.2 has insisted that she is fully health following her latest win at Melbourne Park.

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Second seed Simona Halep produced a clinical display in her opening match at the Australian Open by sweeping aside wild card Lizette Cabrera.

 

The encounter was mainly one-way traffic for the Romanian who raced to a 6-2, 6-1, victory on the Rod Laver Arena against a player who had previously never faced anybody inside the world’s top 10. Halep’s power proved too much for Cabrera as she fired 13 winners and won 70% of her first service points. Making it the 25th main draw match she has won in Melbourne.

Halep, who is yet to win the Australian Open title, encountered her only blip whilst closing out the match. Serving with a 6-2, 5-0, lead a series of loose shots saw the underdog work her way to two break points. Cabrera converted on her second thanks to a forehand error from Halep. Despite the break of serve, the world No.2 secured victory in the following game by converting her first match point at the expense of a mistake coming from across the court.

“It feels great to be back here in Melbourne and playing the Australian Open. I have great memories and it is always a pleasure to come back,” Halep said during her on-court interview.
“Today was a good day. It was really tough to start the tournament after so long and when you play your opponent is always difficult.”

Heading into the Grand Slam there have been some concerns over Halep’s fitness after she admitted to a slight ‘block’ in her back. Last week at the Gippsland Trophy the 29-year-old lost in straight sets to Ekaterina Alexandrova but has now brushed aside any concerns over her fitness.

“I feel good,” she stated. “In Adelaide I played a match against Ash (Barty) and it was really good. Then I came here (to Melbourne) and played a few matches. My body is fit.”

The next test comes in the shape of another Australian called Ajla Tomljanović who beat Misaki Doi in her opening match. Halep leads the world No.69 3-0 in their head-to-head but two of their previous meetings have gone the full distance.

“It is always difficult to play a big hitter because Tomljanović is hitting very strong. So I have to be strong on my legs, focus on myself and to give my best,” Halep previewed.

The latest victory is Halep’s 97th in a Grand Slam main draw.

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Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos claim their third Masters 1000 title in Madrid

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Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos claimed their third ATP Masters 1000 title with a 1-6 6-3 10-8 win over Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic after 73 minutes. 

 

Granollers and Zeballos avenged their 3-6 7-5 10-4 defeat against Mektic and Pavic in the semifinal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

Both teams were tied at 1-1 after the first two games of the opening set before Mektic and Pavic earned two back-to-back breaks to win five consecutive games en route to claiming the first set 6-1 after 22 minutes 

Zeballos and Granollers got their first break of the match in the eighth game of the second set and served out for the second set in the next game forcing the final to the Match tie-break. 

Granollers and Zeballos won five of the next six points from 3-3 and converted their third match point to claim the Match tie-break 10-8. 

Granollers and Zeballos have extended their record to 5 wins to 3 defeats in eight ATP Tour finals. 

Mektic and Pavic have claimed 32 of their 36 matches in 2021. They won titles at the Antalya Open, at the Murray River Open in Melbourne, Rotterdam and finished runner-up in Miami and Monte-Carlo.

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David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta advance to the second round in Rome

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Former top 10 David Goffin beat Salvatore Caruso 6-4 6-1 after 1 hour and 22 minutes to reach the second round after 1 hour and 23 minutes at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

The first set started with four breaks in the first five games, as Goffin raced out to a 4-1 with three break in the opening set. Caruso pulled one break back for 2-4, but Goffin earned his third break to open up a 5-2 lead. Caruso broke back in the eighth game, but Goffin served out the first set at love. 

The Belgian player went up a set and a break in the first game of the second set. Caruso wasted two break-back points in the fourth game. Goffin won four consecutive games with two breaks to claim the second set 6-1.  Goffin set up a second round match against either Karen Khachanov or Federico Delbonis. 

Pablo Carreno Busta came back from one set down to beat Laslo Djere 4-6 6-3 6-1 after dropping just seven of his first service points. Djere claimed an immediate break in the opening game. Carreno Busta saved a double break point in the third game, but he did not earn a chance on return and went to serve only once. 

Last year’s US Open semifinalist and 2018 Madrid quarter finalist Carreno Busta saved two break points to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Spaniard converted his fifth break point in the sixth game and dropped just eight points on serve held his next two service games to win the second set 6-3. 

Carreno Busta broke three times in the first, fifth and seventh games to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the third set. The Spanish player will face either Fabio Fognini or Kei Nishikori in the second round. Reilly Opelka beat Richard Gasquet 6-1 7-5 in 67 minutes. The US player hit 18 aces and won 79 % of his first service points. He won 12 consecutive points to open up a 3-0 lead and faced only a break point at 5-1 but he served out the first set 6-1 at deuce. The second set went on serve until the 11th game when Opelka converted his only break point to close out the second set 7-5. Opelka will face either Hubert Hurkacz or Lorenzo Musetti in the second round.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome

The Canadian was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Filip Krajinovic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the second round of the BNL D’ Italia Masters in Rome after beating his Serbian opponent Filip Krajinovic in three gruelling sets 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

 

The marathon encounter saw the Canadian hit 45 winners and 12 aces en route to victory. Avenging his loss to Krajinovic at the same tournament last year. His win-loss for the season now stands at 13-8.

” It’s always a tough match against him and I was happy I was able to win today,” the world No.20 said afterwards.

It was Krajinovic who got off to a fast start earning a breakpoint on the Montreal natives opening service game of the match and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. The Canadian responded at 2-1 earning his first two breakpoints of the match and breaking with a solid forehand winner to get the break back and go back on serve. At 3-2 the world number 20 had a chance to take the lead but it was saved by the world number 36. Nevertheless, he would go on to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the match.

Auger-Aliassime started the second set with confidence and broke the Serb’s opening service game. It stayed on serve until the world number 20 was serving for the win when he ended up getting broken to level the set at five. The very next game the Montreal native had three looks at a breakpoint but again was denied and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker stayed on serve until 4-4 when Auger Aliassime managed to get the crucial break but squandered it the following point and gave his Serbian opponent a chance to serve it out which he did following a double fault.

The third and decisive set was a roller-coaster with the Canadian holding his opening service game and than having three more breakpoints which he would convert to take another early 2-0 lead. Krajinovic would respond once again earning a breakpoint the following game and getting the break back to go back on serve until 3-3 when the Serb had his first chance to take a lead in the third set but the Canadian would come up with a huge point to save it.

The next game Auger-Aliassime would have a look at another breakpoint and this time would convert to take a 5-3 and serve for the match but struggled to close it out and the world number 36 broke serve once again.

With the Serb serving to stay in the match the Canadian increased his game to another level and managed to earn two match points. Sealing his first match win in Rome with a huge forehand winner down the line.

After the match in his post match press conference Auger Aliassime spoke about how he was able to overcome the adversity of having two chances to serve it out.

” You have to believe and be resilient at times, I wanted to win badly so I dug deep and I found a way so I am happy that I was able to find a way with all the circumstances,” he said.

Auger Aliassime will next face the number eight seed at the tournament Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine currently has a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head with their last meeting coming last October in Cologne, Germany on a indoor hard court.

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