Italy moves to 1-0 in ATP Cup Group C - UBITENNIS
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Italy moves to 1-0 in ATP Cup Group C

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Italy has moved to 1-0 in Group C of the ATP Cup after Matteo Berrettini scored two wins in the singles match against Dominic Thiem and in the decisive doubles match alongside Fabio Fognini over the Austrian team.  

 

Berrettini scored a 6-2 6-4 win over Thiem in the singles match to draw Italy level to 1-1 after Dennis Novak’s 6-3 6-2 win over Fabio Fognini. Berrettini returned to John Cain Arena court in Melbourne alongside Fognini to help Italy beat Novak and Thiem 6-1 6-4 in the doubles match. 

World number 100 Dennis Novak handed the Austrian team a 1-0 lead after his 6-3 6-2 win over 2019 Monte-Carlo champion Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 12 minutes after dropping his serve only once. The Austrian player converted four of his ten break points to score one of the biggest win of his career. 

Fognini went up an early break in the first game, but Novak rallied from 0-30 down to break straight back at deuce for 1-1 after Fognini made a series of unforced errors. Novak earned another break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead and held his next three service games to close out the first set 6-3 after 35 minutes. 

Fognini saved three break points at the start of the second set, but Novak converted his third break point in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Fognini had to save another break point in the fifth game, but Novak got another break at 15 in the seventh game to build up a 5-2 lead. The Austrian player sealed the win on his second match point in the 38-minute eighth game. 

“Of course, it’s never easy to play against Fabio. You never know what’s coming. I was focusing on myself and I think I did a good job. It was a long wait for today. I have practised since the beginning of December already, so I was really looking forward to today. I was nervous, didn’t sleep that well. I think you could see that in my first service game. I gave a really easy break, but then I tried to fight in the game and then I played really solid”, said Novak. 

Fognini was not in his best form after undergoing surgery last year. 

In the second singles match 2019 US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini faced just one break point in the whole match against 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem and broke serve four times to take a 6-2 6-4 win after 1 hour and 21 minutes sending the match to the decisive doubles match. 

Berrettini has improved his win-loss record to a 3-2 lead in his head-to-head matches over Thiem and his record to 7 wins in 15 matches over top 10 players. The Italian player has scored his first win over a top-10 player since the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals, where he also beat Thiem. 

Berrettini hit 30 winners, including 5 aces. The world number 10 broke twice in the fifth and seventh games to claim the first set 6-2 and went up a double break to build up a 4-0 lead in the second set. Thiem pulled one break back in the sixth game and held a 15-30 lead as Berrettini was serving for the match. Berrettini served out the match in the 10th game at deuce, as Thiem missed a backhand. 

“It was really sad last year to miss the ATP Cup, unfortunately I was injured. I saw the atmosphere in all the cities in Australia. It was a great event. This year I wanted to be here. Playing for your country is something special. I am very happy obviously for myself, but in this competition we are playing for a team, so it’s really nice. I am really happy with my performance. After a difficult 2020 season, which did not go as I wanted, I feel in good health “, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini and Fognini earned a 6-1 6-4 win over Novak and Thiem in the doubles match. The Italian stars dropped just nine points. They saved both break points and broke three times. Thiem made a double fault in the fourth game to waste a 40-15 lead and dropped his serve. Berrettini hit a service winner in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead. 

Berrettini his a volley winner at the net in the sixth game to break serve before Fognini held serve at 15 to claim the first set 6-1. Fognini fended off two break points in the sixth game of the second set and hit a volley winner in the next game to break serve. Fognini held serve at 15 with a forehand volley winner to give Italy a 2-1 lead, as he was serving for the win at 5-4.   

Fognini and Berrettini won a ATP Tour doubles title in St. Petersburg 2018. 

“We are a good team and I have confidence in everyone. Fabio wanted to bounce back after losing the singles match and I knew that Matteo could help him recover from the disappointment. These guys have a great motivation to do their motivation. I am optimistic for the match against France”, said Italian ATP Cup captain Vincenzo Santopadre. 

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Novak Djokovic secures win for Serbia in Davis Cup Finals in Innsbruck

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Novak Djokovic eased past Dennis Novak 6-3 6-2 to secure a 2-0 win over Austria in Group F at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals in Innsbruck. 

 

Djokovic did not face a break point and won nine of the last eleven games to seal the win after 60 minutes. Djokovic has won his 16th consecutive Davis Cup match. The Serbian player dropped six points on his first serve and never faced any break points. He converted three of his five break points. 

Djokovic earned his first break in the eighth game with an unreturned serve to open up a 5-3 lead and closed out the first set with a hold at 15 in the ninth game after 30 minutes. 

Djokovic went up an early break at the start of the second set and opened up a 3-0 with a double break. Both players held serve in the next five games without facing any break points. Djokovic hit a backhand down the line winner to close out the match, as he was serving for the win at 5-2. 

“It feels great to play for Serbia again. We are part of an individual sport, but I love to play for my country and I try to play when they need me. It has a long year, but you always find extra motivation playing for your country”, said Djokovic. 

Earlier today Dusan Lajovic earned a late break in the third set to battle past Gerald Melzer 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-5 to give Serbia an early 1-0 lead. Lajovic wasted a break point but he came back to convert his fourth match point after 2 hours and 42 minutes. 

Spain beats Ecuador 3-0

Olympic bronze medallist Pablo Carreno Busta battled past Ecuador’s Emilio Gomez 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to seal the win for Spain in Group A at the Caja Magica in Madrid. 

Carreno Busta wasted a 5-2 lead in the third set and two match points at 5-3, but he fought back to win the third-set tie-break 7-5 after 2 hours and 39 minutes. 

“I am very happy because it was a very important victory for the confidence and for the rhythm. In the second and third sets I felt more comfortable than in the first set. I had to continue fighting until the end because he played really well”, said Carreno Busta.  

Earlier on Friday Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez saved all five break point to beat Roberto Quiroz 6-3 6-3. 

“I still have the passion for the game. Without that passion I would not be here. I am 40 years old and have been playing on the Tour for such a long time and it is true without this passion it would not be possible to keep training each day. I have been waiting for moments like this, giving the first point to my country”, said Lopez. 

Carreno Busta and Marcell Granollers battled past Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-2) after 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

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Italy takes a 2-1 win over the USA in the Davis Cup in Turin

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Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner earned Italy a 2-1 win over the USA in the two singles matches in the Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals at the Pala Alpitour in Turin. 

 

Turin-native player Lorenzo Sonego beat US giant Reilly Opelka 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour and 31 minutes minutes. Sonego won 90% of his first service points and saved the only break point he faced at 3-3 before earning his first break at deuce in the eighth game after a double fault from Opelka to take a 5-3 lead. The local favourite served it out on his first set point. 

Opelka fended off a break point in the seventh game to hold serve at deuce. Both players went on serve in the next games en route to the tie-break without facing any break points. Sonego earned the decisive mini-break on the first point and held on his serve to win the tie-break 7-4. 

“It was not easy. It was the first time for me competing at the Davis Cup and I am really happy about the match. Thank you everyone”, said Sonego.

Jannik Sinner cruised past John Isner 6-2 6-0 after 1 hour and 2 minutes. Sinner won 9 consecutive games from 3-2 in the first set. Sinner broke twice in the third and seventh games to seal the opening set 6-2. Sinner went up a break in the first game before saving three consecutive break points in the second game. The Italian player earned two more breaks in the third and fifth games to take a bagel win in the second set. Sinner hit 16 winners to just 4 unforced errors. 

“Playing here was very special. Today we have already won. We have a great team and everyone is a great guy as well, so we are just trying to stay together. I am very honoured to be a part of this”, said Sinner. 

Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock edged past Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 1 hour and 36 minutes.  Fognini and Musetti went up a mini-break to take a 5-4 lead, but Ram and Sock won the final three points to win the tie-break 7-5. In the second set Fognini and Musetti wasted five break points. Ram and Sock earned two breaks in the first and fifth games to close out the second set 6-2. 

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Nicholas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert take decisive doubles match win in the Davis Cup

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This year’s Nitto ATP Finals champions Nicholas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert came back from one set down to beat Tomas Machac and Jiri Lehecka 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the decisive doubles match sealing a 2-1 win for France over Czech Republic in Group C of the Davis Cup by Rakuten in Innsbruck. 

 

Lehecka and Machac broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to win the first set 6-3. Lehecka saved four break points, but they dropped their serve in the 10th game to lose the second set 6-4. Herbert and Mahut converted their second break point to close out the third set 6-3. 

“It was difficult because the Czech team played very well, and we arrived late from Turin. I thought we had a slow start, but in the second and third sets we played well”, said Nicholas Mahut. 

Mahut and Herbert saved four of the five break points and hit five aces to seal the win after 2 hours and five minutes. 

Twenty-one year-old Machac gave an early lead to Czech Republic with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 over French veteran Richard Gasquet on his Davis Cup debut in the opening singles match. 

Machac came back from a break down and broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. The Czech player earned four mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. Gasquet saved four break points in the first game of the second set, but Machac broke serve twice to win the second set 6-2. 

“It feels really good. I am so happy I played today and won today for Czech Republic. It was a really tough match from the beginning, mentally especially. I am really happy. In the tie-break I played really well without any mistakes. That was the crucial moment”, said Machac. 

Adrian Mannarino came back from one set down to beat Jiri Vesely 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-2 after 2 hours and 38 minutes. Mannarino won 77% of his first serve points. Vesely came back from 2-5 down in the first set to win the win the tie-break 7-1. Mannarino earned a break at love in the third game to win the second set 6-2. Vesely saved four break points in the first game of the third set. Mannarino broke twice in the third and fifth games to seal the third set 6-2. 

“I was trying my best to keep fighting. I served very well in the key moments, which helps. I got used to the speed of his serve He was serving very fast and at beginning it was tough. On his second serve at the end, I was putting a lot of pressure on it”, said Mannarino. 

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