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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Linda Noskova cruises past Jelena Ostapenko in Stuttgart to clinch her third top 10 win

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Linda Noskova cruised past number 8 seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-1 on her debut at this tournament in just 68 minutes to reach the second round at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

Noskova has claimed her third top 10 win this year. She beat Iga Swiatek in the third round of the Australian Open en route to her first Grand Slam quarter final and Maria Sakkari in Doha. 

Noskova raced out to a 5-1 lead with two breaks of serve in the first and third games. Ostapenko pulled one break back in the eighth game for 3-5. Noskova earned three set points in the ninth game with a return winner and converted her first chance to clinch the first set 6-3. 

Noskova broke twice in the second and fourth games to cruise through the second set 6-1. 

Noskova converted all her five break points. 

Marketa Vondrousova beat Donna Vekic 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 26 minutes to reach the second round. The reigning Wimbledon champion converted four of her eight break points. 

Vondrousova went down 2-4 down in the first round, but she came back by winning four games to clinch the first set 6-4. Vondrousova broke in the fourth game of the second set to take a 3-1 lead. The Czech player earned three game points to lead 4-1, but Vekic pulled back on serve at 3-2 with a passing winner. Vondrousova earned another break to take a 5-3 lead after a drop-shot misfire by Vekic and served out the win with two consecutive aces. Vondrousova now leads 2-1 in her head-to-head matches against Vekic. 

Elise Mertens overcame Tatjana Maria 6-1 4-6 6-0 to set up the first clash of her career against world number 1 Iga Swiatek. 

“At the age of 22, it’s unbelievable what Swiatek has already achieved. Definitely in the future, she will achieve a lot more. She is a bit like an all-court, all-around player, so you don’t really find a lot of weaknesses. That’s why she is world number 1”, said Mertens. 

This year’s Abu Dhabi champion Jasmine Paolini cruised past her doubles partner Sara Errani 6-1 6-0 with three breaks of serve in each set. 

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Rafael Nadal makes a winning come-back against Flavio Cobolli in Barcelona

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Rafael Nadal made a winning come-back by beating Italy’s Flavio Cobolli 6-2 6-3 in 1 hour and 26 minutes at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. The twelve-time Barcelona champion won his third match this year. 

Nadal is playing just his second tournament of the year and his first since last January, when he reached the quarter final in Brisbane. 

Nadal converted two of his eight break points and held four service games in the first set. The Spaniard held serve from 0-30 down in the first set. Cobolli faced two break points in the fourth game and saved them. The Italian player wasted a game point and was broken on Nadal’s third break point after a backhand error. Nadal consolidated the break by holding serve with a service winner to take a 4-1 lead. Cobolli faced four break points in the sixth game, but he saved three of these break points with service winners and held serve with a powerful serve to reduce the gap to 2-4. Nadal held serve at love in the seventh game with a service winner.

Cobolli missed a game point after Nadal’s backhand crosscourt winner, as he was serving to stay in the set in the eighth game. Nadal earned a set point after a forehand error from Cobolli and converted it, when the Italian player netted a forehand. 

Cobolli earned his first break point in the opening game of the second set. Nadal fended it off with a drop shot winner to hold serve after Cobolli’s forehand error. 

Nadal earned two break points, as Cobolli netted a backhand in the second game. The home star converted his break point to open up a 2-0 lead, as Cobolli hit a forehand long. Cobolli broke back in the third game after Nadal made a backhand error. 

Nadal broke serve again in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead, when Cobolli made a double fault. The former world number 1 player held his service game with a service winner in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Cobolli held serve to love in the sixth game with a forehand winner to reduce the gap to 2-4. Nadal held serve in the seventh game after a forehand error from Cobolli to open up a 5-2 lead forcing the Italian player to serve  to stay in the match. Cobolli held at love to cut the deficit to 3-5. 

Nadal served out the win with a hold at 15 after Cobolli’s backhand error. Cobolli made 41 unforced errors, including 27 in the opening set. 

Nadal set up a second round match against Alex De Minaur. The 92-time titlist leads 3-1 in his four head-to-head matches against his Australian opponent. 

“Every time it is more difficult and especially when you are at an advanced age. It makes things even tougher. I am going through tough moments but at the same time, when I am able to be on Tour for a few days and practise with the guys then be able to compete a little bit, it means a lot to me. It’s still enjoyable enough to keep going. I am happy to start with a victory without a doubt”, said Nadal.

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Rising Star Mirra Andreeva Teams Up With Wimbledon Champion Martinez

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Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

Teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva has begun working with a former Grand Slam champion on a trial basis ahead of the French Open.

The 16-year-old has linked up with Conchita Martinez, who is overseeing her run at this week’s Rouen Open in France. Martinez peaked at a ranking high of No.2 during her career and won 33 WTA titles. After retiring from the sport, she has coached Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova. 

Andreeva’s latest partnership was formed with the help of her agent ‘two or three weeks ago.’ According to the WTA website, their practice week went well and now they are testing working together during a tournament. 

“So far, so good,” said Andreeva“I like it, I hope she likes it too. We will see how it will go and then we will decide about our next tournaments. I cannot say there are special aspects we are working on. But the first thing we worked on was my slice, because she was a good slicer. So she told me some tricks, and I’m trying to use it when I have time and a good possibility on court.”

Andreeva is currently ranked 43rd in the world and is the youngest player in the top 100. She has already reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open but is yet to win a WTA title. So far this year the Russian’s best result was a quarter-final appearance at the Brisbane International. 

Martinez, who also reached the last 16 of a major at the age of 16, spoke about the teenager with Ubitennis during last year’s Wimbledon Championships. At the time she pointed out that consistency is key for the youngster.

“The most important thing is that she keeps practising and focusing on what she has to do to get better. It’s great what she is doing now but she has to maintain it,” she commented.

Andreeva kicked off her campaign in Rouen with a 6-1, 6-3, win over Nadia Podoroska. 

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