Serbia Comes Back To Beat Canada On Day One Of ATP Cup - UBITENNIS
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Serbia Comes Back To Beat Canada On Day One Of ATP Cup

A convincing performance from Milos Raonic failed to stop defending champions Serbia.

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Defending champion Serbia kicked-off their title defence at the ATP Cup with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Canada in Melbourne Park. The tense encounter saw world No.1 Novak Djokovic play a vital role in his teams victory.

 

Raonic breezes by Lajovic

For someone who was stuck in hard quarantine for 14 days you really honestly couldn’t tell because Milos Raonic had no issues at all in his first match of 2021 as he eased to a 6-3, 6-4, win.

He got off to a great start with his massive serve and big forehand while Dusan Lajovic was doing everything he could to stay in the set and hold his serve. The first breakpoint didn’t occur until the seventh game when at 4-3 the Canadian forced the Serb to hit one of his many unforced errors.

Raonic would break as Lajovic would send another ball into the net to take a 5-3 lead and would serve out the first set to take it 6-3.

Into the second set the beginning was pretty similar to the first with both players doing a good job of holding serve. The Thornhill, Ontario native earned two early break points at 1-1 but Lajovic did an even better job saving them.

Raonic would earn an third thanks in large part to his backhand but once again the Serb was hanging on and would eventually hold serve. The Canadian had three more chances to break at 3-3 but was stymied but the number two Serb.

He earned a fourth opportunity when Lajovic sent another ball into the net and would finally get the break when the Serb made a second consecutive error.

Raonic served out the match to take it in 1 hour and 19 minutes to put the defending champs on the brink.

“I think I was sharp. I was there in a lot of return games. I kept putting pressure. I missed a few breakpoint opportunities but I kept sticking around and took care of my serve, which is always important,” Raonic said afterwards.

Djokovic survives Shapovalov

Next up on court were a clash of the the national number ones between Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov with the world No.1 prevailing 7-5, 7-5.

The first set could not have been a tighter affair with both players going at it and it was looking like it was going to be a great match. There wasn’t a single breakpoint until 5-6 with Shapovalov serving to stay in the set and Djokovic managed to have two looks at a set point.

The Canadian would save the first one with a big ace out wide but on the second opportunity, the Belgrade native capitalized forcing the error from the world No.12 to take the first set 7-5.

The second set was much like the first meaning a great battle with Shapovalov looking to send the match into a deciding third set while Djokovic was looking to seal the victory and send the tie into a deciding doubles match.

The Nassau, Bahamas resident was under pressure early from the Serb facing early breakpoints but won a great point with a long rally which the world number one finally lost when he sent a ball wide.

It stayed on serve until 6-5 with the Canadian serving to stay in the match and once again made some untimely unforced errors and gave the world number one a match point.

He would finish the match with a brilliant down the line winner as Shapovalov was attacking the net to take the match and set up a deciding doubles showdown.

“It’s not a doubt that the level’s there. Obviously it wasn’t good enough today.”

Shapovalov

Serbia wins the deciding doubles

In the deciding doubles match it was Milos Raonic joining forces with Denis Shapovalov for Canada taking on the doubles pairing from Serbia of Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic.

Both teams did a good job holding serve and there was no break point until late in the set at 5-5 when the world number one came up with a great winner to set up three break points.

Canada would save the first one but on the second Shapovalov would send a ball into the net to give the break to Serbia for a chance to serve out the first set at 6-5.

Krajinovic did just that doing a great job with his serve and Serbia would take the first set 7-5. Unfortunately during the break Serbia called for the trainer and Krajinovic took a medical timeout to have the trainer work on his back.

The second set was even tighter than the first with Canada looking to force a match tiebreaker while Serbia was looking to close it out. The first breakpoint of the second set came at 3-3 when Djokovic came up with a great forehand winner.

Canada did a good job saving both and both teams managed to hold serve and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker. The breaker was a total roller-coaster with both teams battling hard.

Serbia won the first three points then Canada would storm back and win the next three putting the breaker back on serve at 3-3. Canada gave up the crucial break at 4-4 when Raonic missed an easy volley and Serbia would serve it out to take the breaker 7-4.

“Filip Krajinovic was the key. The way he played today is phenomenal. He came out very solid returning. He found his serve, great rhythm. Just played some really key shots in the second set when we needed it the most,” said Djokovic.

Both teams will now face Germany with Canada getting the first crack while Serbia will face them later in the week. Only the group winner will advance to the semi finals.

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Liam Broady On Why He Wore Rainbow Laces During His Australian Open Match

Following his first round defeat, the Brit spoke about why he believes it is important to speak out in support of the LGBT community.

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It is sometimes the small gestures which go a long way and Liam Broady showed that during his first round match at the Australian Open.

 

Taking to the John Cain Arena for his night-time clash against Nick Kyrgios, the qualifier embarked upon a situation he had never experienced before with a boisterous crowd cheering on their home player. At times the atmosphere resembled that a football match with fans drinking beer and chanting Christiano Roinaldo’s ‘siu’ celebration. The reason as to why they were doing that particular chant was unclear.

Broady ended up falling 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, to Kyrgios who will next play the formidable Daniil Medvedev. Throughout the match the world No.128 was wearing rainbow laces and he did so for a special reason.

“I just kind of wanted to send the support. I know obviously within men’s tennis — is it a taboo? I don’t think it’s really a taboo, but I’ve seen questions before about why there aren’t any openly gay men on the tour, and I just wanted to kind of voice my support in that kind of general area,” Broady explained during his press conference.
“And the LGBTQ community, I mean, a lot of those guys have given me a lot of support throughout my career and have been there since day one, so I kind of wanted to give a thank you in my own sort of way.”

The Rainbow Laces initiative was created by LGBT charity Stonewall and initially marketed specifically towards football’s Premier League before later expanding into other sports. The idea is to get players to wear rainbow laces in order to raise awareness of LGBT representation within sport.

https://twitter.com/the_LTA/status/1483379917337534465

Tennis is renowned for having some of the most formidable LGBT athletes over the years with the likes of pioneers such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova who were among some of the first to speak openly about their sexuality. However, on the men’s Tour it is somewhat different. There are currently no openly gay players and only a small handful in the past. Although most of those players, such as Brian Vahaly, came out after retiring from the sport.

“I saw that the first openly gay footballer just came out in Australia (Josh Cavallo) a month or two ago. And it’s difficult, right? I mean, it’s a big thing to do and at the end of the day in the 21st century, it’s pretty rubbish that people don’t feel like they can be openly gay. It’s quite sad, really,” Broady continued.
“Hopefully I will help raise awareness for it and if there are people in the locker rooms and you kind of, you don’t want to force them to come out, you know, especially if they don’t want to. It’s their choice.’
“So you just got to try and support in the way you can and just let them know that everything’s okay.”

It is not the first time the 28-year-old has spoken out about LGBT rights. In 2018 he criticized Margaret Court who likened gay-rights activists to Adolf Hitlef in terms of what she claims is ‘propaganda.’ Court has a history of making anti-LGBT remarks despite insisting that she has nothing against gay people.

Broady says he doesn’t personally know of any gay player on the Tour. Although if there was, he assumed that it would be known because the sport is a ‘pretty leaky ship’ when it comes to having private details revealed online.

On Monday the Australian Open will launch their first ever Pride Day at the tournament.

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Australian Open: Pablo Carreno Busta Through But Fabio Fognini Stunned

Busta has booked his place in the second round at Melbourne Park for the sixth year in a row.

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Pablo Carreno Busta - image via https://twitter.com/SuperTennisTv/

On day one of the Australian Open, Spanish ace Pablo Carreno Busta sealed an efficient straight-sets win to take his place in the second round.

 

The Spaniard was no match for Argentinian qualifier Tomas Etcheverry coming through 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).

The 30-year-old from Giron sailed through the opening set that included two breaks in the fourth and sixth game.

Etcheverry, who won three matches to qualify for the Australian Open, improved in the second set.

However, it wasn’t enough as Carreno-Busta flicked through the gears breaking his younger opponent in the third and seventh game to seal the set.

In the third, the 2017 and 2020 US Open semi-finalist took an early break of serve, only to be pegged back by Etcheverry who forced a tie-break.

It wasn’t to be for the 22-year-old though as Carreno-Busta turned up the heat with some big groundstrokes to move into round two.

Next up for the world number 21 is Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor who thrashed a poor Fabio Fognini in straight sets.

The out of sorts Italian was beaten 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Having lost in the first round of the US Open in September, the former world number world number is nine is in danger of slipping outside the top 40.

Having shown much promise to win a first Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo back in 2019, the husband of former US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, looks desperately short of motivation and confidence.

Fognini is yet to go beyond the fourth-round of a major, and at 34 time is running out for him to mine the potential that made him one of the sports best juniors growing up alongside Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

Elsewhere, former Australian Open star Lucas Pouille, was knocked out in round one by fellow Frenchman Corentin Moutet.

Wildcard Pouille has endured a glut of injuries since making the semi-finals at Melbourne Park three years ago.

The 27-year-old has now fallen to 159 in the world. 

Pouille made a bright start to take the opening set 6-3, but his lack of fitness and confidence soon showed, as he lost the following sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

Czech Jiri Vesley, also slumped out to American wildcard Stefan Kozlov 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

He will face seventh seed Matteo Berrettini next.

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Cameron Norrie Puzzled By Australian Open Defeat

It was a bad day at the office for the British number one.

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Cameron Norrie ad Indian Wells 2021 (Credits: @BNPPARIBASOPEN on Twitter)

Cameron Norrie is finding it hard to pinpoint where it all went wrong for him in his first round match at the Australian Open.

 

The 12th seed could only win seven games against Sebastian Korda as he crashed out 6-3, 6-0, 6-4, after just over 100 minutes of play. It is the third time in four appearances that Norrie has fallen in the first round at Melbourne Park but last year he did manage to reach the third round. Against his American rival, he hit 29 unforced errors compared to 23 winners and was broken five times.

I had a week off to prepare, prepared as well as I could, and I was just slow, I was missing routine backhands, which I never miss,” Norrie said during his press conference.
“I honestly can’t put a finger on it. I just need to get better and improve. Lots to work on.’
“Any time I had a chance to kind of come back, he (Korda) served his way out of it. And on the bigger points he was much better than me. I didn’t play well in any big points today.”

It has been a far from smooth start to 2022 for the 26-year-old who also suffered disappointment at the ATP Cup earlier this month. In the team tournament he lost all three of his singles matches to Alexander Zverev, Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Zverev is the only one of the trio currently ranked higher than him.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of Norrie’s latest defeat is the fact he seemed perplexed about why he played the way he did. Asked by one journalist if he was possibly suffering any lingering affects from catching COVID-19 during the festive period he replied ‘No, I think I prepared as well as I can, and I felt fine physically, fine mentally.’

Norrie was one of the breakthrough stars last year on the ATP Tour when he raced up the world rankings. He featured in six Tour finals across three different surfaces and won the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The stellar season earned him a place at the ATP Finals as a reserve and he even played two matches following the withdrawal of Stefanos Tsitsipas due to injury.

“I don’t know why I played the way I did today. I was feeling good physically,” he said. “Yeah, I played a lot of matches (last year) but this is what we (tennis players) are paid to do and just not good enough. I just need to raise my standards, practice, matches, and execute a lot better.”

Of course, credit has to be given to Korda, who is making his debut at Melbourne Park. The American had a far from ideal preparation for the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19 which forced him to withdraw from two warm-up events.

21-year-old Korda has now beaten a top 20 player on six separate occasions. He will play France’s Corentin Moutet in the second round.

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