Denis Shapovalov Ousts Ivashka in Miami - UBITENNIS
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Denis Shapovalov Ousts Ivashka in Miami

The Canadian survived a three set marathon and a rain delay to beat the Belorussian.

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Denis Shapovalov booked his spot in the third round of the Miami Open after beating world number 116 Ilya Ivashka 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4 in a match where he hit 37 winners while his opponent produced 50 unforced errors.

 

“A super tough one against Ivashka, I think he played really well,@ said Shapovalov.
Never easy coming into a masters where you have a bye because the other player has already played a match and obviously he was in top form and for sure it was extremely difficult especially in the first set so I was happy I was able to turn the match around and kinda get those feelings from Dubai into the second and third set. I’m really happy and I was lucky with the rain delay and stuff like that overall just super happy to get through it”

The first two games of the match were pretty routine but at 1-2 it was the Canadian who was first to face some adversity as he faced the first two breakpoints of the match but managed to save them both with his huge lefty serve.

The very next game it was the world number 11 with a chance to break but it was his Belorussian counterpart who would come up saving it and holding serve.

Once again it went back and forth and the next game the number six seed had a chance to take the lead but failed to convert again and the match remained on serve.

The first set would be decided by a tiebreaker and it was the world number 116 who would take the first lead of the breaker as the Toronto native would double fault on the first point.

At 4-2 the Bahamas resident would break back but would immediately give the break back the very next point and that was enough for the Minsk native to take the first set.

The world number 11 was determined to stay in the match and broke the Belorussian serve in the opening game of the second set but once again it didn’t last long as his serve abandoned him and he would double fault twice in a row to give the break back.

The Canadian wasn’t giving up and responded by breaking right back the following game and that was enough for Shapovalov to take the second set needing four set points to send it to a decider.

The momentum stayed with the world number 11 in the beginning of the third set and he was able to earn two more breakpoints in the first game but the world number 116 hung in and saved both and would hold serve.

At 1-2 the Canadian got into a little more trouble with his serve again and another double fault set up two more breakpoints for the Belorussian but once again the number six seed came up big saving them.

At 3-3 the Toronto native had two more chances to break to take the lead and on the first one the Belorussian would save it before play was unfortunately halted due to a little rain.

After the short delay with the players waiting on court play would resume and on the first point back the Belorussian would double fault to give the Canadian the break to take a 4-3 lead.

After that it started to pour and the match was delayed for about an hour before the players were able to return on court and finish the match serving it out to book his spot in the next round.

Shapovalov will next face a familiar foe in the next round and that is Hubert Hurkacz who he most recently played in Dubai about a week ago.

” A super tricky next match, me and Hubert (Hurkacz) have played many times now and just recently in Dubai and I felt I played exceptional tennis and hopefully I can use that confidence and use those moments from last week to try and transition it to next week and of course it’s different conditions, different surface so it’s going to be a new match and a tough battle ahead of me”.

Shapovalov was also asked about the situation about his fellow countrymen Vasek Pospisil after the incident earlier in the week and he gave his sense of the situation.

” I don’t know, I wasn’t at the meeting so I don’t know what went down, and knowing Vasek (Pospisil) personally to get this upset and have it bothering him during a match something must have happened, I have heard from several players, not great information so I am on the PTPA side, I think we are not underrepresented but there are ways we could be represented better, I don’t think the ATP is doing the fullest job that they can be, I think there are other ways and other players that are trying to introduce helping the ATP bring in different information or sponsors and basically were all getting shut down and they’re basically telling us to go and play tennis which in my opinion is not right, they shouldn’t talk to us like that if we are partners and that’s my position”.

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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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