Karatsev wins first ATP title in Dubai ending Harris's cinderella run. - UBITENNIS
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Karatsev wins first ATP title in Dubai ending Harris’s cinderella run.

Aslan Karatsev will break into the top 30 of the ATP rankings next week after winning the title in Dubai.

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Aslan Karatsev (@atptour - Twitter)

The Russian won his first ever ATP title ending the South African amazing run to the finals.

Aslan Karatsev won his maiden ATP title on Saturday beating the South African Lloyd Harris in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 in a match that barely lasted 90 minutes. He dominated the match from start to finish with 8 aces and 27 winners.

“I’m super happy it was a tight match, really nervous and I want to congratulate my opponent for the final, he did a great week, every final is a different match from the beginning of the week, during the week so I’m happy that I won one”.

The Russian got off to a fast start winning his opening service game and putting pressure right away on the world number 81 serve and would get the early break with his powerful forehand.

The South African had a chance to break back to go back on serve but the world number 42 would save it right away with one of his booming serves. At 4-1 he had a chance to go up a double break but the native of Cape Town would save all three playing some great survival tennis.

Karatsev would serve out the first set with a love hold to take it 6-3 and was one set away from his title.

He was even more dominant in the second set earning breakpoints in the very first game of the set with Harris serving, he would break to once again take an early 1-0 lead.

After consolidating the break the Russian had two more breakpoints to go up a double break but the South African did a good job saving both. At 3-2 the world number 81 had a chance to break to go back on serve but the Russian was up to the task of saving it.

At 4-2 Karatsev earned another breakpoint with a solid return winner and would break the following point to take a 5-2 lead and served out the match to seal the victory.

After the match in his post match press conference Harris touched on the positives he can take from a great week he had in Dubai.

“Absolutely like you said there are so many positives from this week, coming through seven matches, Aslan today was just too good but sometimes it happens like that, you just have to take the big up from the week move forward, and take it into the next tournaments”.

Karatsev in his post-match press conference answered a question from Ubitennis if there had been a major overhaul in his game that led to his early success this season so far.

“We try to play more offensive, more aggressive, to stay close to the line I mean this part we work on a lot and I think the target was the mental part that you have to believe what you are doing, believe more in yourself and that’s how the confidence grow up for me, once you start to believe then you start to feel your game and of course it was a lot work outside the court, inside the court”

Karatsev will now head to Miami to play the Miami Open which begins next week on Tuesday at the Hard Rock Stadium complex.

ATP

Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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ATP

Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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