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.

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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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