Lloyd Harris upsets Denis Shapovalov to reach final in Dubai - UBITENNIS
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Lloyd Harris upsets Denis Shapovalov to reach final in Dubai

Lloyd Harris overcame Denis Shapovalov to continue his dream run to the Dubai final.

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Lloyd Harris (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

The South African cinderella story continues as he pulled off his third consecutive upset.

 

Lloyd Harris is the first qualifier in ATP history to reach the final of a 500 tournament after coming back once again to stun the world number 12 Denis Shapovalov in three sets 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 in a match that lasted two hours and 40 minutes.

Harris fired 12 aces and 28 winners in the match while the Canadian hit a massive 41 unforced errors in the loss as he is now 1-10 in ATP semi-finals.

“I don’t have many words right now, I’m super happy of course that win, being a set down, 4-2 down is mentally and physically was a little bit troublesome for me, I kinda found my best tennis from there so I am extremely happy with the result right now”

This is Harris’ third scalp as he had previously beat the number one seed Dominic Thiem and pulled a similar comeback last night vs Kei Nishikori before beating Shapovalov to reach the final.

The first set was pretty routine for both players and at 4-3, the South African called for the trainer and took a medical timeout to have his right thigh taped after pulling up in some discomfort.

“Obviously as the match went on it went a bit better, I think honestly it was just fatigue but once it got heated up a little bit it felt better as the match went along and right now I am feeling ok”

He was also given pain killers to be able to continue to play and it seemed to work as he soildered on and the first set would be decided by a tiebreaker. The world number 81 got out to an early lead in the breaker but it didn’t last long and it went back and forth.

Leading 3-1 Harris would hit two consecutive errors to level it at three but managed to respond to regain his two point lead at 5-3. The world number 12 would bounce back to win the next four points to take the breaker and the set.

The Canadian took the high of winning the first set feeling he was one set away from the final and at 1-1 he got the first three breakpoints of the set but the South African did a good job saving them all.

He would hold serve but the world number 12 kept pushing and finally broke through to take a 3-2 lead and consolidate the break. The world number 81 was determined to stay in the match and at 4-3 earned his first breakpoints of the set and would break when the Canadian served a double fault to level the set at four.

At 5-4 Harris would have two chances to break and take the set, on the first one he was denied with an ace but on the second one the Canadian’s served cracked under pressure and he served another double fault to send the match into the decider.

We didn’t see a break of serve in the entire third set and the match would be decided by a tiebreaker. It was as tight as it could get with both players trading breaks back and forth and at 6-5 the world number 81 had his first match point.

He would once again be denied by the world number 12 but after winning the next point on his serve he would claim victory as Shapovalov’s final backhand just sailed out.

After the match he spoke about the win and he was very elated to be playing in another final.

“I mean this is what I am working for, this is what I am putting in the hard yards for, I’ve been kinda waiting for results like this so to have many of them in one week is a fantastic feeling and now I got one more match to go”.

He will face a Russian in the final on Saturday either Andrey Rublev or his Russian compatriot Aslan Karatsev.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Goes The Distance To Win First Match In Rome

The Canadian was pushed to three sets in his opening match by Filip Krajinovic.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the second round of the BNL D’ Italia Masters in Rome after beating his Serbian opponent Filip Krajinovic in three gruelling sets 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.

 

The marathon encounter saw the Canadian hit 45 winners and 12 aces en route to victory. Avenging his loss to Krajinovic at the same tournament last year. His win-loss for the season now stands at 13-8.

” It’s always a tough match against him and I was happy I was able to win today,” the world No.20 said afterwards.

It was Krajinovic who got off to a fast start earning a breakpoint on the Montreal natives opening service game of the match and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. The Canadian responded at 2-1 earning his first two breakpoints of the match and breaking with a solid forehand winner to get the break back and go back on serve. At 3-2 the world number 20 had a chance to take the lead but it was saved by the world number 36. Nevertheless, he would go on to break for a 5-3 lead before serving out the match.

Auger-Aliassime started the second set with confidence and broke the Serb’s opening service game. It stayed on serve until the world number 20 was serving for the win when he ended up getting broken to level the set at five. The very next game the Montreal native had three looks at a breakpoint but again was denied and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The tiebreaker stayed on serve until 4-4 when Auger Aliassime managed to get the crucial break but squandered it the following point and gave his Serbian opponent a chance to serve it out which he did following a double fault.

The third and decisive set was a roller-coaster with the Canadian holding his opening service game and than having three more breakpoints which he would convert to take another early 2-0 lead. Krajinovic would respond once again earning a breakpoint the following game and getting the break back to go back on serve until 3-3 when the Serb had his first chance to take a lead in the third set but the Canadian would come up with a huge point to save it.

The next game Auger-Aliassime would have a look at another breakpoint and this time would convert to take a 5-3 and serve for the match but struggled to close it out and the world number 36 broke serve once again.

With the Serb serving to stay in the match the Canadian increased his game to another level and managed to earn two match points. Sealing his first match win in Rome with a huge forehand winner down the line.

After the match in his post match press conference Auger Aliassime spoke about how he was able to overcome the adversity of having two chances to serve it out.

” You have to believe and be resilient at times, I wanted to win badly so I dug deep and I found a way so I am happy that I was able to find a way with all the circumstances,” he said.

Auger Aliassime will next face the number eight seed at the tournament Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine currently has a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head with their last meeting coming last October in Cologne, Germany on a indoor hard court.

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Alexander Zverev and Tim Puetz reach the semifinals in the doubles tournament in Madrid

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Alexander Zverev followed up his win against Rafael Nadal in the singles quarter final with a 6-4 3-6 10-5 win alongside his teammate Tim Puetz against Denis Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna. 

 

On Saturday Zverev and Puetz will take on Marcell Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who beat Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (7-3) 6-2. 

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic battled past Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 10-7. Mektic and Pavic are bidding for their sixth title in 2021 and their Masters 1000 trophy after winning in Miami and Monte-Carlo. The Croatian team set up a semifinal clash against this year’s Munich BMW Open finalists and Singapore Open champions Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, who edged past Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 6-3 3-6 10-5.

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Five Takeaways From Men’s And Women’s Rome Draws

Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu all return to Rome next week.

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Novak Djokovic (@usopen - Twitter)

Here are five things to take away from Men’s and Women’s singles draw from Rome.

 

Next week is the start of the next stop on the road to Roland Garros as the ATP and WTA tour heads to Rome next week.

The Italian capital will host a star-studded line-up as Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep look to defend their titles.

With another week of stacked ATP and WTA draws here, let us take a look at the five key points to take from this week’s draws:

  • Nadal Set For Zverev Rematch

Rafael Nadal could have a rematch with Alexander Zverev again in Rome next week as has already faced a mixed start to the clay court season. A quarter-final defeat to Andrey Rublev in Monaco was followed by a Barcelona title before losing to Zverev in the Madrid quarter-finals this week. It looks set to be another week where Nadal could face the tall German, whom he has lost on three consecutive occasions to. Before Nadal can get to Zverev, Nadal may have to overcome Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud, two rising stars who are capable on this surface.

  • Serena Handed Good Draw On Tennis Return

Next week will see Serena Williams return to a tennis court for the first time since her Australian Open semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka. Having had her physical struggles since the end of last season, Serena now competes in a limited schedule but will be keen to boost her Roland Garros chances next week in Rome. The 23-time grand slam champion could face Roland Garros semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska in her first match before Belinda Bencic stands in her way of a rematch with Osaka in the last eight.

  • Djokovic Looks To Avenge Recent Clay Losses

After winning the Australian Open in January, Novak Djokovic would have wanted a better clay-court season than he has had after being knocked out by Dan Evans in the third round in Monaco and an epic semi-final loss to Aslan Karatsev in Belgrade. After taking Madrid off, Djokovic looks to build momentum and may have to face Dan Evans again this week in his first match. The likes of Grigor Dimitrov and Stefanos Tsitsipas await Djokovic en route to the last four where Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev will wait for the Serb.

  • The Barty Party Looks To Roll On

Ash Barty is silencing the critics week by week and proving why she deserves her world number one ranking after winning Miami, Stuttgart and reaching the final in Madrid. In two of those three tournaments mentioned Barty would have played Aryna Sabalenka in the final. Although that won’t be happening in the final, she could face the Belarusian in the quarter-finals in Italy as a fairly comfortable draw has presented itself for the Australian. Barty’s first opponent will be either Martina Trevisan or Yaroslava Shvedova.

  • Bianca Andreescu Returns

After suffering an injury in the Miami final and testing positive for COVID-19 in Madrid, Bianca Andreescu looks to finally settle into a clay-court season as she returns in Rome. The tricky Canadian will start off against Anastasija Sevastova or Jil Teichmann before facing Petra Kvitova. If Andreescu can negotiate the first two rounds then a dream match with Simona Halep could await in the last eight. As for Halep her Rome campaign could start against Angelique Kerber.

Here is the full ATP and WTA draw:

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