Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas lead the field in Barcelona - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas lead the field in Barcelona

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Rafael Nadal leads a line-up at the 68th edition of the Conde de Godò Trophy in Barcelona from 17 to 25 April 2021. Nadal will be aiming to win his 12th title in Barcelona. The Spanish tennis legend will make his 16th appearance at the Conde de Godò in Barcelona. 

 

The line-up features 11 of the top 20 players in the ATP Ranking, including two more top 10 players Stefanos Tsitsipas, who reached the final in Barcelona in 2018 and the semifinal in Madrid 2019 and in three Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open 2019 and 2021 and Roland Garros 2020), and Diego Schwartzman, who reached his first Masters 1000 final in Rome and the semifinal at Roland Garros. Tsitsipas beat Nadal earlier this year in the quarter final of the Australian Open after coming back from two sets down. 

The list is completed by this year’s Doha finalist Roberto Bautista Agut, last year’s US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta, 2019 Miami Open semifinalists Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime, 2019 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters champion Fabio Fognini, 2019 Next Gen Finals champion and 2020 Roland Garros quarter finalist Jannik Sinner, three-time Grand Slam semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, 2021 Doha champion Nikoloz Basilashvili, this year’s Dubai finalist Lloyd Harris and four-time ATP Tour titlist Christian Garin. Nick Kyrgios will play his first tournament outside Melbourne since Acapulo 2020. 

Former Roland Garros finalist David Ferrer has announced the list of 48 players, who will take part in this year’s edition of the Conde de Godò Trophy in Barcelona. Ferrer will make his debut as sports director of the Barcelona tournament after the cancellation of last year’s edition due to the global pandemic. 

“Rafa Nadal is a symbol of the tournament and a great reference in Spanish tennis. This year’s edition of our tournament will be highlighted by young tennis players Jannik Sinner, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime. They are all very promising tennis players who are called to lead the ATP circuit for years to come. The level of participation is very high despite the problems caused by the global pandemic. Eleven players from the top 20 will come together and the cut to enter the main draw has been in the number 64 of the ranking. The tournament has yet to assign the five wild card invitations, who will be announced shortly”. 

Djokovic and Thiem set to highlight the Belgrade ATP 250 tournament

Dominic Thiem will not defend his title in Barcelona, as he has opted to play in the ATP 250 tournament in Belgrade, which will be held in the same week as Barcelona. The Hungarian tournament in Budapest has been relocated to Belgrade. 

Novak Djokovic will be the top seed in the home city event, where his brother Djordje is the tournament director. The Belgrade Open has attracted a very competitive field, which also features this year’s Australian Open semifinalist and Dubai champion Aslan Karatsev, 2019 US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, 2020 US Open quarter finalist Borna Coric and world number 14 and 2020 Rotterdam champion Gael Monfils. 

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Petra Kvitova set semifinal against Anett Kontaveit in Ostrava

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Anett Kontaveit upset this year’s Olympic singles gold medallist Belinda Bencic 6-4 6-3 after 74 minutes in the quarter finals of the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. Kontaveit set up a semifinal clash against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. 

 

Kontaveit has extended her winning streak against Bencic to 2-0. The Estonian had beaten her Swiss rival in the third round of the 2020 Australian Open. 

Kontaveit scored her fourth win over a top 20 player this year. She won the second WTA title of her career in Cleveland before the US Open. 

Kontaveit hit 29 winners to just 18 unforced errors and converted five of her eight break points. Bencic produced 12 winners to 18 unforced errors. 

In the first set Kontaveit broke serve in the fourth and sixth games to race out to a 5-1 lead and earned a set point in the seventh game. Bencic fired a winner to save the set point. The Swiss player fended off another set point at 5-3. 

Bencic pulled both breaks back to get back on seve at 5-4. However, Kontaveit converted the first of her three set points. Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the third set. Kontaveit hit a backhand winner down the line to break serve for 4-2 in the sixth game. She held serve at love for 5-2 and sealed the win in the ninth game on her second match point with a crosscourt backhand winner. 

Petra Kvitova knocked out Jill Teichmann 6-4 6-4. The Czech player saved seven of the eight break points she faced. 

Kvitova saved five break points in the fourth game of the first set to hold serve for 2-2. The Czech player earned the break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead, as Teichmann sent her forehand long. Kvitova hit her forehand to earn three set points and converted her second chance by forcing an error. 

Kvitova earned an early break in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Teichmann broke straight back to draw to 2-2. Kvitova hit a series of backhands to get her second break in the fifth game for 3-2 and saved three break points to hold serve for 4-2. The home player earned three set points with a backhand winner at 5-4. After missing her first match point with a double fault, she converted her second chance with an unreturnable serve. 

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Iga Swiatek sets up semifinal against Maria Sakkari in Ostrava

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Last year’s Roland Garros Iga Swiatk reached the first semifinal since May in Rome with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win over Elena Rybakova after 1 hour and 41 minutes. 

 

Swiatek earned the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Rybakina broke back with a crosscourt backhand to draw level to 3-3. Swiatek held serve easily for 6-6 to set up a tie-break. 

Swiatek earned the first set point at 6-5 and converted her chance when Rybakina sent a backhand wide. 

Swiatek raced out to a 5-1 lead with a double break. Rybakina pulled one break back for 2-5 with a backhand down the line winner on break point. Swiatek sealed the second set 6-2 on the third match point. 

Swiatek set up a semifinal clash against Maria Sakkari, who secured a place in her sixth semifinal of the season with a 7-5 6-3 win over Tereza Martincova after 1 hour and 36 minutes. Sakkari has extended her head-to-head lead to 3-0. Sakkari has reached a career-high of world number 12 after reaching two Grand Slam semifinals at Roland Garros and at the US Open. 

Sakkari earned an early break in the first game. The Greek faced two break points in the 10th game of the first game, when she was broken at 5-4 in the first set. Sakkari converted her third break point in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Sakkari broke twice in the third and ninth games to win the second set 6-3. She has lost all her five semifinals in 2021 so far.  

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Pablo Carreno Busta moves into semifinals in Metz with a win over Holger Rune

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Pablo Carreno Busta beat Danish Next Gen rising Holger Vitus Notskov Rune 6-4 3-6 6-4 after 2 hours and 11 minutes to advance to the semifinals in Metz. Carreno Busta won 77% of his first serve points. 

 

Carreno Busta broke serve in the fifth game to win the first set 6-4. Rune bounced back by breaking serve in the second game to claim the second set 6-3. The third set went on serve until the eighth game when Carreno Busta earned a break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead. Rune broke straight back in the ninth game but Carreno Busta earned his second break to close out the third set 6-4.

“Rune is playing really well. He is playing really well. He is going to improve a lot in the next months. I am happy as it was a very important victory for me. When you play this kind of player, you have all the pressure to win and at the end it was a really good battle”, said Carreno Busta. 

Carreno Busta won the Olympic bronze medal, won the Marbella Open and his first ATP 500 title on clay in Hamburg. 

Rune beat Lorenzo Sonego en route to the quarter final. The young Dane is aiming to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

Carreno Busta will face Gael Monfils, who eased past Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3 6-3 with four breaks after 68 minutes. The Frenchman has reached his first ATP Tour level semifinal since Dubai in February 2020. 

“At the beginning I was more comfortable but then in the second set he started to be more aggressive with the returns and I was not as comfortable then. It will be a tough match against Monfils. I will be younger in the next match. I will try to do my best. Gael is an incredible player”, said Carreno Busta. 

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