Roger Federer edges Ilya Ivashka in a tight opening round match in Halle - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer edges Ilya Ivashka in a tight opening round match in Halle

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Ten-time Halle champion Roger Federer made a winning start to his grass campaign with a 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 win over Ilya Ivashka after 1 hour and 35 minutes in the first round of the Noventi Open in Halle. 

 

The 39-year-old Swiss player is playing his fourth tournament this year after reaching the quarter final in Doha, a second-round defeat in Geneva and the fourth round at Roland Garros. Federer was solid on serve for most of the match and did not face a break point until his 11th service game. 

Ivashka held at love in the first and third games. Federer made a forehand error in the fourth game to face two break points, but he saved them to hold his service game after two deuces to draw level to 2-2. Both players held on their next service games en route to the tie-break. 

Federer started the tie-break with an early mini-break to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka netted a backhand and trailed 1-4 after a forehand mistake. Federer earned five set points with a volley winner and closed out the set with a volley at the net. 

Federer hit a service winner to win the opening game of the seocnd set. Ivashka held serve at deuce in the second game. Federer held serve in the ninth game with a forehand winner. Ivashka faced a match point in the 10th game and saved it with a backhand volley winner. Ivashka forced a backhand error from Federer to hold serve at deuce for 5-5. 

Federer claimed the only break in the 12th game to secure his spot in the second round, after Ivashka missed a low forehand shot into the net. 

The Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion won 77% of his first-serve points and saved two break points he faced. 

Federer has now won 10 of his past 11 matches at the ATP 500 tournament in Halle. He set up a second round match against either Felix Auger Aliassime or 2021 Miami Open champion Hubert Hurkacz. 

“I had a tough moment early on in the first set when he had break points, so that was crucial to get out of those. Then I played a really good tie-break, which I was happy about. I think as the match wore on I started to create more opportunities and started to calm my nerves a bit. Overall I I think I served very well. Clearly, I can always be a little bit better, but I am very happy and excited that I was able to get through the first one”, said Federer. 

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Arthur Rinderknech beats Federico Delbonis to reach the second round in Antwerp

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Arthur Rinderknech won 85% of his first service points in his 6-4 6-4 win over Federico Delbonis after 1 hour and 31 minutes to reach the second round at the European Open in Antwerp. 

 

Rinderknech earned two breaks to open up a 4-1 lead. Delbonis pulled back one break in the sixth game, but Rinderknech held on his next service games to win the first set 6-4. 

The Frenchman went up an early break in the first game to take a 4-2 lead. Delbonis saved three break points to hold serve at deuce in the seventh game for 3-4. Rinderknech served out the win at deuce after saving a break point in the 10th game. 

Rinderknech has extended his winning record to 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Delbonis.

“I am really pleased with the win. There were some crazy points here and there and sometimes they did not go my way. These kind of points can change the match but I tried to stay focused and I am pleased I was able to close out the match”, said Rinderknech. 

US Next Gen player Jenson Brooksby cruised past Norbert Gombos 6-4 6-2. Brooksby went up a 4-1 lead with a double break. Gombos pulled one break back for 2-4 in the sixth game. Brooksby held on his next service games to win the first set 6-4 and earned two breaks in the first and seventh games to seal the second set 6-4. 

Another US Next Gen rising star Brandon Nakashima beat Pierre Hugues Herbert 6-2 6-4. Nakashima broke serve in the fifth and seventh games and earned a break in the fifth game of the second set. 

Dusan Lajovic beat Richard Gasquet 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. Gasquet earned a break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Lajovic broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. Lajovic saved two break points in the ninth and eleventh games. Lajovic earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-3. The Serbian player broke three times to win the second set 6-1. 

Botic Van de Zandschulp beat Alexei Popyrin 6-4 3-6 6-0. Van de Zandschulp won the first set 6-4 with a break in the fifth game. 

Popyrin saved five break points in the first game before converting his third break point to take a 2-0 lead. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Popyrin served out the set after saving two break points. 

Van de Zandschulp earned three breaks to win the third set 6-0. 

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Marin Cilic overcomes Damir Dzumhur at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Marin Cilic edged past Damir Dzumhur 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-1 after 1 hour and 51 minutes to reach the second round at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Cilic won two consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015. 

 

Cilic came back from losing the tie-break of the first set by winning 12 of the last 13 games. He will face either Tommy Paul or Winston Salem finalist Mikael Ymer.

The opening set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Dzumhur earned three set points at 6-3 with two mini-breaks and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-4. Cilic broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1 win in the second set. The 2014 US Open champion saved a break point in the third game before breaking at deuce in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Cilic closed out the third set with a double break at love in the sixth game. 

The Croatian player has extended his winning record to 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Dzumhur. 

Cilic won his 19th career ATP title in Stuttgart against Felix Auger Aliassime and reached two semifinals in Singapore and Estoril.  

“It always feels great to be here. It is always a pleasure and it is great to see a nice crowd here. I know that Damir always enjoys these conditions where the court is a bit slower and the ball stays a bit slower, so I was having a little bit of difficulty on his serve in the first set”, said Cilic. 

John Millman also rallied from one set down to beat Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3 after two hours and 35 minutes. Millman will play against either Alexander Bublik or Ukrainian qualifier Ilya Marchenko. 

Millman went up a 5-2 lead with a double break. Bonzi pulled both breaks back to draw level to draw level to 5-5. Bonzi earned two mini-breaks to take a 4-2 lead. Millman pulled back on serve to draw level to 5-5, but Bonzi earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5.

Bonzi went up a set and a break to take a 4-3 lead, but Millman won the final three games with two breaks to claim the second set 6-4. Millman raced out to a 4-0 lead with two breaks. Bonzi got one break back in the fifth game for 1-4. Millman won his final service games to close out the third set 6-3. 

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Andrey Rublev defends his title at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow

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Andrey Rublev will defend his title on home soil at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The Russian star will be looking to win his second title this season following his triumph in Rotterdam last March. Rublev claimed five ATP titles in Doha, Adelaide, Hamburg, Vienna and St. Petersburg. 

 

The Moscow Kremlin Cup line-up also features Karen Khachanov, winner in 2018 and Olympic silver medallist last July, Marin Cilic, who won two titles in the Russian capital in 2014 and 2015, and 2017 champion Damir Dzumhur. 

Aslan Karatsev will play in the main draw on home soil for the first time without having to qualifying round. Karatsev won his first title in Dubai and reached the final in Belgrade losing to Matteo Berrettini this year. Karatsev reached the doubles final at Indian Wells last week teaming up with Rublev. 

The other name to watch is Alexander Bublik from Kazahstan, who reached to a career-high of world number 34 this year. Bublik reached two ATP Finals this year in Antalya and Singapore. The Kazakh player reached the quarter final in the Russian tournament as a qualifier in 2016 and 2017. 

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