Jannik Sinner sets up decisive quarter final match against Casper Ruud in Vienna - UBITENNIS
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Jannik Sinner sets up decisive quarter final match against Casper Ruud in Vienna

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World number 11 Jannik Sinner cruised past Austrian wild card Dennis Novak 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 16 minutes to reach his 10th quarter final  of the 2021 season at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.

 

Sinner saved two break points at 15-40 down to hold serve in the fourth game of the first set. The Italian Next Gen player earned three break points in the seventh game and converted his second chance to take a 4-3 lead. He won his final two service games to close out the first set 6-4. 

Sinner went up a double break at the start of the second set and saved a break-back point to open up a 3-0 lead. The five-time ATP titlist saved three break points from 0-40 down in the fourth game to take a 4-0 lead. Novak stopped a losing streak of five consecutive games for 1-4, but Sinner rallied from 0-30 down in the eighth game to serve out the second set 6-2 on his first match point. Sinner fended off all six break points he faced.

Sinner has won ten consecutive indoor matches, including titles in Sofia and Antwerp. He has not dropped a set in any of them. 

Sinner set up a quarter final match against Casper Ruud, which could be decisive for one of the final qualifying spots for the Nitto ATP Finals. Sinner beat Ruud 7-6 6-3 in their only previous head-to-head match in Vienna last year. 

“From last year, everything has changed from both sides because of our ranking, because of the experience. I just hope that it’s going to be a great match to be honest”, said Sinner. 

If Sinner beats Ruud in his quarter final against Casper Ruud, he will overtake Hubert Hukacz to hold the final qualifying spot fo the Nitto ATP Race in Turin and come close to within 90 points of Ruud for seventh place. If Ruud win the match against Sinner, he will strengthen his position in the Race to Turin. 

“It’s going to be tricky. He is in a better position than I am for the Race. I think right now it’s tough to say and tough to do because in the end you always not to think about that, but in the end you think about that because you believe. You want to go there. If it’s not this year, hopefully it’s next year, and if it’s not next year, maybe I don’t reach it, but I try my best in every match I play.   

Ruud battled past last year’s Vienna finalist Lorenzo Sonego 7-5 4-4 6-4. Ruud won his previous two head-to-head matches against Sonego in Rome 2020 and San Diego this year. The Norwegian player won his first ATP Tour title on hard court in San Diego last month. 

Sonego earned the first break in the seventh game with a backhand passing shot to take a 4-3 lead. Ruud pulled back on serve in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Sonego saved two set points on serve in the to hold serve after four deuces in a 14-point 10th game for 5-5. Ruud earned a break to 15 in the 12th game to seal the first set 7-5. 

Sonego saved a break point at 3-4 in the seventh game and won the final three games with a break to close out the second set 6-4. 

Sonego saved two break points from 15-40 down in the eighth game at 3-4. Ruud missed a match point at 15-40, but he converted his second chance to close out the third set 6-4, as Sonego hit his backhand into the net. 

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Botic Van de Zandschulp beats Joao Sousa to reach the second round in Tel Aviv

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Botic Van de Zandschulp cruised past Joao Sousa 6-2 6-3 to reach the second round at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. Van de Zandschulp won 83% of his first serve points and hit 28 winners to Sousa’s six. 

 

The Dutchman will face Liam Broady, who Serbian wild-card Hamad Medjedovic 7-5 6-3. 

Tomas Martin Etchevery edged past 2021 Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev 6-2 6-7 (0-7) 6-4  scoring the biggest win of his career. 

Arthur Rinderknech came back from one set down to beat Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3. Rinderknech set up a second round against third seed Diego Schwartzman. 

Emil Ruusuvuori broke serve five times in his 6-3 6-2 win over J.J Wolf. 

Sebastian Korda beat Turkish qualifier Cem Ilkel 6-4 6-4 setting up a second round match against Maxime Cressy. Novak Djokovic is the top seed of the Tel Aviv tournament, which returns for the first time since 2021.

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Holger Rune reaches the second round at the Sofia Open

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Danish Next Gen rising star Holger Rune edged past Tim Van Rijthoven 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) to reach the second round at the Sofia Open in his first appearance at this tournament. 

 

Both players went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Rune earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

The second set started with a trade of breaks in the first two games. There was little to separate both players in the next games, which went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rune saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie-break of the second set and won the final three points to close out the second set 8-6. 

Rune won his first title in Munich and reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter final at Roland Garros. 

 “I did not want to go to three sets. I had the break and led 5-2 in the second set tie-break. If it had happened, I was going to fight for sure and try to take it in three, but I am very happy to win in two. I am really working hard every day and trying to improve any small things I can. I think today I stayed very focused all the time. I lost my focus one time on serve, when maybe I should not have been broken, but other than that I am very happy with my first match. The first match is always a  bit difficult”, said Rune. 

Australia’s Alexander Vukic beat Fabio Fognini 7-6 (13-11) 7-5 after 1 hour and 11 minutes. Vukic broke serve in the fifth game to take a 4-2 lead. Fognini converted his fourth break-back point to draw level to 4-4 before saving a break point at 5-5. Fognini went up a 6-3 lead, but he wasted six set points in the tie-break. Vukic closed out the tie-break 13-11 on his third set point. 

Fognini earned a break to take a 2-1 lead. Vukic broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2 in the fourth game. Fognini lost four consecutive points from 4-5 30-0. Vukic earned the decisive break on his first match point to seal the second set 7-5. 

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