Stefanos Tsitsipas Praises Rising Star Baez Following Tough Win At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas Praises Rising Star Baez Following Tough Win At Australian Open

The world No.4 endured a tricky encounter against the South American who is making his Grand Slam debut in Melbourne.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas encountered some stern resistance during his roller-coaster second round win over Argentina’s Sebastian Baez at the Australian Open.

 

The world No.4 was pushed to his limits during the 200-minute encounter before eventually prevailing 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, on the Margaret Court Arena. Despite the gap in experience between the two, Tsitsipas struggled at times to pull away from his opponent who saved four out of 18 break points. However, as the match progressed the Greek managed to nudge ahead to close out the win with the help of 44 winners and 12 aces.

“It wasn’t easy. I’m glad I overcame that obstacle today. (There was) lots of fighting, a little bit of swearing but I’m glad to be in the third round,” Tsitsipas said during his on-court interview.
“It was a pretty hot day today but I tried to play with my heart and it paid off.”

21-year-old Baez was playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. Last year the world No.88 illustrated his potential as a future top player on the men’s Tour by winning six Challenger titles. Tsitsipas was the first top 25 player he had faced in his career.

Hes a great player. I haven’t seen him play much. I know he had a good run at the Next Gen Finals which is an event I played a few years ago,” Tsitsipas said of the youngster.
He’s a good player. One of the biggest forehands that I’ve faced so I hope with the right work and mentality he can reach his goals and make an impact on the game.

The clash was a frustrating encounter for the world No.4 who during the first two sets struggled to tame his opponent. In the opener, he failed to convert eight break point chances before finally converting for a 5-4 lead. However, he was then broken in the following game. Tsitsipas managed to regroup and won the opening tiebreak in clinical fashion before Baez once again battled back in the second frame to draw level.

Split at one set all, the match came to a halt when Baez, who was on the court for three-and-a-half hours during his first round match, took a medical timeout for treatment on his leg. Sensing blood, Tsitsipas then went on a five-game which gave him enough of a margin to close out the third set with relative ease.

Despite the spirited efforts of Baez, it was not enough to derail the two-time semi-finalist who broke early on in the fourth set to close in on victory. Serving for the win, he worked his way to three match points after a backhand from the Argentine crashed into the net. He converted his second with a serve down the centre of the court which his rival failed to return.

“I tried to go for my shots a little bit more. At certain moments I got a little bit lucky with trying to get the right depth and coming in. On the return I stay as close to the baseline as possible to cut out the time for him and push him back a little bit more,” Tsitsipas explained when asked how he turned the match around.

The 23-year-old is through to the third round for a fourth consecutive year. Today’s win is his 35th at a Grand Slam and 12th at the Australian Open alone. He will play either Grigor Dimitrov or Benoit Paire next.

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Richard Gasquet upsets Danil Medvedev in Geneva

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Richard Gasquet upset Danil Medvedev 6-2 7-6 (7-5) with three breaks of serve in 90 minutes to reach the second round at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Gasquet scored his first win over an opponent ranked in the top 2 since he beat world number 1 Roger Federer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2005. 

Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in their only previous head-to-head match at the 2021 US Open en route to his first Grand Slam title. 

Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undegoing hernia surgery.

Gasquet won six consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and built up a 6-2 2-0 lead.  

Medveved dropped his serve after three double faults with three double faults. The Russian player broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 and held serve at love with an ace. 

Medvedev recovered from a mini-break down in the tie-break. Gasquet earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break 7-5. 

The Frenchman will face Kamil Majchrzak, who cruised past Marco Cecchinato 6-2 6-3.

Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years with a 6-4 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini in 1 hour and 28 minutes. 

Kokkinakis went up a break to take a 4-1 lead. Fognini broke back in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4.  Kokkinakis broke serve at love in the tenth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

Fognini made two double faults and missed three game points before dropping serve in the second game of the second set. Kokkinakis did not face any break points in his remaining four service games. 

Christopher O’Connell edged past Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to set up a second round match against Reilly Opelka. 

Paulo Sousa cruised past 2021 semifinalist Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-4. Sousa will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who was leading 6-4 before Facundo Bagnis retired from the match.

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Former Finalist Marketa Vondrousova To Miss French Open Following Surgery

The Olympic silver medallist will miss a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in two-and-a-half years.

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Czech world No.35 Marketa Vondrousova has pulled out of next week’s French Open after undergoing what she describes as a ‘small surgery.’

 

Vondrousova, who reached the final at Roland Garros back in 2019, underwent a procedure on her left wrist after experiencing recurring pain. She decided to do so following a medical consultation and will be soon going through rehab. It will be the first Grand Slam event she has missed since the 2019 US Open which she also withdrew from due to a wrist injury.

“The last few weeks were not easy, I have been experiencing recurring pain in my wrist,” Vondrousova wrote in an Instagram post published on Monday. “After seeing a couple of doctors I decided to get this small surgery done to be able to play pain-free.”
“Staying positive through the recovery and can’t wait to be back on the court soon,”
she added.

The 22-year-old last played on Tour at the Stuttgart Open where she lost in the first round to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. So far this season she has achieved a win-loss record of 13-5 with her best run being to the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships as a qualifier. Vondrousova also reached the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and defeated Emma Raducanu in the Billie Jean Cup.

A former junior world No.1, Vondrousova has been ranked as high as 14th in the world. So far in her career, she has won just one WTA title which was back in 2017 at the Lugano Open in Switzerland. However, she has reached the final at another four events with the last being at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has scored a total of six wins over top 10 players.

Another player in doubt for the French Open is defending champion Barbora Krejcikova who hasn’t played a match on the Tour since February. The world No.2 has been sidelined from action due to an elbow injury but remains on the entry list for the Grand Slam which will begin on Sunday.

The French Open draw will take place on Thursday.

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Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA

The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.

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Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.

 

Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.

“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.

The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.

Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.

Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.

“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.

Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.

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