Holger Rune reaches his second ATP Tour final at the Sofia Open - UBITENNIS
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Holger Rune reaches his second ATP Tour final at the Sofia Open

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Holger Rune reached his second ATP Tour final of the 2022 season and the first on indoor hard court at the Sofia Open after Jannik Sinner retired from the semifinal due to an ankle injury. Rune won his first title in Munich and reached the quarter final at Roland Garros earlier this year.

Rune was leading 5-7 6-4 6-2 against Sinner, when the Italian player withdrew from the match. 

Sinner wasted three break points in the sixth and eighth games of the opening set. The Italian player earned the decisive break at 6-5, as Rune sent his down the line backhand wide on the set point. Sinner held his service games without facing any break points. 

Rune broke serve at 2-2 at love after Sinner made three forehand errors. Rune hit a forehand winner on the break point. Rune saved two break points at 5-4 with an ace and a forehand error from Sinner. 

Rune converted his second set point 6-4 with a forehand winner.

Sinner dropped his serve at 15 after three unforced error. Sinner saved a double break point at 1-3 to hold his serve.  Sinner injured his ankle at 2-3 0-15. Rune broke for the second time in the seventh game for 5-2 before Sinner retired from the match.  

“It’s obviously never the way you want to win and it was such a great match. It’s the worst possible way it could end and I just want to wish Jannik all the best. He’s an amazing player and what he has shown this year has been unbelievable. I wish him a speedy recovery. I think it was a great match up until the end. I think I was obviously a little bit tired after yesterday, but I really puhed hard and ran for everything. I am happy with the way f fought and happy with my level”, said Rune. 

Marc Andrea Huesler upset Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 96 minutes to reach his first ATP Tour final. 

Huesler won six consecutive points from 1-5 down to seal the tie-break of the first set 7-5.  The Swiss player saved two match points in the tie-break of the second set against Kamil Majcrzak in the quarter finals. 

The first semifinal featured just two break points. Huesler saved a break point to hold for the second set before converting his only break point in the 12th game. 

Huesler fired 10 aces and won 40 of his 48 first serve points. 

Both players went on serve with no break points en route to tie-break. Musetti raced out to a 5-1 lead in the tie-break with two mini-breaks after a backhand passing shot and a double fault from Huesler. Musetti made his second double fault to give back the mini-break for 5-4. Huesler hit a service winner and drew an error to earn a set point. Huesler sealed the tie-break, when Musetti missed a forehand. 

Huesler saved the only break point he faced with a serve and volley to hold for 5-4. Musetti made his third double fault to face a match point, as he was serving to force the tie-break. Huesler closed out the match with a backhand return in 1 hour and 35 minutes to reach his first ATP Tour final. 

“For sure, I mean I have never been in the final of an ATP Tour event. I am obviously a bit speechless. I can’t quite believe that I was able to win today and make it to the finals. but I played a really great match today and I am just really happy”, said Huesler. 

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

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Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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