Canada’s Auger-Aliassime And Shapovalov Reach Australian Open Third Round - UBITENNIS
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Canada’s Auger-Aliassime And Shapovalov Reach Australian Open Third Round

It was double delight for the North American nation at Melbourne Park on Wednesday.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Felix Auger-Aliassime pulled off a miraculous comeback against Alex Molcan to seal his place in the third round of the Australian Open. 

The sixth seed came back from behind to the Slovak Alex Molcan in a five-set thriller, winning 3-6, 3-6, 6-3. 6-2, 6-2. He hit 38 winners and served 23 aces in a match that lasted three hours and four minutes on Margaret Court Arena.

The first set stayed on serve until 3-3 when Molcan managed to get the first break of serve of the match and after consolidating the break broke the world number 7 again to win the opener.

The second set was almost the same as the first with Molcan once again getting the crucial break of serve at 3-2 which was enough for him to serve out the second set.

With the Canadian facing a massive upset, the third set was where he turned things around and got his first break of serve at 4-3. Auger-Aliassime was able to serve out the third set to send the match to a fourth.

It was at this stage of the match when Molcan’s game imploded and the number six seed took advantage. Jumping out to a 4-0 lead which was more than enough to set up a deciding fifth set.

With the momentum, the Montreal native continued to control, dominate, and took the game with full control and was able to turn the match on its head.

In the decider, he got the early break for a 3-1 lead and only lost one more game before serving it out to complete the comeback. 

“As long as I’m on the court I tried to find a way to win and to give myself chances and to stay longer on the court. today I was able to do it again,” said Auger-Aliassime. 
“Of course, you need to be fortunate that the opponent doesn’t play too good and that you just see the match pass by it. So it’s a bit of, of course, strength and resilience, but as well fortunate too. Normally when you are down 2-0 (in sets), you don’t win, so a bit of fortune.”

Auger-Aliassime has set up a third round encounter with Francisco Cerundolo who beat the Frenchman Corentin Moutet in four sets in their first-ever meeting.

Shapovalov marches on 

Image via ATP Twitter

Elsewhere at the Australian Open, fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov enjoyed a more straightforward route into the last 32. The world No.22 eased past Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-3, 7-6, 7-5 in two hours and 46 minutes on 1573 Arena.

Shapovalov produced a total of 43 winners and nine aces in a match where he controlled the match from start to finish.

The first set stayed on serve until 3-3 when the Toronto native managed to earn a crucial breakpoint set up with his powerful backhand winner and broke to take a 4-3 lead. He won his next service game and broke Daniel again to seal the first set and take an early lead. 

The second set was identical to the first with the Canadian breaking again to lead 4-3 and that was enough to take a 2-0 set lead.

The third set was the most competitive in the entire match and it stayed on serve until 6-5 when once again the Canadian earned the crucial break of serve, sealing the match with a forehand winner.

The number 20 seed will now face Polish 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz after he beat the Italian Lorenzo Sonego in a five-set marathon 3-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Return To Top Four After Winning Italian Open

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Alexander Zverev has clinched his first Masters title since 2021 after downing Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at the Italian Open.

The world No.5 surged to a 6-4,7-5, victory at the Faro Italico to become the 10th player in the Open Era to win the Rome trophy on multiple occasions. He also won the tournament in 2017. Zverev’s latest win was aided by an impressive service display from the 27-year-old who also hit 15 winners against eight unforced errors. He is now 22-1 against players ranked outside the top five at the tournament with his only loss being to Matteo Berrettini five years ago.

“It means a lot. Winning my first (Masters) title and winning my first after my injury in Rome. Rome is a very special place for me,” the new champion said afterwards. 
“I said at the beginning of the week if Rome is the place of firsts for me I’m extremely happy about it. It’s a very special week.” 

Playing in his first Masters 1000 final since 2022, Zverev produced a serving masterclass throughout the opening set with the German winning 20 out of 21 points. In contrast, Jarry experienced more difficult but valiantly fought back with the Chilean saving two straight break points at 4-4. Eventually, the third seed sealed the opener two games later with the help of some costly shots coming from across the court. A deep shot towards the baseline was unsuccessfully returned by Jarry, handing Zverev a set point which he converted.

Continuing to pile the pressure on in the second set, Zverev had a double chance to break for a 3-1 lead but failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The opportunities continued to come and go. Back-to-back double faults from Jarry at 4-5 handed Zverev two championship points but once again he failed to take advantage. Eventually, he sealed victory two games later with the help of a forehand shot that Jarry returned out. Prompting Zverev to raise his hands in delight before later paying tribute to his rival. 

“He’s playing huge. You can see that by the opponents he beat and how he beat them,” he said of Jarry. 
“I told him if he continues playing like that he is going to have many more chances. I’m happy to be the winner.”

As a result of his Rome triumph, Zverev has secured a top-four seeding for the French Open. On Monday he will rise in the PIF ATP rankings to No.4 which will be his highest position since August 2022. During that same year, he sustained a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for months. 

“The focus is on Paris, that’s for sure. but let me enjoy this one for a day or so and then I will have my full focus on Paris,” said Zverev.

Zverev has now won six Masters 1000 titles which places him in joint-ninth on the all-time list along with Daniil Medvedev. 

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Novak Djokovic Accepts Geneva Wildcard Ahead Of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva as he looks to improve his form ahead of Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic has shockingly accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva.

The world number one hasn’t had the best season so far having yet to reach a final at any of his events this season.

There was hope for Djokovic that his fortunes would change on clay and the Serb started his clay court season by reaching the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo before losing to Casper Ruud.

However Djokovic’s clay court hopes were dashed in Rome as he lost in the third round to in-form Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

This has meant that Djokovic risks being undercooked for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros.

Therefore the Serb has had no option but to take a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 in Geneva.

Djokovic will join Casper Ruud, Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz in next week’s event.

Next week’s appearance will be the first appearance in Geneva in Djokovic who will be the top seed in Switzerland.

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