Tommy Paul sets up all-American quarter final against Ben Shelton at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Tommy Paul sets up all-American quarter final against Ben Shelton at the Australian Open

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Tommy Paul overcame Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-5 in 3 hours and 19 minutes at the Australian Open on Margaret Court Arena to reach the Grand Slam quarter finals for the first time in his career. 

Paul converted six of his fifteen break points and hit 58 winners to Bautista Agut’s 35 to clinch his 11 consecutive against Spanish players. 

Paul converted on his fourth break point after five deuces in a marathon first game and held serve in a three-minute game to open up a 2-0 lead. After a trade of holds Paul earned a double break with a forehand winner in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. The US player saved six break points in the final game to close out the first set 6-2 at deuce. 

Paul broke serve in the fifth game of the second set to take a 3-2 lead. Bautista Agut pulled back on serve in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. The Spaniard broke on his first set point in the tenth game to close out the second set 6-4. 

Paul broke in the first game after a double fault from Bautista Agut. The Spanish player made 15 unforced errors and made two double faults on each of his two service games and Paul earned his second break in the seventh game to close out the third set 6-2. 

Paul went down 0-30 as he was serving at 3-2 in the fourth set, but he was able to hold serve for 3-2. Both players went on serve until the 11th game when Paul sealed the win with another break. 

The match-up between Paul and Shelton will be the first Grand Slam quarter final between two US players since 2007 when Andy Roddick beat Mardy Fish in Melbourne. 

“It’s like every person’s dream when they start playing tennis to play the big matches at the Slams. I am really excited to get out there on Wednesday. We know there is going to be to be an American in the semifinals, so I am really excited about that”,said Paul. 

“It was a really physical, tough match. Any time you play Bautista it’s going to be a war. So I was prepared for that match and I thought I executed really well today. It’s always fun playing on this court, I think it was my third time playing here and it’s always a blast”, said Tommy Paul. 

Paul has improved his record to 5 wins in six matches in 2023 and reduced his head-to-head deficit against Bautista Agut to 2-3. The 25-year-old US player has risen seven spots to climb to world number 28 in the ATP Live Ranking. He made his breakthrough in 2022 when he beat Rafael Nadal to reach the quarter finals at the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 tournament. 

“I have just been paying attention to the details a little bit more in practice on and off the court. I have a good team around me. I have a new management, so everything has been pretty good since switching to them. That’s been exciting. I have just been having a lot of fun out there. Every match has been fun. It’s hard to play bad when you are having fun”. 

Paul set up a quarter final against his compatriot Ben Shelton, who beat his compatriot JJ Wolf in five sets. Sebastian Korda also reached the quarter final with his win over Hubert Hurkacz.  Three US players have reached the quarter finals at the Australian Open for the first time since 2000 when Pete Sampras, André Agassi and Geoff Woodruff advanced to this stage of the tournament.

 “I think Shelton was down two sets to one when I came on court, so I had no idea who I would play if I won, but I was able with either Shelton or Wolf. I am really happy to be playing an American in the quarters. There is going to be an American player in the semifinals for sure, so I am really excited for that, and hopefully you guys can come out and watch that one too. I am playing in the quarter finals in two days, but I am not satisfied. I am going to go out there, try and win the match. The semifinal sounds a lot better than the quarter  final every day of the week”, said Paul. 

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Karen Khachanov wins his career title in Doha

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Karen Khachanov beat Czech Next Gen Jakub Mesnik 7-6 (14-12) 6-4 to clinch his the sixth title of his career and the first of his career. Khachanov did not drop a set during this week. 

Khachanov saved four set points in the first set before hitting a forehand return to seal the first set on his fourth set point. 

Khachanov broke serve in the opening game of the second set. The Russian player did not face a break point in the whole match and won 83% of his first serve points. 

Khachanov claimed his first ATP title since Zhuhai last September. 

“Every title is a special one. Every time, you want to win. We play around 22 tournaments per season and at the end of the day, you compete every week. For sure here in Doha here in Doha it is one of the nicest trophies”, said Khachanov. 

Mesnik made a major breakthrough this week beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and three former Doha champions Andy Murray, Andrey Rublev and Gael Monfils en route to his first tour level final. Mesnik is projected to a career-high number 87 in the ATP Ranking. He is currently in the lead in the ATP Race to Jeddah. 

“For sure this week will be unforgettable for me. From the beginning, I did not even get to the tournament on my own ranking. I had to use the Next Gen spot, so I tried to enjoy every moment on the court. I did not expect that I will go through to the final. I am really happy with my performance”, said Mesnik. 

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Jasmine Paolini wins the first WTA 1000 title of her career in Dubai

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Jasmine Paolini came back from one set down to beat qualifier Anna kalinskaya 4-6 7-5 7-5 in 2 hours and 13 minutes in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. 

Paolini rallied from one break down in each of the second and third sets to clinch he the second WTA Tour title of her career and her first trophy at WTA 1000 level. Paolini has become the third Italian player to win a WTA 1000 title following in the footsteps of Flavia Pennetta in Indian Wells in 2014 and Camila Giorgi in Montreal 2021. 

Kalinskaya earned an early break in the first game of the opening set. Paolini broke back in the fifth and sixth games. 

Kalinskaya broke serve in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead with a passing winner and closed out the first set at 15. 

Kalinskaya broke Paolini with a return winner in the opening game to build up a 6-4 3-1 lead. Paolini slammed a return winner to break back for 3-3. Paolini forced and error on set point with a crosscourt backhand to break serve in the 12th game. 

The third set started with three consecutive breaks. Kalinskaya broke for the second time in the third game and held at 15 with an ace in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead.  Paolini broke back in the 10th game  to draw level to 5-5 when Kalinskaya was serving for the match. 

Paolini earned three championships point at 6-5 after Kalinskaya made a double fault. 

Paolini drew a long error from Kalinskaya on the first match point. 

Paolini wo 60% of her first serve points.

Paolini beat Kalinskaya in Portoroz in 2021 en route to winning the first WTA title of her career. The Italian player played in three more finals in Cluj Napoca, Palermo and Monastir, but she lost all of them. Kalinskaya beat Paolini in the Round of 16 at last January’s Australian Open. 

Paolini has become the second Italian player to win the Dubai title after Sara Erraini claimed this trophy in 2016. The Italian player is projected to move into the top 15 in the WTA Ranking. 

“I am really happy how I managed to come back. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know. I am just so happy. I am proud of all the work I made this year. It’s not easy to bring this work in the match sometimes. I am playing good tennis. I played well at the end of the last season I started the season well with the second week at the Australian Open. Now I try to be more relaxed on court, to try to think more what I have to do, to be more present every point. I think it works. It’s not going to be every week like this, but I am going to do my best”, said Paolini during the post match press conference. 

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Jordan Thompson needs seven match points to upset Alexander Zverev in the Los Cabos semifinal

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Jordan Thompson converted on his seventh match points to upset top seed Alexander Zverev 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-2) in a thrilling 3-hour and 40-minute at the Mifel Tennis Open by Telcel in Los Cabos. The match finished after 1 a.m. 

Thompson set up a final against Casper Ruud in Saturday’s final. The Australian player fought back from 0-6 0-3 down before saving three match points against Alex Michelsen in the quarter final. 

Thompson won the first set, which featured five break points. Zverev earned the first break to open up a 2-0 lead. Thompson saved four break points in the third game before breaking serve to love to draw level to 2-2. Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games to draw level to 3-3. Thompson broke serve for the third game in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. Zverev earned a break in the fifth set to take a 3-2 lead and did not face any break point to win the second set 6-4. Both players went on serve until the 10th game, when Thompson earned five break points which doubled as match points at 6-5. Zverev saved them to hold serve after seven deuces. Thompson won six consecutive points from 0-1 down to take a 6-1 lead in the tie-break and sealed the win on his seventh match point. 

“It does not feel effective. It was over three and a half hours. It was just a great match and I just competed until the end. I am pretty tired”, said Thompson. 

Casper Ruud beat defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 7-6 (7-4). Ruud saved five set points in the second set. Ruud did not drop a point on his first serve and broke serve in  the seventh game to win the first set 6-4. 

Ruud came back from 0-40 down to save three set points at 4-5. The Norwegian player rallied from 15-40 to fend off two more set points in the 12th game. Ruud raced out to a 4-0 lead in the tie-break with two mini-breaks.  Tsitsipas won three consecutive points from 1-5 down to claw his way back to 4-5. Ruud sealed the tie-break 6-4 on his first match point. 

“It was a really close match, especially in the second set. I was fortunate to save a few set points and hold him off. I was just a bit lucky, and in the tie-break I played really well from the beginning, so I am very happy with the win”, said Ruud. 

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