Dominic Thiem beats Richard Gasquet in straight sets to set up a second round match against Holger Rune in Monte-Carlo - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem beats Richard Gasquet in straight sets to set up a second round match against Holger Rune in Monte-Carlo

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Dominic Thiem beat Richard Gasquet 6-1 6-4 to set up a second round match against Holger Rune at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

Thiem earned his first break in a marathon second game converting his eight chance after 10 deuces. The Austrian player broke twice more in the fourth game of the first set and in the third game of the second set. 

Thiem leads Gasquet 3-2 in their five head-to-head matches. 

“At the start I played very well. It was good for me that I broke him. I was going ahead the whole match. I am pleased with the performance. Richard is in good form. He already won a tournament this year. It is always tough but at the same time nice to play him because he has such a nice game and is a legend of tennis”, said Thiem.

Thiem is looking to continue his good period of form after reaching the quarter final in Estoril last week, when he scored back-to-back wins for the first time this season. 

“It is important to get matches and you only get them if you win, so last week was a very good step with the quarter final in Estoril. It is very nice to win a match and it is my first win at a Masters 1000 tournament for a long time”, said Thiem. 

Former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini beat Maxime Cressy 6-4 6-2 to reach the second round at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

Berrettini saved a break point at 2-3 in the first set before earning the break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead after two double faults from Cressy. 

Berrettini missed two set points in the ninth game at 5-3 but he served out the first set 6-4 at love. 

Berrettini raced out to a 4-0 lead with two breaks of serve in the first and third games of the second set. Cressy saved a break point in the fifth game to hold serve for 1-4. Berrettini won his final two service games at 30 to close out the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini set up a second round match against Francisco Cerundolo, who beat Cameron Norrie 6-3 6-4 in 72 minutes. Cerundolo won 90% of his first serve points and hit 24 winners. Norrie made 18 unforced errors and just eight winners. The British player, who beat Carlos Alcaraz in the final of the Rio Open and reached the finals in Auckland and Buenos Aires, suffered a second consecutive first round defeat after losing to Gregoire Barrère at the Miami Open last March. 

Cerundolo earned an early break before holding serve to open up a 3-0 lead. Norrie broke back at 4-3 to put the first set back on serve. 

Cerundolo converted the second of two break points in the second game to take a 5-3 lead before serving out the first set 6-3 after 33 minutes. 

Both players saved break points at the start of the second set. Cerundolo converted his second break point to take a 5-4 lead. The Argentine player served out the match al 15 in the 10th game.

Cerundolo drew level to 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Norrie. 

The Argentine player beat Felix Auger Aliassime in the second round en route to reaching the quarter final at the Miami Open. 

Roberto Bautista Agut rallied from one set down to beat Filip Krajinovic 5-7 7-6 (12-10) 6-1. Krajinovic saved four break points to hold serve in a four-deuce second game before breaking serve to love in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Bautista Agut saved a break point to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking back to draw level to 4-4. Krajnovic broke serve in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Bautista Agut saved two break points in the fifth game to hold serve for 3-2. Krajinovic fended off  three break points in the eighth and in the twelfth games to force the second the second set to the tie-break. 

Bautista Agut went up a mini-break four times and did not convert five set points in the tie-break before Krajnovic earned a match point at 10-9. Bautista Agut saved it with an ace out wide and sealed the tie-break 12-10 with a forehand passing shot. 

Bautista Agut broke Krajinovic three times in the third set to seal the win on his first match point. The Spaniard ended a four-match losing streak. 

Jack Draper beat Sebastian Baez 6-3 7-5 in his debut in his Monte-Carlo to set up a second round match against Hubert Hurkacz. Draper hit six aces, saved 11 of the 12 break points he faced and converted three of his four chances. 

Draper earned his first break in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. The young British player saved three break points in the fifth game to hold serve at deuce for 4-1. He fended off two more break points before serving out the first set 6-3 at deuce with an ace. 

Draper earned his first break in the fifth game at deuce to take a 3-2 lead. Baez converted his third break-back in the sixth game at deuce to draw level to 3-3. Draper broke for the second time in the 11th game and served out the match 7-5 in the next game at deuce after saving a break point. 

Botic van de Zandschulp came back from one set down to beat Marton Fucsovics 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-1. Van de Zandschulp saved two match points at 5-6 15-40. The Dutchman earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. He broke twice and served out the win on his first match point in the third set. 

Diego Schwartzman beat David Goffin 6-4 6-2 to set up a second round match against Jannik Sinner. Schwartzman and Sinner are teaming up in the doubles tournament. 

Qualifier Ivan Gashkov beat Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (8-6) 2-6 6-3 setting up a second round match against world number 1 Novak Djokovic. 

Jaume Munar edged past Marc Andrea Huesler 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-4 and will face Andrey Rublev in the second round.  

Greek brothers Stefanos and Petros Tsitsipas battled past Hubert Hurkacz and Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (4-7) 10-5 after 1 hour and 50 minutes in the first round of the doubles tournament. 

Taylor Fritz and Holger Rune beat the Italian team formed by Simone Bolelli and Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 setting up a second round match against Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic. 

Andreas Mies and Fabrice Martin fended off two match points to beat Francisco Cerundolo and Daniel Evans 6-3 4-4 11-9. 

Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden rallied past Rafael Matos and David Vega Herrnandez 3-6 6-3 10-8. 

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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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Emma Raducanu Among Trio of Grand Slam Winners Handed Miami Open Wild Cards

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has avoided the possibility of having to go through qualifying at the Miami Open after being awarded a wild card for the event on Thursday. 

The 2021 US Open champion is among four players to have received passes into the main draw of the prestigious event, which is classed as a WTA 1000 for the women and as a Masters 1000 for the men. It will be the third straight year that Raducanu has played in Miami but she is yet to win a match there. In 2022 she lost her opening match to Katerina Siniakova before getting beaten by Bianca Andreescu 12 months later. 

Raducanu has won two out of five Tour-level matches played so far this year. Recently her agent, Max Eisenbud, hit back at those who have criticised the tennis star’s results since winning the US Open. Raducanu also missed a chunk of last season due to injury after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery. 

“The girl did everything backward. She skipped every step. She won the US Open, she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the player lounge was, she didn’t know where the practice courts were,” Eisenbud told the Served With Andy Roddick podcast.
“I don’t think just being tough on her or critical on her like any other player [is wrong]. But she is still figuring it out. I just think that people should not be malicious.”

Other players to have received wild cards into Miami include Venus Williams, who is a three-time champion at the event but hasn’t won the title since 2001. The 43-year-old hasn’t played on the Tour since August and is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400. 

Carolina Wozniacki completes the line-up of former Grand Slam winners being given wild cards. The Dane was a Miami finalist back in 2017 and has made 12 appearances at the tournament. Earlier this week, she suffered a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, loss to Anna Blinkova in the first round of the San Diego Open. 

As for the men’s tournament, the only confirmed wild card recipient is Kei Nishikori who will be making his first competitive start since July 2023. Recently the injury-stricken Japanese player added Thomas Johansson to his team. 

The Miami Open will get underway on March 17th.

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