Arthur Fils beats Luca Van Assche in all-French semifinal at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah - UBITENNIS
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Arthur Fils beats Luca Van Assche in all-French semifinal at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah

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World number 36 Arthur Fils beat his friend Luca Van Assche 2-4 4-1 4-3 (7-1) 4-3 (8-6) in an all-French clash after 1 hour and 37 minutes to reach the final at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. 

Van Assche, who was born in Belgium but moved to Belgium when he was three years old, broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out the first set to 15. Van Assche won 12 of the last 14 points. 

Fils hit a couple of big forehands to earn three break points at 2-1 15-40. Van Assche saved one break point with a volley, but Fils converted his second chance to open up a 3-1 lead, as Van Assche netted a backhand. Fils served out with a hold at 15 to level the match at one set apiece. 

The first five games of the third set went on serve. Van Assche led 2-3 30-40 on Fils’serve to earn two set points. 

Fils saved them before racing out to a 5-0 lead. Van Assche won his first point with a forehand. Fils earned five set points and closed it out when Van Assche netted a backhand. 

Fils won 22 consecutive points on his first serve until 2-1 in the fourth set. Van Assche faced a match point at 2-3, but Van Assche saved it to force another tie-break. Fils opened up a 4-1 with a mini-break. Van Assche won three points to 4-4 before saving two match points at 4-6 and 5-6. Fils hit a forehand to earn a fourth match point and converted it when Van Assche sent a backhand over the baseline. 

Van Assche beat Fils in the boys’ singles final at 2021 Roland Garros. Fils won his first title in Lyon last May. 

“I played every point trying everything with my forehand, moving very good. I was very happy with the tie-break. Today was a tough match against a great friend. We have known each other since we were nine, so it was a little bit tough and I am happy with the win. I came onto the court with the mindset that I can win. The first set was tough, he was playing very good and defending so well, running very fast. I kept my focus and I am really happy with the win”, said Fils. 

Fils set up a final clash against Hamad Medjedovic, who advanced to the championships match, when Dominic Stricker was forced to withdraw in the second set due to a back injury in the semifinal. 

Medjedovic was leading 4-3 (7-5) 2-1 when Stricker walked to the net and ended the match. 

Medjedovic hit 12 winners to 3 unforced errors. The Serbian player won three matches in the round-robin group. 

Medjedovic won 93% of his first serve points in the first set. Stricker did not drop a point on his first serve. Medjedovic earned his only mini-break to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Medjedovic earned an early break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead before Stricker retired from the match. 

Medjedovic reached two semifinals in Gstaad and Astana. He is coached by Viktor Troicki. Stricker advanced to the semifinals at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities

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Image via https://x.com/WTAMeridaOpen/

A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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