Auckland: Cameron Norrie Tested In First Match Of Season, Top Seed Shelton Wins - UBITENNIS
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Auckland: Cameron Norrie Tested In First Match Of Season, Top Seed Shelton Wins

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Cameron Norrie said he had to ‘tough it out’ during his opening match at the ASB Classic on Wednesday. 

The British second seed outlasted French youngster Luca Van Assche 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-1, in what was an at times roller-coaster encounter. Norrie eased his way through the first set before being sternly tested in the second. He had to save two set points when down 5-6 en route to forcing a tiebreak where he had his first match point but failed to convert. Enabling Van Assche to claw his way back and take proceedings into a decider. Despite the blip, he came back fighting by winning six out of the next seven games played to secure victory. 

“It was the old Cam Norrie kind of win, having to tough it out,” Norrie said.
“I had a match point in the second set. He served a pretty good body serve and maybe I could have put this one in and play the point, but credit to him, he definitely raised his level, especially in that second set.
“I thought it was a really tough match and I was happy with how I responded when I went down a break in the third.”

In his first match of the year, Norrie hit 32 winners against 17 unforced errors and won 74% of his first service points. Although his opponent also posted some solid stats with the Frenchman hitting 32 winners against 17 unforced errors. 

“He’s a class player,” Norrie said of his Van Assche.
“He had such a great year last year. His first serve has improved a lot.
“I was really calm, even down a break in the third, I didn’t panic at all and absolutely took it to him and played to win.
“At 1-1 it was tough games from there. It was 6-1 in the third, but it was a lot closer than that.”

The world No.19 is aiming to win the Auckland title for the first time after settling for runner-up on two previous occasions, including last year. In the quarter-finals, he will play Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo. 

Elsewhere, top seed Ben Shelton shrugged off a surprised early exit in Brisbane last week by beating Hungary’s Fábián Marozsán 6-3, 6-4. After losing serve in the first game of the match, he didn’t drop serve again and broke his opponent three times.

“I think I served pretty smart and confidently today,” Shelton commented.
“My serve wasn’t under pressure too many times.
“I got broken the first game of the match and didn’t face many break points after that.
“I was happy with how dominant I started to be on the serve and I felt like I closed out the first set well.”

Awaiting the American in the last eight will be Arthur Fils who beat Nuno Borges 6-2, 6-0. 

Norrie, Shelton and Fils are the only seeded players to have made it through to the last eight of this year’s tournament. 

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Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

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Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

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Andrey Rublev Disqualified In Dramatic Dubai Semi-Final

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final in Dubai.

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik after being accused of swearing in Russian.

The event took place in Dubai where Rublev had more than enough opportunities to win the match having been 4-2 40-0 up in the deciding set.

However Bublik came back into the match as he caught up with Rublev in what was turning into a fascinating contest.

The score was at 6-5 Bublik when Rublev’s frustrations boiled over when he allegedly told the official at the side of the court that he was a ‘f****** moron’ in Russian.

One of the officials on the sidelines at the side of the court reported the incident and the supervisor ruled that Rublev should be defaulted.

The incident below means that Rublev will now lose all his ranking points and prize money, resulting in Rublev exiting the world’s top five.

An ending that didn’t warrant the dramatic contest and after the match Bublik agreed that the consequences, “I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy,” Bublik was quoted by Sports Illustrated.

“He’s not this kind of guy. But I guess that’s the rules. That’s what they did, they just follow the procedure.”

Bublik will hope for a smoother finish to the final when he takes on Ugo Humbert for the title.

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Alex De Minaur Ends 10-Match Losing Streak Against Tsitsipas To Reach Mexican Open Semis

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Alex de Minaur - Australian Open 2024 (foto X @ATPTour_ES)

Alex de Minaur has broken new ground in his career by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas for the first time at the Mexican Open. 

The world No.9 entered into his quarter-final clash against the Greek having lost all 10 of their previous meetings on the Tour. Despite this, de Minaur battled back from a set down to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, after more than two hours of play. The victory has denied Tsitsipas the chance of returning to the world’s top 10 next week. 

“Today was a very good victory, obviously with an opponent who I had never beaten before, it’s one of those victories that you enjoy a lot.” The Australian said.
“It is normal that the people of Acapulco support Stefanos, he is a great player who has been here for many years, it is normal. Now that he is not here I hope they support me.”

De Minaur is the first defending champion in Alcapulco to reach the semi-final stage since David Ferrer did so back in 2013. Overall, he has 23 semi-finals on the ATP Tour so far in his career. 

“Tennis-wise I am not feeling the most comfortable, but what I will always do is to fight until the end.” He admits.
“I hope to find my best tennis at the end of the week, now there are several who are playing at a very high level in Acapulco and now [I will] prepare for another battle, [with] a lot of desire.”

Awaiting the third seed next will be Great Britain’s Jack Draper who beat Miomir Kecmanović 6-2, 6-2. Draper has only dropped 11 games in his first three matches played this week. It is the fifth time he has reached the last four of a Tour-level event but the first time he has done so at an ATP 500. 

“I feel great, I feel like it was coming. I made two finals in (ATP) 250’s, I feel like I’m progressing as a tennis player all the time, always improving and I think I can go further.” Said Draper who will rise to a ranking high of at least 37th next week.
“I’ve really tried to focus on my practice and its quality and that has shown in my games so I’m very happy with the way I’m playing.
“These players know who I am, I’ve been injured a lot, played a lot. With Alex, I have had strong battles before and it will be tough, I will always want to win the match, I never want to play freely, I want to compete to win and tomorrow it will be the same.” 

De Minaur has won both of his previous meetings against Draper. However, in each of those matches, he has dropped a set. 

In the other section of the draw, Holger Rune is through to the semi-finals for the second year in a row after beating Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 7-6(2), 7-6(0). The Dane is seeking his first-ever title at an ATP 500 at the age of 20. He will next player Casper Ruud who outlasted Ben Shelton 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4, in a marathon encounter that lasted more than two-and-a-hlaf hours. 

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