Jannik Sinner Wins Maiden Miami Open Title To Secure New Career-High Ranking - UBITENNIS
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Jannik Sinner Wins Maiden Miami Open Title To Secure New Career-High Ranking

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Jannik Sinner of Italy (credit Miami Open/Hard Rock Stadium)

Jannik Sinner’s triumphant start to 2024 shows no signs of stopping soon after the Italian cruised to the Miami Open title with a straight-sets victory on Sunday. 

Sinner, who has twice been runner-up at the event, beat a resurgent Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-1, to claim his third title of the year. Becoming the first player on the ATP Tour to do so. The world No.3 faced some stern resistance early on from the tricky Bulgarian, who defeated a trio of top 10 players en route to the final, before storming to victory in just over 70 minutes. 

The triumph is Sinner’s 25th win of the season with his only loss being to Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals at Indian Wells. In the Miami final, he got the better of a spirited Dimitrov with the help of 15 winners and won 88% of his first service points. Not only has the 22-year-old become the first player from his country to win the tournament, but he has also become the first to win multiple Masters 1000 titles. His first triumph was in Canada last year. 

“I’m really proud of my result,” Sinner said during his on-court interview.
“I started off the week struggling a little bit. I didn’t have a lot of time to adapt to the court, so I knew at the beginning that it was going to be tough.
“As the tournament went on I felt better and better. Today’s performance was really good and I’m proud of how I handled the situation. It was a very good two weeks.”

Taking to the court, the reigning Australian Open champion found himself in a battle with Dimitrov who began the final by winning eight consecutive points behind his serve. However, as the match progressed Sinner gradually wore down his rival. His first attack occurred in the fifth game after he hit a forehand passing shot to break for a 3-2 lead. In pole position, the second seed continued to put pressure on Dimitrov by hitting shots deep towards the baseline. Then at 5-3, a forehand return shot painted the line to reward Sinner with a duo of set points. He converted his second opportunity with another stunning winner but this time it was from his backhand side. 

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Gaining momentum, Sinner extended his stronghold early in the second frame by fighting back from a 15-40 deficit to break Dimitrov once again for a 3-1 lead. From that moment onwards it was only a matter of time before he sealed victory. His first championship point came with the help of a Dimitrov backhand into the net before he closed the match out with yet another backhand winner.

The latest achievement of the 22-year-old will move him up the ATP PIF Rankings to second place on Monday which is the highest position an Italian player has ever achieved since the system was introduced in August 1973. Although Sinner still has a way to go before toppling Novak Djokovic from the top of the standings. There are currently 1115 points separating the two players. 

Despite his surge in success, Sinner has insisted the most important thing for him is to not take it all for granted. 

“I try to improve and also enjoy this moment. This is a special moment. You never know if this is going to be the last time or not. So you have to enjoy this.” He said.
“Now a new chapter is coming and the clay court (swing) is coming. Let’s see how I play but the hardcourt season until now has been really good.”

Meanwhile, Dimitrov can take plenty of positives from his latest run which has secured his return to the world’s top 10 for the first time since 2018. Before falling in the final, he knocked out Alcaraz, Hubert Hurkacz and Alexander Zverev. 

“This tournament has been difficult throughout all the years. This year I was so determined to do well that I almost did too well,” Dimitrov commented during the trophy presentation.
“It’s been extremely special to play in front of the fans. I’m just very grateful and thankful. When I look at my box, I feel like a winner. Thank you all. I love you a lot.”

Sinner is the first player to win both the Australian Open and Miami Masters within the same season since Roger Federer did so in 2017. 

ATP Top 10 (as of April 1st 2024)

  1. Novak Djokovic 9725 PTS
  2. Jannik Sinner 8710 PTS
  3. Carlos Alcaraz 8645 PTS
  4. Daniil Medvedev 7165 PTS
  5. Alexander Zverev 5415 PTS
  6. Andrey Rublev 4890 PTS
  7. Holger Rune 3795 PTS
  8. Casper Ruud 3615 PTS
  9. Grigor Dimitrov 3540 PTS
  10. Hubert Hurkacz 3425 PTS

source – TennisTV

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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