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In-Form Tsitsipas Beats Anderson In Estoril

  • Posted: May 03, 2018

In-Form Tsitsipas Beats Anderson In Estoril

Carballes Baena saved two match points to beat Corrie

#NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his run of form on Thursday at the Millennium Estoril Open. The 19-year-old knocked out top-seeded South African Kevin Anderson 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 13 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals.

World No. 8 Anderson, who reached the semi-finals last year (l. to Muller), could not convert his first set point chance on Tsitsipas’ serve at 5-4, Ad-Out in the first set, which lasted one hour. World No. 44 Tsitsipas broke Anderson’s serve in the sixth game of the second set, then in the fifth game of the deciding set.

Tsitsipas, who beat No. 7-ranked Dominic Thiem last week en route to his first ATP World Tour final at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (l. to Nadal), is now 3-5 lifetime against opponents in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings.

He will next play Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena, who required more than three hours and and saved three match points to beat Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(1). Carballes Baena saved the match points on serve at 4-5, 0/40 in the deciding set, prior to winning the first six points of the tie-break.

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The highest-ranked player remaining in Estoril, World No. 11 Pablo Carreno Busta, moved on with a 6-1, 7-5 win against Argentine Nicolas Kicker in one hour, 28 minutes. The Spaniard overcame a 3-5 deficit in the second set, claiming the final four games, and with it, a spot in the quarter-finals, where he will play Chilean Nicolas Jarry or compatriot Ricardo Ojeda Lara. 

Carreno Busta seeks his third consecutive semi-final after reaching the final four at Miami (l. to A. Zverev) and Barcelona (l. to Tsitsipas).

Did You Know?
Last week in Barcelona, Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek man to reach an ATP World Tour title match since Nicholas Kalogeropoulos in Des Moines, Iowa in 1973.


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Hewitt/De Minaur & Top Seeds Go Down In Estoril

  • Posted: May 03, 2018

Hewitt/De Minaur & Top Seeds Go Down In Estoril

World No. 1 team Kubot/Melo back on track in Munich

#NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur and his mentor, former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, gave it a good go at the Millennium Estoril Open this week, but their intriguing run has come to an end. Britain’s Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie ousted De Minaur and Hewitt, who came out of retirement to play doubles, 6-4, 7-6(4), in one hour, 25 minutes. De Minaur and Hewitt battled from a 1-4 deficit in the second set to 4-4 and saved two match points while serving down 4-5, but were unable to complete the comeback, as the Brits advanced to the semi-finals. 

There was a significant upset in Estoril, as Jonathan Eysseric and Joe Salisbury defeated top seeds John Peers and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-4, 7-6(4). Dutchmen Robin Haase and Matwe Middelkoop were also beaten Thursday. Leonardo Mayer and Joao Sousa dismissed this year’s Pune and Sofia champions 6-2, 6-4 in just 56 minutes. 

Kubot/Melo Finding Stride In Munich
Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, who are No. 1 and No. 2 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, respectively, are finding some of their best form. The duo reached their first semi-final since the Sydney International in January by beating Mirza Basic and Marton Fucsovics 6-1, 6-1 at the BMW Open by FWU on Thursday. The Polish-Brazilian team won 70 per cent of points in the match to clinch victory in 40 minutes. 

And while No. 2 seeds Ivan Dodig and Rajeev Ram advanced to the final four in Munich with a 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 win over Ivo Karlovic and Nenad Zimonjic, another seeded team was surprised. Home favourites Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff took down this year’s New York and Houston champions, No. 4 seeds Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald 7-5, 7-5.

Nestor Advances To 1st SF Since 2017 Tokyo
Forty-five year-old Daniel Nestor, the former World No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, is still kicking. The Canadian partnered American Jamie Cerretani on Thursday to a 6-4, 4-6, 10-4 victory against Romain Arneodo and Hugo Nys at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open. Nestor/Cerretani are now into the semi-finals, Nestor’s first trip to that stage of a tour-level event since Tokyo last year. 

In the only other doubles match of the day in Istanbul, last week’s Budapest titlist Dominic Inglot and his partner, Robert Lindstedt, moved past fourth seeds Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski 7-6(3), 6-3.

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Jaziri Beats Cilic; Dzumhur Also Beaten In Istanbul

  • Posted: May 03, 2018

Jaziri Beats Cilic; Dzumhur Also Beaten In Istanbul

Fabbiano records biggest win of his career

Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri caused a major upset on Thursday at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open.

The World No. 78 knocked out top-seeded Croatian and defending champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-2 for the second Top 10 win of his career (2-11) and a place in the quarter-finals.

“I’m really happy to win. It’s a very important match in my career,” said Jaziri. “I’ve worked really hard to get this win over a Top 5 player. It wasn’t an easy match as I needed to be focused every point, so to keep my error count down. I feel as if I am improving my tennis and fitness every week.”

Newly-wed Cilic, who beat Milos Raonic in the 2017 Istanbul final, took a 2-0 lead, but lost the next five games. Although the World No. 4 worked his way back to 4-5, Jaziri held his nerve to seal the 41-minute set. After two breaks of serve — in the third and seventh games — of the second set, Jaziri clinched the 80-minute victory when Cilic struck a forehand return long. The 34-year-old Jaziri beat then No. 4-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in February en route to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-finals.

“It was my first match and Malek played great,” said Cilic. “I had issues with my knee, so I wasn’t serving that well. But all the credit to Malek. I tried to play aggressively and I didn’t want to slow the pace down or be defensive.”

Jaziri will next meet seventh-seeded Czech Jiri Vesely, who defeated qualifier Thiago Monteiro of Brazil 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(3) in two hours and 28 minutes. Monteiro had led 5-2 in the deciding set.

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Earlier in the day, Thomas Fabbiano recorded the biggest win of his career in beating second seed Damir Dzumhur, currently No. 32 in the ATP Rankings, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 in one hour and 40 minutes. The previously highest-ranked player that Fabbiano, who beat former World No. 8 Mikhail Youzhny in the first round, had beaten came in February 2016 against then No. 40-ranked Leonardo Mayer in the Dubai second round.

“I’m happy to win, as I’d lost to Dzumhur on five previous occasions,” said Fabbiano. “We both have very similar games. I started very well, but I lost my focus at the beginning of the second set. I then regained my energy early in the third, but I’m very far from my best level.”

Fabbiano will next challenge France’s Jeremy Chardy, who he practised with for an hour on Wednesday. Chardy needed to work hard on Thursday to wrestle away the momentum from Dusan Lajovic of Serbia in a 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 in two hours and 16 minutes. Chardy took a 3-1 lead in the second set, but was soon pinned back and, although he could not convert one set point at 4-5, Ad-Out on Lajovic’s serve, he soon grew in confidence. The World No. 87 won the first four games of the decider.

“I am pleased because I won, but Dusan was so much better than me in the first set,” said Chardy. “It was a tight second set, when I fought so hard, and I then played well in the decider to gain confidence.”

Did You Know?
Prior to Thursday, Marin Cilic had not lost in the opening round of an ATP World Tour tournament since May 2017 at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to A. Zverev).

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Estoril Open: Cameron Norrie beaten in second round by Roberto Carballes Baena

  • Posted: May 03, 2018

British number three Cameron Norrie missed out on the Estoril Open quarter-finals after he was beaten by Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena.

The world number 103 lost the second-round match to 77th-ranked Baena 5-7 6-2 7-6 (7-1) in just over three hours.

Norrie served for the match at 5-3 and had three match points on Baena’s serve, but the Spaniard proved too strong in the resulting tie-break.

He was searching for a place in his first career ATP Tour quarter-final.

The 22-year-old beat sixth seed Robin Haase in the first round on Tuesday.

Norrie will be in the main draw for the French Open, which begins on 27 May.

He also impressed on clay during Great Britain’s Davis Cup tie in February, when he came from two sets down to beat Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.

  • Williams withdraws from Madrid Open
  • Live scores, schedule and results

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Serena Williams: 23-time Grand Slam champion withdraws from Madrid Open

  • Posted: May 03, 2018

Serena Williams has withdrawn from next week’s Madrid Open, stating she needs more time to prepare for her first clay season since giving birth.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion fell to early exits at Indian Wells and the Miami Open in her only previous WTA Tour appearances this year.

Williams, 36, is a two-time champion in the Spanish capital, winning the 2012 and 2013 editions of the tournament.

“We regret the absence of Serena,” organiser Manolo Santana said.

“She is one of the great champions of our sport, she has always offered a show to the tournament and we hope to see her again at the Caja Magica in the future.”

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At 15/30, ‘Courageous Kev’ Is A Bold Pattern-Breaker

  • Posted: May 03, 2018

At 15/30, ‘Courageous Kev’ Is A Bold Pattern-Breaker

When the chips are down, Kevin Anderson has found it pays to show courage and shake things up to catch his opponents off guard

Surprise to the strength.

The score is 15/30. You just missed your first serve and you now need to weigh up where to direct the second. Safety to the backhand return, right? Not so fast …

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the current ATP Top 20 identifies that a vast majority of second serves do go to the backhand return at this specific point score, but a higher percentage of points are won surprising with a second serve down the T to the forehand return.

The best way to understand this strategy dynamic is to know the difference between primary and secondary patterns. Primary patterns are the prime movers that players run most often, such as hitting forehands from the back of the court, playing cross court, and directing second serves to the returner’s backhand wing.

Secondary patterns are lethal when they are combined with the element of surprise. Secondary patterns include serve and volley, attacking down the line, drop shots, and hitting a second serve to the opponent’s more potent forehand return.

Primary patterns are run seven or eight times out of ten and are also meant to condition the opponent’s mind that a specific pattern of play will be run again in the near future. Secondary patterns are best employed AFTER primary patterns have been run.

Bait and switch.

The data set of 1489 second serves at 15/30 comes from ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events and Nitto ATP Finals from 2011-2018. The following breakdown shows just how few second serves go down the T to the forehand (24%), but how this specific location also delivers the highest win percentage (62%).

Kevin Anderson was the peak performer in the Top 20 with second serve points won serving down the T at 15/30. The top three performers at each location are highlighted below.

2nd Serve at 15/30 = Down The T
1. Kevin Anderson = 87% (13/15)
2. Jack Sock = 83% (5/6)
3. Sam Querrey = 82% (9/11)

2nd Serve at 15/30 = At The Body
1. Diego Schwartzman = 71% (5/7)
2. Jack Sock = 70% (21/30)
3. Roberto Bautista Agut = 67% (8/12)

2nd Serve at 15/30 = Out Wide
1. Jack Sock = 67% (10/15)
2. Sam Querrey = 65% (11/17)
3. John Isner = 64% (33/52)

Jack Sock impressively featured in the top three in all three categories. Overall, 15 of the 20 players in the data set had a higher win percentage serving down the T with a surprise second serve to the forehand over the expected second serve out wide to the backhand. It’s important to note that a small percentage of returners were left-handed, which flips the side of the return stroke.

Not all players followed the same pathway with second serve locations at 15/30.

Juan Martin del Potro – the only player that served more down the T (24) than he did down the middle (23), or out wide (15).
Roger Federer – hit the most down the T (57), which was almost as many as he directed out wide (62).
Novak Djokovic – mixed a lot, with 59 out wide, 58 at the body, and 55 down the T.
Milos Raonic – hit many more serves out wide (34) than down the T (8).

The mental side of the game is clearly in play here. Hitting a second serve at 15/30 suggests vulnerability for the server. Cleverly mixing to the forehand return may seem riskier on the surface, but the element of surprise makes this specific location the highest performer.

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