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Schwartzman Battles To Win; Seeds Exodus In Kitzbühel

  • Posted: Sep 10, 2020

Schwartzman Battles To Win; Seeds Exodus In Kitzbühel

Fognini beaten in straight sets

Second seed Diego Schwartzman drew on all his experience to overcome local wild card Sebastian Ofner 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in two hours and 16 minutes on Thursday at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel.

“It was difficult for both of us, too many mistakes in the first set,” said Schwartzman, who next plays Laslo Djere. “But I got lucky at the end and I’ve very happy to be in the next round. I’m trying to get my confidence back after a difficult US swing.”

Schwartzman, appearing at the ATP 250 tournament for the first time since 2015, appeared to be in control when he broke in the first game of the second set, but he lost the next four games. The World No. 13 came within a point of taking a 4-1 lead in the decider, before a tense finish. He hit a double fault on his first match point, but closed out his 11th victory of the year.

Qualifier Djere got off to a fast start in both sets — a 2-0 lead in the first and 4-0 in the second — against wild card Jannik Sinner en route to a 6-4, 6-4 victory. “I played here once and I generally play well at altitude,” said Djere, in an on-court interview. “Yesterday was tough 0-4 down against Albert [Ramos-Vinolas], and I recovered today to play well from the beginning. It was definitely an advantage in the first round to be a qualifier, having played matches.”

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Marc-Andrea Huesler charged through to his first ATP Tour quarter-final, eliminating top seed Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-2 in 56 minutes. The Swiss qualifier saved all three break points he faced against 2017 semi-finalist Fognini, who was competing for the first time since having arthroscopic surgery on both ankles in May.

Huesler will meet Spain’s Feliciano Lopez for a semi-final spot. The 38-year-old fired 21 aces and won 92 per cent of first-serve points (61/66) to outlast seventh seed Guido Pella 7-5, 6-7(4), 7-6(3).

Seeds Dusan Lajovic, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Hubert Hurkacz were also beaten in the second round on Thursday.

The exodus started when Yannick Hanfmann overcame third seed Lajovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Maximilian Marterer overcame fifth seed Hurkacz 6-1, 6-4, with the second set featuring five straight service breaks. Then, Federico Delbonis took out fourth seed Basilashvili 7-5, 6-3, which included a run of five straight games in the second set.

Elsewhere, Miomir Kecmanovic extended his perfect record to 4-0 against Jordan Thompson with a 6-2, 6-2 win. The pair had already met in 2020 at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha and at the Delray Beach Open by

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ATP Announces Four New Events For 2020

  • Posted: Sep 10, 2020

ATP Announces Four New Events For 2020

Sport continues return from COVID-19 pandemic

The ATP has announced the addition of four new ATP 250 events to the 2020 provisional schedule, as tennis continues its return following suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The updated schedule introduces two new back-to-back ATP 250 events in Cologne (Germany, Indoor Hard) and new ATP 250 events in Sardinia (Italy, Clay), and Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan, Indoor Hard) issued as single-year licenses for 2020. The granting of licenses follows applications by tournament promoters and host localities able to satisfy strict health & safety, international travel, and ATP event requirements.

2020 ATP Tour Calendar updated

“Adding new events to the Tour calendar is a positive step given the many challenges our sport has faced this year,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman. “Our goal was to create additional earning opportunities for players and entertainment for our fans, and to do so in a safe and practical way. We are delighted to have tennis back on court again and these new events will help us finish the year strongly, as we build towards the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals.”

The provisional calendar remains subject to change and continued assessments will be made relating to health & safety, international travel policies, and governmental approval of sporting events.

View 2020 ATP Tour Provisional Calendar (PDF)

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Thiem Powers Past De Minaur, Into First US Open SF

  • Posted: Sep 10, 2020

Thiem Powers Past De Minaur, Into First US Open SF

Austrian will play third seed Medvedev in blockbuster semi-final

In a classic match-up between power and speed on Wednesday evening in the US Open quarter-finals, power emerged with a resounding victory.

Second seed Dominic Thiem overwhelmed #NextGenATP star Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows for the first time. The 27-year-old is the first Austrian US Open semi-finalist in tournament history and he will play third seed Daniil Medvedev for a spot in the final.

“I had a great feeling from the first moment on, actually,” Thiem said on court after his two-hour, four-minute victory. “It looks way easier on the scoresheet than it was.”

Thiem previously reached the last eight in New York in 2018. After battling Rafael Nadal for four hours and 49 minutes in an all-time slugfest before falling short in a fifth-set tie-break, the disappointed Austrian said the match was, “going to be stuck in my mind forever”.

The 16-time ATP Tour champion has no reason to be disappointed this time. Thiem’s big serving and heavy baseline game proved too much for the 21-year-old Aussie speedster, who simply couldn’t find a solution to make the World No. 3 uncomfortable for long enough stretches.

De Minaur is known for his blinding quickness, but he played an aggressive match. The Aussie tried returning Thiem’s serve inside the court and rushing the net to put pressure on the Austrian and push him back. It simply didn’t work. The 21st seed won 18 of his 28 net points, but was only able to win 49 per cent of points behind his first serve.

Both players took some time to gain rhythm in the early going, with four of the first six games resulting in service breaks. Thiem rallied from a 0/40 deficit to hold serve for 4-1 in the opening set and he settled in from there.

De Minaur pressed to try to gain some momentum, but lost serve twice in the second set by double faulting. It is rare that the Aussie gets frustrated, but he struggled finding a way to make an impact on Thiem’s game, or at least do something to reduce the Austrian’s level. He battled hard throughout the entire match, shouting, ‘Come on!’ whenever he won a good rally or hit an impressive winner.

That eventually paid off, when Thiem let slip his level for a short moment in the third set. The 27-year-old smacked a backhand into the net to lose serve at 3-2, giving De Minaur new life. The Aussie suddenly began showing the world his trademark speed and tenacity. But it proved too late, as he missed a backhand slice long at 4-4 to give back the break.

“Third set I lost a little bit the momentum, the energy and he came back great,” Thiem said. “It was a crucial game at 3-4… broke him with a really game for 5-4 and then served out almost perfectly.”

Thiem crushed his 43rd winner to close out his victory. He took a 2-0 ATP Head2Head series lead into their clash, but he was adamant beforehand that those meetings meant little since De Minaur was a teenager at the time. The Austrian showed that while the Aussie has improved, so has he.

The second seed has lost just nine games in his past five sets. He is a long way removed from only winning three games in an opening-round loss against Filip Krajinovic two weeks ago at the Western & Southern Open.

Nobody left in the draw has reached more Grand Slam finals than Thiem (3), but his next opponent, Medvedev, made the final in New York last year, losing against Nadal in five sets.

“There is no Roger, Rafa or Novak, but there is Daniil, Sascha and Pablo. They are three amazing players. Every single one of us deserves his first major title,” Thiem said. “Everyone will give it all and that’s what’s on the mind. Once we step on the court, the other three are forgotten anyway.”

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Nadal Preparing To Chase 10th Rome Title

  • Posted: Sep 10, 2020

Nadal Preparing To Chase 10th Rome Title

Spaniard has recently trained with Dimitrov in Mallorca

Rafael Nadal is getting ready to return to ATP Tour action next week, when he will pursue a 10th Internazionali BNL d’Italia title. The Spaniard has recently been training with 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov.

The World No. 2 did not compete in the Western & Southern Open or the US Open, so Rome will be his first tournament since February when he lifted his 85th tour-level title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado for HSBC.

Nadal has been preparing for his return at his Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar. Nobody has enjoyed more success in Rome than Nadal, who holds a 61-6 record at the event.

The 35-time ATP Masters 1000 champion can break a tie with Novak Djokovic for the most trophies at that level if he triumphs at the Foro Italico. The most titles Nadal has won at a single tournament is 12 at Roland Garros.

<a href=Grigor Dimitrov” />
Photo Credit: Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar
The lefty has won the past two titles in Rome, defeating Djokovic en route to both the 2018 and 2019 trophies. Nadal has not lost before the quarter-finals of the event since 2008, when he fell in his opener against former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Dimitrov, the former World No. 3, chose Nadal’s academy to make his preparations for the upcoming clay-court swing. The Bulgarian made the 2014 Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-finals, losing against Nadal. He lost a five-setter in the second round of the US Open against Marton Fucsovics. Four-time ATP Tour titlist Pablo Andujar has also recently trained with Nadal.

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