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Live: Zverev One Set From US Open Title

  • Posted: Sep 13, 2020

Live: Zverev One Set From US Open Title

Fifth seed takes commanding lead against Thiem

Fifth seed Alexander Zverev got off to a perfect start on Sunday in the US Open final, sprinting to a 6-2, 6-4 lead against second seed Dominic Thiem as both men pursue their first Grand Slam title.

In 25 of the past 27 years, the player who took the opening set has gone on to lift the title in New York. The winner of this match will become the 55th Grand Slam champion of the Open Era and the 150th of all time.

Zverev, 23, looks to become the youngest Grand Slam winner since Juan Martin del Potro (20) at the 2009 US Open. A win would also make him the first German winner of a major championship since Boris Becker at the 1996 Australian Open. He seeks his first title in 15 months (2019 Geneva) and only his second since winning the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals.

Thiem saved a break point in the opening game with a big inside-out forehand, but a nervy service game at 1-1 saw him hand a break to Zverev with a double fault and pair of baseline errors. He only landed 37 per cent of first serves throughout the opening set and gave Zverev numerous opportunities to get on top of rallies. Thiem won just 29 per cent (5/17) of his second-serve points.

Zverev avoided the slow starts he had in his past two matches, cracking his groundstrokes with authority and racking up 16 winners to just six unforced errors. The ball toss issues he had at times throughout the tournament were also non-existent. Zverev landed 68 per cent of his first serves and won all but one point behind that delivery (12/13). The fifth seed scored an insurance break at 4-2 and required just 45 seconds to serve out the opening set.

Thiem’s struggles continued in the second set. Zverev rifled a down-the-line forehand winner at 1-1 to set up break point and converted when Thiem sent a routine forehand long. He hadn’t dropped serve more than twice in a match en route to the final, but was broken in three of his first five service games.

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The German also took advantage of his opponent standing well behind the baseline to return by serving-and-volleying on several occasions. Even when Thiem put the return in play, Zverev only needed to hit a solid mid-court volley to end the point.

Zverev scored an insurance break at 3-1 as Thiem hit another forehand long. But nerves crept in as the 23-year-old attempted to close out the set. Thiem bravely saved three set points at 1-5 to hold serve, then Zverev failed to convert a fourth set point when he sent an easy forehand volley wide. The missed opportunity enabled Thiem to eventually score his first break of the match.

Although Thiem’s confidence grew and he began to find his top form, Zverev served out the set on his second attempt, striking a down-the-line backhand on his fifth set point. He significantly outnumbered Thiem in winners after the first two sets (24 to 12) while also hitting fewer unforced errors (20 to 21).

Zverev trails Thiem 2-7 in their ATP Head2Head series and has lost their past three matches, including a four-set defeat in this year’s Australian Open semi-finals.

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First-Time Winner Spotlight: Miomir Kecmanovic

  • Posted: Sep 13, 2020

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Miomir Kecmanovic

Serbian is the fourth first-time winner on the ATP Tour this year

Following in the footsteps of Santiago champion Thiago Seyboth Wild, Miomir Kecmanovic on Sunday became the second #NextGenATP player this year to capture his maiden ATP Tour crown. The 21-year-old claimed his fifth victory of the week against Yannick Hanfmann to capture the Generali Open trophy in Kitzbühel.

Kecmanovic had already shown signs that he was ready to claim his first tour-level crown earlier this year. The 2019 Antalya runner-up reached semi-finals at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha and the New York Open. caught up with the World No. 47 after his victory to talk about his title run, what he learned after his first final appearance last year and what he got up to during his time away from the ATP Tour.

What does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?
It means a lot [to win my first ATP Tour title]. I worked so hard for this. I am definitely happy that I was able to achieve it so quickly.

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Did the experience of already playing an ATP Tour final in Antalya help you at all today?
Mentally it was a tough one [in Antalya]. I had match point and didn’t end up winning so it was really a heartbreak. I have had a lot of experiences since then, played a lot more tougher matches and I think that definitely paid off.

Your best results have typically come on faster surfaces. Are you doing anything differently on the clay this year?
I am surprised. Usually I play a lot better on faster surfaces. Here it is a little bit faster than normal clay courts, because we are at altitude. I think that worked to my advantage a little bit. I am really happy that I am able to win my first title on clay.

Are you surprised to pick up where you left off with your game after six months of no matches?
Maybe a little bit, because two months ago I broke an arm. I didn’t think I was going to come back so quickly and play such good tennis. I am really happy that I was able to bounce back from that in a relatively short period of time.

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Has the time away made you view your career or life on Tour any differently?
I think it made me just appreciate it a bit more because, when we play, everything happens so quickly and you don’t really think about it. We had such a long time of not doing anything and you really appreciate the opportunities we get as tennis players.

Talk about what you did during the ATP Tour suspension. How did you manage to keep working on your game and fitness?
I just practised the whole time. I took some breaks between, but I was usually just practising. Nothing too crazy, just keeping in shape and staying ready for when the Tour resumed.

Did you pick up any new interests or skills during those five months?
I have done a lot more reading back home than I normally do. I tried to do as much of the things that I couldn’t do while I was playing, from cleaning up the house to random things like going outside and learning how to ride a motorcycle. Some crazy stuff.

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Krajieck/Skugor Earn First Team Title In Kitzbühel

  • Posted: Sep 13, 2020

Krajieck/Skugor Earn First Team Title In Kitzbühel

Fourth seeds made team debut in January

Austin Krajicek and Franko Skugor captured their maiden ATP Tour trophy as a team on Sunday, beating Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 7-6(5), 7-5 at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel.

The American-Croatian team saved seven of 10 break points across the two-hour, five-minute contest to triumph in their first tour-level championship match as a pairing. Krajicek and Skugor entered the tournament with a 4-4 team record, having joined forces at the ASB Classic in January.

“It has been an awesome week,” said Krajicek. “It was a great way for us to start the clay-court season and we are working hard as a team. I think it is coming together a little bit, so hopefully we can keep going in Rome and at Roland Garros.”

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The fourth seeds were made to work hard from their first match at the ATP 250. In each of their three matches en route to the final, Krajicek and Skugor clinched victories in Match Tie-breaks.

This is Krajicek’s fourth victory in nine ATP Tour doubles finals. Skugor has now lifted six trophies from nine tour-level doubles championship matches.

“It was a very strange match with a lot of breaks, but I still thought the quality was pretty good. We were all returning very good. There were a lot of ups and downs, but I am happy we managed to win this one,” said Skugor.

Granollers and Zeballos were aiming to become the first doubles pair to win three ATP Tour titles this year. In February, the top seeds won back-to-back trophies on clay at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires and the Rio Open presented by Claro.

Krajicek and Skugor earn 250 FedEx ATP Doubles Ranking points and share €8,840 in prize money. Granollers and Zeballos earn 150 points and split €6,450.

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