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#NextGenATP Alcaraz Completes Comeback In Doha

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2021

Carlos Alcaraz moved closer to his Grand Slam main draw debut on Sunday, as he rallied from a set down to reach the second round of the Australian Open qualifying draw.

The #NextGenATP Spaniard won 75 per cent of his first-serve points (42/56) to beat Filip Horansky of Slovakia 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in Doha, which is staging the qualifying event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alcaraz recovered well from the disappointment of failing to convert four set points at 5-4 in the first set to advance in two hours and 23 minutes.

The 17-year-old, who is the youngest player inside the Top 200 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, is aiming to build on an impressive finish to the 2020 season. Across his final six ATP Challenger Tour events in 2020, Alcaraz compiled a 20-3 record and won three trophies from four finals.

The 21st seed will face Evgeny Karlovskiy of Russia for a place in the final qualifying round. Karlovskiy also recovered from a set down to defeat Argentina’s Facundo Mena 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours to book a meeting with Alcaraz.

Botic Van de Zandschulp upset #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the second round. The Dutchman, who reached two Challenger finals in 2020 (0-2), broke serve on four occasions to eliminate the 13th seed in just under two hours.

Van de Zandschulp will face Joao Menezes in his next match. The Brazilian saved three match points in a second-set tie-break to defeat Andrea Collarini of Argentina 1-6, 7-6(8), 6-3.

Fifth seed Taro Daniel came from a set down to beat Roberto Cid Subervi of the Dominican Republic 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. The Japanese will face Germany’s Maximilian Marterer for a spot in the final qualifying round. The German earned his first win of the event with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win against Marco Trungelliti of Argentina.

China’s Zhang Zhizhen overcame ninth seed Evgeny Donskoy 7-5, 6-3 to confirm a second-round clash against Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark. Torpegaard cruised past Germany’s Mats Moraing 6-1, 6-0 in 46 minutes.

#NextGenATP Czech Tomas Machac earned a 6-3, 6-1 win against Joao Domingues of Portugal to move within two victories of his Australian Open main draw debut. The 20-year-old will next face Brazil’s Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves, who beat 30th seed Martin Klizan 6-1, 6-4.

Carlos Taberner will face Dustin Brown in the second qualifying round in Doha. The Spaniard beat Roberto Marcora of Italy 6-2, 7-5, while Brown overcame Japan’s Hiroki Moriya 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.

Viktor Troicki’s bid to compete in the Australian Open main draw for a 12th time started with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 comeback win against 23rd seed Jurij Rodionov of Austria. The Serbian, who has reached the third round in Melbourne on four occasions, will meet Ulises Blanch in the second round. The American moved past Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-4, 6-1 in 76 minutes.

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Dodig/Polasek Save 2 M.P. In Antalya

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2021

Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek saved two match points on Sunday to earn their place in the Antalya Open semi-finals.

The second seeds trailed 7/9 in a Match Tie-break, but claimed four consecutive points to overcome Harri Heliovaara and Emil Ruusuvuori 3-6, 6-4, 11-9. Dodig and Polasek are attempting to capture their third ATP Tour crown as a team.

The Croatian-Slovakian tandem will face third seeds Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the semi-finals. The Frenchmen saved all seven break points they faced to beat Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev 6-1, 6-1.

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic cruised past Nikoloz Basilashvili and Andre Begemann 6-0, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in 43 minutes. Mektic and Pavic, who survived a Match Tie-break in the first round, are making their team debut in Antalya.

The top seeds will meet Salvatore Caruso and Andrea Vavassori for a place in the championship match. The Italians charged through to the last four with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Luca Margaroli and Florin Mergea.

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Berrettini Moves Into Antalya Quarter-finals

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2021

Matteo Berrettini booked his place in the Antalya Open quarter-finals on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Dimitar Kuzmanov.

The top seed dropped just two points behind his first serve (26/28) and broke serve on five occasions to reach the last eight in 68 minutes. Berrettini is yet to drop a set in Antalya this week.

The World No. 10 is chasing his first ATP Tour trophy on hard courts. Berrettini’s three previous tour-level title runs came at clay (2) and grass (1) events.

The 24-year-old, who qualified for the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals, will meet Alexander Bublik for a semi-final spot at the ATP 250. Bublik saved seven of eight break points to overcome Tristan Lamasine of France 6-2, 6-4.

Jeremy Chardy needed two hours and 53 minutes to book his place in the quarter-finals. The 33-year-old held his nerve in three tie-break sets to eliminate third seed Fabio Fognini 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 7-6(5).

Chardy, who served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, was forced to break serve at 5-6 in the decider to reach a final-set tie-break. The Frenchman converted his first match point to earn his second win in six ATP Head2Head meetings against Fognini and book a quarter-final clash against Jan-Lennard Struff.

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Jellyfish, Llamas & Unicorns: Inside Ariel Behar's Wardrobe

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2021

When you mention jellyfish, llamas and snakes in the same sentence, you’d expect the discussion to be about a zoo. But Ariel Behar brings animals, the elements and even mythical creatures onto the tennis court.

No, not literally. But the Uruguayan doubles player wears unforgettable outfits.

“I was the most grey guy wearing clothes. I was only wearing white, black and grey,” Behar told “I never wore anything weird at all. I was super simple, [but] my wife got me into it.”

Behar’s wife, Sabrina Sielecki, is the founder and owner of Lalá Sportswear. She used to work with leather, making various jackets and fun designs. But about four years ago, she shifted into sportswear and began designing clothing for Behar, who at the time was her boyfriend.

“It started out as a side job, [even a] joke, but it became a reality,” Sielecki said. “It became my job.”

Ariel Behar
Behar wore a shirt with Uruguayan jellyfish at the 2020 ATP Cup. 
Behar does not blend in with his shirts to say the least. For fans who follow the 31-year-old, there’s almost a sense of anticipation ahead of his matches, and not only to see him play. The world’s 67th-ranked doubles player changes the design he wears every match.

“I have so many that I almost forget which ones I have and I don’t travel with all of them. If I did, I’d have to carry so many of them in my bag,” Behar said. “I love the tie dye one, which has many colours. I love the unicorn, I love the Superman Lego, I love the jellyfish. I have pineapples, too, but all those are my favourite ones. I have snakeskin, lightning, llamas, so many [shirts].”

Sielecki designs all the shirts. Behar admitted that it is “99 per cent her decision what I wear”. The righty added that he doesn’t expect to design anything himself: “I’m terrible at that. I don’t have the creativity, the patience and I’m terrible at drawing and designing. I leave that part to her and I do the playing.”

“Sometimes if I think it’s too risky I’ll ask him because I don’t want to push it beyond the limit of looking good,” Sielecki said. “But most of the time I send them to be made and when they come in I take them to a tournament and I just show him on the spot.”

Ariel Behar
The Uruguayan also wore a shirt with hearts and the sun from the Uruguayan flag at the inaugural ATP Cup.
Behar, who lifted five ATP Challenger Tour trophies last year, is into his third ATP Tour semi-final. The Uruguayan and partner Gonzalo Escobar are chasing their first tour-level title this week in Florida.

“Our goal is of course to get to the Top 30 and to play all the top ATP Tour tournaments: the ATP Masters 1000s, ATP 500s, all the Grand Slams,” Behar said.

It’s safe to say the Uruguayan is more than just his outfits. But Behar doesn’t mind the attention he has received because of them.

“I think if you’re winning, the shirt is going to be in the news. If I’m losing, nobody is going to focus on the shirts,” Behar said. “The better I do, the more people are going to focus on the stuff I’m wearing. The better I do at each tournament, that’s good for me and for my wife. That’s great.”

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Sebi's Shining: #NextGenATP Korda Makes First ATP Tour Quarter-final

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2021

#NextGenATP American star Sebastian Korda reached his first ATP Tour quarter-final on Saturday night, rallying past countryman Tommy Paul 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to make the last eight of the Delray Beach Open by

Korda’s father, former World No. 2 Petr Korda, competed in Delray Beach twice (1997, 1999) and did not reach the quarter-finals on either occasion. “Sebi”, who is 20, began the week with only three tour-level wins. Now he has five.

“It’s special [to make the quarter-finals],” Korda said. “The last time I played here I won the [Boys] 18s Clay Courts, so I have some good memories from here. It’s a special place and the crowd.”

Paul made a great start to the match, using his athletic ability to track down Korda’s aggressive shots and force his younger countryman to hit extra balls to finish a point. Players have spoken about how quick the courts are playing this week in Florida, but Paul was still flying behind the baseline to put balls back in play. After the first set, Korda received treatment from the trainer on his left knee.

But as the match wore on, Paul began misfiring. That allowed Korda, whose knee appeared to improve, to free up and dictate play from the baseline. The 20-year-old showed power and finesse off both wings, from crushing forehand winners to curling short angles to change the pace in rallies. Korda converted five of his six break points and saved nine of the 11 break points he faced to oust the fifth seed after two hours and eight minutes.


“Just the consistency and constantly applying the pressure was super big for me. I returned really well, especially in the second and third sets,” Korda said. “I started serving a lot better, so those were probably the biggest things for me: always staying aggressive and picking at his serve a lot.”

Korda will next play American No. 1 John Isner, who crushed 22 aces in a 6-4, 7-6(4) triumph against Brazilian lefty Thiago Monteiro.

It was a tricky season-opening match for Isner, who beat Monteiro in four tie-break sets at last year’s Australian Open. But the second seed won 85 per cent of his first-serve points and in key moments was able to unleash on his forehand.

The Isner-Korda clash will be a rematch of their second-round encounter at Roland Garros last year, when Korda triumphed. Before that match, Isner was highly complimentary of his younger countryman.

“Him and I get along very well. We both really love hockey. He’s a Boston Bruins fan, I’m a Carolina Hurricanes fan,” Isner said. “He certainly has an incredible pedigree given his father’s tennis career, his two sisters doing amazing things on the LPGA Tour. Good to see him having success. That’s a very, very athletic family, no doubt about that.”

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Chardy/Martin Make Strong Start In Antalya

  • Posted: Jan 10, 2021

Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin made a successful start to their quest for a fourth ATP Tour team title on Saturday at the Antalya Open.

The Frenchmen saved all three break points they faced to beat Jonathan Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski 6-3, 7-6(1) in the first round. Last year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia finalists (l. to Granollers/Zeballos) will face Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev in the quarter-finals.

Salvatore Caruso and Andrea Vavassori held their nerves in a Match Tie-break to defeat fourth seeds Nikola Cacic and Frederik Nielsen 6-2, 1-6, 10-5. The Italians converted three of their four break points to advance in 62 minutes.

Caruso and Vavassori will meet Luca Margaroli and Florin Mergea for a place in the semi-finals. The Swiss-Romanian tandem saved five of six break points to defeat Ivan Sabanov and Matej Sabanov 6-4, 7-5.

Second Seeds Ousted In Delray Beach
Andres Molteni and Hugo Nys caused an upset on Saturday at the Delray Beach Open by, eliminating second seeds Marcus Daniell and Philipp Oswald 6-7(5), 6-4, 11-9 to reach the quarter-finals. They will next play Americans Austin Krajicek and Sam Querrey, who beat their countrymen, Bjorn Fratangelo and Dennis Novikov, 7-6(4), 6-3.

In other doubles action in Delray Beach, Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar beat Brits Cameron Norrie and Jonny O’Mara 7-5, 4-6, 10-4 to reach the semi-finals. 

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