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Play Suspended At Melbourne Park Thursday

  • Posted: Feb 03, 2021

Thursday’s play at Melbourne Park has been cancelled after a hotel worker tested positive for COVID-19 at a tournament quarantine hotel. As a consequence, play the ATP Cup, two ATP 250 tournaments and three WTA 500 tournaments will not happen.

Tennis Australia released the following statement:

Health Authorities have advised us that a hotel quarantine worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

Those associated with the Australian Open who quarantined at the hotel now need to be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result.

We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible.

There will be no matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday 4 February 2021. An update on the schedule for Friday will be announced later today.

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Five Things That Matter On ATP Cup Day 3

  • Posted: Feb 03, 2021

After another thrilling day at the ATP Cup, Thursday will be the last day of the group stage in Melbourne. Italy and Russia have already qualified for the semi-finals by winning Group C and Group D, respectively. But who will join them in the knockout stage of the 12-country event? looks at five things to watch Thursday at the ATP Cup.

Will Novak Stay Perfect?
Novak Djokovic has played outstanding tennis for Serbia, leading his country to the inaugural title last year and winning both singles and doubles against Canada on Tuesday. The World No. 1 is now a combined 10-0 in singles and doubles at this event, and remaining perfect will be critical to Serbia’s hopes of topping Group A. Germany will challenge Serbia Thursday for a spot in the ATP Cup semi-finals against Russia. In the match of the tie, Djokovic will face 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev. The World No. 1 leads Zverev 4-2 in their ATP Head2Head series, but the German’s victories have come in big matches: the 2017 Internazionali BNL d’Italia final and the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals championship match.

Can Spain Book Italy Clash?
Spain is in control of its destiny on Day 3 at the ATP Cup. If the 2020 runner-up can defeat Greece, it will book a semi-final tie against Italy on Friday. Spain made a strong start to its title campaign on Tuesday, when it defeated Australia 3-0 for the second straight year. Roberto Bautista Agut will face Michail Pervolarakis in the No. 2 singles match, before Rafael Nadal meets Stefanos Tsitsipas in No. 1 singles action. Nadal owns a 6-1 ATP Head2Head record against the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion, but three of the pair’s four most recent meetings have required a deciding set. If Greece manage to record an upset victory against Spain, the Group B team with the best match record will face Italy in the semi-finals.

For National Pride
Austria and France both lost 2-1 battles against Italy, but they will be keen to represent their countries well despite being unable to advance to this year’s semi-finals. Gael Monfils will be keen to earn his first win against World No. 3 Dominic Thiem, who leads their ATP Head2Head series 6-0. Dennis Novak, the No. 100 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings, is also a key player to watch for. The Austrian, who defeated Fabio Fognini on Tuesday, will try to move to 2-0 in singles in Melbourne this year against Benoit Paire.

Fast Starts Could Be Key
On Day 2, all four ties were won by the country which claimed the first victory of the tie. The No. 2 singles stars on each team have the unique opportunity to set the tone in each tie and place their No. 1 singles teammates in a position to clinch victory. Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut was an expert in this area in 2020, as he won six straight No. 2 singles clashes without dropping a set.

When Germany faces Serbia in a winner-takes-all Group A clash, two No. 2 singles stars with positive ATP Cup records will go head-to-head. Jan-Lennard Struff has won three of the four No. 2 singles ties he has played for his nation, while his opponent — Dusan Lajovic — owns a 4-3 record in the No. 2 singles position.


Baseline Battle
Argentina and Japan have both been eliminated from semi-final contention due to Russia’s 2-0 record in Group D. But that does not mean there won’t be pride on the line when the two nations face off Thursday. The No. 1 singles match has great potential to be a thriller, with Kei Nishikori playing Diego Schwartzman. Schwartzman is currently the higher-ranked of the two at World No. 9, but former World No. 4 Nishikori leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-1. They are two of the purest ball-strikers on the ATP Tour, which will make for exciting baseline rallies. In their most recent clash at the 2019 Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Schwartzman emerged victorious.

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#NextGenATP Alcaraz Stuns Goffin For First Top 15 Win

  • Posted: Feb 03, 2021

Carlos Alcaraz recorded the biggest win of his career on Wednesday, when he upset top seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-3 at the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne.

The 2020 Newcomer of the Year saved six of seven break points and won 75 per cent of second-serve return points to overcome the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner up in 73 minutes. This is Alcaraz’s first win against a Top 15 player. The 17-year-old entered the contest with only three previous matches against Top 100 opposition (3-0).

“It was a very good match,” said Alcaraz. “I always want to play these kind of matches against great players like Goffin. I’m very happy with this win today and looking forward to the next round.”


Alcaraz improves to 5-0 at all levels this year. Last month, the #NextGenATP Spaniard dropped just one set in three matches to qualify for his maiden Grand Slam main draw at the Australian Open.

“He just killed me, so I would say he’s good… He had nothing to lose today. He qualified for his first Grand Slam. He’s under 18. He’s hitting the ball unbelievable,” said Goffin. “I don’t know if he’s playing like tonight every day, every match, but it was a huge performance tonight. He didn’t let me play.”

Alcaraz’s win acts as another checkpoint in the Murcia native’s rapid rise on the ATP Tour. The 6’1” right-hander claimed three ATP Challenger Tour titles and rose more than 350 positions in the FedEx ATP Rankings last year to reach a career-high No. 136 on 19 October.

Alcaraz will meet Thiago Monteiro for a place in the quarter-finals in Melbourne. The Brazilian recovered from a set down to defeat Matthew Ebden 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3.

Second seed Karen Khachanov began his 2021 season with a 7-6(5), 6-3 win against Max Purcell. The four-time ATP Tour titlist landed 11 aces and saved all four break points he faced to set up a blockbuster third-round clash against two-time Grand Slam runner-up Kevin Anderson.

Anderson claimed his place in the third round with a 57-minute 6-4, 6-2 win against Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. The South African dropped just four points behind his first serve (27/31) to book a second ATP Head2Head clash against Khachanov. Anderson rallied from a set down to win his only previous match against the Russian 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 at the 2018 Miami Open presented by Itau.

Reilly Opelka also started his Great Ocean Road Open campaign with a win. The sixth seed beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6(8), 6-4 in 82 minutes. Opelka saved one set point at 7/8 in the first-set tie-break and fired 17 aces to earn his first win of the year.

Murray/Soares Earn Team Comeback Win
In their match as a team since Roland Garros in 2019, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares claimed a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory against Pablo Andujar and Pedro Martinez.

The 2016 Australian Open and US Open champions saved all four break points they faced and won 85 per cent of their first-serve points (28/33) to reach the the quarter-finals in 83 minutes. Murray and Soares are chasing their 11th team title and their fourth crown on Australian soil. Alongside their 2016 title run at the opening Grand Slam event of the year, Murray and Soares also triumphed on two occasions in Sydney (2016, ’19).

Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner also reached the quarter-finals on Wednesday. The unseeded pair needed just 57 minutes to eliminate fourth seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Henri Kontinen 6-1, 6-4.

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Kyrgios Battles To Win; Dimitrov, Felix Advance At Murray River Open

  • Posted: Feb 03, 2021

Nick Kyrgios dug deep once again on his ATP Tour return on Wednesday to book his place in the Murray River Open third round.

Kyrgios, who had not played a tour-level event since February last year prior to competing in Melbourne, struck 10 aces and won 84 per cent of his first-service points in a 6-2, 7-6(7) victory over fellow Australian Harry Bourchier in 86 minutes.

The 25-year-old Kyrgios could not convert two match points at 6-5 on Bourchier’s serve in the second set, then saved three set points at 4/6 and 6/7 in the tie-break. Kyrgios will next play fourth-seeded Croatian Borna Coric, who was a 7-5, 6-4 victor over Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland.

“I’m very relieved to finish in straight sets,” said Kyrgios, who beat Alexandre Muller in three sets on Tuesday. “I thought the level that he brought in the second set was very high. He was serving really, really well. And he started getting on to a couple of my serves and obviously had a couple set points in the second set… He’s a good player. I wasn’t surprised at all by some of the shots he was hitting or how he was serving.”


Elsewhere, second seed Grigor Dimitrov and third seed Felix Auger-Aliassime came through routine wins at Melbourne Park, venue of the ATP 250 tournament, in their 2021 ATP Tour season openers.

Dimitrov lost six of his first-service points in a 6-3, 6-3 win over Australian Andrew Harris in 68 minutes, while Auger-Aliassime sailed past Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-3, 6-1 in 66 minutes, striking 12 aces and winning 27 of 31 first-serve points. Dimitrov now plays another local, Alexei Popyrin, while Auger-Aliassime prepares to meet Egor Gerasimov of Belarus.

Czech Jiri Vesely battled back from a set and 0-3 deficit to overcome fifth-seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-3 in two hours and 44 minutes for a clash against Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania.


Mektic/Pavic Keep Winning, Reach Doubles Quarter-finals
Top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic extended their winning streak to five matches with a 7-6(5), 2-6, 10-7 victory over Tomislav Brkic and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in the second round. New team Mektic and Pavic lifted the Antalya Open crown (d. Dodig/Polasek) in the first week of the season.

They now play eighth-seeded Belgians Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, who also earned a Match Tie-break win over Americans Mackenzie McDonald and Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-7(4), 10-8.

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Medvedev Ensures Russian Return To ATP Cup Semi-finals

  • Posted: Feb 03, 2021

Daniil Medvedev confirmed Russia’s position in the ATP Cup semi-finals on Wednesday with a 6-2, 6-4 victory against Kei Nishikori.

The World No. 4 struck 19 winners and won all six net points he played to improve to 6-1 in ATP Cup singles matches. Medvedev, who closed his 2020 campaign with back-to-back titles at the Rolex Paris Masters and Nitto ATP Finals, has won 12 straight matches on the ATP Tour.

“[I am] really happy for the team,” said Medvedev. “[Reaching the] semi-finals is a big step… [I am] really happy that we made it in both singles. [Both matches were] straight sets, so really happy for the team and hopefully we can go further than that.”

Medvedev’s victory moved Russia to 2-0 in its tie against Japan. Earlier in the day, Rublev cruised past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-3. Russia is through to the ATP Cup semi-finals for the second straight year.


At last year’s event, Russia entered its semi-final clash against Serbia with an unbeaten 4-0 tie record. Medvedev pushed Novak Djokovic to a third set, but fell short in his attempt to force the tie to a deciding doubles match. Russia will face the winner of Group A in Friday’s semi-finals. Two teams remain in contention for that spot: Serbia and Germany.

Medvedev achieved consistent success on Nishikori’s serve in the first set, as he created a break point in each of his four return games. The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion rushed his opponent into errors in extended baseline rallies to establish a 4-2 lead, before Nishikori attempted to shorten points by coming to the net. That tactic proved unsuccessful, as Medvedev found his targets to place Nishikori in uncomfortable positions.

The second set proved to be far more competitive, with neither player able to reach break point in the opening eight games. But Medvedev pounced at the perfect moment to move one game from victory. The World No. 4 played with aggression and showcased great court coverage to turn rallies in his favour and claimed victory with a powerful serve out wide.

Andrey Rublev improves to 2-0 in ATP Cup singles matches.

In the opening match of the tie, Rublev produced his second dominant performance in as many days to earn Russia a 1-0 tie advantage. The World No. 8 converted five of his eight break points to overcome Nishioka in 64 minutes.

Rublev has lost just seven games across his two singles encounters at this year’s event. On Tuesday, the Russian No. 2 defeated Guido Pella 6-1, 6-2 in one hour.

“I played really well today… I’m happy the way I’m playing. I’m happy that I’m feeling confident in my shots, that I’m trying to go big and in the end I feel that I will make it,” said Rublev. “I was missing this feeling, I was missing competing and the first two matches went really well so we’ll see what’s going to happen next.”

From 40/0 in the opening game of the match, Rublev dropped five consecutive points to lose his serve. It was the only mistake he made in an impressive first set. The Russian responded with six straight games, as he took the ball early and ripped multiple inside-out forehand winners.

Rublev continued to place pressure on Nishioka’s serve in the second set and he earned two further breaks to clinch his first victory in two ATP Head2Head clashes against the Japanese. Nishioka won the pair’s opening clash 6-3, 6-1 in Sydney two years ago.

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