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Santiago Native Garin Bests Bagnis To Win Home Title

  • Posted: Mar 14, 2021

World No. 22 Cristian Garin had not won a match in 2021 before arriving at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open. But on home soil in his native Santiago, the top seed completed a strong return to form with a battling 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-5 victory over Facundo Bagnis in the championship match on Sunday.

Garin dropped only one set all week to seal his fifth ATP Tour trophy. He became the first Chilean player to win at a home event since Fernando Gonzalez at Vina del Mar in 2009.

His opponent Bagnis was in uncharted territory on Cancha Central as the Argentine contested his first ATP Tour final at the age of 31. Bagnis had to go through three seeded players to reach the final, including a major test against Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

After playing solidly all week long, one loose service game cost Bagnis late in the first set as Garin got going. The Chilean’s superior speed was on full display, running down every point as Bagnis looked to extend the rallies. The second set was a tighter contest as Garin saw his early lead evaporate and Bagnis increasingly dictating play. The Argentine was regularly rewarded when he ventured to the net, and leveled the score after taking the tie-break.

There was little to separate them in the third set as the 31-year-old Argentine found another gear to keep pace with Garin. Every time the top seed surged ahead, Bagnis reeled him in; Garin broke through first at 4-2, but Bagnis struck back a game later. He had to dig deep as he faced break points at 5-5, but he stayed cool and fired big groundstrokes to seal the break himself at 6-5. After two hours and 35 minutes, Garin fell to the clay in celebration of his first ATP trophy on home soil.

The victory extended Garin’s record in ATP Tour finals to 5-1, with Santiago marking his fifth consecutive championship match win. All of the Chilean’s titles have come on clay.

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Nishikori Overcomes Opelka Firepower In Dubai Opener

  • Posted: Mar 14, 2021

Kei Nishikori kicked off main-draw action at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Reilly Opelka on Sunday. 

Nishikori had to contend against the American’s big serves, which were amplified by the high-bouncing conditions in the Gulf desert. He weathered 13 aces across the one-hour and 36-minute first-round clash, but one break of serve in the second and third sets sealed his victory.

“It wasn’t easy, especially against him on this court,” Nishikori said in an on-court interview. “It’s very fast with a high bounce. It wasn’t easy to make many returns, but I think the couple of games when I broke him in the second and third [sets] I played very solid. I tried to step in a little more because [his serve] bounces really high.”

The former World No. 4 has been in resurgent form in recent weeks, and he arrived in Dubai after a confidence-boosting run to his first ATP Tour quarter-final since 2019 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Nishikori will face fifth seed David Goffin in the second round. The Japanese player owns a 3-0 lead in his ATP Head2Head series against Goffin, but it will be the pair’s first meeting since 2015.

“I’m happy to play against him next. We’re good friends, he’s a nice guy. We always have good battles and play long matches,” Nishikori said. “I’m expecting a tough one, but I’ll try to do my best.”


Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev was back to his winning ways in Dubai as he needed a tight straight-sets win against Egor Gerasimov. The Russian wild card stayed solid in the key moments to save five of the seven break points he faced on his way to a 6-4, 6-4 victory. He will next face the No. 12 seed Daniel Evans.

Alexander Bublik and Jeremy Chardy were also among the early winners in Dubai. Bublik edged past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-4, 7-6(4), while Chardy battled past Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the second round. Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri advanced after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired in the opening set at 3-3. 

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Medvedev Ends Herbert’s Run, Earns 10th Title

  • Posted: Mar 14, 2021

Daniil Medvedev celebrated his coming rise to World No. 2 one day early Sunday with a 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4 victory against Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the Open 13 Provence final.

The Russian fired 13 aces and saved four of the five break points he faced to lift the trophy after two hours and 11 minutes. Medvedev will overtake Rafael Nadal on Monday to become the first player outside of the Big Four to occupy the No. 2 position in the FedEx ATP Rankings since Lleyton Hewitt in July 2005.

“I am really happy,” said Medvedev. “I knew that I would become No. 2 no matter what on Monday… It is always better when you step up the Rankings when you do something great. I know that winning here didn’t give me the points to become No. 2, but it is great for the self-esteem that just before becoming No. 2 on Monday, I win a tournament.” 

This is Medvedev’s 10th tour-level triumph. The World No. 3 has claimed six of those trophies at indoor hard-court events, which includes the biggest title of his career at last year’s Nitto ATP Finals.

“I am really happy about the number 10. It gets me to two digits, something which I dreamt of when I was a kid,” said Medvedev. “I think it is already a great number, but I am going to try to work more and get some more… I really like to play on hard courts. I feel like that is where my game suits me the best. I feel like I know the solutions I have to find during the match and that is what I did today.”

Daniil Medvedev owns a 2-1 ATP Head2Head record against Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Medvedev improved to 14-2 this year with his second win in three ATP Head2Head encounters against Herbert. Last month, the Moscow native won all four matches he played to lead Russia to the ATP Cup title (d. Italy) and he also reached his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic).

“Pierre-Hugues can play unbelievable tennis. I know what he is capable of,” said Medvedev. “I played a lot of tough matches with him, especially when I lost in the Roland Garros first round. Today was a tricky, tough match and I am really happy that I managed to be on top and get the win.”

As he has throughout the week, Herbert attempted to shorten rallies with regular net approaches. In the first set, Medvedev picked his targets well to extract volley errors and fire backhand passing shots. The top seed converted his first set point with another backhand winner down the line.

Medvedev served with power and benefitted from Herbert forehand errors to save three break points in the early stages of the second set. However, the Frenchman found his best level when he needed it most in the tie-break. From 2/4, the 29-year-old proved the more consistent player from the baseline and he also continued to charge the net to upset Medvedev’s rhythm, win five straight points and reach a third set.

In a tight third set, one loose service game decided the outcome of the final. Medvedev kept his returns low at 5-4 and capitalised on four net errors from his opponent to clinch the title.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert was the only player to take a set off Daniil Medvedev at the Open 13 Provence.

Herbert was attempting to capture his first ATP Tour singles title in his fourth final. The Frenchman defeated three seeded players en route to the championship match: sixth seed Kei Nishikori, two-time defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and fourth seed Ugo Humbert.

“It has been an incredible week. I played five really high-level matches. This is what I am proud of,” said Herbert. “I lost to someone who was just better [for] the full match. I managed to hold on and have a chance to win in the third set, but he was just too good.”

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Glasspool/Heliovaara Claim Maiden ATP Tour Crown

  • Posted: Mar 14, 2021

Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara captured their first ATP Tour title on Sunday with a 7-5, 7-6(4) victory against Sander Arends and David Pel at the Open 13 Provence.

The British-Finnish team won 90 per cent of their first-serve points (35/39) and did not face a break point throughout the 85-minute championship match. Glasspool and Heliovaara were competing in their first ATP Tour final.

“At this age, at 31 years old, playing my third ATP Tour main draw, you can’t ask for more than a title,” said Heliovaara. “It feels unbelievable. I still have tears in my eyes and it has been 20 minutes since the match finished. It is a dream come true and it gives us so many opportunities for the future… It is unreal. I still can’t really describe it.”


The unseeded duo has achieved consistent success on the ATP Challenger Tour since they joined forces in November 2020. Glasspool and Heliovaara have reached four finals together at Challenger level, which includes their title run in Gran Canaria last month.

“We have played and won a lot of matches this year on the ATP Challenger Tour,” said Glasspool. “We know each other’s games very well right now. We are flowing and that gives us a big advantage.”

“We got so much confidence from the matches on the ATP Challenger Tour,” said Heliovaara. “It doesn’t matter if we are playing a bigger tournament now, we still feel like we can win every match so that is a great feeling to have that confidence from winning a lot of matches.”

Glasspool and Heliovaara dropped just one set en route to the title in Marseille. In the second round, they defeated top seeds Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski in a Match Tie-break.

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Scouting Report: Tsitsipas Tops Acapulco Draw, Thiem Chases Dubai Glory

  • Posted: Mar 14, 2021

There will be two ATP 500s this week: the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Thirteen of the Top 20 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings are set to compete.

Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the way in Acapulco, and Dominic Thiem will try to lift the trophy in Dubai. looks at 10 things to watch at the two events.


1) Stefanos The Top Seed:
Tsitsipas will make his tournament debut at this ATP 500. The Greek star is off to a strong 10-3 start to 2021, including a run to the Australian Open semi-finals. Tsitsipas will begin his run against Frenchman Benoit Paire, against whom he owns a 1-1 ATP Head2Head record.

2) Zverev Returns To Acapulco: Alexander Zverev has more experience in Acapulco, where he reached the final in 2019 (l. to Kyrgios). The German is 8-3 at this tournament and he will try to improve on that record when he plays Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the first round.

3) Canadians In Mexico: Canadian stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Milos Raonic will try to make a splash in Acapulco. Auger-Aliassime is making his second appearance at the ATP 500 and Raonic will make his debut.

4) #NextGenATP In The Spotlight: Auger-Aliassime isn’t the only #NextGenATP player in the draw. Wild cards Alcaraz, a 17-year-old, and Sebastian Korda, a 20-year-old, will try to show their games on this big stage. Alcaraz qualified for this year’s Australian Open and reached the second round, while Korda made the final two months ago in Delray Beach.

5) Singles Stars Playing Doubles: Some of the top doubles teams in the world are competing in Acapulco, including Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos and Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares. There are also singles stars playing this doubles event, including Alexander Zverev (w/Mischa Zverev), Diego Schwartzman (w/Joao Sousa), Felix Auger-Aliassime/Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov/Tommy Paul.

1) Thiem Time:
World No. 4 Thiem will try to win his first ATP Tour title of the season. This will be the Austrian’s second appearance in Dubai, where he competed in 2015. The top seed has lifted 17 tour-level titles, five of which have come at an ATP 500. Thiem will play a qualifier or lucky loser in his opener.

2) Rublev Rolling: Few players on the ATP Tour are as hot as Andrey Rublev. The Russian led the Tour in 2020 with five titles, and he has maintained his momentum by beginning this year with a 13-2 record. The 23-year-old has won the past four ATP 500s he has played, and he will try to make it five in a row in Dubai.

3) In-Form RBA: Roberto Bautista Agut will try to maintain his good form after reaching the final in Doha. The fourth seed, who won the Dubai title in 2018, will play Marseille semi-finalist Matthew Ebden in his opener.

4) Young Stars Going For Glory: There is no shortage of young stars competing in this ATP 500. Nine Next Gen ATP Finals alumni will try to lift the trophy, including 2019 Milan champion Jannik Sinner, third seed Denis Shapovalov and Rublev.

5) Stacked Doubles Field: Everywhere you look in the Dubai doubles draw, there is a dangerous team. The top seeds are Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah and the second seeds are Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic. Reigning Australian Open champions Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek are in the field as are new 2021 tandems Wesley Koolhof/Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo/Jean-Julien Rojer.

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Home Hope Garin To Face Bagnis For Santiago Crown

  • Posted: Mar 14, 2021

Top seed Cristian Garin sealed his spot in the Chile Dove Men+Care Open final without dropping a set after defeating Daniel Elahi Galan 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday. 

The Santiago native is now one victory away from claiming his first ATP Tour title on home soil, and lifting his fifth trophy overall. He is hoping to become the first Chilean to win at home since Fernando Gonzalez at Vina del Mar in 2009.

“It’s amazing to have a tournament here in Chile. I really miss the crowd but this is always a special tournament for me,” Garin said in his on-court interview. “I’m so, so happy to be in the final. The first day that I arrived, I wasn’t playing well and it was my second tournament in months. So for me to be in the final is so special, and even more here in Chile.”

He will face Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis in the championship match. Bagnis, No. 118 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, served well to win 82 per cent of first-serve points (31/38) against countryman Federico Delbonis. He created more opportunities, breaking serve five times to record a 7-5, 6-3 victory in an hour and 39 minutes. 

The win marked a long-awaited milestone for the 31-year-old, who is now into his maiden Tour final in Santiago.

“I’m really happy and enjoying every day this week. It’s my first final, and I’m trying to take things with a balanced approach: enjoy it, but also stay mentally focussed because tomorrow is the most important match,” Bagnis said. “On Monday, I will celebrate and then look at where I land in the Rankings, but for now I have to stay focussed.”


It was Bagnis’ second match in three weeks against Delbonis, after claiming a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 victory at the Cordoba Open on his way to his first ATP Tour semi-final. He had to go through his good friend again in Santiago, extending his lead their ATP Head2Head to 4-0.

Did You Know?
For the third week in a row, there will be a first-time finalist contesting a championship match in the South American ‘Golden Swing’. Juan Manuel Cerundolo, 19, made a winning ATP Tour debut at the Cordoba Open, while older brother Francisco Cerundolo broke through with a run to the final at last week’s Argentina Open.

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Zverev Gets #NextGenATP Alcaraz In Acapulco Opener

  • Posted: Mar 14, 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are the top two seeds at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, and they’ve both been handed big challenges straight out of the gate at the ATP 500 event. 

#NextGenATP player Carlos Alcaraz will be Alexander Zverev’s first-round opponent. The 17-year-old Spaniard, who qualified for the Australian Open and reached the second round, is the youngest player in the Top 200 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. Fourth seed Milos Raonic and sixth seed Fabio Fognini have also landed in Zverev’s half of the draw. 

Top seed Tsitsipas arrives in Acapulco looking for his first title of the year, but he’ll have to go through a section full of firepower if he hopes to advance. In addition to playing Benoit Paire in the first round, should Tsitsipas advance he could be facing big-servers John Isner and seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime quarter-finals, respectively.

Third seed Diego Schwartzman and fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov, who won here in 2014, also anchors Tsitsipas’ half of the draw. Wild card Sebastian Korda, who takes on Marin Cilic in the opening round, is another #NextGenATP player in the mix in Acapulco.

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Daniil's Directive: 'Don't Try This At Home!'

  • Posted: Mar 14, 2021

If there’s one word that does not describe Daniil Medvedev’s game, it’s “orthodox”. The Russian star made light of that on social media Saturday after advancing to the Open 13 Provence final.

Medvedev posted a picture of his legs twisted up with his back bent over as he hit a backhand. The top seed captioned his tweet: “People call me an elegant player. #yogafail”

“Definitely when I play on the court, I don’t think [of] how I’m going to put my legs just before the shot, I just try to put [the ball] in,” Medvedev said. “When I saw this picture, it was quite funny because many people can break their legs trying to do this at home. There should be a disclaimer: ‘Don’t try this at home.’ I thought it was funny to post about it.”

Whether his strokes look typical or not, Medvedev has had plenty of success with his game. On Monday, he will climb to a career-high World No. 2, becoming the first player outside the Big Four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to hold a top two spot since Lleyton Hewitt in July 2005.

“I’m definitely first of all happy about it. It’s a really cool achievement,” Medvedev said. “This moment is going to be [me climbing to] No. 2, which is really cool, especially knowing that other than the Big Four there were not so many people in the past years [there]. [That] makes me happy about this achievement, but of course as soon as you touch something new you want to go higher and higher.”

Daniil Medvedev
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/Open 13 Provence
Medvedev will try to win his first individual title of the season on Sunday when he takes on Pierre-Hugues Herbert for the Marseille trophy. Although the top seed is Russian, he is plenty comfortable in France.

On Saturday, Medvedev conducted his on-court interview in French. As a teen, he moved to France to train, and his longtime coach is Frenchman Gilles Cervara.

“I learned just a little bit [of French] before coming to France, so I didn’t know a lot of words and I couldn’t talk at all,” Medvedev said. “I knew just the basics to actually understand some things because if you come from zero and you just listen to people talk, I don’t think it’s the same when you know a little bit about the language and then you listen to people talking.”

Medvedev quickly picked up the language because of all the Frenchmen around him. Today he communicates in French with Cervara, French players, Belgian David Goffin and Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

“Just step by step [I’m] improving the language and I don’t think I am very easy with the languages, but I definitely have a small talent,” Medvedev said. “Since I speak already three languages and I feel like my English and French are not bad.”

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