Tennis News

From around the world

Take The Nadal Monte-Carlo Challenge

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2021

It’s common knowledge that Rafael Nadal is the Master of Monte-Carlo. The Spaniard, who made his tournament debut as a 16-year-old in 2003, has won a record 11 titles in the Principality. 

But do you recall who Nadal has beaten in those championship matches at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters? Eight different players are among the Spaniard’s victims, including one he denied in three straight finals from 2006-08.

See how many of those beaten finalists you remember. Take the Rafael Nadal Monte-Carlo Challenge and share your results!

Click here to stay informed all year with tennis news from the ATP Tour

Source link

Thursday Preview: Tsitsipas To Take On Garin In Monte-Carlo

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas will kick off Thursday’s third-round action at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with a challenging matchup against Cristian Garin. 

Garin just won his fifth ATP Tour title last month, in front of a home crowd at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open in Santiago. All five of the World No. 24’s trophies have come on clay. Tsitsipas also holds five ATP titles: one on clay and four on indoor hard courts. 

Garin opened his Monte-Carlo campaign by ousting Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets, and he eased past John Millman on Wednesday. Tsitsipas had a day off after taking out Aslan Karatsev on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Greek will have his work cut out for him but he has been embracing the surface switch after a quarter-final run on the hard courts of the Miami Open presented by Itau.

“I’ve practised a lot of days on clay,” the World No. 5 said. “I’ve been feeling well. My body is in good shape. Currently I feel like I’m working a lot on my physicality when I play friendly matches on clay. I think that’s going to be the most important aspect in my game during the clay-court season.”

The fourth seed beat Garin in their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting last year on clay in Hamburg in three sets.

Following Tsitsipas and Garin on the main court will be Novak Djokovic taking on Daniel Evans. It’s set to be the World No 1’s first time facing off against the 30-year-old Brit, after beating another first-time opponent, Jannik Sinner, in his opening match on Wednesday.

“I think ‘solid’ is a good word to describe the performance,” Djokovic said. “Obviously I know I can always do better. I’m working towards playing even on a higher level than I did today.”

Third seed Rafael Nadal sits on the opposite half of the draw to his Serbian rival and he will see a familiar opponent across the net in Grigor Dimitrov. The Spaniard holds a 13-1 ATP Head2Head lead against Dimitrov with three of those wins coming in Monte-Carlo. Dimitrov hasn’t won a set off of Nadal since 2017.

“He’s a good friend, a good guy, and a great player,” Nadal said. “Going to be a tough test in my second round. Going to be his third. I need to be ready for it. I hope to be ready for it. I am just excited to play a tough match very early in the tournament.”

Sixth seed Andrey Rublev will have his hands full against ninth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut. Bautista Agut leads their ATP Head2Head career record, 3-2 and topped the Russian in Doha in straight sets earlier this year.

Elsewhere, Alexander Zverev and David Goffin will put on a show inside Court Des Princes, as will Fabio Fognini when he steps onto the same court against Filip Krajinovic.

Watch Live | View TV Schedule 


COURT RAINIER III start 11:00 am
[4] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [16] C. Garin (CHI)
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs D. Evans (GBR)
[14] G. Dimitrov (BUL) vs [3] R. Nadal (ESP)
[6] A. Rublev (RUS) vs [9] R. Bautista Agut (ESP)

COURT DES PRINCES start 11:00 am
[WC] L. Pouille (FRA) vs A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP)

Not Before 1:00 pm
[11] D. Goffin (BEL) vs [5] A. Zverev (GER)
[15] F. Fognini (ITA) vs F. Krajinovic (SRB)
C. Ruud (NOR) vs [12] P. Carreno Busta (ESP)

COURT 2 start 12:00 noon
[1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs F. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) / H. Hurkacz (POL)
[Alt] A. Behar (URU) / G. Escobar (ECU) vs [2] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO)
After Suitable Rest – [3] I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SVK) vs D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR)

Source link

Klaasen/McLachlan Book Quarter-final Spot

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2021

Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan closed Wednesday play at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with a 6-7(1), 6-3, 10-5 victory against Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.

The South African-Japanese duo saved seven of the nine break points they faced to move past the Australian Open finalists in one hour and 42 minutes on Court des Princes. Klaasen and McLachlan, who are chasing their first title of the season in Monte-Carlo, will next meet Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek or Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski for a semi-final spot.

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos took just 59 minutes to overcome Russians Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-1 on Court 2. Last year’s Rome champions won 74 per cent of their service points (32/43) to set up a quarter-final clash against Cristian Garin and Guido Pella.

Garin and Pella moved past Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 in 67 minutes. The unseeded duo dropped serve just once en route to victory, despite facing 11 break points.

Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman recovered from a slow start to eliminate sixth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot 1-6, 6-4, 10-7. Fognini and Schwartzman trailed by a set and a break, and also found themselves 3/6 down in the Match Tie-break, but they claimed seven of the final eight points for a quarter-final spot.

The Italian-Argentine pair will meet top seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah or last year’s Rolex Paris Masters champions Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz in the last eight.

Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut’s kept alive their bid for a second title in the Principality. The 2016 champions battled past Henri Kontinen and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6(3), 7-5.

Source link

Zverev Passes Sonego Test In Monte-Carlo

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2021

German Alexander Zverev passed a tough test with flying colours on Wednesday, defeating Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

Sonego entered the pair’s first ATP Head2Head clash with plenty of confidence after winning the Sardegna Open title last week to climb to a career-high No. 28 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. But Zverev put pressure on the 25-year-old from the early going to advance after one hour and 38 minutes.

The three-time ATP Masters 1000 champion, who reached the Monte-Carlo semi-finals in 2018, now has 10 victories this season. Zverev claimed a title for the sixth consecutive year when he lifted the trophy in Acapulco.

Although it wasn’t a perfect performance — the fifth seed relinquished two service breaks — Zverev did well to frustrate his Italian opponent. The 23-year-old put many returns deep in the court to neutralise Sonego’s advantage and ability to play first-strike tennis, forcing the Italian to go for more than he wanted. That led to unforced errors, giving Zverev the advantage in the match.


The World No. 6 will next play David Goffin, who cruised past 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 6-0 in 64 minutes.

Zverev leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head series 2-1, but all three of those matches have gone to a deciding set. Their most recent clash came in Halle two years ago on grass.

Source link

Nadal Grades His Performance: ‘Nothing Unbelievable, But Nothing Wrong’

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2021

Rafael Nadal was in form to begin his clay-court season on Wednesday, dismissing fellow lefty Federico Delbonis to reach the third round of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. But for the 34-year-old, it was just another day at the office.

“It was solid match, I think. Of course, a very positive result. He’s a good player on clay. [It was a] positive start for me,” Nadal said. “I think I just really played a solid match. Nothing unbelievable, but nothing wrong. Just a solid match, a positive start. I think I did what I had to do today.”

Nadal is now 72-5 at this ATP Masters 1000 event. Typically, players wait nearly a full year to return to clay after Roland Garros. But the Spaniard claimed his record-extending 12th trophy in Paris just six months ago, as the clay-court major was moved to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Honestly, I just played two tournaments on clay [last year]. That’s the truth. I never felt last year that I played a full clay-court season. I just played Rome and Roland Garros,” Nadal said. “For the same time that you told me you should feel strange because we have a shorter gap, at the same time inside myself I never had a real clay-court season last year.

“I am just trying to adapt myself and trying to make the decisions that I feel more comfortable always.”

Nadal looked impressive nonetheless on Court Rainier III, dropping just three games against a player who was competing in his fifth clay-court event of the season. The third seed broke the Argentine’s serve five times and won 57 per cent of his return points.

“I feel good, yeah. I think I had great practice sessions for the last three, four weeks,” Nadal said. “I feel in good shape, honestly. You can win, you can lose, you can play better or worse. In terms of physically and mentally, I’m enjoying being on the Tour.”

The 11-time Monte-Carlo champion will next face a familiar foe in Grigor Dimitrov, who has ousted Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy to reach the third round. Nadal knows he has to be locked in against the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion.

“Tomorrow I have a very tough opponent in front [of me], so I need to be at my 100 per cent every single moment,” Nadal said.

The lefty leads their ATP Head2Head series 13-1, including three triumphs in Monte-Carlo, but Nadal isn’t expecting anything short of a battle against the Bulgarian, who has pushed him to a deciding set seven times. One of those seven came in the 2013 quarter-finals in the Principality.

“We had some great matches. In Melbourne, of course [it was] best of five. The semi-final [was] an emotional one. We played another great match in Beijing, another one in Shanghai with Grigor,” Nadal said. “He’s a good friend, a good guy, and a great player. [It’s] going to be a tough test in my second round. Going to be his third. I need to be ready for it. I hope to be ready for it. I am just excited to play a tough match very early in the tournament.”

Source link

Djokovic Sings Sinner's Praises; Looks Ahead To Evans Clash

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2021

Novak Djokovic eased into the Round of 16 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over fast-rising youngster Jannik Sinner.

It was the first career meeting between the two, though they are familiar with each other having shared a practice court both at their residence in Monaco and at the Piatti Tennis Center in Italy.

“I think what impresses me the most is his professionalism, his dedication to the everyday routines that he has to endure in order to play at such high level,” Djokovic said. “I think this is why the consistency of his results is there. With him it’s different.”

Sinner came into his fourth career Masters 1000 appearance in sizzling form after reaching the final at the Miami Open presented by Itau, making him a real threat to Djokovic’s start to the clay season. But after an early loss of serve, Djokovic was in control for most of the match.

“I have to be satisfied considering I think I had a tough draw for the first round, playing Sinner, who is in form, who is striking the ball very well. I knew it was going to be a challenge. I walked into the court with the right intensity, right focus,” Djokovic said. “First maybe three, four games I was still feeling maybe not as comfortable hitting the ball. Then I started to work my way in the match.”

Even with no fans permitted on the grounds, Djokovic celebrated the win with his customary open-armed hugs and kisses.  

“At the same time I try to take the positive side of it,” he said of playing to empty stands. “We have this calm and kind of serenity on the stands and on the court. It just allows you to maybe focus on yourself a bit more, not have maybe as many distractions around that can happen. I try to focus on those positives and be optimistic and build my form.”

The 33-year-old takes on Daniel Evans next for a place in the Masters 1000 quarter-finals — it will be the second match in a row where the World No 1 is facing an entirely new opponent. He’ll be doing his homework. 

“Very smart player,” Djokovic said. “You would think that with his game maybe the clay would suit him the least, but he’s proving people wrong. He moves great. Very, very dynamic, explosive player. Great forehand, good serve. He comes to the net. He uses his slice very well.

“Obviously every time you face someone for the first time, probably I’m going to have to use a little bit more analysis of his game prior to tomorrow’s match, talk to few people and my coach as well, try to prepare myself as best as I can.”

Source link

Djokovic Beats Sinner On ATP Tour Return In Monte-Carlo

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2021

World No. 1 and two-time former champion Novak Djokovic claimed a 6-4, 6-2 victory against #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner on Wednesday in a battle of generations at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. It was a meeting between the leaders of the FedEx ATP Race To Turin and the ATP Race To Milan.

In his first appearance since his ninth Australian Open title run in February, Djokovic fired 20 winners to move past the Miami runner-up in one hour and 34 minutes. Djokovic kept Sinner off balance with frequent drop shots and extracted errors with great defensive skill from the baseline.

“It feels great [to be back and] also playing in Monaco, where I reside,” said Djokovic in his post-match interview. “I have used this club as a training base for almost 15 years, so it feels like playing at home.

“It was a very good encounter. I thought it was a great first match [and] a big challenge for me. Jannik is in form. He played the final [in] Miami and has been playing well. I just hung in there today and managed to find the right shots and the right game at the right time.”

Djokovic has won all 10 matches he has played this year. This marks the sixth time that the Serbian has won his opening 10 encounters in an ATP Tour season.

Djokovic’s Best ATP Tour Season Starts

Year Unbeaten Start Duration
2011 41-0 Australian Open-Roland Garros QF
2020 26-0 ATP Cup-US Open R32
2013 17-0 Australian Open-Indian Wells QF
2016 14-0 Doha-Dubai R16
2012 10-0 Australian Open-Dubai QF
2021 10-0 ATP Cup-Present

Djokovic is chasing his third title at the Monte-Carlo Country Club this year. The 36-time ATP Masters 1000 titlist defeated Rafael Nadal en route to the title in 2013 and 2015.

“[Jannik] has got a lot of talent and he has proven that he is the future of our sport. Actually, he is already the present of our sport [having] played a final [in an] ATP Masters 1000 [event] already. He is making big strides in professional tennis,” said Djokovic.

Graphic courtesy Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media

Sinner used his aggressive baseline game to rush Djokovic in the early stages of the match and claim an early break, but his lead was short lived. The top seed soon found his range on his return and forced Sinner out of backhand-to-backhand rallies with a series of drop shots. Despite dropping serve once more at 5-3, Djokovic broke for the third time to take the 54-minute opener.

The two-time champion found consistent success behind his serve in the second set and wore his opponent down in extended rallies. Djokovic earned two further service breaks and moved through to the third round when Sinner committed a double fault on match point.

After his win against the Miami runner-up, Djokovic will face Murray River Open champion Daniel Evans in the third round. The British No. 1 broke Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz on four occasions to clinch a 6-4, 6-1 win on Court des Princes. Evans entered the tournament seeking his first tour-level win on clay since the 2017 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

Casper Ruud earned his second Top 10 victory on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against World No. 9 Diego Schwartzman. The Norwegian converted three of his four break points to overcome last year’s Rome runner-up in 65 minutes.

The 22-year-old will meet Marbella champion Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round. The Spaniard improved to 6-0 on clay this season with a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Karen Khachanov. Ruud and Carreno Busta are tied at 1-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.

Source link

The Last Time… With Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2021

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who combines good movement and powerful groundstrokes, recorded the first Top 10 win of his career this week over Matteo Berrettini at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. caught up with the 21-year-old Spaniard, who revealed the last time he…

Missed a flight?
I’ve never missed a flight! I’ve never had a close call and always try to get to airport with plenty of time to spare.

Lost something important?
Two years ago, I left my favourite shoes at home. I had to call one of my friends, and I told him to fly to Australia to bring the shoes. I didn’t want to go out in Melbourne and buy new shoes.

Paid money to hire a tennis court or bought tennis balls?
It has to have been last week, when I practised at home. It was one big box of balls, around 70 euros.

Was recognised and it helped you?
It was probably in Davis Cup, when Spain played in Marbella against Great Britain [in February 2018]. I got into a nice restaurant after I posed for a lot of photos (laughing).

Strung my own tennis racquet?
It must have been four years ago! I normally didn’t string my own racquets as a junior, because I think it’s so boring. It took me 30 minutes. I had to take my time and I didn’t like it.

Last cooked for friends or family?
I love to cook, so I cooked for friends before I came here. I like doing meat on the barbeque, with friends and the sun shining.

Met a childhood idol?
It has to have been Martin Fiz, the world champion runner [1995 Gothenburg], who continues to help me with my physical preparation. My coach, Jorge Aguirre, asked him on Instagram last year to help out and it’s great for Martin to be a part of my team.

Asked for a selfie?
Roberto Bautista Agut, my idol and someone I really respect.

Went to a music concert?
I went with my psychologist to watch Spanish pop singer Beret at the Starlite Festival in Marbella in July last year. It was really good.

Paid to attend a sporting event?
It was three years ago, when my coach and I watched Real Sociedad. I only like watching football!

Visited a city for the first time?
I really love the city of Brisbane, as they have a fake beach in the centre.

Source link

Sinner: 'I Try To Learn, Even If It's Tough To Accept'

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2021

Jannik Sinner may not have claimed the win against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic Wednesday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, but he didn’t walk away empty handed. There were many lessons learned in his 6-4, 6-2 defeat to the Serb.

“Obviously what I see is that he is defending better than me when he’s coming in the run,” said the 19-year-old World No. 22. “We have to learn there. We have to serve a little bit better. Everything. I think the biggest part where I have to learn, but I knew already, is to understand the right situations in every match, to don’t go too much, don’t go too slow, all the rest.”

Monte-Carlo resident Sinner was competing in just his fourth ATP Masters 1000 tournament. On the heels of his final run at the Miami Open presented by Itau, he’s knocking on the door of the Top 20 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Moving forwards, he already has his eyes on a rematch against Djokovic.

“The focus is always about improving. That’s what I’m doing. That’s what I’m trying to do. Try to learn from this match today as well, even if sometimes it’s tough to accept,” he said. “But there is only one way to improve. I have the good team. I have the right people behind me who know what you have to do. I hope I play once more against Novak.”

The #NextGenATP star got off to a promising start against Djokovic, claiming the first break of serve, but soon surrendered control of the match.

“Today, I think I started quite well,” said Sinner. “Then at 2-1 [on] serve, I didn’t play [the game] well. Then he started to move me a little bit more. After I tried to play a little bit deeper, trying to move him.

[WATCH LIVE 1] “I think what I missed were maybe one game each set I played a little bit not in the right way, which in the first set was 2-1, in the second set it was 4-2 when he was serving. When he went [up] 5-2, I didn’t play well that game.

“But I think the rest [of the match] was not a bad match from my side. At some point, especially in the second set, the level was very high.”

Source link