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18-Year-Old Cazaux Ousts Korda In Madrid Qualifying, Musetti Advances

  • Posted: May 01, 2021

Arthur Cazaux, an 18-year-old who climbed as high as World No. 4 in the juniors, made an impressive start to his Mutua Madrid Open qualifying effort on Saturday. The Frenchman upset 20-year-old American Sebastian Korda 7-6(3), 6-4 to reach the final round of qualifying.

Cazaux is the No. 603 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings and he has never played a tour-level match. But the teen impressed inside Stadium 3, breaking Korda’s serve three times to set a clash against Singapore champion Alexei Popyrin after one hour and 37 minutes. 

This was Cazaux’s fourth match in tour-level qualifying, and he had never previously won a set. Last year he fell against Aslan Karatsev in Roland Garros qualifying and he lost to Marton Fucsovics in the first round of Rolex Paris Masters qualifying.


In other action, #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti moved past Moldovan Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4. The 19-year-old will next challenge Spaniard Carlos Taberner, who defeated Jordan Thompson 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2, for a spot in the main draw.

It was a tough day for seeded players in qualifying, as five of the top six seeds lost. Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero ousted top seed Laslo Djere 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 and Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert eased past two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren 6-3, 6-2. Fifth seed Frances Tiafoe also went down, as 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato beat the American 7-6(4), 6-2.

The highest seed remaining in qualifying is second seed Yoshihito Nishioka, who battled past Uruguayan veteran Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 6-4. The Japanese lefty will play American Marcos Giron to move into the main draw.

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Scouting Report: Nadal Leads The Way In Madrid, Tsitsipas Chasing Glory

  • Posted: May 01, 2021

The world’s best players are set to compete this week at the Mutua Madrid Open. Leading the way is five-time champion Rafael Nadal, who brings confidence following his triumph in Barcelona.

Nadal will be joined by World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, two-time Madrid finalist Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas among many tough challengers. 

If Madrid has a first-time ATP Masters 1000 champion, this will be just the second time that the first three tournaments of the season at this level were won by a first-time Masters 1000 titlist. Hubert Hurkacz was victorious in Miami and Tsitsipas lifted the trophy in Monte-Carlo. The other time this happened was 1990, the first year of the series. Before play begins, looks at 10 things to watch in Madrid.


1) Nadal At Home: The home favourite arrives at the Caja Magica as the favourite, and he will hope to triumph in Madrid for the sixth time. Nadal, who owns a 52-12 record at this event, has fallen short of the quarter-finals here just once since 2004 (in 2012).

The lefty, who has made the championship match in Madrid three times in addition to his five trophy runs, could play a fellow Spaniard in his opener if #NextGenATP star Carlos Alcaraz battles past French lefty Adrian Mannarino. Nadal has won his two previous ATP Head2Head meetings against Mannarino in straight sets.

2) Tsitsipas Surging: This is only Tsitsipas’ third appearance at this tournament, but he has already enjoyed success here. The Greek made the championship match in 2019 with wins against Alexander Zverev and Nadal along the way, and only Novak Djokovic was able to stop him.

Tsitsipas is as confident as ever, fresh off winning his first Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. The Greek maintained his great form in Barcelona, where he held a championship point against Nadal before ultimately falling short. The fourth seed will begin his Madrid run against Munich finalist Nikoloz Basilashvili or Benoit Paire.

3) Can Medvedev Make Magic In Madrid? World No. 3 Medvedev will try to begin his clay-court season on a high at the Caja Magica, where he has lost his two previous matches. This is his third appearance at the tournament. The second seed, who most recently competed in the Miami Open presented by Itau — where he lost in the quarter-finals against Roberto Bautista Agut — will have to be locked in from the first match against Estoril semi-finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or a qualifier.

4) Rublev Rolling: Andrey Rublev gets ready to make his Madrid debut with a train of momentum behind him. Few players have enjoyed as much success in 2021 as Rublev, who is tied with Tsitsipas for the most wins on the ATP Tour this season with 26. Rublev, who made his first Masters 1000 final in Monte-Carlo, will try to get off to a good start against Tommy Paul or wild card Pedro Martinez.

5) Thiem’s Return: Thiem is set to play for the first time since Dubai, where he lost his opener against Lloyd Harris. The Austrian star has long succeeded on clay, reaching two Roland Garros finals. Thiem, a two-time Madrid runner-up, has a 13-4 record here, where he has made at least the semi-finals in his past three appearances. The 27-year-old will begin his run against a qualifier and 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov is the first seeded opponent he could face. 

6) #NextGenATP In Action: Some of the biggest #NextGenATP stars will be in action in Madrid, and two of them are seeded. Miami finalist Jannik Sinner is the 14th seed and he will begin the event against Argentine lefty Guido Pella, with Nadal a potential third-round opponent. Also in their section is home favourite Alcaraz, who could face Nadal in the second round. Felix Auger-Aliassime is the 15th seed, and he will play Monte-Carlo and Munich semi-finalist Casper Ruud in the first round.

7) Spanish Contingent: Before qualifying finishes, there are already nine Spaniards in the main draw, with Nadal leading the way. Two other seeded players are competing at home at the Caja Magica: ninth seed Roberto Bautista Agut and 10th seed Pablo Carreno Busta. The tournament’s four wild cards went to Spaniards: Alcaraz, Martinez, Jaume Munar and Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco is making his 18th appearance in this event. When he debuted in Madrid, Alcaraz was five months old.

8) Zverev Going For Two: Alexander Zverev won his third Masters 1000 title at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open, and he will try to lift his fourth trophy at this level this week. The German, who is 10-2 in Madrid, is making his fourth appearance at the Caja Magica. He most recently lost against Tsitsipas in the 2019 quarter-finals. Zverev, who opens against Karen Khachanov or Kei Nishikori, has never failed to make the last eight here.

9) Will Mektic/Pavic Stay Hot? Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic have been on fire during their team debut season, winning five titles, including the first two Masters 1000 events of the year. Although they are the second seeds, they will be the team to beat in Madrid. Mektic triumphed here in 2018 alongside Alexander Peya. Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah are the top seeds, Marcelo Granollers and Horacio Zeballos are seeded third and Australian Open champions Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek are seeded fourth. One first-round match to watch pits Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares against Marcelo Melo and Jean-Julien Rojer.

10) Medvedev, Tsitsipas & Zverev Playing Doubles: There will also be plenty of singles stars in action in the doubles draw, highlighted by Medvedev (w/Marcelo Demoliner), Tsitsipas (w/brother Petros Tsitsipas), Zverev (w/Tim Puetz) and Denis Shapovalov (w/Rohan Bopanna). Reigning Rolex Paris Masters champions Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz will try for another Masters 1000 trophy and countrymen Khachanov and Rublev will try to wreak havoc in the draw.

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Preview: Shapovalov Headlines Day 1 Action In Madrid

  • Posted: May 01, 2021

Denis Shapovalov will begin his third Mutua Madrid Open campaign on Sunday as the headline act on Day 1 of the ATP Masters 1000 event.

The 11th seed, who reached the semi-finals in the Spanish capital on his tournament debut in 2018, will face an immediate test in his third clay appearance of the season. Shapovalov opens his tournament against 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters runner-up Dusan Lajovic.

The Canadian is searching for form after losing two of his opening three matches on the red dirt this year. Shapovalov lost against his good friend Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell third round last week and fell in his opening match at this week’s Millennium Estoril Open against Corentin Moutet.

Shapovalov and Lajovic, who feature in the third quarter of the draw, will meet for the first time in their ATP Head2Head series on Manolo Santana Stadium. The Day 1 schedule features four main draw singles matches, all final qualifying round encounters and two doubles clashes.


On Stadium 3, four-time ATP Tour titlist Alex de Minaur will attempt to clinch his 10th win of the season (9-8). The Aussie will meet Marbella runner-up Jaume Munar for the second time. Three years ago, De Minaur needed five sets to get past the Spaniard in a thrilling semi-final battle at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

Alexander Bublik and Marton Fucsovics will also battle for a place in the second round on Stadium 3. The Kazakhstani won his only previous ATP Head2Head match against Fucsovics at last year’s Open 13 Provence in Marseille. Prior to that match, Tommy Paul and Spanish wild card Pedro Martinez will meet for the second time this year in a repeat of their first-round match at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

Russian stars Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov will all compete in doubles action on Sunday. Medvedev and his partner, Marcelo Demoliner, will face Miami and Monte-Carlo finalists Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski. Khachanov and Rublev will meet fellow singles stars Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman.

#NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti will attempt to reach the main draw in Madrid for the first time when he faces Spanish wild card Carlos Taberner in the final qualifying round. Musetti is one of four Italians aiming to reach the main draw, alongside Stefano Travaglia, Marco Cecchinato and Gianluca Mager.


WTA – K. Muchova (CZE) vs [2] N. Osaka (JPN)
WTA – [5] A. Sabalenka (BLR) vs D. Kasatkina (RUS)

Not Before 2:30 pm
D. Lajovic (SRB) vs [11] D. Shapovalov (CAN)
WTA – S. Zheng (CHN) vs [3] S. Halep (ROU)
WTA – J. Pegula (USA) vs [12] V. Azarenka (BLR)

Qualifying – M. Cecchinato (ITA) vs R. Carballes Baena (ESP)

Not Before 12:30 pm
WTA – [16] M. Sakkari (GRE) vs A. Kontaveit (EST)

Not Before 2:30 pm
WTA – [6] K. Pliskova (CZE) vs A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
WTA – J. Ostapenko (LAT) vs [11] J. Brady (USA)
WTA – [13] E. Mertens (BEL) vs E. Rybakina (KAZ)

STADIUM 3 start 11:00 am
Qualifying – P. Herbert (FRA) vs G. Mager (ITA)

Not Before 12:30 pm
[WC] P. Martinez (ESP) vs T. Paul (USA)
M. Fucsovics (HUN) vs A. Bublik (KAZ)
A. de Minaur (AUS) vs [WC] J. Munar (ESP)

COURT 4 start 12:00 noon
Qualifying – [WC] C. Taberner (ESP) vs L. Musetti (ITA)

Not Before 2:00 pm
WTA – [WC] P. Badosa (ESP) / S. Sorribes Tormo (ESP) vs [5] A. Guarachi (CHI) / D. Krawczyk (USA)
D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR) vs M. Demoliner (BRA) / D. Medvedev (RUS)

COURT 5 start 11:00 am
Qualifying – [2] Y. Nishioka (JPN) vs M. Giron (USA)

Not Before 1:00 pm
Qualifying – [WC] A. Cazaux (FRA) vs [10] A. Popyrin (AUS)
K. Khachanov (RUS) / A. Rublev (RUS) vs F. Fognini (ITA) / D. Schwartzman (ARG)

COURT 6 start 12:00 noon
Qualifying – J. Londero (ARG) vs [12] F. Delbonis (ARG)

Not Before 2:00 pm
Qualifying – [7] S. Travaglia (ITA) vs [13] P. Andujar (ESP)

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Tsitsipas: 'I Am Feeling Better On Court Than Ever Before'

  • Posted: May 01, 2021

Some players try not to pay too much attention to their FedEx ATP Ranking or standing in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. But not Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is well aware of his success in 2021 leading into the Mutua Madrid Open.

“I wanted to have a good kickstart like this. So far it’s looking good. I’m [on] the right track,” Tsitsipas said. “It has helped me to be at the top of the [FedEx ATP] Race To Turin. It’s important to have such an important head start. Of course, it adds a lot to confidence and [I am] feeling better on court than ever before.”

Tsitsipas, the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion, leads the Race by 350 points over second-placed Andrey Rublev. The 22-year-old knows that if he hopes to maintain that position, he will have to continue playing impressive tennis.

“I have to get these matches going, produce better tennis. We’ll have to fight again. It’s a new week for me. It will [be] a new week for me in Rome. All these tournaments are important. They carry a lot of points,” Tsitsipas said. “These tournaments are kind of opportunities for me to pursue something better. Right now I’m in the lead of the Race to Turin, which is very important for me. I want to conserve that and finish the year perhaps in the top three. That would be a good, fair goal for me for this year.”

The last time Madrid was played, in 2019, Tsitsipas defeated Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 final on clay. Now fresh off ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo and a run to the Barcelona championship, Tsitsipas will try to maintain his momentum.

“My expectations, I won’t lie to you, [are] to come as close to my result [from two years ago], which was [reaching] the final. I’m really pumped for this week, for the next week as well. I feel like I’m getting close. I feel like I can create opportunities and maybe get to [World] No. 4,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s something that has been in my mind. I don’t think there’s something wrong with [that], mainly because I’ve been working hard, I’ve been putting a lot of work in. I feel like that’s my opportunity to do something different.”

Tsitsipas was on the brink of upsetting Nadal in the Barcelona final, earning a championship point before the Spaniard rallied for his 12th title at the ATP 500 event. The six-time ATP Tour titlist was disappointed, but he took lessons from the experience.

“Probably that I will have to go for more at certain times during a match and not wait as much for him to give me something or wait for an opportunity from his side,” Tsitsipas said. “Sometimes I feel like I was too passive, thinking about it now. I could have risked a bit more. I could have probably done a few more unpredictable things that could have led to something different.”

Tsitsipas will hope to implement those lessons this week in Madrid, where he is the fourth seed and will begin his run against Nikoloz Basilashvili or Benoit Paire. The 22-year-old admits there is still plenty to improve.

“For sure, there is. I would like to be more consistent on my serve, play with a high percentage of first serves. I would like to see myself come more to the net and have a higher winning percentage on net points won,” Tsitsipas said. “Stuff like this is something that I’m aiming for, setting my attention towards these small details that will help me become a more aggressive and more complete player.”

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Bambridge/Inglot Make Team Breakthrough In Estoril

  • Posted: May 01, 2021

Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot advanced to their first team final on Saturday at the Millennium Estoril Open.

The Brits, who joined forced at the start of the 2021 ATP Tour season, saved all seven break points they faced to beat Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar 6-3, 6-4. Bambridge and Inglot were competing in their second semi-final as a team (1-1), after reaching the final four at the Singapore Open in February.


The unseeded pair denied Behar and Escobar a place in their fifth final of the season. Behar and Escobar, who have already lifted trophies in Delray Beach and Marbella in 2021, drop to 20-8 this year.

Bambridge and Inglot will face Hugo Nys and Tim Puetz in Sunday’s final. The Monegasque-German tandem outlasted second seeds Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan 3-6, 6-4, 14-12 in their semi-final encounter on Friday.

At the BMW Open in Munich, top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Kevin Krawietz will meet third seeds Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen in the final. Gille and Vliegen confirmed the final meeting with a 6-3, 6-7(2), 13-11 win against Dustin Brown and Peter Gojowczyk on Friday.

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The Nomadic Life With… Feliciano Lopez

  • Posted: May 01, 2021

Feliciano Lopez has clocked up thousands of airmiles in his 25 seasons as a pro. The Spaniard, who reached a career-high No. 12 in the FedEx ATP Rankings in March 2015, has combined his playing career with his role as Tournament Director of the Mutua Madrid Open since 2019. caught up with the 39-year-old, prior to the ATP Masters 1000 tournament, to learn about what life is like for him travelling on the ATP Tour…

What are two essential non-tennis items you always pack for trips?
I don’t know what is non-essential these days! Probably my iPad… I can’t think of anything else.

What item did you forget to bring one time that caused you distress?
I forgot my shoes a long time ago and I had to go out and buy a new pair.

Do you enjoy travelling the world or consider it just something that needs to be done to be a pro tennis player? If you do enjoy it, what do you enjoy about travelling?
I really enjoy it, but it’s also a privilege. We play tennis and it’s a part of our job, but I think it’s amazing to visit so many countries, experience so many different cultures.

I don’t like waiting to board flights at airports, so I try to avoid spending so much time in airports. I try to get there 90 minutes before an international flight, then, if I am in Madrid, leave one hour before a flight. I know how long it takes to get to Barajas airport and I know what roads not to go on.

I missed only one flight in my whole tennis career at Barcelona, when I wanted to fly from there to Lisbon. We had boarding cards, but we went for a coffee and were late at the gate and the plane had flown away.

Can you talk about a time you decided to play a specific tournament in part because you wanted to travel to that city?
The first time I played at the Australian Open in 2003. It’s a country where you’re not sure if you’ll visit. I was so happy to go there the first time, to discover it. I don’t think I could have had the chance to have gone to Australia if I hadn’t been a tennis player.

What is your favourite tournament city to visit and why?
It has to be Madrid of course, my city and my people, and London for [the cinch Championships at the] Queen’s Club. It’s very special to me.

Where is your favourite vacation destination?
I have been to the Maldives twice, it’s beautiful. I have a trip pending for a Kenyan safari, which we didn’t get to go on last year.

What is your craziest travel story?
The first time I flew from Qatar to New Zealand, almost 20 years ago. They didn’t have a direct flight to Auckland back then. I can’t recall the itinerary, but I arrived and I was completely lost for one week. I obviously lost in the first round that week!

I couldn’t adjust to the time difference and I remember saying to my coach at the time, ‘I am never going to play Qatar [the Qatar ExxonMobil Open] and Auckland [for the ASB Classic] again’. Then 15 years later, I did it once more.

As a tennis player, maintaining your body is of the utmost importance, so how do you take care of it during long trips?
I sleep a lot in planes. Sometimes I take a sleeping pill, if it is a very long flight. I watch movies and I try to eat, but it’s normally when I wake from my sleep. I try to rest and I am pretty good on planes.

Are there any routines or activities you do to create a sense of ‘home on the road’ to feel more comfortable?
My life at home is very different to my life on the ATP Tour. It’s about going to the court, practising, seeing the physio for treatment and spending time with my closest friends on Tour. My life away from the court is busy as I have a son, Dario. I try and separate my tennis life and my personal life.

How do you try to overcome jetlag and acclimate to the local time zone?
I try to stay awake as long as I can when I land in a city. I did find it easier when I was younger, but nowadays I do experience tough times with jetlag.

What factors into your decision to bring your child to a tournament and how may that change your routine?
I will be trying to bring my family on Tour with me, when things settle down. We’ve tried with waivers and other things and they came with me to Acapulco. It’s important to have the support, with all the travel restrictions. So if you have your family with you, it normalises what’s happening.

Do you prefer the sense of novelty and excitement of a tournament in a city you’ve never been to before or the comfort and familiarity of cities you know well?
I enjoy going back to the same tournaments, particularly those that I know I’ve done well at in the past. It gives you an immediate confidence boost.

Got any tips to get comfortable on a flight? And how do you pass the time?
I try to fly overnight normally, because it’s much easier for me to sleep. Anything to help me rest!

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Norrie Downs Cilic To Reach Estoril Final

  • Posted: May 01, 2021

Cameron Norrie added another chapter to his impressive 2021 success story on Saturday at the Millennium Estoril Open.

The World No. 50 withstood 16 aces and saved five of the six break points he faced to defeat former World No. 3 Marin Cilic 7-6(5), 7-5 for a place in his second tour-level championship match. Norrie is seeking his first ATP Tour title, more than two years after finishing as a runner-up at the 2019 ASB Classic in Auckland.

“I was really tough. I started a little bit slow and managed to ease my way into the match. [I] played really good when break point down and went after it,” Norrie said in his on-court interview. “[Marin] was serving great and it was really tricky to get his first serve back… I am fortunate to get through and I am just happy to be in my second final.”

This is the latest step in a remarkable 2021 campaign for the 25-year-old. Norrie has compiled 18 tour-level victories this season, which ties him with third-placed Jannik Sinner on the 2021 ATP Tour wins leaderboard. Only Monte-Carlo finalists Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev own more tour-level wins this year.

2021 ATP Tour Wins Leaderboard

Rank Player Win-Loss Record
T1 Stefanos Tsitsipas 26
Andrey Rublev 26
T3 Cameron Norrie 18
Jannik Sinner 18
T5 Daniil Medvedev 17
Aslan Karatsev 17

“I am playing good. I am competing really well and I am just really happy with myself,” Norrie said. “I am keeping a really consistent level, even on days [when] I am not quite feeling [my best]. I am still digging in there and making it physical and playing on my terms, being the one dictating points. I think that is the reason why I am having a bit of success. I just want to keep improving and keep getting better.”

The unseeded Brit attacked Cilic’s forehand and benefitted from poorly-timed double faults from the 2014 US Open champion to recover from 0-3 down in the first set. Norrie claimed the only break of the second set in the final game of the match, when he struck a forehand winner up the line to clinch victory. The 6’2” left-hander has defeated consecutive seeds to reach the final, following his quarter-final win against second seed Cristian Garin.

Norrie will meet Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the final. The Spaniard recovered from a break down in both sets to beat countryman Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-4. The 33-year-old converted five of his six break points to advance to his 10th ATP Tour final (2-7) after 77 minutes.

Ramos-Vinolas’ victory against Davidovich Fokina extended his lead at the top of the 2021 tour-level clay-court wins list. The World No. 46 owns 15 victories on the surface this season, six clear of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Pablo Carreno Busta and Federico Delbonis, who are tied in second place with nine clay wins this year.

Ramos-Vinolas will attempt to extend his unbeaten 2-0 ATP Head2Head record against Norrie in the final. The two-time ATP Tour titlist won both his previous encounters against Norrie on clay.

“I am really happy… I am fighting a lot [and I am] tactically [doing] good,” Ramos-Vinolas said in his post-match interview. “Tomorrow is another match, another day and I have a really tough opponent who [has been] playing really good tennis [throughout] the season. Last week, he played three good matches and this week he has beaten very good players. I think tomorrow will be very difficult.”

Did You Know?
Norrie is aiming to become the first player to win both the singles and doubles titles at the Millennium Estoril Open. The Brit captured the doubles trophy alongside countryman Kyle Edmund in 2018.

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Struff Reaches First ATP Tour Final In Munich

  • Posted: May 01, 2021

Jan-Lennard Struff bounced back from a slow start on Saturday to book a place in his first ATP Tour final at the BMW Open. The seventh-seeded German broke a seven-match losing streak in semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka in 87 minutes.

“I am happy to have reached my first final on home soil in Germany and I will try my best tomorrow,” said the 31-year-old from Warstein, a 360-mile car ride north of Munich.


Struff will next challenge fifth-seeded Georgia Nikoloz Basilashvili in Sunday’s final. Struff is tied at 2-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against Basilashvili, who won their recent Sardegna Open quarter-final clash 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.

Ivashka raced out to a 3-0 lead, before Struff started to find his service rhythm and forehand range. Struff, who saved three break points at 4-3, closed out the 48-minute opener with an unreturned serve.

Ivashka showed fighting spirit by saving three break points in the opening game of the second set, but Struff make the breakthrough two games later with a powerful backhand. The German gained a 4-1 advantage with a forehand return winner and didn’t look back.

The 27-year-old Ivashka, who beat two-time former champion and top seed Alexander Zverev on Friday, had also been attempting to reach his first ATP Tour final.

In the second semi-final, Basilashvili swept past second-seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-1, 6-2 in 71 minutes for a place in his seventh ATP Tour final (4-2 record).

Basilashvili, who captured his fourth title in March at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (d. Bautista Agut), won nine straight games from 0-1 in the first set to establish a 3-0 lead in the second set. Ruud, who was appearing in his 10th tour-level semi-final, is now 12-5 on the season.

“I am feeling good and I am feeling fresh,” said Basilashvili. “I am looking forward to the final. I feel confident here and the court suits me, so it will be an interesting match tomorrow as we played recently in Italy.”

This morning, Ruud completed a 6-3, 6-4 quarter-final victory over eighth-seeded Australian John Millman in one hour and 31 minutes, which had been interrupted by rain on Friday. Basilashvili also overcame Slovakian lucky loser Norbert Gombos 6-4, 6-4 in 84 minutes.

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Can Mektic/Pavic Continue Masters 1000 Dominance In Madrid?

  • Posted: May 01, 2021

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic enter the Mutua Madrid Open with an unbeaten 9-0 record in ATP Masters 1000 events. The second seeds will attempt to extend that run in the Spanish capital with their third trophy of the year at the level.

This year’s Miami and Monte-Carlo champions have been in peak form throughout the year, with 29 wins from 32 matches and five trophies from six finals. The Croatian pair will open its Madrid title bid against John Peers and Michael Venus or Max Purcell and Luke Saville in the second round.

The opening two Masters 1000 events of the year produced identical finals, with Mektic and Pavic defeating Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski in both the Miami and Monte-Carlo finals. That will not be possible at La Caja Magica, with the two teams both featuring in the bottom quarter of the draw.

View Madrid Doubles Draw

Evans and Skupski will meet Marcelo Demoliner and Daniil Medvedev in their tournament opener and will face the winner of Wesley Koolhof and Lukasz Kubot’s first-round clash against Greek wild cards Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The two teams that contested this year’s Australian Open final — Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek and Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury — also feature in the bottom half of the draw.

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah will attempt to collect their third trophy of the season in Madrid. The top seeds enter the tournament on a four-match unbeaten run, having not dropped a set en route to the Barcelona title last week. The Colombians will face Spanish wild cards Marc Lopez and Jaume Munar or Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov in the second round.

Eight seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares join Cabal and Farah in the top quarter. The Great Ocean Road Open champions will meet 2017 champion Marcelo Melo and two-time winner Jean-Julien Rojer (2016, ’19) in the first round. The winner of that encounter will face 2020 Rolex Paris Masters champions Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz or Tim Puetz and Alexander Zverev in the second round.

Last year’s Rome champions Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos and sixth seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut lead the way in the second quarter. Granollers and Zeballos await the winners of the blockbuster first-round clash between two-time Masters 1000 finalists Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev and Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman. Herbert and Mahut will meet 2019 Roland Garros finalists Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in their first match.

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