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Cabal/Farah Continue Chase For First Roland Garros Title

  • Posted: Jun 05, 2021

Second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah advanced to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Australians Max Purcell and Luke Saville.

The Colombians, who are three-time semi-finalists in Paris, won 91 per cent of their first-serve points and did not face a break point in a dominating display. They improved to a 19-8 record for the season, having won two titles this year at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

Their reward is a clash with Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau after the ninth seeds edged out Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in one hour and 38 minutes. The German-Romanian team hit eight aces against the seventh seeds on their way to victory as Krawietz goes in search for a third straight Roland Garros title. He has won the previous two titles at the clay-court major alongside countryman Andreas Mies, who is recovering from right knee surgery.

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Elsewhere, Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev upset Dutchmen Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4. The Kazakhstanis won 74 per cent of points behind their first serves and broke the 11th seeds twice. They will play either Hugo Nys and Tim Puetz or Benoit Paire and Romain Arneodo next.

Nikola Cacic and Tomislav Brkic also moved into the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Simone Bolelli and Maximo Gonzalez to set up a possible clash against sixth seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. The Frenchmen face Robin Haase and Jan-Lennard Struff on Sunday.

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Sinner Shines, Sets Potential Nadal Rematch At Roland Garros

  • Posted: Jun 05, 2021

Jannik Sinner battled past Mikael Ymer 6-1, 7-5, 6-3 on Saturday to join fellow #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti in the fourth round at Roland Garros. The pair’s victories, with Musetti defeating Marco Cecchinato, means it is the first time two teenagers have reached the fourth round at Roland Garros since Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils achieved the feat in 2006.

Sinner, who hit 43 winners, crucially saved a set point to break back at 4-5 in the second, which helped him regain momentum as he marched to victory in two hours and 22 minutes. The Italian broke Ymer five times to improve to 2-1 in his ATP Head2Head against the 22-year-old.

The 18th seed broke into the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time in April and will next play either Rafael Nadal, against whom he lost to in the quarter-finals in Paris last year, or Briton Cameron Norrie. 

The 19-year-old Italian, who captured his second ATP Tour title in February at the Great Ocean Road Open (d. Travaglia) and reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in March at the Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Hurkacz), is now 24-10 on the season.

Sinner was dominant in the opening set, as he won 58 per cent of points on Ymer’s first serve. The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion used his heavy forehand to cause difficulties for the 22-year-old, who made 13 unforced errors.

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Ymer quickly raised his level in the second set and after saving three break points at 2-3, he gained the advantage himself to move 4-3 ahead when Sinner fired a backhand into the net. He played more aggressively, stepping into the court to notch nine winners, eight more than he hit in set one. However, Ymer failed to serve out the set, as Sinner hammered a forehand into the open court to level the score before breaking again to move ahead.

Just like the second set, the third continued to be a tight affair with Sinner fending off eight break points while Ymer saved three himself. With both showing excellent consistency from the baseline, it was Sinner who found the breakthrough at 4-3 when Ymer missed a forehand long. The Italian then held serve to advance.

Ymer defeated Roberto Carballes Baena and 14th seed Gael Monfils to reach the third round in Paris and equal his best Grand Slam Performance (Australian Open 3R, 2021). However, the World. No. 105 failed to become the first Swede to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros since Robin Soderling in 2011.

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Preview: Federer Facing Another New Challenge At Roland Garros

  • Posted: Jun 05, 2021

Empty stands, ‘bubble’ environments, players having to handle their own towels – the ATP Tour has changed a lot since Roger Federer was forced to step away from the sport in February 2020. Now in the first Grand Slam appearance of his comeback to action, the former World No. 1 will face another brand-new challenge as he gears up for his first night session on Saturday at Roland Garros. 

The 2009 champion was quick to keep expectations in check ahead of Roland Garros, his third tournament of the year. Federer earned a 1-2 record across ATP 250 events in Doha and Geneva, and according to the Swiss, regaining his match fitness has only been part of the challenge.


“I think [I’m] getting used to tournament and match rhythm again, the whole thing with the towels there, the shot clock there, everything that goes with it,” Federer said after his first-round match in Paris. “I really felt like I didn’t find the rhythm [in Geneva]… I think that’s what got me at the end.” 

With five matches under his belt in 2021, eighth seed Federer will hope he’s gotten the hang of it as he takes on 27-year-old Dominik Koepfer in the new night session on Court Philippe-Chatrier. It will be his first meeting against the No. 59-ranked German, who is into this stage at Roland Garros for the first time. Koepfer is the 347th different opponent that Federer has faced in his career.

“He’s so crafty. He’s so talented. It’s amazing to watch him play,” Koepfer said of Federer. “He’s different than all the other players, and I hope Roger wins [his second-round match] just so I can say I played him. I don’t just want to play him, I want to give him a battle and maybe come out with a win somehow.”


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The winner of Federer and Koepfer will go on to face either ninth seed Matteo Berrettini or South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon, who will meet for the first time on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

In the Chatrier day session, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will take the court against Ricardas Berankis looking to improve his 3-0 ATP Head2Head lead against the Lithuanian. Djokovic dropped just five games in the pair’s most recent meeting at last year’s Roland Garros. 

Djokovic, who landed in the same section as Federer and could meet him in the quarter-finals, has yet to drop a set in Paris. He arrived at the year’s second Grand Slam high on confidence after reaching an ATP Masters 1000 final on clay in Rome and lifting his 83rd tour-level trophy in Belgrade.

“I’m playing well, feeling great. I’m ready to go deep in this tournament,” Djokovic declared after his second-round victory over Pablo Cuevas. “Hopefully that’s gonna be the case, but I’ll take it match by match, and so far the two matches that I have played have been played [at] a high quality.”

The winner will face an Italian opponent in the fourth round: either Parma finalist Marco Cecchinato or #NextGenATP Lorenzo Musetti, one of three players under 20 who reached the third round.

Third seed Rafael Nadal will continue his quest for a record-extending 14th Coupe des Mousquetaires on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, where he will face Cameron Norrie for the third time this season. The Spaniard claimed a comfortable victory over the Brit in their most recent meeting en route to the trophy in Barcelona (d. Tsitsipas) in April.

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But Norrie has been turning heads this season, especially on the red clay, where he has reached two finals at ATP 250 events in Estoril (l. Ramos-Vinolas) and Lyon (l. Tsitsipas). In Estoril, Norrie stunned Cristian Garin and Marin Cilic, while in Lyon he earned the biggest win of his career over Dominic Thiem.

“Every week he’s making good results, winning against very good players,” Nadal said. “I know [it is] going to be a tough one. I need to be ready to play my best. I know he has a style of game that is not easy to play against. I need to play well.”

Nadal or Norrie will take on the winner of #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner, the 18th seed, and 22-year-old Swede Mikael Ymer, who will be in action on Court 14.


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Keen tennis fans will want to keep an eye on Court Simonne-Mathieu as two unseeded players, qualifier Carlos Alcaraz and Jan-Lennard Struff, battle for a spot in the second week. Alcaraz, 18, has already impressed by advancing to the third round in Paris, the best Grand Slam result of his young career in only his second main draw appearance. 

Read More: #NextGenATP Alcaraz, Part Of The Youth Revolution In Paris

“The first match you have to win is against yourself,” Alcaraz told “In the end, knowing how to manage your emotions is very important and I’m getting better at that.”

Struff, 31, is bidding for his second fourth-round appearance here after pulling off one of the biggest early-tournament upsets with a defeat of seventh seed Andrey Rublev in his opening match. A meeting with either 10th seed Diego Schwartzman or Philipp Kohlschreiber, who will open the day’s action on Lenglen, awaits the winner.

Click Here To View Full Day 7 Order Of Play.

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Signed At 11, Alcaraz Investment Now Paying Rich Dividends

  • Posted: Jun 05, 2021

Carlos Alcaraz’s first steps towards professionalism came almost a decade ago, away from the media spotlight that now accompanies him as he prepares to fight Saturday for a second-week berth at Roland Garros. Already he is the youngest player to reach the third round of the clay-court major in the past 29 years. It came at an event on the old Nike Junior Tour, for young promising players. Back then, he began to build the framework of the team that today allows the current No. 97 in the FedEx ATP Rankings to shine.

“I started watching Carlitos when he was 10 years old at under-11 tournaments,” explains Albert Molina, the Murcia native’s agent and former representative of David Ferrer and Nicolás Almagro. “He left a very good impression on me. I remember him as a skinny kid who did a lot of things well. I was following him a lot and I tried to convince his parents to work with me. I knew I could help them with everything they needed in the development and progress of their son. At 11 years of age, after eight months watching him, his father decided it was a good idea, although he still thought maybe it was premature to have an agent at such a young age”.

In those days, Molina had two mountains to climb: Not only did he need to win over Alcaraz’s parents, he also had to defend his decision to multinational IMG, one of the biggest sports agencies in the world.

“I really pressured IMG to include such a young player,” admits Molina. “Seven years ago it wasn’t normal to start working with an 11-year-old boy, but I really believed in him and I thought that if we did things right we could get good results. He hasn’t come close to letting us down. I didn’t know that he would be among the Top 80 in the world at 18, and I would be lying if I told you otherwise. I did know that he was a player with huge potential to do big things, above all if he was well guided.”

Shortly before his 15th birthday, and after helping him sign with a racquet sponsor (Babolat) and a sports clothing company (Lotto), Molina made a key move for Alcaraz’s future: finding an experienced, first-rate coach who was willing to embark on a long-term project and take him as far as possible. The man he settled on was former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero.

“Carlitos was playing in a Futures tournament in Murcia and I told Ferrero to come and see him,” remembers the manager. “Straight away you saw something different. There were players of his age that only did two things, but they did them very well, really making the most of them,” he continues. “With him it was the opposite. He had such a variety that he would often get it wrong by not being organised, he would get mixed up. In one point he would approach the net, open up angles, play a slice, a lob…,” he adds. “And you could already see his winning character, bravery and daring”.

After reaching an agreement with Ferrero, starting out on an adventure that continues to this day, Alcaraz adjusted to an intermediate training system: he would travel to Equelite, Ferrero’s academy in Villena, for two days and spend the rest of the time Murcia, where his life was. That would progressively change with the goal of the player spending more time at the academy with his coach.

Although he only became an adult a few weeks ago, Alcaraz already has a perfectly organised team that goes far beyond Molina and Ferrero: in Villena, Alberto Lledó (fitness coach) and Juanjo Moreno (physio); in Murcia, Álex Sánchez (fitness coach), Fran Rubio (physio) and Juan José López (doctor).

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“That’s why I sought out Juan Carlos, to convince him and organise a professional team for him,” explains Molina. “The most difficult thing is detecting talent at that age, but the next step is trying to build a good structure. That’s the way to go for a player to reach his full potential”.

It’s clear that Alcaraz is still yet to reach that potential, but his results on the ATP Tour hint at plenty of success in the coming years.

“For example, when he was growing, he started to produce spectacular ball speed on his forehand,” says Molina. “These things are invisible. Luckily, I’ve followed the last 25 generations of 14-year-olds and that’s helped me compare Carlos with other great players at that age. In my 25 years, he is one of the ones who had the biggest impact. Without a doubt, he has a place among a special group of tennis players”.

– This story first appeared on’s Spanish website.

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Tsitsipas Topples Isner In Four Sets To Reach Second Week In Paris

  • Posted: Jun 05, 2021

Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas stood tall after dropping the opening set to John Isner, rallying for a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-1 victory on Friday night to book a place in the fourth round at Roland Garros. 

The Greek player was tested by the 6’10” American across four sets on Court Philippe-Chatrier, but he emerged victorious after two hours and 38 minutes to claim a tour-leading 36th win on the season. Tsitsipas, who reached the semi-finals here last year, also added a 19th clay-court victory to his 2021 count – the joint-most among all players, alongside Federico Delbonis. 

After claiming his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Rublev), Tsitsipas has continued to tear through draws in the clay-court season. The FedEx ATP Race To Turin leader lifted another trophy in Lyon and held match point against Rafael Nadal in the final of the ATP 500 event in Barcelona. 

By contrast, 31st seed Isner arrived in Paris after playing only one tournament on clay courts – but he made his mark at the Mutua Madrid Open with victories over Roberto Bautista Agut and Andrey Rublev on his way to the quarter-finals. 

Into the fourth round for the third year in a row, Tsitsipas will face 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta for a spot in the quarter-finals. The Spaniard comfortably overcame Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 on Court Simonne-Mathieu earlier in the day. 

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The big-hitting American had Tsitsipas under pressure from the start as Isner raced through his service games. Isner dropped only five points across six service games, winning three of those games to love. 

The Greek player faced break points in his opening service game, and it was an uphill battle from there when the American took his opportunities at 5-5. Dictating play with his forehand and successful forays to the net, Isner broke late in the set after earning a backhand error from Tsitsipas before sealing the set with an ace. 

But the American’s first-serve percentage began to dip in the second set, giving Tsitsipas more looks at the big-server’s second delivery. After failing to convert on three break points after taking a 40/0 lead against Isner’s serve at 2-1, Tsitsipas found himself in danger a few games later. Tsitsipas, who has done well to keep his emotions in check all season long, got himself fired up at 3-3 as he saved a break point. That seemed to galvanise the Greek, who earned his first break on the Isner serve in the next game before closing out the set. 

The fifth seed edged through in a tie-break to win a tightly contested third set. With both players serving at a high level – Tsitsipas won 95 per cent of points (20/21) behind his first serve, Isner won 92 per cent (22/24) – there were no break points on offer as they went into a decider. Tsitsipas went after his returns, and earned the decisive mini-break after a missed drop shot from Isner at 6/3 to take the set. 

With Isner looking deflated after failing to take the third set, Tsitsipas raced through the fourth with two more breaks of serve. The Greek player closed out the match with 40 winners and 19 unforced errors, to Isner’s 52 and 29, respectively.

Did You Know?
At 22 years 305 days, Stefanos Tsitsipas is bidding to become the youngest Grand Slam men’s singles champion since Juan Martin del Potro won the 2009 US Open aged 20 years 355 days.

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