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New To Grass? No Problem For Karatsev At Queen's Club

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2021

Aslan Karatsev arrived at the cinch Championships without a grass-court tour-level match on his resumé, but it did not take the Russian long to adjust on Monday evening.

The 2021 breakthrough star rallied past Chilean lucky loser Alejandro Tabilo 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the second round at The Queen’s Club. Karatsev had only previously played four tournaments on this surface at any level — including two Wimbledon qualifying attempts in 2014 and 2015 — and tallied a 1-4 record.

“[It’s] completely different than the other surfaces,” Karatsev said in his on-court interview. “It was the first match, a tough opponent, lefty. I got used to it and in the end I found the way to manage it.”

The fifth seed struggled gaining control of points in the first set, in which he did not earn a break point. But Karatsev found his rhythm as the match wore on, and he won 75 per cent of his second-serve points en route to a one-hour, 38-minute victory.

“The second set was a bit tricky. I broke him, and then in the third set he started really slowly,” Karatsev said. “I got used to his serve and I returned everything that I could. It was easier for me [from there].”

Karatsev will next play British lefty Cameron Norrie, who clawed past Spanish veteran Albert Ramos-Vinolas 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 earlier in the day. This will be their first ATP Head2Head meeting.

Norrie, like Karatsev, has enjoyed the best season of his career and he is up to a career-high No. 41 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The 25-year-old is now 26-12 in 2021, putting him fourth on this year’s match wins leaderboard according to Infosys ATP Stats.

Also moving on was two-time tournament champion Feliciano Lopez, who overpowered qualifier Illya Marchenko 6-1, 7-6(6) behind 12 aces. The 39-year-old Spaniard lifted both the singles and double (w/Andy Murray) trophies here two years ago. 

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De Minaur And Norrie Advance At Queen's

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2021

Alex de Minaur and Cameron Norrie got their cinch Championships doubles campaign underway with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Italian team Matteo Berrettini and Andrea Vavassori at Queen’s on Monday in London.

The Australian-British pair won 70 per cent (30/43) of their first-service points and saved both break points they faced to set up a second-round clash with third seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.

British tandem Dominic Inglot and Luke Bambridge also advanced as they eased past compatriots James Ward and Stuart Parker 6-3, 6-2 in 54 minutes. They next will play second-seeded Colombian pair Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

It was a winning start for Frenchmen Adrian Mannarino and Benoit Paire as well, as they won 53 per cent (9/17) of points on John Millman and Artem Sitak’s second serve’s to win 6-4, 7-6(4).

Over at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle, Nikola Cacic and Tomislav Brkic fought back to overcome German duo Dustin Brown and Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 in the first round.

Brkic and Cacic reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros (l. to Herbert/Mahut) and started the grass swing with a win to move to 16-10 on the season. They will now face third seeds Horia Tecau and Kevin Krawietz.

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz joined forces to beat Russian team Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 10-5 in another close battle. Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz, who hit 12 aces on the way to victory, play Jean-Julien Rojer and Wesley Koolhof in the second round.


Elsewhere, Sam Querrey and Austin Krajicek moved past German tandem Daniel Masur and Rudolf Molleker 6-3, 7-5, while Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan defeated Radu Albot and Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(6), 6-4.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Withdraws From Halle

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas has withdrawn from the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle due to personal reasons. The Greek had been scheduled to play singles and doubles alongside his younger brother, Petros Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas is replaced in the singles draw by German Yannick Hanfmann, and Hanfmann and Dominik Koepfer will take the Tsitsipas brothers’ places in the doubles field.

The 22-year-old star reached his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros. Tsitsipas took a two-set lead against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Sunday to move to the brink of lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires, but he fell in five sets.

The top seed in Halle is World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, who will begin his tournament on Tuesday against Jan-Lennard Struff.

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Korda Upsets Bautista Agut In First Grass Match

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2021

#NextGenATP star Sebastian Korda wasted no time finding his feet on his grass-court debut Monday in Halle.

The 20-year-old upset sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 7-6(0) to reach the second round of the NOVENTI OPEN. Korda had never previously played a tour-level match on the surface.

“In the biggest moments I saved a lot of break points, stayed super calm and I never really backed off,” Korda said in his on-court interview. “I kept moving forward, kept going to net and kept doing my thing.”

Korda looked comfortable despite his lack of experience on this surface. The World No. 52 credited that to a training block with his fitness trainer ahead of this tournament.

“We were on some soccer fields moving around and just getting the feel for things,” Korda said. “I think the grass really suits my game. I’m a big hitter, I try to come into net and be aggressive.”

Bautista Agut, who returned to the Top 10 this week for the first time since September at World No. 10, made the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2019. But Korda took the action to the Spaniard and saved seen of the nine break points he faced.

“I stuck to my game plan,” Korda said. “I played aggressively and I just really enjoyed myself today.”


The American will next play former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori or Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis.

In other action, Frenchman Corentin Moutet advanced past seventh seed David Goffin. Moutet levelled the match at 1-6, 7-5 when Goffin retired. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up slipped during a point early in the second set. Although Goffin completed the set, he was unable to continue after that.

American qualifier Marcos Giron moved on with a 7-6(4), 7-6(6) victory against Canadian Vasek Pospisil. Giron will play top seed Daniil Medvedev or big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff yet.

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Federer Makes Winning Start To Grass Season In Halle

  • Posted: Jun 14, 2021

Roger Federer made a good start to his grass-court season on Monday with a 7-6(4), 7-5 win against Ilya Ivashka in the first round of the NOVENTI OPEN.

“[I] had a tough moment early on in the first set when he had break points, so that was crucial to get out of those,” Federer said in his on-court interview. “And then I played a really good tie-break, which I was happy about. I think as the match went on I started to create more opportunities and started to also calm my nerves a bit.

“Overall I think I served very well. Clearly, I can always be a little bit better, but I’m very happy and excited that I was able to get through the first one.”


The Swiss superstar has made clear that he has been building up for this grass-court season. And in his first match on the surface since 2019, Federer did not lose serve and advanced after one hour and 35 minutes, setting a second-round clash against Felix Auger-Aliassime or Hubert Hurkacz.

“I missed it. I hadn’t played a tournament [on grass] in two years on this surface,” Federer said. “I’ve done the hard courts, I’ve done the clay and now [I am] on the grass. It’s been great being back here in Halle. I love playing here.”

This is the 39-year-old’s fourth tournament of the season following a quarter-final showing in Doha, a second-round loss in Geneva and a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros, where he withdrew before playing Matteo Berrettini.

There was a significant gulf between Federer and Ivashka’s experience on this surface. The Belarusian had previously played four tour-level matches on grass, while the former World No. 1 has won 19 grass-court titles, including 10 in Halle. With his victory, Federer is now 69-7 at this tournament.

Although Ivashka had not had a lot of grass-court experience, he walked on court Monday with confidence. Not only did he qualify for this tournament, but he pushed Rafael Nadal to three sets in Barcelona and made the semi-finals in Munich. 

The World No. 90 dominated on serve for a large majority of the match and did not face a break point until his 11th service game. Ivashka saved a match point at 4-5 in the second set when he barely squeezed a backhand volley into the net. But Federer did not slip a 0/40 advantage in his next return game. On the Swiss’ fourth match point, Ivashka missed a low forehand approach shot into the net for the only break of the match.

Federer has now won 10 of his past 11 matches at this ATP 500. The 103-time tour-level titlist was not at his flying best, but he was never under threat, winning 77 per cent of his first-serve points and saving the two break points he faced.

“I’m excited to be back on the green grass,” Federer said. “And getting a win is obviously always very nice.

Did You Know?
Federer has advanced to at least the quarter-finals in each of his 17 previous appearances in Halle. The last time he failed to make the semi-finals at this event was in 2001, when he was 19.

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