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Alcaraz Races Past Martin Into Umag QFs

  • Posted: Jul 22, 2021

#NextGenATP Carlos Alcaraz overcame an early deficit to charge past Andrej Martin 6-3, 6-1 on Wednesday at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag and power into his second ATP Tour quarter-final.

The 18-year-old has been on a steady climb up the FedEx ATP Rankings in 2021. He entered Umag as the seventh seed – his first appearance as a seeded player at a tour-level event – and one spot shy of his career-high of World No. 72. With the victory over Martin, he has amassed a 12-10 record on the season, highlighted by a run to the semi-finals in Marbella in April.

He was made to work by 31-year-old Slovakian Martin, who raced to an early lead on Goran Ivanisevic Stadion – as the court’s namesake, who was recently inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, watched on from the stands. Martin took a 3-1 lead with an early break as Alcaraz, who sported heavy taping on his right arm and elbow, needed a few games to settle into the match. But once the Spaniard found his footing, there was no looking back. 

The 18-year-old raised his level to break straight back, and won five consecutive games from 1-3 to seal the opening set. The same pattern emerged in the second set: Martin took an early lead with a break at 1-0, but Alcaraz never let him race away with it. He responded by winning six games in a row and closing out the victory in an hour and 16 minutes.


Alcaraz will next face third seed Filip Krajinovic, after the Serbian player won 76 per cent (28/37) of first-serve points to defeat Radu Albot 6-4, 6-2. Krajinovic improved to 10-7 in clay-court matches on the season, and booked a spot into his fourth quarter-final of the year.

Second seed Dusan Lajovic also won on Thursday in Umag, needing an hour and 51 minutes to take down Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-5, 6-4. Lajovic, who also reached the last eight on clay in Hamburg and Belgrade, converted four of his 12 break opportunities en route to victory. He will next face Daniel Altmaier, after the German qualifier upset eighth seed Gianluca Mager with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 comeback win. 

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Huesler/Stricker March On In Gstaad

  • Posted: Jul 22, 2021

Marc-Andrea Huesler and Dominic Stephan Stricker continued their impressive partnership in their second ATP Tour event together as they eased past Federico Delbonis and Guillermo Duran 6-1, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals at the Swiss Open Gstaad.

The Swiss pair did not face a break point as they advanced in 54 minutes. They will next face French team Benoit Paire and Arthur Rinderknech after they won 92 per cent (34/37) of their first-service points to overcome Americans Robert Galloway and Alex Lawson 7-5, 6-4.


Polish duo Szymon Walkow and Jan Zielinski also advanced to the last four with a hard-fought 6-4, 6-7(7), 10-7 win against Dustin Brown and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn.

Walkow and Zielinski squandered two match points in the second set before coming through in the Match Tie-break. They will next play Jakub Paul and Leandro Riedi after they received a walkover from Zizou Bergs and Tallon Griekspoor.

Elsewhere, at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, top seeds Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic eased past Roman Jebavy and Jiri Vesely 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the semi-finals. They will next face Croatians Ivan Sabanov and Matej Sabanov after they moved through with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Damir Dzumhur and Antonio Sancic.

David Vega Hernandez and Fernando Romboli also advanced as they saved four match points to defeat Admir Kalender and Mili Poljicak 3-6, 7-5, 16-14. Radu Albot and Pedro Martinez await next after the Moldovian-Spanish tandem beat Italians Marco Cecchinato and Stefano Travaglia 6-4, 6-1.

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Kopriva Shocks Shapovalov In Gstaad

  • Posted: Jul 22, 2021

Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva sprung a major surprise on Thursday at the Swiss Open Gstaad as he fought back to defeat top-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to record a career-best win.

The 24-year-old, who is making his ATP Tour debut this week, won 82 per cent (27/33) of his first-service points as he rallied back to overcome the World No. 10 in one hour and 49 minutes. He will face Mikael Ymer in the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 event after the Swede saved two match points to move past Feliciano Lopez 6-7(6), 7-6(7), 6-4.


Kopriva is currently at a career-high No. 249 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He is the lowest-ranked player to beat a Top 10 opponent since then World No. 698 Thanasi Kokkinakis defeated former World No. 6 Milos Raonic at The Queen’s Club in 2017.

Shapovalov dictated play in the first set as he stepped inside the baseline and forced Kopriva back with his heavy topspin on his groundstrokes. The top seed raced 5-2 ahead and sealed the first set with one of the 11 aces he hit in the match.

The whole contest changed at the start of the second set though, when Kopriva moved into a 3-0 lead as he struck the ball with greater power to force Shapovalov into errors. Despite being broken back, Kopriva quickly regained his advantage as he served well to level. He continued to play consistently from the baseline in the third set, chasing down every ball as he disrupted Shapovalov’s rhythm to claim a massive win.

Shapovalov enjoyed a run to his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon earlier this month (l. to Djokovic). Having reached the final at the Gonet Geneva Open (l. Ruud) in May, the Canadian was seeking his first ATP Tour title since capturing the Stockholm Open in 2019.

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Fritz Goes Behind The Scenes In Los Cabos

  • Posted: Jul 22, 2021

American Taylor Fritz is competing at the Mifel Open this week, just six weeks after undergoing knee surgery following Roland Garros. While the 22-year-old’s focus is fully on the court, he has found time this week to explore the new tournament venue in Los Cabos, which is built from nature.

The Cabo Sports Complex has been developed by using materials from the land, with the walls and the structure of the area built from natural minerals. Fritz is a massive advocate of the ATP 250 venue that holds the tag line, ‘Sync With Nature’.

“It almost feels like a vacation,” Fritz said. “It is always nice being out here. The whole decoration is built off the land which is really cool. I think this venue is so great for the fans, so I am really excited for the future.”

The complex, which is based by the desert, is only set to improve in the future, with a 3,500 seater stadium court set to be ready for next year. It possess 16 acres of space, which makes it Los Cabos’ largest complex that is available to the public.

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Ruud Rolls On In Gstaad

  • Posted: Jul 22, 2021

Third seed Casper Ruud continued his strong clay-court form on Thursday as he moved past Dennis Novak 6-4, 7-6(5) in his opening match at the Swiss Open Gstaad to reach the quarter-finals.

The Norwegian, who claimed his second ATP Tour title of this season last week at the Nordea Open (d. Coria), won 89 per cent (17/19) of his first-service points and did not face a break point in a dominant display. He will next play either sixth-seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire or Tallon Griekspoor.


Ruud struck the ball well throughout from the baseline, hitting with great depth as he moved the Austrian about. He found the decisive break in the 10th game of the first set to move ahead and raised his level in the second set tie-break to advance in one hour and 38 minutes.

The 22-year-old has now won 21 clay-court matches this season and rose to 10th place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin after winning the trophy in Bastad last week. He is aiming for a third ATP Tour title of the year this week, having also clinched the Gonet Geneva Open (d. Shapovalov) in May.

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Isner, Fritz Survive Three-Set Battles In Los Cabos

  • Posted: Jul 22, 2021

Second-seeded American John Isner delivered a service masterclass on Wednesday to overcome Evgeny Donskoy of Russia 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(5) in two hours and 12 minutes at the Mifel Open.

In their first ATP Head2Head meeting for eight years, Isner struck 25 aces and won 50 of 55 first-service points (91 per cent) for his 10th win of the season.


“It was a very difficult match, a struggle out there,” said Isner, after he reached the Los Cabos quarter-finals. “I knew it was going to be tough. I didn’t have a lot of confidence coming into the match.

“[At 36 years of age] I just try to stay in shape and take care of my body. It’s not about time on the practice court, but time in the gym and stretching to feel good. I think I do a good job of that.”

Isner now plays Australian Alex Bolt, a 6-3, 6-1 victor over Emilio Gomez of Ecuador.


Taylor Fritz needed seven match points to complete a 6-1, 6-7(7), 7-5 win over Illya Marchenko of Ukraine at 1:50am local time Thursday.

The third-seeded American struck 15 aces, and lost just eight of his first-service points (43/51) for victory over two hours and 52 minutes at the Cabo Sports Complex. He will next challenge sixth-seeded compatriot Steve Johnson.

Fritz looked to be on course for a routine win when he clinched the first set in 25 minutes, but having failed to convert three break points in the second set, Marchenko grew in confidence. The Ukrainian saved three match points at 5/6, 7/8 and 8/9 in the tie-break.

The former World No. 49 missed a forehand that would have given him a 3-1 lead in the decider, which featured four consecutive service breaks, and later saved three more match points at 4-5. Ultimately, Fritz held on and completed his 16th victory of the year (16-11) after back-to-back double faults from Marchenko.

Fritz has reached two ATP Tour semi-finals this year at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (l. to Basilashvili) and the Sardegna Open in Cagliari (l. to Sonego).

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2020 Tokyo Olympics Draw: Djokovic In Zverev & Rublev's Half

  • Posted: Jul 22, 2021

Novak Djokovic will continue his historic pursuit of a Golden Grand Slam at the Tokyo Olympics, which begins on Saturday, but may need to overcome Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev to reach the gold medal match.

The World No. 1, who has compiled a 34-3 match record and won the first three Grand Slam championships of the year, will begin his quest at the Ariake Tennis Park against Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien.

Competing at his fourth Olympic Games, Djokovic could face Lorenzo Musetti, the #NextGenATP Italian star in the third round. The Serbian superstar fought back from two-sets-to-love down against Musetti in the Roland Garros fourth round last month. Djokovic may potentially meet Rublev for the first time in the quarter-finals and then hope to extend a five-match winning streak against Zverev in the semi-finals.

The 34-year-old Djokovic clinched the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (d. Blake), but lost to Juan Martin del Potro in bronze medal match at the 2012 London Olympics and to the Argentine star in the 2016 Rio Olympics first round.

Germany’s Steffi Graf remains the only tennis player to have captured all four majors in a season and an Olympics gold medal in 1988.

View 2020 Tokyo Olympics Draws (PDFs): Singles | Doubles

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, who will make his Olympic debut in the same half of the draw as third-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, begins his campaign against Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan. Tsitsipas opens against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, while Rublev takes on Rio bronze medallist Kei Nishikori of Japan in the first round.

Great Britain’s Andy Murray, who is attempting to capture a third straight Olympic singles gold medal following successes in London (d. Federer) and Rio de Janeiro (d. Del Potro), features in a blockbuster first-round clash against #NextGenATP Canadian 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.

In other popcorn first-round matches, seventh-seeded Pole and Wimbledon semi-finalist Hubert Hurkacz faces Marton Fucsovics of Hungary. Russian 11th seed Aslan Karatsev, who features in the top half of the draw, meets Tommy Paul of the United States.

In the doubles draw, Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic will aim to carry their Wimbledon title-winning form for a ninth title of 2021. They face Brazil’s Marcelo Melo and Marcelo Demoliner in the first round. Second-seeded Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut challenge Britons Murray and Joe Salisbury, while third-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah take on Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The Tokyo Olympics tennis event is being held at the Ariake Tennis Park, venue of the ATP 500-level Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.

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Norrie Passes Ymer Test In Los Cabos Opener

  • Posted: Jul 22, 2021

 Cameron Norrie overcame a tricky test in his first match as the top seed at an ATP Tour event, taking down Elias Ymer in a tight 7-6(4), 6-3 win at the Mifel Open on Wednesday. 

The British player arrived in Los Cabos at a career-high No. 30 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after reaching a personal-best three finals in Estoril (l. to Ramos-Vinolas), Lyon (l. to Tsitsipas) and the Queen’s Club (l. to Berrettini). He improved to 32-14 on the season with the victory.  

“This match had a little bit of everything, and all credit to Elias because he came out and played great,” Norrie said. “It was nice to get my first match win. It was tough conditions, really warm, but it feels good to get that first match out of the way. But all credit to him, I was honestly fortunate to get through the match.”

Norrie had to fight through a sluggish start in the hot and sunny conditions in Baja California Sur, as he ran up against a red-hot Ymer who raced out of the gates dictating play with his groundstrokes. The 25-year-old Swede hit deep through the court and kept Norrie behind the baseline, unable to attack, and Ymer mixed in drop shots to great success. 

Ymer held three break opportunities in the first set – all of them set points – as Norrie fired big first serves to stay in the contest at 5-4 and send them into a tie-break at 6-5. But under pressure as Norrie continued to retrieve every ball, Ymer committed three unforced errors in a row from 4/4 to give the Brit the opening set after 69 minutes.


The Swede did well to bounce back and open the second set with an early break, winning eight points in a row as he went 3-1 ahead. But Norrie had already settled into the match and he responded in kind, raising his level and reeling off the next five games in a row to clinch his place in the quarter-finals. 

He will next face American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo, who needed an hour and 46 minutes to take down Denis Kudla 6-4, 7-6(9). 

Also in action, Alex Bolt defeated Emilio Gomez 6-4, 6-1 in their first tour-level meeting. The Aussie awaits the winner of second seed John Isner and Evgeny Donskoy, who are in action later on Wednesday.

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Ace Is The Place For Matteo Berrettini

  • Posted: Jul 22, 2021

You want to hit a bucketload of aces. You want to curtail double faults. You want to be Matteo Berrettini.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the 2021 season to date shows that the 6’5” Italian has mastered better than anyone the art of dropping heat while not giving up free points. Berrettini has not hit the most aces so far in 2021 — that honour goes to Alexander Bublik, who has crushed 517 aces.

Berrettini sits in second place with 430 aces from 39 matches. But Bublik has amassed 227 double faults through the first seven months, while Berrettini is much lower with only 58. When you combine both stats to deliver a single metric, it’s Berrettini who sits at the top of the tree. The following table includes the ten leading performers evaluating aces minus double faults.

2021 Season: Aces & Double Faults

 Player  Aces  Double Faults  Aces-Double Faults
 1) Matteo Berrettini  430  58  372
 2) Reilly Opelka  350  46  304
 3) John Isner  317  22  295
 4) Alexander Bublik  517  227  290
 5) Andrey Rublev  301  74  227
 6) Daniil Medvedev  341  120  221
 7) Marin Cilic  334  117  217
 8) Lloyd Harris  282  66  216
 9) Jan-Lennard Struff  332  128  204
 10) Sam Querrey  300  98  202

Berrettini scored the biggest title of his career last month when he won the cinch Championships at The Queen’s Club, an ATP 500 event in London. The Italian was lights out with his serving performance, racking up 68 aces while only committing five double faults for a combined total of 63. That was more than twice as good as the second-best performer at the tournament, Marin Cilic, who hit 45 aces and committed 14 double faults for a combined total of 31.

As you would expect, Berrettini excelled in this part of his game in reaching the recent Wimbledon final. He collected 117 aces while committing just 15 double faults at SW19 for a combined total of 102. That was once again more than twice as good as the second-best player in this data set, who was Nick Kyrgios with 56 aces and eight double faults, which combined for a total of 48.

Berrettini also won Serbia Open in Belgrade this year, hitting 33 aces while collecting just six double faults, for a combined total of 27. The success has helped the 25-year-old Italian climb into third place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, which determines who will compete at the Nitto ATP Finals in Italy from 14-21 November.

Berrettini’s first serve is a bomb. He recorded the second-fastest serve at Wimbledon this year at 139mph (224 kmh). His second serve is a heavy kick, which keeps the ball safely away from the net before it dives sharply into the service box. It’s the ideal one-two punch that underpins his current FedEx ATP Ranking at No. 8, his career-high.

Berrettini has mastered power and consistency with the ultimate first-strike weapon.

Editor’s Note: Craig O’Shannessy is the strategy analyst for the Italian Tennis Federation and players including Matteo Berrettini.

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