Tennis News

From around the world

Alcaraz Makes History In Umag, Reaches First ATP Tour Final

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2021

#NextGenATP star Carlos Alcaraz turned to his team and roared after hitting a final backhand winner on Saturday evening in Umag. The 18-year-old will not soon forget that moment, when he clinched a berth in his first tour-level final.

Alcaraz clawed past top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 7-6(3) to advance to the championship match at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag and become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008.

“I have a lot of emotions right now,” Alcaraz said. “It is my first ATP final, so I am enjoying everything here in Umag. I am really happy right now.”

The teen first broke onto the scene last February as a 16-year-old ranked outside of the Top 400 in Rio de Janeiro, where he defeated Ramos-Vinolas in a three-hour, 37-minute marathon. Alcaraz showed his growth in Croatia, where he overpowered his countryman for much of the match before battling through the second-set tie-break to triumph after exactly two hours. 

Ramos-Vinolas, who triumphed earlier this year in Estoril, was trying to reach his 11th ATP Tour final, and he fought hard to recover a break deficit on three occasions in the second set, including when Alcaraz served for the match at 6-2, 7-5. 

The teen, seeded seventh this week, said on Friday that he learned from losing his first tour-level semi-final earlier this year in Marbella. And Alcaraz proved it against Ramos-Vinolas, staying composed despite his missed opportunities. The World No. 73 went for his shots in the biggest moments, and was rewarded with a trip to the final.

Alcaraz will play an experienced opponent on Sunday in former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet.

“I know Gasquet is a really good tennis player. He’s played a lot of finals and won a lot of tournaments. This one is my first ATP final,” Alcaraz said. “I think he has a lot of experience. I have to handle the nerves and everything [well].”


The fourth seed battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmaier 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes to reach the championship match. This will be Gasquet’s first tour-level final since Bastad in 2018. 

Gasquet, a 35-year-old, is the second-oldest finalist in tournament history, only trailing Paolo Lorenzi, who was 35 in 2017. The Frenchman is a 15-time ATP Tour titlist and this will be his 32nd tour-level final. Gasquet had lost five consecutive semi-finals before this match, but he relied on all his experience to battle through this marathon against a motivated Altmaier.

The veteran saved seven of his 10 break points, but he was only able to convert three of his 17 opportunities. In the deciding set, Gasquet won 43 per cent of his return points to triumph.

Source link

This Is #NextGenATP Nakashima's Secret Weapon…

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2021

#NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima hit his 12th ace of the evening on Friday to close out a 7-5, 6-4 victory against countryman John Isner, eliciting cheers from the Los Cabos crowd. The 19-year-old, who with that shot advanced to his first ATP Tour final at the Mifel Open, did not roar to celebrate the biggest victory of his young career. Instead, he quietly pumped his fist.

Nakashima lets his game speak for itself.

“Growing up, I’ve always been more of the calm, relaxed person, whether it was on the tennis court or off the tennis court. It’s just the way my personality is and how I go about things in life,” Nakashima said. “But there are definitely times when you’re a professional tennis player when things aren’t going your way and you get a little bit frustrated sometimes or not as relaxed or comfortable out there on the court. You’ve just got to remember all the hard work that you’ve put in and being able to push through those moments to create those more pleasant moments.”

When you watch Nakashima play, you will immediately notice his easy power and the way he is able to control the action. What you will not see often is much emotion — positive or negative — and the American is fine with that.

“For me, I think being calm out there and trying to be even-keeled is one of my best assets,” Nakashima said. “I think it definitely helps me winning all these matches.”

Brandon Nakashima
Photo Credit: Abierto Los Cabos

Although Nakashima is at the start of his career, the teen takes pride in setting a good example and motivating his younger fans.

“It’s really an honour for me to have all those kids look up to me and cheering me on,” Nakashima said. “I definitely really appreciate all of them and for all of those who want to become professionals, you just have to work hard and have fun while you do it.

“If you’re not enjoying it, I think it’s not going to be fun. It’s not going to be worth it at all. Just try to enjoy it as much as possible and of course you have to put in the hard work as well.”

Nakashima began the week with three tour-level wins, but he has earned four victories en route to this ATP 250 final in Mexico. The Californian is the youngest American to make an ATP Tour final outside of the United States since 19-year-old Andy Roddick advanced to the Toronto championship match in 2001.

“It feels great. It’s definitely a big accomplishment for me,” Nakashima said. “Of course all the Americans, we like to play in the [United States]. But it’s nice to see that I’m playing well outside the [United States]. Luckily it’s actually not too far from my home here. I’ve definitely been enjoying it a lot.” 

Nakashima was promised a main draw wild card by tournament organisers two months ago, but he did not end up needing it. It has been a tremendous week for the 19-year-old in Mexico.

“I was always looking forward to Los Cabos,” Nakashima said. “I’m really enjoying my time here so far and it’s obviously a really nice place. Nice facility, nice courts, so it’s just really exciting to be here.”

Now, the American will have a chance to earn his biggest win yet. Only top seed Cameron Norrie — who Nakashima defeated in Delray Beach last year — stands between the teen and a maiden tour-level trophy.

“I’m definitely really excited and definitely really looking forward to playing my first ATP final,” Nakashima said. “Growing up, there was a lot of hard work put in on the tennis court and definitely a lot of people who sacrificed a lot for me. I’m really thankful for all them and it’s nice to see all the hard work paying off.”

Source link

Ruud Marches Into Gstaad Final

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2021

Third seed Casper Ruud’s dominant clay-court run continued on Saturday at the Swiss Open Gstaad as he defeated Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva 6-3, 6-0 to reach his second ATP Tour final in as many weeks.

The Norwegian, who lifted the Nordea Open trophy last week, was made to battle against Kopriva in the first set. Both struck the ball well from the baseline, but Ruud was more consistent as he raced away in the second set to advance in 74 minutes.


“I have been having high motivation and a good mentality these past few weeks,” Ruud said. “It is the last chance I get to play on clay before the clay season is done for me. I am playing good tennis with good intensity. The ball is bouncing really high, and with the high altitude. It suites me well.

“I am excited. It is not always you are playing in finals, so it is a special feeling. I need to think what I did well the last time in Switzerland in Geneva, which was also against a lefty and a young player. It will be a tough match, Gaston is young and I will have to be on the top of my game to have a chance.”

The 22-year-old has now claimed 23 clay-court wins this year and will move up to ninth place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin on Monday. Ruud won the Gonet Geneva Open title (d. Shapovalov) in May, and all 14 of his ATP Tour semi-finals have come on clay.

Ruud will be aiming to capture a fourth ATP Tour title of his career against Frenchman Hugo Gaston on Sunday, after the World No. 155 advanced to his first tour-level final with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Laslo Djere.

Both Kopriva and Ruud broke in a lively start, in which Kopriva matched the third seed from the baseline. The Czech stepped inside the baseline throughout the first set as he tried to force Ruud back. However, the World No. 14 started to find his range as the set went on and broke in the eighth game when Kopriva hit a forehand long. Ruud then dictated in the second set. He hit his forehand with great depth and pace as he forced Kopriva into more errors to advance.

The World No. 249 Kopriva was making his ATP Tour debut this week. He shocked top-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round to become the lowest-ranked player to beat a Top 10 opponent since then World No. 698 Thanasi Kokkinakis defeated World No. 6 Milos Raonic at The Queen’s Club in 2017.

Source link

Gaston Battles Into First ATP Final In Gstaad

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2021

Frenchman Hugo Gaston’s dream run continued on Saturday at the Swiss Open Gstaad as he battled back to defeat seventh seed Laslo Djere 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and reach his first ATP Tour final.

The 20-year-old, who had never advanced past the second round at an ATP Tour event before this week, played with great variety throughout, using the drop shot to good effect to advance in one hour and 50 minutes.


“I tried to take more time with my game,” Gaston said. “I made a lot of mistakes in the first set, so I tried to change my game. My serve was better in the second and third set. I am really happy to be in the final. It is going to be a good match, but I will try and enjoy [this] moment.”

It is the third match in a row where Gaston has won the deciding set, having saved four match points in the final set tie-break against fourth-seeded Chilean Cristian Garin in the quarter-finals.

Gaston has now claimed 18 clay-court wins at all levels this season, reaching ATP Challenger Tour finals at the Concord Iasi Open and the Roma Garden Open I. The World No. 155 will face third seed Casper Ruud in the championship match after he defeated Czech qualifier Vit Kopriva 6-3, 6-0.

After breaks were exchanged at the start of the first set, Djere took control. He returned with great depth as Gaston struggled on serve, winning just 44 per cent (8/18) of his first-service points. Djere broke three times in the set to move ahead. The match changed in the second set, though. Gaston did not drop a point behind his first serve (12/12) in the set as he started to disrupt Djere’s rhythm with his variety of shots, forcing a decider.

Gaston continued to defend well in the third set, chasing down every ball as the lefty frustrated Djere. He broke twice in the final set to seal victory. Gaston becomes the youngest Gstaad finalist since 2006, when 20-year-old Richard Gasquet lifted the title.

Djere has claimed 20 tour-level victories this season. The Serbian was aiming to reach his second ATP Tour final of the season on Saturday, having advanced to the championship match at the Sardegna Open (l. to Sonego) in April.

Source link

Medvedev Battles Past Bublik In Tokyo Opener

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2021

Daniil Medvedev had to work hard on Saturday, but he advanced to the second round of the Tokyo Olympics with a 6-4, 7-6(8) victory against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik.

The second seed saved three of the four break points he faced to triumph after one hour and 38 minutes. The ROC’s Medvedev now leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head series 3-0, and he has won all seven of their sets.

The World No. 2 will next play Indian Sumit Nagal, who outlasted Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4. This is Medvedev’s first appearance in the Olympics.

Big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro, and he could next face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. The Serbian superstar will need to defeat Bolivian Hugo Dellien to set that clash.

Also in that section of the draw, 16th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina ousted Portugal’s Pedro Sousa 6-3, 6-0. The Spaniard will try to maintain his level against Aussie John Millman, who eliminated #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-4.


Source link

Murray/Salisbury Upset Herbert/Mahut In Tokyo

  • Posted: Jul 24, 2021

Great Britain’s Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury earned the first upset of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday when they ousted Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, the second seeds, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 15 minutes.

This is the unseeded duo’s first time competing together, and they did not face a break point against Herbert and Mahut, who as a team have lifted the trophy at all four majors. Murray and Salisbury won 42 per cent of their receiving points en route to the second round.

Murray is a two-time singles gold medalist in the Olympics (London, Rio de Janeiro), and he also won the silver medal in mixed doubles alongside Laura Robson in London in 2012.

The eighth-seeded Dutchmen Wesley Koolhof and Jean-Julien Rojer also advanced as they eliminated Belgians Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 6-3, 7-6(5), while Germans Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz began their campaign with a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Argentines Facundo Bagnis and Diego Schwartzman.

British pair Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski saved one match point as they battled back to defeat Argentine duo Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos 6-7(3), 6-4, 13-11.

Source link