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Sinner Sees Off Gerasimov Challenge In Sofia

  • Posted: Sep 30, 2021

Jannik Sinner began his title defence of the Sofia Open on Thursday by defeating qualifier Egor Gerasimov 6-2, 7-6(3) to advance to the quarter-finals.

Sinner, currently 11th in the FedEx ATP Race to Turin, is chasing points this week in a bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, which will be held on home soil. The Italian now boasts a 34-17 record in 2021, bouncing back from a four-match losing streak by winning 10 of his past 13 matches, which included a title in Washington.

“I think this year what I have done was good, with some ups and downs,” said Sinner. “Every week when I play it’s trying to understand something new, trying to learn something new.”

Sinner won on his third match point, after Gerasimov saved two in the previous game. He improves his ATPHead2Head lead over the 28-year-old Belarusian to 2-0, having won their previous encounter earlier this year in Barcelona.

The 20-year-old was clinical on serve, winning 81 per cent of first-serve points and saving seven of the eight break points he faced. Gerasimov gained his lone break to lead 5-4 and serve for the second set, but Sinner broke straight back and took the set in a tie-break.

The Italian won his maiden ATP Tour title at the Sofia Open in 2020, where he beat Vasek Pospisil in a three-set thriller to lift the trophy.

Up next for Sinner in his effort to retain the title is the in-form Australian James Duckworth, who defeated Benoit Paire earlier Thursday 6-4, 6-4. The ATPHead2Head between the two stands at 1-1, with Duckworth defeating Sinner in straight sets in their most-recent meeting in Toronto.

“I’m trying to play my best tennis,” Sinner said. “Obviously it’s not going to be easy, but I’m very happy to be back here.”

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Granollers/Zeballos Earn Spot At Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Sep 30, 2021

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals as a team for the second consecutive year. They are the fourth pair to book a spot at the season finale, which will be held from 14-21 November at the Pala Alpitour in Turin.

The Spanish-Argentine duo has won two titles this season, both of which came at ATP Masters 1000 events. They triumphed in Madrid and then lifted the trophy in Cincinnati without losing a set.

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Giron Downs De Minaur In Sofia

  • Posted: Sep 30, 2021

American Marcos Giron earned his second win in as many weeks against third seed Alex de Minaur on Thursday at the Sofia Open, downing the Australian 7-6(5), 7-6(2) to reach the quarter-finals.

Giron overcame the World No. 26 in straight sets in Metz last week and produced another strong performance in Sofia. The 28-year-old, who is making his debut in Bulgaria, hit with consistent depth and rallied from a break down at 4-5 in the second set, before advancing after two hours.

“Tough match to Alex,” Giron said in his on-court interview. “We’ve had a few battles before. Last week we played and it was a really close one and an epic match, so I knew it was going to be a war. Today it was pretty even but I just played better on the big points than he did. I am stoked to get through and keep going.”


The World No. 67 now leads De Minaur 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head Series, with all their meetings coming on hard. It is the fourth time this season that Giron has reached the quarter-finals at a tour-level event, having enjoyed runs to the last eight in Halle, Winston-Salem and Metz.

“Resilience is the key word,” Giron added. “Second set was tough. I had break opportunities at 40/0 and I think I had five or six opportunities in the first game, and he did a good job sticking round. I am happy to be resilient.”

De Minaur, who has won ATP Tour titles on hard in Antalya and on grass in Eastbourne this year, was making his second appearance in Sofia, having reached the quarter-finals last season.

Giron will next face eighth seed John Millman after the Australian battled back to defeat Ukrainian qualifier Illya Marchenko 5-7, 7-6(0), 6-3 in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.

Millman, who has reached quarter-finals in Munich, Washington and Nur-Sultan this year, won 77 per cent (43/56) of his first-serve points and broke four times to advance in two hours and 33 minutes.

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Relentless Rublev Surges Into San Diego Quarter-Finals

  • Posted: Sep 30, 2021

Andrey Rublev’s bid for a second tour-level singles title of the season is off to a flying start at the San Diego Open. The top seed cruised past #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima 6-2, 6-1 in just 63 minutes to reach the quarter-finals.

The World No. 5 now has 23 match wins for just eight defeats on outdoor hard courts in 2021, which includes an ATP Masters 1000 runner-up showing in Cincinnati, as well as semi-finals in Miami, Dubai and Doha. He won 78 per cent of first-serve points and 80 per cent of points on Nakashima’s second serve.

“I know that Nakashima is a really great player and since the beginning I was thinking I need to be the one to dominate, I need to try to take my forehand and try to dictate… everything was going on my side,” Rublev said. “Game by game I was playing better and better. In the end I managed to win quite confidently.”

“Even when I was playing today there were still some moments that were a bit uncomfortable,” Rublev said. “In Boston, indoors, it was a really low bounce and here sometimes the ball jumped really high [today] so I’m still getting used to it, but for my first match I played really well.”

After an unbeaten starring role in Team Europe’s dominant Laver Cup victory in Boston at the weekend, Rublev arrived in form and in the first-time ATP Head2Head meeting between the pair, pressured early to secure the break in the opening game.

San Diego native Nakashima had scored a three-set victory over Fabio Fognini in the first round but this was his first showdown against a Top 20 opponent and the Russian ensured it was a steep learning curve.

A lightning forehand winner down the line secured the double break for 4-1 and Rublev’s only minor blip of the opening set came when serving at 5-2. Staring down his first break points, he fended off both with aces on his way to taking the set in 30 minutes.

It was a worrying case of déjà vu for Nakashima when he was broken in the opening game of the second set but with his back to the wall he conjured his first break as Rublev served for the match at 5-0. The Russian ensured he would not have to serve for it again as he broke to set a quarter-final clash against either sixth seed Diego Schwartzman or Lloyd Harris.

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Evans Continues Top 20 Pursuit In San Diego

  • Posted: Sep 30, 2021

Daniel Evans is at a career-high No. 22 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, and he showed his confidence on Wednesday at the San Diego Open.

The eighth seed saved all four break points and won a 24-point tie-break in the first set to beat two-time major finalist Kevin Anderson 7-6(11), 7-5 after two hours and 19 minutes. The 31-year-old will next play fellow Briton Cameron Norrie.

“It was a tough tie-break, I think [I was] a little fortunate to come through that one and the first set,” Evans said. “But I played a good, solid second set and hung in pretty well. I was pretty happy with that.”

In their only previous ATP Head2Head clash seven years ago, Anderson beat Evans for the loss of just five games at The Queen’s Club on grass. This time, Evans flipped the script by playing steadier tennis in the high-pressure moments to advance.

Former World No. 5 Anderson, a lucky loser in San Diego, increased his aggression at the end of the second set to try to find a breakthrough on Evans’ serve. But the Briton battled out of trouble and broke in the final game when the South African missed a backhand long.

Evans is pursuing his second ATP Tour title this week. In January, he claimed his maiden tour-level crown by winning the Murray River Open in Melbourne.

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