Tennis News

From around the world

Alcaraz's Ranking Surge Among Best Stats Of 2021

  • Posted: Dec 23, 2021

Yesterday, we began to look at the best stats of 2021, including match records by surface and performance under pressure. Today, we will examine the season’s biggest movers, first-time winners and fast facts.

Top Movers For Year-End Top 50 Finishers

 Player  Ranking Jump  Year-End 2019 vs. 2020
 1) Carlos Alcaraz  +109  No. 141 to No. 32* 
 2) Aslan Karatsev  +94  No. 112 to No. 18
 3) Sebastian Korda  +77  No. 118 to No. 41
 4) Ilya Ivashka  +60  No. 108 to No. 48
 5) Cameron Norrie  +59  No. 71 to No. 12*

Carlos Alcaraz did not just break onto the scene in 2021 — the Spaniard proved he will be a force to be reckoned with on the ATP Tour for years to come. The teen claimed victories against Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, Jannik Sinner, Andy Murray and other stars this season. Those wins helped him climb from World No. 141 to his current spot, a career-high World No. 32 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Alcaraz completed his dream year by triumphing at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

Top Movers For Year-End Top 100 Finishers

 Player  Ranking Jump  Year-End 2019 vs. 2020
 1) Juan Manuel Cerundolo  +252  No. 341 to No. 89
 2) Jenson Brooksby  +251  No. 307 to No. 56*
 3) Alex Molcan  +225  No. 312 to No. 87*
 4) Sebastian Baez  +212  No. 309 to No. 97
 5) Mackenzie McDonald  +138  No. 193 to No. 55

Jenson Brooksby was named Newcomer of the Year in the 2021 ATP Awards after a breakthrough campaign in which he showed he is one of the toughest competitors on the ATP Tour. The American soared 251 spots in the FedEx ATP Rankings to move to the fringe of the Top 50. The Californian advanced to his maiden tour-level final in Newport, reached the semi-finals in Washington and won a set against Novak Djokovic at the US Open. Mackenzie McDonald, the Comeback Player of the Year in the 2021 ATP Awards, surged 138 spots.

2021 Fast Facts
– Four players cracked the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time in 2021: Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Jannik Sinner and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

– Three players who won ATP Tour titles this season saved at least one match point en route to the trophy. Rafael Nadal did it twice. Jannik Sinner saved a match point in his Melbourne-1 semi-final against Karen Khachanov, Nikoloz Basilashvili saved a match point against Roger Federer in the Doha quarter-finals, Nadal saved a match point against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona final and he saved two match points in the third round in Rome against Denis Shapovalov.

– Year-end No. 1 team Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic lifted nine tour-level trophies in their first season as a duo. No other player claimed more than four tour-level doubles trophies in 2021.

– There were nine all tie-break matches this year, including two at ATP Masters 1000 events. In Miami, Ilya Ivashka beat Soonwoo Kwon 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 7-6(3) in the first round and in Madrid, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina battled past Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 7-6(4) in the first round.

– One qualifier claimed an ATP Tour trophy in 2021. Juan Manuel Cerundolo, then World No. 335, triumphed in Cordoba as a qualifier on his Tour debut. Cerundolo became the first player to emerge victorious on his ATP Tour debut in 17 years.

2020 First-Time Winners (10)

 Player  Age  Tournament
 Daniel Evans  30  Melbourne-2
 Juan Manuel Cerundolo  19  Cordoba
 Alexei Popyrin  21  Singapore
 Aslan Karatsev  27  Dubai
 Sebastian Korda  20  Parma
 Cameron Norrie  25  Los Cabos
 Carlos Alcaraz  18  Umag
 Ilya Ivashka  27  Winston-Salem
 Soonwoo Kwon  23  Nur-Sultan
 Tommy Paul  24  Stockholm

There were 10 first-time ATP Tour champions in 2021, ranging from #NextGenATP stars to veterans who finally made their breakthrough. Daniel Evans was 30 when he lifted the trophy in Melbourne. Three players who competed in Milan — Alcaraz, Cerundolo and Sebastian Korda, also became first-time tour-level winners. So did Cameron Norrie, the Los Cabos champion who later earned a Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells. Aslan Karatsev, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals as a qualifier, earned glory for the first time in Dubai.

Titles Won Without Losing A Set

 Player  Tournament (Sets Won)  Player  Tournament (Sets Won)
 Hubert Hurkacz  Delray Beach (8)  Casper Ruud  Bastad (6)
 Daniel Evans  Melbourne-2 (10)  Cameron Norrie  Los Cabos (8)
 Diego Schwartzman  Buenos Aires (8)  Casper Ruud  Gstaad (8) 
 Alexander Zverev  Acapulco (8)  Hubert Hurkacz   Metz (8)
 Stefanos Tsitsipas  Monte Carlo (9)  Jannik Sinner  Sofia (8)
 Sebastian Korda  Parma (10)  Aslan Karatssev  Moscow (8)
 Marin Cilic  Stuttgart (10)  Jannik Sinner  Antwerp (8)

Fourteen of this year’s titlists triumphed without losing a set. Three players who competed in Turin — Hubert Hurkacz (Delray Beach, Metz), Casper Ruud (Bastad, Gstaad) and Jannik Sinner (Sofia, Antwerp), accomplished the feat twice.

Infosys ATP Stats – 2021 Leaders

 Stat  Category Leader  Percentage
 Service Games Won  John Isner  92.2%
 Break Points Saved  Matteo Berrettini  73%
 Return Games Won  Rafael Nadal  35.6%
 Break Points Converted  Daniil Medvedev  46.6%

Break points saved and converted proved key in 2021 for two Nitto ATP Finals competitors. Italian Matteo Berrettini led the ATP Tour by saving 73 per cent of the break points he faced, which helped him earn a spot in Turin in front of his home crowd. Daniil Medvedev was the best at converting his break points, doing so nearly 47 per cent of the time this year.

Rapid Fire
Most Aces in Best-of-3 Match: 36, John Isner (d. Wolf, Atlanta R1) and Sam Querrey (l. to Gojowczyk, Atlanta R1)

Most Aces in Best-of-5 Match: 49, Kevin Anderson (d. Vesely, US Open R1)

Longest Winning Streak: 22, Novak Djokovic

Youngest Final: Casper Ruud (22) def. Hugo Gaston (20) in Gstaad

Oldest Final: Rafael Nadal (34) def. Novak Djokovic (33) in Rome

Read More From Our Best Of 2021 Series

– Research contributed by Greg Sharko

Source link

Evans' Stunner Against Djokovic Tops ATP Tour Upsets Of 2021

  • Posted: Dec 23, 2021

Continuing our review of the 2021 season, today looks at the top two upsets at ATP Tour events this year. On Friday and Saturday, we’ll look at the biggest upsets at majors in 2021.

2) Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Third Round, Lorenzo Sonego d. Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(5)
Defeating Dominic Thiem is a difficult challenge at the best of times. Beating the Austrian on clay though is even harder, given his strong record on the surface, on which the 28-year-old has won seven tour-level titles and reached two Roland Garros finals.

Arriving at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome, Thiem was in a confident mood, having enjoyed a run to the semi-finals in Madrid the week before. After moving past Marton Fucsovics in his opening match, the then-World No. 4 was the heavy favourite to overcome Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, who entered the match with a 1-6 record against Top 10 opponents.

However, Sonego and Thiem played out a classic in front of a lively Italian crowd at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Despite the magnitude of the occasion, with Sonego aiming to reach the quarter-finals at his home Masters 1000 event for the first time, the 26-year-old flew out of the blocks. He took the game to Thiem with his heavy topspin groundstrokes to clinch the opening set.

Inevitably, 2020 US Open titlist Thiem roared back to win the second set as he produced stunning shotmaking, using his one-handed backhand up the line to dominate the match at times.

While many would have expected Thiem to then race away in the decider, Sonego had other ideas and showed an abundance of flair and grit to see off the Austrian in a third-set tie-break and claim his biggest win of the season, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(5).

“It’s amazing, an unbelievably emotional moment for me because I’m in Rome, in my Italy with fans for two sets,” Sonego said in his on-court interview. “I’m so happy for this victory, for this match. Thiem is with Nadal the best player on clay.”

Entering the week, Sonego held just a 2-4 record in Rome. However, he would go on to reach the semi-finals in 2021, upsetting another Top 10 star, Andrey Rublev, in the quarter-finals before losing to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

1) Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, Third Round, Daniel Evans d. Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5
Djokovic arrived at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters undefeated in 2021 (9-0). The Serbian had won both his matches at the ATP Cup and triumphed at the Australian Open for the ninth time.

The World No. 1 is a two-time champion in Monte-Carlo and was aiming to add his 37th ATP Masters 1000 crown to his record-breaking haul. The Serbian cruised past Jannik Sinner in straight sets in his opening match to set his first ATP Head2Head meeting against Daniel Evans in the third round.

Entering the week, Evans had not won a tour-level match on clay in nearly four years. The World No. 33 earned victories against Dusan Lajovic and Hubert Hurkacz in the first two rounds, but the prospect of upsetting Djokovic seemed a tall order.

Evans, who won his first tour-level title at the Murray River Open in February, began brightly against the Serbian, with Djokovic competing in just his second match since the Australian Open two months earlier. The Briton won 12 of the first 17 points as he raced to a 3-0 lead, causing the 20-time major champion problems with his backhand slice in the windy conditions.

Although the 34-year-old improved on return and pegged Evans back to 4-4, the 30-year-old dug deep to clinch the 57-minute opener, letting out a roar after Djokovic committed his 23rd unforced error of the first set.

Evans remained focused on his game plan, hitting 69 per cent of his backhand slices into Djokovic’s backhand third of the court, and another 15 per cent down the middle, with a majority of those shots aimed at the Serbian’s backhand, keeping the top seed from dictating points.

Evans was the more solid and consistent of the two as he broke to lead 6-5 in the second set, before holding serve to secure the biggest win of his career, 6-4, 7-5. It was the first time Evans had reached a Masters 1000 quarter-final, and he ended Djokovic’s perfect start to 2021 in the process.

“You can never be confident coming into such a big match like that against Novak,” Evans said. “It is clearly a big win and I am delighted that I got through, especially being a break down and [having had] little difficulties in the first set. It was really pleasing and I am delighted.

“The biggest thing is, you have got to believe you can win. I can walk on saying it, but you have really got to believe it… It will be one to savour for maybe after the tournament, to tell the kids and grandkids that you beat the World No. 1. It is a nice one.”

Evans then downed David Goffin to reach the semi-finals, before Stefanos Tsitsipas stopped him advancing any further.

Read more of the Best Of 2021

Source link

Murray Awarded Australian Open Wild Card

  • Posted: Dec 23, 2021

Australian Open tournament organisers announced Thursday that they have awarded former World No. 1 Andy Murray a main draw wild card. The Scot will compete at the event for the 14th time.

“I’m really excited to be back playing at the Australian Open and grateful to Craig and the team for the opportunity,” Murray said in a statement. “I’ve had some great times in Australia playing in front of the amazing crowds and I can’t wait to step back out on court at Melbourne Park.”

The 34-year-old owns a 48-13 record at the season’s first major, where he has reached the final five times. The Scot last competed at Melbourne Park in 2019, when he lost against Roberto Bautista Agut in a five-set first-round thriller.

Murray, who was a finalist for Comeback Player of the Year in the 2021 ATP Awards, underwent hip surgery following his 2019 Australian Open appearance. The 46-time tour-level titlist is currently No. 134 in the FedEx ATP Rankings

“Andy is renowned for his fighting spirit, passion and love of the game,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said. “I’m delighted to welcome him back to Melbourne in January.”

Source link