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Alcaraz Turns The Tables On Korda In Paris

  • Posted: May 27, 2022

Alcaraz Turns The Tables On Korda In Paris

Spaniard to face Khachanov in fourth round

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Carlos Alcaraz did just that against Sebastian Korda on a chilly Friday night at Roland Garros.

The sixth-seeded Spaniard fell to Korda last month in Monte Carlo, his only clay-court loss this year, but it was Alcaraz’s night in Paris as he completed a convincing 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win to reach the fourth round. In what was also a rematch of last year’s championship match at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, Alcaraz hammered 24 winners and broke Korda four times to advance in two hours and six minutes.

“It’s amazing to play in such a great atmosphere. I think the people enjoyed the match and I’m glad to play in front of such a good crowd,” said Alcaraz in his on-court interview. “In the early matches, I’m trying to have fun out there. I love playing tennis and playing on these courts, so I’m enjoying every second.”

It was a significantly shorter night than his second-round match on Wednesday with Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The 19-year-old saved a match point in the fourth set against his fellow Spaniard before forcing a deciding set and ultimately prevailing after four hours and 34 minutes.

A lengthy recovery process immediately following the match paid dividends against Korda. Showing no signs of his brutal battle two days earlier, Alcaraz scampered about the court and leaned into his powerful groundstrokes with full force.

“I would say that I’m aggressive all the time,” said Alcaraz. “It doesn’t matter if I’m losing, winning, tough moment, tough match, I keep my style the whole match.”

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Alcaraz secured the first break of the night just nine minutes into play, ripping a forehand winner for a 2-1 lead. While the American was pushed to the brink in most of his service games, Alcaraz continued holding comfortably and served out the set on his first attempt.

Korda had two chances to break Alcaraz at 2-1 in the second set, but succumbed to his opponent’s aggressive play on both. One game later, the sixth seed yelled in delight after hitting a forehand winner to break Korda. Showing that he’s still adding new tools to his game, Alcaraz served-and-volleyed three times while serving for the set at 5-4 and went on to take a commanding lead.

The Spaniard turned up the heat in the final stages of the match, reeling off five consecutive games and five straight baseline winners to wrap up play. Alcaraz didn’t face a break point throughout the night.

Awaiting Alcaraz in the next round is No. 21 seed Karen Khachanov, who took out No. 10 seed Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. Khachanov let slip a 4-2 lead in the third set, but regrouped strongly to advance in three hours and 37 minutes.

Although the 26-year-old arrived to Paris with a 4-5 record on clay this season, his most consistent Grand Slam success has come at this event. Khachanov reached the quarter-finals in 2019 and the fourth round on three other occasions.

“I just practised with him once, but I’ve watch other matches from him, so I know that it’s going to be a tough match,” said Alcaraz. “But at the same time, he’s a tough opponent and I like those matches.”

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Preview: Medvedev & Tsitsipas Seek Second-Week Spots In Paris

  • Posted: May 27, 2022

Preview: Medvedev & Tsitsipas Seek Second-Week Spots In Paris

Rublev, Ruud, Sinner also in action

Roland Garros men’s singles third-round play continues on Saturday in Paris, with the bottom half of the draw in action to fill the eight remaining Round of 16 spots. Four of the tournament’s Top 12 seeds are in action, including Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud.

All of the Top 12 seeds have reached the last 32 in Paris, the first time that’s happened at a Grand Slam since 2011 Wimbledon.

In doubles action, second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic highlight third-round doubles play along with sixth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski

View Singles Draw | View Doubles Draw | View Schedule

[2] Daniil Medvedev vs. [28] Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB)

For a man who isn’t shy to admit that clay isn’t his favourite surface, Medvedev has excelled on it so far this fortnight.

The second seed cruised through his first two rounds without dropping a set. After opening his clay-court season last week in Geneva with a disappointing opening-round exit to Richard Gasquet, Medvedev considerably sharpened his baseline game in Paris. He found the lines on a regular basis in his first two matches and showed a willingness to finish points at the net.

”Not gonna lie, I prefer hard courts. I think I can play better there. But when I’m on clay courts, I want to win,” said Medvedev. “I’m not going to say I love it, but I’m trying to figure out how to do good results on clay.”

Medvedev is still in contention to regain the top spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings from Novak Djokovic. He can return to No. 1 on 13 June with a runner-up finish in Paris, even if Djokovic lifts the trophy.

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But Kecmanovic will likely pose his toughest test of the tournament so far. The 22-year-old Serbian is one of the most improved players this season. After picking up just 14 tour-level wins last year, he’s jumped from No. 78 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in January to a career-high standing of No. 31. 

Kecmanovic has reached six tour-level quarter-finals in 2022, doubling his total from last year, including back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals in Indian Wells and Miami. He’s also scored Top 10 wins this year over Felix Auger-Aliassime and Matteo Berrettini.

“I have been playing a lot better in general. Everything that I was struggling with before is all coming together and all paying off,” said Kecmanovic. “I am playing with a lot more confidence because I am winning a lot more, so that makes a huge difference.”

[4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. Mikael Ymer (SWE)

Tsitsipas hasn’t lacked for on-court time in Paris. He started his campaign by rallying from two sets down to defeat Lorenzo Musetti, then required more than four hours to oust qualifier Zdenek Kolar. The Greek has spent nearly eight hours on court across his first two rounds.

“I have to really work to get things in life. Things don’t come easy. I refuse to give up. That’s simply how it works with me,” said Tsitsipas. “You just play it point after point. You just wish that your efforts will pay off on a longer scale, longer run.”

Last year’s runner-up in Paris seeks to go one step further this fortnight for his maiden Grand Slam title. Tsitsipas produced outstanding results in all three clay-court ATP Masters 1000 events this year by successfully defending his title in Monte-Carlo (d. Davidovich Fokina), finishing runner-up in Rome (l. to Djokovic) and reaching the semi-finals in Madrid. He also remains the match wins leader on Tour this season (33).

Tsitsipas will be encouraged by his 3-0 ATP Head2Head series record with Ymer, including a convincing straight-sets win this year at the Australian Open. The 23-year-old Ymer, No. 95 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, arrived to this event without a win in nearly four months, but produced impressive wins over James Duckworth and No. 29 seed Daniel Evans for a career-best result in Paris.

[12] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) vs. David Goffin (BEL)

Hurkacz and Goffin are close friends who regularly train together in Monaco, but they’ll put aside their friendship when they face off on Saturday. Their maiden ATP Head2Head clash earlier this month in Rome was a highly entertaining affair that saw Goffin prevail in a pair of tie-breaks.

”Hurkacz is one of the nicest players on Tour,” said Goffin. “We had a wonderful match in Rome. He’s really talented. He’s moving well for a big guy. He can slide on the clay, serving bombs, has a really huge kick [serve] and forehand after that.”

The 31-year-old Goffin is continuing a career resurgence with his best result at this event since 2019. After shutting down an injury-filled 2021 season after the US Open, the Belgian has come alive on clay. Goffin is 12-4 on clay courts this season, including a title in Marrakech (d. Molcan) and third-round showings in Monte-Carlo and Madrid.

Meanwhile, Hurkacz is enjoying his own breakthrough on clay. The Pole lost in the opening round of his previous three appearances in Paris, but has yet to drop a set or face a break point this fortnight.

The Pole has won more Tour-level matches on clay in the past month (eight) than all of his other seasons on Tour combined (six). He reached back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals on clay this year in Monte-Carlo and Madrid.

Best Of The Rest

Seventh seed Andrey Rublev looks to maintain his unblemished (2-0) ATP Head2Head record against the always dangerous Cristian Garin. Rublev has won three tour-level titles this year in Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade, putting him level with Rafael Nadal and one behind Carlos Alcaraz for the season’s high mark.

Eighth seed Casper Ruud looks to reach the second week in Paris for the first time as he faces No. 32 seed Lorenzo Sonego. Ruud leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-0, but fell at the third round in Paris in his past three appearances.

Most Clay Wins (2020-22)

 Player  Clay Wins
 Casper Ruud 62
 Stefanos Tsitsipas 50
 Diego Schwartzman 47
 Novak Djokovic 42
 Albert Ramos-Vinolas 40 

Jannik Sinner, the No. 11 seed, meets Mackenzie McDonald in a rematch of their final last year in Washington. Frenchman Gilles Simon, who picked up his 500th career win on Thursday, looks for more magic in his final Roland Garros when he faces No. 20 seed Marin Cilic. Play on Court Philippe Chatrier will conclude with a battle of #NextGenATP stars as Munich champion Holger Rune takes on home favourite Hugo Gaston.

In doubles action, Mektic/Pavic take on Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop for a quarter-final spot. Mektic/Pavic are on an 11-match winning streak after winning titles in Rome (d. Isner/Schwartzman) and Geneva (d. Andujar/Middelkoop). Koolhof/Skupski, who captured their maiden Masters 1000 title this month in Madrid (d, Cabal/Farah), take on McDonald and Tommy Paul.

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Zverev Tops Nakashima To Return To Fourth Round

  • Posted: May 27, 2022

Zverev Tops Nakashima To Return To Fourth Round

German faces Zapata Miralles for quarter-final spot

Alexander Zverev is making the most of his second life at Roland Garros. After saving a match point and coming back from two sets down to beat Sebastian Baez in the second round, he moved past #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima in straight sets on Friday.

The German earned a hard-fought 7-6(2), 6-3, 7-6(5) victory on Court Suzanne Lenglen to advance to the fourth round for the fifth straight year in Paris. He reached the semi-finals last year and the quarters in 2018 and 2019.

“I think I raised my level today,” Zverev said in an on-court interview. “I prefer this [compared to the second-round thriller]. This is much better for me. I don’t lose too much hair, I can still grow old,” he joked. The third seed went on to praise the crowd, which contributed to the match with a Mexican wave.

A tight contest included just three breaks of serve, including a trade of breaks midway through the third. Zverev saved a pair of break points in each of the first two sets but dropped serve for the only time after edging ahead in the final set.

A night of strong serving ended in a tie-break dominated by the returner, as seven of the 12 points went against serve. From 2/4 down in the tie-break, Zverev locked down from the baseline to edge past the American, closing the match in style with a backhand winner — one of his 50 winners in the two-hour, 48-minute contest.

Nakashima, who earned his first tour-level clay win last month in Barcelona, drops to 0-7 against the Top 20. His defeat leaves three #NextGenATP stars standing in Paris: Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune.

Zverev, who could meet Alcaraz in the quarter-finals, advances to face Bernabe Zapata Miralles on Sunday. It will be the first ATP Head2Head meeting for the pair.

Spanish qualifier Zapata Miralles continued his dream run by moving past American John Isner 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 in a third-round thriller. The World No. 131 recovered from squandering a 5/2 lead and four match points in the fourth set to eventually advance after three hours and 31 minutes. He is the first Spanish qualifier to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam since recording started in 1983.

The 25-year-old, who upset Americans Michael Mmoh and Taylor Fritz earlier this week, is making his second appearance in Paris. The three-time ATP Challenger Tour champion lost to countryman Carlos Alcaraz in the first round last year.

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Nadal Addresses The 'Uncle Toni' Question

  • Posted: May 27, 2022

Nadal Addresses The ‘Uncle Toni’ Question

Spaniard to face Auger-Aliassime on Sunday

Will this weekend pose any awkward family dinners in Paris for Rafael Nadal?

By defeating Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday at Roland Garros, Nadal locked in a fourth-round showdown with Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian is coached by Nadal’s uncle, Toni Nadal, in addition to Frederic Fontang. “Uncle Toni” coached his nephew Nadal from childhood and was a part of his team until stepping away in 2017.

This raised the inevitable questions of whether Toni will sit in Auger-Aliassime’s box during the match and how much tactical advice he’ll give the Canadian to aid in defeating his nephew. But for the 13-time Roland Garros champion, he sees a situation that some might construe to be personal as strictly business and said it won’t impact anything.

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“I already talked with Toni after my match,” said Nadal. “For me, it’s very simple. He’s my uncle. I don’t think he will be able to want me to lose, without a doubt, but he’s a professional and he’s with another player. I don’t know what’s going to happen, if he’s going to stay in the box or not, but I don’t care. I have zero problem with that. It’s not a story at all for me.

“I know the feelings that we have between each other. I know he wants the best for me. Now he’s helping another player. But honestly, for me, it’s zero problem, and I know he wants the best for me.”

Toni began working with Auger-Aliassime last year in Monte Carlo and the Canadian has gone on to reach new heights in his career. The 21-year-old sits at a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 9 after results including his maiden ATP Tour title this February in Rotterdam (d. Zverev) and a semi-final finish last year at the US Open.

”He’s one of the players in better shape on Tour, without a doubt. He’s a Top 10 player,” said Nadal. It’s a Round of 16 [match]. I know I have to play at a very high level to have chances to keep going. It’s going to be a good test. In some ways, that’s what I need.”

Nadal has yet to be sternly tested this fortnight, cruising into the second week without dropping a set. He raised his level considerably against Van de Zandschulp, cracking 25 winners to 13 errors and breaking the Dutchman six times. It’s a level he seeks to maintain as he could only face Top 10 players if he continues advancing through the draw, including a possible quarter-final showdown with top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic.

”I was able to play my best match of the tournament so far, without any doubt,” said Nadal. “That’s very good news for me going on court tomorrow [for] my practice session, knowing that today I was able to raise my level a lot. Tomorrow is the moment to confirm that in practice and keep working on specific things.”

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Ram/Salisbury Advance To Roland Garros Third Round

  • Posted: May 27, 2022

Ram/Salisbury Advance To Roland Garros Third Round

Granollers/Zeballos, Bublik/Kokkinakis also advance

Top seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury are in top form at Roland Garros. The American-British duo moved past Miomir Kecmanovic and Nicholas Monroe 6-3, 7-6(5) to reach the third round on Friday without dropping a set.

After arriving in Paris on a three-match losing streak, Ram and Salisbury have displayed the tennis that helped him clinch their first ATP Masters 1000 clay-court crown last month in Monte Carlo (d. Cabal and Farah). They’ll play Maxime Cressy and Feliciano Lopez for a spot in the quarter-finals.

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Fourth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos finished convincingly in their 6-2, 5-7, 6-0 win over Adrian Mannarino and Albano Olivetti. Granollers and Zeballos have rebounded strongly after a disappointing clay swing that saw them arrive with a 1-3 record. Next up for them are Jonny O’Mara and Jackson Withrow, who defeated Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori 7-6(7), 7-6(4).

The popular pairing of Alexander Bublik and Thanasi Kokkinakis also advanced to the third round by defeating Marton Fucsovics and Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-3. Kokkinakis won his first Grand Slam doubles title at this year’s Australian Open (w/Kyrgios) and Bublik finished runner-up last year at this event (w/Golubev). Standing between them and a quarter-final spot is Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek.

Mackenzie McDonald and Tommy Paul scored the upset of the day by defeating No. 10 seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3. Other teams to reach the third round on Friday include No. 7 seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus, No. 12 seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer, Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen, and Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara.

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Food Court: Alcaraz On Learning To Cook & A Fondness For Kebabs

  • Posted: May 27, 2022

Food Court: Alcaraz On Learning To Cook & A Fondness For Kebabs

#NextGenATP star talks about the importance of nutrition to his career

At the age of 19, Carlos Alcaraz has already won two ATP Masters 1000 titles and is one of the leading favourites at Roland Garros this fortnight.

Possessing an impressive physique that has powered his meteoric rise, the Spaniard let into a few of his dietary secrets, also discussing his room for improvement in the kitchen and the Murcian kebab scene.

Let’s say you have to cook tonight, either for yourself or friends. What do you cook and why?
Right now, I’d tell my friends to bring their own food in case my food isn’t any good (laughs). And I would make them, I don’t know… meat and potatoes. That’s it. I just don’t know how to cook much. But, actually, I’d like to cook them a good baked fish. Yes, that’s it, salt-baked seabass with roasted potatoes. That would be a good dinner.

Are you that bad in the kitchen?
I only know the basics. Pasta, tortillas… I’d like to know more things because I like cooking, but I still haven’t had the time to learn.

Is learning to cook something you want to do or a real goal for the future?
I’ll do it at some point, yes. But in Murcia I live with my parents, so I don’t cook. If I live on my own one day, yes, I’d like to learn to cook for myself and cook for people who come over. Also, to look after myself in that regard when I’m in Murcia.

Are you strict with your diet?
I don’t follow a diet as such, but I do try to look after myself. I’ve really learnt what’s good for my career, and what isn’t. But when I have to go on a bit of a diet, I do.

How have you learned to identify what is good for you to eat?
I don’t really have a nutritionist, but my physio, Juanjo Moreno, knows a lot. He is a really curious guy and he tries to study nutrition and gives me advice at tournaments. I’ve gradually learnt.

What is your diet like?
I eat a lot of fish, more than meat. I eat quite a lot of pasta, that’s good for athletes. And I’m lucky that I can eat a lot without putting on weight in terms of fat. It’s good for me to eat quite a lot, and that’s what I do. I also eat a lot of salad, a lot of rice… I love sushi! It’s so good.


Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I’m not really into desserts or sweets, but when I’m in Murcia I do occasionally like to get my hamburgers, my pizzas… I really love that.

Is there anything you can’t eat?
No. I eat what I want… I really try to look after myself, but if I see something I like, I’m really happy to have it. There are people who won’t eat a certain food, but not me. I’m happy to eat whatever they put in front of me.

Do people poke fun at you for eating so much?
I just like eating… my friends say to me ‘You really eat a lot, but you don’t get fat, do you?’ And I tell them ‘You don’t eat enough, eat more.’ They say ‘It’s easy for you to say as you don’t put on weight.’ That’s how it generally goes.

What do you eat the night before a match?
Sushi, I have that a lot.

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What do you eat just before a match and how many hours beforehand do you eat it?
I have a plate of mixed gluten-free pasta. That is, pasta with and without gluten, with a cocoa cream called Ambrosía that has olive oil and dates in it. I normally eat all that, more or less, one and a half hours before a match.

And what do you eat during a match?
When it’s match time, I normally have a bar with dates, egg whites and, I think, guarana in it. And I normally have bananas, too. I’ve been eating that for a long time, like a year and a half, and I really do like it.

What can you eat during a week with no tournament that you can’t when you’re competing?
There aren’t many changes. The only thing that changes is supplements. In pre-season, for example, I have more, but that’s it.

If you go to one of your favourite restaurants, what do you order?
I really like pasta…I don’t have a favourite restaurant as such, but if I go to a good one and it has pasta, I normally order it.

What would people be surprised to learn that you like eating?
Kebabs. I eat them a lot when I’m in Murcia. But really, I’m very simple. I don’t think I’d surprise anyone with what I eat.

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