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Molcan Upsets Kecmanovic On Day 1 In Mallorca

  • Posted: Jun 19, 2022

Molcan Upsets Kecmanovic On Day 1 In Mallorca

Karatsev, McDonald also advance

Alex Molcan saved all six break points he faced to defeat seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5, 6-4 on Sunday at the Mallorca Championships, ensuring Day 1 of the ATP 250 event started with an upset in the Balearic Islands.

Slovakia’s Molcan broke in the final game of each set to secure his first tour-level win on grass in his second event on the surface. The 24-year-old fired 41 winners in the one-hour, 26-minute victory.

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The World No. 45 reached the third round of qualifying at Wimbledon in 2021 and is set to make his main-draw debut on the London lawns next week. Since last year’s Wimbledon, he has made winning debuts at each of the other three Grand Slams, including a third-round run at the 2021 US Open.

Molcan awaits Tallon Griekspoor of The Netherlands or Spanish wild card Feliciano Lopez in the second round. He is seeking his first ATP Tour title after reaching three finals in the past 13 months, including this year in Marrakech and Lyon.

Three main-draw matches were completed on Sunday — also the final day of qualifying — with Aslan Karatsev and Mackenzie McDonald also advancing to the second round.

Both Karatsev and McDonald battled back to win after dropping the opening set of their respective matchups. Karatsev closed the day’s play with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 result against home favourite Jaume Munar. After earning an early break to lead 2-1 in the final set, the 28-year-old fought off two break points in each of his next two service games before sealing the match with his fourth break of the contest.

McDonald was a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 winner against Joao Sousa. The American escaped a 0/40 hole in the opening game of the second set and did not face another break point the rest of the way.

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Mektic/Pavic Complete Comeback For Queen's Club Title

  • Posted: Jun 19, 2022

Mektic/Pavic Complete Comeback For Queen’s Club Title

Croatians claim 12th tour-level title as a duo

The Croatian duo of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic won its third ATP Tour title of the 2022 season on Sunday with a comeback victory in the Cinch Championships final. The second seeds won their third Match Tie-break in as many matches to secure a 3-6, 7-6(3), 10-6 victory against Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara at The Queen’s Club in London.

“I was a little kid watching this tournament so many times,” Mektic said during the trophy ceremony. “This is my first ever match on this court and it really is like a dream to hold this trophy now.”

Pavic shared similar sentiments after claiming his 12th tour-level title with his countryman. “I haven’t played on this court since 2018, and it’s always a special feeling to be here, to play on this court,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling and we’re happy to win the title.”

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The reigning Wimbledon champions never trailed in the second-set tie-break or the Match Tie-break as they answered back following a lightning start from their opponents. 

With Great Britain’s Glasspool and Finland’s Heliovaara buoyed by the support of the London crowd, the unseeded duo raced through the opening three games of the match with the loss of just one point. But their early break came on their lone break point of the contest as Mektic and Pavic began to find their range.

The Croatians created four break chances in the second set, but made their breakthrough in the tie-break behind a pair of early mini-breaks. Big serving and fast reflexes helped them maintain that advantage and send the match to a decider.

The Match Tie-break was a back-and-forth affair, with Mektic/Pavic again scoring a pair of early mini-breaks only for Glasspool/Heliovaara to get back on serve at 5-6. The Croatians brought up match point with more strong work on serve and at net, and won a lengthy rally to seal the title. They closed by winning four of the match’s final five points, including the last three.

Mektic and Pavic completed their first season together in 2021 as the No. 1 team in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings, winning nine titles including the Tokyo Olympics and three ATP Masters 1000s. With Sunday’s victory, they improved to 90-24 as a team, including 12-5 in finals and 15-1 on grass.

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Awesome Hurkacz Races Past Medvedev To Halle Title

  • Posted: Jun 19, 2022

Awesome Hurkacz Races Past Medvedev To Halle Title

Pole is seventh player in Open Era to win first five tour-level finals

Hubert Hurkacz produced one of the performances of the 2022 grass season so far on Sunday at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle, where the Pole dismantled World No.1 Daniil Medvedev in the championship match to claim his first title for 2022.

The fifth seed broke Medvedev three times on his way to a quickfire 6-1, 6-4 win that secured his maiden tour-level trophy on grass. The 2021 Wimbledon semi-finalist was imperious behind his serve and dominant from the baseline as he eased to the first ATP 500 crown of his career in just 63 minutes on OWL Arena.

“I’m super excited, I’ve been waiting a little bit for my first Awesome Hurkacz Races Past Medvedev To Halle Title this year,” said Hurkacz in his on-court interview. “I’m happy to win my first ATP 500 title and of course, on the grass it is very special.

“I was serving pretty good today and got a little bit of momentum from the first game. I saved a couple of deuces on my service game and then I managed to break Daniil’s serve so I definitely got a little bit of momentum. I’m very happy with the win in front of such a great crowd here.”

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With his fifth tour-level title, Hurkacz will rise two spots to No. 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. He becomes the seventh player in the Open Era have won their first five championship matches at tour-level, a group that includes current World No. 7 Carlos Alcaraz.

Medvedev was playing in a grass-court final for the second consecutive week. However, just as he had against Tim Van Rijthoven in ‘s-Hertogenbosch a week ago, the World No. 1 struggled to find his top level throughout the championship match. Medvedev is now 0-3 for tour-level finals in 2022 as he hunts his first title since lifting the trophy at the US Open last September.

Hurkacz had come through his quarter-final against Felix Auger-Aliassime and his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios without breaking serve once, but the Pole made immediate inroads in the championship match as he broke twice to race to a 5-0 lead early. The fifth seed stayed aggressive with his groundstrokes yet barely missed as he gave his opponent few opportunities to dictate points. Hurkacz fired fired eight winners, including five aces in the opener to move ahead.

Medvedev’s frustration began to show as Hurkacz broke again in the first game of the second set, and although the World No. 1 did raise his level on serve, he was unable to make any impact on the powerful Hurkacz delivery. The early break proved enough for the Pole to seal a comprehensive victory having won 84 per cent (32/38) of points behind his first serve in the match and without facing a break point.

The win moves Hurkacz into a 3-2 lead in his ATP Head2Head series with Medvedev. The 25-year-old also won the pair’s only previous meeting this season, in the quarter-finals of the Miami Open presented by Itau in March.

“Daniil is an unbelievable player,” said Hurkacz. “He’s the best player in the world so it’s very tricky to play him. All the right shots went my way at the beginning, so I definitely gained a lot of momentum from that.”

“Congrats Hubert, great match today, great week,” said Medvedev during the presentation ceremony. “Congrats to you and your team. You guys are super nice. Hopefully a lot more matches to play on the biggest stage. Congrats for a great week and the title.”

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Berrettini Retains Queen's Club Trophy

  • Posted: Jun 19, 2022

Berrettini Retains Queen’s Club Trophy

Italian captures fourth grass-court title

Matteo Berrettini successfully retained his Cinch Championships title on Sunday, overcoming Filip Krajinovic 7-5, 6-4 to capture his seventh tour-level trophy and fourth on grass.

In front of a packed crowd, the Italian produced an aggressive performance. He fired 14 aces and demonstrated great footwork to dictate on his forehand and become the first player in the Open Era to win the title in both of his first two appearances in London.

“There are so many emotions,” Berrettini said during the trophy ceremony. “The last thing I expected was to come back from surgery and win two titles in a row, defend my title here at one of the most prestigious tournaments we have. I don’t want to cry. Most of the job is thanks to them, my team and my family. I just can’t believe it.”

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The second seed has now won his past nine matches and lifted two trophies since he returned to Tour last week following three months out due to a hand injury.

The 26-year-old produced a strong performance to down Andy Murray in the BOSS OPEN final in Stuttgart last week and was equally as impressive against the Serbian Krajinovic to triumph at the ATP 500 event in one hour and 34 minutes.

Berrettini now leads the 30-year-old 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, while he has improved his record on grass to 32-6, having won 20 of his past 21 matches on the surface.

“I arrived in Stuttgart and was not feeling great,” Berrettini said. “I was not hitting the ball how I wanted and I was like ‘Guys, I think it is going to be tough’. But it has gone pretty well!”

In a lively clash, breaks were exchanged in the middle of the first set as both players looked to find their rhythm on serve. Berrettini struck first when he planted a perfectly executed volley away to move ahead, but Krajinovic responded immediately as he broke back to level for 3-3. However, the Italian would not be denied, stepping up the intensity and power in his groundstrokes at the end of the set to clinch the opener after 54 minutes.

Fuelled by confidence, the second seed continued to go on the attack in the second set. He won 86 per cent (12/14) of his first-serve points as he pushed Krajinovic deep behind the baseline and gained the decisive break in the fifth game, before he held his nerve on serve to secure the title.

Krajinovic had never won a tour-level match on grass before this week, but produced a string of accomplished displays to defeat Jenson Brooksby, Sam Querrey, Ryan Peniston and Marin Cilic to reach his fifth tour-level final.

“It was an amazing past 10 days. Very emotional,” Krajinovic said during the trophy ceremony. “For me the first final on grass. You guys [the crowd] helped me so much. I felt like I was playing at home. Also congrats to Berrettini, two finals I have lost against him now.”

The Serbian, who was making his debut at The Queen’s Club, is up to No. 31 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings following his strong run. However, his wait for a maiden tour-level crown goes on.

Did You Know?
Berrettini has won the title at three of the past four grass-court events he has entered, with his one defeat coming in the Wimbledon final in 2021.

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Granollers/Zeballos Save 2 Championship Points, Triumph In Halle

  • Posted: Jun 19, 2022

Granollers/Zeballos Save 2 Championship Points, Triumph In Halle

Top seeds claim maiden grass-court crown as a team at ATP 500 event

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos held off a stirring late comeback from Tim Puetz and Michael Venus to clinch a maiden title of 2022 at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle on Sunday.

A crashing forehand return winner from Granollers proved the moment of magic necessary to break the deadlock late on OWL Arena, where the top seeds prevailed 6-4, 6-7(5), 14-12 in a dramatic championship match to seal their first grass-court crown as a team.

Granollers and Zeballos had appeared on course for a more comfortable climax to a tight encounter when leading 5/0 in the Match Tie-break. Yet home favourite Puetz and New Zealander Venus rallied to force two match points of their own at 10/9 and 12/11, before Granollers intervention secured a seventh tour-level title for the Spanish-Argentine pairing.

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“There was a bit of luck at the end of the match because you never know what is going to happen when you are 10/10 in the Match Tie-break,” said Granollers after the match. “I think it was a very good match, a good level from both teams. We were leading in the Match Tie-break, and sometimes it can happen that you get tight, but we’re very happy to win the tournament.”

“This is a really special moment for me,” said Zeballos. “I came here for the first time when I was 17 with my father. I met Roger [Federer] here, I played my first junior tournament, so what can I say. I have really nice memories, I’m so happy, I enjoyed the whole week, and now that we won the tournament it is perfect.”

A couple of key moments defined a tight first set in the teams’ maiden ATP Head2Head meeting. Granollers and Zeballos recovered a pair of break points to hold in the second game and were clinical when their chance came along, converting a deciding deuce point for 4-3 that proved enough to claim the opening set.

Puetz and Venus responded to dropping their first set of the week by staying solid, but the German-New Zealand duo was forced to wait until a tie-break to level the match as serve dominated the second set. The third seeds converted their third set point to take it 7/5, as the excited crowd urged home favourite Puetz and his partner Venus on.

There was no panic from Granollers and Zeballos, however, whose combination of precise serving and solid net play ultimately proved enough to overcome their opponents’ late charge and complete a one-hour, 52-minute win at the ATP 500 event.

It is a first tour-level title for Granollers and Zeballos since they lifted the trophy at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last August. The duo is now 7-4 in ATP Tour finals.

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