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Defending Champs Mektic/Pavic, Top Seeds Ram/Salisbury Lead Wimbledon Doubles Draw

  • Posted: Jun 24, 2022

Defending Champs Mektic/Pavic, Top Seeds Ram/Salisbury Lead Wimbledon Doubles Draw

Koolhof/Skupski seeded third, Arevalo/Rojer fourth

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic defeated Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the 2021 Wimbledon semi-finals en route to winning their maiden Grand Slam title as last year’s top seeds. Those two teams can only meet in the final this year in London, with Mektic/Pavic set to defend their title as the second seeds and Ram/Salisbury on the draw’s top line.

The Croatian defending champions are set to open their campaign against Benoit Paire and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, with a rematch of their Queen’s Club final against Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara looming as a potential third-round showdown in the draw’s bottom quarter. 

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Mektic/Pavic enter Wimbledon on the heels of an Eastbourne title for the second straight season and will look to extend an eight-match win streak that dates back to their Queen’s Club triumph earlier this month. Since they won their first tour-level title of the 2022 season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, Mektic/Pavic have won four of their past five events.

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Also in the bottom quarter is the first-time pairing of Casper Ruud and American William Blumberg. The Norwegian Ruud reached the 2021 Wimbledon quarter-finals alongside Andre Goransson, and progressed to his first Grand Slam singles final last month at Roland Garros. Ruud/Blumberg face Nicolas Barrientos and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela in the opening round.

The draw’s third quarter is anchored by Roland Garros champions Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer. Seeded fourth, the Salvadoran-Dutch duo opens up against American Denis Kudla and Jack Sock and could face fifth seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus in the quarter-finals.

Atop the draw, Ram/Salisbury — seeking their third Grand Slam title (2020 Australian Open, 2021 US Open) — will face Daniel Altmaier and Carlos Taberner in the opening round. The American-British duo won its lone trophy of 2022 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April.

The Wimbledon top seeds reached the Roland Garros quarter-finals without dropping a set before bowing out to Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek in one of the most dramatic matches of the tournament, falling 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-7(10). A rematch could be on the cards in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Dodig and Krajicek, who went on the reach the Roland Garros final, are seeded eighth at Wimbledon and will take on Americans Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey in the first round.

In the draw’s second quarter, third seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, who lead the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings behind their five tour-level titles in 2022, will face the Argentine duo of Facundo Bagnis and Diego Schwartzman in the opening round. Ninth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, who have won two major titles together, also landed in that quarter and will open against the French team of Benjamin Bonzi and Arthur Rinderknech.

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Cressy Edges Draper In Marathon Eastbourne SF

  • Posted: Jun 24, 2022

Cressy Edges Draper In Marathon Eastbourne SF

American into second ATP Tour final

For the third straight match, Maxime Cressy has extinguished the hopes of a British home favourite at the Rothesay International.

In Friday’s Eastbourne semi-finals, the American outlasted #NextGenATP Jack Draper 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-3 to reach the second ATP Tour final of his career. The two-hour and 41-minute victory follows straight-sets wins against top seed Cameron Norrie in the quarter-finals and Daniel Evans in the second round.

“Three matches in a row, it’s getting tough,” he said in an on-court interview, before addressing the British crowd. “Hopefully you guys are [cheering] for me tomorrow. Sorry guys, I apologise for this week. I know I made all the Brits lose, but thank you for a fantastic atmosphere… I’m very grateful for you guys.”

Cressy earned the first break of the match on his 10th chance to lead 4-2 in the third. But after facing just one previous break point, he had to save five in his last two service games as Draper dialled in on the return. The American dug deep to escape holes of 15/40 and 0/40 in those two games, rediscovering his serving touch at the crucial moments, and ultimately closed out the match by winning the five points in a row.

“It’s a roller coaster,” Cressy said of the nervy finish. “At 0/40… it’s hard to describe the feeling, but I feel a lot of relief from that game. I’m incredibly happy and thrilled to be in the final here.”

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Cressy pressured Draper throughout the opening two sets, creating six break points, but found himself level with the 20-year-old after the Briton played an inspired second tie-break, buoyed by his home crowd. A dramatic final set included nine of the match’s 16 break points, with Cressy’s lone break proving the difference.

True to form, the 25-year-old charged the net at every opportunity and won 66 per cent (39/59) of such points. He frequently followed up big serves with volley winners, leading to an 81 per cent (57/70) win rate on first serve, including 21 aces.

The American received a medical timeout late in the second set for a lower-body issue, but responded well after dropping the tie-break to earn a chance to play for his first tour-level title. He reached his first final in January, when he put forth a strong effort in a 7-6(6), 6-3 defeat to Rafael Nadal.

Cressy’s run to the Eastbourne final lifts him to No. 46 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. His career-high Pepperstone ATP Rankings is No. 59, achieved in January. Draper, who was playing in his first tour-level semi-final, is up to No. 94 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings after reaching the semi-finals. He is currently fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan. 

Cressy awaits the winner of Friday’s second semi-final between third seed Taylor Fritz and sixth seed Alex de Minaur. He has not dropped a set on the week and improves to 6-3 on grass courts with the victory.

More to come…

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Mektic/Pavic Retain Eastbourne Title

  • Posted: Jun 24, 2022

Mektic/Pavic Retain Eastbourne Title

Croatians have won four of their past five events

Top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic completed a British trophy double on Friday, following up last week’s triumph at the Queen’s Club with a successful title defence at the Rothesay International.

The Croatians defeated Matwe Middelkoop and Luke Saville 6-4, 6-2 in the Eastbourne final to win their fourth title of the 2022 ATP Tour season, all coming in the past two months.They did not drop a set this week and will now look to defend their 2021 Wimbledon title.

“We played good in Queen’s we played even better here,” Mektic said post-match, “so we’re very comfortable now going into Wimbledon.” The 33-year-old also explained how the pair’s challenging Queen’s Club run — in which they came from a set down to win a Match Tie-break in their last three matches — gave them confidence to dominate this week.

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In the final, Metkic/Pavic won the opening set behind an early break, then saved two break points to hold for 2-2 in the second and spark a run of five straight games to close out the contest.

After winning nine tour-level titles in their first season as a team in 2021, the pair won its first trophy of this season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Since claiming that ATP Masters 1000 title, they went on to win in Geneva ahead of a third-round run at Roland Garros.

“We needed to get back the confidence, added Pavic. “When we did finally in Rome, it opened up a little bit. We won the title and then obviously from Rome we lost just one match in the French and were on a good run. We have confidence, we’re playing well. We’re going to be an interesting team at Wimbledon.”

Matos/Vega Hernandez Reach Mallorca Final

Brazil’s Rafael Matos and Spain’s David Vega Hernandez upset top seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer Friday to advance to the Mallorca Championships final. After taking out the Roland Garros champions 6-4, 3-6, 10-7, the pair will face Gonzalo Escobar and Ariel Behar in Saturday’s final.

Escobar and Behar won their semi-final on Thursday, 6-4, 6-2 against Matthew Ebden and Philipp Oswald.

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Tsitsipas Soars Into First Grass-Court Final In Mallorca

  • Posted: Jun 24, 2022

Tsitsipas Soars Into First Grass-Court Final In Mallorca

Greek seeking first grass-court title

Stefanos Tsitsipas reached his first tour-level final on grass Friday when he overcame Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-4, 6-4 at the Mallorca Championships.

The Greek demonstrated great footwork to dictate on his aggressive forehand, while he held his nerve in the crucial moments, saving all three break points he faced to advance after one hour and 32 minutes.

The second seed, who is making his debut at the ATP 250 event, also defeated Bonzi on the grass in Halle last week before he lost to Australian Nick Kyrgios.

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With his victory, Tsitsipas has now earned a Tour-leading 39 wins this season and will face Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut or Swiss qualifier Antoine Bellier in what will be his fourth final of the season. The 23-year-old retained his title in Monte Carlo in April, either side of final defeats in Rotterdam and Rome.

In a tight first set in Spain, it was Tsitsipas who made the decisive move, breaking Bonzi in the ninth game before he held to lead. Fuelled by confidence, the Greek continued to find his rhythm from the baseline in the second set. He took his forehand early to take time away from the Frenchman, forcing Bonzi into errors as he closed out the match.

Bonzi had not dropped a set en route to the semi-finals, having earned the second biggest win of his career when he upset World No. 16 Denis Shapovalov in the second round. It was the second time the World No. 56 had advanced to a tour-level semi-final, after he enjoyed a run to the championship match in Marseille in February.

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Djokovic Could Meet Alcaraz In Wimbledon QFs

  • Posted: Jun 24, 2022

Djokovic Could Meet Alcaraz In Wimbledon QFs

Nadal and Berrettini in same half

Top seed Novak Djokovic could face #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in a blockbuster quarter-final clash at Wimbledon, following the release of the draw on Friday.

The Serbian is aiming to capture a fourth consecutive Wimbledon crown in London and will begin his title defence against South Korean Soonwoo Kwon on Centre Court on Monday, with Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis or Pole Kamil Majchrzak awaiting in the second round.

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Rafael Nadal anchors the bottom half as the second seed and will start his bid for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam trophy against Argentine Francisco Cerundolo, with 2017 finalist Marin Cilic a potential fourth-round opponent.

The Spaniard is seeded to meet Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, in what will be a rematch from Roland Garros. Canadian Auger-Aliassime, who advanced to the last eight in 2021, faces a tricky opening test against American Maxime Cressy.

Matteo Berrettini and Stefanos Tsitsipas could clash in the other quarter-final in the bottom half. Last year’s finalist Berrettini, who triumphed on grass in Stuttgart and London this month, opens against Cristian Garin, while fourth-seeded Greek Tsitsipas plays Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard.

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In the top half, fifth seed Alcaraz is making his second appearance at Wimbledon and starts against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, with third seed Casper Ruud playing Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Ruud, who has yet to win a main draw match at Wimbledon, is projected to face Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals. The Pole arrives in London off the back of a run to his maiden grass-court title in Halle and begins against Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Last season, Hurkacz defeated Roger Federer en route to the semi-finals.

The 10th seed Jannik Sinner meets former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in a popcorn first-round match, while two-time champion Andy Murray plays Australian James Duckworth. Murray, Sinner and Wawrinka are all in Djokovic’s quarter alongside 15th seed Reilly Opelka, who starts against Spaniard Carlos Taberner.

Other intriguing first-round matches include Nick Kyrgios against British wild card Paul Jubb, last year’s semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech and Indian Wells champ Taylor Fritz against #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

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