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Steely Sinner Rallies Past Alcaraz To Umag Crown

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2022

Steely Sinner Rallies Past Alcaraz To Umag Crown

#NextGen ATP Italian lifts first trophy of 2022 at ATP 250 event in Croatia

It may have been a long time coming, but Jannik Sinner has an ATP Tour title in 2022.

The Italian prevailed in a heavyweight #NextGenATP championship match clash against Carlos Alcaraz 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1 victory at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag on Sunday.

Sinner has been one of the most consistent players on Tour this season and had reached six tour-level quarter-finals in 2022 prior to the clay-court ATP 250 event this week in Umag. The second seed had to be at his resilient best against Alcaraz, especially after the Spaniard had clinched a tight opening set in a tie-break. Yet the Italian began to dictate the baseline exchanges and saved nine from nine break points to complete a two-hour, 26-minute victory.

“I am obviously very happy,” said Sinner after the match. “I have [had] a tough year until now, I had some unfortunate moments, but we worked every time to play better, to be a better player, to be a better person. So, I’m very happy to be finally lifting a trophy this year, but I know that I still have a lot of things to improve… It’s all about the process.”

The win was Sinner’s second against Alcaraz in four weeks, after the Italian was a four-set winner in the pair’s fourth-round clash at Wimbledon.

A vital hold of serve in the second game of the second set was crucial to Sinner’s victory. The Italian fended off six break points to frustrate Alcaraz, going on to break the Spaniard’s serve immediately in the next game.

“That was a crucial point [of the match],” said Sinner. “I knew I had to stay there. He made some unforced errors, and I was very happy that I won this game. Then I returned well and raised my level a little bit, and I think I found a solution then.”

The match was the third tour-level meeting in a burgeoning rivalry between two of the ATP Tour’s brightest young stars, and the opening set lived up to the billing as both players produced some clean hitting and electric movement along the baseline. It was Alcaraz who made his move in the tie-break, which he led 5/1 before converting his third set point after a stunning defensive forehand forced Sinner to net a tricky half-volley.

Once Sinner had resisted the Alcaraz charge to hold his serve and level at 1-1 in the second set, however, the Italian took centre stage. Sinner was a constant threat in return games and he broke Alcaraz’s serve five times across the second and third sets to move into a 2-1 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.

Before this final, Sinner’s six previous ATP Tour championship matches had come on hard courts. His triumph in Umag is the World No. 10’s sixth title, and the victory against Alcaraz improved Sinner’s record against Spanish players in 2022 to 8-0.

It was Alcaraz’s second championship match loss in as many weeks after he fell to Lorenzo Musetti in Hamburg last Sunday. Despite the disappointment of defeat, the Spaniard’s run in Umag this week to a Tour-leading sixth final of the year will lift him above Stefanos Tsitsipas to a career-high No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday.

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Scouting Report: Rublev & Kyrgios Headline Washington, Medvedev Returns In Los Cabos

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2022

Scouting Report: Rublev & Kyrgios Headline Washington, Medvedev Returns In Los Cabos

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week

All of this week’s action will be on North American hard courts with an ATP 500 event in Washington and an ATP 250 in Los Cabos.

Andrey Rublev is the top seed at the Citi Open, where other players include 2019 champion Nick Kyrgios and former World No. 1 Andy MurrayDaniil Medvedev, the current No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, returns to action at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel. looks at what you should watch at each event.

View Draws: Washington | Los Cabos

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1) Rublev Top Seed:
The top seed in the United States’ capital, Rublev will try to claim his fourth ATP Tour title of the season. The 24-year-old, who has already triumphed in Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade this year, is no stranger to Washington. Rublev advanced to the semi-finals at the ATP 500 in 2018 as a 20-year-old. He will try to improve his 32-11 season record when he faces #NextGenATP Briton Jack Draper or American wild card Stefan Kozlov in the first round.

2) Fritz & Opelka Lead American Charge: The top two Americans in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka, lead a strong contingent from their country at the Citi Open, where they are seeded third and fourth, respectively. Fritz has enjoyed the best season of his career, winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the BNP Paribas Open, and he is ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin as he tries to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time. Opelka, a champion in Dallas and Houston this year, could face countryman and close friend Tommy Paul, the 14th seed, in the third round.

Other Americans to watch include 13th seed Maxime Cressy, the recent Newport titlist, who is seeded to face Rublev in the third round. Frances Tiafoe, who will have the local support because he is from nearby Maryland, is the 10th seed.

3) Nick Back For More: One of the best runs of Kyrgios’ career came in 2019 at the Citi Open, where he defeated Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in back-to-back matches to claim his second ATP 500 trophy. In his first singles appearance since reaching the Wimbledon final — he withdrew from singles in Atlanta due a left knee injury — Kyrgios will try to emerge victorious again in Washington. The Australian will open against American Marcos Giron, with the winner playing Paul in the second round.

4) Murray On The March: At the start of the season, Murray was No. 134 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. On Monday, he will be World No. 50 and eager to climb higher with a good performance in Washington. The former World No. 1 owns a 7-2 record at the Citi Open, where he advanced to the final in 2006 and made the quarter-finals in 2018, his most recent appearance. Murray, who has made finals this year in Sydney and Stuttgart, will face Swede Mikael Ymer in the first round, with the winner facing 15th seed Aslan Karatsev.

<a href=''>Andy Murray</a>
Photo Credit: Richard Kessler/Citi Open
5) Star-Studded Doubles Field: The top seeds in the Washington doubles draw are Rajeev Ram and Horacio Zeballos, who will play together for the second time after losing in the first round at Roland Garros in 2015. The field is loaded with talent, with unseeded teams including 2019 year-end No. 1s Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah, 2016 year-end No. 1s Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares, Nick Kyrgios/Jack Sock and Nicolas Mahut/Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The second seeds, Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, have won five titles together this year and lead the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings.

1) Medvedev Back In Action: World No. 1 Medvedev will compete for the first time since June in Mallorca when he takes to the court in Los Cabos, where he is making his debut. The 26-year-old will try to earn his first ATP Tour title of the season having already reached three finals, including one at the Australian Open. Medvedev will be happy to be back on hard courts, on which he has lifted 12 of his 13 tour-level trophies. He opens his tournament in Mexico against wild card Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez or a qualifier.

2) Felix Seeded Second: Medvedev is not the only Top 10 player in the draw, as Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is seeded second. Another debutant, Auger-Aliassime will try to snap a three-match losing streak when he faces Australian John Millman or Mexican wild card Alex Hernandez in the second round. The 21-year-old has shown great consistency this year, reaching nine quarter-finals and helping his country to the ATP Cup trophy in January.

3) Norrie Defending Champion: Cameron Norrie has taken the ATP Tour by storm over the past year, and it all started in Los Cabos. In 2021, the British lefty began his week at the ATP 250 without a title to his name. After lifting the trophy, he claimed an ATP Masters 1000 crown at Indian Wells, competed in the Nitto ATP Finals, cracked the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this April and clawed into his first major semi-final at Wimbledon. Norrie returns to Los Cabos to defend his title as the third seed. He will play #NextGenATP Chun-hsin Tseng or a qualifier in the second round.

<a href=''>Cameron Norrie</a>
Photo Credit: Abierto Los Cabos
4) Nakashima Rising: #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima advanced to his first tour-level championship match in Los Cabos last year and will try to secure his maiden crown at the same event this week. The 20-year-old, who turns 21 Wednesday, is eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Milan and is trying to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the second consecutive year. Nakashima, the sixth seed in Los Cabos, will play a qualifier in the first round.

5) Wimbledon Champs Headline Doubles Field: Australians Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell headline the Los Cabos doubles draw in their second tournament together since winning Wimbledon. The second seeds will try to bounce back after a quarter-final loss in Atlanta against countrymen Jason Kubler and John Peers. The top seeds in Los Cabos are Santiago Gonzalez and Andres Molteni, who have earned four ATP Tour titles together in the past 10 months.

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Bolelli/Fognini Save 8 MPs To Win Umag TItle In 'Craziest Match'

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2022

Bolelli/Fognini Save 8 MPs To Win Umag TItle In ‘Craziest Match’

Italians trailed Glasspool/Heliovaara 0/6 in second-set tie-break

Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini saved two matchs point on serve at 5-6 in the second set of Saturday’s Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag final — but the Italian heroics were just getting started after their 13th break-point save.

The top seeds trailed Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara 0/6 in the second-set tie-break, but stormed back with a miraculous eight straight points for force a Match Tie-break. The Italians stretched that run to 12 points to open up a 4/0 lead in the decider en route to a scarcely believable 5-7, 7-6(6), 10-7 victory.

“This is maybe the craziest match ever,” Bolelli said after winning his second Umag title with Fognini. “We were down 0/6 in the second tie-break. We were just playing. The guys missed some [shots] but we played good. We tried to stay focussed in the Match Tie-break.

“Tennis is like this; doubles is crazy sometimes. But I am very happy for this victory and my second title here in Umag with Fabio.”

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The familiar pairing claimed its second title of 2022 (Rio de Janeiro) and fifth overall, improving to 106-57 at tour-level and 24-6 on the year.

“We are really happy for sure about this victory,” Fognini added. “Crazy, an incredible match. Six match points [in the tie-break]. Well, that’s the sport. Thank you Simone for letting me enjoy another time this great title here in Umag after 11 years.”

Glasspool/Heliovaara were denied their second title of the season (Hamburg) in their fifth final.

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Comeback Kid: De Minaur Returns To Atlanta Final

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2022

Comeback Kid: De Minaur Returns To Atlanta Final

Aussie awaits Tiafoe or Brooksby in final

Alex de Minaur battled back from a set down for his second consecutive match on Friday at the Atlanta Open to reach his second final at the ATP 250 event. The third seed dominated the final two sets in a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory against Ilya Ivashka, repeating the formula he used in his quarter-final win against Adrian Mannarino one day prior.

“I just found a way to get through,” De Minaur said. “It wasn’t an ideal start but these things happen. You adapt, you move on and try to do the best that you can.”

The Aussie let an 0-3 lead slip early in the match, with Ivashka surging to the opening set after a lengthy rain delay at 5-5. De Minaur then fought off two break points to open the second set as he began to reassert himself with his steady baseline game. He again erased a pair of break points to start the deciding set before his pressure told.

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De Minaur broke serve on five of seven chances, doing his damage with a 62 per cent win rate on second-serve return points.

The 2019 champion has enjoyed strong support all week in Atlanta, but is not expecting to be the crowd favourite in the final against the winner of the all-American semi-final between Frances Tiafoe and Jenson Brooksby.

“It’s going to be a fun match,” De Minaur said. “I feel like I might not have the crowd on my side tomorrow since I’m playing an American. But I’m looking forward to [the final].”

By improving to 8-1 in Atlanta, the Aussie is through to his first tour-level final of 2022 after three previous semi-final runs. He is seeking his sixth title and his first since winning Eastbourne last June.

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