The Best United Cup Photos: Friday’s Semi-finals
Cameron Norrie will lead Great Britain’s Davis Cup team for their play-off against Colombia next month, but Andy Murray misses out.
Tallon Griekspoor kept his cool in his maiden ATP Tour semi-final Friday at the Tata Open Maharashtra, where the Dutchman completed a 7-6(4), 6-1 victory against eighth seed Aslan Karatsev.
Griekspoor won a single-season record of eight ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2021, but the 26-year-old had not been past the quarter-finals of a tour-level event prior to this week in India. The Dutchman will take on another first-time finalist, Benjamin Bonzi, in Saturday’s championship match.
“It’s great. It’s something you work for, something you dream of,” said Griekspoor of reaching his first ATP Tour final. “That was a goal coming into this year. To do it in the first week of the year is great, but the tournament is not over, there is one more match left. So [I will] try to keep focusing on that one.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 6, 2023
The World No. 95 produced a high-class serving performance to down the three-time tour-level titlist Karatsev. Griekspoor did not face a break point, sent down 11 aces and won 89 per cent (32/36) of points behind his first delivery.
That aspect of his game helped the Dutchman prevail in the first-set tie-break, which ultimately proved pivotal to his 82-minute victory.
“I think I served really well, played my own games really well,” said Griekspoor after the match. “I think I lost eight points on serve the whole match, so those are stats you can lean on. I think I mixed it up really well for him, using the backhand slice, and a little bit of a heavier forehand.
“That made it tough for him and I played a really good tie-break. He dropped his level a little bit at the beginning of the second and I stayed on top and finished it off really well.”
Griekspoor’s triumph kept alive the possibility of an all-Dutch championship match in Pune but France’s Bonzi had other ideas. After two tight sets, the 26-year-old found something extra late on to take out second seed Botic van de Zandschulp 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-1 in the second semi-final of the day.
Unlike Griekspoor, Bonzi had featured in the last four of ATP Tour events before. He fell at the semi-final stage in Marseille (l. to Rublev) and Mallorca (l. to Tsitsipas) in 2022, but a lightning-fast start to the deciding set against Van de Zandschulp ensured he would not suffer the same disappointment in India.
Bonzi was the more dangerous player on return throughout the two-hour, 29-minute battle. He converted four of his 11 break points but was pushed the distance after Van de Zandschulp rallied from 2-4 in the second set to force a tie-break, which the Dutchman won with a single mini-break at 6/5.
Bonzi responded in style, winning the first five games of the third set en route to his 30th tour-level victory. Saturday’s championship match will be his first ATP Tour meeting with Griekspoor and just the pair’s second clash overall, after Bonzi prevailed against the Dutchman in three sets at an ATP Challenger Tour event in France in 2017.
Novak Djokovic beats Denis Shapovalov in straight sets to reach the Adelaide International semi-final where he will face Daniil Medvedev.
Injured British number one Emma Raducanu is heading to Melbourne, but her prospects of playing in the Australian Open remain unclear.
Martina Trevisan won an epic battle on Friday evening to hand Team Italy a 1-0 lead against Team Greece in the United Cup Final Four. The lefty upset World No. 6 Maria Sakkari 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5 in three hours and 15 minutes inside Ken Rosewall Arena.
Lorenzo Musetti will try to extend his country’s lead in the No. 2 men’s singles match against Stefanos Sakellaridis.
More to come…
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The Australian Open starts in Melbourne on 16 January – what is the schedule, who are the seeds and when is the draw?
Daniil Medvedev’s impressive start to the 2023 season continued on Friday at the Adelaide International 1, where the World No. 7 downed Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals at the hard-court ATP 250 event.
After fending off two break points from 15/40 to hold in his opening service game, the third-seeded Medvedev delivered a commanding quarter-final performance in his first tour-level meeting with Khachanov since 2019. He reeled off four games in a row from 2-3 to claim the first set and did not panic when broken early in the second, winning five straight games from 1-3 to clinch a comfortable 78-minute victory.
“It’s been a long time,” said Medvedev in his on-court interview. “We didn’t play since 2019, that’s pretty long. Hopefully we can play more matches at later stages of tournaments. It’s never easy, I’m happy that I managed to really raise my level, especially at the end of both sets, and I’m really happy to be through to the semis.”
Medvedev is yet to drop a set this week in Adelaide, where he moved past Lorenzo Sonego and Miomir Kecmanovic in his opening two rounds. Fourteen of his 15 tour-level titles have come on hard courts, and he will hope to move one step closer to lifting another trophy on the surface when he takes on top seed Novak Djokovic or seventh seed Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals.
“I think one of them has a lot of titles and quite likes to play in Australia!” said Medvedev of Djokovic when asked about his potential semi-final opponents. “I think he didn’t lose for a long time here, but I’m going to watch their match.
“You never know what is going to happen. Denis is such a strong player, and even if he didn’t manage to beat Novak yet, this moment is going to come one day, because he is such a strong player.”
Jessica Pegula produced a flawless performance on Friday in Sydney, where she upset World No. 1 Iga Swiatek 6-2, 6-2 to give Team United States a 1-0 lead over Team Poland in the United Cup Final Four.
More to come…
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