Tennis News

From around the world

Berdych On Lehecka: 'He Has A Bright Future'

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2023

Berdych On Lehecka: ‘He Has A Bright Future’

Former World No. 4 reflects on rise of fellow Czech

Jiri Lehecka began the 2022 season as the No. 141 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Little did the Czech know that 14 months later, he would be one of the most dangerous players on the ATP Tour.

Plenty of people have taken notice of the 21-year-old, who is into the world’s Top 50 after advancing to the Australian Open quarter-finals and the Doha semi-finals. One of those people is former World No. 4 Tomas Berdych, who spent a couple days with his countryman in Dubai.

“He’s very young. But what I’ve seen, it’s really the way he’s composed with his game. I think it’s very good,” Berdych told ATP Media in Dubai. “What I like is his fitness preparation or his body being strong and some of the young kids, they might struggle with it. They need more muscles or lack power. That’s definitely not his case, which I like.”

Watch Lehecka Train With Berdych:

Berdych even compared Lehecka to himself, calling his game and that of the 2022 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up “very similar”. That is high praise from a man who earned 640 tour-level wins and 13 titles during his illustrious career.

“Even he mentioned it many times, so it’s nice to hear for me when somebody took a bit of that inspiration,” Berdcyh said. “It’s funny to hear, he was 10, 11 when we won the Davis Cup, so he was really [a] kid and we were doing really well. So you already start to see those differences in ages, but other than that, very good. I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Berdych was returning home from vacation and decided to stop at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to get a closer look at Lehecka. He is friends with Lehecka’s coach, Michal Navratil, so it was natural. Although Berdych sat in Lehecka’s box for his match against Alexander Zverev, there are no plans for collaboration at this time.

“I was always the guy going by the instinct and by the constant feeling at the moment, so we will see how things develop, how it goes,” Berdych said. “[There are] not any commitments put on the table yet, which I don’t think is necessary. His team is good, is strong. They’re doing well, they’re doing a good job, so just maybe in the right time, right moment, we will see.”

For now, the 37-year-old is happy to see a man from his country surging. For a long time, Berdych and Radek Stepanek carried the Czech flag near the top of the sport. Will Lehecka be next?

“I think after a bit of a slow period after maybe myself and Radek — we stopped and we left the stage to the other guys — then I think he’s definitely the one that should carry the flag and go forward,” Berdych said. “That’s also one of the reasons [why I went to Dubai]. I just want to stop by and see him more personally, closely. We’ll see how things develop, how things go. Good stuff.”

Source link

De Minaur Wins Biggest Career Title With Another Acapulco Comeback

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2023

De Minaur Wins Biggest Career Title With Another Acapulco Comeback

Aussie beats Paul to win win first ATP 500 title

For the second straight night in Acapulco, Alex de Minaur stormed back after losing the opening set against a red-hot opponent. On Saturday, his effort against Tommy Paul earned him the seventh and biggest title of his career at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.

The Australian claimed his first ATP 500 crown with a battling 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory, his heart and staying power again making the difference in the Acapulco humidity.

“It feels great, it feels amazing,” De Minaur said just before the trophy ceremony. “I know the hard work that’s put in to be here and it’s good to see the results. It’s not always that you win the tournament and you get to finish a week unbeaten, so I’ll definitely cherish this going into Indian Wells and Miami.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

After methodically working his way back into the match in set two, De Minaur landed what proved to be a decisive blow by saving five break points in a marathon five-deuce game to open the final set. When De Minaur fought off those chances with a combination of big serves and steely baseline play, Paul could not recover as the Aussie rattled off seven straight games.

“Just to kind of stay in the match, especially in the second set… I just dug deep, managed to scrap my way through it,” the 24-year-old said of the turnaround. “And then the first game of the third set was exactly like my semi-final against Holger [Rune]. So I had that in the back of my mind, I just told myself to keep pushing. If I could keep pushing myself and get out of that game, the momentum was going to switch. I’m very happy I was able to get out of that.”

Both De Minaur and Paul played physical, three-set semi-finals that ended less than 24 hours before the final, with De Minaur’s comeback win against Holger Rune finishing near 3 a.m. But those previous exertions were not apparent in a high-quality match Saturday night — until Paul showed signs of wear late in the two-hour, 27-minute contest, with De Minaur adding to his torment with a slew of drop shots.

Paul started brightly after his three-hour, 25-minute win against World No. 5 Taylor Fritz, keeping tight to the baseline and pulling De Minaur around the court to secure an early break. But the match began to turn when the Aussie escaped a 0/30 hole to go up 3-2 in the second.

As De Minaur began to take the intiaitive in the rallies, he secured his first break on his sixth break point of the match in the following game — only for Paul to snap back and level at 4-4. Still, the tenor of the match had changed, and De Minaur made it count with another break in the set’s final game.

While the Aussie dominated the final set, Paul battled until the end, saving two match points and getting on the board with a hold at 5-0. But there would be no stopping De Minaur from becoming the second Australian champion in Acapulco, after Nick Kyrgios’ 2019 triumph.

De Minaur moved up four places to No. 18 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Ranking this week, leaving him three spots off his career high of No. 15.

“Like everything in my career, it’s been step by step,” he said of his return to the Top 20. “I just want to keep pushing, keep getting the most out of myself. I know I might not play unbelievable tennis every day but I know I’m going to fight to the end.

“I’ve got a whole lot of heart in this little body of mine and I enjoy competing, so I’m very happy with it.”

Paul, just over a month since his run to the Australian Open semi-finals, is also set to return to the Top 20. He moved up four places to No. 19 this week in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. The 25-year-old was seeking his second tour-level title (Stockholm 2021) in his second final.

Source link

Austrians Erler/Miedler Win Acapulco Doubles Crown In Two Tie-breaks

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2023

Austrians Erler/Miedler Win Acapulco Doubles Crown In Two Tie-breaks

Duo has claimed one ATP Tour title each year starting in 2021

After being two points from defeat in their opening match at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler finished the week with another dramatic win to claim the doubles title in Acapulco. It is the third ATP Tour title for the team and their first outside of their native Austria.

The Austrians edged Americans Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow 7-6(9), 7-6(3) in Saturday’s final, saving six set points in the opening set and another in the second.

“It feels great,” said the 26-year-old Miedler. “After winning both titles in Austria, that was our next goal, to win one somewhere else. Mexico will always be in our hearts.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

After missing out on a set point at 5-4 in the first set, Erler/Miedler erased a 2/6 deficit in the tie-break and fought off two further set points at 8/9 before claiming the set. They denied Lammons/Withrow as the Americans attempted to serve out the second set at 5-4, saving a set point at 40/40, and never trailed in the second tie-break.

With the victory, the Austrians extended their perfect record in ATP Tour finals to 3-0. They improved to 20-13 overall and 9-6 on the 2023 season. 

“We are really happy. It was a great week,” said Erler, 25. “We’re improving on and off the court. It feels really special and we hope to come back next year.”

To reach the Acapulco final, the unseeded champions upset third seeds Jamie Murray and Michael Venus in the first round and top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski in the semis, both in Match Tie-breaks. The pair, which ended the 2022 season at No. 36 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Teams Rankings, won its previous titles on home soil Kitzbuhel (2021) and Vienna (2022). 

Both Erler and Miedler moved up 14 spots this week in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Live Rankings, to No. 42 and No. 43, respectively. Both men are set for new career highs on Monday in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings.

Asked about their greatest strength as a team, Erler spoke about the pair’s complementary games and personalities.

“We are completely different on and off the court,” he said. “I think everybody who knows us knows that we are two [different] types of people but that obviously fits very good together. Probably that’s our best strength, that if we have some weaknesses the other guy can cover it.”

Lammons/Withrow fell to 1-4 in finals as a team, having won the 2022 San Diego title on home soil. The 29-year-olds ended last season at No. 32 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings.

Source link

Pellegrino/Vavassori Save MP To Win Santiago Doubles Title

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2023

Pellegrino/Vavassori Save MP To Win Santiago Doubles Title

Pellegrino wins first ATP Tour title, Vavassori claims second

Andrea Pellegrino and Andrea Vavassori won a dramatic doubles final on Saturday to claim the Movistar Chile Open title in their team debut. The Italians saved a match point at 9/10 in a Match Tie-break before closing out a 6-4, 3-6, 12-10 victory against Thiago Seyboth Wild and Matias Soto.

A single break of serve decided both sets before Pellegrino/Vavassori battled back from 0/3 in the Match Tie-break, building an 8/5 lead and ultimately clinching victory on their second match point.

“It was incredible winning with one of my closest friends,” the 27-year-old Vavassori said after claiming his second tour-level title. “We are like brothers, so winning a title like this is something special. We worked a lot with my coach and also with my father in the past three months.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Pellegrino, 25, won his first ATP Tour trophy in his first final.

“Like Andrea says, it’s incredible to be here with an ATP title,” he reflected. “Winning an ATP title with him is really emotional. I’m really happy for that. This tournament is very nice, they treat us unbelievably. The organisation is something special and I hope to come back next year.”

Discussing the back-and-forth finish to the final, he added: “We were a little bit tight but in doubles it’s like that with the no-ad and the Match Tie-break in the third set. The matches are very close so you have to be there every point. We were a little bit lucky at the end but we are happy for the title.”

Wild cards Seyboth Wild and Soto were also making their team debut this week. After winning three Match Tie-breaks to reach what was a first tour-level doubles final for both, the Brazilian/Chilean pair fell just short on the fourth occasion.

The 22-year-old Seyboth Wild, the 2020 Santiago singles champion, was seeking to become the first player win both the singles and doubles title at the ATP 250. Soto, 23, made his tour-level debut this week on home soil.

Source link

Etcheverry Beats Baez To Reach First ATP Tour Final In Santiago

  • Posted: Mar 05, 2023

Etcheverry Beats Baez To Reach First ATP Tour Final In Santiago

Argentine awaits Munar or home favourite Jarry in Sunday’s final

Tomas Martin Etcheverry continued his breakout week in Santiago by notching his second Top 50 win in three days at the Movistar Chile Open. In Saturday’s semi-finals, the 23-year-old defeated third seed and fellow Argentine Sebastian Baez 7-5, 6-3 to advance to his first ATP Tour title match.

“Really I can’t believe it,” Etcheverry said of the milestone moment. “This is a dream for me, for my family, for my friends, all the people that helped me to reach my goals. This is amazing. Just [will try] to enjoy tomorrow. That’s the key for my first final.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Playing in his first tour-level semi-final, Etcheverry did not face a break point. In a tight opening set, the World No. 76 created the first break points of the match at 0/40 with Baez serving to force a tie-break, ultimately securing the set on his fifth set point. Etcheverry needed only one break point in the second, in its fourth game, to claim a decisive advantage.

“It was incredible today. Also like yesterday,” said Etcheverry, who lost three games in his Friday quarter-fnal win against Dusan Lajovic. “It was my first semi-final today so I tried to play aggressive, the same like in the other matches. Right now I feel a lot of confidence that I can play like this. Hopefully tomorrow I continue like this because I’ve been playing at a good level this week.”

Etcheverry earned the second Top 50 win of his career against second seed Francisco Cerundolo, another Argentine, on Thursday. He will face an unseeded opponent in the final: either Spain’s Jaume Munar or Chile’s Nicolas Jarry.

Already up 16 places to No. 60 this week in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, Etcheverry would enter the Top 50 by winning his first ATP Tour trophy on Sunday. No matter the result in the title match, he will reach a new career-high on Monday in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Source link