Tennis News

From around the world

Kokkinakis Off To Strong Start In Adelaide

  • Posted: Jan 04, 2022

Thanasi Kokkinakis, who has overcome a series of injuries in recent years, had reason to smile on Tuesday when he lost just five first-service points to knock out fellow Australian John Millman 6-4, 6-3 in 82 minutes at the Adelaide International 1. The 25-year-old will now face fourth-seeded American Frances Tiafoe at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre.

In his final match of 2021, Tommy Paul captured his first ATP Tour title at the Stockholm Open. On Tuesday, the sixth-seeded American continued his winning ways with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic in two hours and 17 minutes.

Competing at a career-high No. 43 in the ATP Rankings, Paul earned 25 match wins last year and now challenges Japan’s Taro Daniel, who struck 12 aces to beat #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 in two hours and 34 minutes.

Elsewhere, World No. 113 Egor Gerasimov started his 2022 ATP Tour season in style by knocking out fifth-seeded Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 6-4 in 87 minutes. The Belarusian now plays Italy’s Gianluca Mager, who was a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victor over Argentinean qualifier Francisco Cerundolo.

Cerundolo’s younger brother, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, set up a second-round clash against top-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils after a 6-2, 6-4 win over Australian qualifier Alex Bolt in 80 minutes. Monfils will be bidding to capture his 11th ATP Tour title this week at the ATP 250 event.

Source link

Lajovic Relishing Team Atmosphere At ATP Cup

  • Posted: Jan 04, 2022

Dusan Lajovic is making his third ATP Cup appearance this week in Sydney for 2020 champion Serbia and is filling the void left by Novak Djokovic as the No. 1 singles player for Serbia at the 16-team event.

Ahead of his final Group A match, the World No. 33 caught up with to talk about the character of Team Serbia, his love for the ATP Cup atmosphere, Serbian nature and more.

If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?

I would probably take Filip’s return. I think he’s returning pretty well, he’s very solid from both sides. He can attack first serve as well as the second serve. I think this is a pretty good shot that he has and if I could [have it], it would probably be a weapon in my game as well.

Who on the team would most likely be late for practice?
I think that until now nobody has been late. We have some other guys that are not here that are usually late, but in this environment right now we are all on time I would say.

‘You’re running a tight ship!’

We are!

Tell me a little bit about the personalities on the team, what stands out?
I can tell you a funny story about the twins, Ivan [Sabanov] and Matej [Sabanov]. We are a similar age and when we played as kids, usually you never wanted to play one of them because, for example Under 10 or 12 years old, if you played against one of them and you beat him, the other one would come on the court, they would hug and they would cry. So, you always felt so sad when you beat them. They’ve changed this now in professional tennis. But when we were kids, it was so funny when you played against them.

How nice is it to have the two of them with you here to enjoy this experience?
Especially for them to be part of the team, and to play this kind of event and get a feel for the atmosphere, and hopefully there will be Serbian fans to cheer for us. It’s a good experience for them and I just hope that they can have good memories looking back to it as I did, and everybody else in the team did. I hope that we’re going to have a lot of fun here and that everybody can give their best under the circumstances, and I think that if we are able to do that then the opportunities will present themselves.

What do you remember about your first tennis club in Serbia?
I remember there was also a pizza place in my first tennis club, and I enjoyed eating pizza. That was my earliest memory of the tennis club.

What are three things you love about Serbia?
The nature would come first, then hospitality, and the third one is the way of life. It’s a love-hate relationship. People are really enjoying a lot living in Serbia but, they have a lot of struggles as well. There is always conflict between being disciplined and working a lot or enjoying life a lot. So if it’s in small doses, I think it’s a very good balance. But if you enjoy too much, then it might not be as beneficial as it should be.

What is your favourite place to go in Serbia?
We’ve had a dog since a year and a half ago, it’s a Shiba Inu. We like to go to different mountains and just hike. I would recommend any of the mountains in Serbia. The mountain named Rtanj is shaped like a pyramid and it’s really nice to hike. It’s around three or four hours to the top, so I think it’s a nice hike and a great weekend escape. Then there are some bigger mountains where you can spend some ski holidays and I would recommend any of these places. Then obviously if you are in the capital, there is a lot of good food, good music, good people to enjoy. I would put these two as must-sees.

How do you find the team atmosphere and the whole experience of playing with the team?

As I mentioned many times before, playing for the team is a whole different sport. It’s a whole different angle and perspective. I think you always have that pressure that you put on yourself when you play individually, but when you play for the team and under a flag for your own country you put that extra pressure of playing for your teammates, playing for the country, playing for the people.

Maybe the people come to cheer for you and you are playing for them, but maybe it doesn’t really look that way. You just put those extra things, it can be a burden, or it can be a motivator. In 2020 it was a motivator for all of us and it went great. I think if we’re able to maintain that kind of mentality going into the matches, I think we will have great tennis and great fun on the court, which I think is the most important thing to be able to give our best once we are playing the matches.

There were so many Serbians here a couple of years ago, too. How nice was that?
Yeah, the Serbian community all around Australia is huge and especially in Sydney. Maybe also in Brisbane, but I think Sydney has the most Serbians that live here and I hope that they will come this year as well. The more, the merrier. If we have full stands it’s going to be great, and if not, still it’s going to be much better than last year because there were no fans at all. Things are going in a better way the past couple of months, and this is what we are all hoping for.

Source link

Nadal Is Back! Joins Munar For Melbourne Doubles Win

  • Posted: Jan 04, 2022

After five months on the sidelines, Rafael Nadal made a winning return to the ATP Tour on Tuesday when he joined forces with fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar on the doubles court at the Melbourne Summer Set.

Munar and Nadal received a warm reception at Melbourne Park and they didn’t disappoint in a 6-3, 3-6, 10-4 victory over Argentines Sebastian Baez and Tomas Martin Etcheverry in 76 minutes. It was Nadal’s first match since 5 August at the Citi Open and the pair next challenges fourth seeds Andrey Golubev and Franko Skugor.

Nadal will start his 2022 ATP Tour singles campaign against American Marcos Giron or Ricardas Berankis, a Lithuanian qualifier, in the second round.


Also in Melbourne, Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin defeated Dutchmen Matwe Middelkoop and Botic van de Zandschulp 2-6, 6-3, 10-6 on Rod Laver Arena.

At the Adelaide International 1, Steve Johnson and Yoshihito Nishioka knocked out Daniel Altmaier and Juan Pablo Varillas 6-3, 3-6, 10-3 for a second-round meeting against sixth seeds Jonathan Erlich and Andre Goransson. Elsewhere, Soonwoo Kwon and Artem Sitak defeated Roberto Carballes Baena and Laslo Djere 6-4, 1-6, 10-8. They now play third seeds Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar.

Watch Tuesday Melbourne Highlights (Including Munar/Nadal Doubles)

Source link

Medvedev, Safiullin Combine For Russia's Second Win

  • Posted: Jan 04, 2022

Daniil Medvedev and Roman Safiullin, Russia’s latest “secret weapon”, ensured that the defending champion beat Australia on Tuesday to move to 2-0 in Group B play at the ATP Cup.

Medvedev silenced the majority of supporters on the Qudos Bank Arena with his fourth straight victory over Alex De Minaur in a 6-4, 6-2 win over 80 minutes. It followed on from World No. 167 Safiullin’s gutsy 7-6(6), 6-4 victory over James Duckworth in the No. 2 singles match.

“We fight when we play for our country, to the last point,” said World No. 2 Medvedev. “I didn’t feel great prior to the match, so I took some painkillers before I came out. I’m really happy for Roman, he’s winning every match he’s played so far. I watched his match tonight from the locker room. I’ve known him since he was 10, he had a good junior career and has been unlucky with injuries.”

In the doubles match, Medvedev and Safiullin completed a 3-0 clean sweep against the host nation with a 7-6(7), 3-6, 10-6 victory over Australia’s John Peers and Luke Saville in one hour and 43 minutes. Peers and Saville had one set point chance at 6/5 in the first set tie-break, and won four straight games from 2-3 in the second set.

Russia now plays Italy on Thursday in a repeat of the 2021 ATP Cup final, while host nation Australia challenges France. Both ties will be contested on Ken Rosewall Arena.

Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

For Medvedev, it was a case of see ball, hit ball in the first three games against de Minaur and it wasn’t until 3-0, 30/15 that the Russian made his first error. The first set then became tactical for De Minaur, with ferocious hitting and intricate slice play aplenty. The Australian did well to recover from 15/40 at 3-5, but Medvedev gave no let-up on first serve and closed out the 41-minute opener with an ace down the T.

Leading 5-4 in the first set, Medvedev put his foot down and won the next six games, continually pushing De Minaur to find the lines from the baseline or move swiftly up the court for low balls. At the changeovers in the Team Zone, De Minaur and former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt debated tactics. The 22-year-old fought hard as always, but Medvedev was simply too good on Tuesday night.

“He’s a very tactical player, in the sense of he baits you very well to go for a lot,” said De Minaur of Medvedev. “He’s obviously a very good mover with very good end-range shots. To beat him, you got to obviously be aggressive and take the net, but at the same time you don’t want to over press. I feel like I did a bit of that today, and made a couple too many unforced errors… He makes life quite difficult in that aspect and especially on this court his ball was shooting through and it was very tough to get any free points today.”

Roman Safiullin
Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Safiullin, who upset Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech on Sunday, defeated James Duckworth in just under two hours. “It was a great match for me and the match before as well. This one I would say started more or less the same, but then [I was able to] come back in the first set,” Safiullin said. “At the end I could push James a bit more and managed to win.”

Safiullin, who was the hero in his country’s 2-1 triumph against France, was once again undeterred by the moment at Qudos Bank Arena. Despite trailing for much of the first set, he battled into a tie-break, where he secured his advantage.

Duckworth fought hard in front of his home crowd, even holding his hat in his left hand as he crushed a forehand winner in the second game of the second set. But the No. 49 in the ATP Rankings was unable to triumph on his ATP Cup debut.

Source link

Struff Weathers Isner Ace Barrage To Give Germany Early Lead

  • Posted: Jan 04, 2022

Jan-Lennard Struff has given Germany a 1-0 lead over the United States on Day 4 of ATP Cup after surviving 34 aces from John Isner to claw out a 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-5 win on Ken Rosewall Arena.

Isner had fought off all seven break points faced, including two match points, before Struff finally converted his third match point on the American’s serve after hitting a clean forehand winner deep into the ad court.

“It’s always tough against John,” Struff said. “I had played him four times before and lost four times. So I’m very happy to get the win for my team today.

“It’s not just his own serve that makes it tough. You have to focus on your own serve because if you get broken it’s very tough to come back. I was very happy how I played and competed.”

World No. 3 Alexander Zverev will now look to clinch the tie for Germany when he takes on Taylor Fritz in the No. 1 singles.

ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the No. 1 singles and the doubles. Doubles uses no-ad scoring and a match tie-break in place of a third set.

Each country plays three matches in group play from 1-6 January across Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park. One team emerges from each of the four groups to contest the two semi-finals, which will be split over two days (7-8 January), with the final played 9 January.

Group C Qualifying Scenarios
No team can clinch the group by winning today’s ties. If USA and Great Britain win their ties that would set up a winner-takes-all showdown on Day 6, with the winner claiming a semi-final berth.

Source link

Sinner Sends Italy To Lead Against France

  • Posted: Jan 04, 2022

Italy suffered a disappointing defeat on Sunday against Australia at the ATP Cup, but Jannik Sinner has helped his team bounce back on Tuesday.

The World No. 10 defeated Arthur Rinderknech 6-3, 7-6(3) to give his country a 1-0 lead against France. The Italian rallied from a break down in the second set to triumph after one hour and 37 minutes.

“It’s never easy playing against him, it was the third time already. The first set I was under control. In the second set I dropped a little bit of intensity. He is serving very well, so I was in trouble,” Sinner said in his on-court interview. “But fortunately I found a way.”

Sinner now leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head 2-1. Rinderknech defeated his younger opponent last year on clay in Lyon, and appeared primed to push for another upset in Sydney when he broke in the second set.

The Frenchman was playing aggressively and using his big serve to prevent Sinner from dominating from the baseline. But one slip allowed the Italian back on serve, which proved critical. Matteo Berrettini will now try to clinch the tie for Italy against Ugo Humbert, who upset World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev on Sunday.

“Tennis is all about trying to find solutions and today I found it, fortunately,” Sinner said. “Obviously we want to win, so we’ll try to stay focussed [as a team].”

Source link

Felix Relishing ATP Cup Experience With 'Energetic' Teammates

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Felix Auger-Aliassime enjoyed a strong season, reaching his first major semi-final at the US Open and cracking the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings. 

Now, the 21-year-old is returning to action at ATP Cup in Sydney, aiming to carry his momentum into the 2022 season. The World No. 11 caught up with to discuss his admiration for Milos Raonic, his love for Canadian nature and more. 

If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?
Shapo’s jumping backhand. I mean, it’s good-looking and effective!

Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
Nobody’s late, so I can’t pick anybody. I’ve never seen somebody late on Team Canada!

Can you describe the personality of the other players in the team?
Denis [Shapovalov] is a jokester, you can see it, he’s funny, he brings a lot of emotion and he’s also very energetic and explosive when he’s on the court. Brayden [Schnur] is a calm guy, he’s very poised and mature. Steven Diez is very energetic and a funny guy, he’s very generous too, always ready to help and give a lot of himself. And we have our veteran Peter Polansky, who’s not with us unfortunately, but he’s the veteran of Canada, he’s played in Davis Cup, and again he’s very poised and calm, I’ve never really seen him get angry or aggressive, so I think that’s the best way to describe him.

Can you describe the first tennis club that you played tennis at in Canada?
It was a park in Montreal, Canada. That’s where I hit my first tennis balls, before we got the chance to play in a real tennis club. I just learned in public parks, like we see everywhere in the world.

From what I remember the quality of the courts wasn’t great but it was okay to play on. I was three or four years old, so that’s enough to play on. I still live not far from those courts, when I’m in Montreal, so it’s good memories to see those courts again.

Which Canadian players did you look up to when you were young?
Mostly Milos Raonic. I remember when he was coming up on the Tour and he talked to us, when we were 12 years old, with Denis and the guys when we were training at the National Centre. He came to talk to us one day in the gym, and he told us to keep working and keep our focus on the big goal. But now he’s 30 or 31, and he’s been around for a long time, and that’s a guy that, as a Canadian, I looked up to in tennis for sure.

Three things you love about Canada?
The open-mindedness, kindness, and generosity of the people.

If you were recommending the top tourist places to go in Canada, where would you recommend?
The nature is beautiful, I would definitely tell them to go to the West Coast, the Rockies, the lakes and the forests are absolutely stunning. Closer to Montreal we’ve got Niagara Falls which is beautiful, and then closer to my home, Montreal is just a great city that you can enjoy, that kind of has a mix between Europe and America. The old town of Quebec City also receives a lot of tourists every year…it was built in 1608 so a very old city that has a lot of history. So yeah, these 3 or 4 places are very nice.

Source link

Tsitsipas: ‘I Hit Balls I Was Scared To Hit 2 Weeks Ago’

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Stefanos Tsitsipas put his right elbow through its toughest test since surgery in November, emerging from a taxing three-set loss to Diego Schwartzman at ATP Cup in Sydney pleased with his progress but apprehensive about the immediate toll he may pay in coming days.

The World No. 4 toiled for two hours and 43 minutes and fired around 120 serves, double the number he has typically been hitting in practice. During an emotional press conference the Greek said that he endured pain throughout the match and that he held concerns about how his arm may feel in the morning.

“It was good to see myself perform at such a level. I didn’t expect it,” said Tsitsipas, who withdrew from last year’s Nitto ATP Finals after playing just one match. “It worked out better than I thought. I was able to hit balls that I was scared to hit two weeks ago, so I’m heading towards the right direction.

“It was a very close match, and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it despite losing again. I enjoyed fighting. I enjoyed the thrill of it. I enjoyed the atmosphere that the people created.”

Tsitsipas withdrew from his opening ATP Cup singles Saturday due to concerns about his arm, but fronted up later in the day to play doubles. That outing left him sore and he said that he is eager to learn how his arm will feel Tuesday after his 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 loss to Schwartzman.

Greece still has one match to play Wednesday at ATP Cup despite being eliminated from semi-final contention following Monday night’s defeat to Argentina.

“I’m in a little bit of pain. That’s normal. I served more serves than I have ever served in the last month,” Tsitsipas said. “I have been practising, trying to get 50, 60 serves in, and today I really went far. I was fatiguing in the end. I tried to avoid the pain but I got to finish the match somehow.

“I’d love to play [my next ATP Cup match], but I really don’t know how I’m going to feel tomorrow. That was one of the biggest concerns if I’m going to play this match today, how is the recovery going to be tomorrow, which was the issue with the doubles. I finished the doubles but the next day I couldn’t serve. I was unable. I was in a lot of pain.

“So I’m really hoping to be able to walk on court tomorrow and practise some serves without pain. That’s my biggest goal right now, to have 100 per cent recovery on my elbow.”

Looking ahead to the Australian Open, where he reached the semi-finals in 2019 and 2021, the winner of seven ATP Tour titles said that he expected to be fully fit.

“It gets better and better every single day almost… we have plenty of time before the Australian Open begins, and I think if I take the right precautions and follow what my doctor says, then I can see myself performing at 100 per cent at the Australian Open.

“Going into that surgery, even the doctor was unsure if it’s a good idea to perform and play the Australian Open. My recovery was much better than he would have expected in comparison with some other players that he has treated in the past, so he was surprised. He came to Dubai and he was surprised to see me hitting almost close to 100 per cent.”

Source link