01.05.2021 - 00:07 Uhr
At ATP Masters 1000 level, no win is taken for granted. But Friday's release of the Mutua Madrid Open draw has thrown up some potential mouth watering second-round showdowns that have grabbed the attention of tennis fans. Ahead of the start of play Sunday, ATPTour.com looks at five possible second-round blockbusters.[7] Diego Schwartzman vs. Aslan KaratsevIf Karatsev can first get past Ugo Humbert, he’ll get to face Schwartzman for the second time in three months. The Russian, who is fresh from an upset of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Belgrade, took out Schwartzman in the third round of the Australian Open in straight sets during a memorable breakthrough run to the semi-finals. Both Karatsev and Schwartzman have won a title this year (the Russian in Dubai and the Argentine in Buenos Aires). World No. 9 Schwartzman will have points to defend after having a stellar 2020 clay season when he reached the final in Rome, complete with a quarter-final win over Rafael Nadal, and the semi-finals of Roland Garros. [8] Matteo Berrettini vs. Fabio FogniniFognini will take on a qualifier in the first round and awaiting him if he prevails will be his compatriot Berrettini. The level of play and intensity will be high with both Italians inside of the Top 20 of the Fedex ATP Race to Turin. They'll be eager to pick up points in Madrid and appear on court at home in Turin when the Italian city hosts the Nitto ATP Finals in November. Berrettini, with a Fedex ATP Ranking of No. 10, just won the ATP 250 in Belgrade (d Karatsev).[15] Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Casper Ruud#NextGenATP star Auger-Aliassime is the higher ranked player in this first-round bout but Ruud has been playing the best tennis of his career in recent weeks. The 22-year-old Norwegian just reached the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo with wins over Schwartzman, Pablo Carreno Busta and Fognini. Auger-Aliassime will be looking to have a deep run with new coach Toni Nadal in his corner. In his most recent event in Barcelona, the Canadian picked up wins over Lorenzo Musetti and Denis Shapovalov to reach the quarter-finals.[2] Daniil Medvedev vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Assuming Davidovich Fokina wins his first round against a qualifier, he’ll be up for a big challenge against Medvedev. Davidovich Fokina is continuing his upward trajectory in the rankings, cracking the Top 50 for the first time this week. He’s into the semi-finals in Estoril and will have four clay tournaments under his belt while Medvedev hasn’t played since Miami. The 25-year-old missed Monte-Carlo after testing positive for COVID-19 and will be eager to get back on court. The next few weeks will prove crucial for the Russian: He has very few points to defend and could turn up the heat on Djokovic for the prized World No. 1 mantle. [1] Rafael Nadal vs. Carlos Alcaraz Alcaraz first has a big task against Adrian Mannarino but if he were to win, awaiting him in the second round is five-time Madrid champion Nadal. It’s huge incentive for the 17-year-old Spaniard as he would be facing the World No. 2 for the first time. Nadal will be well-rested after taking a week off following his 12th Barcelona title triumph.



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Mannarino, Adrian

09.06.2021 - 18:17 Uhr

Dominic Stephan Stricker continues to impress on the ATP Tour.Just three weeks ago, the 18-year-old Swiss reached the quarter-finals on his tour-level debut in Geneva. On Wednesday, he advanced to the second round of the MercedesCup in Stuttgart with a 7-6(4), 7-6(5) triumph against Moldovan Radu Albot.“The first match on grass is always tricky. We didn’t have a grass season last year and it was difficult,” Stricker said. “But I had a great and long preparation at my base in Biel where we have a grass court. I felt well on court, but it’s always a different feeling on this surface.”[WATCH LIVE 1]Stricker, who is a wild card at this German ATP 250 event, hit 10 aces and saved four of the six break points he faced to advance after two hours and four minutes. The teen will next play second seed Hubert Hurkacz, who won his first ATP Masters 1000 title earlier this year in Miami.“I’m very thankful that I received the wild card here. It is a beautiful event and very well organised,” Stricker said. “I will give my best and try to go as far as I can.”Two Germans moved on at home, with qualifier Peter Gojowczyk ousting Belarusian lucky loser Ilya Ivashka 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 and wild card Yannick Hanfmann beating Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4.Two Aussies also advanced to the second round, as qualifier James Duckworth beat seventh seed Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 and Jordan Thompson eliminated Argentine Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4.Hurkacz/Kubot Advance In DoublesHubert Hurkacz and Lukasz Kubot reached the doubles quarter-finals in Stuttgart with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Oliver Marach and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.Hurkacz posted on Instagram that in 2006 he was a ballboy for Kubot. They first competed together at this year's ATP Cup, but this was the Polish team's first win. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hubert Hurkacz (@hubihurkacz)

22.05.2021 - 22:30 Uhr

For Carlos Alcaraz, a memorable month of May has become unforgettable. The 18-year-old Spaniard dominated at the ATP Challenger Tour stop in Oeiras, claiming the biggest title of his young career.Alcaraz lifted the Oeiras Open 125 trophy on Sunday, defeating Facundo Bagnis 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes. Just two weeks after battling idol Rafael Nadal at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Madrid, he would return to the Challenger level full of confidence. Alcaraz joined elite company with his victory in Oeiras, becoming one of just seven players to win four Challenger titles at the age of 18 & under. That list includes Richard Gasquet (7), Tomas Berdych (5), Felix Auger-Aliassime (4), Hyeon Chung (4), Mario Ancic (4) and Guillermo Coria (4). "I'm incredibly happy to win here," said Alcaraz, who is projected to break into the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday. "To be able to get this title is something special. It's the biggest moment of my career. I played at a high level all week, at a great tournament and against very good players. I think it's a great preparation for Roland Garros [qualifying]. I'm just really happy."Since he first crashed onto the scene one year ago, Alcaraz has made his mark as a mental giant. With poise and composure far beyond his years, the 18-year-old would exhibit exceptional fortitude en route to the title in Oeiras. On Wednesday, the Murcia native was forced to battle back from a set and a break down to defeat fellow #NextGenATP star Brandon Nakashima. Then, in Thursday's quarter-finals, he outlasted home hope Gastao Elias after trailing 1-4 in the opening set. On Friday, Alcaraz withstood a stern test from former World No. 64 Taro Daniel, bouncing back after conceding two straight breaks when serving for the match in the second set. And on Saturday, he sprinted to the finish line with an efficient straight-set win over Bagnis."I felt very comfortable on the court. Facundo is a great player. I had the break in the second set and felt a little nervous with my serve. He broke back but I got it done in the end. It was the small details, these opportunities, that I took advantage of."Alcaraz is not only projected to crack the Top 100 on Monday, but will also move up two spots to sixth place in the ATP Race To Milan. The surging teen is seeking to make his debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November.The Spaniard picked up where he left off on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2020, when he set the circuit ablaze behind a trio of titles and a tour-leading 83.3 win percentage. The Spaniard, who won 20 of 24 Challenger matches last year, has already proceeded to launch a seamless transition to the ATP Tour in 2021. A first Tour-level semi-final on home soil in Marbella came just one month ago and was soon followed by a successful ATP Masters 1000 debut in Madrid (d. Mannarino).Now, as Alcaraz sets his sights on full-time ATP Tour status going forward, one of the greatest performers in ATP Challenger history had one last statement to make on the circuit."I will forever remember this week, this tournament, this club, this city, this moment," said Alcaraz. "Winning a title is always special and to reach the Top 100 here in Portugal is very nice. I will next go to Roland Garros and try to qualify for my first Grand Slam. I need to keep improving with every match and now I want to gain more experience playing five sets. This will be important starting in Roland Garros."

17.05.2021 - 19:24 Uhr

Arthur Cazaux made his ATP Tour debut in style in more ways than one on Monday at the Gonet Geneva Open. The 18-year-old Frenchman not only defeated Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 for his first tour-level, but he also hit a jaw-dropping tweener for a winner that might stand up as shot of the month at 5-6 in the second set.“When I hit the shot, I didn’t think about nothing. I had my back to the net and I just hit the shot. I didn’t ask any questions in my head,” Cazaux told ATPTour.com. “It was a big shot. I’m so happy I hit this shot.”This was the teen’s first tour-level match, but he also made a splash earlier this month by upsetting #NextGenATP star Sebastian Korda in the first round of Mutua Madrid Open qualifying. The Frenchman will next play Rome semi-finalist Reilly Opelka or Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.“It’s something very great. It’s a big win for me today. It’s the biggest win of my life,” Cazaux said. “I’m so grateful and I hope to continue in this tournament.”[WATCH LIVE 1]Off the court, Cazaux said he is a fan of nature and sports, specifically basketball. That was apparent after he hit his magnificent tweener, quickly putting three fingers to his head, which is a celebration NBA stars use after making a three-point shot.The World No. 517 has his eyes on his favourite team, the Golden State Warriors, who are seeded eighth in the NBA’s Western Conference.“I’m a big fan of basketball, the NBA. I’m a big fan of Stephen Curry,” Cazaux said. “It’s an important moment now because the Warriors are playing the play-in tournament against the Lakers. It’s going to be tough, but I hope the Warriors are going to win.”

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