19.06.2021 - 18:18 Uhr
Another day, another nail-biting three-set battle for a surging Ugo Humbert in Halle. The 22-year-old Frenchman fought past Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) on Saturday to reach his first ATP 500 final at the NOVENTI OPEN.Humbert has been made to work all week long, with all of his matches in Halle going the distance and to at least one tie-break set in each as he took down Sam Querrey, third seed Alexander Zverev and Sebastian Korda to book his second battle in as many weeks against Auger-Aliassime.Last week in Stuttgart, it was Auger-Alisassime who triumphed after a tight 7-6(5), 7-6(8) victory on his way to the MercedesCup final (l. to Cilic). But Humbert turned the tables in Halle to improve to 2-1 in his ATP Head2Head against the Canadian, with all three of their matches taking place on grass courts.“It was an amazing match from both of us, but it was very tough physically and mentally,” Humbert said in an on-court interview. “I’m very proud to win this match, it was exceptional.“It gives me a lot of confidence [winning matches like this], and when you win some matches 7-6 two times in the third set.”Humbert will take on fourth seed Andrey Rublev in the final as he seeks the biggest title of his career. The Frenchman owns two ATP Tour titles and a perfect 2-0 record in finals, both coming at the ATP 250 level at Antwerp and Auckland last year. His opponent, Rublev, owns four ATP 500 titles (4-1 in those finals) and leads the Tour with 74 victories in 2020-21. Rublev won their only previous tour-level meeting last year in St. Petersburg. At the OWL Arena in Halle, Humbert wasted no time as he recovered from an early break and raced ahead in the first set. The Frenchman’s relentless attack took time away from Auger-Aliassime, leaving him on the defensive and struggling to handle his opponent’s pace.[WATCH LIVE 1]The Frenchman had break points for a 4-1 lead in the second set, but Auger-Aliassime raised his level and cut down on his unforced errors as he settled into the contest. He reeled off the last five games in a row to take the set and level the score, and he looked to be in complete control as he created five break opportunities across two of Humbert’s service games late in the third set. But Humbert refused to drop his serve as he stayed toe-to-toe with Auger-Aliassime, rushing to net regularly where he won 10 of 13 points played. The #NextGenATP Canadian fired his 12th ace of the match (14 in total) to save a match point at 4-5 to take them into a tie-break, and saved two more with big first serves. Humbert stayed focussed, firing a big first serve of his own to earn a forehand return long to seal the victory. The Frenchman improved to 13-13 on the season with the win, and extended his career grass-court win rate to 12-5.



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Cilic, Marin

29.08.2021 - 20:47 Uhr

Belarusian Ilya Ivashka dropped just one set all week en route to this first ATP Tour title at the Winston-Salem Open.The 27-year-old was in dominant form in North Carolina, dropping a total of just five games in his semi-final and championship match, after surviving a second-round scare against Marin Cilic.ATPTour.com caught up with Ivashka after he lifted his maiden trophy in Winston-SalemWhat does it mean to you to win your first ATP Tour title?It means everything for me because this is something that I have dreamed of as a kid, and it doesn’t matter which event it was, it was just to win an ATP title, so I am super happy with this. I have been working for this for many years and I am happy this happened this week.You have recently earned victories over Top 20 players Gael Monfils (Tokyo), Grigor Dimitrov (Washington) and now Pablo Carreno Busta here in Winston-Salem. How much confidence did these wins give you heading into the tournament and the final today?It was coming from the beginning of the year, that I had a lot of good matches with the top guys. Sometimes I was winning, sometimes I was losing. But every week I was there fighting with them, which gave me a lot of confidence. The more you have these matches, the more I feel strong in the tournaments.Currently at a career-high No. 63 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and set to climb further, how happy are you with where your game is at the moment?I am very happy about my game. In previous tournaments, I thought the results were okay, but I was not happy with my game. This week, I really implemented what I had worked on with my coach. I had a really good statistic with my serve in the last four matches. The work is paying off.Before your run here, you had never reached the final at an ATP Tour event. Having dropped just one set en route to the championship match in Winston-Salem, what do you think was the key behind your breakthrough this week?The key was the second match. I was almost flying to New York because I was losing 3-5, 0/30 in the second set, and I was trying to fight to stay in. After this, things changed dramatically. I then started to play better after I got that break I didn’t lose my serve once again in the whole tournament.Before winning the title this week, your first semi-final appearance at a tour-level event came in Marseille in 2018. How much have you grown as a player and a person since then?A lot of things have happened. I came through at qualifying, but my tennis was not good. I had many many injuries that happened to me, but I think I am more mature In the game now.Could you take a moment to acknowledge some of the key figures in your life and career who have helped you to reach this milestone?My coach Jose Checa Calvo, my wife, my fitness coach and of course my family, my dad, my mum and my brother. There is also one person in Belarus, a sponsor for the tennis federation for many years. I think without him it wouldn’t be possible because he helped in all of the parts of my career since I was 17. He provided a lot of financial help, which was a big moment in Belarus for tennis.How would you describe yourself as a player, and how would you describe yourself off the court? Does your on-court attitude extend off the tennis court as well?I try to be different on court. Off court I am quite calm whereas on court I am trying to be more aggressive to fight for every point. When I am outside the court I am more relaxed and calm.What do you consider to be your biggest passions outside of tennis and can you tell us a little bit about those interests?I love to watch football, enjoy watching the Premier League. My favourite team is Arsenal, but I don’t want to speak about them now as they are doing badly. I really loved them many years ago when they were fighting for trophies, but something went wrong with the management.You’re the first Belarusian ATP Tour singles titlist since 2003, so how important is it to you to represent your country and inspire future generations as Max Mirnyi did for your generation?It is a special feeling. I remember when I was watching him play in the Davis Cup, in big matches in Russia, he was playing five sets and battling. He was also a role model, so professional outside of the court, so he was an inspiration for many kids at the time.This is a milestone moment in your career. How will you celebrate this victory?I may grab some beers, but nothing special as I am going to play in New York on Tuesday. I think we will celebrate after that.

26.08.2021 - 03:14 Uhr

Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta claimed his third win from as many hard-court events against Dominik Koepfer to reach the quarter-finals of the Winston-Salem Open on Wednesday.The 2016 champion backed up his wins over the German at the Tokyo Olympics and at last week’s Western & Southern Open to improve to 3-0 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series with a 6-2, 6-3 victory. The Spaniard, who beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the bronze medal in Tokyo, continued his run of hard-court form for his third straight quarter-final berth. “It was a very good match. I think I played very aggressively today, I made a lot of winners,” Carreno Busta said. “I played against him the last two tournaments so it was important to me at the beginning of the match to be very focused and play very aggressive so I think this was a very good match for me. “I’m feeling really comfortable playing this year, also. We know next we have the US Open but day by day I need the confidence, I need the rhythm. I think that I’m playing at a really good level so I would like to continue this way.”FOLLOW THIS WEEK'S ACTION TV Schedule Watch Live On Tennis TV Follow Live Scores On ATP Tour AppCarreno Busta won 82 per cent of first-serve points and 53 per cent on second-serve points in the 67-minute victory. It set a quarter-final clash with Belarusian Ilya Ivashka, an earlier 6-2, 6-1 winner over German ninth seed Jan-Lennard Stuff.“I think it was a great match from me. I did everything that I had to do. I was very accurate with the returns. In my game, I was serving really well,” Ivashka said.“Yesterday was a very tough match losing a set and a break down in the second [against Marin Cilic] and then I found my game… I think today I continued the same way.”Former No.7 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Richard Gasquet, recovered from a dip in intensity in the second set as he saw off third seed Daniel Evans to book his first quarter-final in Winston-Salem since 2016. From 1-4 down in the second set, the Frenchman found his groove to post a 6-4, 7-6(4) win in an hour and 51 minutes.Gasquet won 73 per cent of first-serve points, 56 per cent of second-serve points and broke once in each set. He will next meet Finland’s Ruusuvuori, a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 winner over Gasquet’s compatriot, 12th seed Benoit Paire.“I had confidence after winning the first set. I fought a lot in the second set, he started to play better, to be more aggressive and I tried to fight so it was important for me to win the second set,” Gasquet said. “The third [set], you never know what could happen so I’m really happy with how I played. “I’m playing well. I won two difficult matches, especially with the conditions – it’s very hot and humid – so it’s always a tough battle for everyone but I managed to win and I hope to do the same tomorrow.”

11.08.2021 - 05:15 Uhr

Stefanos Tsitsipas bounced back after dropping an epic 22-minute second-set tie-break to Ugo Humbert – letting five match points slip by – and raised his level to win 6-3, 6-7(13), 6-1 on Tuesday at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.The newly minted World No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings has been in red-hot form all year, and arrived in Toronto with the most victories on the ATP Tour in 2021 with 42. He added to that count as he claimed his first victory over the 22-year-old Frenchman, improving to 1-2 in their ATP Head2Head. The victory also earned Tsitsipas a dose of revenge over Humbert, the player who defeated him in both their previous meetings – including knocking him out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the Round of 16 last month. Tsitsipas moved into the third round, where he will await the winner of 15th seed Aslan Karatsev and Karen Khachanov. Khachanov took down Cameron Norrie 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 on Tuesday to ensure the all-Russian clash.The third seed was strong on serve as he raced out of the blocks against the Halle champion Humbert, keeping him under pressure on serve. He created seven break points in the opening set and converted at 4-3 after a double fault. He continued his momentum in the second set, charging ahead to a late break to take a 5-3 lead. But just as the Greek player was serving for the match, a shaky service game opened the door for Humbert, and the Frenchman gladly muscled through to level the score at 5-5. Humbert hit a purple patch at just the right time, out-rallying Tsitsipas from the back of the court and hitting outrageous winners off both wings. Both players wrestled for the momentum as the second set went into a tie-break, each having ample opportunities to take the deciding tilt. Tsitsipas created five match points, but Humbert showed his grit to save them all as he forced errors out of the Tsitsipas racquet. He needed four set points of his own to close out the marathon 22-minute tie-break and win the second set. After such a titanic effort, a letdown seemed inevitable and Tsitsipas was quick to capitalise as his opponent struggled to hit through the court. The Greek player won five unanswered games and served out the contest on his seventh opportunity to win in two hours and 36 minutes. Tsitsipas is seeking his third title of the year in Toronto, after clinching his first ATP Masters 1000 crown at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and lifting the trophy in Lyon.[WATCH LIVE 1]Elsewhere in Toronto, sixth seed Casper Ruud extended his winning streak to 12 matches with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Marin Cilic. The Norwegian turned heads in recent weeks with dominant performances to win three ATP 250 titles in consecutive weeks in Bastad, Gstaad and Kitzbuhel. Ruud showed no signs of slowing down on hard courts, battling for two hours and five minutes against Cilic in a rain-interrupted second-round clash. The sixth seed won 87 per cent (39/45) of points behind his first serve and converted two of three break opportunities to advance. He awaits the winner of ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dusan Lajovic in the next round.

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