ATP

Martinez outlasts Pouille to set up Bautista Agut clash in Austria

By Sports Desk July 26, 2021

Pedro Martinez outlasted Lucas Pouille to set up a second-round clash with fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut at the Generali Open.

World number 97 Martinez came through Monday's longest match, which lasted two hours and 43 minutes, as a 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 winner.

Mikael Ymer, who reached the quarter-finals of last week's Swiss Open Gstaad, is also through to the second round in Austria after battling past Pablo Cuevas 6-3 7-5.

Qualifier Jozef Kovalik will face Jiri Vesely for a place in the quarter-finals, meanwhile, after beating ninth seed Jaume Munar in straight sets.

Also through on Monday was lucky loser Carlos Taberner, who took advantage of his second chance by battling from a set down to overcome Thiago Seyboth Wild 3-6 6-3 6-2.

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  • French Open: Tsonga wraps up 18-year career, finishing on 464 Tour-level wins French Open: Tsonga wraps up 18-year career, finishing on 464 Tour-level wins

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga brought his 18-year professional career to a close on Tuesday, after his first-round loss to Casper Ruud at the French Open.

    Tsonga, who reached a high ranking of world number five, confirmed in April that he would retire at the culmination of his French Open campaign.

    For the 37-year-old, that was short-lived, as he bowed out to world number eight Ruud.

    Tsonga gave it his all, taking the lead and forcing a tie-break in three of the four sets, but Ruud had too much and prevailed 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 7-6 (7-0).

    That confirmed the end of Tsonga's long career. He bows out having won, according to Opta, 464 Tour-level matches since September 2004.

    Tsonga is one of just three players, along with Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, to have beaten Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic while they were ranked world number one.

    He is also one of three players (also Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych) who have defeated Nadal, Federer and Djokovic at grand slams.

    Tsonga also became the first player since Guillermo Canas in 2002 to defeat four straight top-10 players at a Masters 1000 tournament when he triumphed in Toronto in 2014.

    "It's tough for me and all the players that you're stopping. You've been an inspiration to me and so many of the other players, so thank you for the memories," Ruud told Tsonga after the match.

    "[I have] so many good memories watching Jo on TV. He's such a great guy [and] nice person on and off the court. He's a good example of what a player should be."

  • Medvedev hails 'logic' of ATP's Wimbledon points decision and smiles at quirk set to see him go to number one Medvedev hails 'logic' of ATP's Wimbledon points decision and smiles at quirk set to see him go to number one

    Daniil Medvedev has given the ATP credit for reaching a "logical" decision to strip Wimbledon of ranking points – and the Russian stands to benefit by going back to number one in the world.

    There would need to be a remarkable turn of events for Novak Djokovic to retain top spot at the end of the short grass-court season, given he has a mountain of points to defend over the next two months and will lose the 2,000 that he earned by winning Wimbledon last year.

    That is the standard total awarded to a grand slam singles champion, with Medvedev earning the same number for his US Open triumph in September.

    The decision by the ATP, which runs the men's professional tour, to effectively punish Wimbledon for its decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players, means the absent Medvedev at least stands to benefit in the rankings given he only has 180 points to lose from the London grand slam.

    Djokovic carried a lead of only 680 points over Medvedev into the French Open, where the Serbian is again defending 2,000 points after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year's final. Medvedev was a quarter-finalist in Paris last year, collecting 360 points.

    Medvedev may yet go top before Wimbledon, but there is a strong chance Djokovic begins his campaign at the All England Club knowing he will be powerless to prevent his number one status sliding away.

    "About the ATP decision, it is not easy to comment, but when I read the FAQ of the ATP, why they made this decision, because they are explaining themselves, they are not just saying, 'Okay, we decided that', I found it very logical what they say at least," Medvedev said.

    "This is what I didn't find in Wimbledon explanations. I'm not saying which decision is right, but at least so far in explaining their decisions, I found ATP just more logical."

    The ATP said its decision, which has been unpopular with many, was reached "purely on the basis of maintaining a level playing field for our players across the season".

    Medvedev began his French Open campaign on Tuesday with a clinical 6-2 6-2 6-2 win against Argentinian Facundo Bagnis, showing no ill effects of recent hernia surgery.

    Smiling, Medvedev said it was "very strange" that he might become the world's top-ranked men's player while exiled from Wimbledon.

    "But I'd be really happy to play Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon," said the 26-year-old, who plans to compete at grass-court events in Germany and the Netherlands in June.

    "I love playing on grass. I will play on grass after Roland Garros. But if I cannot, I'm just going to prepare for the next tournaments and follow what's happening there.

    "There are no points, I become number one, well, great for me. If there are points, I cannot become number one, I'm going to be gutted. It is what it is. I cannot change some decisions, both about ATP and Wimbledon."

  • French Open: Shapovalov slates ATP's Wimbledon points decision as Pliskova reveals WTA stars can't agree French Open: Shapovalov slates ATP's Wimbledon points decision as Pliskova reveals WTA stars can't agree

    Denis Shapovalov has attacked Wimbledon and the ATP for the decisions that have led to fears of players skipping the grass-court grand slam.

    Canadian left-hander Shapovalov enjoyed a run to the semi-finals at the All England Club last year, eventually losing to Novak Djokovic, but he will lose all his points and be unable to defend them at the 2022 tournament.

    The season's third major will not have any ranking points after the ATP and WTA, which run the men's and women's tours, respectively, effectively decided to punish the grand slam's organisers for banning Russian and Belarusian players.

    Naomi Osaka has said she is unsure about playing in London on that basis, as she wants to play events where there are points available following a slide on the WTA list, and there are concerns others may also give it a miss. A number of players have voiced concern that prize money could be slashed too.

    Shapovalov, who addressed the matter after a shock first-round loss to Denmark's Holger Rune at the French Open on Tuesday, said he did not agree with the banning of players or the subsequent points decision.

    "I completely understand the politics and the situation they're in. But if you have a tennis tournament that's supposed to have the best athletes in the world, it shouldn't matter where you're from," Shapovalov said.

    "I also don't agree with the ATP to take out all the points. The most guys it's affecting are the guys in the top rankings."

    Referring to last year's semi-finalists in the men's singles, Shapovalov, who beat Andy Murray on the way to the last four, said: "Obviously Novak [Djokovic], me, Hubi [Hubert Hurkacz], [Matteo] Berrettini, who is not playing here, we're going to drop a lot.

    "I think they could have gone with it a different way, maybe keep 50 per cent like they have in the past or some kind of fairness."

    Karolina Pliskova lost to Ash Barty in the women's final at Wimbledon last year, and the Czech described the WTA's move to strip points from Wimbledon as a "super tough and unfair and bad decision".

    She will play Wimbledon, which starts on June 27, because she feels it is a tournament she can win, and at the age of 30 she is determined to take every opportunity going to land a maiden grand slam. She could become champion this year but, because last year's Wimbledon ranking points will fall off, plunge down the rankings at the same time.

    Intriguingly, Pliskova said leading WTA stars could not agree what action tour chiefs should take about points.

    "We had a group of WhatsApp chat [between] top 10 players and these 10 girls could not agree on the same thing," Pliskova said. "Some girls were for no points, some were for 50 per cent, to keep just 50 per cent from last year, some were for like all the points. So it is what it is."

    Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, who won the French Open in 2017 and reached the Wimbledon semi-finals a year later, suspects there could yet be a twist in the saga to come.

    Ostapenko said: "There are of course a lot of rumours and talks, but I think maybe they are going to change their mind. I'm not sure about points. But I think a lot of things may happen within the next week or two weeks.

    "That's my personal opinion. Maybe I'm wrong. If there are no points, I'm not really sure what I'm going to do.

    "I feel like it's a little bit unfair to play the tournament when there are no points and you can win the tournament and then you don't move one spot up in the ranking."

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