ATP

Berrettini survives early scare on return to ATP Tour in Cincinnati

By Sports Desk August 18, 2021

Fifth seed Matteo Berrettini survived an early scare on his return from a thigh injury to progress in the second round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati over Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Tuesday.

The Italian world number eight, making his ATP Tour return since losing the Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic in July, won 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 7-5.

The Spaniard claimed the first set in a tie-break but Berrettini hit back, sending down 25 aces for the match, winning 84 per cent on his first serve.

"I'm happy for the win. I think I served really well," Berrettini said. "My strokes from the baseline weren't working the way I wanted them to, but I knew from the beginning it's been a long time since I played a match, especially on hard, so I expected to feel a little bit weird."

The match extended to two hours and 20 minutes, with the Italian utilizing his backhand slice in the final set to get the edge.

Berrettini, who has a 33-7 record for the season, will face 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or Karen Khachanov in the third round.

"I'm really happy that I'm going to have the chance to play another match because that's what I need," Berrettini said. "I need to play matches. I need to get in the best shape possible."

Canadian sixth seed Denis Shapovalov suffered a shock early upset, going down to France's Benoit Paire 6-3 4-6 7-5 in the Round of 64.

Former US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov toppled 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 21 minutes.

Fellow seed Cristian Garin also bowed out, losing 4-6 6-3 6-4 to qualifier Tommy Paul, while ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-1.

Marin Cilic, John Isner, Sebastian Korda, Gael Monfils, Reilly Opelka, Lorenzo Sonego and Frances Tiafoe were the other Tuesday winners.

Isner sent down his 13,000th career ace in his three-set win over Briton Cam Norrie.

Related items

  • Arteta accepts Arsenal goalscorer Martinelli 'deserves more' Arteta accepts Arsenal goalscorer Martinelli 'deserves more'

    Mikel Arteta concedes Gabriel Martinelli deserves more game time than he is getting at Arsenal and says the forward is pushing hard to play a greater role for the Gunners.

    Martinelli was on target as Arsenal defeated Newcastle United 2-0 at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, just 93 seconds after replacing Bukayo Saka – who had opened the scoring.

    The Brazilian has played only 367 minutes across nine appearances in all competitions this season, with just four of those as part of the starting line-up.

    His goal against the Magpies was his first of the campaign, while he has yet to register an assist from the five chances he has created.

    But Arsenal boss Arteta believes the goal can act as a springboard for a player whose attitude continues to impress the Spaniard.

    "It is a big moment for him and I'm especially happy for him because how he behaves," Arteta told Arsenal's official website of Martinelli.

    "Some players are respectful when you make some decisions, and some players are very respectful, like he is.

    "He's patient, but at the same time he's really pushing and challenging and it makes every decision that you make even harder because he deserves more and I'm really pleased because he really helped the team to get the points."

    Martinelli's goal was his first Premier League home strike since January 2020, with 679 days having passed between the efforts.

    He has had fewer than 15 minutes of top-flight action since August, but Martinelli accepts there is a need to be patient.

    "Yeah I need to be patient as I always say, if I play 10 or 20 minutes, I have to play well and be ready to play," Martinelli said.

    "I love the fans, I'm so happy to be here, playing for this club and I'm so happy for the victory.

    "We knew that the game was going to be hard, but we came prepared to the game and I'm so happy.

    "To be fair I don't remember [the goal]. I think Martin [Odegaard] played it wide to Tomi [Takehiro Tomiyasu] and I just thought I'd go to the box and try to head it, and I finished the ball. I'm just happy to score the goal."

  • Suns embracing franchise equalling win streak ahead of Warriors clash Suns embracing franchise equalling win streak ahead of Warriors clash

    Chris Paul is embracing the prospect of the Phoenix Suns matching their franchise record streak of 17 consecutive wins ahead of Tuesday's game against the Golden State Warriors.

    The Suns veteran, who reiterated that the ultimate goal is an elusive NBA title, had 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists as Phoenix beat the Brooklyn Nets 113-107 on Saturday.

    The win over the Nets moved the Suns' winning run to 16 games, within one victory of their franchise best, set in 2006-07.

    "It would be nice," Paul said during the post-game news conference. "Obviously everybody knows the ultimate goal is to win a championship but if you don't enjoy the small victories throughout the regular season then what the hell are you doing?

    "More than anything, we are having fun... We are going to keep taking it one game at a time and enjoy the moments because it's all about the journey."

    The Suns, who were beaten in last season's NBA Finals by the Milwaukee Bucks, have a 17-3 record this season, only bettered by Tuesday's opponents Golden State (17-2).

    "We know how good that team is over there," Paul added. "They have identity. They're led by Steph [Curry] and Draymond [Green] and now they've got Iggy [Andre Igoudala]. That's a tough team anytime you play against them."

    Devin Booker top scored for the Suns with 30 points against the Nets, including four three-pointers along with four assists.

    On the potential franchise-equalling game, he added: "I am looking forward to it. "Obviously [it is] not a make it or break it game. Not a playoff game. But we know it will be a high-energy game.

    "Two best records in the NBA. It is going to be a high intensity fun game."

  • Harden still 'trying to figure it all out' after frustrating Nets defeat Harden still 'trying to figure it all out' after frustrating Nets defeat

    James Harden admits he is still trying to figure out how to play his best basketball for the Brooklyn Nets after an ordinary display in the 113-107 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.

    Harden registered his fourth triple-double of the season, but he had seven turnovers and shot poorly, going none-for-six from three-point range for his 12 points under close guarding from Mikal Bridges.

    The 2018 MVP also shot four-for-16 from the field, finishing with 13 rebounds and 14 assists, as his up-and-down season continues.

    Harden is averaging 20.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game this season, with his offensive output the most alarming decline on his 25.0 career average.

    The 32-year-old averaged 24.6 points for the Nets following his January move from the Houston Rockets, with injuries impacting his continuity after the switch and into this season as well as developing cohesion with his new side.

    "Honestly I’m trying to figure all that out right now," Harden said at the post-game news conference. “I’m trying to figure it out.

    "Trying to figure out when to score, when to be a playmaker when to run offense, when to do a little bit of everything.

    "Just trying to figure it out it’s been a little difficult especially since you know, well whatever, but it’s been a little difficult but I’m just trying to figure it out."

    Nets head coach Steve Nash admitted it was a "tough night" for Harden, who was jeered by some fans at the Barclays Center upon his seventh turnover.

    "It was a tough night for him," Nash said during the news conference. "Some turnover issues. He didn’t get a lot of good looks.

    "That's part of our growth too, trying to figure out ways for him to be effective, even if he's not getting to the rim."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.