ATP

Rublev suffers shock Moscow defeat, Murray eliminated by Schwartzman in Antwerp

By Sports Desk October 21, 2021

Andrey Rublev's hopes of retaining the Kremlin Cup on home soil in Moscow are over after he suffered a surprise defeat to Adrian Mannarino.

Mannarino ultimately came out on top 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 but he had to do it the hard way, coming back from match point down to set up a meeting with Ricardas Berankis, who lost only tree games in a 6-2 6-1 win over Federico Coria.

Rublev was never cruising, however, as Mannarino only just fell short in the first set and then took the second to a tiebreak, which he eventually won to turn the tide.

The 33-year-old, who lost to Rublev in the final two years ago, took things up a notch in the decider and did not face a single break point as he got the job done despite the home support.

"The crowd was cheering for Andrey but that is normal," he said after reaching the quarter-finals. "I was happy to play with such a nice atmosphere.

"We have been playing for a long time without fans, so it is nice to enjoy a stadium with crowds now."

Second-seed Aslan Karatsev is now the favourite in Moscow, and the Russian had few issues in a 6-4 6-3 defeat of Egor Gerasimov.

Karatsev will face Gilles Simon next following his 6-3 6-2 win over Mackenzie McDonald, while Pedro Martinez won 6-3 6-4 over Filip Krajinovic to book his passage.

At the European Open in Antwerp, Andy Murray's hopes of winning a first ATP Tour title in two years were ended by number two seed Diego Schwartzman.

The Argentinian trailed 4-1 in the first set but fought back to win 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in his first ever match against the Scot, whose last tour triumph was in Antwerp.

In his on-court interview, Schwartzman said: "It was a pleasure to play against Andy. We had not played before and he is coming back and every week he is playing better and moving better.

"I have a lot of respect because when I grew up playing tennis, I was watching Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Andy and Novak [Djokovic] and right now playing against him is a pleasure for me."

Seventh seed Lloyd Harris is also into the quarter-finals after a straightforward 6-2 6-3 victory over Jan-Lennard Struff in just 72 minutes, Marton Fucsovics came through 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-1 against Roberto Bautista Agut and Brandon Nakashima edged past Henri Laaksonen 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 to earn the right to face Schwartzman.

Related items

  • Novak Djokovic likely to skip Australian Open, claims world number one's father Novak Djokovic likely to skip Australian Open, claims world number one's father

    Novak Djokovic is unlikely to play at the Australian Open in January unless COVID-19 vaccination rules are relaxed, according to the player's father.

    Organisers recently confirmed that players must be vaccinated against coronavirus to compete in the tournament, which begins on January 17.

    World number one Djokovic, who won a record ninth title in Melbourne last year, has not publicly stated whether he has had the jab.

    Srdjan Djokovic told Serbia's TV Prva that being vaccinated is a personal choice, and that Tennis Australia's rules are essentially "blackmail".

    "As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not," he was quoted as saying by news website B92.

    "No one has the right to enter into our intimacy, it is guaranteed by the constitution. Everyone has the right to decide on their health.

    "Whether [Novak] is vaccinated or not, that is his exclusive right. Will he publish it, I don't think so. I don't know that decision either, and if I did, I wouldn't share it with you. He has the right to decide as he wants."

    When asked about Djokovic's decision to play in Australia, his father added: "Whether he will appear there depends on how [the organisers] position themselves. He would want it with all his heart because he's an athlete, and we would love that too.

    "Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won't. I wouldn't do that. And he's my son, so you decide for yourself."

    Djokovic, who is tied on 20 major singles titles with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, recently said he was unsure of his participation following his appearance at the ATP Finals in Turin.

    "I was just waiting to hear what the news is going to be and now that I know we'll just have to wait and see," he said.

  • China calls for 'hyping up' of Peng Shuai saga to end China calls for 'hyping up' of Peng Shuai saga to end

    China has called for people to stop "deliberately and maliciously hyping up" the Peng Shuai saga.

    Two-time grand slam doubles champion was reported to have been missing since making sexual assault allegations against Zhang Gaol, the ex-vice premier and member of the Chinese Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee, more than three weeks ago.

    The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) welcomed pictures that showed Peng on a video call with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, but say the images do not alleviate its concerns about her wellbeing.

    According to the IOC, Peng said she is "safe and well" in the call on Sunday and the 35-year-old spoke to president Bach for half an hour.

    Despite footage released by Chinese state-run media on Saturday purporting to show Peng in a restaurant with friends, followed by images of her at a youth tournament on Sunday, concerns have continued to be raised regarding her safety.

    Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic are among many fellow players to have issued a plea for answers over Peng's whereabouts.

    Human rights group Amnesty International stated the IOC is "entering dangerous waters" by taking part in a call with Peng and "should be extremely careful not to participate in any whitewash of possible human rights violations."

    There was a firm message from China's foreign ministry on Tuesday, declared the issue is "not a diplomatic matter".

    "I believe you have all seen that she recently attended some public events and had a video call [with IOC president Bach]," spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

    "I think some people should stop deliberately and maliciously hyping [the issue] up, let alone politicise this issue."

     

     

  • Barty party! WTA number one engaged to Liverpool fan boyfriend Barty party! WTA number one engaged to Liverpool fan boyfriend

    Ash Barty has announced her engagement to Liverpool fan and golfer Garry Kissick, capping a memorable year in style.

    Barty added another sparkler to her collection when she revealed an engagement ring on Tuesday, having already landed the glistening Wimbledon trophy and an Olympic medal in the 2021 season.

    She posted a picture of herself and Kissick on Instagram, showing off her ring and captioning the shot "Future Husband".

    Kissick is a trainee professional at Brookwater Golf Club, a venue close to Brisbane, and is often seen in a Liverpool Football Club shirt, as was the case with the engagement picture.

    He and Barty have visited Liverpool's home ground of Anfield together.

    Speaking about having the likes of Kissick and coach Craig Tyzzer with her on the road, Barty said during her run to the Wimbledon title in July: "It's nice to be able to share some of these awesome moments with those that put so much time and energy into my career and allow me, encourage me, help me kind of work and figure out a plan and a way that they try and achieve our dreams. I think being able to share that with them is really special."

    Barty won a bronze in mixed doubles at Tokyo 2020 alongside long-time friend John Peers, describing that achievement as "a dream come true".

    She also won the Yarra Valley Classic, the Stuttgart Open, and WTA 1000 titles at Miami and Cincinnati before calling time on her season after a third-round exit from the US Open, where she lost to Shelby Rogers.

    Barty finished the season as world number one for a third successive year, despite her recent inactivity.

    She said a major triumph in her homeland was a priority for 2022, saying: "My focus is now on the Australian summer and doing everything I can to win the Australian Open. I can't wait to play at home again."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.