Top seeds sent packing in Bastad, Mayer fights to victory

By Sports Desk July 17, 2019

Top seed Christian Garin and second seed Fernando Verdasco were knocked out of the Swedish Open on an action-packed Wednesday.

World number 37 Garin was no match for Jeremy Chardy in the upset of the day, the Frenchman winning 6-4 6-4.

Chardy hit 12 aces in his triumph and won six of the last seven games in the second set to set up a meeting with Nicolas Jarry, who beat Mikael Ymer 7-5 6-3.

Verdasco was also a surprise loser, failing to exact revenge for his 2016 Swedish Open final defeat to fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Ramos-Vinolas won that 2016 final in Bastad 6-3 6-4 and he nearly won by an identical score on Wednesday, posting a 6-2 6-4 triumph in one hour and 46 minutes.

Key to the world number 99's win was saving eight of a possible nine break points.

Ramos-Vinolas will next play another Spaniard, Roberto Carballes Baena, who posted a 6-1 7-6 (7-4) win over Damir Dzumhur.

Also on Wednesday, Leonardo Mayer fought back impressively to defeat Jiri Vesely in three sets at the Croatia Open in Umag.

In a match that lasted two hours and 12 minutes, Mayer won 3-6 6-4 6-4.

Attila Balazs was on court for even longer in Croatia, winning a tough encounter against sixth seed Filip Krajinovic 6-3 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-5).

Stefano Travaglia progressed in an all-Italian affair, after he won the first set against Fabio Fognini, who retired early in the second.

And in the late match in Croatia, Lazlo Djere edged Paolo Lorenzi 6-3 3-6 6-4.

Related items

  • Australian Open 2020: US Open lessons & big-stage experience have Osaka set up for title defence Australian Open 2020: US Open lessons & big-stage experience have Osaka set up for title defence

    Despite her rapid rise to the upper echelons of women's tennis, little has been straightforward for Naomi Osaka in what can already be considered a glittering career.

    Already a two-time grand slam winner and former world number one at the age of 22, defending Australian Open champion Osaka has achieved more than most do in their entire careers in a little over six years as a professional.

    Yet she has come to be defined just as much by her lows, the most prominent of which marred her maiden major triumph at the 2018 US Open, when Osaka was left in tears by boos during the trophy ceremony after Serena Williams' row with umpire Carlos Ramos.

    The Japanese has often seemed uncomfortable with the intense spotlight early success brings. Media conferences have previously proven difficult for her, with Osaka admittedly close to tears after losing in the first round at Wimbledon last year.

    Her defence at Flushing Meadows came to an end in the fourth round as she dealt with a knee injury, but that tournament served as a turning point for Osaka, whose performance on and off the court in New York provided further evidence, if it were needed, that she is set for a prolonged career at the sport's summit.

    For three rounds, Osaka, even with heavy strapping on her leg, looked every inch a player ready to retain her title. Her third-round demolition of teenage sensation Coco Gauff may have come against a player still adapting to such a stage, but it was striking in its ruthlessness.

    It was what she did after the match, however, that earned her widespread acclaim. Osaka comforted a tearful Gauff, and convinced her to stay on the court to conduct a post-match interview together.

    Osaka's gesture was one of a player who has been maturing rapidly, and she was able to appreciate the steps she took despite suffering defeat to Belinda Bencic in the last 16.

    "Right now I have this feeling of sadness, but I also feel like I have learned so much during this tournament," Osaka said after that loss.

    "I feel like the steps that I have taken as a person have been much greater than I would imagine at this point. So I hope that I can keep growing. I know that if I keep working hard, then of course I'll have better results."

    Those better results arrived in short order. Osaka won the Pan Pacific Open in her home city of Osaka before ending US Open champion Bianca Andreescu's 17-match winning run and defeating Ash Barty en route to the China Open title.

    Osaka won those titles under the guidance of her father after splitting from coach Jermaine Jenkins. Now, she is working with Wim Fissette and the early signs suggest it will be a profitable partnership.

    The world number three reached the semi-finals of the Brisbane International, her first tournament with Fissette in her camp, as she prepared for her Melbourne defence. Osaka broke the tournament record for aces in the competition by sending down an incredible 54 in four matches, but she was undone by Karolina Pliskova, letting slip a match point in a 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 defeat after two hours and 48 minutes.

    Speaking afterwards, Osaka described that marathon as a "grand slam final-type match". As Fissette explains, were the two to come to blows again in the final of a major, there is significant evidence to suggest that Osaka - 2-0 in such matches - would be on the other end of the scoreline.

    "It’s very clear that she loves the big stages, the big moments. Even at 22, she puts her goals very high," said Fissette.

    "With a player like Naomi, you go to tournaments to win them, not to play finals or semi-finals. That's the ambition and I love that ambition.

    "I want to coach players to win grand slams and that has always been the ambition and it's still like that. Working with Naomi Osaka, the goal must be to become number one in the world again and to win a grand slam, more slams."

    Significantly wiser for the experiences of the previous 12 months and with her biggest weapon, the serve, working magnificently, Osaka is in an excellent position to win a major from which Andreescu is conspicuous by her absence due to a knee issue.

    Home favourite and world number one Barty and the still record-chasing presence of Serena will provide significant obstacles - Osaka could face Williams in the quarters and then Barty in the semis having been placed in the same half of the draw as both - while the problem of the poor air quality in Melbourne is a concern for all players.

    Osaka, though, has the game and now, crucially, the temperament to overcome all those challenges. Not since Victoria Azarenka in 2013 has a woman successfully defended the Australian Open singles title but, though she fell short in her title defence at the US Open, prising the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup from the grasp of a fully fit Osaka promises to be an enormous task.

  • Shapovalov would rather pull out of Australian Open than jeopardise health Shapovalov would rather pull out of Australian Open than jeopardise health

    Denis Shapovalov would not play in the Australian Open if he felt conditions were unsafe amid continued concern over the air quality in Melbourne.

    Bushfires that have ravaged Australia in recent weeks led to a smoky haze drifting over Victoria, having a significant impact on qualifying for the first grand slam of 2020.

    Dalila Jakupovic had to retire from her qualifying match in distressing scenes after suffering a coughing fit during the second set against Stefanie Voegele.

    Tennis Australia has since published its air quality policy, which states play will be suspended if the concentration of P2.5 particles, which can impair lung function, exceeds 200 micrograms per cubic metre.

    The policy indicates there will be a discussion between medical staff and officials about whether it is advisable to play when the score is between 97 and 200.

    Speaking ahead of the tournament, where he will face Marton Fucsovics in the first round on Monday, Shapovalov was asked what he would do if he believed conditions to be unsafe.

    "I wouldn't play," he replied. "Obviously it's a grand slam, it's a big opportunity, but I'm 20 years old.

    "I don't want to risk my life, risk my health being out there in these conditions when I can play for the next 10, 15 years.

    "For my own health, if it gets bad, I just don't see what the point is. I think everyone's kind of on the same page. I don't think I've seen anyone happy with the way things are being dealt with."

    On the air quality policy, he added: "They send some email and say they have professionals looking at it and they use the term 'playable'.

    "For me it's just like, it's not great. You get warnings from the news telling people to stay inside, that it's not good to be outside, breathing this stuff in.

    "And then you get an email from the tournament saying it's playable and you guys have to go out there and put your life in jeopardy, put your health in jeopardy.

    "You see the effects on players it has right now, the last couple of days, but also you don't know what it's going to do later in our lives and how it could affect us if we're breathing this air in for two weeks."


  • Rublev goes back to back to start 2020 with Adelaide triumph Rublev goes back to back to start 2020 with Adelaide triumph

    Andrey Rublev became the first man since 2004 to start an ATP season with successive titles thanks to a routine victory over Lloyd Harris in the Adelaide International final.

    Having won the Qatar Open last week, Rublev maintained his stunning start to 2020 in South Australia and Harris, playing in his first Tour-level final, was no match for the Russian. 

    Rublev had come through three-setters with Dan Evans and Felix Auger Aliassime en route to the final, the latter contest lasting just shy of three hours.

    No such epic was needed for Rublev in the tournament showpiece, however, as he moved to 8-0 for the season with a 6-3 6-0 win.

    He is now unbeaten in 12 matches and will rise to a career-high ranking of 16 ahead of the Australian Open.

    The statistics tell the story for Rublev, who has proved almost impossible for his opponents to break down this week.

    Rublev saved 20 of the 23 break points he faced in Adelaide, including all four Harris brought up in the final.

    The South African failed to convert a break point in the fifth game and was immediately punished as Rublev capitalised on a poor service game from Harris.

    Harris then had three break-back points in the subsequent game but still allowed Rublev to hold and from there it was a procession. 

    A hold for Harris at least forced Rublev to serve out the first, but he did so with little difficulty as he rattled off seven successive games to replicate Dominik Hrbaty's achievement of 16 years ago by clinching back-to-back titles.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.