Thiem moves a step closer in Hamburg

By Sports Desk July 24, 2019

Dominic Thiem boosted his hopes of a third ATP title in 2019 as he swept through to the German Tennis Championships quarter-finals in Hamburg.

The Austrian top seed, who has won tournaments in Indian Wells and Barcelona this year, saw off Marton Fucsovics 7-5 6-1 to set up a quarter-final clash on Friday with Andrey Rublev.

Rublev was a 3-6 7-5 6-3 winner against Casper Ruud, while Georgian fourth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili fought his way past Juan Ignacio Londero with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory.

Basilashvili, the defending champion, faces Jeremy Chardy next following the Frenchman's 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 victory over compatriot Richard Gasquet.

At the Swiss Open in Gstaad on Wednesday, second seed Fernando Verdasco lost 6-4 7-6 (7-4) to fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas to bow out in round two.

Another Spanish player awaits Ramos-Vinolas in the quarter-finals after sixth seed Roberto Carballes Baena cruised to a 6-2 6-4 win against Stefano Travaglia.

Thomas Fabbiano and Cedrik-Marcel Stebe will also go head to head in the last eight.

Fabbiano saw off fourth seed Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-1 in an all-Italian encounter, while Stebe was a 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-3 victor against Jiri Vesely.

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    Croatia's hopes of defending their Davis Cup title took a huge early blow as they were beaten 3-0 by Russia in Madrid on Monday.

    Champions a year ago, Croatia's chances of even progressing from the first stage in the 2019 Finals already look remote – with Rafael Nadal's Spain still to play in Group B.

    Croatia took on Russia on centre court following the opening ceremony in a match-up that was hindered by key withdrawals ahead of the tournament.

    Marin Cilic, who led Croatia to victory in 2018, missed out with injury, while Russia's Daniil Medvedev ducked out citing fatigue.

    Russia dealt with the absence of their number one in far more convincing fashion than Croatia, though, with Borna Gojo comfortably eased out 6-3 6-3 by Andrey Rublev in the first of three contests.

    The two remaining star names did battle next, but Russia again came out on top as Karen Khachanov rallied past Borna Coric 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4.

    And then Rublev and Khachanov teamed up for a straight-sets doubles success against Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic.

    Elsewhere, there was an upset as Italy went down to Canada 2-1, with both Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini beaten in singles play.

    Vasek Pospisil, ranked 150th in the world, defeated Khachanov at the US Open and claimed another scalp against Fognini, before Berrettini was turned over by Denis Shapovalov.

    Italy sent in their two stars for the doubles, where they gained a measure of revenge over Pospisil and Shapovalov, winning in three.

    Belgium survived David Goffin's awful start to his rubber to win 2-1 against Colombia.

    Steve Darcis had earlier seen off Santiago Giraldo in straight sets, but Goffin fell four games behind in the opener against Daniel Elahi Galan before staging a fightback.

    He won 3-6 6-3 6-3, although Colombia got on the board with a doubles comeback from Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

  • Tsitsipas: I'm really close to winning a grand slam Tsitsipas: I'm really close to winning a grand slam

    Stefanos Tsitsipas believes he is "really close" to winning a grand slam after his ATP Finals success on Sunday.

    The Greek, 21, became the youngest player to win the ATP Finals since 2001 after a thrilling 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) victory over Dominic Thiem in London.

    Tsitsipas, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open this year, feels a major success is not far away, with Wimbledon a goal.

    "For sure Wimbledon is the tournament that has a lot of tradition. I think most of the players if you ask would want to win Wimbledon, but for me any grand slam would be great," he told a news conference.

    "I feel like my game is getting better over time. I believe I'm really close on being crowned a grand slam champion. I know these are strong words that I say but I do feel like I belong to be there.

    "I'm competing against some of the best players in the world and the amount of effort and the amount of work I put [in] every day deserves to have an outcome like this."

    While Tsitsipas and Thiem reached the final in London, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic won two grand slams each in 2019.

    The 'Big Three' of Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer have won 55 grand slams since 2003, including the past 12, and Tsitsipas is aware of the huge challenge awaiting the next generation.

    "The thing that we have, the 'Big Three' dominating in the grand slams the last couple of years makes it really difficult for us because someone needs to get the job done to defeat them [in the] early rounds because once they get deep into a tournament they tend, as we saw, over the years to get better and play better, feel better," he said.

    "For me, that's a really difficult task to do, for players to be able to beat them in these grand slams because it's a best-of-five format and this gives them more chances to stay in the match.

    "It's not a best of three. If things were best of three it could have been much more different when it comes to grand slam champions over the years.

    "So, that's an issue because they have been sharing how many grand slams? I don't know, 60 something?

    "And for the young guys, it's all about time. I don't know. We'll either have to beat them or wait for them."

  • History-making Tsitsipas stunned by ATP Finals turnaround History-making Tsitsipas stunned by ATP Finals turnaround

    Stefanos Tsitsipas had "no idea" how he moved to another level in the second set of a "rollercoaster" clash with Dominic Thiem before going on to win the ATP Finals.

    The 21-year-old became the first Greek champion at the season-ending tournament, beating Thiem 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in a classic showdown at the O2 Arena on Sunday.

    Tsitsipas and Thiem put on a thrilling show in London, the aggressive sixth seed putting the disappointment of losing a first-set tie-break behind him by bossing the second set.

    Two-time French Open runner-up Thiem came 3-1 down to force another breaker, which Tsitsipas led 4-1 before the fifth seed stormed back again by winning the next three points.

    Tsitsipas was not to be denied the biggest title of his fledgling career on his debut at the event, a year after he was crowned Next Gen champion, and he was at a loss to explain how he was able to level the match in such assertive fashion.

    "I have no clue how I played so well in the second set," said Tsitsipas, the youngest winner of the tournament since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001.

    "I have no idea. I think my mind was at ease and I wasn't really thinking of much, which led to such a great performance in the second set, breaking him twice. It was pretty much an excellent set for me.

    "It was pretty frustrating for me to be playing with such nerves [during the final set]] for the first time in such a big event. I was a break up, I couldn't manage to hold it.

    "Things were decided in the tie-break and I am so relieved by this outstanding performance and fight that I gave out on the court."

    He added: "It's been a rollercoaster. Holding this trophy right now feels amazing."

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