ATP

Karatsev sees off Musetti in rainy Monte Carlo

By Sports Desk April 12, 2021

Rain curtailed much of Monday's schedule at the Monte Carlo Masters but it could not prevent Aslan Karatsev from continuing his hugely impressive start to the season.

Karatsev, a surprise Australian Open semi-finalist and a champion in Dubai last month, overcame Lorenzo Musetti, the Italian teenager who was a semi-finalist in Acapulco in March, in straight sets after a four-hour rain delay.

He went into that interruption with a 4-3 lead in the first set and duly polished off the next two games on his return to the court.

The Russian sent down 23 winners as he completed a 6-3 6-4 win in 88 minutes, his last a cross-court backhand that set up a second-round meeting with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"It was a really tough match [for] my first match of the season on clay [with] tough weather conditions," said Karatsev.

"We started in the morning [and] I started pretty well, I broke him and then the court was getting heavy, the ball was heavy.

"It is tough to play against him. [He is] really fit, [he] runs a lot and gives everything back, so you have to build the point by yourself and close the point by yourself."

There were mixed fortunes for Australians Alex de Minaur and John Millman in Monaco.

De Minaur went down to a surprise straight-sets defeat to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina but Millman broke Ugo Humbert four times in a 6-3 6-3 win.

Next for Millman is either Felix Auger-Aliassime or Cristian Garin, whose first-round contest was among those unable to finish because of the inclement weather on the Cote d'Azur.

Tommy Paul also progressed to the next round, with five matches on court when play was cancelled for the day.

Related items

  • Gaston saves four match points to reach Gstaad semis with top seed Ruud Gaston saves four match points to reach Gstaad semis with top seed Ruud

    Hugo Gaston showed admirable spirit as the young Frenchman saved four match points in a gripping tie-break against Cristian Garin en route to reaching his first ATP Tour semi-final.

    Garin, the fourth seed, responded impressively to going a set down and then got to match point four times in their third-set tie-break, but he could not hold his nerve and Gaston got the job done 6-4 1-6 7-6 (13-11).

    The Chilean was on the back foot right from the start Gaston broke him in the first game, and although Garin did hit back to make it 3-3, his opponent quickly had the advantage again and went on to seal the first set.

    Garin's response was emphatic and clinical, dropping just three points on his serve and taking both of the break points that came his way to level the match.

    The pair could not be separated in a back-and-forth third set, but Garin was the first to get match point at 6-5 in the tie-break – they would trade another six equally between them before Gaston finally prevailed at 13-11, leaving the 20-year-old satisfied.

    "I am very happy to be in my first [ATP Tour] semi-final," Gaston said after.

    "It was a great fight. It was a really long match. I always tried to play my game, and it is a good win for me. I hope I can continue like that."

    Up next for Gaston will be Laslo Djere after he saw off Arthur Rinderknech 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4, while Casper Ruud – the highest seed remaining – is also into the final four.

    The Norwegian was victorious at the Swedish Open last week, his second title of the year, and dispatched Benoit Paire on Friday to reach another semi.

    Ruud won 6-2 5-7 6-3 in just under two hours and will face Vit Kopriva, a qualifier, who secured his first semi-final appearance thanks to a stunning 6-1 6-0 win over Mikael Ymer.

    At the Croatia Open in Umag, top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas cruised into the last four with a straightforward 6-2 6-1 defeat of Stefano Travaglia, setting up a meeting with either Filip Krajinovic or Carlos Alcaraz.

    The other semi will be contested between Richard Gasquet and Daniel Altmaier, who produced something of a shock by ousting second seed Dusan Lajovic 6-2 6-4.

    The veteran Frenchman came through against Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-6 (9-7), clinching the second set at the fourth opportunity.

  • Tokyo Olympics: What to look out for on Saturday Tokyo Olympics: What to look out for on Saturday

    The men's road cycling race is a standout event as dreams will turn into a reality a year later than athletes might have hoped for at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.

    After Naomi Osaka lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony on Friday, Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar will be striving to light up the opening day of competition.

    Pogacar goes for gold less than a week after the Slovenian sensation retained his Tour title in Paris and it will be an incredible achievement if he is on top of the podium again.

    There will also be archery, judo, shooting, taekwondo and weightlifting titles up for grabs on the first day of the Games 12 months after they were due to be contested.

    Stats Perform pick out what to look out for on Saturday.

     

    POGACAR FACES ANOTHER HUGE STAMINA TEST

    Pogacar dominated the Tour de France and is the favourite to follow that up with Olympic gold in what promises to be a thrilling road race.

    His compatriot Primoz Roglic is another strong contender for gold, while Canada's Michael Woods and Spaniard Alejandro Valverde will start the race with high hopes of securing a medal.

    Belgian duo Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert are also expected to be in the mix.

    The 234-kilometre course starts at Musashinonomori Park and finishes at the Fuji International Speedway and features five big ascents, including one on Mount Fuji.

     

    HIGH HOPES FOR JAPANESE JUDOKAS

    There will be no spectators to provide support, but that is not expected to stop Japanese judokas from setting the standard once again.

    The host nation has 39 gold, 19 silver and 26 bronze medals in judo, making it the only sport the country tops the all-time Olympic medal table in.

    Naoki Ogata, technical operations manager with the International Judo Federation, is setting the bar high with his expectations on home soil.

    "No doubt, we want a gold medal in all weight categories," said Ogata.

     

    DJOKOVIC IN HUNT FOR GOLDEN SLAM

    Novak Djokovic has already won three of the four majors this year and an Olympic title would leave him heading to the US Open knowing victory would complete the Golden Slam.

    The world number one from Serbia plays Hugo Dellien of Bolivia when the men's singles starts on Saturday, while Poland's Iga Swiatek is among the standout players in action in the women's singles - which she begins against Mona Barthel.

    There is also women's and men's doubles action on Saturday. 

    The pick of the other events to be getting under way will be artistic gymnastics, badminton, swimming, boxing, hockey and rowing.

  • Tokyo Olympics: Naomi Osaka match moved as Japan's big tennis hope prepares for starring role Tokyo Olympics: Naomi Osaka match moved as Japan's big tennis hope prepares for starring role

    Naomi Osaka will make her playing entry to the Olympic Games a day later than expected after her first-round tennis match was put back to Sunday.

    Japan's big hope for gold will play China's Zheng Saisai in her opener at the Ariake Tennis Park.

    The match was billed to be first on the centre court at 11:00 local time on Saturday, only for Games organisers to announce it has been moved back by a day.

    The move came amid mounting expectation that Osaka would have a prominent role to play in Friday's opening ceremony, meaning she would have little time to rest between taking part in that event and playing Zheng.

    Osaka abandoned her French Open campaign after one match, having been warned she risked expulsion for refusing to take part in news conferences during the tournament.

    The reigning US Open and Australian Open champion, who has spoken of struggling with anxiety and depression, then elected to skip Wimbledon.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.