ATP

Djokovic beats Fritz after Rome rain, Auger-Aliassime masters Schwartzman

By Sports Desk May 11, 2021

Novak Djokovic returned following a rain delay to beat Taylor Fritz in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia after Felix Auger-Aliassime dumped Diego Schwartzman out.

Djokovic, playing his first match since a shock loss to Aslan Karatsev in the semi-finals of the Serbia Open on home soil, dispatched American Fritz 6-3 7-6 (7-5) on Tuesday.

The world number one, who missed the Madrid Open, won the first three games of the match and saved both break points he faced in the opening set.

Fritz had broken for a second time in the second set to level at 5-5 when the rain came at the Foro Italico, but the top seed was able to come back out on court to finish off the job and will face Cameron Norrie or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the third round.

Auger-Aliassime secured the third victory over a top-10 opponent in his fledgling career, beating eighth seed Schwartzman 6-1 6-3 to move into round three.

The 20-year-old Canadian only needed 64 minutes to send the Argentine packing, converting five of the six break-point opportunities he earned.

Matteo Berrettini saw off Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6 6-2 6-4 in the first round less than 48 hours after the Italian was beaten by Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open final.

Gael Monfils was unable to win his first match since the Australian Open, as Lorenzo Sonego got the better of the fit-again Frenchman, who had been sidelined with a calf injury, 6-4 5-7 6-4.

Reilly Opelka moved into the last 16 with a 6-4 6-4 defeat of Lorenzo Musetti, while Pablo Carreno Busta's withdrawal due to lower back pain handed Kei Nishikori a walkover.

Daniil Medvedev and David Goffin were unable to start their second-round matches due to the weather in Rome.

Related items

  • Tokyo Olympics Recap: Ecuador's Carapaz 'over the moon' while Murray sees potential in the doubles Tokyo Olympics Recap: Ecuador's Carapaz 'over the moon' while Murray sees potential in the doubles

    Richard Carapaz and the rest of Ecuador are "over the moon" after his victory in the men's cycling road race on Saturday.

    Carapaz – who finished third in the general classification of the Tour de France earlier this month – crossed the finish line on the Fuji speedway well over a minute ahead of his nearest rivals to clinch Ecuador's second Olympic gold medal.

    Meanwhile in the tennis, Andy Murray, who clinched gold in the singles at the 2012 and 2016 Games, started strongly with his doubles partner Joe Salisbury, as Team GB overcame French favourites Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

    There was a shock for 2008 gold medallist Phil Dalhausser, as he and fellow American Nick Lucena fell foul of Dutch duo Robert Meeuwsen and Alexander Brouwer, while Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold of the Games.

     

    CARAPAZ CLAIMS RARE ECUADOR TRIUMPH

    Carapaz came close in Le Tour, but ultimately could not match the power of Tadej Pogacar, who defended his title in cycling's prime road race.

    Yet on the slopes of Mount Fuji, the South American came up with the goods to deliver a long-awaited success for Ecuador.

    "My country is over the moon right now. It's the second Olympic medal in the history of my country," he told a news conference after his success, with Tour champion Pogacar claiming bronze behind Belgium's Wout Van Aert.

    "The last medal that we won was 25 years ago, so it's a very special moment. It's the first medal in cycling, and cycling is a big sport in my country."

    Carapaz's triumph came as good news for Geraint Thomas, who crashed out of the race after colliding with his British team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart.

    "Couldn't be happier for Richard Carapaz," tweeted Thomas – the Ecuadorian's fellow INEOS Grenadiers rider. "To finish on the podium at the Tour and win gold a week later is just incredible. Enjoy it mate. King of Ecuador."

    MURRAY STARTS STRONG

    It has been a long comeback trail for Murray, who was at the top of his game when he won his second Olympic gold medal back in 2016.

    He faces a stern test in the singles on Sunday, when he goes up against Canada's Felix Auger Aliassime, and while a defence of that win may be unlikely, he and Salisbury made good progress in the doubles.

    Murray was a silver medallist in the mixed doubles at the London Games, and along with Salisbury had too much for second seeds Mahut and Herbert, with the pair needing just 75 minutes to win 6-3 6-2.

    "I think we have the potential to be a really good team," said Murray. "We were well deserved winners today – we created lots of chances, but not every doubles match is like that.

    "If we keep the same sort of attitude and everything, prepare diligently, I think we've got a chance of doing well."

    Murray's younger brother Jamie also enjoyed a fine start, as he and Neal Skupski came from behind to beat Argentina's Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos in a final-set tie-break.

    TAKATO GETS JAPAN UP AND RUNNING

    Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold medal of the Tokyo Games, as he triumphed in the men's under-60kg judo final against Yang Yung-wei of Taiwan.

    Takato, a three-time world champion and a bronze medallist in Rio, claimed a fitting victory for Japan in a sport that originated in the country, with the event taking place at the famous Nippon Budokan venue.

    He had to beat Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan in a gruelling semi-final. Smetov shared the bronze medal with France’s Luka Mkheidze.

    A shock earlier in the day saw Robert Mshvidobadze drop out in the last 16.

    DALHAUSSER'S STRUGGLES CONTINUE, NO JOY FOR SETO

    It has been a difficult start to the Games for Beijing beach volleyball champion Dalhausser, who had to quarantine after he was deemed a contact of Taylor Crabb. He was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test, which has dented the United States' hopes.

    Dalhausser could only train with Lucena on two occasions prior to Saturday's meeting with Meeuwsen and Brouwer and the lack of sharpness told as the Dutch prevailed 21-17 21-18 at the Shiokaze Park arena.

    There was also no joy for home favourite Daiya Seto. The Japanese swimmer, who won a bronze medal in 2016, had been tipped to shine in the men's 400m individual medley, yet failed to qualify for the final as he finished ninth in the heat.

    "In Rio I went out too fast [in the prelim] and didn't recover for the final. In the last 100 [today] I didn't let it all out. It was a misjudgement. The pressure wasn't too much," Seto said afterwards.

    "I have the 200m butterfly and 200IM. I'll just forget what happened and focus on my events."

  • ATP final debutant Gaston to meet Ruud in Gstaad showdown ATP final debutant Gaston to meet Ruud in Gstaad showdown

    Hugo Gaston is one win away from securing his maiden ATP Tour title, but he must overcome in-form Casper Ruud at the Swiss Open Gstaad.

    Gaston, ranked 155th in the world, booked his place in his first tour-level final with a 3-6 6-3 6-3 victory over Laslo Djere of Serbia on Saturday.

    The 20-year-old had never advanced past the second round at an ATP Tour event before this week. He has now won three matches in a row in a third set.

    "I tried to take more time with my game," Gaston said. "I made a lot of mistakes in the first set, so I tried to change my game. My serve was better in the second and third set.

    "I am really happy to be in the final. It is going to be a good match, but I will try to enjoy [this] moment."

    Ruud, meanwhile, enjoyed a rather more straightforward procession in his semi-final, with world number 249 Vit Kopriva little match for the 22-year-old Norwegian.

    The world number 14 needed just 74 minutes to win 6-3 6-0, reaching his second final in as many weeks following his success in Bastad.

    Ruud has won 23 clay-court matches already in 2021 and is in the hunt for his fourth career title.

  • Tokyo Olympics: Djokovic on Osaka lighting cauldron – It cannot be better for our sport Tokyo Olympics: Djokovic on Osaka lighting cauldron – It cannot be better for our sport

    Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic cauldron will have helped increase the exposure for the sport of tennis around the world, according to Novak Djokovic.

    Osaka was given the honour of carrying the torch on the short final leg at the Japan National Stadium before walking the steps to light the flame and end the opening ceremony.

    The four-time grand slam champion is the face of the Tokyo Games in her home country, creating extra pressure on her shoulders as she bids to strike gold.

    Djokovic appreciates the absences of legendary names Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is a blow, but he believes Osaka's presence is crucial for tennis in the battle for media coverage at the Games.

    "It cannot be better for our sport, you are representing yourself, your country but also your sport in the Olympic Games, you're trying to get the hype and the attention towards our sport as much as you possibly can, so we're all contributing to that in the Olympic Village," Djokovic said when asked about Osaka's role in Friday's ceremony.

    "There's a lot of attention towards the tennis players which is great, from the other athletes which is very nice to see, very nice to experience.

    "Obviously you don't have Roger or Rafa. They are big stars and legends of our sport, but still there's quite a lot of great athletes, top players. Naomi is a home favourite and a lot of eyes are on her.

    "Being at home playing is a lot of pressure, but it's great for our sport just in general to see that there's a lot of attention towards it."

     

    Djokovic was speaking after overcoming Hugo Dellien with ease in his opening outing in the men's singles tournament, the Serbian triumphing 6-2 6-2 in just over an hour.

    The quick win allowed the recently crowned Wimbledon champion to avoid staying out for too long in the Tokyo heat, an issue that led to Daniil Medvedev calling for matches to be pushed back to later in the day, allowing players to compete during the evenings when the temperatures have dropped.

    "I agree with him 100 per cent," Djokovic said of Medvedev's suggestion. "I actually asked as well.

    "My team captain, Viktor Troicki, was speaking to the referee a couple of times. To be honest, I don't understand why they don't start matches at say 3pm.

    "I've heard for tennis there is some kind of curfew they have to finish at midnight, but if that's the case, I've just finished the last match and it's not even 5pm, we still have seven hours to play. 

    "They have lights on all the courts, they're going to make life much easier for all of us tennis players, I just don't understand why they don't move it. 

    "It's actually for the television broadcasters even better, because the later you play, the better it is for the United States and the time zones in Europe.

    "I don't know, maybe the ITF (International Tennis Federation) can give you a better answer to why they chose to be played in the middle of the day. I doubt they will change the decision, but we're hoping that they will."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.