US Open to host temporary hospital & Federer back in action31 March 2020 / Miguel Coelho
What's been happening in Tennis during the last few days?
The two ATP 500 tournaments in Basel and Vienna are in progress this week, as they seem to be filled with great matches, featuring the likes of Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem.
Fritz completes the upset
Alexander Zverev was not having his best season this year, but it seemed like everything changed after participating in the Laver Cup with the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The German went on to make the semi-final in Beijing and the final in the Shanghai Masters 1000, succumbing to Danill Medvedev.
However, Taylor Fritz didn't seem willing to do Zverev any favors. Coming off two straight first-round exits at Shanghai and Stockholm, everyone expected an easy match for the German, but that wasn't the case. In a close 2-setter, he recovered from a 0-4 disadvantage in the tiebreak to go up 1-0 in sets at Basel. The panic and the uncertainties returned for the NextGen superstar.
With the opportunity to go 2-0 up at the start of the 2nd set, Zverev couldn't capitalize on a break point, and went on to lose his serve on his next service game. After that, motivation was running low as he proceeded to lose the 2nd set by 6-4 and eventually the match. This will serve as a huge boost to Fritz, and with his half now wide open, he could very well produce a deep run at Basel.
There's still hope for Fognini
After a good display in Shanghai for Fabio Fognini, losing out in the quarter-finals to the winner of the tournament Danill Medvedev, everyone expected a good showing in Stockholm as Fabio maintains high hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in London. Currently sitting at 11th place in the race with 2,235, he's 300 points behind the last qualifying spot who's occupied by Matteo Berrettini.
Alexei Popyrin had to go through the qualifying stages to enter the main draw in Basel, having defeated the Portuguese João Sousa and Woo Kwon Soon. However, a difficult task would be ahead when facing the Italian. The 1st set was a walk in the park for Fognini as he disposed of multiple chances to break, contrasting with the Australian who had none, finishing 6-2.
The 2nd set was more balanced, with Fabio gaining an early lead, with a break up at 1-2. But Popyrin was not ready to give up, returning the break, tying the set at 3 all. But as is usual from more experienced players, as the set went on, pressure started to build in the latter games for the Australian, as he lost serve once again in the decisive 9th game, allowing Fognini to serve for the match. It ended with the scoreline of 6-2, 6-4.
Thiem advances in duel with Tsonga
Dominic Thiem, recently crowned in Beijing after defeating Tsitsipas in the final, is through the next round in his hometown tournament. In what was expected to be the match of the day, both players did not disappoint.
The 1st set only disposed of one break point to Dominic Thiem, a point that the Austrian player didn't let go to secure the break. Gaining that advantage, Thiem remained in control for the rest of his service games, closing out Tsonga for a 6-4, 1-set lead over the Frenchman.
Even if Jo Wilfried Tsonga didn't have a single break point during the match, the 2nd set was a different story. He was on the brink of losing his serve for 2 times, as he faced a 0-40 disadvantage in the 3rd game, winning five straight points to close out the game. He recovered exemplarily from both those situations, leaving the decision of the set to a tiebreak. In the decider, Thiem completely took on control, winning the match 6-4, 7-6(2).
On the comeback trail
In a battle between two players who had their fair share of injuries, and are now trying to get back to their best level, Hyeon Chung moved to the next round defeating former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.
One of the hardest things to do when facing Raonic is obtaining break points, as the Canadian is an excellent server. Well, Chung disposed of three to start the game and immediately broke his opponent. After going through his service games with almost no problem, the South Korean caught himself in a tough spot when serving for the set as he faced multiple break points. However, he didn't let the pressure affect him and closed it out 6-4 in the 1st set of the match.
Curiously, the 2nd set started exactly the same as the 1st one. Chung broke Raonic to love and proceed to take an early lead, leaving everyone thinking that the match was practically over. But Milos was not ready to go down so easy. The Canadian broke back in the 8th game of the set and even had a set point to take the match to a last and deciding set. In tennis if you don't capitalize on the deciding points, you'll usually regret it afterwards. That's what happened on his next service game, as he couldn't hold serve, giving Chung an opportunity to close it out in 2 sets. The final scoreline was 6-4, 7-5.
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