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March/April 2021 Tournaments

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 02 Mar 2021, 5:30 pm

With the AO over, it's time to look ahead to spring. There are plenty of tournaments going on and we await the return of a certain 39-year-old Swiss to the action.

Having reached the final of an Italian Challenger and then losing in the first round in France, Andy Murray had a long three-setter before emerging victorious in Rotterdam. He had to come from 3-0 down in the third set to finally see off Dutch veteran Robin Haase.

Andy says he's happy enough with his fitness although he feels pressure to get wins.

Federer starts his comeback in Doha next week and may play Dubai, although he's decided not to compete in Miami. It would be asking a lot for him to make the sort of return he did in 2017.

Nadal pulled out of Rotterdam. This is the time of year when he does everything to be in peak condition for the clay-court season and the French.

One interesting fact is that Medvedev could move up to number two at the end of this week. Incredibly, he would become the first player other than the Big Four to reach number two since 2005 when Nadal replaced Lleyton Hewitt at numero duo.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 03 Mar 2021, 2:47 pm

Forget what I wrote about Medvedev breaking into the top 2. He's been knocked out in Rotterdam by Dusan Lajovic. Zverev has also crashed out - going down in straight sets to Bublik.

Can Murray also knock out a big seed - Rublev - tonight ? I'd be pleased if Andy at least puts up a good show as this is a tough match for him.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 03 Mar 2021, 7:11 pm

For Murray its all about getting matches under his belt and he can only do that by winning matches. Rublev match will be a good indicator of Andy's level just now and so far he is not doing badly. On serve leading 3-2 in the first set.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 03 Mar 2021, 7:45 pm

Rublev breaks at the end of the first set and holds to take it 7-5. Top quality set thought in which Andy competed well against a player inside the top ten.
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Post by sirfredperry Thu 04 Mar 2021, 12:32 pm

Didn't really expect Murray to upset Rublev who won more matches than anyone else last year.

Andy said afterwards that he played a poor game to lose the first set. The good thing seems to be that he's not in physical discomfort.


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Post by sirfredperry Sat 06 Mar 2021, 2:40 pm

Federer will play either Chardy or Dan Evans in his first match in Doha. Could well be Evans, as Chardy had a very long match in Rotterdam yesterday and then has to travel.

Fed has said he's in fine fettle and looking forward to it. But just how well a 39-year-old who has been out of the sport for more than a year can do remains to be seen. I guess if anyone can get straight back to form it's Rog.


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Post by sirfredperry Sun 07 Mar 2021, 4:58 pm

Rublev carried on his stellar 2020 by taking the Rotterdam title.

Meanwhile, over in Doha Federer had spoken at length about his fitness (he feels good), his absence (he's missed the tour), and his prospects (he hopes to be in peak condition by Wimbledon).

He says he's not expecting too much and will be happy to just be back on the circuit. He said all the right things about Djoko and Rafa - how well they've done and how he hopes they, and he, can keep it going.

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Post by theslosty Sun 07 Mar 2021, 5:48 pm

Federer's slam chances have been written off almost permanently since 2013 but I always felt he had one more tilt in him until Wimbledon 2019. He played so well that tournament it felt incredibly harsh that he didn't win it. Given the way he struggled in the next 6 months, apart from one win over Djokovic at the O2, I have little faith for the first time. Nevertheless, it's good to hear him speaking positively.
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Post by Atila Mon 08 Mar 2021, 6:48 pm

Congratulations to Djokovic for setting a new record for most weeks as men's number one. OK

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 09 Mar 2021, 4:53 pm

Fed's first match back will be against Dan Evans who came thru in three sets v Chardy today.


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Post by sirfredperry Wed 10 Mar 2021, 7:07 pm

Federer has returned with a win. He edged Dan Evans 7-5 in the third set in his comeback match in Doha.

No doubt he would have been happy with any sort of return to action. But a win, against a top 30 player, will be very satisfying.


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Post by No name Bertie Thu 11 Mar 2021, 2:45 am

Atila wrote:Congratulations to Djokovic for setting a new record for most weeks as men's number one. OK

Ranking breakdown is odd - it seems to be the best result over a two year period is taken. So for example both Thiem and Nadal are awarded 2000 points for the US Open with Thiem winning it in 2020 and Nadal winning it in 2019. Wimbledon was only played once since 2019 - so only the 2019 points are retained. For the Australian Open best result over 2020 and 2021 is taken. This also allows Federer to have a high ranking of 6th.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 11 Mar 2021, 8:09 am

NNB - Due to Covid, a two-year system has been introduced for rankings in the men's and the women's tours.

If you've played the same tournament twice in that period, the higher points-won figure stands - hence Thiem, who reached the AO final in 2020, didn't lose his 1,200pts when he went out early in Melbourne this year.

The new system particularly helps Federer who, in the normal way, would have lost all his 2019 points (a SF at the AO, a final at Wimbledon) by now.

I think the new system is fair in that it takes into account the fact that there was no play for several months last year and doesn't force players to defend points at a time when travel/infection/quarantining etc is a problem.

Incidentally, the WTF year-end champs, being held in Italy this year, will be based on points won in 2021 ONLY. So the race-to-Italy final points tally won't necessarily reflect the year-end rankings.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 11 Mar 2021, 6:02 pm

Federer lost 7-5 in the third to Basilashvili after the Swiss held an MP at 4-5, 30-40 in that final set.

Disappointing that he lost but he'll probably be pleased he got thru two matches in two days.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 12 Mar 2021, 7:31 am

Federer has withdrawn from Dubai next week. Rafa was offered a WC for Dubai but he, too, won't play as he continues with his recovery from a back problem.

Fed said he was happy with his efforts in Doha. It seems he may play some of the clay-court season, although nothing is certain.

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 12 Mar 2021, 9:53 am

I hope we get all four slams this season. This pandemic and aspects of the lockdown are probably going to last several years.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 12 Mar 2021, 1:21 pm

NNB - The good news is that it's almost certain that all four Slams will be played this year. The not-such-good news is that there may not be capacity crowds at these events, although any sort of crowd will be better than empty venues.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 16 Mar 2021, 8:20 am

Medvedev has pushed up to number two in the rankings. It's the first time since 2005 that anyone other than the Big Four has been in the top two - a remarkable run.

The Russian was bound to do it this week in any case, but for good measure he won in Marseille.

The birth of Murray's fourth child has meant that he is not playing in Dubai but he has a WC into Miami.


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Post by sirfredperry Thu 18 Mar 2021, 3:07 pm

Very good win in Acapulco by Cameron Norrie who beat Fognini in straight sets.

A. Zverev has had a go at the new ranking system. But IMHO it's the best way forward for the time being.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 19 Mar 2021, 4:28 pm

Giantkilling by South African qualifier Lloyd Harris continued today in Dubai. He'd already taken out Thiem and Nishi and today he came from a set and a break down to beat Shapovalov to reach the final.

Harris took a set off Fed at Wimbledon a while back and becomes the first Q to reach a Dubai final.

Also some impressive stuff from a qualifier - Italy's Musetti - in Acapulco. He's beaten Schwartzman, Tiafoe and Dimi and now faces Tsitsipas in the sf.

Latest to moan about the new ranking system is Rublev. Listen guys - there's a pandemic on and the new system is only temporary.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 24 Mar 2021, 7:37 am

Disappointing that Andy Murray has had to pull out of Miami after developing a groin strain.

It's just one frustration after another for him. Let's hope it clears up soon.

Liam Broady will be in the main draw having come thru qualifiying which included a very tight match with a a 16-year-old Chinese. Cameron Norrie also plays.

There's no Djoko, Rafa, Fed or Thiem, with Medvedev the number one seed.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 26 Mar 2021, 9:04 pm

After coming back from 1-5 in the final set to win his first match in Miami, Cameron Norrie has now beaten Dimi in straight sets.

Dimi continues to lose early-round matches that he should, on paper, win.

Zverev is STILL beefing on about the new ranking system. Give it a rest....

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Post by No name Bertie Sat 27 Mar 2021, 5:00 pm

The older the body the less resilient it becomes - picking up more minor injuries and healing at a slower rate. Andy Murray has the additional burden of playing with a hip replacement.

Have the ATP reduced the demands on older players to remain on the ATP tour? I recall Bjorn Borg retired early aged 26 I think, because the ATP were unwilling for him to reduce the number of tournaments he had to play in.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 28 Mar 2021, 8:11 am

Certainly the temporary ranking system is assisting the older players.

After all his complaining about the new system, Zverev crashed out of the Miami tournament early.

Evans also lost and Jo Konta was well beaten by Kvitova.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 29 Mar 2021, 8:41 am

A host of three-setters in Miami yesterday with Cameron Norrie knocked out by Taylor Fritz.

Medvedev had MPs in the second set of his match but had to go, cramping, to a final set before winning.

Jannik Sinner of Italy continued his fast climb up the rankings with a 2hr 50mins win over Khachanov.


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Post by sirfredperry Tue 30 Mar 2021, 2:35 pm

Tsitsipas, Rublev and Hurkacz among yesterday's winners, along with Barty, Osaka and Svitolina.

German fast-rising star Karatsev, who did so well at the AO, finally ran out of steam v Korda.

Andreescu, who was plagued by injury last year, came from a set down to beat Muguruza.


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Post by sirfredperry Wed 31 Mar 2021, 9:00 am

Six of the Tuesday singles went according to seeding, with the exceptions being Hurkacz beating Raonic and Korda ousting Schwartzman.

Barty and Svitolina have made the semis. One more win and Barty will stay number one. But a s-f defeat will mean Osaka can reach number one if takes the title.

LATER: No Osaka take over at the top as she's beaten today in straight sets by Sakkari.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 01 Apr 2021, 6:27 pm

Medvedev and Osaka both beaten yesterday.

Both women's semis today.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 02 Apr 2021, 10:21 am

Tsitsipas was a set up and had two BPs for a double break in the second set and.....lost. Rublev joins Hurkacz in the semis.

Barty will, in the final, play Andreescu who came through a long semi against Sakkari.


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Post by sirfredperry Sat 03 Apr 2021, 2:37 pm

I guess few would have picked Hurkacz and Sinner to make the final. But these are strange times and therefore we are getting results that are a bit, er, strange.

The likes of Tsitsipas, Medvedev and Zverev really should have taken advantage of the absences. You would have thought one of them would have won the whole thing.


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Post by sirfredperry Sun 04 Apr 2021, 5:12 pm

Barty's title a little fortunate after Andreescu fell and had to retire.

Men's final tonight.

The French Open is now in doubt as France locks down again. It could be that it gets pushed back like last year.

LATER: Bjorn Borg's son Leo, 17, played in a Marbella Challenger today as a WC. He is the 12-ranked junior in the world but was up against Donskoy and only won one game.


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Post by sirfredperry Sun 04 Apr 2021, 7:12 pm

Hurkacz takes the first set 7-6.

LATER: And the second, too, to win the title.

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Post by No name Bertie Mon 05 Apr 2021, 2:35 am

I don't see why the French Open should be in doubt.  French Football and Rugby etc have been  continuing with and without lockdowns.  This includes international competitions; European Championships, World-Cup qualifying, Six Nations Men & Women etc.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 05 Apr 2021, 7:31 am

No name Bertie wrote:I don't see why the French Open should be in doubt.  French Football and Rugby etc have been  continuing with and without lockdowns.  This includes international competitions; European Championships, World-Cup qualifying, Six Nations Men & Women etc.

NNB: There's no definite news as yet. But the French sports minister and the French tennis president have said that postponing RG is a possibility.

Should the worst happen, I wonder whether we might get an extended grass-court season. Could we get extra weeks at Halle and Queens?

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 10 Apr 2021, 7:41 am

Monte Carlo next week where Rafa, now seeded three, has avoided Djoko's half in the draw.

Meanwhile in Italy Dan Evans lost after having four MPs against Musetti, while in Spain 17-year-old Spaniard Alcaraz has got into the semis.

The delaying of the French for one week shrinks the grass-court season. Not sure what a seven-day delay is going to do. The French are hoping it will mean bigger crowds but it rather depends how Paris is doing health-wise come late-May.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 13 Apr 2021, 8:08 am

Going to be a busy day today at Monte Carlo where rain ruined yesterday's schedule.

One of the few winners on Monday was Karatsev - the guy who reached the semis at the AO as a qualifier. He now meets Tsitsipas.

Federer is not playing in Monte Carlo and it's been announced that the Swiss won't play Rome either. It's possible that he will skip the entire clay-court swing, especially as there is now only two weeks between the French and Wimbledon.


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Post by No name Bertie Tue 13 Apr 2021, 11:43 pm

Come Wimbledon 2021 Federer will be about one month shy of turning 40. There must be some modern tennis age related records Federer will be breaking.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 14 Apr 2021, 3:36 pm

NNB - I think both Rosewall and Pancho Gonzalez were going strong into their late 30s.

Indeed Rosewall was 39 when he reached the 1974 Wimbledon final (where he was demolished by a rampant Connors).

As for today, Rafa and Djoko had little trouble in their first matches in Monte Carlo. Dan Evans had a particularly good win over Hurkacz but now faces.....Djoko.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 15 Apr 2021, 2:59 pm

EVANS TOPPLES DJOKO. Not the sort of headline we'd been expecting.

Having not won a match on clay for four years until this week, Dan triumphed 6-4, 7-5 for the biggest win of his career.

Should be fairly routine for Rafa now, with Nole out of the way and Medvedev isolating.

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Post by MrInvisible Thu 15 Apr 2021, 5:28 pm

Not posted on here for a while but wanted to say congratulations to Dan Evans for a fantastic victory, beating Djokovic (!) and on clay (!!) in Monte Carlo - what a week he's had so far, and some well earned ranking points on the way.  Best result from a British player since Murray's halcyon days back in 2016. Goffin up next for Evans - the Belgian knows his way round a clay court but hasn't had a great year so who knows.

Bit annoyed I cancelled my Eurosport subscription after my introductory offer, but will seek some match highlights on Youtube.

Probably looking at a Tsitsipas v Nadal final now - I think the Greek could keep the score reasonably respectable but still probably a straight sets win for Nadal I'd have thought.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 15 Apr 2021, 5:37 pm

Djoko, by the Serb's own reckoning, played horribly. But full marks to Evans who came up with some good tactics by all accounts.

So consistent have the Big Three been that it's a shock when they lose like this. But Djoko will be 34 next month and Rafa turns 35 in June. So maybe we should expect the odd fall from grace.

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Post by sirfredperry Yesterday at 2:41 pm

Evans wins again. Dan takes out Goffin in long three-setter and will now play Tsitsipas in the Monte Carlo semis.

For a guy who has a terrible clay-court record, Evans is having the tournament of his life and getting some big points.

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Post by MrInvisible Yesterday at 3:19 pm

@sfp: This run from Evans reminds me of Henman's improbable run to Roland Garros semis in 2004 in that, like Henman, Evans has been winning on his own terms by playing his own fast court game. Many opponents on clay just aren't used to it. Well done Evans, who'd have thought Monte Carlo would be his career highlight!

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