New York Open 2020 Live : The Argentina Open was dominated by Spaniards. David Ferrer won it three times in a row from 2012-2014. Even the King of Clay Tennis 2020 himself, Rafael Nadal, had graced the courts a on few occasions, winning in 2015 and losing to Thiem in the semi-final in 2016. In the 1970’s, Argentine legend Guillermo Vilas won Abn Amro World Tennis Tournament the event six years in a row and has the highest number of titles with eight. He beat Argentine favourite Diego Schwartzman in the final.
2019 champion, Marco Cecchinato, saw his ranking plummet last year. A former top 20 player, the Italian now finds himself ranked outside the top 70 due to a string of bad results. At last year’s event, Cecchinato cruised to the title, without dropping a set.
At the tournament this year, Thiem, who is fresh off the back of his third Grand Slam final, is the top seed. The Austrian has won the tournament in Buenos Aires twice before, in 2016 and 2018. He lost in a third set tiebreak to Schwartzman last year. Also in the draw is 2019 US Open semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini. He is the second seed and enjoyed a breakout year in 2019, reaching a career high ranking of eight, qualifying for the ATP Finals and winning the most improved player of the year award.
The 23rd edition of the Argentina Open begins in Buenos Aires from February 10 and will feature some big names of the tennis world. A part of the ATP 250 series, the Argentina Open is the second of the Latin American Golden Swing events that follows the Cordoba Open.
Australian Open 2020 runner-up Dominic Thiem was expected to be part of the tournament but withdrew, as a result of which world No. 14 Diego Schwartzman will be the top seed on clay at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.
The Argentinian who went down to Novak Djokovic in the fourth round of the Australian Open 2020 will be joined in Buenos Aires by countryman Guido Pella who is seeded second while Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic begins the tournament as the third seed.
Fourth seed Borna Coric who is a former World No. 12 and currently ranked 30th bowed out in the first round of the Australian Open earlier this year. The other seeded players in the competition include Christian Garin of Chile, Laslo Dere of Serbia, Albert Ramos of Spain, and Norwegian Casper Ruud.
The tournament boasts of some big titleholders from the past like Rafael Nadal who triumphed in 2015 and Dominic Thiem who emerged victorious in 2016 and 2018.
Thiem lost to Diego Schwartzman in the semi-finals, in 2019, and Marco Cecchinato of Italy went on to win the title. Schwartzman lost to Cecchinato in two sets last year, but the Argentine top seed would like nothing better than to go all the way this time around.
There have been six meetings between two players in the past and both have won three apiece. Four of these matches came on clay and interestingly, Cuevas is 3-1 on them including 3-0 in their last three. This includes a match last year at the Rio Open where Cuevas was leading 6-1, 4-1 before the Argentine withdrew from the encounter.
Since winning his first set against Albert Ramos Vinolas in their quarterfinal at the Cordoba Open, Schwartzman has seen a lot of struggle. He had won that 6-0 but followed that up with Ramos Vinola taking him to a tie-breaker in the second.
This was followed by back to back tie-breakers in the semifinals and final, which saw him beat Laslo Djere but lose the title to Cristian Garin. After a first round bye here at his home competition, Schwartzman was then faced with fellow Argentine Federico Delbonis who took him to another three-setter before the world number 14 came through 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to make it to the quarterfinals.
Schwartzman was a finalist here last year and would be hoping to go one better but given his track record against Cuevas and the way things have gone recently, will it be an easy journey?
On hard court surfaces this season, Cuevas has played six and lost five matches. On clay, he has played five and lost his only match at the quarterfinal of the Cordoba Open last week to Cristian Garin – making him the player who had beaten both, Cuevas and Schwartzman last week.
Such has been Cuevas’ career, with a pretty shoddy record on non-clay surfaces. However, this competition is being played on clay and Cuevas already notched up a couple of good wins here. He first sent Lorenzi Sonego packing in straight sets before getting stretched to three sets and winning against Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
The good thing for Cuevas is despite being 48th in the world, 30-odd places behind his opponent here, he has the advantage of having beaten Schwartzman on multiple occasions. There’s something about Cuevas that does make it tougher for the Argentine which should level things up a bit coming into the match.It is quite surprising Schwartzman is that big a favourite as the 1/3 bookmakers are offering for his win here. Look at the games handicap market instead and pinning this on Cuevas as a result.
This will be the second match between these two players with Ruud having beaten Londero in their previous meeting which was held at the Lima Challenger in 2016. It was a straight-set, three-game-loss win for Ruud and how he would love a repeat of that here, four years on.
After a couple of wins at the ATP Cup, Ruud’s season looked to be going into a tailspin on hard court surfaces. Daniil Medvedev beat him in straight sets at the ATP Cup itself to knock Norway out, before he lost back to back matches at the Auckland Open and Australian Open.
Ruud would have been particularly disappointed with his opening round defeat in Melbourne, where he came back from two sets down to take the match to a final set tie-breaker. However, Egor Gerasimov clinched it 8-6 in the tie-breaker.
It has taken that transition to clay which has helped Ruud to an extent. He started with a 6-2, 6-3 rout of Pablo Andujar, and then crushed Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-0 in double-quick time. And if Dusan Lajovic thought he could push Ruud to the distance after the first set went to 12 games, he was proved to be wrong as the Norwegian ended his chances in straight sets as well.
A first round defeat at the Argentina Open last year, Londero has come back well to make it to the semifinal here. It shouldn’t surprise too many though given he was the defending Cordoba Open champion and made it to the quarterfinal in that tournament last week before falling to Laslo Djere.
What might have surprising is the way he defeated the tournament second seed Guido Pella, in straight sets, having earlier avenged his loss to Djere earlier here in the second round. With that, he took his win-loss record on clay this year to 5-1, having also won 27 of his 41 matches last year.
Londero, a former 50th-ranked player, is already inching towards his career-best, having already touched 61st currently and a win here should ensure a good chance of that to happen.
Another day, another statement performance at the Australian Open from Novak Djokovic. The second-seeded Serbian booked his place in the quarter-finals on Sunday with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 6-4 victory over No. 14 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
Although Djokovic’s serving stats weren’t quite as dominant as his previous two matches, the seven-time champion will still have plenty to be pleased with. He won 75 per cent of his first-serve points (41/55) and converted four of eight break point chances, ripping 38 winners to remain unbeaten (4-0) in his ATP Head2Head series with Schwartzman. Djokovic is through to the quarter-finals at this event for the 11th time.
“It’s the fourth round of a Grand Slam and Diego is a quality player. He’s had a terrific tournament in the first three rounds. I knew if I gave him time, he could do a lot of damage. He’s one of the quickest players on the Tour,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “I tried to mix it up a bit, hit a few slices and bring him into the net sometimes. It worked well today.”
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Awaiting Djokovic in the next round is No. 32 seed Milos Raonic of Canada, who scored a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win over Marin Cilic. Djokovic holds a perfect 9-0 record against Raonic in their ATP Head2Head rivalry, including a quarter-final victory five years ago in Melbourne.
“A quite different match than the one today. He’s one of the tallest and strongest guys physically on the Tour. He has one of the biggest serves. I’ve got to be ready for missiles coming from his side of the net,” Djokovic said. “I played him here and remember it well… One of the key elements will be how well I’m returning and how confident I am on my service games.
“I’m glad to see him healthy and playing at a really good level again. He’s a great guy. I’ve known him for many years and he’s a good friend. We speak the same language. It’s nice to see him in the quarters.”
Little separated Djokovic and Schwartzman in the early stages of the opening set as both players traded comfortable service holds. With Schwartzman serving at 3-4, the second seed stepped up and converted the lone break point of the set by drawing a backhand error from the Argentine. A quick hold in the next game gave Djokovic the early lead.
The World No. 2 continued to build momentum by immediately breaking Schwartzman in the opening game of the second set. Putting Schwartzman on his back foot with deep backhands and then stepping in to crack forehand winners, the pressure on the Argentine resulted in an insurance break two games later when the No. 14 seed missed a routine backhand volley.
Schwartzman fought back valiantly and broke Djokovic at 3-0, ending the Serbian’s streak of consecutive service holds in this event at 35. But the deficit was too much to recover from. Djokovic took a commanding two-sets lead when Schwartzman missed another backhand volley on set point.
Unable to draw errors from Djokovic or impose himself in the baseline rallies, the Argentine began to get frustrated in the closing stages of the match. A loose service game at 2-2 gave the seven-time champion another break as Schwartzman slumped his shoulders in disappointment. Djokovic rode the slight advantage to close out play after two hours and six minutes.