Thiem edges Berrettini to win Berlin exhibition tournament

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BERLIN — Amid face masks, disinfectant and temperature checks for the coronavirus, Dominic Thiem defeated Matteo Berrettini 6-7 (4) 6-4, 10-8 in the men’s final of a grass-court exhibition tournament on Wednesday.

The Steffi Graf Stadium in Berlin’s Grunewald district was largely empty for the match with spectator numbers restricted. No more than 800 fans were allowed in the 5,000-capacity stadium, though there were fewer present for the final after rain delayed play for almost seven hours.

The women’s final between Elina Svitolina and Petra Kvitova was supposed to be played after the men’s but was postponed to Friday. Matches to determine third place were called off altogether because of the rain.

A second exhibition tournament at Berlin’s Tempelhof Hangar is set to start Friday.

Both Berlin tournaments are being played with professional tennis largely shut down due to the pandemic and to replace a WTA tournament that had been scheduled for June. That was supposed to mark the return of tour-level tennis to Berlin for the first time since 2008, when the International German Championships was last played on the WTA Tour.

Fans were asked to sit apart in the Steffi Graf Stadium. Those who did attend were asked to walk through a machine that sprayed a disinfectant mist over their clothes before their temperature was checked by a security guard.

The matches had a super tiebreaker replacing the third set to avoid player fatigue, and there were electronic line calls with no line judges to reduce the number of people involved on court.

Giron cruises in 3rd set, beats Rybakov at Dallas Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 1
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DALLAS – Marcos Giron advanced to the second round of the Dallas Open with a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-1 victory over Alex Rybakov on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Giron, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural event a year ago, responded quickly after failing to close out the second set, winning the first five games of the deciding set.

Rybakov broke his fellow American when Giron was serving for the match in the second set. Then Rybakov won the first six points of the second-set tiebreaker.

“I’m really happy with how I was able to reset in the third and just get back to the game plan from the beginning and elevate,” Giron said. “He played well and served well and kind of hung in there.”

Eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France won the final five points of a first-set tiebreaker and the last four games of the second to beat American Steve Johnson 7-6 (6), 6-2.

J.J. Wolf, the No. 6 seed, had little trouble in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Brandon Holt.

John Isner, the fifth seed and unofficial tournament host in his hometown event, played later Tuesday. Like Giron, Isner lost in the semifinals last year.

Sock wins at Dallas Open, set to face top-seeded Fritz

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DALLAS – Wild-card entry Jack Sock opened with a 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Ilya Ivashka at the Dallas Open, setting up a second-round meeting with top-seeded fellow American Taylor Fritz.

Sock broke Ivashka’s serve in the final game to win the match. Ivashka fell behind 2-0 to start the final set but broke Sock to get back on serve.

Down a break early in the second set, Ivashka rallied to force the deciding set after Sock cruised in the first-set tiebreaker.

The eighth-ranked Fritz is back for the second Dallas Open after losing in the semifinals as the top seed in the inaugural edition of the indoor hard-court event last year. Defending champion Reilly Opelka isn’t in the field.