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TENNIS PLAYER | Stricker races past Nardi for record-breaking first win

IANS | Updated on Thursday, November 30, 2023 10:31 AM IST
Stricker races past Nardi for record-breaking first win

JEDDAH: Swiss tennis player Dominic Stricker eased past Italian Luca Nardi 4-1, 4-1, 4-2 with a clean-hitting performance after a disappointing start to his Next Gen ATP Finals, here at King Abdullah Sports City.

Having struggled to find his best level in his opening match against Nardi’s countryman Flavio Cobolli, Stricker powered 13 winners, including three aces, and converted four of six break points he earned for a comprehensive 54-minute triumph, the fastest match in tournament history.

“We had a long discussion yesterday evening about how to do it today,” said Stricker in his on-court interview. “I think it was really good that we talked a lot after what maybe wasn’t my best performance. Now to come out today like that, I think nobody expected that. I’m just happy that I did it and now I’m going to try my best to recover for the third group match.”

With a reduced shot clock in place as part of the innovative rules at this edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals, Nardi was unable to stem Stricker’s momentum in the pair’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting. The Swiss player also crucially saved all four break points he faced, including one at 3-2, 40/40 which also doubled as his own match point.

“Everything [clicked], I would say. I played a really good match from the start onwards,” said Stricker. “The last game was tough. If I’d lost that point I know that everything could have changed quickly, so I’m happy to get through so fast in three sets. I really played an amazing match.”

Now 1-1 in Green Group, the 21-year-old Sticker will next take on top seed Arthur Fils as he chases a second consecutive semi-final appearance at the 21-and-under event. The World No. 94 is in Saudi Arabia looking to cap a strong year during which he made his maiden fourth-round appearance at the US Open.