ATP

Ultimate Tennis Showdown still packs major fun, even after tennis’ restart

The Ultimate Tennis Showdown has returned for a third go-around and just capped off its first day of play at UTS3. It still provides great entertainment for tennis, even after the restart.

The tennis world’s most interesting and out-of-the-box tournament, the Ultimate Tennis Showdown, has returned for the third time and the first time since the restart. Six players will be stepping out on the court in hopes of capturing the exclusive UTS title.

There are two returning players in UTS3 who have already made their mark in previous attempts. Richard Gasquet (The Virtuoso) has appeared in both of the event’s previous runs but was never ever to turn his tries into a title. He finished both events’ group play with the best overall record but couldn’t advance past the semifinals (losing to Matteo Berrettini in UTS1 and Flex Auger-Aliassime in UTS2).

Feliciano Lopez (El Torero) is UTS3’s other returning player. He has yet to break into the top four at a UTS event but has been in solid contention both times around.

Among the four newcomers are World #28 Taylor Fritz (The Hotshot), #29 Alex de Minaur (The Demon), #34 Dan Evans (The Viper), and #54 Pablo Andujar (The Survivor).

In a much different fashion compared to the two previous UTS events, the six players are divided into two groups (A and B). The three competitors will play in a round-robin format (two matches apiece). The two with the top match record in each group will move onto the final.

Group A:
  • The Demon (Alex de Minaur)
  • The Viper (Dan Evans)
  • The Survivor (Pablo Andujar)
Group B:
  • The Virtuoso (Richard Gasquet)
  • El Torero (Feliciano Lopez)
  • The Hotshot (Taylor Fritz)

Group A kicked off UTS action today and featured truly devastating tennis from de Minaur. The US Open quarterfinalist didn’t lose a single quarter on his way to two victories. After barely escaping out of the first quarter with a win, The Demon turned his alter ego up to another level, storming through to a 13-12, 23-9, 21-10, 20-13 victory over Evans.

De Minaur’s 23-5, 13-11, 17-13, 18-1 over Andujar clinched his spot in the title match, therefore forcing the Andujar-Evans match as no more than a fun exhibition. That match didn’t disappoint despite the fact that it was without any stakes whatsoever. Andujar eeked out first and third quarter wins by one point each (15-14 and 17-16) but it was Evans who ultimately proved to be clutch. He edged out a fourth-quarter win 15-14 to force UTS3’s first sudden beath, which he also won to finish his campaign at 1-1.

It’s clear that the Ultimate Tennis Showdown is more than just a gimmick; it’s a wonderful addition to the sport and gives a much-needed break from the grind of normal season play (for both players and fans).

“It’s different, that’s for sure,” De Minaur said after advancing to the final. “It’s definitely fun, I’m glad it went well for me.”

Group B will play for their spot in the final tomorrow.

Match #1: The Virtuoso (Richard Gasquet) vs El Torero (Feliciano Lopez)

Match #2: The Hotshot (Taylor Fritz) vs The Virtuoso (Richard Gasquet)

Match #3: El Torero (Feliciano Lopez) vs The Hotshot (Taylor Fritz)

 

UTS action is live this entire weekend on utslive.tv; tomorrow’s matches begin at 18:30 CEST (12:30 PM EST).