Indian Wells: Federer to clash with Dolgopolov in the semifinal - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells: Federer to clash with Dolgopolov in the semifinal

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TENNIS – Roger Federer got through to the Indian Wells semifinals after beating Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-1. He has not dropped a set in the whole tournament. The Swiss legend, who won his first tournament since June 2013 in Dubai last month, has improved his seasonal record to 18-2. Federer will take on Dolgopolov who won his first-ever match against Raonic in straight sets with 6-3, 6-4. Diego Sampaolo

 

The quarter final match was supposed to be a all-Swiss derby between Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. However World Number 18 Anderson upset Wawrinka in three sets in the third round on Wednesday becoming the first player to beat this year’s Australian Open champion in 2014.

Anderson, who reached two back-to-back finals recently in Delray Beach and Acapulco, saved saved four break points at 2-2 in the opening set before Federer converted the first of his break point chances in the first set at 6-5 while Anderson was serving at 0-40.
Federer broke twice in the second and fourth games of the second set to clinch the second set with 6-1.

Federer hit 17 winners to six unforced errors and faced just one break point chance.

Federer is back to his glorious past form and is bidding to win his second tournament of the year after Dubai. He will be looking to win his fifth Indian Wells title and the 79th career trophy.
“It was a very good match. I felt very well from the start. I am just happy playing enough matches where you feel like you have momentum, you have some confidence and you are enjoying it at the same time. Last year that wasn’t always the case. Things are easier now and I am able to take advantage of the fact that I am just healthy. There is a sense of confidence in my game. Also that grit and that feeling of wanting to win badly, which was hard to find at times last year. It’s nice to prove to myself, my fans and my team that they can count on me”, said Federer.

Federer set up a semifinal against Ukraine’s Aleksandr Dolgopolov who played one of his best ever matches beating Canadian Milos Raonic 6-3, 6-4 in the first quarter final of the day. Dolgopolov is in very good form this week and knocked out last year’s Indian Wells champion Rafa Nadal in the third round and Fabio Fognini in the fourth round.

Raonic knocked out last year’s Wimbledon champion Andy Murray but he could not pose a threat against Dolgopolov who got off to a great start by breaking serve in the second game of the opening set. Raonic could not create a single break point in the first set. Dolgopolov closed out the first set with 6-3 in just 29 minutes with seven winners and 4 unforced errors. On the contrary Raonic hit six winners to 11 unforced errors.

Raonic was more aggressive in the early stages of the second set and got the break in the second game. The Canadian player opened up a 3-0 lead but Dolgopolov fought back by breaking back on his seventh break point of the fifth game with a backhand winner. In this game Raonic went down 0-40 but he saved three consecutive break points before earning two points for 4-1.

However Raonic made double faults enabling Dolgopolov to convert the fifth break point chance for 2-3 with a backhand pass.
This break turned around the second set completely. Dolgopolov first drew level to 3-3 before getting the decisive break in the seventh game. Raonic went up 40-0 but he made a double fault and made four consecutive errors with his forehand and dropped the serve after wasting another point for 4-3.

Dolgopolov was unstoppable dropping just two points on his serve in the final games of the second set and closed out the match after 1 hour and 18 minutes to seal the first Master 1000 semifinal of his career.
“I was quite fast today. I was really happy with that. I was able to get more returns than you usually can against him. He serves really well and I knew I had to do that and I am pleased how I anticipated on his serve. I played good for three weeks. i am quite fresh. I felt quite good physically today. I am confident enough to come out and play good tennis. Then who knows. I beat a lot of good players around here, so I wouldn’t see why not win more matches”, said Dolgopolov.

The Ukrainian player has improved his seasonal record against top-20 players this year. Dolgopolov, who reached the Rio Open final losing to Rafa Nadal last month, confirmed his great period of form this year in which he has moved up 26 spots in the Ranking since the end of last year and started Indian Wells as the World Number 31.

It will the first match between Federer and Dolgopolov in more than three and a half a years. Federer won his only clash against Dolgopolov in his home city Basel in 2010.

Federer, who plays his eighth Indian Wells semifinal, will move up to World Number 5 in the ATP Ranking next week. He will also team up with his countryman Stanislas Wawrinka in the doubles semifinal against Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares.

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Fernando Verdasco, Taylor Fritz, Hubert Hurkacz and Steve Johnson advance to the second round at Eastbourne

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Fernando Verdasco came back from one set down to beat unseeded Australian player John Millman 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-1 after 2 hours and 32 minutes at the Nature Valley International at Eastbourne. The Spanish veteran fended off 11 of the 12 break points he faced.

 

Millman went up a 7-6 (7-3) 4-2 lead in the second set and came just two service holds from winning the match, but Verdasco came back by winning 10 of the final 11 games to seal the win. Verdasco secured his spot in the second round, where he will face either wildcard Jay Clarke or Leonard Mayer.

Twenty-year-old Taylor Fritz broke four times to cruise past British qualifier and this year’s NCAA champion Paul Jubb 6-2 6-3 in one hour.

Fritz earned the first break in the second game after a smash error from Jubb, who broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Fritz won the four final games from 2-2 with two breaks in the sixth and eighth games to close out the first set 6-2.

Fritz went up a break in the fourth game with a return winner. The young US player closed out the match with three service winners at 5-3.

Hubert Hurkacz beat 2018 Roland Garros semifinalist Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-4. The young Polish player sealed the first set 6-4 with one break in the ninth game and went up an early break at the start of the second set. Cecchinato broke back on his second break point chance in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, but Hurkacz got another break in the ninth game to seal the second set 6-4.

Hurkacz will face 2016 Eastbourne champion Steve Johnson, who beat reigning New York champion Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 after 1 hour and 21 minutes. Hurkacz and Johnson are trained by the same coach Craig Boynton.

The first set went on serve without any break points, before Johnson claimed the tie-break 7-4 with a forehand crosscourt winner. Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games in the second set. Johnson got his second break in the seventh game with a forehand winner and sealed the win with his third consecutive break at 5-3 with a forehand winner.

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Damir Dzumhur makes a winning start to his title defense in Antalya

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Damir Dzumhur made a winning start to his title defence by beating Australia’s Matthew Ebden 6-4 7-5 in their first head-to-head match after 1 hour and 22 minutes in the opening round of the third edition of the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya on grass.Dzumhur won just two more points and converted three of the seven break points.

 

Dzumhur broke once in the first game of the opening set and twice in the fifth and eleventh games of the second set.

The Bosnian player, who is bidding to win an ATP title for the third consecutive year, will take on Turkish wild card Altug Celibilek, who stunned Ernests Gulbis 6-3 4-6 6-4 after 1 hour and 53 minutes.

Celibilek converted his second break point chance in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. The second set went on serve until the 10th game when Gulbis got his first break at deuce to win the second set 6-4 forcing the match to the third set. Celikbilek broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 and saved two break points to hold his serve. The home player served out the match on his first match point.

Bernard Tomic came back from one set down to beat Andreas Seppi 4-6 6-4 6-4 setting up a second round match against Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk.

Tomic beat Seppi at Queen’s in 2010 and in Sydney in 2013, while the Italian took a 6-4 7-5 win earlier this year in Delray Beach.

Seppi got an early break at the start of the first set and held his next service games. The Italian player closed out the first set with an an ace after 46 minutes.

Tomic got his first break in the sixth game and held his service game to race out to a 5-2 lead. Seppi saved two set points before converting his sixth break point to claw his way back to 4-5. In the 10th game Tomic earned another break to seal the second set 6-4.

Seppi had to save three break points in the fourth and sixth games of the third set. Tomic sealed the win with a break on his first match point in the 10th game.

Next Gen player Ugo Humbert defeated Federico Delbonis 6-3 7-5 to score his sixth win at ATP Tour level. The French player will play against 19-year-old Next Gen Miomir Kecmanovic, who beat Jaume Munar on Sunday.

India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran knocked out Janko Tipsarevic 6-0 7-6 (8-6) to set up a second round against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego.

 

 

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Tomorrow’s Noventi Open Final

It’s David Goffin versus Roger Federer in the final in Halle.

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David Goffin (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

By Cheryl Jones

Italian, Matteo Berrettini’s lucky streak on grass this season has finally come to an end at the Noventi Open in the first semi-final match today. Belgian, David Goffin came away with a well-deserved win, 7-6, 6-3. He will face Roger Federer tomorrow in the final. (Federer defeated Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-3 in the second semi-final.)

 

The scribe who writes the tournament winner on that familiar (at least to Federer) trophy likely has his tools at the ready, to quickly inscribe tomorrow’s winner’s name on the little brass plate. It could be the same old story, with Federer coming out on top. He has done it nine times before and the court may seem as if it’s a favourite playground. Tomorrow will reveal the end of this year’s tale that could likely see a “happily ever after” ending for Federer. He is turning 38 in a bit over a month and he seems to be a bit like that famous Energizer bunny that just keeps on ticking.

Berrettini managed to hold his serve in all fifty of his service games during his pursuit of the title in Stuttgart earlier this month. Even though the streak of service games had faltered during this past week in Halle, he faced Goffin today. It looked as if his string could begin again. The first set ended with a string of winning service games. But, Goffin followed suit and held his serve as well. Berrettini eventually lost the set in a nine-minute Tie-Break but moved into the second set with high hopes for a comeback that did not happen.

It was the eighth game of that second set when Goffin finally broke the Italian and even though Berrettini seemed a bit rattled, he carried on. The two players were evenly matched, trading games and holding their serves. There were a few exciting exchanges, but the back and forth verged on monotonous in its teeter-totter-like trade-offs.

After Berrettini was broken, the wind seemed to leave his sails and he must have felt that he was in the Doldrums – merely drifting, searching for a breeze to fill his sails once again. After a late in the match point that didn’t go his way, he sat on the court even though I didn’t see him fall. He rose with an edgy bit of energy followed by what seemed like an angry exchange with of all people – himself. He tossed his hat onto the offending court and retrieved it. The hat made its way back on his head, ala Lleyton Hewitt, with the rear-facing bill. From that point forward, he wasn’t in the game, at least mentally and Goffin defeated him 7-6, 6-3.

I came to a conclusion after that match that tennis players have a fairly universal “tell” when they are uptight during a match. It’s the ball bounce before a service. Novak Djokovic has a heightened case of the bouncing ailment. When he is really up tight, he often bounces the ball seven times, then stops and begins the bounce again so that the total is thirteen. Rafael Nadal has an erratic bouncing technique. He often exceeds twenty bounces before he introduces his serve. Both he and Djokovic have been called for time violations because of this seemingly innocuous habit that eats up the 25-second clock that is initiated by the umpire to ensure a match is conducted in a timely fashion. Berrettini didn’t surpass either of those two, but he did begin to add to his usual three or four bounces in both the first and second set. It was easy to see that he was uptight, even before the Belgian broke his serve in the second set. (It often seems that the most dangerous opponent is in one’s own head.)

After the match, Goffin said he was feeling great. He has a steady game that doesn’t seem to rise and fall with the score. Today he observed, “I’m playing well, more aggressive. I’m hitting the ball really well. So, it’s a great feeling this week to be in the final; my first final on grass in a 500.” And then he went on to say just how happy he was several more times. He seems like a steady guy. Not much is apt to raise his blood pressure. He is just a mellow fellow. Tomorrow, however, that may change, but I doubt it.

His best friend on the tour is Herbert. Federer’s victory over his friend was decisive. His own play today didn’t seem decisive, but more like a steady stream of answers to Berrettini’s offerings. He spoke of the weak backhand that the Italian displayed, and he also mentioned something that I noticed but didn’t ask about. Even though Goffin had some issues with his knee early on in the tournament it was apparent that Berrettini was favouring his right knee on many occasions. Goffin said, “I had to make him move and then come back to his backhand. The key was to stay focused because he was aggressive and try to counter him and make him run.”

When asked about his own knee, he claimed he had winced a few times, but then he had broken the Italian’s serve. With that, it was enough to carry on until he achieved what he set out to do. It was the win that was the reward for all of that hard work.

He spoke philosophically about the final. Even though Federer has a 7-1 win record over the Belgian, he said, “It is always special to play against Roger. You just try to play your best tennis and risk everything.” He should prepare for a risky day tomorrow. They will demonstrate their bundle of skills and their inimitable personalities will carry them through. The week of tennis will finish with a flourish no matter which of them wind up with their name on that massive trophy.

 

 

 

 

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