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.
Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019
The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.
Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.
The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.
Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.
“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”
The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.
In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.
“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”
Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.
Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat
The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.
The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.
On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.
Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.
“Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”
Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.
“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.
Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.
The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.
“Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”
Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.
Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour
23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.
Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.
The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.
Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.
“I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
“It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.
Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.
“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”
Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.
Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.
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