2014 Monte Carlo Master 1000: Wawrinka wins the Battle of the Swiss - UBITENNIS
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2014 Monte Carlo Master 1000: Wawrinka wins the Battle of the Swiss

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TENNIS – Just in case tennis fans had any doubts about the legitimacy of Stanislas Wawrinka’s ascendancy to the top 3 in professional tennis and whether he has the goods to be a real contender for tennis supremacy, they have all been quieted as Wawrinka convincingly took out his countryman Roger Federer 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2 to claim the 2014 Monte Carlo Master 1000 title. Cordell Hackshaw

Just in case tennis fans had any doubts about the legitimacy of Stanislas Wawrinka’s ascendancy to the top 3 in professional tennis and whether he has the goods to be a real contender for tennis supremacy, they have all been quieted as Wawrinka convincingly took out his countryman Roger Federer 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2 to claim the 2014 Monte Carlo Masters 1000 title. Wawrinka and Federer share a lot in common besides the obvious occupation and citizenship. They are amongst the few husbands/fathers currently on tour, they share coaching staff and they have shared victories together; most famously their 2008 Beijing Doubles gold medal and quite recently their Davis Cup tie win for a place in the semifinals. Despite all this, it has always been Wawrinka fighting for prominence when coupled with Federer. It is hard to argue against this case after a passing glance Federer’s impressive resume. Federer has a 13-1 head-to-head record against his compatriot. However, 2014 has seen the Wawrinka stock rising exponentially. With his impressive wins over Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to claim his maiden major title in Australia earlier this year, his “heroic” effort in Davis Cup last week and today with his first Masters Series 1000 title win, Wawrinka has done what many have thought as being impossible; he has stepped out from the shadow of Federer to claim the solo spotlight. Wawrinka has proven with this win that he is the genuine Swiss No 1.

The match started out rather tentative. It had that feel of awkwardness somewhat similar to when the Williams Sisters play each other; indecisive crowd, stilted atmosphere and neither player looked to be taking an aggressive stance on court. Wawrinka would later state, “It’s always special to play Roger. We know it’s always a strange match, especially being in the final here. He’s my best friend on the tour. We respect each other so much.” However, it was Federer who took the early lead in the opening set when Wawrinka pushed his forehand long in the 5th game to give the elder Swiss the first break. Federer despite slipping and falling several times, was sure footed about his game as he took the set 6-4. Wawrinka was not playing badly but it seemed as though nerves got the better of him and the more experienced Federer capitalized.

The second set saw Wawrinka racing to an early lead of 2-0 but he was quickly broken at love by Federer and one thought that Federer was going to run away with the match. However, there were no more breaks of serves in the set and soon the players found themselves in the 2nd set tiebreaker which would be the pivotal point of the match. It was here that Wawrinka took complete charge of the match and never looked back. With heavy serving and precision plays, Wawrinka took the mini break and this was all the momentum that he needed. He took the breaker 7-5 points and the set. There was no stopping the current Australian Open champion as he dominated in the decisive set. Wawrinka seemed super charged and almost superhuman as he could do no wrong. He would only drop 3 points on serve in the set winning an impressive 13/14 (92%) 1st serve points won. He was a completely different player from the two previous sets as he broke Federer in successive service games to put the title within grasp at 4-0. Federer had absolutely no answers for any of Wawrinka’s tactics as he was struggling to win points. The 17-time major champion was able to hold serve in the 5th and 7th game but he could do no more as Wawrinka closed out the set 6-2 to take his first Masters 1000 title.

As with his Australian Open final’s victory, the overall stats do not reveal the true prowess of Wawrinka on court. Federer had more 1st serves in (66% to 58%) and had a better break point conversion (66% to 48%) than Wawrinka. The differences in the other areas were negligible though Wawrinka was clearly more effective on 2nd serve than Federer. Wawrinka won 56% compared to Federer’s 44%. What the statistics do not show is how well Wawrinka played the big points. What the stats cannot show is how Wawrinka completely bossed Federer around in the 3rd set and so completely raised his level that Federer looked pedestrian. Make no mistake Federer was out muscled on court. Federer could not contend with the weight of shots from Wawrinka and could not get himself into the court to make his life easier. Federer, himself spoke of the 3rd set saying, I think he [Wawrinka] really found his range and started to hit bigger, deeper. He didn’t miss that many second serve returns anymore. He gave me a couple cheap points in the first couple sets which he later on really didn’t give me anymore. So it made it tougher for me.

Wawrinka’s victory means that he retains the 3rd spot in the ranking and distances himself from Federer who would have taken the spot had he won the title. It should also be a confidence booster for Wawrinka as he gets into the full swing of the clay court season. This year, he is 6-0 against top 10 players and there is no doubt that his name is up there as possible contender for the Roland Garros title. The top players would do well to not underestimate Wawrinka from here on end. As for Federer, the questions of retirement are no longer being asked of him but one has to wonder if he can really sustain the high level of play required to win these big titles anymore. He is still able to put himself in title contention but he cannot summon the strength to get over the last hurdle. This is his second Masters 1000 finals for the year and the second time he won the 1st set but unable to win a second. He last won a major and Master’s title in 2012 (Wimbledon and Cincinnati respectively).This was his 4th appearance in the Monte Carlo finals and once again he came away empty-handed. Nonetheless, this is the Roger Federer and he too should not be underestimated particularly this year.

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Injured Rafael Nadal Ousts Fritz In Wimbledon Thriller

The world No.4 is through to the semi-finals but there are new doubts over his current health.

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Rafael Nadal has kept his chances of achieving a calendar slam alive by defeating American Taylor Fritz in a dramatic quarter-final match at Wimbledon where he struggled with injury. 

 

The second seed took a medical time out during the second set but continued to battle to a sensational 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(10-4), win over Fritz. Two days ago Nadal was seen wearing tape on his abdomen but refused to go into details when asked by reporters. Although it was clear that this issue is ongoing with the Spaniard crouching over a couple of times after serving in pain. 

“The body is generally fine. Of course, in the abdominal area, something is not going well. I had to find a way to serve a little bit differently,” said Nadal. “I was thinking during a lot of moments that I would not be able to finish the match but the energy (of Center Court) was something else.”

In the roller-coaster encounter, 19 breaks of serves occurred throughout the marathon match. During the gut-busting 260-minute showdown Nadal saw plenty of chances come and go. In each of the first two sets, he had a break advantage before losing them. He also failed to maintain a break advantage in the decider before coming through in the tiebreak. Nevertheless, he managed to come out on top with the help of 5 aces and 55 winners. 

“I enjoy playing these kinds of matches in front of you guys (the crowd),” the Spaniard continued. 
“It has been a tough afternoon against a great player. All the credit to Taylor, he has been playing great the whole season.’
“From my side, it was not an easy match and I am happy to be in the semifinal.”

The triumph is a bitter pill for Fritz to swallow who was bidding to become the youngest American man to reach the last four at Wimbledon since 2005. Until now he had been on an eight-match winning streak.

As for Nadal, he is through to his eighth Wimbledon semi-final and 38th at a major event. He is now 8-0 when it comes to playing quarter-final matches at the tournament.

Amid concerns over the abdomen, Nadal now has only two days to recover in time for his blockbuster showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who came through his match in straight sets against Cristian Garin. Nadal leads their head-to-head 6-3 and has won their two previous meetings at SW19.  

“I hope to be ready to play it,” he said of the semi-final.
“TNick is a great player on all surfaces, especially on the grass. He’s having a great grass-court season and it’s going to be a great challenge. I need to be one hundred percent.”

At the age of 36 Nadal is seeking to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2011.

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“I Thought The Ship Had Sailed’ – Nick Kyrgios Reaches Maiden Wimbledon Semis

The 27-year-old reacts to achieving a new milestone in his career.

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Nick Kyrgios (AUS) - Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios has achieved his best-ever result at a Grand Slam tournament after beating Cristian Garin in straight sets in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. 

 

Kyrgios, who was playing in the last eight of the tournament for the first time since 2014, rallied to a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5(5) win over his Chilean rival. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last four of the men’s draw since Lleyton Hewitt did so back in 2005.  


”I felt I was playing on the back foot a lot. He’s a hell of a player,” Kyrgios said afterward. “He’s obviously very confident. Hell of a tournament for him to make the quarter-finals. I got lucky on a couple of break points here and there. It could have been him standing here (giving the winner’s interview).”

In what was a largely controlled match from Kyrgios, he produced a total of 17 aces alongside 35 winners against 29 unforced errors. There were the occasional outbursts and criticism of the lines officials but it was by nowhere as controversial as his previous encounters against Stefanos Tsitspas in the third round and Paul Jubb in the first.

The breakthrough comes during what has been a turbulent career. Kyrgios has been a player involved in many controversies and was at one stage issued with a suspended ban from the Tour due to unsportsmanlike conduct. However, his talent was never doubted but many were unsure if he could be consistent enough to have a deep run at a major event. He once was at a pub until 4 am on the same day he was due to play Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

“It was an amazing atmosphere out here (on court one). I never thought I will be in the semifinal of a grand slam. I thought my ship had sailed.” He admits. 
“I didn’t go about things earlier in my career great and I may have wasted (time).’
‘I’m really proud of the way I’ve come back out here with my team and with that performance.”

As one of the few top 100 players who travel without a coach, Kyrgios paid tribute to those around him. 

“I don’t have a coach I would never put that burden on someone,” he jokes.
“Each and every one of my team plays an important role. I feel like nobody knows my tennis better than I do. I’ve been playing this sport since I was seven and to be in the semi-final of a slam I am pretty happy.”  

Kyrgios is the lowest-ranked Wimbledon semi-finalist since 2008.

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Why Cameron Norrie’s Historic Run To The Wimbledon Semi-Finals Is No Fluke

The Brit has already proved his worth on the ATP Tour, it was only a matter of time before he did so at the majors.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Cameron Norrie joins a small contingent of British men to have ever reached the semi-final of a major after coming through a dramatic five-set epic against David Goffin at Wimbledon.

Spurred on by an animated crowd, the ninth seed battled from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, against the former top 10 player. In doing so the 26-year-old has become only the fourth British man in the Open Era to reach the last four of the grass-court major and the seventh to do so at any Grand Slam. 

 

“To just be a semifinalist of a slam, especially this one, living just around the corner. It’s just all pretty crazy and all happened pretty quickly.” Said Norrie. 

A former college standout player for Texas Christian University, Norrie’s Grand Slam breakthrough has been one in the making. Last year he achieved his best-ever season with a win-loss record of 52-25. During that year he contested six tour finals across three different surfaces, winning two titles. The most prestigious being Indian Wells.  His coach, Facundo Lugones, was recognized for his work by being named ATP Coach of the Year.

Norrie’s 2021 wasn’t a one-off with him continuing his form into this year. Winning the Delray Beach Open in February and Lyon in May. More recently, he was runner-up at Queen’s to Matteo Berrettini who is absent from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19

“When I was a kid watching guys on TV making the (Grand Slam) quarterfinals and thinking, ‘Wow, this looks so tough to do, and there’s almost zero chance I’m going to do that.’ But to actually be doing it, to be living it and experiencing it is very cool and pretty crazy.”

Until now the Grand Slams have been where Norrie has failed to shine. It was visible how much the latest Wimbledon win meant to the world No.12 who struggled to hold back his emotions whilst speaking during his on-court interview.

“All the hard work, the sacrifices and everything just kind of all hit me at once. Especially the situation here at Wimbledon in front of my family, my friends, and obviously a lot of people following that match.” Norrie explained.
“Thinking back about all the hard work, the sacrifices and everything was just…. I didn’t really know what to say. It got emotional there. (It was) just a crazy day and crazy match to get through.”

Standing in his way of becoming the first home player since Andy Murray to reach the Wimbledon final is Novak Djokovic. The top seed ousted Jannik Sinner in five sets earlier in the day.

“He has nothing to lose. Every victory from now onwards is a big deal for him. I know that.” Said Djokovic.
“But I practiced (with him) a few times. I know his game well. He’s been around. Of course, I will do my homework and get ready.”

Looking ahead to his showdown with the 20-time Grand Slam champion, Norrie describes playing him as one of the ‘toughest’ tasks in the sport. He first played Djokovic at last year’s ATP Finals in Milan where he lost 6-2, 6-1. Although the Brit believes he has learned a lot from that match and will be seeking tips from a former Wimbledon Champion as well. 

“Andy (Murray) has been super supportive to me and my team. I’m always practicing with him and always reaching out to him for ideas. He’s super supportive with us,” he said.
“I think he’s not a bad guy to ask about some tactics. I’m going to enjoy today and maybe reach out to him and see what he’s got.”

Norrie’s win-loss record against top 10 players in his career currently stands at 4-23. 

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