Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 14th of April 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 14th of April 2014

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TENNIS – Bits & Pieces from the Wolrd of Tennis. Cornet and Garcia fly the flag for France in the WTA and Spain collects 2 ATP titles. Maria Sharapova starts a new business venture and the Bryans a 3 titles away from the century. Joshua Bosco

 

Winners in Katowice, Bogotá, Casablanca & Houston

In Katowice Alize Cornet saved a match point to defeat Camila Giorgi, who was playing in her first WTA final, 7-6(3) 5-7 7-5 after a tightly contested match. It was Cornet’s fourth career title and third time lucky against an Italian player in a final, having previously lost to Flavia Pennetta (Acapulco 2008) and Francesca Schiavone (Strasbourg 2012).

In Bogotá another French player won the trophy with Caroline Garcia beating World No.9 Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-4. This was Garcia’s first WTA-level final and a perfect ending for her fantastic week in Colombia, where she also won the doubles title on Saturday – again in her first ever doubles final.

In an all-Spanish final in Casablanca, No.8 seed Guillermo Garcia Lopez won his third career title defeating No.4 seed Marcel Granollers 5-7 6-4 6-3 in a match lasting over two and a half hours.

In another Spanish contest in Houston, Fernando Verdasco beat Nicolas Almagro 6-4 7-6(4). Verdasco saved five break points in the second set when serving on 4-5 to push the set to a tiebreak in which he won the last four points to come back from a minibreak down and close the match in 1h 53m.

Who’s playing where

The ATP Tour heads back to Monte Carlo this week for the beginning of the three month clay and grass European swing.

The Top 6 players in the world (Nadal, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Federer, Berdych and Ferrer) will all be in the main draw this year, after Federer accepted a surprise late wild card earlier this week following a two-year absence from the prestigious tournament.

The other two Top 8 seeds are Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while notable absentees are Richard Gasquet (who withdrew with a back injury), Juan Martin del Potro (who is recovering from his wrist surgery), Andy Murray (who decided not to defend last year’s third round points), John Isner, Tommy Haas and Kei Nishikori.

Many women will play for their Fed Cup teams later this week, while some of them will fly to Kuala Lumpur for an International Series tournament.

In Kuala Lumpur, defending champion Karolina Pliskova will be joined by World No.10 Dominika Cibulkova, Zhang Shuai, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Donna Vekic while Andrea Hlavackova, Jovana Jaksic and Venus Williams have withdrawn before the start of the tournament.

In the Fed Cup semi-finals the Czech Republic (Kvitova, Safarova, Koukalova and Hlavackova) will take on Italy (Errani, Vinci, Knapp and Giorgi) in Ostrava, with the Italian team leading the Head2Head 5-4.
Germany (Kerber, Petkovic, Georges and Groenefeld) will visit Brisbane to face Australia (Stosur, Dellacqua, Barty and Sanders), with the Aussies leading the Head2Head 8-4.

Sharapova’s new venture

Maria Sharapova’s ranking may be sinking lately but her business empire is certainly on the rise: the Russian player will soon become the co-owner of Supergoop!, a skincare company which focuses on the prevention of skin cancer.

“I thought the idea of being an equity owner would be the next phase in my business development” said Sharapova, who launched her own brand of sweets, Sugarpova, back in 2012. 

97 times Bryan Brothers

The Bryan brothers are now just three tournaments away from their 100th title, after winning their 97th trophy together in Houston on Saturday.

The Bryans beat Spanish duo David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco 4-6 6-4 11-9 in the final, extending their winning streak to 17 matches.

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Daniil Medvedev Can Improve Further After US Open Win, Says Coach

Gilles Cervara has overseen the rise of the world No.2 since 2017 and he believes there is still more to come.

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The 2021 Men's Singles Champion, Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

The team of Daniil Medvedev are already looking into ways the Russian can improve his game less than a week after he won the US Open, according to his coach Gilles Cervara.

 

On Sunday the 25-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his first-ever Grand Slam title and become the first Russian man to win a major since Marat Safin in 2005. Impressively Medvedev only dropped one set in the tournament which was against Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.

Guiding Medvedev to glory in New York was his coach Cervara who has been working with him since 2017. The Frenchman was recognized for his work with Medvedev back in 2019 when he was named ATP coach of the Year. Speaking to Tennis Majors earlier this week, Cervara believes part of the success they have had is due to the desire to continuously improve.

“It’s huge to have won the US Open. But Daniil, me and the whole team, we are always focused on performance,” he said. “It’s a way of life, of thinking, which means that I will always be drawn to the idea of doing better, and therefore of winning the next tournament. To make this possible, I have to set up workouts to be even stronger and respond to more situations, to win even more.”

It is hard to question the approach taken by Cervara when you look at Medvedev’s results on the hardcourts. According to the ATP, the world No.2 has won 147 matches and 12 titles on the surface since 2018 which is more than any other player. The next best player is Djokovic with 115 wins and 10 titles.

Medvedev could end the year as world No.1 but it will be far from easy. He is currently more than 1300 points behind Djokovic in the standings. If he wants to overtake him he will need to win or reach the finals of key events in Indian Wells, Paris and the ATP Finals. Although it is hard to project an exact route as it is unclear as to what tournaments will be played.

“I tell myself that it involves work and improving many things on a daily basis. The team has already started to think: yes, he wins a Grand Slam, but we can see a lot of things to improve,” Cervara commented. “These things represent the concrete aspects to be deployed with a view to a potential future great result. To be number one and win other majors, you have to achieve concrete things, at work, every day.”

Just because Medvedev has won a Grand Slam doesn’t automatically mean that he will go on to dominate the Tour. 12 months ago at the US Open, it was Dominic Thiem who triumphed at the tournament. However, the Austrian admitted that he struggled over the following months after achieving one of his career goals. Thiem didn’t play in this year’s US Open due to a wrist injury.

“I don’t think that will happen to him, but if we want to use what has happened for others, then yes it is a point of attention. It’s too early to know. If that happens, we will look for solutions,” Medvedev’s mentor commented.

One of the most unique aspects of Medvedev’s game is how far he stands behind the baseline during points. In one research article conducted by UbiTennis on the 2020 ATP Finals, the average player stood 1.9 meters behind the baseline. However, Medvedev’s return position was between 4.51 and 5.51 meters. Interestingly the analysis found that the further he stood behind the more he won.

Cervara admits that initially he tried to stop Medvedev from standing so far behind the baseline but the Russian refused to do so. His initial fear was that the tennis player was opening himself up to too many angles which his opponent could use. However, he soon came to realise that this wouldn’t be the case.

“I tried to get him to return closer to the line, but he refused,” he said. “He felt that as he got closer to the line, things just stopped happening for him. I think I had the intelligence to listen to him and put myself in his shoes, not to deconstruct something that is advantageous for him thanks to his size, his eye and his playing intentions. And the stats tell us that it pays a lot.”

Medvedev is set to return to action in just over a week at the Laver Cup. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 44-9.

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Top Seed Tennys Sandgren Defaulted From Match Two Games In At Challenger Event

The tennis player was on court for less than 20 minutes before the incident happened.

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Tennys Sandgren’s appearance at the Atlantic Tire Championships Challenger event in Cary was a very brief one after he was disqualified from his first round match for hitting a lines official with a ball.

 

The world No.103 was taking on Christopher Eubanks in the first round on Tuesday and got off to a promising start by breaking in the first game before working his way to a 40-30 lead in the second. However, Sandgren then landed himself in hot water after hitting a tennis ball which struck one of the court officials. At the time the American was frustrated after hitting a forehand error.

The bizarre incident wasn’t caught on camera by the tournament livestream but Sandgren gave his version of events shortly after. He said a ball thrown to him by a ball kid hit him in the genitals and after that he slapped a wayward ball towards the fence. However, that wayward ball ended up hitting the ‘tushy’ of a court official.

https://twitter.com/TennysSandgren/status/1437933892456140809

Immediately after the incident, the tournament supervisor was called to the court by the umpire. Following a brief discussion on the court, Sandgren was then disqualified from the match for an action which he later took full responsibility for.

“Just to be clear, this was all totally my fault,” he wrote on Twitter.

It is not the first time a player has been disqualified for hitting a ball which then struck an official. The most famous incident took place at last year’s US Open when Novak Djokovic was disqualified from his fourth round match after hitting a ball which hit the lineswoman in the throat. In another incident, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified from one of his Davis Cup matches after unintentionally firing a ball into the umpire’s eye.

Sandgren, who is a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, has experienced a disappointing 2021 season so far. The American is yet to win back-to-back matches at a tournament and has only recorded a total of eight wins overall. Since January he has fallen more than 50 places in the ATP rankings.

Full video (go to the 19-minuite mark)

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Daniil Medvedev Marks US Open Milestone With FIFA-Inspired ‘Dead Fish’ Celebration

In his own words, the new champion produced an ‘L2 + Left’ celebration after defeating Novak Djokovic in New York on Sunday.

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Daniil Medvedev reacts to winning the Men's Singles championship match at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

Daniil Medvedev’s reaction to winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open wasn’t random. In fact, he has been thinking about his FIFA-inspired celebration since Wimbledon.

 

On Sunday the world No.2 defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become only the third Russian man in history to win a major title. The triumph caused heartbreak for his opponent who was on the verge of achieving the elusive Calendar Slam which last happened on the men’s Tour back in 1968. Leading 6-4, 6-4, 5-4, Medvedev sealed victory after a Djokovic return slammed into the net. Prompting him to literally drop to the ground in a somewhat unusual way.

“Only the legends will understand, what I did after the match was a L2 + Left,” he said during the trophy presentation.

The reference was to the game FIFA with L2 + Left being the code for what is called by some as the brick fall celebration or what Medvedev describes as ‘dead fish.’ When a player would just drop to the ground on his side after scoring a goal.

“When I was running through [the draw at] Wimbledon… I was really confident about my game. I think it was one night, you know, you cannot fall asleep. Five, 10 minutes you have crazy thoughts, like every other person,” he said.
“I was like, OK, if I’m going to win Wimbledon, imagine I win it against Novak or whatever. To not celebrate is going to be too boring, because I do it all the time. I need to do something, but I want to make it special.”

Medvedev’s planned celebration was no secret with him openly speaking with others in the locker room leading up to the US Open. No names of who he spoke to were mentioned by the Russian who says his peers described the idea as ‘legendary.’

“I like to play FIFA. I like to play PlayStation. It’s called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you’re going to do this. You’re going to score a goal, you’re up 5-0, you do this one,” he continued.
“Yeah, I talked to the guys in the locker [room], they’re young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, ‘That’s legendary’. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that’s legendary. That’s how I wanted to make it… It’s not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself.”

It certainly was legendary from Medvedev.

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