Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 21st of April 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 21st of April 2014

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TENNIS World of Tennis – Big numbers for Nadal and Federer. Tsonga and Sharapova celebrate their birthday. Laura Robson will undergo surgery. British tennis stars rally for Baltacha and who is playing where. Joshua Bosco

 

Federer 950th, Nadal 300th on clay

On Friday World No.4 Roger Federer won his 950th tour-level match after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6 7-6(6) 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion is just the third player to reach the 950 win milestone in the Open Era after Jimmy Connors (1253) and Ivan Lendl (1071).

The day before, World No.1 Rafael Nadal became the 11th player to win 300 tour-level clay court matches in the Open Era when he defeated Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1 6-3 in just 74 minutes.

He then lost in the quarterfinals to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer who is not far behind him with 270 wins in this special ranking, topped by Guillermo Villas with an incredible 644 clay victories.

Happy Birthday Maria & Jo-Wilfried

World No.12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrated his 29th birthday on Thursday coming back from a set down to beat Fabio Fognini 5-7 6-3 6-0. After the match he was congratulated by the crowd with a rendition of “Bon Anniversaire”.

Maria Sharapova turned 27th on Saturday and she celebrated by adding Speedy, a new candy in the form of a Porsche 911, to her Sugarpova range.

Robson wrist concerns

Laura Robson announced last week that she will undergo surgery to resolve the wrist problem that has been troubling her for more than a year. The British No.1 will now miss both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

In a message on her Facebook page she said that she will be operated at the Mayo Clinic by Dr Richard Berger, the same specialist that recently performed surgery on Juan Martin del Potro.

Rally for Bally

Many British players will get together on 15th June to hold a fundraising event to show their support for former British No.1 Elena Baltacha, who was recently diagnosed with liver cancer.

The event, dubbed “Rally for Bally”, will see the likes of Andy & Jamie Murray, Heather Watson, Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and WTA legend Martina Navratilova (who herself survived breast cancer in 2010) take on each other in mixed doubles matches at Queen’s Club, Eastbourne and Birmingham.

The proceedings from the Rally, which follows a similar event held last year in support of Ross Hutchins, will be equally split between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.

Who’s playing where

After the first ATP Masters 1000 of the season in Monte Carlo, some players will rest before Madrid while others will be playing in Barcelona or in Bucharest.

World No.1 Rafael Nadal will try to shrug off his shock defeat in Monte Carlo with a ninth title at the ATP 500 event in Barcelona. Here he will be joined by fellow Spaniards David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro, Fernando Verdasco and, among others, Fabio Fognini, Kei Nishikori, Ernests Gulbis and Benoit Paire.

In Bucharest Lukas Rosol will have a hard time defending his 2013 title in a draw including eight Top 50 players including top seed Grigor Dimitrov, Mikhail Youzhny, Gael Monfils and Andreas Seppi.

World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska will lead a star-studded draw at the Premier event in Stuttgart. Aga will be joined by defending champion Maria Sharapova and other Top 10 players like Simona Halep, Jelena Jankovic and Australian Open semi-finalist Dominika Cibulkova. German players Andrea Petkovic and Julia Georges have received wildcards for the event.

In Marrakesh Francesca Schiavone will be up against Daniela Hantuchova, Elina Svitolina, Bojana Jovanovski and Garbine Muguruza as she tries to win back-to-back titles at the Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem.

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Year-End No.1 Not A Priority For Rafael Nadal, Says Murray

Murray spoke about his rival as he gives a update on his current form.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray believes rival Rafael Nadal is not focusing on the prospect of ending the season as world No.1.

 

Murray spoke about the big three during an extensive interview with The Times. A group compromising of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. The Brit is currently on the comeback from hip resurfacing surgery and recently reached the quarter-finals of the China Open. His best run on the ATP Tour so far this season. Currently ranked 289th in the world, Murray admits that he still has a way to go to the top. However, the 32-year-old is drawing inspiration from some of his rivals.

“If I do get up there, I’m not going to be focusing on ranking targets. You look at what Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal] and I guess Novak [Djokovic], to a certain extent, are doing to give themselves a chance to play longer.” Murray told The Times.
“Right now, Rafa could be fighting to finish number one in the world and it’s not a priority for him. I would like to be competitive in the big events against the best players. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer than I was a month ago, and much closer than a couple of months ago,” he said.

Nadal is currently closing in on the world No.1 spot despite not playing since winning the US Open. On Monday Djokovic’s lead over him will be reduced to 320 points after the Serbian lost in the third round of the Shanghai Masters. Then on November 4th he is guaranteed to return to the top spot before the ATP Finals. Even more significant is that Nadal has no ranking points to defend for the rest of the season compared to 1600 for Djokovic.

Murray’s comments on Nadal echoes what the Spaniard has previously said. During the US Open in September, the king of clay stated that returning to the top was ‘not his main goal’ with his health being top priority.

“I don’t compete for it. I just do my way. If I am able to be No.1 doing it my way, great. But I always say the same: today is not my main goal.” He explained.
“Of course, it’s great to be in that fight. But for me personally, it’s not really a fight. I just try be competitive the weeks that I need to compete, or the weeks that I want to compete.’
“With my age and with my goals, I cannot lose energy or time to follow the No.1. I need to think about my career in a different way.
‘For me, my main goal is play as long as possible and compete, being competitive. Sometimes if you need to follow the No.1, you are going to lose years of your career.”

Nadal is set to return to action in November at the Paris Masters. Meanwhile, Murray returns to the court tomorrow at the European Open where he will play Kimmer Coppejans in the first round.

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Danil Medvedev beats Stefanos Tsitsipas in Shanghai semifinal to reach his sixth consecutive final

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Danil Medvedev reached his ninth final this year and his sixth consecutive title match after beating Greek Next Gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 38 minutes in the semifinal of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

 

The 23-year-old Russian player has now beaten his 21-year-old Greek rival in all their five head-to-head matches. Medvedev has reached his third Masters 1000 final after finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal and winning the Cincinnati final last August. In an impressive hard-court season Medvedev lost the US Open final in five sets against Rafael Nadal and won the indoor tournament in St. Petersburg. Since losing to David Goffin the Moscow player has won 28 of his last 31 matches. He has become the 16th player in the Open Era to reach six consecutive finals.

Medvedev hit 25 winners to 18 unforced errors and saved four of the five break points.

Tsitsipas earned three break points at 4-4 in the opening set. Medvedev saved them with two serves and a forced error from Tsitsipas. The first set came down to the tie-break where both players stayed neck and neck until 5-5. The first 10 points of the tie-break went on serve. Medvedev got the decisive mini-break in the 11th game, when Tsitsipas made a forehand error. Medvedev closed out the first set after a backhand error from Tsitsipas.

In the second set Tsitsipas wasted game points at 1-1. Medvedev got the break in the third game of the second set with a backhand down the line winner. He consolidated the break by holding his serve with three service winners. Tsitsipas broke back at 15, when Medvedev was serving for the match. Medvedev broke for the second time in the 11th game with a forehand return before sealing the win in the 12th game with three service winners. Medvedev has become the 13th player since 1990 to reach three consecutive Masters 1000 finals.

“I think it’s a great achievement. I am proud of myself. Hopefully I can get the win tomorrow. It’s actually quite crazy. Here I had a lot of opportunities. to lose sets. I was close to losing a lot of them, especially with Vasek Pospisil with five set points. I think that’s also the confidence and the dynamic I am going through”, said Medvedev.

Tsitsipas was bidding to reach his second consecutive final after finishing runner-up to Dominic Thiem in Beijing.

 

 

 

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Alexander Zverev beats Roger Federer in Shanghai to reach his eighth Masters 1000 semifinal

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Alexander Zverev battled past Roger Federer 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes to reach his eighth Masters 1000 semifinal and the first since Shanghai last year.

 

The German star has moved up to seventh in the ATP Race to London after reaching two consecutive semifinals in Beijing and Shanghai and has a good chance to qualify for his third consecutive ATP Finals.

Zverev hit 43 winners (including 17 aces) to 23 unforced errors and faced three just three break points in the entire match. He dropped his serve twice and broke four times.

Zverev did not convert five match points in the final stages of the second set.

Zverev dropped three points in his service games and hit 11 winners to 6 unforced errors. The Hamburg native earned a break at 3-2 and held his next service games to close out the first set with four service winners in the ninth game after 27 minutes.

Both Federer and Zverev traded breaks in the second and third games of the second set and held their serve in the next seven games to draw level to 5-5. Zverev broke serve in the 11th game with a forehand winner, when Federer was serving in the 11th game. Zverev wasted three match points on serve in the 12th game and was broken by Federer, who drew level to 6-6 to set up a tie-break.

Federer saved match points at 5-6 and 6-7 in the tie-break and closed out the second set with an ace.

Zverev held at 15 in the first game with a service winner in the first game and broke serve in the second game after a forehand error from Federer.

Zverev held serve at love in the third game to build up a 3-0 lead. He earned two break points in the fourth game, but Federer saved them. The Swiss player fended off another break point at 1-4 with a forehand winner. Zverev held serve at love to build up a 5-2 lead.

Zverev closed out the match with a hold at 15, as he was serving for the match in the ninth game, to set up a semifinal against either Dominic Thiem or Matteo Berrettini.

Zverev adds to his ATP Race to London ranking with 2615 points to take seventh place ahead of  Roberto Bautista Agut.

“Finally starting to kind of play the way I should play, I was really playing really defensive the whole year, and I was not with a lot of confidence. He will always find a way. He will always make it tricky for you like he did today with me, and always got to play your best tennis to have a chance. I knew if I am going to keep playing the way I played the first two sets, I am going to have a chance in the third set as well”, said Zverev after the match.

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