Indian Wells - Miami: Who's Hot and Who's Not - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells – Miami: Who's Hot and Who's Not

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Novak Djokovic scored his second Indian Wells – Miami double after 2011. In the women’s tournament Flavia Pennetta won the most prestigious tournament of her career at Indian Wells and Serena Williams won her seventh Miami title A record of the US hard court tournaments. by Diego Sampaolo

Novak Djokovic: Novak Djokovic showed that he is back to his best form after clinching the second Indian Wells-Miami double of his career. He started the US hard court campaign with some doubts after losing to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open quarter finals and to Roger Federer in the semifinals in Dubai but he finished his US hard-court campaign in style winning both US Master 1000 tournaments. The US double is a confidence-booster for the Serbian player ahead of the European clay season which will kick off in less than two weeks with the Monte-Carlo Rolex Master where he will defend his title won in the final against Rafa Nadal. Both Nadal and Djokovic have dominated the Master 1000 circuit since 2013 winning all tournaments apart from Miami in 2013 which was won by Andy Murray.

Monte-Carlo will be another chapter of the rivalry between Djokovic and Nadal. Djokovic will have to defend just 190 points in Madrid and Rome. On the contrary Nadal will defend 2000 points as he won both these Master 1000 Tournaments in 2013. Nadal will defend 2000 points as Roland Garros champion, while Djokovic lost in a epic semifinal against Nadal last year and will defend 750 points, The Roland Garros is one of the few tournaments Djokovic never won in his career. He would complete his collection of Grand Slam tournaments with a win at the Roland Garros.

Djokovic beat Murray and Nadal in straight sets en route to winning his fourth Miami title confirming his status as the Hard-Court King. Only Djokovic and Federer have managed to score the Indian Wells and Miami double twice: Federer won both tournaments in 2005 and 2006 and Djokovic made the double in 2011 an 2014.

Djokovic won his second consecutive title with his coach Martin Vajda on his side as Boris Becker underwent hip surgery. This fact raised the question of many whether Becker was a good hire for Djokovic or not. It is difficult to say that but what is more important is that Djokovic is peaking his form at the right time ahead of the big tournaments.

Rafa Nadal: The Spaniard suffered a defeat in his fourth Miami final after losing three times in 2005, 2008 and 2011 losing with a double 6-3 against Djokovic but he remains at the top of the Ranking.However he gained 500 points after missing Miami last year. He will have to defend a lot of points on his favourite clay surface, having won in Rome, Madrid and the Roland Garros last year.

Kei Nishikori: The Japanese player was so unlucky to withdraw from the Miami semifinal after beating Roger Federer in three sets. Nishikori showed his maturity at high level when he scored three top wins beating Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, David Ferrer in the fourth round (after saving four match points) in a three-set tie-break and Roger Federer in the quarter final after rallying from a set and a break down.

Roger Federer: He played a great tournament in Indian Wells losing in three sets against Novak Djokovic. In Miami he went up a break twice in the second set against Nishikori but he could not close out the match. With his recent results in Indian Wells and Miami Federer has moved up to fourth in the ATP Ranking.

Tomas Berdych: The Czech reached the Miami semifinal after beating two strong rivals like John Isner and Aleksander Dolgopolov. He was then forced to withdraw before his semifinal against Nadal due to gastroenteritis.

Aleksander Dolgopolov: The Ukrainian player produced a major come-back reaching the semifinal in Indian Wells losing to Federer and confirmed his return to form by reaching the quarter final in Miami where he lost against Tomas Berdych after beating Stanislas Wawrinka.

Milos Raonic: The young Canadian player reached two consecutive quarter finals at Indian Wells and Miami reaching the too 10 position of the ranking. At Key Biscayne Raonic pushed Nadal to the third set and recorded the fastest ever serve in Miami with a 144 kph ace.

Andy Murray: In his first tournament after his split from Ivan Lendl who guided to wins at the US Open and the Olympic gold in 2012 and his Wimbledon triumph in 2013, Murray showed some encouraging improvement beating Feliciano Lopez and Jo Wilfred Tsonga before losing in the quarter final against Nole Djokovic. Murray will now play for Great Britain against Italy in Naples in the Davis Cup quarter final.

The Bryan brothers: The famous doubles legends Mike and Bob Bryan scored an impressive triple winning Delray Beach, Indian Wells and Miami. They completed the Indian Wells.Miami double for the first time in their long careers.

Stanislas Wawrinka: The Swiss did not show the same form as during the fantastic two Australian Open weeks. He failed to advance the fourth round in both Indian Wells and Miami. He lost to Kevin Anderson in Indian Wells and to Aleksander Dolgopolov in Miami.

Bernard Tomic: The young Australian player lost 6-1 6-0 in the first round against Jarkko Nieminen in just 28 minutes in the shortest match on the Open Era history.

Women:

Serena Williams: The US legend made history by winning her seventh Miami title in her ninth final in her home tournament which is held not far from the place where she lives. She was able to recover from 1-4 against Maria Sharapova in the semifinal and 2-5 against Li Na in the final. Serena holds the record for most Miami titles and is one of the four players to win the same WTA tournament more than seven times. The other players are Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.

Li Na: This year’s Australian Open champion reached the seminal at Indian Wells where she lost in the semifinal against Flavia Pennetta and played the final in Miami where she was lost against Serena Williams 7-5 6-1 after storming to a 5-2 lead in the first lead. “I feel heavy right now but I am not feeling old at all. I feel I a young 32. I feel like tennis has changed a little bit now because it’s not about technique. It’s more mental and physical too and I am taking care of myself”, said Li Na after the final against Williams in Miami.

Flavia Pennetta: The Italian heroine ha mover to World Number 12 after her impressive title won in Indian Wells against Agnieszka Radwanska after beating Li Na in the semifinal. Pennetta achieved the most prestigious tournament of hr career. She continued her great period of form after the semifinal at the US Open and the quarter final at this year’s Australian Open.

Dominika Cibulkova: The Slovak player followed up her final at the Australian Open with a win in Acapulco, a quarter final at Indian Wells and a semifinal at Miami reaching the top-10 for the first in her career. In the third set of her Miami semifinal against Li Na Cibulkova was three games from the final in Miami final. Cibulkova reeled off six consecutive points and eight of the next nine points from 7-5 2-2 for Li Na to clinch the second set 6-2 and build up a solid 3-1 lead in the third set. Cibulkova had a point to go up 4-1 but Li Na scored four games in a row to take a 5-3 lead before clinching a hard-fought win with 7-5 2-6 6-3.

Maria Sharapova. The Russian player played one of the best tournaments of the year in Miami but she lost 7-5 6-1 after leading 4-1 in the first set and 2-0 in the second set against Serena Williams

Martina Hingis and Sabine Lisicki: The Swiss legend teamed up with last year’s Wimbledon finalist Lisicki to win her first doubles title since 2007 in Miami beating Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in three sets with 4-6 6-4 10-5 reeling six points in a row from 4-5 in the third set tie-break. Six years after her retirement Hingis returned last summer playing alongside Daniela Hantuchova in five WTA doubles tournaments. The Swiss player did not play for six months after the US Open but she made a second return in Indian Wells teaming up with Sabine Lisicki.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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