Master 1000 Monte-Carlo: Successful debut for defending champion Djokovic - UBITENNIS
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Master 1000 Monte-Carlo: Successful debut for defending champion Djokovic

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TENNIS – Master 1000 Monte-Carlo defending champion Novak Djokovic swept aside Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-0 in just 45 minutes in a one-sided match in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Master, the first European clay tournament of the season. Diego Sampaolo

The match did not break the record as the quickest match in history recently set by Jarkko Nieminen against Bernard Tomic with 28 minutes but there was no match today as Djokovic was simply too strong for Montanes.

The match lasted just two games. Montanes won the second game for 1-1 before Djokovic dominated the rest of the match without dropping his serve. Montanes, who beat Benoit Paire in three sets in the first set, earned three consecutive break points but Djokovic saved them to take the 2-1 lead. Djokovic converted his fourth break point chance at 4-1. This was one of the five breaks of serve in this match for Djokovic who lost just 10 points on serve and saved four break points.

Montanes saved two set points but Djokovic closed out the first set at third opportunity. The second set was a training session for Djokovic who dropped just five points in the second set to seal the win on his first match point in just 45 minutes. Djokovic improved his record in his head-to-head matches against Montanes to 6-0. Djokovic will take on either lucky loser Pablo Carreno Busta or Gael Monfils who beat Kevin Anderson.

Djokovic admitted that he has a different approach this year to the clay season in preparation for the Roland Garros, the only Grand Slam title missing in his cabinet.

Last year I put a lot of energy into winning the Roland Garros title. It was in my thoughts constantly. It didn’t help me for the tournaments prior to that, like Madrid and Rome. I have a different approach this year. I want to do well in the next clay tournaments in preparation and eventually get myself in a very good position in terms of confidence for the French Open”, said Djokovic

Djokovic has claimed his 11th consecutive win. The Monte-Carlo based star is looking to clinch his fifth consecutive Master 1000 Tournament, including Shanghai, paris Bercy last year and the second Indian Wells-Miami double of his career last March. He won last year’s final against Nadal and finished runner-up twice to the Spaniard in 2009 and 2012.

His coach Boris Becker followed Djokovic from the stands after missing Indian Wells and Miami

Jo Wilfred Tsonga, semifinalist last year in Monte-Carlo, had to dig deep to battle past Phillip Kohlschreiber. The German won the second set 6-1 to force the match to the third set. After wasting two match points Tsonga broke closed out the match on his third match point when Kohlschreiber sent his forehand wide.The Frenchman hit 19 winners to 39 unforced errors and won 76 percent of his first serve points to win for the seventh time in eight matches against the German. Tsonga, a semifinalist at the Roland Garros last year,

Last year’s Roland Garros finalist David Ferrer swept aside Jeremy Chardy with 6-3 6-0 in 65 minutes.

Italian Andreas Seppi won for the first time in his career after four defeats against Michail Youzhny with 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in just over two hours. Seppi entertained the crowd for a spectacular Federer-style tweener at 3-3 in the first set which could become one of the candidates for “the shot of the week” award.

Seppi broke serve in the fourth game of the first set with a backhand Youzhny broke straight back before saving five break point chances to draw level to 3-all. Seppi got the decisive break at 4-3 before sealing the first set with 6-3 in 44 minutes.

The second set went on serve. In the fifth game Seppi earned a break point chance and Youzhny got two break point chances in the following game but all three chances were saved. Youzhny saved a break point at 4-4 with an ace. Seppi had to save three set points at 4-5 with his serve. The second set came down to the tie-break. Seppi stormed to 5-2 before earning two match points. He closed it out on his first match point.

Seppi is playing for the ninth time in Monte-Carlo but he has never got through the second round. He lost eight times in the second round and in the first round last year against his compatriot Fabio Fognini.

I have already made a tweener against Murray in Rome. It is so special to made a special shot on this prestigious stage in Monte-Carlo”, said Seppi.

Seppi fended off six of the seven break points he faced to set up a second round against Pablo Andujar. Seppi has not claimed back-to-back wins this year so far this year.

Grigor Dimitrov recovered from a break down in the third set before winning the final six games of the match to beat Marcel Granollers with 6-2 4-6 6-2.

French qualifier Michael Llodra upset last year’s Wimbledon qualifier Jerzy Janowicz 6-4 6-2 in just 66 minutes to set up the next match against Lukas Rosol. The young Pole suffered his sixth consecutive defeat since the quarter finals in Rotterdam.

Teymuraz Gabashvili fought back from a set down to overcome Giles Simon 4-6 6-4 6-4 to set up a second round match against eight-time champion Rafa Nadal.

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Kei Nishikori Issues Fitness Update Ahead Of New Season

After a difficult season where he could only win two matches, the world No.41 is hoping to get back on track next year.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori says he is eager to start competing against the best in the world again after what has been a troublesome season.

 

The 30-year-old has only been able to play four tournaments this year due to a combination of injury, the pandemic and illness. Nishikori underwent surgery on his shoulder in October 2019 which subsequently resulted in him missing the start of this season. Then he was forced to pull out of his planned return at the US Open after testing positive for COVID-19. Eventually he returned to action in Kitzbuhel during September but had to close his season early a few weeks later after injuring his shoulder at the French Open.

“We had a few tournaments (due to the pandemic) and my season came to an end when I was beginning to get my feel back,” Kyodo news quoted Nishikori as saying on Friday. “I really can’t wait for next year.”

Overall, Nishikori won just two out of six matches played on the Tour in 2020. Scoring wins over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Rome and Britain’s Dan Evans at Roland Garros. The highest ranked player he faced was No.22 Christian Garin, who he lost 6-0, 6-3, to in Hamburg.

Despite his setbacks, the Japanese player insists that he is now back on track and his shoulder is at ‘a decent level.

“(My shoulder) has recovered to a decent level. It’ll be definitely okay for next year,” Nishikori said. “I’ll prepare (for the Olympics) assuming that they will take place.”
“I couldn’t face top-10 ranked players this season. I want to compete at that level again as soon as I can.”

One of Nishikori’s goals for next year will be the Olympic Games which are taking place in Tokyo for the first time since 1964. The Games have to be postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nishikori is the only player from his country to have won an Olympic medal during the Open Era after winning bronze in 2016.

I think it’s hard for athletes and the public to think about the Olympics right now. I just want to prepare well,he said in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nishikori has been ranked as high fourth in the world but is currently in 41st position. So far in his career he has won 12 ATP titles and earned more than $24 million in prize money.

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The ATP announces the nominees for the 2020 ATP Awards

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Nominees have been announced for the ATP Awards for all player-voted categories (Comeback Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the year, Stefan Edberg Sportmanship Award) and Coach of the Year. 

 

The Fans’s Favourite Award and and the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award Award will be announced later this month. Fans can vote for their favourite singles player and doubles team through 11 December. 

Three-time winner and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will be up against 2020 Rome finalist and Roland Garros semifinalist Diego Schwartzman, US Open champion Dominic Thiem and John Millman in the Sportsmanship category. 

Schwartzman is among the nominees in the Most Improved player category and will be against Ugo Humbert, five-time ATP Tour titlist Andrey Rublev and 2020 Sofia ATP Tour champion and 2019 Next Gen ATP Tour champion Jannik Sinner. The Most Improved player of the Year reached a higher ATP Ranking by year’s end and showed an increasingly improved level of performance through the year. 

The nominees for the Comeback Player of the Year are Kevin Anderson, Andrey Kuznetsov, Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic. The Compeback Player of the Year has overcome a serious injury in re-establishing as one of the top players on the ATP Tour. 

The contenders for the Newcomer of the Year Award are Carlos Alcaraz (winner in three Challenger tournaments in Trieste, Barcelona and Alicante), Sebastian Korda (winner of his first Challenger title in Eckental), Lorenzo Musetti (title in Parma and third-round in Rome Masters 1000), Jurij Rodionov (first Challenger titles in Dallas and Morelos) , Emil Ruusuvuori (semifinalist in Nur Sultan) and Thiago Seyboth Wild (first title in Santiago de Chlle)

The Coach of the Year Award contenders are Juan Ignacio Chela (Diego Schwartzman), Gilles Cervara (Danil Medvedev), Nicolas Massu (Dominic Thiem), Riccardo Piatti (Jannik Sinner) and Fernando Vicente (Andrey Rublev). 

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French Legend Leconte Speaks Out On Upcoming Return Of Roger Federer

The Grand Slam finalist gives his view on Federer’s chances for 2021.

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A former star of French tennis says he is hopeful but wary that Roger Federer will be able to return to the pinnacle of sport next year.

 

Henri Leconte, who is a former French Open finalist that achieved a ranking high of No.5, admits that the Swiss Maestro may find it tough on the Tour given the rise of what he describes as the ‘younger generation.’ This season Dominic Thiem won his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open at the age of 27. More recently Daniil Medvedev defeated both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal en route to the ATP Finals title.

We want to believe it. We all want to believe it! It’s been a long and difficult year. Will the motivation still be there? Will this break, the fact of having been able to enjoy his family, have changed something or will he still have that renewed motivation that has always fascinated us?” Leconte told TennisActu.

Federer hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss at the Australian Open in January. Since then, he has been sidelined from action due to a right knee injury which required two surgical procedures. The second took place after the first failed to produce the desired results.

Despite the setbacks, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer is eyeing a return to the Tour in 2021. He is currently the oldest player in the world’s top 100 and one of two to be aged 39. The other is Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.

No one can say it. We all wish him, we would like him to stop on a Grand Slam title but the train (momentum) is gone with this younger generation which has put in an extra speed,” said Leconte.
“I would like to believe it. Roger has done so many things, that’s why he makes us dream, we would like to see him at the top. It will be very, very hard. ..”

It is not the first time Federer has taken a lengthy break due to injury. He missed six months of the 2017 season due to another knee issue before returning to action the following year when he won the Australian Open.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Federer will head into the new season being able to use his iconic ‘RF’ logo. He hasn’t been able to use the logo for the past two years after switching from Nike, which held the rights, to UNIQLO. However, he has managed to regain control of ownership which means he will be allowed to use it on his apparel once again.

“The RF cap is back,” Federer said in a video message to fans on Twitter.
“After a long wait and extensive fine-tuning, UNIQLO and I are extremely excited to announce the return of the RF hat in 8 fresh colours starting December 8th, 2020,” he also wrote.
“This hat has meant so much to me and to my fans over the years.
“It has given us a way to visibly connect, and I have appreciated the opportunity to thrive off this supportive energy.”

As it currently stands Federer’s first tournament is set to be the Australian Open. The tournament had been scheduled to start on January 18th but it is believed that the date has been delayed until February 8th due to travel and quarantine arrangements.

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