Monte-Carlo 2014: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic safely in the quarter finals. Berdych out. - UBITENNIS
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Monte-Carlo 2014: Federer, Nadal and Djokovic safely in the quarter finals. Berdych out.

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TENNIS – Monte-Carlo 2014: Roger Federer went down a break to trail 2-4 in the first set but he cruised to a easy victory against Czech Lukas Rosol in straight sets with 6-4 6-1 in just 57 minutes. Rafa Nadal claimed a easy 6-1 6-3 win over Italian Andreas Seppi to become the 11th player in the Open Era to win 300 matches on clay. Diego Sampaolo

Interviews and images from the Monte-Carlo Country Club

Roger Federer continues his chase to his elusive Monte-Carlo title by sweeping aside Lukas Rosol in the second set. However the first set was far from easy for the 17-time Grand Slam champion as he had to save two break points in the first game. On his next service game he trailed 15-40. He managed to save the first break point but he dropped his serve on the second break point in the third game.

Federer recovered from 2-4 down by reeling off four games in a row and 16 points to 2. Both players went on serve until 3-4 when he converted his first break.back point chance. Federer won the next game with a serve and volley before sealing the first set 6-4 after 33 minutes with a break to love to take the first set.

Federer broke serve at 2-1 in the second set en route to a easy 6-1 in just under 57 minutes with a forehand winner and a serve and volley.

Federer won 15 of his 16 net points.

It was a bit rocky in the beginning. At 1-3 I was able to find my way back into the match. After four games you know what’s going to write and what’s not going to work. At the end I had good variation. I also came to the net. I was effective on break points. My first serve worked better”, said Federer.

Federer will take on Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga who fought back from a set down to beat Fabio Fognini 5-7 6-3 6-0. Tsonga beat Federer last year on clay at the French Open but Federer took a re-match against the Frenchman in the fourth round at this year’s Australian Open. Federer leads 10-4 in the previous head-to-head matches against Tsonga.

I didn’t play a very good match against Jo at the French Open last year. That was a bit of disaster for me. On the other side I played a very good match this year at the Australian Open. I am excited to see what’s going to happen this time around. Jo played the semifinal here last year and has played here well in the past. I have to be sure that I play aggressive and not become too passive”, continued Federer.

After yesterday’s match Federer hinted that he could skip Madrid, Rome or Roland Garros to stay with his wife Mirka when she gives birth again.

It’s a priority for me trying to be there, trying to support my wife. I have played enough matches. Missing a tournament or a match wouldn’t change anything for me”, said Federer

Asked if he would miss the Roland Garros, Federer said: “Let’s talk about it when it would happen. At the moment we hope it’s not going to be that way”.

Djokovic vs Carreno Busta 6-0 6-1

On a day where the top players won very quick matches, Novak Djokovic dropped just one game to cruise to a easy win over Pablo Carreno Busta with 6-0 6-1 in just 47 minutes, just two minutes longer than in the second round match against Albert Montanes. Carreno Busta, who was voted as the ATP Most Improved Player in 2013, won his first game in the fourth game of the second set after 40 minutes but Djokovic stormed to a easy win just seven minutes later.

Djokovic is bidding to win his second consecutive Monte-Carlo title and his his fifth consecutive Master 1000 win after Shanghai and Paris and the second Indian Wells-Miami double of his career.

Nadal vs Seppi 6-1 6-3

Eight-time Monte-Carlo champion Nadal faced little trouble against Andreas Seppi, who reached the third round in Monte-Carlo for the first time in his nine editions, Nadal took control of the match from the first set storming to an unchallenged 4-0 in the first set. He was untroubled in the first set apart from the sixth game where he had to save five break points.

Nadal faced more a stiffer challenge in the second set when Seppi converted his sixth break point chance to love in the seventh game to claw her way back to 3-4 in the second set. The Italian was not able to hold serve and Nadal closed out the match on his first match point with an ace to clinch his 300th milestone win on the ATP circuit.

Nadal has improved his head-to-head record against Seppi to 5-1. The Italian claimed his only win over Nadal in a indoor match in Rotterdam in 2008.

Nadal converted all his five break points and won 82 percent of his first serve points.

I think today I played better than yesterday. For a long time I was playing at a good level. changing directions very well and playing with the right intensity. At 4-1 in the second set I stopped a little bit with my legs. Seppi is a player who takes the ball early. If you are not playing from inside, you are in big trouble. I lost a little intensity, made a few mistakes. I was lucky to have the break back again”, said Nadal.

Nadal will be bidding to win his ninth Monte-Carlo after losing last year’s final against Novak Djokovic.

In the quarter finals Nadal will take on his compatriot David Ferrer who beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-2. It will be a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros Final won by Nadal.

Ferrer vs Dimitrov 6-4 6-2

Dimitrov faced his third Spanish rival after defeating both Marcel Granollers and Albert Ramos in three sets. On the contrary Ferrer had a easier path to the third round after dropping just three games against Jeremy Chardy.

Dimitrov earned the first break point of the match but Ferrer saved it with an ace. The Bulgarian converted his second break point chance. At 2-2 Ferrer put Dimitrov under pressure and broke serve to take the lead for the time in the match.by reeling four consecutive games. Dimitrov wasted two break points at 4-3. Ferrer won his fifth consecutive game as Dimitrov sent his forehand into the net. Ferrer served for the set at 5-2 but he trailed 15-40. Dimitrov recovered one of the two breaks with a forehand down the line. Ferrer served out for the set at deuce after a very long rally.

Both player held serve in the first two games of the second set before Ferrer broke serve in the third game. Dimitrov saved the break point in a very long fifth game with seven deuces. Dimitrov faced another break point in the seventh game. Ferrer converted it to take a 5-2 lead before closing out the match on his first match point.

Raonic vs Robredo 6-4 6-3

Milos Raonic beat Tommy Robredo 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 12 minutes. The first set went on serve until 5-4 40-0 when Raonic created three break points. Robredo saved the first break point but the Canadian converted the second with a smash to close the first set. The second set started with another break for Raonic in the first game. Raonic created three break points at 3-0 40-0 but Robredo saved all of them. Raonic held his last two serve games to love to wrap up the match to set up a quarter final match against this year’s Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka who took advantage of a walkover after Nicholas Almagro was forced to pull out because of pain in his left foot. Yesterday Wawrinka took just 46 minutes to dispel Marin Cilic.

Garcia Lopez vs Berdych 4-6 6-3 6-1

The big upset of the third round matches was Guillermo Garcia Lopez’s win against Tomas Berdych in three sets in the match which concluded another packed day of action in sunny weather conditions at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Berdych won the first set 6-4 but the Spaniard made a sensational recovery by winning the second and the third sets dropping just four games to win 4-6 6-3 6-1.

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Basel 2019 Preview: Roger Federer Targets Record As Rivals Looks To Qualify For ATP Finals

Federer is on a quest for a 10th title in Basel and could play an all-Swiss quarter-final against countryman Stan Wawrinka later this week.

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This year in Basel the competition is at its top, with two spots yet to be reserved in the race to the ATP Nitto Finals.

 

Roger Federer, who could make a 13th final in Basel this year, will commence his campaign against qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in the first quarter. In the second round the 20-time grand slam champion could play either Radu Albot or Dusan Lajovic, whom he has a clean head-to-head profile against.

Meanwhile European Open finalist, who just lost to comeback kid Andy Murray in Antwerp, Stan Wawrinka is facing the Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in the first round. Should he take off with a win, he would face either Frances Tiafoe or Daniel Evans before he could set a clash with last year’s Basel champion in quarter-finals.

Generally it could be theoretically an easy contest for Federer, who has a H2H profile of 23 wins to three loses against Wawrinka with 17 of them on hard-courts. However Wawrinka is in good form after making his second final of the year last week after Rotterdam in February.

The second quarter sees one player who has guaranteed his debut at the ATP Nitto Finals. Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas regained some of his good tennis during the Asian Swing where he ousted the World No.1 Novak Djokovic in Shanghai to reserve a place at the ATP Nitto Finals. Tsitsipas is taking on Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round. Only one meeting has taken place between the two on the ATP Tour in Barcelona last year with the Greek winning it. Then he could play either qualifier Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis or Pablo Andujar in the second round.

However, there is another player in this quarter, who is still trying to make it to the ATP Nitto Finals. Fabio Fognini had a disappointment last week when he lost in his first match in Stockholm after making the quarter-finals in Shanghai before losing to Daniil Medvedev. The Italian is starting against  Alexei Popyrin then he could face either Laslo Djere or Filip Krajinovic, who made it the final in Stockholm before losing to Shapovalov. Fognini is in the 11th position in the race to London, going after countryman Matteo Berrettini, 8th position, with a gap of 290 points.

Should a quarter-final between Tsitsipas and Fognini occur, the Greek leads in their previous confrontations 2-0.

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut is in the third quarter. He has been in bad form these past couple months, but is only 40 points behind Berrettini in the race to London. Should the Spaniard want to make his debut at the O2 Arena this year, he has to be pretty much on form as he opens against Marius Copil. Who showed a very good form in Antwerp last week and possess a big serve that could be an obstacle to a lot of players. The winner of that match will face either the Frenchman Richard Gasquet or Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero in the second round.

Still in the third quarter, another player is in the run for a spot at the ATP Nitto Finals with 90 points behind the Italian Matteo Berrettini. It’s David Goffin, who is taking off in Basel against former US Open champion Marin Cilic in what could be a thrilling match, but the Croatian isn’t in good form recently. Goffin would face either the big serving Reilly Opelka or Chile’s Cristian Garin in the second round, should he get past Cilic.

Second seed Alexander Zverev takes on Taylor Fritz in the opening round in what could be a tricky match in the fourth quarter. Zverev, who has had a very tough season this year and recorded his first top-10 win just days ago in Shanghai against Federer, has gained in momentum  significantly after his participation in Laver Cup a few weeks ago. He is now in the 7th position in the race to the O2 Arena after reaching the final in Shanghai, which he lost to Medvedev in straight sets. He has either Alex De Minaur or Hugo Dellien in the second round with possibly Benoit Paire or Germany’s Struff in the quarter-final.

The Frenchman Benoit Paire is opening against the wild card holder Henri Laaksonen, should he cruise to the second round, he would face either Jan-Lennard Struff or Miomir Kecmanovic.

Full draw

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Stefanos Tsitsipas On Why His US Open Early Exit Was ‘The Best Thing To Ever Happen’

The Greek No.1 sees a silver lining to one of his latest losses on the tour.

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Losing in the first round of a grand slam isn’t something players are normally happy to talk about. However, for Stefanos Tsitsipas he doesn’t think he would be where he is now if he didn’t suffer an early loss at this year’s US Open.

 

The Greek player was seeded ninth in the draw at Flushing Meadows. He fell at the first hurdle to Russia’s Anrey Rublev in four sets, who went on to reach the fourth round of the major. Tsitsipas has endured a mixture of results in the grand slams this season. In January he scored his first major breakthrough by defeating Roger Federer on route to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. However, his runs in the majors has got worse as the season progressed. Losing in the fourth round of the French Open, followed by the first round at Wimbledon. Ironically Tsitsipas believes believes it is his US Open misfortunes that has had the biggest impact on him.

”It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” Tsitsipas told atptour.com. “I stayed in New York for six or seven days after and it gave me time to discover new things. It was important for me to enjoy and realise what I needed in my life.
”It was my decision to live life how I wanted to, not how others wanted me to. There was a time last summer when I doubted myself, [thought] that I wasn’t interesting as a person. I wanted to be someone else, but now I understand that it’s awesome to be myself.”

During the Asian swing the 21-year-old won seven out of nine matches played (excluding retirements). Reaching the final of the China Open and the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters. It was the first time he has reached the last four at two consecutive tournaments since May (Madrid and Rome).

Tsitsipas is hoping to continue his surge in form this week at the Swiss Indoors in Basel. He will be seeded third in the draw behind nine-time champion Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev. The world No.7 is yet to win an ATP 500 tournament. Something he hopes to change over the coming days.

“I’m currently in the best state of my life,” he declared. “It doesn’t have to do with results or playing good tennis or bad tennis. I’ve been feeling very happy and very well. I’ve been enjoying life more in general and that reflects in my game. It makes me happy and makes me want to live better.”

Already qualified for the ATP Finals, Tsitsipas is hoping to end what has been a roller coaster season on a high. He has achieved a win-loss record of 49-22 so far this year (including Davis Cup), but has also lost his opening match at eight tournaments.

“I think it’s normal to have ups and downs and I learned a lot this year.” He told reporters on Sunday during a press conference. “I’m looking forward to playing in Basel, Paris and London and hope to go as far as possible.”

In Basel, Tsitsipas will open up his campaign on Tuesday against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Viñolas. A player he beat in straight sets during last year’s Barcelona Open.

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Andy Murray Fights Back In Epic To Win First ATP Title Since Surgery In Antwerp

The injury-stricken Brit has capped off a dream week in Belgium.

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Stan Wawrinka - US Open 2018 (foto via Twitter, @usopen)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray has ended his two-year wait for an ATP title after battling back from a set and a break down to defeat Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, in a pulsating encounter at the European Open in Antwerp.

 

The clash was a battle of the comebacks. Earlier this year, Murray said he may have to retire from the sport due to a persistent hip injury and even had a special video ceremony in his honour at the Australian Open. Then he underwent career-saving hip resurfacing surgery in what was the start of his latest comeback. Meanwhile, Wawrinka has also endured his fair share of physical issues and recently missed the Asian swing of the tour due to his knee.

“It means a lot. The last few years have been extremely difficult. Both me and Stan has had a lot of injury problems in the past couple of years.” Murray said during his on-court interview.
“It’s amazing to be back playing against him in a final like that. I think it was a great match.”

Sunday’s encounter saw Murray hit nine aces as he won 59% of his service points. Making the world No.243 the lowest ranked player to win an ATP tournament since Pablo Andujar at the 2018 Marrakech Open in Morocco. However, he didn’t have it all his own way.

A clinical start to the match from the Swiss fourth seed aided him to clinch the opening set with ease. Capitalising on Murray’s tentative first service rate, which was 54% during the opener, Wawrinka broke two games in. On his third break point opportunity, a backhand passing shot enabled him to break en route to a 3-0 lead. Providing plenty of food for thought for Murray, who eventually got on the scoreboard after 21 minutes of play. Both players continued to engage is a series of world-class rallies, however, Murray was unable to find a way to break back. Resulting in Wawrinka sealing the opener with the help of a 201 km/h serve down the centre of the court which his opponent returned out.

Continuing his offensive, Wawrinka continued to dominate with glimmers of his best tennis. Hitting numerous angel shots that painted the lines of the Antwerp court. Three games into the second set, he sealed his second break of a match by hitting a blistering backhand down the line.

The fightback

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It looked like Wawrinka was on course for a one-sided triumph, however, Murray refused to go away. Fighting his way back to draw level at 3-3, which prompted an almighty roar from the animated Brit. Against the odds, the former world No.1 continued to turn his fortunes around. Leading 5-4, Murray worked his way to set point after blasting a forehand passing shot. He went on to convert with the help of an error from his rival to take the match into a decider.

The cat and mouse chase continued with numerous changes in momentum on both sides of the court. Four consecutive breaks of serve took place before Murray managed to hold and move ahead 4-3 in the final set. Continuing his remarkable comeback, Murray fended off the threats to nudge ahead 5-4 and within touching distance of the finish line. In what was a match of fine margins, it would be two consecutive forehand mistakes from Wawrinka that guided Murray to a memorable victory.

“Stan was playing unbelievable. Hitting winners from all over the court and I just managed to hand in at the end of the second set. The third set was close again.” Said Murray. “It’s amazing. I didn’t expect to be in this place at all. I’m very happy.”

Embed from Getty Images

Three-time grand slam champion Murray didn’t start his return to singles competition until two months ago at the Winston-Salem Open. This week was only his sixth appearance in an ATP Tournament. He has now won eight out of his last 10 matches since the China Open earlier this month.

“This is one of the biggest wins after everything. I’m very proud with my win this week and I’ve always enjoyed my time here.”

The title is Murray’s 46th on the ATP Tour and first since January 2017 when he won the Doha Open. He exits Antwerp with 250 ranking points and  €109,590 in prize money. Meaning that he will return back into the world’s top 150 on Monday for the first time since May 2018.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1185967085979160577

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