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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The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter

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By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.

 

We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

PositionPlayerCountryPts 
1DjokovicSerbia11540
2MedvedevRussia8640
3ZverevGermany7840
4TsitsipasGreece6540
5RublevRussia5150
6NadalSpain4875
7BerrettiniItaly4568
8RuudNorway4160
9HurkaczPoland3706
10SinnerItaly3350
11Auger-AliassimeCanada3308
12NorrieGB2945
13SchwartzmanArgentina2625
14ShapovalovCanada2475
15ThiemAustria2425
16FedererSwitzerland2385
17GarinChile2353
18KaratsevRussia2351
19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

PositionPlayerCountryPts
1AlcarazSpain6820
2NadalSpain6020
3RuudNorway5820
4TsitsipasGreece5550
5DjokovicSerbia4820
6Auger-AliassimeCanada4195
7MedvedevRussia4065
8RublevRussia3930
9FritzUSA3355
10HurkaczPoland2905
11RuneDenmark2888
12ZverevGermany2700
13Carreno BustaSpain2495
14NorrieGB2445
15SinnerItaly2410
16BerrettiniItaly2375
17ShapovalovCanada2105
18CilicCroatia2075
19TiafoeUSA2000
20KhachanovRussia1990

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?

BEST RANKING

Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match

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Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (twitter.com/atptour)

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.

 

2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.


Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.


Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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ATP Finals: Fritz Close But No… Final, Djokovic Advances

Novak Djokovic beats Taylor Fritz in two tie-breaks and is just one win away from his sixth title at Nitto ATP Finals

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Novak Djokovic - 2022 Nitto ATP Finals Turin (photo Twitter @atptour)

[7] N. Djokovic b. [8] T. Fritz 7-6(5) 7-6(5)

 

Even when physically not at his best, Novak Djokovic can still count on his incredible ability to play the most effective tennis in the most important moment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the opponent misses an easy shot while attempting to close out the set, but the pressure Djokovic puts on whomever is on the other side of the net makes even the easiest shot look a little bit harder.

The former world no. 1 has put together a clinical display of efficiency during the first semifinal of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin edging Taylor Fritz by two points in the tie-breaker of each set to reach his eighth finals in the end-of-year Championship.

It was not the best Djokovic, and it was not the best match: lots of errors on both sides, and a huge opportunity for Fritz to take the match to the distance when he served at 5-4 in the second set and then missed an easy backhand sitter to go a set-point up at 40-30, blaming an idiot spectator who indeed shouted in the middle of the point, when he really should have been able to put away that point blindfolded.

Fritz did not start the match in the best possible way: 10 unforced errors during the first five games, a break conceded at love at 2-2 and Djokovic appeared destined for a relatively quiet afternoon. But it was not going to be that easy: errors started flowing also on the Serbian side, and Fritz was able to equalize at 3-3. A tie-break was then needed to decide the winner of the first set, and the deciding point was a laser forehand down the line by Djokovic who swept point and set at 6-5 and headed off to the toilet for a comfort break after taking a one-set advantage.

But the break did not do him much good: unforced errors kept coming from the baseline, and Fritz blitzed 2-0 up with a break. At 4-3, the American wowed the Italian crowd with a magical backhand stop-volley to recover a service game where he found himself down 0-30, but when it was time to serve out the set, he missed that easy backhand we described earlier to give Djokovic another chance to close out a match in two sets.

And another chance is the last thing Djokovic should be gifted, although on a day like today, with Christmas time upon us, gift trading became the thing of the match. Two great points at 4-4 in the tie-break warmed the 12,000-strong crowd at Pala Alpitour to what could have possibly been a great end of the set, but Djokovic first earned a match point to be played on his serve with a good action from the baseline closed by a volley and then squandered it all with a very unusual unforced error on a routine backhand. But on his second match point, just a minute later, Fritz badly missed an inside-out forehand putting an end to the match and gifting Djokovic a chance to win his sixth title at the Nitto ATP Finals, the first in Turin.

On Sunday he will face either Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev: he has never lost to Ruud in three previous matches (3-0) and the only time he did not beat Rublev (2-1) was last spring in Belgrade in the final of the tournament organized by his family.

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