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
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.
Novak Djokovic Survives Krajinovic Battle To Seal Last Eight Berth In Rome
Novak Djokovic reached an 85th Masters 1000 Quarter-Final in Rome.
Novak Djokovic survived a tough battle in Rome to beat Filip Krajinovic 7-6(7) 6-3 to reach the last eight.
Although the World Number one got the victory, it was a tough battle as he fought his compatriot for a place in the Quarter-Finals.
Breaks were shared to start the match as Krajinovic brought his fearless game to the top seed.
Djokovic created a total of ten break points, with only one executed as Krajinovic saved two set points in the tenth game to hold for 5-5.
After two comfortable holds, a tiebreak settled the winner of the first set as Djokovic was having a hard time to contain Krajinovic’s power.
The world number one battled from 3-0 down to edge the tiebreak 9-7 and win the opening set in 88 minutes.
Once Djokovic had survived the Krajinovic stormed, he took control and went into another gear as a break of serve in the third game was all that was needed to seal his place in the quarter-finals.
Winning 47% of his 2nd return points was key as Djokovic reaches his 85th Masters 1000 Quarter-Final of his career.
Next for Djokovic will be either talented teen sensation Lorenzo Musetti or Dominik Koepfer.
In other results today, Denis Shapovalov and Grigor Dimitrov set a last eight showdown after tight three set wins.
Shapovalov edged out Ugo Humbert 6-7(5) 6-1 6-4 while Dimitrov defeated Jannik Sinner 4-6 6-4 6-4 in a tough match.
There were also third round wins for Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini.
Rafael Nadal Missing Fan Support Despite Emphatic Win At Italian Open
The 19-time Grand Slam winner reacts to his latest win 200 days after his last.
The absence of a crowd at this year’s Italian Masters has been branded as ‘not beautiful’ by Rafael Nadal following his opening match on Wednesday.
The world No.2 raced to a 6-1, 6-1, triumph over US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta in what was his first competitive match of any sort since March 1st. Despite his lengthy break from the Tour, Nadal showed little rust as he dropped only eight points behind his serve and broke the world No.18 five times overall. The latest victory is Nadal’s 62nd in Rome and he has only won more matches at four other tournaments.
“Of course I have to improve things. The things that I have to improve, the only way to improve is to keep practising with the right attitude, the right intensity and to spend hours in competition matches,” he said afterwards.
“Today has been a positive start for me,” Nadal later added.
Choosing to skip the New York bubble due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nadal is still getting used to the concept of playing without the crowds. Something many of his rivals has already had experience of. The Italian Open had originally hoped to allow fans to enter its grounds before the local authorities ruled against it over concerns it could trigger an outbreak of the Coronavirus.
“It’s Not beautiful the feeling of playing without the spectators because the energy of the fans is impossible to describe. But for me, at least, today has been a very positive comeback,” Nadal assessed.
It is a case of wait and see as to how the Spaniard will fare in the coming days given his recent lack of match play compared to his rivals such as Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic. Fortunately for Nadal, he is playing on the clay which is a surface which he has won more ATP titles on than any other player in the Open Era. As for the upcoming French Open, will a lack of play in recent weeks be problematic for him?
“I don’t think so, no. If Roland Garros was this week, maybe yes. Roland Garros is two weeks away.” He concluded.
Nadal will next play either Milos Raonic or Dusan Lajovic who will play their second round match on Thursday.
Dominic Thiem And Thomas Muster: A Comparison
They are the only Austrian Slam champions in men’s tennis, but how do they stack up against each other?
The original version of this article was published on loslalom.it.
On October 24, 2011, Dominic Thiem had just turned 18 and was in the very early stages of his professional career, so the organisers of the ATP tournament in Vienna rewarded him with a wild card. On October 24, 2011, Thomas Muster had been 44 for about three weeks and at the sunset of his career, so he was also given the wild card for Vienna tournament. What no one could predict, neither the players nor the tournament organizers, was that the draw would pit them against each other in the first round, for what would be their first encounter, and ultimately the only one – after conceding with a 6-2 6-3 score in an hour and four minutes, Muster retired forever. He was the only Austrian to have won a Grand Slam tournament, in 1995 at Roland Garros, at least until Sunday night, when the then teenager who ended his career equalled him.
In the first decade of his career, Thiem has earned almost twice as much as Munster did in 18 (22 million dollars against 12). Thiem is right-handed, Muster a southpaw. Both sport one-handed backhands. It took 10 years for Muster to win a Major, and by the eleventh he was the world N.1, albeit not for long. He was a bona fide drop-shot chaser. It took nine years as a professional for Thiem to win at Flushing Meadows, but he has not yet risen higher than third in the ATP Ranking. Thiem is two inches taller (6’1’’ versus 5’11’’), he has an edge for the number of aces (5.8 per game on average against 3) and for the effectiveness of his first serve (74.2% vs 69.1%). The two are essentially tied with their second serve (53.2% vs 53.7) and in the break-points-saved department (62.9% vs 63%), but Muster is more dominant in the return games (31.6% break vs 23.5%) and, despite earning a street rep as a marathon runner, his matches were 11 minutes shorter than Thiem’s (an hour and 30 minutes against an hour and 41). His winning points ended on average in 35 seconds, Thiem’s in 37,8 seconds.
In his career Thiem has met stronger opponents, ranked on average at 35 in the world, while Muster’s foes usually hovered around number 52. Despite this, the latter managed to beat opponents better placed than him in the standings in only 9.8% of cases, while Thiem’s percentage is 12.3 %. On the contrary, Thiem was beaten in 21.4% of cases by tennis players ranked worse in the rankings, whereas this happened to Muster in 19% of cases, a percentage that drops to 13% when it comes to clay only. For a couple of weeks at the beginning of 2020, Muster coached Thiem.
The following chart summarises the numbers:
Gianni Clerici, the Italian Hall-of-Famer journalist and writer, gave Thomas Muster the moniker of “Mr Muscolo” (Mr Muscle). This is the portrait he made of him: “He’s not very nice, seven out of ten people say about Muster. A couple of them find him downright unpleasant. The remaining, meagre ten percent all but worships him. It is probably the attitude that does not appeal. His face appears incredibly rapacious, reminding of a bird of prey, or, if not strictly of an eagle or a hawk, at the very least of a possessed personality, those wide-open eyes animated by a blue and sinister light. But, even more than the face, what repels many people is his technique, his relentlessness devoid of human breathing which is fully on display as he gets back bopping on his side of the court a ripe thirty seconds before the established one minute and 25, while the unfortunate opponent is still splayed on his chair, trying to recover some breath and peace in the aftermath of the gruelling races that Muster locked him into. If the style is the man, well, the Austrian’s style does not capture the imagination. His serve is average at best, and he cautiously avoids volleying, but he has some great weapons, like that terrible loopy forehand and, in the last couple years, that no less terrible backhand slap. Come to think of it, even Muster’s ancestors, Borg and Vilas, were no less engulfing, less repetitive. But Borg had more athletic talent, his runs were very fluid, his sense of playing so high that he even managed to adapt to the Wimbledon lawns where he won five times and where Muster instead looks like a wretch. Muster has the athletic pedigree of champions but certainly not the charisma”.
Clerici also had the opportunity to write on Thiem for “la Repubblica” (an Italian daily newspaper), stating that “he was born with tennis in his blood, […] he has a refined hand, as can be seen with his drop shots and with his cross-court volleys,” then adding: “I have seen many times the Austrian go all-out on his backhand, as if he were holding an umbrella wide open, while his forehand is more akin to a machete.” Yesterday morning, he added that Thiem reminds him of “the tennis players of my time during the Fifties, when tennis was different from today, perhaps more beautiful to watch, a spectacles that intellectuals like Giorgio Bassani enjoyed, and that could have taken place in the genteel backyards sketched out in his novels.”
Translation and graphics by Andrea Canella
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