TENNIS – Roger Federer beat defending champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets with 7-5 6-2 in 75 minutes in the semifinal of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters setting up the first ever all-Swiss final against Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Diego Sampaolo
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic met for the 34th time in their career. Before today’s match the Swiss won 17 head-to-head clashes against the Serb including two matches played on the clay surface of the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
The first set went on serve until 4.4 when Federer went up 30-0 on Djokovic’s serve before earning the first break point of the match but Djokovic saved it to go up 5-4 in the first set. In the 10th game Djokovic created two break points on set points at 5-4, 40-15 but Federer managed to save them with a fantastic drop shot.
In the following game Roger went down 0-40 on Djokovic’s serve but he clawed his way back to break serve for 6-5 before closing out on the first set point with an ace after 50 minutes. In this game Federer produced a spectacular backhand stop-volley.
Unfortunately Djokovic was affected by a wrist injury which hampered him during the second set. Federer broke serve twice in the third and in the fifth games to cruise to a easy 6-2 on the first match point after 74 minutes to reach his fourth final in the Principality. In the third game Federer converted his first break point. In the fifth game Federer earned two break point chances. Djokovic saved the first break point but Federer converted it at the second opportunity when Djokovic sent a backhand wide.
He was unopposed in the second set where he dropped just five points on serve.
“It was just a match to forget for me”, said a very disappointed Djokovic. “It’s unfortunate that when you are playing at this level against Roger, something else is taking away all your energy and effort. This injury has been present for the last 10 days but I tried not to think and talk about it. I did everything I could really. I was on the medications every day. I was doing different therapies and injections. At the end of the day the semifinals are a good result for me. From the end of the first set and the whole second set every shot was pain, especially with the serve. I am not trying to take away from Roger. He deserves to be in the final. I am just very disappointed I was not able to give better effort”, said Djokovic
“I did not want to pull out because people then start talking different things about me and my withdraws. I am going to go and see doctors tonight and tomorrow I will have another MRL to see if anything has changed in the seven days since I had the last one. The good thing is that I don’t need to have surgery. I don’t have any rupture or something like that. I just need rest now”, said Djokovic.
In his previous three finals at the Country Club Federer lost three times in a row against Rafa Nadal in 2006, 2007 and 2008. He will be chasing the 22nd Master 1000 title and the first since his last triumph in this category of tournaments since Cincinnati 2012.
With this win Federer broke Djokovic’s 13-match winning streak which included the Indian Wells-Miami double. The Serb’s dream to win five consecutive Master 1000 titles after Shanghai, Paris Bercy, Indian Wells and Miami came to an end. Before Monte-Carlo only two players Nadal and Djokovic had won all the Master 1000 Tournaments since the start of 2013 but tomorrow a Swiss player will break the Djokovic.Nadal duopoly.
Wawrinka won the first semifinal against David Ferrer in straight sets with 6-1 7-6 (7-3).in one hour and 29 minutes. Wawrinka dominated the first set cruised to 5-0. Ferrer, who ended a 17.match losing strike against Rafa Nadal on clay in the quarter final, won his first game of the first set after 29 minutes. The second set came down to the tie-break where Wawrinka stormed out to a 4-0 lead before converting his second match point at 6-3 when Ferrer hit a backhand into the net.
Federer will chase his 22nd Master 1000 title and his first ever Monte-Carlo crown, one of the very few titles missing from his trophy cabinet. Wawrinka could add his first ever Master 1000 title to his Grand Slam win at the Australian Open last January. The Lausanne player already played in two Master 1000 finals finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in Rome 2008 and to Rafa Nadal in Madrid 2013
Federer has won 13 of his 14 previous matches against Wawrinka and their last 11 matches but this year’s Australian Open champion took his only win against the 17-time Grand Slam champion on the Monte-Carlo clay in 2009.
Federer will chase his second win this year on tour after winning in Dubai. He will lay his second Master 1000 tournament after losing at Indian Wells against Djokovic in three sets.
If Federer wins tomorrow’s final he will overtake Wawrinka returning to World Number 3 in the ATP Ranking but it will not be easy as Wawrinka reached the final without dropping a set in the whole tournament.
“For me it’s a bit of surprise to be in the finals again of a tournament this year, especially the first on clay. I feel like I have put in the performance to be there. I gave myself the opportunity this week. I am very happy with my play. Now I set up my dream final against Stan It’s very very exciting time for Swiss tennis and Swiss fans. It’s incredible that we are in the final together. It’s so rare that we are able to have this moment together on a centre court. This is very special, especially with the way Stan has been playing in the past few months, It’s nice living a moment like this together in a final. It’s really wonderful. It’s going to be a wonderful day tomorrow”, said Federer.
“I saw that Nole was struggling at one point. For me it was just making sure that from my side I was playing a good, solid, tough match with some defensive play sometimes, but mostly trying to stay on the offensive as much as I could. I was able to deliver on my side, which was the key”, said Federer.
Federer and Wawrinka met for the last time in Monte-Carlo five years ago. Wawrinka won his only head-to-head clash with his compatriot. That match took place just a few days after Federer’s marriage to Mirka.
“I remember that the conditions were rainy similar to those we will experience maybe tomorrow. Five years ago I was on my honeymoon. I married on Saturday and I came over here and played against him on Thursday. Stan played well. It was one of the matches I never go into it. Stan was better.”
Injured Rafael Nadal Ousts Fritz In Wimbledon Thriller
The world No.4 is through to the semi-finals but there are new doubts over his current health.
Rafael Nadal has kept his chances of achieving a calendar slam alive by defeating American Taylor Fritz in a dramatic quarter-final match at Wimbledon where he struggled with injury.
The second seed took a medical time out during the second set but continued to battle to a sensational 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(10-4), win over Fritz. Two days ago Nadal was seen wearing tape on his abdomen but refused to go into details when asked by reporters. Although it was clear that this issue is ongoing with the Spaniard crouching over a couple of times after serving in pain.
“The body is generally fine. Of course, in the abdominal area, something is not going well. I had to find a way to serve a little bit differently,” said Nadal. “I was thinking during a lot of moments that I would not be able to finish the match but the energy (of Center Court) was something else.”
In the roller-coaster encounter, 19 breaks of serves occurred throughout the marathon match. During the gut-busting 260-minute showdown Nadal saw plenty of chances come and go. In each of the first two sets, he had a break advantage before losing them. He also failed to maintain a break advantage in the decider before coming through in the tiebreak. Nevertheless, he managed to come out on top with the help of 5 aces and 55 winners.
“I enjoy playing these kinds of matches in front of you guys (the crowd),” the Spaniard continued.
“It has been a tough afternoon against a great player. All the credit to Taylor, he has been playing great the whole season.’
“From my side, it was not an easy match and I am happy to be in the semifinal.”
The triumph is a bitter pill for Fritz to swallow who was bidding to become the youngest American man to reach the last four at Wimbledon since 2005. Until now he had been on an eight-match winning streak.
As for Nadal, he is through to his eighth Wimbledon semi-final and 38th at a major event. He is now 8-0 when it comes to playing quarter-final matches at the tournament.
Amid concerns over the abdomen, Nadal now has only two days to recover in time for his blockbuster showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who came through his match in straight sets against Cristian Garin. Nadal leads their head-to-head 6-3 and has won their two previous meetings at SW19.
“I hope to be ready to play it,” he said of the semi-final.
“TNick is a great player on all surfaces, especially on the grass. He’s having a great grass-court season and it’s going to be a great challenge. I need to be one hundred percent.”
At the age of 36 Nadal is seeking to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2011.
“I Thought The Ship Had Sailed’ – Nick Kyrgios Reaches Maiden Wimbledon Semis
The 27-year-old reacts to achieving a new milestone in his career.
Nick Kyrgios has achieved his best-ever result at a Grand Slam tournament after beating Cristian Garin in straight sets in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
Kyrgios, who was playing in the last eight of the tournament for the first time since 2014, rallied to a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5(5) win over his Chilean rival. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last four of the men’s draw since Lleyton Hewitt did so back in 2005.
”I felt I was playing on the back foot a lot. He’s a hell of a player,” Kyrgios said afterward. “He’s obviously very confident. Hell of a tournament for him to make the quarter-finals. I got lucky on a couple of break points here and there. It could have been him standing here (giving the winner’s interview).”
In what was a largely controlled match from Kyrgios, he produced a total of 17 aces alongside 35 winners against 29 unforced errors. There were the occasional outbursts and criticism of the lines officials but it was by nowhere as controversial as his previous encounters against Stefanos Tsitspas in the third round and Paul Jubb in the first.
The breakthrough comes during what has been a turbulent career. Kyrgios has been a player involved in many controversies and was at one stage issued with a suspended ban from the Tour due to unsportsmanlike conduct. However, his talent was never doubted but many were unsure if he could be consistent enough to have a deep run at a major event. He once was at a pub until 4 am on the same day he was due to play Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.
“It was an amazing atmosphere out here (on court one). I never thought I will be in the semifinal of a grand slam. I thought my ship had sailed.” He admits.
“I didn’t go about things earlier in my career great and I may have wasted (time).’
‘I’m really proud of the way I’ve come back out here with my team and with that performance.”
As one of the few top 100 players who travel without a coach, Kyrgios paid tribute to those around him.
“I don’t have a coach I would never put that burden on someone,” he jokes.
“Each and every one of my team plays an important role. I feel like nobody knows my tennis better than I do. I’ve been playing this sport since I was seven and to be in the semi-final of a slam I am pretty happy.”
Kyrgios is the lowest-ranked Wimbledon semi-finalist since 2008.
Why Cameron Norrie’s Historic Run To The Wimbledon Semi-Finals Is No Fluke
The Brit has already proved his worth on the ATP Tour, it was only a matter of time before he did so at the majors.
Cameron Norrie joins a small contingent of British men to have ever reached the semi-final of a major after coming through a dramatic five-set epic against David Goffin at Wimbledon.
Spurred on by an animated crowd, the ninth seed battled from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, against the former top 10 player. In doing so the 26-year-old has become only the fourth British man in the Open Era to reach the last four of the grass-court major and the seventh to do so at any Grand Slam.
“To just be a semifinalist of a slam, especially this one, living just around the corner. It’s just all pretty crazy and all happened pretty quickly.” Said Norrie.
A former college standout player for Texas Christian University, Norrie’s Grand Slam breakthrough has been one in the making. Last year he achieved his best-ever season with a win-loss record of 52-25. During that year he contested six tour finals across three different surfaces, winning two titles. The most prestigious being Indian Wells. His coach, Facundo Lugones, was recognized for his work by being named ATP Coach of the Year.
Norrie’s 2021 wasn’t a one-off with him continuing his form into this year. Winning the Delray Beach Open in February and Lyon in May. More recently, he was runner-up at Queen’s to Matteo Berrettini who is absent from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19
“When I was a kid watching guys on TV making the (Grand Slam) quarterfinals and thinking, ‘Wow, this looks so tough to do, and there’s almost zero chance I’m going to do that.’ But to actually be doing it, to be living it and experiencing it is very cool and pretty crazy.”
Until now the Grand Slams have been where Norrie has failed to shine. It was visible how much the latest Wimbledon win meant to the world No.12 who struggled to hold back his emotions whilst speaking during his on-court interview.
“All the hard work, the sacrifices and everything just kind of all hit me at once. Especially the situation here at Wimbledon in front of my family, my friends, and obviously a lot of people following that match.” Norrie explained.
“Thinking back about all the hard work, the sacrifices and everything was just…. I didn’t really know what to say. It got emotional there. (It was) just a crazy day and crazy match to get through.”
Standing in his way of becoming the first home player since Andy Murray to reach the Wimbledon final is Novak Djokovic. The top seed ousted Jannik Sinner in five sets earlier in the day.
“He has nothing to lose. Every victory from now onwards is a big deal for him. I know that.” Said Djokovic.
“But I practiced (with him) a few times. I know his game well. He’s been around. Of course, I will do my homework and get ready.”
Looking ahead to his showdown with the 20-time Grand Slam champion, Norrie describes playing him as one of the ‘toughest’ tasks in the sport. He first played Djokovic at last year’s ATP Finals in Milan where he lost 6-2, 6-1. Although the Brit believes he has learned a lot from that match and will be seeking tips from a former Wimbledon Champion as well.
“Andy (Murray) has been super supportive to me and my team. I’m always practicing with him and always reaching out to him for ideas. He’s super supportive with us,” he said.
“I think he’s not a bad guy to ask about some tactics. I’m going to enjoy today and maybe reach out to him and see what he’s got.”
Norrie’s win-loss record against top 10 players in his career currently stands at 4-23.
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