Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters: Federer comes from a set behind to beat Tsonga - UBITENNIS
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Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters: Federer comes from a set behind to beat Tsonga

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TENNIS – Roger Federer fought back from losing the first set against Jo Wilfred Tsonga to reach the semifinal at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters for the first time since 2008. Federer was on verge of defeat at 5-6 0-30 before forcing the second set to the tie-break. Tsonga saved 15 break points before Federer managed to convert his 16th break point at the start of the third set. The tie-break win was the turning point for Federer who cruised to a easy 6-1 in the decider to join his compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals. by Diego Sampaolo

Interviews and images from Monte-Carlo

The third quarter final match between Federer and Tsonga was expected to be a great match and it certainly lived up to the hopes of the crowd who packed the Central Court of the Monte-Carlo Country Club on a cool afternoon.

The first set went on serve until 2-2 when Federer earned a break point chance but Tsonga saved it to take a 3-2 lead. Roger made a lot of unforced errors and Tsonga built up a 5-2 lead before closing out the first set with 6-2 after 35 minutes.

Early in the second set Federer received a very rare warning from the chair umpire when he hit a ball out of the stadium. Tsonga earned a break point on Federer’s serve when he was leading 6-2 3-2 but he hit his backhand into the net. The Frenchman went up 6-5 30-0 on Federer’s serve and came just two points away from winning the match but Federer showed his mental strength when he forced the second set to the tie-break. Federer opened up a 6-3 lead in the tie-break but Tsonga saved three set points. At 6-6 Tsonga fired a forehand into the net before Federer clinched the fourth set point chance with a forehand volley for 8-6.

It was not close only in the breaker but I think I was down 6-6 30-0. A tough point at 15-30 with a half volley backhand defense. It wasn’t looking good there. It was frustrating for a long period of time missing all those breakpoints. Looking back I can take some positives from this match. It was a tough day at the office. I am happy I found the way to tough it out.”, said Federer

Tsonga, who reached the semifinal in Monte-Carlo last year, fended off 13 break points in the first two sets which lasted 1 hour and 56 minutes.

Tsonga fended two more break points (the 14th and the 15th of the match) but Federer finally managed to break serve on his 16th break point for 2-0 in the second game of the third set. Roger broke serve once more to cruise to a easy 5-0 in the decisive set. Tsonga avoided the bagel in the sixth game but Federer claimed the win in the following game after two hours and 26 minutes.

Federer hit 40 winners to 45 unforced errors and won 21 points at the net. He delighted the crowd with some spectacular shots but he converted just 2 of his 19 break point chances after recording a perfect break point conversion rate in his previous three matches of this tournament.

Federer is looking to win for the first time in Monte-Carlo, one of the three Master 1000 titles missing from his trophy cabinet. The other two Master 1000 tournaments he never won are Rome and Shanghai. He won a total of 21 tournaments of this category.

After the shock defeat of eight-time Monte-Carlo champion Rafael Nadal in the Spanish derby against David Ferrer, Federer managed to avoid another upset reaching the semifinal for the fourth time in his career. He lost three consecutive finals against Nadal in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Two Swiss players will play in the semifinals for the first time in the long history of the Monte-Carlo Tournament. Earlier Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka beat Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

The conditions were changing a lot during the match. It was becoming colder and the balls were not bouncing that much anymore and it was difficult for me to give some height. He had more and more of those balls at the height of his hips. That’s where he feels more comfortable. It was more difficult for me to put away from him. I forced myself a bit and I go into trouble”, said Tsonga.

I don’t think it was much of a change, to be quite honest”, replied Federer. “It went through phases and it definitely got cooler rather than warmer. I don’t think there was any wind change. We played in those conditions millions of times. I think conditions were quite nice from the start to finish. The ball wasn’t bouncing all over the place. It was quite frustrating that we weren’t playing better. I don’t think our best matched up. When he was playing well, he was in the lead. Finally, when I got the lead, I was dominating”

After escaping the big scare in the second set, the third set was like a stroll for Federer. “Losing the second set was tough for Jo. I just thought it was important to hold my first service game. It was my opportunity to be in the lead for the first time in the match. I really believed that I was going to come through. It’s not possible to go through so many breakpoints. I was playing good enough to make the break and serve my way home. The most important was to carve out the positive stuff in my mind.even during the first two sets when things got tough. It was frustrating to waste so many breakpoints. I chucked a ball of the stadium”, said Federer

The Swiss Maestro set up a semifinal clash against Novak Djokovic who also survived a big scare after losing the first set against Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez but he rallied from a set down to win 4-6 6-3 6-1. Djokovic will meet Federer for the 34th time. The Swiss leads 17-16 in their previous head-to-head matches. This year Federer won a fantastic semifinal in Dubai but Djokovic took the re.match winning the Indian Wells final in three sets.

Reaching the semifinal helps me feeling more relaxed for the following Master 1000 tournaments. It helps you knowing where you stand. I am not the most favoured player but tomorrow might be an opportunity for a good performance. There is nothing guaranteed but I will try”, said Federer.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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