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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Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus secure their spot in the semifinal in the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London

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Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus beat Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-3 6-4 in the evening’s double match securing their spot in the semifinal with a record of 2-0 in the Group Jonas Bjorkman.

 

Klaasen earned an early break with a forehand volley to open up a 3-1 lead. Venus and Klaasen dropped just four points on serve and did not face a break point. Venus held serve at 5-3 to close out the opening set 6-3 after 32 minutes.

Both teams held serve until the ninth game, when Venus got the first break at 4-4 with a half-volley winner, when Melo was serving on a deciding point. Kubot and Melo fended off two match points in the next game to force a deciding point and got their first break point of the match.

Venus sealed the win after 71 minutes with a big serve on their third match point in the 10th game. Klaasen and Venus won 86 % of their serve points.

US players Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury scored their first win in the Group Jonas Bjorkman at the Nitto ATP Finals, when they beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 3-6 6-3 10-6 in the Match Tie-Break. The US team improved their ranking to 1-1.

Dodig and Polasek earned the first break in the fourth game of the opening set to open up a 3-1 lead. They saved four consecutive break points in the ninth game, when they were serving for the first set at 5-3. Dodig and Polasek sealed the first set with a service winner after 33 minutes.

Ram and Salisbury did not convert break points in the most crucial moments of the first set. Ram and Salisbury earned their only break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and did not face a single break point to win the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the third set.

Ram and Salisbury opened up a 3-0 lead with an early mini-break in the Match tie-break. Dodig and Polasek rallied to draw level to 5-5. Ram and Salisbury sealed the win on the first match point, when Polasek hit a backhand volley into the net at 9-6.

Dodig and Polasek, who won two titles in Cincinnati and Beijing, lost to Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 10-5 in the Match Tie-Break in last Saturday’s first match.

 

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 3 Preview: A Must-Win Match Beckons For Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic plays Dominic Thiem for a commanding lead in the Bjorn Born Group, while Roger Federer faces Matteo Berrettini to stay out of last place.

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Djokovic completely dominated Berrettini on Sunday, allowing the debuting Italian just three games.  Matteo will likely need a win today to have any reasonable chance to advance to the semifinals. If advancement comes down to a tiebreak, he currently has no sets won and an extremely low percentage of games won.  With Federer’s 7-5, 7-5 loss to Thiem on Sunday, his situation is slightly less dire than Berrettini’s. But a loss today would make’s Roger’s likelihood of advancing extremely slim, especially with a match against Djokovic looming on Thursday.

 

Roger Federer (3) vs. Matteo Berrettini (8)

Their only previous meeting was four months ago in this same city.  On Manic Monday at Wimbledon, Federer crushed Berrettini 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just 74 minutes.  Matteo was open about how disappointing his performance was that day, as he was overwhelmed by playing the 20-time Major champion on Centre Court.  However, it’s worth noting Berrettini had played a dramatic five-set match just 48 hours prior where he saved match points to come back and defeat Diego Schwartzman.  Matteo should be much fresher for the rematch today, but will he again be overwhelmed by the occasion? The beating he sustained at the hands of Djokovic two days ago will not inspire much confidence.  And he’s facing a man who has only once failed to advance to the semifinals of this event in 16 career appearances. It would be quite surprising if Federer failed to prevail today.

Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Dominic Thiem (5)

The last time these two men faced off was in the semifinals of this year’s Roland Garros.  That match began on an absurdly-windy Friday in Paris, conditions Thiem handled much better than Djokovic.  Their match would take two days to complete, with Dominic taking it 7-5 in the fifth, ending Novak’s campaign to win his fourth consecutive Major.  Overall however Djokovic leads their head-to-head 6-3. Novak is 3-0 on hard courts, though they haven’t played on this surface since this event three years ago, when Djokovic won in three.  Thiem was impressive in taking it to Federer on Sunday, and Dominic’s hard court skills have drastically improved over the past two seasons. But on an indoor hard court, Djokovic remains a considerable favorite to be the only undefeated player in the Bjorn Borg Group by the end of play Tuesday.

 

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‘I Wasn’t Good Enough’ – Rafael Nadal Reacts To ATP Finals Loss

The Spaniard speaks out about his current form and if he plans to continue playing in London.

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LONDON: Rafael Nadal believes his losing start to this year’s ATP Finals was partly down to a lack of practice in recent weeks due to a series of injury issues.

 

The world No.1 enters the event without finishing a tournament since winning the US Open after suffering from issues with his left hand and abdomen. A familiar scenario for the Spaniard who has qualified for the ATP Finals 15 times, but has only been able to play in eight of them. In his opening match against the reigning champion, Alexander Zverev, he was unable to find a way to break down his opponent’s serve as he leaked a series of costly errors.

“Honestly, Sascha played well and I played bad,” Nadal said during his press conference.
“We can find reasons or excuses, but at the end of the day, what matters is that I need to play much better in the next two days after tomorrow. That’s the only thing.”
“We (my team) knew that it was going to be tough at the beginning because of the period of time since my injury until today is very short, but we are here trying, and that’s it.”

Indoor events have never been Nadal’s strong point. Incredibly on the surface, he has only managed to clinch the title in one out of 28 tournaments played. Doing so at the 2005 Madrid Masters. At the ATP Finals, he has reached the final twice in 2010 and 2013.

Nevertheless, there is a silver lining for the Spaniard. Whilst his form isn’t where he would like it to be, physically there are no blips yet. Meaning that he intends to continue fighting in the tournament.

“I have no complaint about my physical condition. No pain in my abdominals. That’s the only positive thing, honestly. That’s all,” said Nadal.
“I’m happy with the way my abdominal held, and hopefully I can continue like this because it’s true that I was not able to do a lot of practice and make a lot of effort on that part of the body since last Saturday.”

The optimism expressed by the 19-time grand slam champion is also one that comes with a caution. When asked if he will be able to play seven or more matches over the next two weeks due to his participation in the Davis Cup, there was a brief silence. Then he replied to the journalist ‘I can’t give you an answer.’

It is up in the air as to how Nadal will fair over the week or if he will even complete all of his round-robin matches due to his troublesome body. However, there is one guarantee. He is ready to fight to the very end.

“I’m staying positive. I’m staying competitive, something that I was not today. That’s the thing that I am more disappointed because knowing that I will not be at my 100% in terms of feelings, in terms of movement, in terms of confidence or hitting the ball, I needed my best competitive spirit this afternoon, and I was not there in that way.”

As a onseuqence of the loss, the 33-year-old has opened the door further for rival Novak Djokovic to snatch the year-end No.1 spot. Although should he go on to win the title, he would claim the sport regardless of how the Serbian performs.

Nadal is down, but he isn’t out yet. Awaiting him next will be a clash with Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday. A player who he leads 2-0 in their head-to-head with both of those wins occuring in 2019.

Nadal’s recent record at the ATP Finals

2018 First to qualify Withdrew on November 5 (ankle)
2017 First to qualify Withdrew after first match against David Goffin (knee)
2016 Points accumulated to qualify Wrist injury ended season on October 20
2015 Fifth to qualify Semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic
2014 Second to qualify Withdrew on October 24 (appendix surgery)
2013 First to qualify Final loss to Novak Djokovic
2012 One of a trio of first qualifiers Withdrew on October 25 (knee )
2011 Second to qualify Two group match losses
2010 First to qualify Lost to Federer in the final
2009 Second to qualify Three group match losses

Source: Sky Sports UK

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