2014 Roland Garros: Nadal with Wawrinka, Federer on Djokovic's side - UBITENNIS
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2014 Roland Garros: Nadal with Wawrinka, Federer on Djokovic's side

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TENNIS – The Main Draw of the 2014 Roland Garros was held today in Paris. Defending champions Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams took part in the Draw Ceremony of the Tournament which starts on Sunday 25th May. Possible quarter finals: Nadal- Ferrer, Wawrinka-Murray, Berdych-Federer and Raonic-Federer. The two possible semifinals could be Nadal vs Wawrinka and Federer vs Djokovic. Diego Sampaolo

Men’s Singles Draw

Women’s Singles Draw

Nadal will face a very tough path to title defence as he has been drawn in the same half with this year’s Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, last year’s finalist David Ferrer, Olympic champion Andy Murray and Rome semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal will start against Ginepri in the first round. In the second round Nadal may face Austrian rising star Dominic Thiem who beat Wawrinka in Madrid before facing Vasek Pospisil in the third round, Tommy Haas or Nicholas Almagro (who beat Nadal in the quarter final in Barcelona) in the fourth round and a possible quarter final clash against David Ferrer, who lost the Roland Garros final last year but took a re-match this year beating Nadal in the Monte-Carlo quarter final. Nadal could face Wawrinka in the semifinal. Ferrer could meet last week Rome semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.

After winning in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 the Mallorcan King of Clay is looking to improve his all-time record to nine Roland Garros singles titles. He currently heads the Roland Garros winners list with two more titles than Swedish legend Bjorn Borg, who won six times in 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981. Nadal is also bidding to equal the second place on the all-time list of Grand Slam singles titles winners if he win his 14th Major crown. Roger Federer leads the all-time list with 17 Grand Slam titles ahead of Pete Sampras (14 titles), Nadal (13) and Roy Emerson (12). Nadal boasts an impressive record of 59 wins to just one defeat in Paris. If he wins in Paris, he would become the second youngest male player to win 14 Grand Slam titles after Roger Federer.

This year he has not shown the same dominance of the past years when he was used to conquer all the major clay tournaments before Paris. He won more clay titles than any other players taking Rio de Janeiro and Madrid but he lost in the quarter finals in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona and was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the Rome Master 1000 final.

Wawrinka, who won his first Master 1000 tournament on clay in Monte-Carlo beating his compatriot Federer in the all-Swiss final, will open with Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez in the first round, another Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the third round and could face either Fabio Fognini or Gael Monfils in the fourth round and Andy Murray in the quarter final. This could be a re-match of last year’s US Open quarter final match won by the Swiss player.

Wawrinka is bidding to become the first player since Jim Courier in 1992 to score the Australian Open-Roland Garros double.

Murray, who will start against Andrey Golubev in the first round, could meet Richard Gasquet in the fourth round, but the form of the French player is a question mark after a season plagued by injury problems. .

Federer, who boasts a 58-14 record at the Roland Garros, will play his first match against Lukas Lacko and could meet either Ernests Gulbis (finalist this week in Nice) or Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round and Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals. Federer won one title in Dubai and reached two Master 1000 finals in Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo before losing in the second round against Jeremy Chardy one week after the birth of twin sons Leo and Lenny.

Berdych’s possible rivals on his path to the quarter final could be Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round, Tommy Robredo in the third round and John Isner in the fourth round

World Number 2 Novak Djokovic will start his Roland Garros campaign against Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the first round before facing a possible third round threat against Marin Cilic and last year’s semifinalist Jo Wilfred Tsonga in the fourth round

Djokovic could renew his battle against Milos Raonic in the quarter finals. The Serb squared off against the Canadian in a hard-fought semifinal in Rome last week, probably one of the best matches played in the Italian capital. Raonic is the youngest top-10 player and could be a danger for Djokovic especially because he has shown progress on clay, which was considered his less favourite surface.

Raonic, who is coached by Ivan Ljubicic and Riccardo Piatti, will open against Australian teenage sensation Nick Kyrgios in one of the most interesting matches of the first round before a second round match against Lukas Rosol or Jiri Vesely, who has reached the semifinal this week i Dusseldorf. The young Canadian could meet Giles Simon in the this round and Kei Nishikori in an exciting fourth round match between two of the representatives of the new generation of players who could threat the dominance of the Big Four in the next few years. Nishikori won his first clay title in Barcelona and came close to winning his first Master 1000 title in Madrid before being struck by a back injury during the final against Nadal.

Djokovic could overtake Nadal at the top of the ATP Ranking if he wins in Paris or Nadal and Djokovic lose in the same round, the Serb could become the new World Number 1.

Djokovic is bidding to become the eighth player in history to win all the four Grand Slam tournaments after André Agassi, Don Bridge, Roy Emerson, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Rafa Nadal and Fred Perry.

Djokovic is looking to win his fourth title of the year after three Master 1000 wins at Indian Wells, Miami and Rome. Last week the Serb won a three-set battle with Nadal in the final of the Internazionali d’Italia in Rome clinching his third crown in the Eternal City. The Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam title missing in his impressive Trophy Cabinet. He lost two epic semifinals against Roger Federer in 2011 and Rafa Nadal in 2013.

The most interesting matches of the first round are Madrid finalist and Barcelona and Memphis champion Kei Nishikori vs Munich champion Martin Klizan, Andreas Seppi vs Santiago Giraldo, Richard Gasquet vs Bernard Tomic, Grigor Dimitrov vs Ivo Karlovic and the all-French clash between Jo Wilfried Tsonga and Edouard Roger Vasselin.

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American No.3 Reilly Opelka Blasts ‘Shocking’ ATP Cup

The new event has been described as unfair and a embarrassment by the American.

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MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 19: Reilly Opelka of United States during the Group F match between USA and Canada during Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2019 at Caja Magica on November 19, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Corinne Dubreuil / Kosmos Tennis)

With the Davis Cup currently under close scrutiny this week, one player on the tour have turned his criticism to a brand new team event coming to the tour in 2020.

 

Reilly Opelka has launched a verbal attack on the ATP Cup, which will get underway in January. The event features 24 teams playing in three cities across Australia. Unlike the Davis Cup, both prize money and ranking points are available. Many of the world’s top players have already confirmed their intention to play in the event. Although one noticeable absence will be Roger Federer.

“The ATP Cup is pathetic. I think it’s shocking on behalf of the ATP for them to pass that and allow that.” The 22-year-old told reporters in Madrid.
“It’s pretty embarrassing, actually. It’s pretty bad for the sport. It makes it (the tour) more top-heavy than it already is.”

The teams for the ATP Cup are determined by the ranking of the country’s highest ranked player. However, with only two singles players allowed to play in each team some countries find themselves in a tough spot. Once being America, who currently has eight players in the top 100. Opelka argues that due to the rules of the competition, the distribution of ranking points is unfair.

“I’m 35 in the world. I’m not going to play because I’m the second- or third-highest ranked American, and only the top two guys play.” He stated.
“It counts as an additional 19th tournament. So every player gets 18 tournaments on their ranking card. So you have to take your top 18 results, those go for your ranking. Those that play ATP Cup gets a 19th. So it’s unfair, there’s not equal opportunity for everyone.”

Opelka used the example of Moldova playing in the ATP Cup as one of the reasons why he is frustrated. The country has qualified due to the ranking of their top player Radu Albot, who is currently ranked 46th in the world. However, Moldova’s second highest ranked player is outside the top 800.

Fortunately concerning the Davis Cup, the former Wimbledon junior champion has a much more favourable view. This week is the inaugural week-long finals, which has encountered some blips already. The most being the schedule of the event with some ties now finishing until as late as 4am.

“I’m a fan of the new format. Maybe making it every two years or every three years would be I think the next step in the right direction.” Opelka concluded.
“Tennis players are pretty good at that. You don’t really know when you’re going to play matches. You can go really long, or you can go really quick. We’re used to being on standby.” He added.

This week is Opelka’s debut in the Davis Cup.

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Serbia beats France 2-1 to secure spot in Davis Cup quarter final

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Serbia qualified for the quarter finals at the Davis Cup at the Caja Magica in Madrid with wins in both singles matches by Filip Krajinovic over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Novak Djokovic over Benoit Paire.

 

In the opening match Filip Kajinovic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 7-6 in 1 hour and 48 minutes to give Serbia a 1-0 lead.

Krajinovic dropped two points on his first serve and earned his first three break point at 3-3 before breaking serve in the 11th game after a loose forehand from Tsonga. The 27-year-old Serbian player sealed the opening set 7-5 with a service winner.

Tsonga fended off three break points in the opening game of the second set. The Frenchman earned his only break point chance on return at 2-1, but Krajinovic saved it to draw level to 2-2. Both players held serve in the next eight games to set up a tie-break. Krajinovic earned the crucial mini-break on the 12th point to close out tie-break 7-5.

World number 2 Novak Djokovic cruised past Benoit Paire 6-3 6-3 in 70 minutes to secure the qualifying spot for Serbia in the quarter final.

Djokovic saved two break points in the first match of the opening set. The Serbian player earned a break in the eighth game and sealed the opening set 6-3 on his third set point.

Paire dropped his serve in the third game of the second set after a backhand down the line winner from Djokovic. The Serbian star hit a return winner at 5-3 to set up a quarter final clash against Russia on Friday.

Last week’s ATP Finals champions Pierre Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beat Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki 6-4 6-4. Herbert and Mahut broke serve in the fifth game to seal the opening set 6-4. Tipsarevic and Troicki broke serve in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Herbert and Mahut got the break back in the fifth game. After saving a break point in the eighth game Herbert and Mahut earned the decisive break in the ninth game and closed out the match on his first set point.

Serbia set up a quarter final against Russia, who qualified as one of the two-best-placed group runners-up by clinching second spot in Group.

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Jack Sock and Sam Querrey take late-night decisive doubles clash over Italy

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The clash between Italy and the USA came down to a decisive doubles match at the Caja Magica in Madrid after Fabio Fognini and Taylor Fritz won their respective singles matches.

 

Fabio Fognini  beat Relly Opelka 6-4 6-7 6-3 after 1 hour and 54 minutes to give Italy a much-needed win to the Italian team.

Fognini earned an early break at 1-1 after two errors from Opelka and dropped just five points in five service games. Fognini did not face a break point to close out the first set 6-4 in 33 minutes.

Both players stayed neck and neck setting up a tie-break. Opelka earned a mini-break to take a 5-3 lead in the tie-break and earned three set points. The US player sealed the first set point, but Opelka converted his second chance 7-4.

Opelka saved the first break point with an ace, but Fognini converted his second chance with a forehand passing shot in the second set to take a 2-0 lead. Fognini dropped just three points to build up a 5-2 lead. Fognini served out the win on his first match point to give Italy a 1-0 win.

“I am tired for sure because it was tough. One of the things I did today was my serve, don’t ask me why. I am surprised about that”, said Fognini.

Taylor Fritz came back from one set down to beat Matteo Berrettini 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 in the second match. Berrettini saved a break point in the second game with a forehand down the line and a service winner. In the fifth game Fritz saved two break points in the fifth game. Berrettini broke serve in the 11th game to take a 6-5 and sealed the first set on his first set point.

In the third set both players stayed neck and neck til the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. In the seventh game Fritz saved a break point. Berrettini held his serve at love. Fritz closed out the second set at 6-5 after 51 minutes.

Berrettini saved two consecutive break points in the first game of the third game. Fritz rallied from 0-30 down to hold his serve for 1-1. Fritz broke twice in the third and fifth games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Berrettini saved a match point and held his serve for 2-5, but Fritz sealed the win on his second match point.

“Playing for my country is all the motivation I need. I just kept digging, kept fighting. It was really close. I lost the first set by close margin, and I told myself to tough out the second set like I know I can do, and my aggressive and fitness carried me through the third”,said Fritz.

Jack Sock and Sam Querrey came back from a set down in the decisive doubles match to take a 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 to give the USA a 2-1 win. The doubles match ended shortly after 4 am and was one of the latest finishes to a match in tennis history.  The USA finished second in the Group F behind Canada, who secured the first spot with their wins over Italy and the USA earlier this week. Neither team  was able to earn a break in the first two sets. Italy broke serve to take a 3-1 lead. Sock and Querrey broke back immediately before earning the decisive break at 4-4. The US team served out the win after 2 hours and 30 minutes.

“Reilly played a great match and Taylor came out in in a tough position knowing he needed to win. To get the doubles means a lot”, said Querrey.

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