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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Janko Tipsarevic retires from tennis

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Janko Tipsarevic has announced that he will retire from professional tennis at the age of 35 next November. The Belgrade native enjoyed his best seasons in 2011, when he qualified for the ATP Finals, and in 2012, when he reached the quarter final at the US Open for the second consecutive year. In 2012 he reached the quarter final or better in 14 tournaments, including the semifinal at Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Toronto.

 

He reached his best ranking of world number 8 in April 2012 after qualifying for the quarter final in Miami. He won four titles in his career and reached the fourth round at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Australian Open.

He returned to action at the Australian Open last January after a long absence of 16 months following two harmstring surgeries. The Serbian player lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the first round at the Australian Open. Later this year he reached the quarter final in Houston.

Tipsarevic is planning after the Davis Cup finals in Madrid next November.

“It has been a great 16 years. After a lot of sour searching and thinking what is important to me in this stage of my life and what does make make me happy, I have decided to retire from professional tennis. My last competition will be the Davis Cup in Madrid. In the following years my focus will be my family, franchising our Tennis Academy and International coaching for several weeks per year. Thank you for your ongoing support”, announced Tipsarevic via social media.

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Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?

Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?

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Cincinnati Open, Western and Southern Open, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez
Photo Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.

 

In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.

Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.

“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.

These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.

“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.

Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.

This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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