Internazionali BNL d'Italia: Djokovic debut with straight sets win over Stepanek - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali BNL d'Italia: Djokovic debut with straight sets win over Stepanek

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TENNIS – Novak Djokovic made a good return with a 6-3 7-5 win over Radek Stepanek in one hour and 37 minutes in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Diego Sampaolo

Interviews, results, order of play, draws of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome

Djokovic showed that he is fully recovered from the wrist injury which hampered him in the semifinal against Roger Federer and sidelined him from Madrid.

At 3-3 in the first set Djokovic broke serve in the seventh game. This break proved to be decisive as Djokovic closed out the first set with 6-3 in 43 minutes.

In the second set he Serbian star, twice winner at the Foro Italico, got a break at 1-1 but Stepanek broke back at 4-3. Djokovic broke again and got the chance to serve for the match but he dropped serve allowing Stepanek to draw level to 5-5.

Djokovic got the decisive break in the 11th game to clinch his 10th win in 11 head-to-head matches against the Czech player.

Djokovic played a solid match in which he made just nine unforced errors to Stepanek’s 27.

I have not played an official match for three weeks. It was nice to play in front of the Rome crowd. It’s an important period in my life as I will become father of my first child”, said Djokovic.

Australian Open and and Monte-Carlo champion Stanislas Wawrinka swept aside World Number 98 Pere Riba from Spain with 6-0 6-3 in just 50 minutes dominating the match from the start. He won 83 percent of his first serve points and broke serve four times. He hit 30 winners to just 12 unforced errors

Wawrinka, who was runner-up to Djokovic in Rome in 2008, dominated the first set winning 25 points to 9. There was more battle in the second set but Wawrinka was in full control of the match. Riba held serve on his first serve but Stan broke serve to take a 3-2 lead. Riba earned a break point chance in the final game of the second set but Wawrinka held serve until the end to close out the match for 6-3.

Winning the Australian Open and my first Master 1000 in Monte-Carlo has been fantastic and has helped me. It’s a great start, although the conditions were not easy. I am happy playing on every surface and I think I can play my best game on every surface but I am always happy to come back on clay”, said Wawrinka

Tommy Haas overcame Andreas Seppi in three sets with 6-1 4-6 6-3 in one hour and 48 minutes.

South African Kevin Anderson did not face a break point and won 78 percent of his first service points in his 7-5 7-6 (7-4) win over Vasek Pospisil. In the second round Anderson will face Jo Wilfried Tsonga who beat Alexander Dolgopolov on Monday evening.

Andrei Golubev converted six of his eight break points in his 6-4 7-5 win over Fernando Verdasco.

Dimitry Tursunov upset Roberto Bautista Agut 6-0 7-6 After Tursunov dominated the first set with a bagel, the second set went on serve until the tie-break which was won easily by the Russian player.

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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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