Internazionali d'Italia: Three Serbs in the semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Internazionali d'Italia: Three Serbs in the semifinals

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TENNIS Internazionali d’Italia – Novak Djokovic battled through David Ferrer in three hard-fought sets with 7-5 4-6 6-3 to reach the semifinal at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in the Foro Italico in Rome. Also Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic have reached the semifinals in the women’s competition. Diego Sampaolo

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

The first set went on serve until the sixth game with Ferrer going down 0-40 on serve. He saved a break point but he dropped serve for 2-4 as he hit a forehand out. In the next game Ferrer took a 40-0 lead on Djokovic’s serve but the Serb rallied to win the next three games to build up a 5-2 lead.

Ferrer fought back holding serve in the next game for 3-5. Ferrer broke serve from 15-30 after Djokovic made three forehand errors and held serve in the tenth game to draw level to 5-5.

Djokovic rallied from 15-30 in the 11th game to hold serve for 6-5. Ferrer served to stay in the match.

Djokovic managed to break serve again to convert the second set point to close out the first set with 7-5 in the 12th game.

The second set went on serve until 3-3 when Ferrer turned around the match raising the game in the second set where he was able to break serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. He went up 15-40 with a service return winner and got the break with a down-the line backhand passing shot. Ferrer saved two break points and held for 5-3 before serving out the set with a service winner.

Djokovic won four consecutive points to break serve in the fourth game for 3-1 with a down-the line backhand winner but Ferrer broke back in the following game with a backhand service return. Ferrer held serve in the next game to draw level to 3-all. Djokovic got another break in the eighth game for 5-3 with a cross-court forehand winner and wrapped up a fantastic match on his second match point following a 38-shot rally (the longest of the match) after committing a double fault on his first match point

It was the most physical match I have had on clay this year. I am playing with no pain. As long as it stays like this, I will be happy”, said Djokovic

Djokovic is bidding to win his third title in Rome after 2008 and 2011 and his 19th Master 1000 win. The Serb will face Canadian young player Milos Raonic in Saturday’s semifinal. They met only once last year in the Davis Cup on clay in 2013.

WTA Internazionali d’Italia: Ivanovic and Jankovic reach the semifinals

Two Serbian players Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic book their berths in the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Ivanovic, who broke her seven-match losing streak against Maria Sharapova in the third round, rallied from 2-4 against Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in the first set by reeling four games in a row to wrap up the first set

Suarez Navarro got a double break to storm to 3-0 in the second set en route to winning the second set 6-3. Ivanovic rallied from 3-4 down on serve reeling off three games in a row. The Serb saved a break point in the last game to wrap up the match with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 win after a hard-fought match.

Ivanovic hit 48 winners to 34 unforced errors to clinch her 30th win of the season. She could return to the top-10 if she wins the title in Rome

It was a very hard match from the beginning and I expected it because she is a very good player on clay”, said Ivanovic.

Ivanovic will face Serena Williams in a blockbuster semifinal. Williams leads 4-1 in their head-to-head matches, although the Serb won their last clash in the fourth round of this year’s Australian Open.

Williams beat Chinese player Zhang Shuai 6-1 6-3 in one hour and nine minutes after dominating the first set in which she won the first five games of the match

In the other semifinal Sara Errani who edged World Number 2 Li Na in three sets, will face Jelena Jankovic The Serb recovered from a 2-4 deficit in the second set against Pole Agniezska Radwanska by reeling off four consecutive games to clinch the win with 6-4 6-4. Jankovic won her first match against Radwanska since their first match at the 2008 Roland Garros.

Errani and Jankovic tie 1-1 i their two head-to-head matches.

Errani will have the crowd on her side but I have already experienced that this week against Pennetta, so I know what to expect”, said Jankovic

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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.

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Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 

 

France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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Novak Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Father’s Absence From Australian Open Final

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Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic said he mutually agreed with his father that he did not attend his latest Australian Open match but admits it was a bitter pill to swallow. 

 

Srdjan Djokovic had attended his son’s matches throughout the majority of the tournament but has recently been caught up in controversy. On Wednesday a video surfaced on social media of the 62-year-old posing for a photo with pro-Russian supporters with one of the fans waving a flag with the face of Vladimir Putin on it. Another fan was also wearing a t-shirt with the ‘Z’ symbol on it which is used to support the Russian army. 

The Russian and Belarussian flags were banned from the tournament this year following an incident in the first round. A Russian flag was shown during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Prompting anger from Ukraine with its ambassador to Australia calling for a ‘neutral flag’ policy to be implemented. 

Srdjan has since issued a statement saying the incident was ‘unintentional’ and said his family ‘only wish for peace in the world.’ He subsequently also missed Djokovic’s semi-final match to avoid any possible ‘disruption’ before doing the same for Sunday’s final.

“I thought things would calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there,” Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title
“That hurts me and him (Srdjan) a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again? So it was not easy for him.”

Whilst he was not in the stands, Djokovic was reunited with his father shortly afterwards. Although the tennis star said Srdjan ‘was not feeling his best’ due to the situation. 

“It is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it’s important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he’s here for me,” Djokovic continued. 
“If it’s going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he’s not in the box, then so be it. That was the whole conversation.’
“In a way, I’m also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it’s fine. In the end, we have a happy ending.”

Djokovic has now won five out of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. At the Australian Open alone he has won 28 matches in a row.

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