Master 1000 Rome: Djokovic withstood the charge of young upstart Raonic - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Focus

Master 1000 Rome: Djokovic withstood the charge of young upstart Raonic

Published

on

 

TENNIS Master 1000 Rome – In the battle of the ATP stars; Novak Djokovic (2) against Milos Raonic (8), it was the legitimate star, Djokovic who was able to withstand the barrage of shots from the raising star Raonic to get to another Roma final. Cordell Hackshaw

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

In the battle of the ATP stars; Novak Djokovic (2) against Milos Raonic (8), it was the legitimate star, Djokovic who was able to withstand the barrage of shots from the raising star Raonic to get to another Roma final 6-7 7-6 6-3. “It is a big win because it gives a lot of strength and belief that I can carry into tomorrow’s final and also to the continuation of the season” Djokovic said after the match. However, there many instances in the match where it looked as though Djokovic was not going to get to the final and Raonic was on the verge of one of the biggest wins of his young career. The Canadian threw everything he had at the Serbian including 17 aces for the match but in the end, Djokovic showed why he is at the top of the game.

The tension in the match was high from the very onset as both players were showing their A-games. Raonic was serving well in addition to his monster forehands and Djokovic had his trademark defensive skills and backhand on full display. All break point opportunities were quickly dismissed by the servers including the first set point Raonic had in the 10th game to take the set 6-4. A huge serve from the Serbian saw the Canadian pushing the backhand long. With such high quality tennis as both players won most of the points on their 1st serve (79% Raonic and 77% Djokovic), a tiebreaker seemed best to decide the matter of the first set. Djokovic raced out an early 3-0 lead but then Raonic showed why he is most definitely on track to be a future world’s number one. Raonic won the next 6 points earning himself three more set points. Djokovic was able save two but Raonic would not be denied a fourth time. He took the set 7-6(5) in just over 70 minutes.

Raonic was not about to rest on his laurels. He knew that if he wanted this match, he had to take it in straight sets. He became aggressive on the Djokovic serve and earned himself early break points but he was unable to capitalize as his opponent sensed the imminent danger of being down a set and a break in the match. Djokovic pressed the issue in the 4th game and earned himself a break point. Raonic missed the first serve for the first time on break point and Djokovic was all over the weaker 2nd serve and earned the break. However, he was unable to consolidate the break as Raonic broke back. Both players remained on serve avoiding any more break chances for the remainder of the set. Hence a tiebreaker would yet again decide the matter. The Serbian again took an early lead in the breaker but this time, he produced some of his best tennis of the match to maintain it and was able to take the set 7-6(4).

Raonic blinked and perhaps forgot that he was dealing with an opponent of the highest caliber in the form of Novak Djokovic. Opportunities for an upset of this magnitude are rare in these Master Series 1000 events and Raonic had his chances and he let them slipped. Djokovic wrest control of the decisive set with an early break going up 2-0. Raonic did all he could to maintain his serve and get the break back but Djokovic proved too strong. The world’s number 2 broke again in the 9th game to close out the set 6-3 and take the match 6-7 7-6 6-3.

“He played better than me and he deserves to win.” Raonic stated after the match. He added that his main game plan was to hold serve which would allowed him to be more aggressive on his return game. However, he acknowledged how difficult it is to do this against the current top players like Djokovic. It should be some consolidation for the Canadian that Djokovic had high praise for him in the press conference noting that he is definitely the future of the game singling out his serve and movement around the court. However, Djokovic will be concentrating on dealing with Rafael Nadal who he will face in yet another Master Series 1000 finals. Djokovic’s mind is also on the devastating floods taking place in his homeland of Serbia right now stating that his thoughts are ever with victims.

ATP

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

Published

on

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.  

Continue Reading

ATP

David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

Published

on

David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

Continue Reading

Focus

Madison Keys battles past Simona Halep to reach the quarter final in Cincinnati

Published

on

Madison Keys beat this year’s Wimbledon champion Simona Halep 6-1 3-6 7-5 to advance to the quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati for the second consecutive year.

 

Madison Keys stopped a five-match losing streak against Simona Halep after a thrilling three-set match scoring her first win over the Romanian player in five years.

After beating Halep in their first head-to-head match in 2014, Keys lost five consecutive matches against her Romanian rival, including four in 2016. They met for the first time since the 2016 WTA Finals, where Halep beat Keys 6-2 6-4 in a round-robin match.

Keys never faced a break point and dropped just eight points in four service games and reeled off nine of the eleven points on Halep’s first serve to cruise through to a 6-1 win in 20 minutes.

In the second set Halep dropped her serve twice, but she converted three of the ten break points. The Romanian player held her serve at love for the first time in the match to win the second set sending the match to the third set.

Keys went up a 3-0 lead in the decider and earned four break points for 4-0. Halep converted her fifth break points at deuce and held serve at love to draw level to 3-3. Keys did not convert a match point at 5-4, but she sealed the win by breaking serve with a forehand winner in the 12th game at deuce to the delight of the home crowd.

“I think I played really smart tonight. Obviously I played a really good first set, and I don’t think she played her best tennis in the first set. I think the third set we played a pretty high level of tennis. I think it was the first time that I played a little bit more within myself and didn’t try to do too much too soon. She has been number 1 for a reason, won Grand Slams for a reason. I knew that she wasn’t just going to give up or give in. I knew the entire time I had to fully win the match before I could take a deep breath. I am really happy after losing my lead in the third set, I was able to get back. It definitely reminds me that when I am in the right mindset and playing some good tennis, I can compete with anyone”, said Keys.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending