ATP Halle 2014: Let’s Take A Look - UBITENNIS
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ATP Halle 2014: Let’s Take A Look

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TENNIS ATP HALLE – The Gerry Weber Open, in Halle, Germany, kicks off the grass court season on the Continent with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer leading an all-star entry field that includes Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Richard Gasquet , Mikhail Youzhny, Tommy Haas and Jerzy Janowicz as the Top 8 seeds. Mark Winters

 

The Gerry Weber Open, in Halle, Germany, kicks off the grass court season on the Continent, June 9th. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer lead an all-star entry field that has been skillfully choreographed by Tournament Director, Ralf Weber. In addition to those illustrious “names”, Milos Raonic, the young Canadian whose game is becoming more solid with each tournament, and Kei Nishikori of Japan, who is anxious to transition his clay court successes to the lawns, are the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds. Richard Gasquet, of France, is No. 5, and he is followed by Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. Home-country favorite Tommy Haas (who is returning to competition after having shoulder issues at Roland Garros) is No. 7, and Jerzy Janowicz of Poland, rounds out the Top Eight seeds.

Lurking in the draw, and not to be overlook (ever) are Gael Monfils of France, Ivo Karlovic of Croatia and Lukasz Kubot another Polish contestant. Philipp Kohlschreiber and Dustin Brown are two of the dangerous Germans, who are always looking to excel when they are part of the Halle mix.

For Federer, the defending champion, the Gerry Weber Open is almost like his home away from home. After bowing out of Roland Garros in the fourth round because of the truly inspired play of Latvian Ernests Gulbis, he is anxious to return to the town where a street bears his name, and to the tournament where he has been a six-time winner (including four in a row after which he moved on to Wimbledon and won the same number of titles, resulting in a two tournament run of eight in a row). Haas, who earned the Halle title in 2009 and again in ’13, along Kohlschreiber, who finished on top in 2011, have fond memories of playing on the 12,300-seat center court with the amazing closeable roof, that set the “it may raining, but there still is play…” standard in the tennis world.

Tournament Director Ralf Weber. Photo by Mark Winters

Tournament Director Ralf Weber. Photo by Mark Winters

While expectations for a Nadal-Federer final will drive spectator’s hopes, reality intrudes. offering a flashing yellow-light caution. The World’s No. 1 will have taken on No. 2 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the Roland Garros final, and if the Spaniard is extended beyond his seemingly boundless energy reserves, he may decide to give Halle a pass. He has done it before (and Federer has too).

So all Ralf Weber can hope for the best this year and look forward to 2015 when the Gerry Weber Open moves from an ATP World Tour 250 Series to a 500 Series event, and the time between Roland Garros and Wimbledon is lengthened by a week. Next year, the Topshelf Open ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands and the MercedesCup Stuttgart, Germany will follow play in Paris. Then the long-standing principle Wimbledon warm-ups, Halle and the Aegon Championships (Queen’s) in London, are set to take place. Having a lifetime contract with Federer and a lengthy agreement with Nadal, Weber will certainly have less concern about the possibility of “no shows.”

Moving back to the present, the 22nd Gerry Weber Open promises to showcase grass court tennis at its best. Given the players who will be participating, this is not a hope… This is what always takes place in Halle.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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Brandon Nakashima shocks John Isner to reach first ATP final in Los Cabos

Brandon Nakashima stunned John Isner to reach the final in Los Cabos.

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Brandon Nakashima (@AbiertoLosCabos - Twitter)

The American became the youngest American to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

 

Brandon Nakashima booked his spot in the final beating an out of sorts John Isner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes firing 12 aces and winning 82% points with his first serve.

“It’s always going to be tough playing against him, It’s always so hard to return his serve and try to get into the rallies with him but I tried to get back as many returns as I could and there was blocking or chipping the return or hitting over it and just try to mix it up a lot while getting different looks and I knew when I had the opportunities and when I got close in games I knew I had to take advantage of that as much as possible so luckily I was able to do it and of course taking care of my service games was important as well”.

For the first six games of the opening set, neither player had an issue holding serve but at 3-3, it was the San Diego native with the first chance to break but was denied by the world number 39’s big serve.

At 5-4, the world number 134 had two more chances to break and he got the crucial break and served out the first set.

Winning the first set seemed to invigorate the 19-year-old and he earned an early chance to break in the first game of the second set and broke to take a 1-0 lead. Once again that one break was enough to serve out the match and seal the victory.

After the match, Nakashima spoke about becoming the first American player to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

“It feels great and it’s a big accomplishment for me and of course all the Americans, we like to play in the US but it’s nice to see that I am playing well outside the US and luckily it’s not too far from my home here so I have been enjoying it here a lot both on and off the court and really looking forward to playing tomorrow again”.

Nakashima will face the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the final and can feel confident as the last time these two players met, the American beat him.

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