Bits and Pieces from the World of Tennis: 2014 Roland Garros special - UBITENNIS
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Bits and Pieces from the World of Tennis: 2014 Roland Garros special

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TENNIS Bits and Pieces – Numbers, curiosities and bits of news after the first 7 days of the 2014 French Open. Also injury updates for Tipsarevic and Del Potro. Joshua Bosco

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

Sunday, 25th May

Francesca Schiavone, 2010 French Open winner, fell in a straight sets defeat against Ajla Tomljanovic. This was Schiavone’s fourth consecutive loss at the first round of a Grand Slam.

Filippo Volandri lost to Sam Querrey, meaning the Italian has now lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament in his last 17 main draw appearances.

Monday, 26th May

For the first time since Petr Korda in 1998, the Australian Open champion lost in the first round of the French Open: World No.3 Stan Wawrinka lost to Guillermo Garcia Lopez 4-6 7-5 2-6 0-6, hitting 62 unforced errors along the way. He’s the highest seed to fall in the opening round at Roland Garros since Andy Roddick (No.3) lost to Igor Andreev in 2007.

Facundo Bagnis celebrated his Grand Slam debut with a stunning 6-1 6-2 1-6 3-6 18-16 victory over Frenchman veteran Julien Benneteau, who was playing his 44th major. The Argentine player also had to save a match point in the 4h 26m marathon match, with the fifth set alone lasting 2h 24m.

Spanish veteran Albert Montanes was forced to withdraw after twisting his ankle in his first round match against Kenny De Schepper, in what was his 50th career Grand Slam.

Tuesday, 27th May

Not to be outdone by Stan, the women’s 2014 Australian Open champion Na Li also lost her first round match in Paris. She’s the first Australian Open champion to lose so early at Roland Garros since Lindsay Davenport in 2000. Na Li lost 5-7 6-3 1-6 to French youngster Kristina Mladenovic.
This is the first time in the Open Era that both the Australian Open champions lose in the opening round of the French Open.

After twelve failed attempts, Marinko Matosevic finally reached the second round in a Grand Slam tournament with a 7-6 6-4 6-7 7-5 win over Dustin Brown.

Wednesday, 28th May

Roger Federer became the first man in history to win 60 or more matches in all four Grand Slam tournaments. After defeating Diego Sebastian Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 6-4, the Swiss player now (as of 28th May 2014) holds a 60-14 record at the French Open to go with his 73-11 at the Australian Open, 67-8 at Wimbledon and 67-9 at the US Open.

World No.1 Serena Williams bowed out of the tournament in the second round with a shock 2-6 2-6 loss to Garbine Muguruza. The four games won made this her worst result in a major in 288 matches; it was also just the third time she had lost before the third round in her 55 Grand Slam appearances.
Her loss also made this the first time in the Open Era that both the women’s No.1 and No.2 seeds have fallen before the third round in any Grand Slam.

As if this wasn’t enough for the Williams’ family, a few hours earlier her sister Venus had lost her second round match to Anna Schmiedlova 6-2 3-6 4-6.

Thursday, 29th May

Fernando Verdasco came back from a 0-2 deficit to win his 2nd round match against Pablo Cuevas 4-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 6-3. By doing so, he became only the sixth player to complete comebacks from two sets down in all four Grand Slams: he joined Federer, Becker, Krickstein, Noah and Nalbandian in this elite group.

Friday, 30th May

Not wanting to be outdone by the two top seeds, Serena Williams and Na Li, No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska crashed out of Roland Garros with a 4-6 4-6 loss to Ajla Tomljanovic, who was playing her first French Open. It was also the first time that the young Croatian had made it past the second round in a Grand Slam and her first win against a Top 25 player.

Big server Milos Raonic became the first Canadian man ever to reach the fourth round at the French Open after coming back from 1-2 down to beat Gilles Simon 4-6 6-3 2-6 6-2 7-5.

Roger Federer became the first player to reach the fourth round at the French Open for twelve times. The Swiss Maestro bettered the record set by Guillermo Villas who reached the last 16 on eleven occasions.

Saturday, 31st May

Rafael Nadal extended his winning streak at Roland Garros to a staggering 31 consecutive match wins, tying his own record set between 2005 and 2009. Back in 2009 Nadal’s streak came to an end in his fourth round loss against Robin Soderling, which up to today remains his only loss at the French Open.

With her 6-3 6-4 win over Ekaterina Makarova, Sloane Stephens is the only WTA player to have reached the fourth round in all six Grand Slams since the 2013 Australian Open. The American will now play No.4 seed Simona Halep for a place in the quarter-finals.

Sunday, 1st June

With a neat 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory over Marcel Granollers, Milos Raonic became the first Canadian man to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Unfortunately for him this could be the last of his achievements this week as he will now face World No.2 Novak Djokovic for a place in the semi-finals.

After nine consecutive French Open quarter-finals, Roger Federer was knocked out in the fourth round by Ernests Gulbis 7-6 6-7 2-6 6-4 3-6.

-Injuries update

Del Potro back on court!

On Thursday Former World No.4 Juan Martin del Potro, who underwent left wrist surgery on 24th March, completed his first post-operation on-court tennis training session.

The Argentine took to Facebook to tell his fans he had had a light 20-minute hit with his coach, Franco Davin, in which he hit some forehands and volleys and even tried some sliced backhands, to start what will be quite a long recovery.

Tipsarevic undergoes surgery

On Wednesday Janko Tipsarevic finally underwent surgery after being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, a foot problem which has kept him off the tour for the last 7 months.

It was a complicated surgery (cause there was so much damage ‘inside’), but it went well” Tipsarevic wrote on Twitter. The player has not yet given a date for his return.

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Novak Djokovic Survives Almighty Sinner Scare to Reach Wimbledon Semis

The dramatic encounter featured a fight back, multiple breaks of serve and even an injury scare.

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Reigning champion Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to keep his hopes of winning a seventh Wimbledon title alive after ousting Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller.

 


Djokovic, who only dropped six games against Sinner in their previous Tour meeting, was forced to battle back from two sets down to prevail 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in a roller-coaster encounter on Center Court. The triumph marks Djokovic’s 84th win at the tournament which is the joint-second highest tally in history alongside Jimmy Connors. Only Roger Federer has won more.

“Huge congratulations to Jannik today for a big fight. I’m sure that there are going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage. He’s mature for his age and is already an established top 15 player over the last few years,” said Djokovic.
“He was unfortunate today but he has plenty of time.”

Taking on one of the most promising future prospects of men’s tennis, Djokovic’s latest encounter was a match of two halves. Initially, he appeared as if he would suffer a shock loss to world No.13 before he managed to conjure up an emphatic comeback. Breaking Sinner’s spirit who was bidding to become only the third Italian man to reach a Wimbledon semi-final in history.

“We had two different matches. He was the better player for two sets. (Then) I went out for a toilet break, had a little pep talk (with myself) in the mirror,” the 20-time major winner revealed.
“Sometimes in these circumstances where not much is happening positively for you on the court in terms of tennis. These things are necessary – a little break and pep talk to try to recuperate.’
“I was fortunate to start well in the third set by breaking his serve and that gave me the confidence boost. I saw a bit of doubt in his game and my experience of these kinds of matches helped me.”

The first set was a roller-coaster encounter between the two tennis titans on Center Court. Reigning champion Djokovic started out guns blazing by winning seven points in a row before Sinner got onto the scoreboard after prevailing in a 17-shot rally. The top seed looked to be in full control until a double fault on break point enabled his rival to bounce back. Continuing to play some inspired tennis with blistering shot-making, a cross-court winner enabled the Italian to break once again and this time had the chance to serve the opener out. A task he passed with flying colors.

Continuing to take his game to Djokovic, Sinner appeared unfazed about trying to become the youngest men’s semi-finalist at SW19 since 2007. Producing powerful hitting from the baseline, the 20-year-old extended his lead two games into the second frame. A stunning backhand volley followed by a Djokovic error elevated him to a 2-1 advantage. Spurred on by the crowd, the unprecedented onslaught continued with the help of some costly errors from the Serbian. He sealed the double break with the help of a successful Hawk-Eye challenge before securing a two-set lead in his favor with the help of a 122mph service.

Facing a swift exit, Djokovic once again illustrated the fighting spirit that he is renowned for. Capitalizing on a blip in form from Sinner, he cruised through the third set to resurrect his chances. 

Steaming rolling his way into a decider, Djokovic continued his dominance during the fourth frame by winning four straight games. However, closing that set out was full of drama. First, Sinner suffered an injury scare after going over his ankle before continuing. Then Djokovic fended off a break point and squandered two set points before closing it out. 

A stunning sliding passing shot in the decider set Djokovic up with a chance to break and move to a game away from victory. Something he did with the help of a Sinner error which the Italian instantly regretted by putting both his hands on his head. After that mishit, Djokovic ended the clash with a love service game. 

“I’ve been blessed to play professional tennis for 20 years but nevertheless I go through those doubtful moments like everybody else. The inner fight is always the biggest fight. Once you win the fight the external circumstance is more likely to go in your favor. I knew I could turn this match around. I have done that a few times in grand slams.” Djokovic concluded.


 

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Why Rafael Nadal Faces His Biggest Test Yet

Tennis Hall of Famer Steve Flink joins UbiTennis to reflect on the highs and lows of day 8 of Wimbledon.

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Will the upcoming quarter-final be Rafael Nadal’s hardest match yet? How will Nick Kyrgios’ shoulder recover?

 

The second Monday at Wimbledon was one full of intrigue in the men’s draw. Whilst on the women’s side, Simona Halep was in impressive form against Paula Badosa but tennis commentator Flink explains why he thinks her upcoming clash with Amanda Anisimova will be tougher.

Alongside Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta, Flink also looks at Jannik Sinner’s chances of causing a huge upset against reigning champion Novak Djokovic. 

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WIMBLEDON: Rafael Nadal Coy Over New Injury Speculation

After the foot problems in Paris, there is a strong possibility the Spaniard could be experiencing another injury issue.

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image via twitter.com/atp

There are fresh concerns surrounding Rafael Nadal after he declined to go into the reason why he was wearing abdominal taping during his fourth round match at Wimbledon. 

 

The 22-time Grand Slam winner was seen wearing some kind of protection in the abdominal area after changing his t-shirt during one of the breaks. In recent weeks Nadal has been dealing with physical issues due to a long-term foot condition he has. At the French Open he revealed that he had to undergo injections in order for him to continue playing en route to winning the tournament for a 14th time.

Playing 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp, Nadal battled his way to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(6), win. Speaking to reporters after his latest win at The All England Club, the Spaniard sidestepped a question about a potential abdominal problem he could be experiencing. 

“I am a little bit tired of talking about my body. It’s not that I don’t want to answer your question, but at the same time sometimes I am tired of myself, all the issues that I am having. I prefer to not talk about that now,” he replied.
“I am in the middle of the tournament and I have to keep going. All respect for the rest of the opponents. I am just trying my best every single day. For the moment I am healthy enough to keep going and fight for the things that I want.”

Continuing to stay coy about his form and health, Nadal offered an alternative perspective when asked if he was nearing his best level once again. He has dropped just two sets in four matches played so far at Wimbledon which is his first grass-court event since 2019. 

“It’s always the same here. It’s not about how close I am to the level or not. I don’t know that. I can’t predict what can happen.” He said.
“But the positive thing is the first two matches haven’t been good. Then two days ago I played at a high level for the first time. And today most of the matches, again, at a very positive level.”

The straight sets scoreline failed to tell the true story of Nadal’s roller-coaster win on Center Court. Taking on Zandschulp, a player who burst onto the main scene last year by reaching the US Open quarter-finals as a qualifier, the 22-time major champion engaged in a match of two halves. Nadal looked on the verge of an easy victory after breaking once in the first set, twice in the second and storming to a 5-2 in the third. However, the Dutchman refused to go down without a fight by displaying his best tennis of the match to draw level. 

Now engaged in his first real test, Nadal was under intense pressure to close it out in three. If he didn’t there would have been an inevitable delay for the roof to come on due to poor light. If that occurred, there would be less than two hours of play left before the 11pm curfew began.

Nevertheless, Nadal didn’t need the roof as he squeezed through the tiebreaker. After squandering three consecutive match points, he prevailed on his fourth with the help of a lob that triggered Zandschulp to smash the ball out. 

Nadal is through to his 47th major quarter-final and is only the third man in the Open Era to do so at Wimbledon after celebrating his 36th birthday. In total, he has won 309 main draw matches at Grand Slam tournaments.

In the last eight, the Spaniard has a shot of revenge when he takes on Taylor Fritz who ended his 20-match winning streak earlier this year in Indian Wells. During that match, Nadal had a rib injury and he had beaten the American earlier that month in Mexico. 

“That last match (in Indian Wells) was zero because I had a stress fracture on my rib, and it was difficult to learn many things because the pain was terrible playing that match.” He said. 

As for Fritz, he believes their upcoming clash will be at a higher standard given the form both players are currently in. Fritz is currently on a eight-match winning streak after recently claiming the Eastbourne Open title. 

“It’s going to be a lot different match obviously. Indian Wells was kind of crazy with both of us being extremely beaten up before the final. This time I think we’ll get healthier versions of both of us, we’ll see.” Fritz previewed.

The question for nadal, is how healthy is the current version of him really is? Only time will tell. 

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