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.

ATP

Loss Meaningless To Dominic Thiem In Hunt For ‘Most Difficult’ Title At ATP Finals

The world No.5 explains why the key to his latest match was keeping it short, but not necessarily winning.

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LONDON: Dominic Thiem isn’t going to be losing any sleep over his latest loss at the ATP Finals with the ultimate prize still in his sight.

 

Thiem, who qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament of Tuesday, was far from his best as he slumped to a straight-sets loss to Matteo Berrettini. Who has become the first Italian in history to win a match at the event. It is hard to read too much into Thiem’s latest performance with him openly admitting that his focus was on his upcoming semi-final clash. Highlighting one of the drawbacks of having a round-robin tournament with some matches providing irrelevant to the overall standings.

“Of course I was still trying to win that match, but also, at the same time, I knew in my head that I have to take care (of my body) for Saturday because obviously, it’s the way more important match,” Thiem explained during his press conference.
“I’m really trying to get the body going 100% for Saturday, and it wouldn’t be that smart if I would have another three-hour match today.”

The comments do not mean that Berrettini just had a walkover win and he was made to work for the victory. Which levels the head-to-head between the two players to 2-2. However, both would admit that with not much on the line there was a lack of intensity.

“I think that today was maybe even the weakest compared to those three (matches).” Thiem states.
“We had a great one in Shanghai. We had a great one in Vienna and also here. Of course, it affected a little bit that both of us, we couldn’t do anything about the standings in the group anymore.”

The 26-year-old has certainly illustrated his worthy candidacy to lift the title on Sunday in London following his previous triumphs. Earlier this week he scored back-to-back wins over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Should he end up playing Nadal over the weekend and win, he would become the first player to defeat all members of the Big Three in the same tournament since David Nalbandian at the 2007 Madrid Masters.

There is still a way to go for Thiem to clinch the biggest title of his career to date. The Austrian believes he if he does manage to win the tournament, any other title is not off-limits for him.

“I think that maybe this tournament is the most difficult to win because you have to beat five top 10 guys in a row. Okay, you can afford to lose one match maybe, but still, I’m 100% sure that if you win this title you can win, as well, any other title.” He explains.
“I haven’t done it yet, but I think that if you win this title, it gives you a lot of confidence for Australia (Open) because it’s the closest, but for the full next year as well.”

Few can dispute the fighting spirit of the Austrian on the court in London. However, after a long season, he admits that he isn’t fully healthy. A situation his rivals also find themselves in. Although some are struggling more than others at present.

“I’m not 100%, but it didn’t affect me in these three matches,” Thiem admits. “That’s why I also really need to be careful because I really hope I have two more matches so I can give all that I have and my own 100% in the remaining two matches.”

Thiem could play one of three players in the semi-finals depending on the outcome of Friday’s matches. Awaiting him will be either Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev or Daniil Medvedev. The only way he can play Nadal is if they both progress to the final.

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Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo secure their semifinal spot in the ATP Finals in London

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Former ATP Finals runners-up Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo battled past Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 10-7 after 1 hour and 44 minutes to finish the Group Jonas Bjorkman with a 2-1 round robin record.

 

Kubot and Melo came back from an early break down and fended off four set points before Ram and Salisbury converted their fifth chance to win the opening set 6-4.

Kubot and Melo fended off a break point in the seventh game with a great serve, before they converted their first break point in the 10th game.

Kubot and Melo won five consecutive points in the Match Tie-Break to open up a 6-2 lead. The Polish and Brazilian players converted their fourth match point to secure their spot in the semifinal.

 

 

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Matteo Berrettini Scores Historic Win Before Exit From ATP Finals

The 23-year-old ends his breakthrough season on the ATP Tour with another milestone in his career.

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LONDON: Matteo Berrettini has become the first Italian man in history to win a match at the ATP Finals after defeating Dominic Thiem on Thursday afternoon.

 

The world No.8 managed to dismantle the game of his rival, who was far from his best at times, with the help of his blistering serve to seal the 7-6(3), 6-3, victory. Ending Thiem’s streak of four consecutive wins over top 10 players, including Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer earlier this week. In total Berrettini hit 30 winners to 21 unforced errors and converted both of his break point opportunities.

“I’ve always had great fights against him. I was able to stay mentally focused, especially in the first set when I lost my serve because I didn’t play a great game.” Berrettini said afterward.
“I’m really happy with my performance because I am not feeling great physically.” He added.

The downside to the round-robin format of the event is that some matches end up being irrelevant with this being one of them. Regardless of the outcome, Thiem has already qualified for the semi-finals and Berrettini is on his way out. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Italian was playing for pride at The O2 Arena.

A close start to the match saw neither playing managing to gain any momentum during the first eight games. Then inconsistencies in Thiem’s game started to haunt him. Berrettini’s ability to hit the ball deep into the court forced his rival to make a series of errors as he broke for a 5-4 lead. However, it was his turn to stumble behind his serve as Thiem broke back to level with relative ease.

Despite neither player capitalizing on their advantages, the tiebreaker was a one-sided encounter. Three Thiem unforced errors, as well as a winning Berrettini slice, saw him go behind 0-4 in the blink of an eye. Creating enough of a margin for Berrettini to seal the first set with the help of a 134 mph ace.

Thiem clearly looked flat on the court compared to two days ago when he downed Djokovic, however, nothing should be taken away from Berrettini. Who kept focus and stuck to his game plan throughout the match. A backhand passing shot, followed by a crosscourt winner enabled him to break once again midway through the second set. Easing towards victory after just 76 minutes play, Berrettini closed the match out with a delicate drop shot.

“I’m really proud of myself, but also for my team, my family and my friends. It’s been an unbelievable season.” He reflected on his year.
“I didn’t expect at the beginning of the season to be here (in London). I hope to come back next year, but now I just want to say thanks to those guys (his team). Without them, it couldn’t be possible.”
“I’m happy to finish with a win.“

Despite the loss, Thiem will finish at the top of the Bjorg Born Group. He will play the runner-up of the other group in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Whilst Berrettini’s ATP season is over, he can’t rest yet. Next week he will be in Madrid playing for his country in the Davis Cup along with many other of his fellow players.

“There is one more event. I have to rest a little bit and then I think I deserve a holiday.” He declared.

Berrettini ends 2019 with 43 wins on the ATP Tour in what is a career best. He started the year ranked 54th in the world and didn’t make his top 10 debut until last month.

Italian men in the ATP Finals

-C. Barazzutti in 1978 – 0 wins and 3 loses
-A. Panatta in 1975 – 0 wins and 3 losses
-M. Barrettini in 2019 – 1 win and 2 losses

 

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