Bits and Pieces from the World of Tennis: 9th of June 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits and Pieces from the World of Tennis: 9th of June 2014

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TENNIS BITS AND PIECES – The Roland Garros in numbers. Murray hires Mauresmo as his new coach. Del Potro set a date for his comeback. Elena Baltacha will be honoured a the Queen’s Club, Eastbourne and Edgbaston. Also who is playing where this week. Joshua Bosco

 

Roland Garros numbers

After winning the 2014 French Open, World No.5 Maria Sharapova has become the first Russian player to win the same Grand Slam tournament twice.

After the Romanian President suspended Parliament on Thursday to give everybody the chance to watch Simona Halep’s semi-final match against Andrea Petkovic, the new World No.3 went on to become the first Romanian woman to reach a Grand Slam final in 34 years. The last Romanian woman to play a major’s final was Virginia Ruzici at the 1980 French Open, a tournament she had won two years earlier.

Ernests Gulbis has risen to a new best ranking of World No.10 after becoming the first Latvian player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final beating two Top 10 players, Federer and Berdych, on his way. After becoming the first Latvian to crack the Top 100, he’s now entered the Top 10 and now has his eyes set on the World No.1 spot.

On Wednesday British No.1 Andy Murray went one better than Fred Perry and set a new British record reaching 17 Grand Slam semi-finals after defeating Frenchman Gael Monfils in a lopsided five set match.

Thirty years after Henri Leconte and Yannick Noah’s 1984 victory, French couple Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin have won the men’s doubles trophy in front of their home-crowd.

Andy & Amelie

The rumours had started while he was still in Paris and yesterday, on the eve of Queen’s, Andy Murray confirmed he has hired former World No.1 and two time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach, initially just for the grass court season. We are going to do the grass court season and then we’ll talk after that” said the former French player.

Mauresmo already has some experience as a coach having previously worked with Michael Llodra during the 2010 grass court season. She also worked with the then-World No.1 Victoria Azarenka in 2012 and helped her fellow Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in her successful 2013 Wimbledon campaign.

Del Potro comeback

Former World No.4 Juan Martin del Potro’s name is on the entry list for the Malaysian Open due to take place in Kuala Lumpur in September, a couple of weeks after the US Open.

Del Potro, who is currently recovering from his second wrist surgery, will be making his debut in the Asian tournament and will be joined by Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori.

Baltacha honoured

The first Fed Cup Lifetime Achievement Heart Award for commitment to the completion was awarded to Elena Baltacha, who died last month after a battle with liver cancer.

The ITF also donated £6,000 ($10,000) to the Rally For Bally, which will take place on Sunday at Queen’s, Eastbourne and Edgbaston.

Who’s playing where

The 2014 grass season officially starts today and the top men players will divide themselves between Halle and Queen’s.

Roger Federer is going to have to up his game in order to defend his title in Halle, where he will be joined by Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Tommy Haas and last year’s finalist Mikhail Youzhny.

Defending champion Andy Murray will try to put his disappointing Roland Garros semi-final performance behind him at Queen’s, where he will face the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Thomas Berdych, Grigor Dimitrov, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and on-form Latvian Ernests Gulbis. Daniel Cox, Daniel Evans and James Ward have all received wildcards for their home tournament.

Some of the top women’s players will travel to Birmingham for the 2014 AEGON Classic. Daniela Hantuchova will have a hard time trying to defend her 2013 title against high ranked player like Ana Ivanovic, Sam Stosur, Sloane Stephens, Lucie Safarova and Klara Koukalova. British players Johanna Konta and Heather Watson have both received wildcards for the tournament.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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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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