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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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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