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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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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