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, Gilles Simon and Felix Auger Aliassime reach the the semifinal in Marseille

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Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Vasek Pospisil 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 17 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Both players stayed neck and neck until 5-5, before Tsitsipas earned his first break, when Pospisil hit a backhand long. The Greek star wrapped up the first set with an ace after 45 minutes.

Tsitsipas claimed his second break at 3-3 with a backhand return and reeled off 10 consecutive points to seal the second set 6-3.

Tsitsipas fired 8 aces and won 26 of his 30 first service points.

“It was not easy. I knew I would have to fight and be dynamic. He plays a very aggressive brand of tennis, so every point has to be treated respectfully. I played with passion and patience, and my fighting spirit, when I am in the right zone. It means good things can happen”, said Tsitsipas.

Gilles Simon cruised through to an upset 6-4 6-0 win over Danil Medvedev to advance to the semifinal. Simon converted five of his six break point chances and lost his serve only once.

The French veteran will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Egor Gerasimov 7-5 6-2. The young Canadian star broke serve four times and and won 83 % of his first serve points.

Gerasimov earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead, but Auger Aliassime came back by winning two consecutive games to win the opening set 7-5. Auger Aliassime converted his fourth break point in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and sealed the second set with another break in the eighth game.

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Alexander Bublik reaches his third career semifinal with win over Denis Shapovalov in Marseille

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Alexander Bublik reached the third ATP Tour semifinal of his career after beating Canadian Canadian Next Gen player Denis Shapovalov 7-5 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Bublik fended off a total of four break points in the first set, including three chances from 0-40, got the break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5, when Shapovalov hit a forehand volley wide at 30-40 after 45 minutes.

Both players traded breaks at the start of the second set. Bublik did not convert three break points at 3-2, when he hit a forehand into the net on his first break point chance. Shapovalov broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead with a drop shot and wrapped up the second set with his third ace.

Bublik opened up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Shapovalov broke straight back in the third game. Bublik got another break lead in the eighth lead at 15, when Shapovalov hit a forehand wide. Bublik sealed the win with a hold at love.

“He is a great player and serve. It was our first match, but I have known him for a very long time. I was happy to break in the first set, then in the second set he was better, and I had my chances in the third and I held on. So I am very happy”,said Bublik.

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Milos Raonic, Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe and Ugo Humbert reach the quarter final in Delray Beach

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Milos Raonic hit 11 aces and saved the three break points he faced to beat German Cedrik Marcel Stebe 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 36 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Delray Beach, an ATP Tour 250 tournament.

 

Raonic earned a break in each set. Stebe earned a break point in the ninth game with a forehand down the line, but Raonic saved it with a forehand. Raonic faced two more break points in the 11th game, but Raonic saved them with service winners. Raonic earned a break with a forehand down the line winner in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5. Raonicwon four consecutive points on return to earn a break and closed out the match 6-3 with a hold of serve.

“I got lucky through that first set and then I tried to be a bit more aggressive, create more things and that put a bit more pressure on him. It opened up the match for me a bit more”, said Raonic.

Raonic set up a quarter final against Steve Johnson, who edged past his compatriot Jack Sock 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach his first quarter final at ATP Tour level in six months. Johnson came back from losing the second set by racing out to a 5-0 lead.

“This is just one of those tournaments where you feel comfortable coming back every year. It’s great to see Sock back. I thought he played a really good second set and I just got bit of a momentum in the third set”, said Johnson.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert edged Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after 1 hour and 42 minutes to reach his third quarter final in 2020. Humbert fended off eight of the ten break points he faced and earned three breaks to win the last four games of the first set from 2-4 down. Humbert broke Kecmanovic, as the Serbian player was serving for the second set at 6-5. The Frenchman saved a set point and came back from 5-6 down by winning the final three points of the tie-break to clinch the win after 1 hour and 43 minutes. Humbert has improved his win-loss record this year to 8-3.

“It’s always tough to play against Miomir, because he is a great player. He always plays at a high level. I lost to him last week and I was a little bit stressed before the match, so I am very happy to get the win today. You have to enjoy the victory because it’s not easy every week. Winning in Auckland gave me a lot of confidence. I beat some great players, but I have to continue my improvement every day”,said Humbert.

Humbert will face US player Frances Tiafoe, who battled past Tommy Paul 7-5 7-6 (7-4). Both players stayed neck and neck in the first set until the 11th game when Tiafoe earned a break with a return winner. He served out the set 7-5 with a service winner in the 12th game.

Paul earned a break in the sixth game, but he dropped his serve, while he serving for the set at 5-3. Tiafoe closed out the match with a backhand crosscourt winner at 6-4 in the tie-break.

“It’s never easy playing a good friend. It’s awkward, but I thought it was a pretty good match overall. My forehand was definitely on, so that helped. I am starting to play good tennis again and just competing hard in every match”,said Tiafoe.  

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