Djokovic gets past Raonic for 4th straight French Open semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Djokovic gets past Raonic for 4th straight French Open semifinals

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TENNIS FRENCH OPEN – Novak Djokovic remains on course for another French Open final and a possible showdown between him and 8-time champion Rafael Nadal if the top seeds stay true to form. Djokovic took on Milos Raonic for a place in the semifinal and like he did two weeks ago in Rome, Djokovic battled hard against the Canadian to come out unscathed in three sets, 7-5 7-6(5) 6-4. Cordell Hackshaw

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Novak Djokovic (2) remains on course for another French Open final and a possible showdown between him and 8-time champion Rafael Nadal (1) if the top seeds stay true to form. Djokovic took on Milos Raonic (8) for a place in the semifinal and like he did two weeks ago in Rome, Djokovic battled hard against the Canadian to come out unscathed in three sets, 7-5 7-6(5) 6-4. In a match that hardly saw either player gaining any real momentum and holding serve became paramount, Djokovic showed that he is both patient and resourceful in the big moments. He makes no illusion about wanting this title and with this win, he has put himself one set closer to taking the crown and with it a career slam.

Things got under way with both men holding serve with relative ease with Djokovic being the opening server. Raonic was using his big serve to get himself into the forecourt whereas Djokovic did battle from the back of the court and the baseline. Djokovic saved a break point during the 7th game to get to 4-3 and had a set/break point on Raonic’s serve during the 10th game at 5-4. Two successive big serves by Raonic erased any hopes of Djokovic taking the set then and it was even at 5-5. Djokovic held for 6-5 and forced Raonic to serve to stay in the set once again. Raonic rained down his massive serves but somehow Djokovic was able to get most of the returns in. Raonic then found it difficult to keep the balls in play and the 1st set ended when his backhand volley missed its mark. Djokovic took it 7-5.

Both men continued to serve exceptionally as neither player saw a break point in the 2nd set. Even in decisive tiebreaker, the server was mostly having it his way. Through to the first 9 points, the server won the point with Djokovic leading 5-4. However, it would be just be the minibreak that would make the difference as Raonic dumped his forehand into the net during the 10th point giving Djokovic the edge 6-4. Raonic won the next point 6-5 but he could not put Djokovic’s serve out wide back into play and saw the Serbian take a 2 sets to love lead 7-5 7-6(5).

This lead proved to be the decisive factor as Djokovic got the read on the Raonic’s serve and began breaking him at will. The Canadian was broken twice to see the match go well out of his reach as Djokovic had a 5-1 lead. Raonic held for 2-5 allowing Djokovic to serve for the match. However, the Canadian was still willing to fight and broke the Djokovic serve for the first time in the match. He gave himself extra life by holding serve at 4-5 and let Djokovic try to serve it out again. Djokovic rarely makes the same mistake twice and he closed out the match 7-5 7-6 6-4 in 2 hours and 22 minutes. “Even though it was a straight set win, few points here and there kind of decided the winner….I knew that he’s going to serve and I’m not going to have many opportunities, but when I do have them, I should use them. I have done well.” said Djokovic after the match.

Raonic compared his experience of facing Djokovic in Paris as opposed to in Rome a few weeks ago; “[H]e was playing a lot closer to the baseline….[H]e was not letting me dictate as much as I was able to in Rome. He was opening up a little bit more with his backhand down the line, where I felt I put more pressure on him in Rome where he wasn’t able to use that as much. I think that’s where I was struggling, so to get on top of him in that sense. My serve kept it close for most of those moments.” As noted, both men served brilliantly with Djokovic winning 75% of his first serve and Raonic 79% of his. The main difference of the day would have to be the 2nd serve and the error count. Djokovic won 74% of his 2nd serve and committed 19 errors whereas Raonic could only muster 29% on his 2nd serve with 40 errors and eventually proved to be closely for the Canadian. Djokovic will face Ernests Gulbis (18) in the semifinals and had this to say on the matter, “He’s been playing really well, he’s confident. But again, I like my chances because I have had now couple of great weeks on the clay courts from Rome to now last ten days here in Roland Garros.”

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Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claim their first ATP Finals title in London

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The French team formed by Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claimed their first men’s doubles title with a 6-3 6-4 win over Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus in 70 minutes at the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London ending the 2019 ATP season on a high note with back-to-back titles in Paris Bercy and London. They remained unbeaten during the whole week at the ATP Finals in London winning all five matches in straight sets.

 

Herbert and Mahut fended off all four break points they faced scoring their ninth consecutive match win. The French doubles specialists have become the first team to win the doubles ATP Finals title without dropping a set since Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in 2015.

Herbert and Mahut fended off break points in the third game of the match before earning the only break of the opening set in the next game. The Frenchmen saved a break point in the sixth game before breaking serve in the seventh game.

They have become the French team to win the ATP Finals doubles title since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro, who triumphed in Shanghai in 2005.

Herbert and Mahut have won 15 doubles titles as a team during their career. This year they became the eighth men’s doubles team to complete the career Grand Slam at last January’s Australian Open and also won the Rolex Paris Masters in front of their home fans.

Last year they came within one point of winning the ATP Finals title against Mike Bryan and Jack Sock after holding a match point.

“Thank you Nicolas for sharing the court, for having so much enjoyable moments and giving me so much joy, when I am with you on the court. You played an unbelievable final, so thank you for that”, said Pierre Hugues Herbert.

 

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Jannik Sinner wins his third ATP Challenger in Ortisei

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Jannik Sinner won the ATP Challenger in Ortisei adding another title to his impressive collection of trophies he lifted during a memorable 2019 season.

 

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion beat world number 173 Sebastian Ofner from Austria 6-2 6-4 in 1 hour and 6 minutes in the final of the Sparkasse Challenger Val Gardena Sudtirol at the Tennis Center in Ortisei.

Sinner won his third ATP Challenger title in 2019 after his previous wins in Bergamo and Lexington. He also reached the final in Ostrava. During the tournament the 18-year-old player from San Candido beat Lucas Miedler in the first round, Roberto Marcora in the second round, Federico gaio in the quarter final and Antoine Hoang in the semifinal without dropping a set.

Sinner will improve his ranking to his career-high at world number 78 in the ATP Ranking becoming the sixth best ranked Italian player after Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego, Marco Cecchinato and Andreas Seppi.

Sinner broke serve in the fifth game of the opening set to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner missed two game points in the seventh game. The Austrian player faced another break point after his third double fault. In the next game Sinner saved the first break point he faced. Sinner closed out the first set 6-2 after two backhand errors from Ofner in the eighth game.

Sinner went up a break to open up a 2-0 lead, but Ofner broke back in the fourth game and held on his serve to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner saved three break points in the seventh game to take a 4-3. Sinner converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and served out the win with two consecutive aces.

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Tomas Berdych: It Is Up To Others To Decide My Legacy

The former top-10 player spoke with reporters for the first time since officially retiring from the sport

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Tomer Berdych (far left) among group of recently retired player's attending special presentation at The 2019 ATP Finals

LONDON: Tomas Berdych has said his future plans is ‘to not have a plan’ after officially retiring from tennis on Saturday at the age of 34.

 

The former Wimbledon runner-up joined a series of other former players to celebrate their careers in a special on-court presentation at the ATP Finals. Also present was Radek Stepanek and David Ferrer. News of Berdych’s decision to walk away from the sport surfaced earlier this week after a Czech newspaper spoke with his father Martin.

Speculation has mounted in recent months about Berdych’s future in the sport after struggles with injury issues concerning his back and hip. He hasn’t played on the tour since the US Open. Overall, he has only managed to play 22 matches this season. Winning 13 of them.

“I was able to train, practice, prepare, and then you get to the tournament, and then I play three games, the problem came back.” Berdych explained during a press conference about his decision.
“You put all the negative stuff on the one side, and then the positive is to go on court, fight, win the match, and there was no chance to achieve that. There is really no point to continue.”

Playing in the shadows on the Big Four contingent, the Czech still managed to establish himself as a household name. Albeit on a smaller scale. As of this week, he is ranked as the 11th highest-earning player on the ATP Tour in history with more than $29 million in prize money. His achievements include winning 13 ATP titles and spending 794 consecutive weeks in the top 100. At his peak, he was fourth in the world rankings and finished seven seasons inside the top 10.

Like any other player, it hasn’t always been a smooth journey for Berdych. One example was during the 2012 Australian Open where he was booed off the court after defeating Nicolas Almagro during what was a bad-tempered encounter. However, fortunately, most of his career has been free from controversy.

“Do I have any regrets? No, I think even the bad things or the negative experience that I went through or I experienced or I have done, I think they were there for the reason. I think without them, I wouldn’t be as good as I was.” Berdych stated.
“I think even the bad ones were there for a reason.”

Now he has stepped away from the sport for good, what does the future have in store? According to the Czech, he is in no intention of rushing into anything else soon. Although he admits that it may not be tennis-related.

“The plan is actually not to have any plans. The last 15, 20 years was so hectic and so demanding that I just need to just to breathe out easily after all those years.”

As the chapter closes on the career of one of the Czech Republic’s most successful male players in the Open Era, he leaves the sport with high respect from both his fans and fellow rivals. As for his legacy, he says that it is not for him to decide.

“I think I’m not the correct one to judge that. I was trying to do the best I possibly can, and I think this is something that you created with your achievement and with your behavior.” He concludes.

Berdych’s career in numbers

2 – number of Davis Cup titles won
4 – highest ATP ranking achieved
13– number of ATP titles
53 – number of wins over top 10 players
342 – number of losses on the ATP Tour
640 – number of wins on the ATP Tour
2002 – the year he turned pro
2019 – the year he retired
29,491,328 – career prize money (in US dollars)

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