French Open 2014: Gulbis dispatches Berdych for his 1st major semis - UBITENNIS
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French Open 2014: Gulbis dispatches Berdych for his 1st major semis

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TENNIS FRENCH OPEN 2014 – Ernests Gulbis thoroughly dismantled Tomas Berdych in straight sets 6-3 6-2 6-4. As in the 4th round, Gulbis looked to be in supreme control of the match from start to finish, dictating plays and dominating in all areas of the match. Cordell Hackshaw

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

The “Federer Curse” is the name of a phenomenon on tour or perhaps a belief held by Roger Federer’s fans that the player who beat him in a major, will go on to lose in the next round. Now this “dubious theory” has held up to be true for the last 8 majors when Federer was not the winner. Therefore, when Ernests Gulbis (18) took out Federer in five sets to face Tomas Berdych (6) who has a 4-2 head-to-head against the Latvian including an easy straight sets victory earlier this year, most people thought that Berdych will be the victor. However, it seemed that Gulbis is not one for superstitions as he thoroughly dismantled the Czech in straight sets 6-3 6-2 6-4. As in his 4th round match, Gulbis looked to be in supreme control of the match from start to finish, dictating plays and dominating in all areas of the match.

Gulbis had a 4-0 lead before Berdych was able to realize that this was a major quarterfinal and that one needed to win games to stay in the match. He broke Gulbis to get one of the breaks back but Gulbis remained alert and stayed ahead 5-2 forcing Berdych to serve to stay in the set. Berdych held serve and had a break point to get back on serve but two massive aces from Gulbis erased that quickly to bring up set point. Berdych could not hold up as he dumped his forehand into the net to give Gulbis the set 6-3. The usually sporadic Gulbis was showing great determination to win this match. He had 4 aces in the 1st set as well as winning 75% on his first serve points and 60% on his second serve along with 11 winners and 4 errors. Berdych on the other hand could only garner 55% and 42% of the points on his first and second serves respectively added to the fact that he had no aces, 4 winners and 7 errors.

One expected Berdych to really get things going in the 2nd set but he was soon down the double break again and served for a 2 sets to love advantage at 5-2. Gulbis took the set 6-2 and as in the first two sets, broke Berdych for the early lead 2-0 in the 3rd set. Berdych was being, outclassed, outmatched, outwit and outhit on the court. Even he himself noted, “With the way I played today, I really couldn’t even possibly think that I can make that match and I can win, because really the way I played today was pretty bad to be successful today.” Gulbis remained excellent on serve and kept his nose out in front to close out the match 6-3 6-2 6-4 when Berdych committed his 25th error, backhand into the net.

Today everything was good. I felt physically so good. I felt that I can run forever. I felt that he cannot make winner, you know?…I felt that I covered it really well. If I feel so confident, you know, from the baseline, then everything just comes together.” Gulbis said after the match. Berdych on the other hand was hardly gracious in defeat, “[A]bout his game, especially today, well, he played solid, but he doesn’t have to bring anything really special today. You know, I was not in the shape to cause him some damage and make him some tough time.” Looking at the numbers this is far from true as Gulbis was better in every area. He won 81% of his first serve points, 59% on 2nd serve, 5/8 on break points with 31 winners and 17 errors. Gulbis faced no break points in the 2nd and 3rd sets. Berdych won 69% on first serves and 44% on second serves points. He had 17 winners and 25 errors. Gulbis will face Novak Djokovic (2) in the semifinals. The last time they met at a major was the 2008 French Open quarterfinals. Djokovic won and has a 4-1 head-to-head against the Latvian. However, Gulbis had this to say on the matter, “I think just for me it’s 00 with him in matches. The way I’m playing now, I never played like this. I never felt like this. It’s just 00. What was in the past I don’t even consider.”

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Rafael Nadal Returns To Cincinnati With Shot At No.1 Ranking

This is what the king of clay has to do to reclaim the top position.

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ATP RAFAEL NADAL OF SPAIN - PHOTO: DIEGO SOUTO / MMO

It has been over a month since Rafael Nadal last played a match on the Tour but in the coming days, he will have a chance to return to the top of the ATP rankings.

 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from action ever since pulling out of his semi-final match at Wimbledon due to an abdominal tear. He was set to play at this week’s National Bank Open in Montreal but withdrew after feeling a ‘slight bother’ in his abdominal region following training. Nadal decided not to play after consulting with his doctor.

Instead, the Spaniard will return next week at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. He confirmed his return in an Instagram post, where he wrote: “Very happy to play again in Cincy. Flying there tomorrow (Thursday).”

Whilst the Spaniard will be finding his feet in the coming days, in Cincinnati he has a chance to dethrone Daniil Medvedev from the world No.1 position. Medvedev lost his opening match in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios. To do this he would need to win the Masters 1000 event for the second time in his career and hope that Medvedev doesn’t make the quarter-finals. Nadal won Cincinnati back in 2013 after defeating John Isner in the final.

So far in his career, Nadal has spent 209 weeks as world No.1 with his longest streak being 56 weeks in a row (2010-2011). In total, he has been at the top of the rankings for eight separate periods and last held the position in February 2020.

Nadal’s No.1 stints
-Aug 18 2008 – Jul 5th 2009 (46 weeks)
-Jun 7 2010 – Jul 3rd 2011 (56 weeks)
-Oct 7th 2013 – Jul 6th 2014 (39 weeks)
-Aug 21 2017 – Feb 18 2018 (26 weeks)
-Apr 2nd 2018 – May 13th 2018 (6 weeks)
-May 21st 2018 – Jun 17th 2018 (4 weeks)
-Jun 25th 2018 – Nov 4th 2018 (19 weeks)
-Nov 4th 2019 – Feb 2nd 2020 (13 weeks)

At present nine out of the world’s top 10 players will participate in the Western and Southern Open. The only exception is Novak Djokovic who is currently banned from entering America because he isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Jack Draper Considered Skipping Montreal Masters Before Getting Biggest Win Of Career

The rising star completes a trio of British players who have booked their places in the third round of the Masters 1000 event.

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Image via https://twitter.com/OBNmontreal/

British qualifier Jack Draper says his decision to play in Montreal this week has paid off after he scored his first-ever win over a top 10 player on Wednesday.

 

The 20-year-old stunned world No.5 and third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 7-6(4), in what is only his fourth appearance in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. Draper, who is currently ranked 82nd in the world, won 74% of his first service points and blasted 21 winners past his Greek rival. Recovering from a 1-3 deficit in the second set en route to a straight sets victory.

Leading up to this week, Draper and his team considered not playing in Montreal following his 6-4, 6-2, loss to Andrey Rublev in Washington. However, their decision to do so was the right one. After coming through two rounds of qualifying, he beat France’s Hugo Gaston in the first round before knocking out Tsitsipas.

“This is why I put in all the hard work, for nights like this on stages like this,” Draper said in an on-court interview. “Last week [after] Washington, me and my coach probably were thinking we weren’t even going to come here. We were going to maybe train a week, get a bit of confidence. But it paid off coming.”
“I didn’t really have much of a game plan. I just thought I needed to play good tennis to beat Stefanos. He’s at the top of the game for a reason. [He’s] someone I’ve looked up to the last few years. It’s just good to be out here and try to express myself on this stage.” He added.

Draper’s win comes during what has been a solid season for the Brit who has won four Challenger titles. A former top 10 junior player, he won his first main draw Grand Slam match in June at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International.

Awaiting the youngster in the third round will be French veteran Gael Monfils who is playing in his first tournament since May. Monfils defeated Maxime Cressy 7-6(10), 7-6(8).

Draper is one of three British players to have reached the last 16 in Montreal. Ninth seed Cameron Norrie will next play home favourite Felix Auger-Aliassime and Dan Evans faces Taylor Fritz.

According to the Pepperstone live ATP rankings, Draper will break into the world’s top 70 for the first time next week.

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Canada Daily Preview: Two Clashes Between Top 10 Seeds in the Third Round

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Felix Auger-Aliassime practicing this week in Montreal (twitter.com/OBNmontreal)

On Thursday, all third round matches will take place in both Montreal and Toronto, making for another extremely busy day of tennis.  And two of those third round encounters see top 10 seeds collide.  In Montreal, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime faces Cam Norrie in a rematch from last Friday’s Los Cabos semifinals.  In Toronto, Aryna Sabalenka plays Coco Gauff, who survived an extended battle on Wednesday against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina

 

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time in Toronto and 12:00pm local time in Montreal.


Aryna Sabalenka (6) vs. Coco Gauff (10) – 11:00am on Grandstand in Toronto

Gauff’s second-round victory on Wednesday was a grueling affair.  After failing to convert four match points in the second-set tiebreak, Coco finally prevailed in a third-set tiebreak.  And she did so despite striking 13 double faults, a part of her game that continues to trouble her.  Sabalenka spent over an hour less time on court, defeating Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets.  Gauff leads their head-to-head 2-1, though all three meetings have been rather tight.  And of late, Coco has been the much stronger performer.  Going back to her run to the French Open final, Gauff has claimed 15 of her last 19 matches.  By contrast, Sabalenka arrived in Toronto having lost three of her last four.  While Coco will surely feel a bit tired on Thursday, she’ll also feel relieved having escaped what would have been a heartbreaking loss a day earlier, and should play a bit more freely.  And most importantly, she’s currently feeling much more confident than Sabalenka.


Cameron Norrie (9) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (6) – Not Before 4:00pm on Court Central in Montreal

Last week in Los Cabos, Norrie took out Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.  However, that was Cam’s first victory over Felix in five tries.  The previous four had all gone the way of the Canadian, including another hard court matchup earlier this year in Rotterdam.  Auger-Aliassime pulled out a dramatic first-set tiebreak on Wednesday night over Washington runner-up Yoshihito Nishioka in thrilling fashion, eventually prevailing in straights.  Earlier in the day, Norrie advanced comfortably, allowing Botic van de Zandschulp only three games.  Just six days removed from their last encounter, Felix will be eager for revenge, especially at his home country’s biggest event.  But playing at home comes with a lot of pressure, and Auger-Aliassime is only 3-4 in his last seven matches.  Cam is the more in-form player, and should be favored to earn his second win over Felix in less than a week.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Camila Giorgi – Giorgi is the defending champion, and is yet to drop a set through two matches.  Last year in the semifinals of this same event, she defeated Pegula in three.  But overall the American leads their head-to-head 5-2 at all levels, and has twice defeated Camila since that semifinal.

Nick Kyrgios vs. Alex de Minaur – It’s Australian versus Australian, and the Washington champ against the Atlanta champ.  Kyrgios upset world No.1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday, and has now won 13 of his last 14 matches.  De Minaur has already defeated Denis Shapovalov and Grigor Dimitrov this week. 

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia – In typical Swiatek fashion, she required just over an hour to prevail over Ajla Tomljanovic in her opening match.  Haddad Maia eliminated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez on Wednesday, and won 13 straight matches on grass in June.

Bianca Andreescu vs. Qinwen Zheng – Andreescu outlasted Alize Cornet on Wednesday night in a tight three-setter.  Qinwen benefitted from Ons Jabeur’s retirement due to abdominal pain during their second round matchup. 


Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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