Murray outclasses Monfils in a non-thrilling 5 setter - UBITENNIS
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Murray outclasses Monfils in a non-thrilling 5 setter

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TENNIS – Andy Murray was facing Gael Monfils for a place in the French Open semifinal. This is the major where Murray has most struggled to assert himself but conversely where Monfils has had his most success. Both players have made it to the semifinal round once before and very eager for a second trip. Cordell Hackshaw

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Andy Murray (7) was facing Gael Monfils (23) for a place in the French Open semifinal. This is the major where Murray has most struggled to assert himself but conversely where Monfils has had his most success. Both players have made it to the semifinal round once before and very eager for a second trip. The match had all the makings of a Davis Cup tie with the French crowd clearly supporting their last player in the singles draw. However, it turned out to be a letdown not just for French fans but for tennis fans all around. The match had highs and lows, ebbs and flows and then it simply flatlined. In the near dead of darkness, Murray dispatched of Monfils 6-4 6-1 4-6 1-6 6-0.

Murray took an early lead with 3-0 lead in the first set. He denied Monfils the chance of the early break to maintain the lead. However, the Frenchman would break in the 5th game and then hold serve to get things even 3-3. They held serve until the 10th game when Murray showing his trademark defensive skills, outlasted Monfils in a 34-shot rally to break him and take the set 6-4. In the 2nd set, it seemed as though Monfils went away completely until the final moments when facing triple set points for a 0-6 set, he decided to get on the scoreboard. Monfils held serve and forced Murray to serve it out. Murray would require a further 5 more set points in order to close out the set and take a 2-0 set advantage 6-4 6-1.

The French crowd began to thin out as they felt there was no point sticking around watching this losing effort from Monfils. They had all reason to feel this way as at the beginning of the 3rd set, Monfils still seemed disinterested in the match as he was facing 2 break points. However, perhaps it was sensing the waning supporting from the crowd or perhaps his own ego, Monfils became heavily invested in the match. He saved those early break points and held serve to stay ahead 1-0. Monfils began to play to the crowd. He elicited their support to spur him on in the match and soon it was Murray who was having trouble holding serve. Monfils maintained the slight lead in front at 5-4 and forced Murray to serve to stay in the set. Murray’s self-confidence began to waver as he was the one making the unnecessary errors. In the end he would net the backhand and now Monfils had a hold in the match as he took the 3rd set 6-4. “I’m just happy I waited and I was patient, because in the beginning the conditions were very difficult. There was a lot of wind, and in these conditions Andy’s much stronger than I am.” Monfils said to explain his slow start.

It was almost like watching a role reversal as Murray began playing like Monfils did in the beginning of the match and Monfils like Murray. The Scotsman could hardly gain a foothold in the points. He was being forced to retrieve instead of dictating play as he preferred. His shots missed by miles and his shot selections were questionable and proved to be costly and he was down 1-4 in the 4th set and serving to stop the bleeding. Murray would later offer up this assessment of the match thus far, “[A]t the start of the match I was the one dictating all of the points. The third set I was still dictating a fair amount of them. But in the fourth set,…he put me on the defensive that whole set. So I was having to do most of the running. I don’t know exactly why,…he raised his level significantly in the third set. The fourth set, my level definitely dropped in the fourth a bit.” Murray went on to be broken in the 6th game and Monfils served out the set 6-1 and forced the match to be decided in a 5th set.

Now by this time, the crowds were beside themselves as it looked like Monfils could take this match. Murray appeared to be listless on court perhaps because he spent the most time on court than all the other quarterfinalists. There was also the added issue of the late hour which was making it difficult to see the ball. The tournament referee came out on court and asked players whether they wanted to play and this caused a bit of reaction from the crowd as they wanted the match to continue as the momentum was clearly with Monfils. However, they would get their wish but that momentum simply went dead. In what can be describe in no other words than a complete capitulation, Monfils lost the next six games winning a total of 7 points in the entire set. There is not much one can say about the set other than Murray simply had to put the ball in play and watch Monfils commit error after error. Murray would only need the minimum 24 points needed to win a set. Murray was at a lost as to what happened, “[T]he way that he played the last three or four games, yeah, for me it was unexpected, because his level in the third and fourth sets was extremely high.” Murray moved through to his second French Open semifinal slot to play Rafael Nadal (1) 6-4 6-1 4-6 1-6 6-0 in 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Monfils went from dropping four points of serve in the 4th set to only winning 4 points on serve in the 5th set. He himself had no real explanation for his poor performance towards the end of the match, “I think I played a good first game. I think it was 1530. Then everything happened very fast. I missed a few shots, and I don’t know. I don’t really know what happened…I start to miss a lot of balls…Very strange…[I]t was dark, but I really wanted to finish tonight, because I knew that he was not in great shape. I felt better. Maybe that’s why I was a bit rushed in attacking him. I’m very frustrated.” He would also mention his lack of maturity in these situations and the need for him to work harder to take his talent to the next level. All in all, one hopes that Monfils find this balance and really start producing the sort of tennis his immense talents suggest.

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Daniil Medvedev Backs Djokovic’s Refusal To Disclose Vaccination Status

The Russian shares his view about comments made by Djokovic to a Serbian newspaper earlier this week.

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Daniil Medvedev (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

US Open champion Daniil Medvedev says he agrees with Novak Djokovic that players shouldn’t be forced to disclose information about their medical history amid speculation over the vaccination status of the world No.1.

 

During a recent interview with Blic newspaper Djokovic refused to reveal whether or not he had been jabbed against COVID-19 which has raised questions over his ability to participate in next year’s Australian Open. According to a government minister, It is expected that only fully vaccinated players will be allowed to enter the country but an official confirmation is yet to be issued. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has hit out at the media over what he believes has been an unfair portrayal of those who have some reservations about the vaccine. Djokovic, who contracted COVID-19 last year, had previously said he didn’t want to be in a situation where he would be forced to have a vaccination.

“There is a lot of division in the society, not only in sports, but in the whole society, between those who have not been vaccinated and have been vaccinated. And that’s really scary. That we fell for discriminating against someone if he wants to decide for himself one way or another, whether he wants to be vaccinated or not,” he told Blic.
“It’s really…I am very disappointed with the world society at this moment and the way in which the media transmit and put pressure on all people. There is too much ambiguity, too much information that is not valid, so it turns out that it is, so it is not, everything changes a lot.”

Medvedev, who beat Djokovic in this year’s US Open final, says ‘likes’ the view of his peer. Speaking to reporters at the Kremlin Cup on Thursday, the world No.2 also said he would not be disclosing his vaccination status publicly. Medvedev was due to Moscow this week but withdrew due to fatigue.

“I liked what Novak said about this. He said the vaccination was a personal matter and he would not be making it public. And I also decided not to disclose medical things,” he said.
“As for Australia: there everyone will see who is vaccinated and who is not. Of course, the players can say that they are injured, but this will be a play on words.’
“I want to play in Australia, that’s all I can say.” He added.

According to Djokovic, Tennis Australia are set to confirm their rules for players wanting to play at the Australian Open at some stage next month.

So far this season Medvedev has won 50 matches and four trophies on the ATP Tour. Besides the US Open, he was also victorious at Marseille, Mallorca and Canada. Earlier this year he became the first player outside of the Big Four to crack the world’s top two since Lleyton Hewitt back in 2005.

The next couple of weeks will be a challenge for the Russian who will be aiming to defend his title at both the Paris Masters and ATP Finals. Looking further ahead, he hopes to one day dethrone Djokovic at the top of the rankings.

“The goal is to win more Slams, become world №1 and be in the top for many more years. For this I train and will continue to do it with even greater dedication,” Medvedev stated. “But again, the main goal is to improve and be demanding of yourself. It’s impossible to win everything, no one won 60 matches in a row, but if you play well, there will be victories.”

However, one obstacle in Medvedev’s way continues to be the Big Three who are a trio made up of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer that has dominated the men’s Tour in recent years.

“Like everything in life, their dominance will also pass,” he commented. “Roger and Rafa finished the season early, they had injuries, they didn’t play the US Open, that’s a fact. But still, out of the last 20 “slams” 17 or 18 were taken by those three guys. The three of them are the greatest tennis players in history. Due to the fact that they are getting old, it became a little easier for us to play with them, in this regard we were lucky.”

Medvedev is currently 1800 points behind Djokovic in the ATP rankings.

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Andy Murray Blasts Own Performance Following Antwerp Exit

The Brit was far from happy about his latest match in Austria.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/EuroTennisOpen)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray said he had a ‘poor attitude’ during his second round defeat at the European Open on Thursday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion was knocked out of the tournament in straight sets by second seed Diego Schwartzman who prevailed 6-4, 7-6(6). Murray started the match on good footing by opening up a 4-1 lead before losing five games in a row. The second set was a closer encounter between the two as they exchanged breaks before the Agretianian edged his way to the victory in the tiebreak.

“Mentally, today (Thursday) I was poor,” Murray told reporters after the match. “My attitude was poor on the court and those are two things you can control. If they’re not there, that also will make the decision-making harder.
“You’re not going to get every single one (decision) right in the match, but you also have to be present enough to acknowledge what is actually happening in the points and why you are winning and losing points.”

It was in Antwerp two years ago where Murray won his last Tour title by defeating Stan Wawrinka in the final. Since then it has been a frustrating journey for the Brit who now plays with a metal hip and has also been troubled by other issues over the past year. His win-loss for the season currently stands at 12-11 and he has only reached the quarter-final stage at one event which was in Metz. Murray also reached the third round at both Wimbledon and Indian Wells.

Outlining his plans for the rest of the year, Murray has confirmed that he will play in both Vienna and Stockholm. He also has his sight set on the Paris Masters where he could enter into the qualifying draw if he doesn’t receive a wildcard. Murray is currently ranked 172nd in the world.

“There’ll be a decision on the final Paris wildcard on Monday, but I might even play the qualis there,” he said. “Sport is a results business. Play well or poorly doesn’t really matter if you lose matches. You need to be winning. That’s what I want in the last few tournaments. They are really strong tournaments and there are no guarantees the results will come, but I want to win more matches.”

Meanwhile, Schwartzman will take on America’s Brandon Nakashima in the quarter-finals on Friday. This week the 29-year-old is seeking only his second Tour title on a hardcourt and his first since the 2019 Los Cabos Open in Mexico.

“It was a pleasure to play against Andy,” Schwartzman said in his on-court interview. “We had not played before and he is coming back and every week he is playing better and moving better. I have a lot of respect because when I grew up playing tennis, I was watching Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Andy and Novak [Djokovic] and right now playing against him, is a pleasure for me.”

Schwartzman is one of only three seeded players to make it through to the last eight along with Jannik Sinner and Lloyd Harris.

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New British No.1 Cameron Norrie Inspired By Compatriot Raducanu

The Indian Wells champion believes Raducanu’s triumph will trigger a new generation of players in the country.

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Cameron Norrie ad Indian Wells 2021 (Credits: @BNPPARIBASOPEN on Twitter)

Cameron Norrie says he drew inspiration from Emma Raducanu prior to winning the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

 

The world No.16 stunned the men’s field at the tournament where he had never won a main draw match prior to this year. Norrie defeated Diego Schwartzman, Grigor Dimitrov and Nikoloz Basilashvili to become the first player from his country to win the prestigious title. The run has resulted in him achieving a series of career milestones. After claiming his maiden Masters 1000 title, Norrie has broken into the world’s top 20 for the first time this week and has overtaken Dan Evans to become British No.1.

Norrie credits Raducanu’s US Open run for inspiring him and believes her success is ‘huge for British tennis.’ The 18-year-old became the first qualifier in history to win a major title in New York as she won 10 matches in a row without dropping a set. Her victories include wins over top 20 players Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari.

“That was utterly incredible what she did in New York. To come through qualifying and then to go out and just whack every opponent that she had,” he told Sky Sports.
“She won in straight sets and to do that at such a young age. To do it with that kind of confidence and come out and own every match was extremely impressive.
“It will definitely give the girls around her ranking where she was before the US Open a lot of confidence and a lot of belief.
“I was inspired by her triumph in New York. It’s huge for British tennis. I think for sure it’s going to put a lot of rackets in hand for the next generation of younger boys and girls to start playing tennis at home in the UK.”

Norrie himself is currently in the midst of what has been a breakout season for the 26-year-old who was a former top-ranked player in the US during his college years. He ties Novak Djokovic for most appearances in a Tour final this season at six. Three of those finals were on a hardcourt, two on the clay and one on grass. He won his maiden Tour title in July at the Los Cabos Open. Norrie has also scored multiple wins over top 10 players this season for the first time in his career – beating Dominic Thiem in Lyon and Andrey Rublev in San Diego.

“I want to get to world No 1, that’s the ultimate goal. Everyone on my team has the same target. Clearly it’s extremely difficult to do, and there’s a long road ahead. But we set high expectations and we’re going to strive towards them.” Norrie told The Telegraph earlier this week.

Norrie enters the final stretch of the 2021 season with 47 match wins to his name and is within contention of qualifying for the ATP Finals. To put that into perspective, since its inception in 1970 only three British players has ever participated in the event.

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