Roland Garros: Ernests Gulbis stuns Roger Federer in the 4th round - UBITENNIS
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Roland Garros: Ernests Gulbis stuns Roger Federer in the 4th round

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TENNIS ROLAND GARROS – Gulbis ignored all talk about this match and clearly stated that he had a game plan and felt capable of beating the all-time major winner. For those who might have earlier seen this talk as cockiness and over confidence are now forced to commend the Latvian on his convincing dismissal of Federer in 5 sets 6-7 7-6 6-2 4-6 6-3. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

When the men’s draw came out, many thought that the potential Roger Federer (4) v Ernest Gulbis (18) match up had the makings of an upset. Some doubted that Gulbis, known for his dramatic flare ups on the court, would be “mature” enough to score such a huge upset at this major tournament. However, Gulbis ignored all talk about this match and clearly stated that he had a game plan and felt capable of beating the all-time major winner. For those who might have earlier seen this talk as cockiness and over confidence are now forced to commend the Latvian on his convincing dismissal of Federer in 5 sets 6-7 7-6 6-2 4-6 6-3. Gulbis summed up this win by saying, “[F]or my confidence and just for me as a tennis player, a fiveset win over Roger Federer, it’s really big…If you see the rankings, you see everything. It’s a big upset. It’s a big win for me.”

Federer’s fans would have noticed that he was off; well off from the start in fact. Throughout much of the match, Federer was playing from the back of the court and Gulbis was the one dictating play. Federer would later state, “[I]t was a tough match and I’m disappointed I lost it…I’m not mad, but I’m not happy, either. Because I missed too many opportunities. I did not play like I wanted to play.” Federer began making careless errors in the opening service game giving Gulbis an easy hold. Gulbis too sensed this general unease about the Federer game today; “Yeah, but he’s also a human being, you know…he’s Roger Federer, but he also gets tight.” Federer up 40-15 in the 5th game, missed an easy overhead to be broken but he broke back to remain on serve 3-3. There were no more breaks of serve and the set was forced into a tiebreaker. Federer was only slightly better there than Gulbis but it was enough to take the 1st set 7-6(5).

Federer missed another easy overhead to be broken in the first game of the 2nd set but broke back immediately. He seemed to have raised the level of game as he began constructing points more effectively on court and broke Gulbis again in the 8th game to serve for it 5-3. Mr. Federer was up 40-0; triple set points in hand and then simply collapsed. Gulbis spoke of this moment later on: “There I was lucky, I have to say. I was really lucky then. In the second set he had a smash and I guess the place, the place where he could…I don’t know, I guess I just didn’t move a lot. I stayed in one place. He smashed right onto me. So, yeah, that was a bit lucky.” Gulbis seized upon this distracted Federer and broke him to stay alive in the set. Federer barely managed to get it to a tiebreaker where he lost it 3 points to 7. Gulbis clearly had the momentum and took that with him into the 3rd set where he simply dominated the 2009 French Open champion.

Within an hour time, Federer moved from having points for a 7-6 6-3 lead to being down 7-6 6-7 2-6. It seemed almost like a doppelgänger was on court pretending to be Federer. He even went for a showboating shot between the leg winner. However, Gulbis was not allowing any trick shots at his expense on his watch. Of all the sets in the match, the 3rd set was the most damning for Federer. Despite getting 80% first serves in, he only won 60% of the points and 20% on his second serve. He committed 12 errors to 10 winners. He had no chances to break the Gulbis’s serve which was in peak performance at this point in the match. Gulbis, on the other hand won 71% of his first serve points and 83% behind his 2nd serve. He had 9 winners but only 2 errors. He was 2/2 on break points. “Ernests was also doing a good job of keeping the pace up on his serve and also trying to play aggressive with his backhand from the baseline,” Federer stated.

In the 4th set, vintage Federer appeared. He was definitely constructing points far better than the previous sets as well as getting deeper more penetrating shots into the court. He would break Gulbis twice to serve for the set 5-2. However, Gulbis took a medical time out at this time for “lower back” issues and went off court for several minutes. He returned rejuvenated. He went on a 8-1 points run breaking Federer and holding serve in the process. Federer looked befuddled and flat during this run. The crowd and viewers suspected poor gamesmanship on the part of the Latvian. Gulbis explained this seemingly ‘unusual phenomenon’, “I don’t like to see it that way. I like to see I went for my shots and I made winners. If you see those two games, I was really aggressive on my return, and I just went for the shots.” Federer eventually closed out the set 6-4 and forced the match to a decisive 5th set.

The 5th set would prove not to be an epic thriller as it was between Andy Murray and Philipp Kohlschreiber earlier on the day for it was “done and dusted” in the opening game when Federer was broken. He never recovered from this blow. Gulbis remained solid on serve winning 93% of his first serve in the set, never facing a break point in the set. Federer’s backhand went wide down match point and with that, Gulbis goes through to the quarterfinal with a 6-7 7-6 6-2 4-6 6-3 victory. Gulbis finally revealed his game plan for the Federer game: “I had more or less the clear game plan, you know. I had to play on his backhand, you know. And from backhand he makes these unforced errors.” Gulbis equals his best ever performance in a major as he made it to the quarterfinals here in Paris back in 2008.

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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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