Roland Garros: Home crowd delighted as Monfils beat Fognini - UBITENNIS
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Roland Garros: Home crowd delighted as Monfils beat Fognini

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TENNIS ROLAND GARROS – Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils had only met five times prior to their 3rd round encounter at the French Open and already the rivalry between the two is notorious. It seems that whenever these two meet, the stars, the moon and the earth all aligns for this perfect synergy of madness, mischief, mayhem and mockery of the sport of tennis. This 6th meeting was no difference as Monfils came through in 5 sets 5-7 6-2 6-4 0-6 6-2. Cordell Hackshaw

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

Italian Fabio Fognini (14) and Gael Monfils (23) of France had only met five times prior to their 3rd round encounter at the French Open and already the rivalry between the two is notorious. Its noteworthiness unfortunately is based on matters not specifically related to actual tennis play. Fognini leads the head to head 3-2. These two playing each other is nothing remarkable in light of the major rivalries at the top of the sport. Both players are struggling to live up to the huge promise that followed them from the junior tour particularly Monfils. However, it seems that whenever these two meet, the stars, the moon and the earth all aligns for this perfect synergy of madness, mischief, mayhem and mockery of the sport of tennis. This 6th meeting was no difference as Monfils came through in 5 sets 5-7 6-2 6-4 0-6 6-2. Much would be said about this match but for certain it would not be for the quality and/or the outstanding play from either player.

For the first 3 games of the match, neither player held serve. Then Fognini consolidated the break to go up 3-1. Monfils then held serve and broke his opponent to get back on serve 3-3. This became the pattern of play for the set as both player broke and held serve only to be broken thereafter. Monfils denied Fognini early set points at 5-3 to prolong to the set. It was not until the 12th game when Fognini having broken Monfils for the 4th time in the set, held serve to take it 7-5. The overall pattern of play in the match was bizarre. Monfils, a physically more imposing specimen than Fognini, was the one being pushed behind the baseline and Fognini the one dominating in the forecourt. Monfils made very little attempt to construct points on court. He simply hit the ball back to wherever Fognini was standing and hoped the Italian would be the one to make the error.

The 2nd set saw both players on serve until the 6th game when Monfils went on a 4 game winning stretch taking 15 of the next 20 points. Fognini appeared to have lost interest in the match and lost it 2-6. It was not so much so he was making unforced errors as oppose to simply making “on purpose” errors. He had 18 errors in that set alone compared to 6 from Monfils who simply had to keep the ball in play to win points. The 3rd set was of a slightly better quality as each player was initially broken in his opening service game but then then held serve for 4-4. Fognini had 2 break points to serve for the set 5-4 but Monfils muscled through and was the one up 5-4. Again Fognini simply showed little interest in the set at the tail end stage of it as he almost wilfully gifted the 10th game and the 3rd set to Monfils 6-4.

Not to be outdone by this lack of sportsmanship, Monfils decided to give the 4th set to Fognini. Monfils put forth the minimum necessary to appear to just be trying as he dropped the set 0-6. He won 6 of the 30 points played in the set. He would later say quite unabashedly after the match that dropping the set at love was the only way he thought he could ensure that he would serve first in the decisive 5th set. This tactic proved to be “wise” as the Frenchman saved two break points in the opening game to then break Fognini at love and raced to a 3-0 lead. This was not before Fognini is given a point penalty for throwing his racquet that almost hit a ball boy. Fognini got back on serve at 2-3 but was again broken to go down 2-4. Like in the 2nd and 3rd set, Fognini simply could not have cared less about the set and he was broken at love with four wilful forehand “errors” to hand Monfils the match 5-7 6-2 6-4 0-6 6-2. Nonetheless Fognini would say later of the match, “I play great. I play epic match there, and I feel great. I feel great…You know, I’m happy about my tennis. I’m not happy, of course, because I lost, but this is the sport.” His statements are rather difficult to comprehend considering everything within that match and the fact that he had 43 winners in the match to 81 errors.

What added an even more unfortunate element to this match beyond the fact that the players were calling out the trainers for no physical reason other than to upset the momentum shifts, was the fact that the crowd was very much a factor in this match. The French crowd obviously supporting their countryman showed Fognini no respect at all. After winning the opening set, the crowd barely registered all applause for his effort, which was unfortunate because Fognini was then, playing the better brand of tennis. Then things got progressively worst. Fognini was screaming at them and they were booing him and finally in the end, Fognini upon losing the match gave the crowd a middle finger salute. Not once they did get on either player for what was clearly “tanking” during the match. Chair Umpire, Carlos Bernades also failed to address this matter.

Also a weird security issue arose as a young fan came onto the court at the end of the match and was attempting to get Monfils’ attention. Monfils mostly ignored him and so did the security personnel. All this seemed difficult to do as the boy was within touching distance of Monfils. This level of nonsense hardly seems befitting a tournament of this caliber. One can only hope that the ITF noted these blaring issues that came to light during this match. These sorts of antics really turn away true fans from this wonderful sport.

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Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the doubles tournament in London

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Former ATP Finals champions Jean Julien Rojer from the Netherlands and Horia Tecau from Romania beat 2019 year-end number 1 team Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-2 5-7 10-8 after 90 minutes in Max Mirnyi Group of the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London.

 

Tecau broke serve with a backhand crosscourt winner to take a 3-1 lead in the opening set. The Romanian player went up a double break with a backhand crosscourt winner at 5-2 to seal the opening set after 28 minutes.

Cabal and Farah did not convert any of their break points in the ninth game of the second set before breaking serve for the first time in the match two games later to claim the second set 7-5 forcing the match to the decisive set.

Rojer and Tecau went up a 6-2 lead in the Match Tie-Break. Cabal and Farah won four consecutive points to draw level to 6-6. Rojer and Tecau rallied from 7-8 down by winning three consecutive points to claim the Match Tie-Break 10-8.

Rojer and Tecau have now a 1-1 record in Group Max Mirnyi. The Dutch and Romanian team took the re-match against Cabal and Farah, who won their previous head-to-head clash in five sets at Wimbledon en route to their maiden Grand Slam doubles title.

“I am happy with our form. We lost the first match and knew we would need to bounce back against a very good team. We played a very good first set, prior to them making adjustments in the second set. We played a really good Match tie-break”, said Rojer.

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Wimbledon Finalist Tomas Berdych To Retire

Details have been released about a ‘special announcement’ being made by the former world No.4 later this week.

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LONDON: It has been confirmed that Tomas Berdych will travel to London where he is expected to formally announce his retirement from tennis at the age of 34.

 

The former world No.4 will address his future in the sport during a media engagement at the ATP Finals on Saturday. An event he has played six times during his career with his last appearance being back in 2015. News of Berdych’s upcoming departure was first reported by the Czech newspaper Blesk, who contacted his father.

“I think it will be a great end on Saturday,” Blesk quoted Martin Berdych as saying.

In the aftermath of the media report, Berdych took to social media to confirm that he will be making an announcement. Although he did not specify as to what it will be. The Czech hasn’t played on the tour since his first-round loss at the US Open due to injury. Overall, he has only managed to play 22 matches this season. Winning 13 of them.

“Hey guys, if you want a surprise don’t watch any media or social networks, but I know it is impossible these days,” Berdych said in a video uploaded to his Twitter account. “I know, these little mistakes happen.”
“I had it planned as a little surprise on Saturday where I’m going to be in London. But now it’s not even possible because it is all over (the news). It’s fine, more information is going to come on Saturday.” He added.

Speculation about Berdych’s retirement from the sport began to gain momentum in September following an interview with idnes.cz. Where he opened up about his struggles with both back and hip injuries.

Playing during the same era as the prestigious big Three of the sport (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer), Berdych still managed to establish himself as one of the tour’s top players during his career. Winning 13 ATP titles in 32 finals he played in, including the 2005 Paris Masters. Berdych remains the youngest player in history to win a Masters 1000 title. He also finished seven consecutive seasons inside the world’s top 10 (2010-2016) and managed to remain inside the top 100 for an impressive 794 weeks (2004-2019).

Should Berdych retire on Saturday, he ends his career with 640 wins. Including 53 against top 10 opposition. He has featured in 61 grand slam main draws with his stand out performance being a run to the final of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships.

Berdych has earned $29,491,328 in prize money. The ninth highest amount in the history of men’s tennis (as of 11th November 2019).

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 4 Preview: Medvedev Seeks Revenge Against Nadal

After a day of upsets in the Andre Agassi Group on Monday, will the surprises continue today?

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sascha Zverev were both 0-5 respectively against Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal, yet both were victorious in the opening round.  Tsitsipas and Zverev will now compete to take the lead in the group, while Nadal and Medvedev compete the keep their advancement hopes alive. And for Rafa, the year-end No.1 ranking is also up for grabs between himself and Novak Djokovic.

 

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Daniil Medvedev (4)

This is a rematch from the epic US Open final two months ago.  On that day in New York, Nadal was up two sets and a break, seemingly cruising to his 19th Major singles title.  But Medvedev would fight his way back to even the match, eventually succumbing to Rafa in a five-set, five-hour thriller.  Since that final, Nadal has battled multiple injuries, and has not completed any event he’s entered. Meanwhile the US Open was one of six straight consecutive finals for Medvedev, yet he’s now 0-2 over the past month.  Both Nadal and Medvedev admitted they were not at their best on Monday. Rafa is obviously not back to 100% after the abdominal injury he suffered in Paris less than two weeks ago. Jim Courier on Tennis Channel in the US said he’s never seen Nadal hit his forehand worse than he did on Monday.  And after taking some time off after his six straight finals, Medvedev has been struggling to rediscover his form, and said he’s been playing poorly in practice. Their only other previous match was also this summer, when Rafa dominated Daniil in the Rogers Cup final, dropping only three games. But judging by Rafa’s level against Zverev on Monday, I like Medvedev’s chances on an indoor hard court to secure his first win over Nadal.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) vs. Sascha Zverev (7)

This will be their fifth career meeting, with all of them occurring within the past 18 months.  Zverev claimed their first matchup last summer in Washington, but Tsitsipas has taken the last three, including most recently just last month in Beijing.  Their rivalry turned in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup last August, when Stefanos saved two match points in the second set tiebreak to come back and upset Sascha in three.  Tsitsipas has now won six of their last seven sets contested. While Zverev has been a better player since the Laver Cup in September, and served very well against Nadal on Monday, Sascha is still not quite at the level he reached a year ago when he won this event.  And Tsitsipas has been the much more confident competitor of the two throughout this year. Based on their head-to-head history and recent form, Tsitsipas should be favored to remain undefeated in the Andre Agassi Group. 

 

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