Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 7th of July 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 7th of July 2014

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TENNIS BITS & PIECES – Victoria Duval has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Li Na splits with her coach. The Bryan brothers are stuck at 98. Miami Open changes sponsor. Nole is now qualified for the ATP Finals and who is playing where this week. Joshua Bosco

 

Victoria Duval

Victoria Duval, 18 year old American who makes her debut in the Top 100 today after reaching the second round of Wimbledon as a qualifier, released a statement through her management company on Friday saying she had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The player revealed she received the news after her first round of qualifying at the grass-court Slam but decided against withdrawing. She went on to qualify for the first time at Wimbledon and also win a first round match against Sorana Cirstea, before losing to Swiss rising star Belinda Bencic in straight sets.

Fortunately it looks like the cancer was caught in its early stages and the prognosis is for a full recovery within a couple of months, according to IMG. The American youngster is the third player to have been diagnosed with the disease in the last four years, after Alisa Kleybanova in 2011 and Ross Hutchins in 2013. Both players then made a successful return to the courts, so we hope for a safe and speedy recovery for Duval.

Li Na splits with coach

On Thursday it was announced that World No. 2 Li Na and coach Carlos Rodriguez had parted ways after nearly two years of collaboration.

The official reason behind the split is that Rodriguez is no longer able to travel around the world with the player as he needs to spend more time at his Beijing-based tennis academy.

Li Na will now try and regain her form and confidence in time for the US Open, which starts on August 25th, after two shocking defeats at Roland Garros (1st round) and Wimbledon (3rd round).

Bryans stuck at 98

The Bryan brothers were denied a 16th Grand Slam title and 99th overall title together on Saturday when they were defeated by unseeded Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock, who were playing together for the first time in their career.

The American doubles legends, who are now 3-4 in Wimbledon finals, will have to win at the US Open in order to keep alive their nine year streak of winning at least one Grand Slam tournament per season.

Sony leaves Miami Open

According to reports, electronics giant Sony has decided against the renewal of its agreement as main sponsors for the Miami Masters. Even though the tech firm is considering staying connected with the Masters and Mandatory Premier event in other ways, the tournament will go by the name Miami Open until it finds a new title sponsor.

It also looks like clothing line Fila opted out of its sponsorship because the tournament is asking $900,000, three times more than their previous agreement.

Djokovic qualifies for ATP World Tour Finals

After reaching the final at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic has become the second player to qualify for the World Tour Finals which will take place at the O2 Arena in London in November. Djokovic joins Nadal who qualified after winning his ninth Roland Garros title last month.

After reaching his ninth final at Wimbledon Roger Federer is 1230 points shy of automatic qualification, while Stan Wawrinka is safely in fourth position and Berdych in fifth. It remains to be seen who will take the last three spots with less than 600 points separating sixth placed Grigor Dimitrov and eleventh placed Milos Raonic with Murray, Nishikori, Ferrer and Gulbis sitting in the middle.

Who’s playing where

While many top players are resting after Wimbledon, some of them are eager to get back on court and will divide themselves between ATP tournaments in Bastad, Newport and Stuttgart.

Carlos Berlocq will travel to Bastad to try and defend his 2013 title at the Swedish Open, but will face tough competition from the likes of David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Fernando Verdasco, Jerzy Janowicz and Jeremy Chardy.

Defending champion Nicolas Mahut will play at the 2014 Hall of Fame Tennis Championship in Newport and the Frenchman will be joined by John Isner, Ivo Karlovic, Lleyton Hewitt, Donald Young and Wimbledon doubles champion Jack Sock. Marcos Baghdatis and Sam Querrey have withdrawn before the start of the tournament.

Fabio Fognini will be both defending champion and top seed at the 2014 MercedesCup in Stuttgart, where he will play alongside Mikhail Youzhny, Roberto Bautista Agut, Feliciano Lopez, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Santiago Giraldo. Marcel Granollers and Denis Istomin have withdrawn before the start.

The majority of top women will also take a break before the difficult American swing, but some of them are willing to play a couple of clay-court tournaments in Europe before flying over to the US.

In Bad Gastein, Austria, we will see defending champion Yvonne Meusburger take on seven other Top 50 players: Sara Errani, Carla Suarez Navarro, Andrea Petkovic, Elina Svitolina, Camila Giorgi, Karolina Pliskova and Flavia Pennetta, the top seed, who received a wildcard for the tournament. Wimbledon semifinalist Lucie Safarova withdrew before the start of the International event.

Today sees the start of the first edition of the BRD Bucharest Open, an International tournament which replaces the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest. Local girl Simona Halep is the top seed but she’ll have to battle past some difficult players like Roberta Vinci, Klara Koukalova, Karin Knapp, Annika Beck and Anna Schmiedlova to become the first champion of this Romanian tournament. Vania King and Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova are among the players who withdrew before the start.

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Year-End No.1 Not A Priority For Rafael Nadal, Says Murray

Murray spoke about his rival as he gives a update on his current form.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray believes rival Rafael Nadal is not focusing on the prospect of ending the season as world No.1.

 

Murray spoke about the big three during an extensive interview with The Times. A group compromising of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. The Brit is currently on the comeback from hip resurfacing surgery and recently reached the quarter-finals of the China Open. His best run on the ATP Tour so far this season. Currently ranked 289th in the world, Murray admits that he still has a way to go to the top. However, the 32-year-old is drawing inspiration from some of his rivals.

“If I do get up there, I’m not going to be focusing on ranking targets. You look at what Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal] and I guess Novak [Djokovic], to a certain extent, are doing to give themselves a chance to play longer.” Murray told The Times.
“Right now, Rafa could be fighting to finish number one in the world and it’s not a priority for him. I would like to be competitive in the big events against the best players. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer than I was a month ago, and much closer than a couple of months ago,” he said.

Nadal is currently closing in on the world No.1 spot despite not playing since winning the US Open. On Monday Djokovic’s lead over him will be reduced to 320 points after the Serbian lost in the third round of the Shanghai Masters. Then on November 4th he is guaranteed to return to the top spot before the ATP Finals. Even more significant is that Nadal has no ranking points to defend for the rest of the season compared to 1600 for Djokovic.

Murray’s comments on Nadal echoes what the Spaniard has previously said. During the US Open in September, the king of clay stated that returning to the top was ‘not his main goal’ with his health being top priority.

“I don’t compete for it. I just do my way. If I am able to be No.1 doing it my way, great. But I always say the same: today is not my main goal.” He explained.
“Of course, it’s great to be in that fight. But for me personally, it’s not really a fight. I just try be competitive the weeks that I need to compete, or the weeks that I want to compete.’
“With my age and with my goals, I cannot lose energy or time to follow the No.1. I need to think about my career in a different way.
‘For me, my main goal is play as long as possible and compete, being competitive. Sometimes if you need to follow the No.1, you are going to lose years of your career.”

Nadal is set to return to action in November at the Paris Masters. Meanwhile, Murray returns to the court tomorrow at the European Open where he will play Kimmer Coppejans in the first round.

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Danil Medvedev beats Stefanos Tsitsipas in Shanghai semifinal to reach his sixth consecutive final

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Danil Medvedev reached his ninth final this year and his sixth consecutive title match after beating Greek Next Gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 38 minutes in the semifinal of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

 

The 23-year-old Russian player has now beaten his 21-year-old Greek rival in all their five head-to-head matches. Medvedev has reached his third Masters 1000 final after finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal and winning the Cincinnati final last August. In an impressive hard-court season Medvedev lost the US Open final in five sets against Rafael Nadal and won the indoor tournament in St. Petersburg. Since losing to David Goffin the Moscow player has won 28 of his last 31 matches. He has become the 16th player in the Open Era to reach six consecutive finals.

Medvedev hit 25 winners to 18 unforced errors and saved four of the five break points.

Tsitsipas earned three break points at 4-4 in the opening set. Medvedev saved them with two serves and a forced error from Tsitsipas. The first set came down to the tie-break where both players stayed neck and neck until 5-5. The first 10 points of the tie-break went on serve. Medvedev got the decisive mini-break in the 11th game, when Tsitsipas made a forehand error. Medvedev closed out the first set after a backhand error from Tsitsipas.

In the second set Tsitsipas wasted game points at 1-1. Medvedev got the break in the third game of the second set with a backhand down the line winner. He consolidated the break by holding his serve with three service winners. Tsitsipas broke back at 15, when Medvedev was serving for the match. Medvedev broke for the second time in the 11th game with a forehand return before sealing the win in the 12th game with three service winners. Medvedev has become the 13th player since 1990 to reach three consecutive Masters 1000 finals.

“I think it’s a great achievement. I am proud of myself. Hopefully I can get the win tomorrow. It’s actually quite crazy. Here I had a lot of opportunities. to lose sets. I was close to losing a lot of them, especially with Vasek Pospisil with five set points. I think that’s also the confidence and the dynamic I am going through”, said Medvedev.

Tsitsipas was bidding to reach his second consecutive final after finishing runner-up to Dominic Thiem in Beijing.

 

 

 

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Alexander Zverev beats Roger Federer in Shanghai to reach his eighth Masters 1000 semifinal

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Alexander Zverev battled past Roger Federer 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes to reach his eighth Masters 1000 semifinal and the first since Shanghai last year.

 

The German star has moved up to seventh in the ATP Race to London after reaching two consecutive semifinals in Beijing and Shanghai and has a good chance to qualify for his third consecutive ATP Finals.

Zverev hit 43 winners (including 17 aces) to 23 unforced errors and faced three just three break points in the entire match. He dropped his serve twice and broke four times.

Zverev did not convert five match points in the final stages of the second set.

Zverev dropped three points in his service games and hit 11 winners to 6 unforced errors. The Hamburg native earned a break at 3-2 and held his next service games to close out the first set with four service winners in the ninth game after 27 minutes.

Both Federer and Zverev traded breaks in the second and third games of the second set and held their serve in the next seven games to draw level to 5-5. Zverev broke serve in the 11th game with a forehand winner, when Federer was serving in the 11th game. Zverev wasted three match points on serve in the 12th game and was broken by Federer, who drew level to 6-6 to set up a tie-break.

Federer saved match points at 5-6 and 6-7 in the tie-break and closed out the second set with an ace.

Zverev held at 15 in the first game with a service winner in the first game and broke serve in the second game after a forehand error from Federer.

Zverev held serve at love in the third game to build up a 3-0 lead. He earned two break points in the fourth game, but Federer saved them. The Swiss player fended off another break point at 1-4 with a forehand winner. Zverev held serve at love to build up a 5-2 lead.

Zverev closed out the match with a hold at 15, as he was serving for the match in the ninth game, to set up a semifinal against either Dominic Thiem or Matteo Berrettini.

Zverev adds to his ATP Race to London ranking with 2615 points to take seventh place ahead of  Roberto Bautista Agut.

“Finally starting to kind of play the way I should play, I was really playing really defensive the whole year, and I was not with a lot of confidence. He will always find a way. He will always make it tricky for you like he did today with me, and always got to play your best tennis to have a chance. I knew if I am going to keep playing the way I played the first two sets, I am going to have a chance in the third set as well”, said Zverev after the match.

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