Wimbledon: Djokovic battles past Dimitrov for a 2nd straight final - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon: Djokovic battles past Dimitrov for a 2nd straight final

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – Novak Djokovic once again showed true grit when his back was up against the wall and the momentum seemed to be shifted well out of his reach. The 6-time major champion fought hard against the young tenacious spirit of Grigor Dimitrov to reach his third Wimbledon final. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Results, Order of Play, Draws and Interviews from The Championships

Novak Djokovic once again showed true grit when his back was up against the wall and the momentum seemed to be shifted well out of his reach. The 6-time major champion fought hard against the young tenacious spirit of Grigor Dimitrov to reach his third Wimbledon final. Djokovic did well to win this match 6-4 3-6 7-62 7-67 in just over 3 hours as there were moments when Dimitrov looked like he was going to be in his first major final. Although this was not an epic match by any stretch of the imagination, it was however, a match that showed two great competitors battling their hardest for a highly desired prize. They slipped and slid across Centre Court defending points as though life depended on it. In the end, it would be Djokovic left standing on top displaying even more so why he would be one of the sport’s legends.

Dimitrov served to open the match and was showing himself to be up to the challenge of taking another top player. He kept it even till the 5th game when the Bulgarian played a most sloppy game and was broken at love. Therefore, instead of him going up 3-2, it was Djokovic who would serve for a 4-2 lead. Djokovic maintained this lead and served out the set 6-4 in 27 minutes. Djokovic carried this momentum into the 2nd set as he broke Dimitrov and went up 3-1. However, Dimitrov finally got his act together and reeled off 5 straight games to take the set 6-3. Now the match was even. Djokovic was looking baffled and beside himself. Nearly all this matches here at this year’s Wimbledon seemed to involve him “complicating” his life and this was no different.

In the 3rd set, things remained on serve although Djokovic had to save a break point in the middle of the set. It seemed that Dimitrov had the momentum in the match and he was going to take the breaker. However, in the breaker, Dimitrov fizzled as Djokovic earned the minibreak to go up 4-2. Then Dimitrov double faulted to give Djokovic a 5-2 lead with two serves to close it out. Djokovic did not muck about as he did earlier in the set. With the lead in hand and two serves, he closed out the breaker 7-2 points to take the set 7-62.

In the 4th set, even at 1-1, Dimitrov played one of the most inexplicable games seen this tournament. He threw in three consecutive double faults and then on a 2nd serve point, he pushed the forehand long to be broken at love. Djokovic not to be outdone by this bizarre play, allowed himself to be broken immediately to get back on serve 2-2. The match stayed even on terms as both players fought off several break points to force another tiebreaker.

Dimitrov who had set point in the 10th game, rebounded from the missed opportunity to earn himself 3 more set points up 6-3 in the breaker. Djokovic came up with the big serves to erase two of those set points. It was now 6-5 Dimitrov. This match was surely heading to a 5th set. However, it seemed that Dimitrov had other ideas. He played a couple of poor points including double faulting yet again which now saw him down match point; from 6-3 Dimitrov to 7-6 Djokovic. Djokovic then decided foolishly to serve and volley on match point and sure enough it was now 7-7. Djokovic would earn a 2nd match point 8-7. It was now Dimitrov’s turn to act silly down match point. He too tried the serve and volley ploy at such a crucial stage but Djokovic read it and picked off the easy forehand pass for the win 6-4 3-6 7-6 7-6.

It would be hard to pick apart this match from the statistics. Both men served relatively well. Djokovic won 73% of his 1st serve points and 56% of his 2nd serve. Dimitrov won 82% of his 1st serve and 45% of his 2nd serve. There was not much separating them in the winners to errors ratio as Djokovic had 45 winners to 26 errors and Dimitrov 48 to 33. However, the key to this match was really both players not capitalizing on their opportunities to take full control of the match. There were many instances where either player when out in front, lose focus and allowed his opponent back into the match. Dimitrov double faulting at inopportune times, 8 in total for the match, would be what he will take away from this match. Djokovic, after the match stated, “I was frustrated because I, again, allowed my opponent to come back to the match. I was a set and a break up and, again, made some unforced errors and gave my opponent today a hope that he can win the match. That’s something that I definitely cannot allow myself in the finals against Roger.” Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the men’s final on Sunday. The two played here once before in the 2012 semifinals. Federer won that match went on to win the title.

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REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

UPDATE*

Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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