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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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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