Wimbledon: Federer was great, Djokovic was simply better - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon: Federer was great, Djokovic was simply better

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – Roger Federer was simply brilliant. He looked like the player who won seven Wimbledon titles. So how did Federer lose this match? He just happened to be playing a better player on this day. By James Beck

 

Roger Federer was simply brilliant. He looked like the Roger Federer who won seven Wimbledon titles.

The Swiss great couldn’t have played much better. He had plenty of firepower in his strokes and serves, maybe even more than when he was winning this title what seemed like every July.

He moved flawlessly, totally focused on the task. He appeared to be as free as his twin daughters.

Federer Turned Back The Pages Of Time

It was as if Federer had turned back the pages of time and was in his heyday on his favorite court. He was that good.

If you didn’t know the score, you would be telling everyone that Federer had won his eighth Wimbledon title. He was that spectacular. His backhand had the consistency of a machine gun. Simply amazing.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Federer play better, and I believe I have watched all of his finals at Wimbledon.

He abounded with energy. He covered the court as thoroughly as the grass had when this tournament started two weeks earlier.

Djokovic Was Simply A Better Player This Day

How did Federer lose this match?

He just happened to be playing a better player on this day.

Yes, Novak Djokovic also was a player for the ages. He looked almost clumsy at times as he stumbled and fell often.

But that was only because the great mover was moving too quickly when he attempted many of his 180-degree turns.

If Djokovic had been content to move at a slower pace, then Federer indeed probably would have won this Wimbledon title.

Not only was Djokovic’s 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 win over Federer the second Wimbledon title for the Serbian, it was his seventh Grand Slam title.

Tale Of The Grass — Live Dangerously

In the first week, the grass was too green.

In the second week, the grass was too dead.

There was no neutral ground at this Wimbledon.

It was almost like driving an automobile. If you moved/drove too quickly, it was possibly hazardous to your well being.

Djokovic lost his footing and fell so often that it was truly amazing that the Serbian wonder prevailed against Federer.

Even Federer tasted the grass a time or two.

Knight In Shining Armor Shone Brightly

Federer wanted this title so badly. That was obvious.

He realized that the clock is ticking, and he may never get another chance like he had on Centre Court on Sunday. With their hero heading into a fifth set with momentum, Federer lovers the world over had to be feeling pretty good. Their knight in shining armor was definitely shining.

He could sense that this Wimbledon could belong to him very shortly. Oh, how sweet the thoughts of an 18th Grand Slam title.

Eighteen Slams Might Have Put Nadal Away

A title at Wimbledon might have put Federer’s Grand Slam total out of Rafa Nadal’s reach. Federer obviously was well aware of that possibility as he appeared to be heading home at Wimbledon.

As it is, Nadal didn’t play that badly himself at Wimbledon. He just happened to run across a teenager who was on fire to defeat the Spaniard. Nick Kyrgios played awkwardly, looked even more awkward in his movement and strokes, but everything the 6-4 Australian hit seemed to find the court for a winner against Nadal.

And yet, the next day Kyrgios looked like a high school player in the quarterfinals against big Milos Raonic. Kyrgios appeared to give little effort in dropping the last three sets in the four-set match.

Raonic A Sleeping Giant Who Didn’t Wake Up

As meekly as Kyrgios went out in that quarterfinal, Raonic performed maybe at a lower level in a straight-set loss to Federer in the semifinals. Raonic had only his serve. The big Canadian was a sleeping giant who never woke up against Federer.

Raonic slumbered around the court against Federer, looking like he was stuck in the grass.

The odds are pretty good that no one will hear much about Kyrgios until next year’s Australian Open. If he goes to New York, Kyrgios likely will get lost in the crowd.

The broadcasters suggested Kyrgios might be the next great player. That kind of hype might have been his biggest ally at Wimbledon, and apparently Nadal believed it. In retrospect, Kyrgios might have been a flash in the pan.

James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com

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Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?

Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?

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Cincinnati Open, Western and Southern Open, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez
Photo Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.

 

In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.

Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.

“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.

These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.

“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.

Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.

This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.

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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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