Cincinnati: The Men’s semis are set. Federer v Raonic and Ferrer v Benneteau - UBITENNIS
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Cincinnati: The Men’s semis are set. Federer v Raonic and Ferrer v Benneteau

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TENNIS ATP CINCINNATI – The men’s quarterfinals matches at the 2014 Western & Southern Open on Friday proved to be a rather balanced affair. The two earlier matches were rather lopsided and the latter two were heavily contested. Two of the matches were straight sets and two were three set affairs. Cordell Hackshaw

 

The men’s quarterfinals matches at the 2014 Western & Southern Open on Friday proved to be a rather balanced affair. The two earlier matches were rather lopsided and the latter two were heavily contested. Two of the matches were straight sets and two were three set affairs. In the early morning and afternoon sessions, Julien Benneteau took on Stan Wawrinka (3) and Milos Raonic (5) played Fabio Fognini (15). In the evening and night sessions, David Ferrer (6) took on Tommy Robredo (16) and Roger Federer (2) battled Andy Murray (8). Benneteau perhaps the surprised semifinalist here, scored the lone upset so far over a lacklustre Wawrinka in 3 sets, 1-6 6-1 6-2 in 80 minutes. whereas Williams and Raonic both faced opponents who never seemed to get their feet in the match. Benneteau took out Wawrinka 1-6 6-1 6-2 in 80 minutes, Raonic dismantled Fognini 6-1 6-0 in 57 minutes and Ferrer battled it out with Robredo for over 2 hours 6-4 3-6 6-3. Federer fended off a strong charge from Murray to win 6-3 7-5 in 93 minutes.

Wawrinka came out hard and fast against Benneteau who surprisingly leads their head to head 2-1. Within half an hour, Wawrinka had wrapped up the 1st set 6-1. One expected more of the same from Wawrinka in the 2nd set but all his momentum soon evaporated as he was down 0-3 in no time. Wawrinka was able to fight off the early double break but when Benneteau got another chance to break in the 6th game, he converted for 5-1. Benneteau was able to seal the deal with an ace to close out the 2nd set 6-1. In the 3rd set, Benneteau continued his winning ways as again broke early and was soon up 3-1. Wawrinka was only able to win 1 more game as Benneteau with an ace closed the match out 1-6 6-1 6-2. Wawrinka committed 40 errors for the match compared to 27 from the Frenchman. “It’s my best result in a Masters 1000 … You don’t have a lot of opportunities to make a very big result.” Benneteau is in his first Masters Series 1000 semifinal and will play David Ferrer for a place in the final on Sunday.

Ferrer also had to play 3 sets in order to get to the semifinal. Robredo was broken first in the 7th game but he broke back to even it at 4-4. However, Ferrer was not to be denied as he broke Robredo again and served out the 1st set 6-4. Robredo came back strong in the 2nd set as he broke in the 6th game for a 4-2 lead and maintained this lead as he took the 2nd set 6-3. In the 3rd set, the contest was far more even as they remained on serve through the first 7 games. In the 8th game, Robredo could not withstand the relentless defensive skills from Ferrer as the 5th seed, broke for a 5-3 lead. He then served out the match for a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory in just over 2 hours. It was a very even contest but in the end Ferrer was the more consistent player. He had 34 winners to 43 errors compared to his countryman who had 22 winners to 51 errors. After the match, Ferrer spoke about the difficulty playing his friend, “Well, it’s not easy play against a friend … Tommy and I have played a lot of times in our careers. I wish him the best luck for the next tournaments.”

Things were far more straightforward for Raonic as he had the 1st set under his belt 6-1 in about 27 minutes. After the routing, Fognini decided to call the trainer out to have his leg massaged. However, the treatment did not help his cause as Raonic continued his onslaught as he took the 2nd set 6-0. Fognini had no answers for Raonic on either serve or return. The Italian did see 7 chances to break including a triple break point opportunity in the 5th game of the 2nd set but he was unable to convert. Raonic was 6 for 6 on break points with 24 winners and 10 errors. Fognini on the other hand only had 10 winners and 16 errors. Despite this seemingly easy day at the office, Raonic’s serve was not always present. He only got 51% of 1st serves in though he won 83% of the points. “For once I actually struggled with my serve and not my return,” Raonic said after the match. This is the 6th Masters Series 1000 tournament where Raonic has made it to the quarterfinals or better this year. He is still looking for his 1st Masters Series 1000 final.

The final men’s quarterfinal matchup was the biggest, Federer v Murray. There was a lot of talk about this match because with a win here, Federer would even his head-to-head record against Murray which stood at 11-10 Murray prior to the match. Federer came out strong as he had break points in nearly all of Murray’s service game in the 1st set. However, his conversion rate has always been an issue and it was not until the 7th break chance did he finally convert to lead 3-2 after Murray’s forehand went wide. Federer was able to maintain this break advantage having had to save break points on his own serve several times. In the 9th game of the match, Federer up 5-3, Murray lost focus and played a most untidy game. He was spraying balls all over the place and was soon broken again as Federer took the opening set 6-3. Federer later noted, “I hit the ball well … I was the more aggressive guy out there. I was having more impact from the baseline and on the serve.”

In the 2nd set, it seemed as though we would be going the distance in this match after Murray raced out to a 4-1 lead with two breaks of serve. Federer was committing errors on both wings and could barely get his first serve into play. He soon saw Murray serving for a 5-1 lead. However, Federer was not about to let the set go so easily. He reeled off 4 straight games with some nifty shots including his infamous backhand slice which kept him in many of the rallies and also gave Murray no pace at all to work with. Therefore, Murray who was up 4-1, found himself down 4-5 in a matter of minutes. Murray later stated, “I started the match off pretty slow tonight … [O]bviously was well up in the second and blew it. It’s a shame.” The negative body language did not help his cause but he was able to serve to stay in the match for 5-5. Federer held serve with relative ease to go up 6-5 and Murray was again under pressure to serve to stay in the match. In the 12th game, Federer turned up the intensity again and soon broke Murray for a 5th time in the match. Federer moves through to the semifinal 6-3 7-5 in just over an hour and a half.

After the match, Federer spoke of his comeback in the 2nd set, “In the second set, I lost a little bit of the rhythm … I snuck in a quick break, and next thing you know, I’m back. I feel like I stole that second set.” The numbers were very healthy for Federer as he got 60% of his first serves in and winning 71% of those points and 52% on second serves. Murray on the other hand was only getting in 48% of first serves in and won 60% of those points and 45% on his second serve. There was not much to differentiate them on the winner/error ratio as Federer had 20 winners to 32 errors compared to Murray who had 18 winners and 28 errors. The main issue was that Murray made those errors at inopportune times. It did not help that a lot of them came in the 2nd set after being up 4-1. Federer is in his 6th semifinals in Cincinnati. In all previous 5 trips to the semifinals, he went on to win the title.

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Grigor Dimitrov – ‘Tennis Is A Microscopic Thing In The World Right Now’

The world No.19 speaks out about how he is coping during the tour suspension.

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Former grand slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov has become the latest player to urge the governing bodies of tennis to make a united decision regarding when play will resume again.

 

The ATP and WTA Tours are currently suspended until June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it is likely that the suspension will be extended further with rumours that Wimbledon will be cancelled for the first time since the second world war later this week. Dimitrov’s last tournament was at the Acapulco Open in Mexico, where he reached the semi-finals before losing in straight sets to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

“Tennis is a microscopic thing in the world right now. The ATP supervisors I’ve talked to in recent days have a variety of theories, but for the time being, we can really only guess if we’re being honest.” Tenniskafe quoted Dimitrov as saying during an interview with bTV.
“The tournaments are cancelled, but we have a big luxury in tennis – there is always next week. Yes, it is very difficult right now, you have seen the Olympics cancelled. The only thing that is at the forefront is to go through this situation we are in, and then start rebuilding. “

The world No.19 is currently residing in California during the lockdown. Describing the situation where he is as ‘more casual’ compared to other parts of the world. California is where the Indian Wells tennis tournament was set to take place earlier this month before it was cancelled.

“In my opinion all federations and players, no matter what rank they are, must come together and make a general decision. Because it’s really not easy at the moment to talk to everyone about points, tournaments, competitions … But now other things are really more important – to be safe, to be healthy and to go through this thing.” He said.

During the suspension, the 28-year-old is keeping himself busy in other ways. Recently he has signed up for an online course with Harvard Business School. Becoming the latest of a series of players to do so. He also manages to keep in touch with his fellow rivals on the tour thanks to the world of social media.

“One of the first players I wrote to was Fabio (Fognini) because he was in Italy. Everyone is on Instagram, we know everyone what they do every minute.”

When the restrictions related to the pandemic comes to an end, Dimitrov has vowed to return back to Europe as he outlines the first thing he would do.

“I just want to go back to Europe. Whether it will be in Bulgaria or in Monaco – I do not know. I certainly want to go home, gather all my relatives and just spend time together. I’ve been in the US for over a month now. As things currently look, there will certainly be another two months. Hopefully it will be faster, but I just want to go home and be with my loved ones.” He concluded.

In the fight against Covid-19 in his home country, Dimitrov has made a donation to a hospital in Haskovo. The city where he was born.

Dimitrov has started the 2020 season with a win-loss record of 7-5. Besides his run to the semifinals in Acapulco, he also reached the second round at the Australian Open and Rotterdam. He has been ranked as high as third in the world.

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Tennis Could Be Suspended For ‘A Long Time,’ Warns Millman

The top 50 player isn’t expecting to play on the tour anytime soon.

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Australian player John Millman has indicated that he believes the current suspension of the ATP Tour is all but certain to be extended in the coming weeks.

 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both the ATP and WTA Tour have been suspended until at least June 8th. Although those in change of both of those governing bodies have previously admitted they are uncertain as to when play will resume. ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has said that ‘it is unknown at this time’ as to when men’s tournaments will resume. Meanwhile, Steve Simon has echoed a similar view during an interview with The Tennis Channel.

Speaking about the current situation, world No.43 Millman said the sport is in a difficult situation due to its global reach with both tournaments and players based around the world. For example the Australian started his season by playing four tournaments in four different countries across three continents within five weeks.

“We’re going to have to be pretty unified in terms of our recovery process before the tour can resume,” Millman told The Age.
“Maybe the tournament location has got the COVID-19 situation under wraps and then manage to contain it, but if someone’s flying in from South America, say, and their country hasn’t got a hold of it, then the tournament can’t (go ahead).
“You can’t have the tournament going when only certain players can get there. I think that’s
where the problems lie.”

The 30-year-old didn’t speculate as to when he and his rivals will be returning to the court, but believes it could be a while. During the coming week the fate of Wimbledon will be decided at an emergency meeting. The All England Club is pondering the motion of cancelling this year’s tournament. A move that has never been taken during peacetime. Wimbledon has been scrapped a total of 10 times during the first and second world wars.

“It’s almost like we have to have a vaccine or the virus has to run its course before there’ll be any let-up there.” Millman commented.

Besides trying to maintain fitness, many players like Millman are in a difficult situation financially due to a lack of income. He has managed to earn $290,705 on the tour this year before the suspension. This is the 44th highest total on the men’s tour. In total, 131 players have surpassed the $100,000 mark. Although the earnings don’t take into account travel costs, coaching, accommodation and so on.

“I just can’t see us playing tennis for a long time and now it’s a matter of trying to stay (the) fight, trying to scrape by a little bit while not much is coming in,” he said.
“You’re used to a bit of money coming in and obviously that’s not the case anymore. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s just not easy. You try and make do.
“But I don’t want to be a sob story, that’s for sure, because I know Australians are doing it a lot tougher than me.”

Millman reached the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year before losing to Roger Federer in a five-set thriller.

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Jamie Murray Speaks Out On Wimbledon Dilemma

The two-time mixed doubles champion shares his thoughts about the current situation and the problems that could arise.

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Former world No.1 doubles player Jamie Murray says he is unsure how much longer Wimbledon can be delayed this season ahead of a crucial meeting on its future next week.

 

The All England Club is set to hold an emergency meeting to make a final decision as to what to do with this year’s tournament. Including the possibility of cancelling the event for the first time since 1945. The tennis calendar has been brought to a standstill due to the covid-19 pandemic. There have been more than 500,000 cases of Coronavirus worldwide, according to John Hopkins University.

Speaking about Wimbledon’s potential decision during an interview with BBC Scotland’s The Nine, Murray admits that organisers face a difficult decision. Saying it would pose as a big challenge for them to reschedule the event. Both the ATP and WTA are currently reviewing their calendars with the French Open now taking place a week after the US Open.

“I don’t know how long they could push it back,” said Murray.
“They’re desperate to have their event on, it’s still over three months away and a lot can change in that time,” he added.

Murray has featured in the doubles main draw at Wimbledon every year since his debut back in 2006. He has won the Mixed doubles trophy twice in 2007 (with Jelena Jankovic) and 2017 (with Martina Hingis). The 34-year-old currently has a doubles ranking of 34th.

“For them, optics don’t necessarily look great, I guess, if there’s sporting events all over the world getting cancelled and they’re trying to crack on with things.” He commented on the scheduling difficulties.
“There’s a lot of other stakeholders, a lot of other tournaments to consider. Even things like daylight for the tournament. Once the tournament gets put back, there’s less and less daylight. When you play at Wimbledon normally, you can play until 10 at night.”

The UK is currently in a lockdown with members of the public only allowed to leave their houses for specific reasons. Furthermore, 1.5 million people have been advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks. The government is hopeful that they can flatten the spread of the disease within this period, which is extremely close to the Wimbledon start date.

According to AFP News, any decision to scrap this year’s tournament is likely to have a massive financial impact. Between 2017-2018 Wimbledon made an estimated pre-tax profit of $52 million with over 90% of that invested back into British tennis. Furthermore, the BBC could also suffer a big blow. It is reported that the broadcaster pays in the region of $72 million for the TV rights.

It is unclear as to what day the decision will be made next week. Since its creation in 1877, Wimbledon has been cancelled a total of 10 times before. All of which happened during the first world war (1915-1918) and second (1940-1945). The event has never been delayed or scrapped during peacetime.

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