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.
Matteo Berrettini Frustrated By Curfew Delay At French Open
Due to French law Roland Garros had to remove spectators from the venue at 11pm which angered many fans in the crowd.
Italy’s Matteo Berrettini said the pause in his match against Novak Djokovic at the French Open disrupted his momentum and hopes situations like this will ‘end soon.’
The world No.9 was taking on Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final in Paris on Wednesday evening. Trailing by two sets, Berrettini clinched the third in a tiebreaker as he was cheered on by the crowd. However, the atmosphere took a dramatic change during the fourth frame with fans having to be removed from the venue. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, France has a 11pm curfew in place which means any tennis matches after this time have to be held behind close doors.
The decision to stop the match at 11pm (when spectators were already breaking curfew) infuriated many with a series of booing coming from the stands. It is unclear as to why organisers didn’t evacuate the arena after the third set, which was 30 minutes before the curfew came into place.
“I’ll tell the truth. I think it’s a shame. It’s something that I didn’t like,” Berrettini commented on the situation afterwards. “But it’s (the law) bigger than us.
“It’s not that you can do something about it. You have to adjust. Hopefully this COVID and these bad situations are going to end soon. It’s not the worst thing that happened in the last year.”
The 25-year-old says the pause to the proceedings had a negative impact on his physicality, but didn’t go into the specifics as to why.
“I was feeling the momentum. I was playing good. Stopping wasn’t the best thing I think for my tennis, but I had to take it,” he continues. “Also physically I think didn’t help me. I got back on court and I wasn’t feeling great.
“But again, tennis players always say they have to adjust to everything. Next time I’m going to try to be better.”
Unlike his rival, Djokovic says the break was a blessing in disguise for him as he sealed a place in his 40th major semi-final. Becoming only the second player in history to reach that milestone after Roger Federer. He ended up winning the match 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 after converting his third match point.
“I didn’t mind actually leaving the court because I felt like I needed a little bit of a break and reset,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for the tournament, for the crowd, to have that curfew. But we knew it before the match.”
Despite losing, Berrettini has still made history at the tournament. He has become the first Italian man in history to have reached the fourth round of all four Grand Slam tournaments.
Curfew Drama Overshadows Novak Djokovic’s French Open Win
After being taken to five sets in his previous match against Lorenzo Musetti, Djokovic was in fierce form throughout his latest encounter at Roland Garros.
Top seed Novak Djokovic battled his way into the last four of the French Open after overcoming some stern resistance from Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.
The world No.1 produced some emphatic defensive skills throughout his roller-coaster 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5, win on Court Philippe Chatrier. Against the world No.9 he blasted 44 winners and broke four times en route to winning his 79th match at Roland Garros. The latest win has also secured another historic milestone for Djokovic with him being only the second man in the Open Era to have reached a 40th Grand Slam semi-final after Roger Federer.
“He was playing some really powerful tennis. Especially in the third and fourth he served tremendously strong and precise. It was just very difficult to read his serve and play someone like him,” Djokovic commented on Berrettini’s performance.
Although the talking point quarter-final concerned the controversial decision by organisers to start the match at 8pm local time which allowed just a three-hour gap before Paris went into curfew. Five games after Berrettini clinched the third set, fans were left furious after being evicted from the venue with players being taken off the court. Even more baffling was the decision by organisers to halt proceedings at 11pm when those attending had already broke curfew instead of stopping it 30 minutes or so before.
“I didn’t mind actually leaving the court because I felt like I needed a little bit of a break and reset,” said Djokovic. “It’s unfortunate for the tournament and for the crowd to have that curfew. But we knew before the match. Referee came up to us and said, If it comes close to 11:00, we’ll have to empty the stadium. That’s what happened.’
“I’m happy that I had that experience of playing in front of the crowd in the night session.” He added.
The Wednesday night showdown was a historic occasion at the French Open with it being the first time a night session had been played in front of a crowd following a relaxation of national restrictions on the same day. Taking to the court Djokovic looked determined from the onset as Berrettini provided him with plenty of challenges early on. In both of his opening service games the world No.1 fended off break points as he tamed a series of thunderous shots from the Italian with some sublime defensive play. Djokovic secured his first breakthrough four games in after a Berrettini forehand drifted wide which enabled him to break for a 3-1 lead. That single break was enough of a margin for him to close out the set, which he did with a love service game.
Gaining momentum, the 18-time Grand Slam champion continued to apply the pressure in the second frame as he won eight consecutive points behind his serve. Berrettini, who had the support of an animated crowd, was unable to find any answers. The former champion surged to a 5-2 lead with the help of a double break. Serving for a two-set lead, he sealed it with a forehand shot which prompted an unforced error from his rival.
It looked as if Djokovic was on course for a straight sets triumph but a resurgent Berrettini had other ideas. Edged on by an highly animated crowd, the Italian rediscovered the power of his serve as he matched him game-by-game until a nerve-stricken tiebreaker. Djokovic moved to just two points from victory with two serves at his disposal. However, a tight backhand crashed into the net handed Berrettini set point, which he converted with a blistering forehand down the line. Prompting an almighty roar from him.
The tussle between the two caused a headache for officials. The fourth frame started 30 minutes before the curfew was imposed, meaning fans would have to evacuate the venue before the match finished. Eventually the match was halted amid booing and jeering from fans angry they had to leave in what was one of the most unusual situations to ever occur at the tournament.
Returning to the court in almost silence after a 20-minute delay, both players continued to valiantly battle. A nasty fall failed to deter the Serbian as he edged closer towards the finish line. Leading 6-5 he had his first match point but failed to convert due to a Berrettini serve out wide. Then on his second failed attempt a furious Djokovic screamed at his team out of frustration and then kicked one of the boards at the side of the court. Two points after that mini meltdown he prevailed with the help of a Berrettini shot going into the net.
Djokovic will next lock horns with nemesis Rafael Nadal for a place in the final. The Spaniard has won more matches at Roland Garros than any other player in history and is bidding to win the men’s title for a record 14th time. He narrowly leads their head-to-head 29-28 but lost their most recent clash at the Italian Open earlier this year.
“The quality and the level of tennis that I’ve been playing in the last three, four weeks on clay – Rome, Belgrade and here – is giving me good sensations and feelings ahead of that match. I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” he said.
It is the 11th time in Djokovic’s career that he has reached the semi-finals of the French Open.
Updated Entry Lists For Queen’s, Halle
Two ATP 500 tournaments will be played in London at the Queen’s Club and in Halle (Germany), as the grass-court season is set to continue.
Two of the most prestigious grass-court events on the ATP Tour will take place from the 14th to the 20th of June: the Cinch Championships in London (Queen’s Club) and the Noventi Open in Halle are going to be the crucial steps of the Wimbledon warm-up.
Matteo Berrettini, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic and Jannik Sinner will be some of the seeds at the Queen’s Club, where Andy Murray plans to come back with a Wild-Card. Spain’s Feliciano Lopez is the defending champion.
Four top-ten players are committed to play Halle: Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and the defending champion Roger Federer will start their grass-court season in Germany. Roberto Bautista-Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Kei Nishikori have entered the tournament as well, while the promising Swiss teenager Dominic Stephan Stricker has received a Wild-Card for the qualifying draw.
NEWS: Diego Schwartzman has withdrawn from Queen’s, he’s been replaced by Alexei Popyrin.
NEWS: Stefanos Tsitsipas has been awarded Wild-Card entry into Halle.
NEWS: Milos Raonic has pulled out from Queen’s, Frances Tiafoe takes his place.
ATP 500 Queen’s (GBR, Grass), entry list:
Berrettini, Matteo (ITA)
OUT Schwartzman, Diego (ARG)
Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
OUT Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Fognini, Fabio (ITA)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Paire, Benoit (FRA)
Krajinovic, Filip (SRB)
Millman, John (AUS)
OUT Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Cilic, Marin (CRO)
Djere, Laslo (SRB)
Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)
WC Murray, Andy (GBR)
WC Broady, Liam (GBR)
WC Draper, Jack (GBR)
OUT (WC) OUT (SE)
OUT Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
IN Chardy, Jeremy (FRA)
IN Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
IN Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
OUT Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
IN Lu, Yen-Hsun (TPE)
IN Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
IN Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Alt.1 Albot, Radu (MDA)
Alt.2 Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
ATP 500 Queen’s (GBR, Grass), qualifying:
OUT Popyrin, Alexei (AUS) OUT Moutet, Corentin (FRA) OUT Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
OUT Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA)
OUT Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
Pouille, Lucas (FRA)
Zapata Miralles, Bernabe (ESP)
OUT Broady, Liam (GBR)
Van de Zandschulp, Botic (NED)
Huesler, Marc-Andrea (SUI)
Jung, Jason (TPE)
Marchenko, Illya (UKR)
Tabilo, Alejandro (CHI)
WC Peniston, Ryan (GBR)
WC Parker, Stuart (GBR)
WC Ward, James (GBR)
IN Ofner, Sebastian (AUT)
OUT Karlovic, Ivo (CRO) OUT Safiullin, Roman (RUS)
IN Rosol, Lukas (CZE)
OUT Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
OUT Muller, Alexandre (FRA)
IN Marcora, Roberto (ITA)
IN Bemelmans, Ruben (BEL)
OUT Ito, Tatsuma (PR, JPN)
IN Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
OUT Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
IN Vukic, Aleksandar (AUS)
OUT Stakhovsky, Sergiy (UKR)
OUT Tomic, Bernard (AUS)
OUT Kwiatkowski, Thai-Son (USA)
OUT Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
Alt.1 Copil, Marius (ROU)
Alt.2 Ebden, Matthew (AUS)
Alt.3 Gojo, Borna (CRO)
ATP 500 Halle (GER, Grass), entry list:
Medvedev, Daniil (RUS)
Zverev, Alexander (GER)
Rublev, Andrey (RUS)
Federer, Roger (SUI)
Bautista Agut, Roberto (ESP)
OUT Carreno Busta, Pablo (ESP)
Goffin, David (BEL)
OUT Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
OUT Garin, Cristian (CHI)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
Nishikori, Kei (JPN)
Korda, Sebastian (USA)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
Pella, Guido (ARG)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
WC Kohlschreiber, Philipp (GER)
WC Altmaier, Daniel (GER)
WC Monfils, Gael (FRA)
WC Tsitsipas, Stefanos (GRE)
IN Querrey, Sam (USA)
IN Simon, Gilles (FRA)
IN Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
OUT Lu, Yen-Hsun (TPE)
OUT Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Alt.1 Albot, Radu (MDA)
Alt.2 Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Alt.3 Giron, Marcos (USA)
ATP 500 Halle (GER, Grass), qualifying:
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
OUT Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
OUT Gombos, Norbert (SVK) OUT Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Giron, Marcos (USA)
Albot, Radu (MDA)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
OUT Alcaraz, Carlos (ESP)
Duckworth, James (AUS)
Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
Novak, Dennis (AUT)
Sousa, Joao (POR)
Rinderknech, Arthur (FRA)
Barrere, Gregoire (FRA)
O’Connell, Christopher (AUS)
OUT Gojowczyk, Peter (GER)
Stebe, Cedrik-Marcel (GER)
OUT Karlovic, Ivo (CRO) OUT (RA)
WC Molleker, Rudolf (GER)
WC Stricker, Dominic Stephan (SUI)
IN Rodionov, Jurij (AUT)
IN Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
IN Muller, Alexandre (FRA)
OUT Torpegaard, Mikael (DEN)
OUT Marcora, Roberto (ITA)
OUT Bemelmans, Ruben (BEL)
IN Maden, Yannick (GER)
IN Lacko, Lukas (PR, SVK)
IN Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
OUT Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
IN Stakhovsky, Sergiy (UKR)
Alt.1 Masur, Daniel (GER)
OUT Kwiatkowski, Thai-Son (USA)
OUT Copil, Marius (ROU)
OUT Ebden, Matthew (AUS)
OUT Gojo, Borna (CRO)
Alt.2 Celikbilek, Altug (TUR)
Alt.3 Kuhn, Nicola (ESP)
Alt.4 Blanch, Ulises (USA)
OUT Kopriva, Vit (CZE)
Alt.5 Molleker, Rudolf (GER)
Alt.6 Choinski, Jan (GER)
Alt.7 Brown, Dustin (GER)
Alt.8 Sakamoto, Pedro (BRA)
Alt.9 King, Darian (BAR)
Alt.10 Vavassori, Andrea (ITA)
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