US Open: Berdych and Dimitrov get past testy 1st round opponents - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Berdych and Dimitrov get past testy 1st round opponents

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TENNIS US OPEN – Tomas Berdych and Grigor Dimitrov were amongst the few remaining men who had yet to play their first round match at the US Open despite it being Day 3 at the championships. None of the other big names have been upset so far in the tournament and neither Berdych nor Dimitrov wanted to be the one to change this status. From New York, Cordell Hackshaw

 

US Open: All the interviews, results, draws and OoP

Tomas Berdych (6) and Grigor Dimitrov (7) were amongst the few remaining men who had yet to play their first round match at the US Open despite it being Day 3 at the championships. None of the other big names have been upset so far in the tournament and neither Berdych nor Dimitrov wanted to be the one to change this status. They faced tough opponents in the form of Lleyton Hewitt and Ryan Harrison respectively. However, despite Hewitt and Harrison doing their level best to cause trouble for Berdych and Dimitrov, in the end their efforts were in vain as they lost in straight sets. Berdych took out Hewitt 6-3 6-4 6-3 and Dimitrov dispatched Harrison 6-2 7-64 6-2.

Hewitt knew the importance of holding serve against the likes of Berdych and was battling hard to avoid going down an early break. He was able to fight off the early break opportunities against him but a mighty backhand return winner from Berdych secured him the break and the lead at 3-1. Berdych was able to maintain this break advantage to close out the set 6-3. In the 2nd set, Hewitt was able to turn things around as he got up 4-1. Berdych then turned up his intensity to take the next 7 games and extend his lead to 2-0 sets and a break in the 3rd. Hewitt later stated, “[T]hat was my obviously my small chance out there if I could have tried to keep that lead … Yeah, if I had broken again and then given myself a chance to serve for the 2nd set, at least put … more doubt in his mind”

Hewitt was able to level the 3rd set at 3-3 breaking the Berdych serve in the 6th game. However, Berdych broke back immediately and did so again to take the match 6-3 6-4 6-3. “It was a tough opponent, a big challenge. The conditions were extremely tough today. The heat, the wind and facing Lleyton for the first round … I’m happy with the way I handled it.” Berdych was simply the better player. He had 9 aces whereas Hewitt had 9 double faults. The Czech had seemingly horrible numbers on his winners to errors sheet with 43 winners to 51 errors. This hardly mattered as Hewitt had only 19 winners along with 36 errors. Berdych will have to clean up his game if he wishes to have another good run at these championships. He will play in the 2nd round Martin Klizan who rallied from 0-2 sets down against Steve Darcis to win it in 5 sets.

This is the second consecutive major where Dimitrov and Harrison are meeting in the first round. At Wimbledon, Dimitrov beat Harrison in straight sets on his way to his first major semifinal appearance. In this match, Dimitrov was a lot more alert from the beginning than he was in London. The Bulgarian broke the American in the 4th game to lead 3-1. He broke Harrison again in the 8th game to close out the set 6-2 in just over half an hour. Similar to the Berdych match, the lower ranked opponent made a serious bid in the 2nd set to even the match. Harrison broke an erratic Dimitrov for 3-2. He maintained this break and served for the set at 5-4. However, he could not close it out. Harrison had soon gone from leading 5-3 in the set to trail 5-6. He held serve to force the breaker but again on the big points, he either made an error or allowed Dimitrov to control the point. Dimitrov won the tiebreak to lead 6-2 7-64.

There was very little Harrison could do in the 3rd set to stop Dimitrov as he was broken in his opening service game. A second break of serve in the 5th game sealed his faith as Dimitrov serve out the match 6-2 7-6 6-2 in just over two hours. Harrison was simply outclassed by a superior player. He had 37 unforced errors to 25 winners whereas Dimitrov had only 19 errors and 37 winners. Dimitrov was winning 84% of the points behind his 1st serves and 66% on his 2nd serves along with 8 aces and faced only two break points the entire match. Harrison could only muster up 62% on his 1st serves and 45% on 2nd serves with 6 double faults and 3 aces. The American was broken 5 times in the match. Dimitrov faces Dudi Sela in the 2nd round. Sela beat Carlos Berlocq in 4 sets.

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ATP Newport Draw: Last Chapter Of Grass Season

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After Wimbledon, the grass court season moves to Newport (Rhode Island, USA), for the historic tournament taking place at the International Tennis Hall Of Fame. 

 

The Newport’s grass tennis courts have hosted the legends of the sport since 1881, when the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championship was played.  The Hall Of Fame Open, an ATP 250 event, has been part of the calendar since 1976; Vijay Amritraj, Greg Rusedski, Taylor Dent, Mark Philippoussis and Lleyton Hewitt are some of the past singles champions.

Because of its location and its low-bouncing courts, Newport is not an ordinary tournament: unlike the other grass tournaments, it still suits the old-school game well, as some of the recent winners witness (Rajeev Ram, Ivo Karlovic, Nicolas Mahut). The atypical conditions of play also supported some surprising runs to the final of low-ranked players, like those of Leander Paes (1998), Prakash Amritraj (2008), Matthew Ebden (2017) and Ramkumar Ramanathan (2018).

Three-time champion John Isner is the top seed, USA’s Steve Johnson is the defending champion, while the runner-up is the serve and volley specialist Ramkumar Ramanathan, who will start his run from qualifying. Adrian Mannarino, Ugo Humbert, Mischa Zverev and Sergiy Stakhovsky will compete as well.

 

ATP NEWPORT (USA, RI, Grass), main draw:
Isner, John [1 WC, USA] bye
Gray, Alastair (WC, GBR) vs Majchrzak, Kamil (POL)
Ebden, Matthew (AUS) vs Schnur, Brayden (CAN)
Kudla, Denis (USA) vs Klahn, Bradley [8, USA]
Humbert, Ugo [4, FRA] bye
Qualifier vs Stakhovsky, Sergiy (UKR)
Tomic, Bernard (AUS) vs Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Eubanks, Christopher (WC, USA) vs Johnson, Steve [5, USA]
Karlovic, Ivo [6, CRO] vs Andreozzi, Guido (ARG)
Zverev, Mischa (GER) vs Qualifier
Granollers, Marcel (ESP) vs Gunneswaran, Prajnesh (IND)
Thompson, Jordan [3, AUS] bye
Bublik, Alexander [7, UZB] vs Qualifier
Qualifier vs Jung, Jason (TPE)
Istomin, Denis (UZB) vs Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Mannarino, Adrian [2, FRA] bye

 

ATP NEWPORT (RI, USA, Grass), qualifying draw:
Fratangelo, Bjorn [1, USA] vs Kwiatkowski, Thai-Son (USA)
Poling, Karl (WC, USA) vs Troicki, Viktor [6, SRB]
Bolt, Alex [2, AUS] vs Karlovskiy, Evgeny (RUS)
Weintraub, Amir (ISR) vs Rubin, Noah [7, USA]
Ramanathan, Ramkumar [3, IND] vs Cressy, Maxime (WC, USA)
Sugita, Yuichi (JPN) vs Halys, Quentin [5, FRA]
Ito, Tatsuma [4, JPN] vs Smith, John-Patrick (AUS)
Smyczek, Tim (USA) vs Krueger, Mitchell [8, USA]

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Novak Djokovic Ready To Face Federer And The Tricky Wimbledon Crowd

The world No.1 is prepared to take part in two fights on Sunday.

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WIMBLEDON: A player with a record 20 grand slam titles to his name is something Novak Djokovic admires, but he is by no means scared of him.

 

The world No.1 will face Roger Federer on Sunday for a chance to win his fifth Wimbledon title and second in a row. It will be the first time the two have clashed this season. In 2018 Djokovic won both of their meetings, which took place on a hard court. On the grass, they have already locked horns at Wimbledon on three previous occasions with the Serbian winning their two most recent matches in 2014 and 2015.

“We all know how good he is anywhere, but especially here (in Wimbledon).” Said Djokovic.
“This surface complements his game very much. He loves to play very fast. Takes away the time from his opponent. Just doesn’t give you any same looks. He just rushes you to everything.’
“So for players, maybe like Nadal or myself that like to have a little more time, it’s a constant pressure that you have to deal with.”

Djokovic has reached the final in four out of the past five grand slam tournaments. The only player to have defeated him so far within that time period was Dominic Thiem at the French Open. An impressive resume for the 32-year-old who currently has 15 major trophies to his name.

Sunday’s final will be the 48th time the two have faced each other on the tour with Djokovic winning 25 of those. Speaking about their rivalry following his win over Rafael Nadal, Federer said he was ‘excited’ for the showdown. The Swiss could achieve two milestones if he wins the Wimbledon title. He would become the first man in history to win the tournament for a ninth time and it will return him back to No.2 in the world rankings.

“I’m excited about the game against Novak.” He previewed. “We’ve played each other so, so much. I don’t mind that, I think it’s more of a clear game plan. Especially we had a great match against each other in Paris (2018 Bercy Masters) recently. I hope we can back it up from there.”

It remains to be seen how the reception will be for Djokovic. During his semi-final match against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, it appeared at times that there was more support for the underdog. Something that isn’t too unusual when it comes to the world of sport. Although he does have a mixed experience when it comes to the crowd. In 2018 he said he ‘didn’t deserve to be treated’ the way he was during his clash with home player Kyle Edmund. An encounter marred by a bad call that cost him a break, before he went on to win.

Some may perceive the final as a battle of which player is the most popular at The All England Club. An intriguing idea, but not one Djokovic has any time for.

“I’m going to go out there and fight and give it all. It’s finals of Wimbledon. This is the kind of a match that I always dreamt of as a young boy with the tennis racquet, dreamt of being part of. This is what I worked for. I wanted to be in this position.” He stated.
“I have a chance to fight for a trophy. Regardless of who’s across the net or what is happening around, I’ll definitely give it all.”
“I’ve played with Roger in some epic finals here a couple of years in a row, so I know what to expect,” Djokovic added.

Since 2015, Djokovic has won eight out of the 10 grand slam finals he has contested. His only loss to Federer in a major final was at the 2007 US Open final.

The Wimbledon final will get underway at 14:00 GMT on Sunday.

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Roger Federer Topples Nadal In First Wimbledon Meeting For Over A Decade To Reach Final

The 37-year-old now has a shot of becoming the first man in history to win the Wimbledon title for a ninth time on Sunday.

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WIMBLEDON: Roger Federer is through to his 12th Wimbledon final after downing Spanish nemesis Rafael Nadal 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, in their semi-final showdown on Friday.

 

11 years have passed since the two giants of the sport last clashed on the grass. On that occasion, it was Nadal who prevailed in the Wimbledon final after coming through a five-set marathon. This time around it was Federer who came out on top during the roller-coaster encounter. Blasting 14 aces and 51 winners past the world No.2. Crucially saving six out of the eight break points he faced.

“I’m exhausted. It was tough at the end, Rafa played some unbelievable shots to stay in the match and I thought the match was played at a high level.” Federer told BBC TV.
“I enjoyed it, the crowd was amazing. The battles with Rafa are always special.”

It was a serving masterclass from both players that kick-off their 40th meeting on the tour. During the opening 12 games of the match, the only break point opportunity to occur was for Federer during the eighth game. However, he failed to convert after Nadal prevailed during a gut-busting 22-shot exchange between the two.

It would be a tiebreak that would separate the two former world No.1 players. After trading mini-breaks, it would be Federer who would draw first blood. A Federer forehand winner moved him to a 4-3 lead as he went on told hold serve and earn two set points. He prevailed on his first with the help of another trusted forehand winner being fired down the line.

In their 13 previous meetings at grand slam level, only twice has the match been won by the player who dropped the opener. On both of those occasions, it was Nadal (French open 2006 and Australian Open 2012). Gunning for the hat-trick, the world No.2 bounced back emphatically by taking the second 6-1. Making it the most one-sided set he has ever achieved against the Swiss maestro on a surface other than clay.

After the beatdown, it was the turn of the 20-time grand slam champion to inflict damage. Spurred on by an animated crowd, it was a forehand volley that revived Federer’s match hopes as he broke for a 3-1 lead in the third. Triggering a huge cheer around Center Court. Gaining in momentum, the second seed maneuvered himself to the two-set-to-one lead. Sealing it with a love service game that concluded with a Nadal forehand slamming into the net.

As the Nadal unforced error count and frustration rose, Federer edged closer and closer to the finish line. Breaking halfway through the fourth set, the 37-year-old continued to tame the threat that he faced. Dampening the mood surrounding Nadal’s camp in the crowd watching. Admirably the fiery Spaniard continued to fight like a warrior as he emphatically saved a quartet of match points. Still, it would not be enough to deny Federer, who clinched victory after three hours with the help of a backhand from his arch-rival drifting beyond the baseline.

“I had spells where I was serving really well and I think on the biggest points in the match went my way.” Federer reflected on his latest performance.

Awaiting the Swiss player in the final will be world No.1 Novak Djokovic, who defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets. He currently trails their head-to-head 22-25.

“He played great against Bautista Agut, who I thought played a phenomenal tournament.” Said Federer. “He’s the defending champion and has shown why this week. He has been rock solid from start to finish. I hope I can push him to the brink and hopefully beat him. But it is not going to be easy.”

Federer is the third oldest man in the Open Era to reach a grand slam final at the age of 37 years and 340 days.

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