TENNIS US OPEN – Unlike the women’s draw, the top seeds are mostly holding true to form. There has been no major upsets of sorts on the men’s side for the first three days at the US Open and Day 4 would be no different. From New York, Cordell Hackshaw
Unlike the women’s draw, the top seeds are mostly holding true to form. There has been no major upsets of sorts on the men’s side for the first three days at the US Open and Day 4 would be no different.
The top seed, Novak Djokovic made quick work of Paul-Henri Mathieu. Djokovic converted match point near 90 minutes after the start of play for a 6-1 6-3 6-0 victory. Djokovic had 33 winners to 16 errors. He was winning 88% of his 1st serve points and 57% behind his 2nd serve. “I wanted to get my job done as quick as possible. I don’t feel like I need to play long matches to get into the groove,” Djokovic said after the match. In the 3rd round, Djokovic will play American Sam Querrey who triumphed over the Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (28) in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 6-4.
Milos Raonic (5) won his match in 4 sets 7-6 5-7 6-4 7-6 over Peter Gojowczyk. Gojowczyk did all he could to complicate life for the Canadian. He has an early break in the 4th set but could not maintain it. “He plays quite flat, quite low to the net, lower margin for error, I would say. But also, at the same time when he defends that way, if he just even puts it through the middle, it’s hard for me because the ball never really comes up to my strike zone like against most guys,” Raonic said. He hit 26 aces in the match and in the two crucial tiebreaks where anything can happen, Raonic showed toughness to take them comfortably.
Andy Murray (8) had a much easier time in his 2nd round match than he did in his opener. Murray dispatched Matthias Bachinger 6-3 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 46 minutes. Whereas in his first match, the 2012 champion was having difficulties holding serve, in this match, he was not broken once, saving all three break points he faced. “[I]t was extremely windy today … Difficult to play sort of close to the lines or anything like that. But I hit the ball well considering, served better, and obviously I moved a bit better today, as well,” Murray said after the match. He was also unable to say why he was cramping so badly on Monday but noted that he was much better now.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (9) also had an easy day at the office. He knocked out Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-3 6-4 6-4 in an hour and 47 minutes. “I felt good on the court. I moved pretty well. I served well. You know, it’s good for the next match. Yeah, I mean, I’m in good shape,” Tsonga said. He had 38 winners to 27 errors, winning 85% of his 1st serve points.
John Isner (13) will join fellow Davis Cup member Querrey in the 3rd round. Isner triumphed over Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 6-4 6-2. There were two more retirement in men’s singles action today which benefitted Philipp Kohlschreiber (22) and Kei Nishikori (10). Kohlschreiber’s opponent, Michael Llodra retired after dropping the 1st set 2-6. Nishikori was leading Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-1 before the Spaniard decided he could not continue. Kohlschreiber will face Isner in the 3rd round and Nishikori plays Leonardo Mayer (23) who beat Matthew Ebden 6-1 6-3 6-4.
Other winners include Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic over Borna Coric of Croatia. Estrella Burgos won in 4 sets 7-6 4-6 6-4 6-2. This matchup was somewhat interesting as Estrella Burgos is a bit of a story here at the US Open. This is the first US Open main draw appearance for both players but Coric is 18 years old and Estrella Burgos is near twice that number. At 34 years old, the Estrella Burgos is in the 3rd round of any major for the first time. In fact, he only just played his first major this year at the French Open. “I think is happening now because this had to happen now. I think when I have 20 years old, I tell you before, I don’t have any idea about the tournament. Because in Dominican, we don’t have this. I think for me this is the best time. This happen now. I had to get like very good, very simple for me. I think now is now. I cannot go back. I cannot start to thinking why this doesn’t happen when I have 20 or 22 or 24. Now it happening when I have 34, I very happy.” He plays Raonic for a place in the 4th round. It would be an interesting match as New York has a very significant Dominican population who has been very vocal cheering on Estrella Burgos at all his matches. With his success here at the Open and the match going to a bigger stadium, the support would be even more intense.
Also winning in 4 sets was Pablo Carreno Busta over Benoit Paire 6-1 6-4 3-6 6-3. He will face Tsonga in the next round. Nick Kyrgios continues recent success at the majors when he beat Andrea Seppi 6-4 7-6 6-4. Kyrgios’ next opponent is Tommy Robredo (16). Robredo moved into the 3rd round in dramatic fashion. The Spaniard was down 0-2 sets to Simone Bolelli 5-7 6-7. Bolelli seemed to be poised to cause the upset but his fortune soon change after an extended argument with chair umpire and head officials over a call made by the crowd during a crucial point. When the decision was made in Robredo’s favour handing him the 3rd set 6-4, Bolelli simply wilted on the court. He was no longer being as aggressive as he was in the earlier stages of the match. Robredo wrested control of the match to take it 5-7 6-7 6-4 6-3 6-2. Another Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco (31), was involved in a 5-setter but only this time, he did not come out the victor. Andrey Kuznetsov rallied from 1-2 sets down to get to the 3rd round 6-3 4-6 4-6 7-5 6-3 in just over 3 hours. Kuznetsov plays Murray next.
‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances
John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.
One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.
Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.
Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.
“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”
This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.
During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.
“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.
De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.
Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome
Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion.
The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome.
Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve.
Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0.
Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand. Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman.
Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4.
Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner.
Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes.
Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide.
Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.
Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final.
“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic.
Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman
Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.
It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.
The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.
“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.
44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.
“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”
The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.
It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.
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