US Open: Thiem eliminates Gulbis. Easy win for Federer - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Thiem eliminates Gulbis. Easy win for Federer

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TENNIS US OPEN – For the first four days at the US Open, the men’s draw has had no real shake up. All the usual suspects have played to form and made it through to the next round. There was nothing dramatic beyond Andy Murray’s first day “cramping” and the various retirements in the men’s draw. From New York, Cordell Hackshaw

 

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

For the first four days at the US Open, the men’s draw has had no real shake up. All the usual suspects have played to form and made it through to the next round. There was nothing dramatic beyond Andy Murray’s first day “cramping” and the various retirements in the men’s draw. However, on Day 5, things got rather interesting with several upsets and other surprising results.

Well one knew that things were going to get interesting when David Ferrer (4) moved into the 3rd round without having to play a single ball. The ever enigmatic Bernard Tomic defaulted from his match claiming issues with his right hip and lingering effect of the flu.

The other more notable stars of the ATP had to go to work though and most of them had a relatively easy day. Roger Federer (2) moved past Sam Groth of Australia. Federer dealt with the 145+mph serves/bombs from Groth with much dexterity and secured the crucial break in each set for a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory. Groth had this to say after the match, “I was trying not to get caught up in the whole Roger act out there. You walk out, you get a few cheers. He walks out and the crowd goes ballistic … [H]e’s got an aura because of how good his tennis is. Yes, there’s an aura because of what he’s done, but his tennis speaks for itself … I knew I was playing Roger Federer. I was pretty nervous probably all day … I am not happy I lost to Roger. Not saying I could have won, but I enjoyed my experience out there, and I want to be there more often.” Also winning in straight sets was Grigor Dimitrov (7) who knocked out Dudi Sela 6-1 6-2 6-2. Dimitrov is quietly moving through the draw not drawing a lot of attention to himself but playing some great tennis while on court. The fans are definitely eager to see a possible Dimitrov v Federer quarterfinal match here if both players progress to that stage.

Richard Gasquet (12) and his countryman Gael Monfils (20), a huge crowd favourite, got through in 3 sets. Gasquet beat Paolo Lorenzi 7-6 6-3 6-3 and Monfils took out Alejandro Gonzalez 7-5 6-3 6-2. Marin Cilic (14) beat Illya Marchenko 7-6 6-2 6-4. Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut played extremely well against American Tim Smyczek 6-3 6-2 6-1. Smyczek had absolutely no idea on how to effectively deal with the Spaniard’s game despite the crowd’s loudly cheering him on.

There were several players who needed 4 sets in order to get through to the next round. Kevin Anderson (18) rallied after dropping the opening set to Jerzy Janowicz to take the match 6-7 6-2 6-1 6-3. Both Feliciano Lopez (19) and Gilles Simon (26) each won the opening set in their respective mathes but then dropped the 2nd set. They then took the following two sets; Lopez over Tatsuma Ito 6-4 3-6 6-4 7-6 and Simon over Federico Delbonis 6-4 3-6 7-5 6-1.

There were a couple of upsets of seeded players though by no means were they epic losses to the main plot of the US Open. France’s Adrian Mannarino totally dismantled the game of Italy’s Fabio Fognini in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 6-1. Fognini appeared as though he was not quite prepared for the match nor the intensity from Mannarino. Either way, he was dismissed in just under two hours. The Italian made a staggering 64 unforced errors in the match compared to 25 from the Frenchman. Another blowout win was from David Goffin who has been having an incredible summer particularly on the Challenger Curcuit (minor league of professional tennis). His good fortunes continued here as he knocked out Jaoa Sousa (32) 6-4 6-2 6-0. Mannarino and Goffin will also be joined in the 3rd by another surprised entrant, that of Teymuraz Gabashvili who took out his compatriot Alexander Kudryavtsev 6-1 6-4 7-6.

The biggest upset of the day has to be the dismissal of Ernests Gulbis (11) by rising start Dominic Thiem who incidentally is a friend of Gulbis. Gulbis won the opening two sets in routine fashion though he later claimed that it was far from the case, “[S]erve was good the first two sets. I call it low quality because, you know, when I broke him I didn’t play good … [H]e gave it to me.” Nonetheless, Gulbis was leading 6-4 6-3, a two sets to love lead. However, from the 3rd set on, Gulbis began to move gingerly, which he said was due to cramps which at the time in the match he thought was possibly a pulled hamstring. Thiem came back from this huge deficit to take the match 4-6 3-6 6-4 6-3 6-3 in 3 hours and 45 minutes. Gulbis had 78 total unforced errors in the match compared to Thiem with 41.

There were two other 5-setters on the day with surprising results. First up, Tomas Berdych (5) took on Martin Klizan. As always, Berdych’s commitment and concentration were in question in the big matches. He allowed Klizan back into the match after being up 2-1 sets. Klizan won the 4th set but Berdych broke early in the decisive set for a 3-1 lead. He maintained this break advantage to close out the match 6-3 4-6 6-2 3-6 6-3. “The conditions were tough again. You go from day till early evening. You start with the sun, then you end up with the lights. It was quite windy, as well. Really, I mean, he play good, so I’m happy to have that on my belt, to win another five-setter, and just go forward,” Berdych said after the match. Marcel Granollers took out Ivo Karlovic (25) 7-6 6-7 7-6 3-6 6-4. This match started in daylight and ended with the lights which at one point went total blackout.

So the 3rd round matchups for the bottom half of the men’s are as followed: Federer (2) v Granollers; Bautista-Agut (17) v Mannarino; Gasquet (12) v Monfils (20); Goffin v Dimitrov (7); Ferrer (4) v Simon (26); Anderson (18) v Cilic (14); Thiem v Lopez (19) and Gabashvili v Berdych (6).

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.

 

He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.

Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.

Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.

“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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