US Open: Tough draw for Novak Djokovic - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Tough draw for Novak Djokovic

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TENNIS US OPEN – World Number 1 Novak Djokovic will face a very tough path in his attempt to reach his fifth consecutive final at Flushing Meadows as he has been drawn in the same quarter as 2012 US Open champion Andy Murray and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka. Five-time US Open champion Roger Federer could face Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter finals and David Ferrer in the semifinal. Diego Sampaolo

The Men’s singles draw

The Women’s singles draw

First quarter: Djokovic vs Murray

Novak Djokovic, who won the US Open for the first time in 2011 against Rafa Nadal, will open against Diego Schwartzmann from Argentina in the first round before facing either Gilles Muller or Paul Henry Mathieu in the second round, Guillermo Garcia Lopez in the third round and John Isner in the fourth round. Isner could play against Phillip Kohlschreiber in the third round for the third consecutive year at Flushing Meadows (with the German leading 3-0 in the previous matches in this tournament).

The winner of the possible blockbuster fourth round match between Andy Murray and Jo Wilfred Tsonga could clash against Djokovic in the quarter final. Tsonga beat Djokovic in this month’s Toronto Rogers Cup before beating Roger Federer in the final. Tsonga will open against Juan Monaco in the first round. Murray will face a very tough draw. After his opening match against Robin Haase, the Scotsman could face Radek Stepanek in the second round, Fernando Verdasco in the third round, Tsonga in the fourth round and Djokovic in the quarter final. Djokovic leads 12-8 in the previous head-to-head matches against Murray. They met in four Grand Slam finals at the 2011 Australian Open, at the 2012 US Open, at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon in 2013.

Second quarter: Wawrinka vs Raonic

Djokovic could face a potential semifinal against Stan Wawrinka in a possible re-match of this year’s Australian Open quarter finals. Wawrinka, who reached the semifinal last year at the US Open, will play against Czech rising star World Number 76 Jiri Vesely in a very interesting first round and either Thomas Bellucci or Nicholas Mahut in the second round and Jeremy Chardy in the third round. In the fourth round Stan could play against either Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios, a surprising Wimbledon quarter finalist this year, or Mickhail Youzhny. Wawrinka might meet the winner of a possible fourth round match between Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori.

Third quarter: Ferrer vs Berdych

The third quarter of the draw features two interesting first round matches like Marin Cilic vs Marcos Baghdatis and Kevin Anderson vs Pablo Cuevas. One of these players could be the third round rival of David Ferrer.

Ferrer might play against Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals. The Czech player will open against Lleyton Hewitt before possible clashes against Martin Klizan in the second round and Santiago Giraldo in the third round.

After reaching the Master 1000 final in Cincinnati Ferrer has moved up to Number 5th in the ATP Ranking and is the fourth seed following the withdrawal of defending champion Rafa Nadal who has been forced to pull out because of a wrist injury.

A possible second round match in this half of the draw could be played between Ernests Gulbis and Austrian rising star Dominic Thiem who train together under the guidance of coach Gunther Bresnik. If Gulbis overcomes this second round hurdle, he could meet Feliciano Lopez in what could be a spectacular third round clash. The winner of this third round match could play against Berdych in the fourth round.

Fourth quarter: Federer vs Dimitrov

Seventeen-time Grand Slam champion and six-time US Open finalist Roger Federer will open his US Open campaign against Marinko Matosevic. He might meet Sam Groth in the second round, Croatian big server Ivo Karlovic in the third round and Italian Fabio Fognini in the fourth round. Federer’s possible rivals in the quarter finals could be either this year’s Wimbledon and Rome semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, who won in Acapulco, Bucharest and the Queen’s this year, or Richard Gasquet.

Gasquet could take on Gael Monfils in a possible all-French third round match.

Federer is in very good form as he reached the final in Toronto (losing to Tsonga) and won the Cincinnati title against David Ferrer last Sunday.

Federer and Ferrer could renew their rivalry in a possible semifinal at Flushing Meadows. Federer has never lost against the Spaniard in their previous 16 head-to-head matches. Ferrer will start against Damir Dzumhur in the first round and either Bernard Tomic or Dustin Brown, a German player of Jamaican origin who plays a very spectacular tennis and beat Rafa Nadal last June at Halle.

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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Andrey Rublev Reflects On Recent Struggles Ahead Of Monte Carlo Title Defence

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Andrey Rublev admits he continues to struggle to maintain his emotions on the court after his disqualification from a tournament earlier this year.

The Russian world No.6 hopes to get back on track after a disappointing American swing where he won just one out of three matches played. In Indian Wells, Rublev beat ex-No.1 Andy Murray before falling in straight sets to Jiri Lehecka. Then in Miami, he lost his opening match against Tomas Machac. 

“At Indian Wells, I was so focused on trying to control my movements that I was completely stuck,” the 26-year-old recently commented
“I had no energy left, I had no strength. And in Miami, I exploded. I could no longer control myself, my actions, my nerves. I felt paralyzed, I couldn’t move.”

As to why Rublev felt so paralyzed, he acknowledges it could be linked to an incident that happened earlier in the season. At the Dubai Tennis Championships he was defaulted from his semi-final clash against Alexander Bublik for unsportsmanlike conduct after he was accused of saying an obscenity in his native language at an official. He then successfully appealed against the penalty and retained the ranking points and prize money he earned, barring a fine of $36,400 for a code violation.

“Maybe what happened in Dubai remains in my mind,” said Rublev. 

Rublev’s focus now switches to his title defence at the Monte Carlo Masters. It is the only Masters 1000 event he has won so far in his career. 

“I feel better. These last two weeks I have been training a lot. But it’s one thing to train well, it’s another to play well in a match.” He evaluated of his current form. 

Rublev has yet to defend a Tour-level title so far in his career. Should he do so, he will become only the fifth player in the Open Era to win multiple Monte Carlo trophies. 

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