TENNIS US OPEN –Tomas Berdych (6) beat youngster Dominic Thiem in straight sets to set up a rematch with Marin Cilic (14) who got his first win even over Gilles Simon (26). Cilic beat Berdych at last Wimbledon in straight sets.
For the last two majors, Tomas Berdych (6) had been playing well in the tournament but then got dismissed just as the tournaments were getting near the business end. At Wimbledon, he lost in straight sets to Marin Cilic (14). Even Berdych admits as much that Cilic has been steadily improving over the past year. Now they will both meet in the quarterfinals at the Open for a chance of a semifinal spot as they both got past their Round of 16 opponents. Berdych handled the up and coming youngster Dominic Thiem in straight sets 6-1 6-2 6-4. Cilic’s victory was far from routine as he had to get past his own mental blocks as he dismissed Giles Simon (26) for his first time in five meetings in 5 sets 5-7 7-6 6-4 3-6 6-3.
Berdych seemed to have started his match battling with nerves for he was down 0-40 in his opening service game. Those nerves soon disappeared as he laid down the law with his serve to keep him out of trouble. He would face 7 break points altogether in the set and on each one, he served his way out of trouble. Thiem had no answer to the Berdych problem on court for despite his early break opportunities, he found himself struggling to hold serve. In about an hour’s time, Berdych had a 2-0 lead 6-1 6-2, breaking Thiem 4 times in the process. After the 1st set, Thiem never saw another break opportunity in the match. In the 3rd set, Thiem was able to hold serve with less of a struggle but nonetheless broken again in the 5th game. Berdych served out the match 6-1 6-2 6-4.
“I felt pretty good. There was one point which was very important, and I think it was definitely the key. It was really the first game where I was 40-Love down on my serve … [I]t could have been completely opposite way . You know, probably still might be on court. Really that’s the moment which probably for him in these kind of matches is something when you don’t make it, it can really make a big difference,” Berdych said after the match. Berdych had a great serving day winning 85% of his 1st serves and 57% on his 2nd serve. He had 24 winners to 23 errors. “I’m hitting the ball nice and clean. That’s what I need. That’s what’s good for my game,” said Berdych after the match. He next faces Cilic in a rematch of their Wimbledon 4th round match where Cilic won instraight sets.
Cilic had another marathon match against Simon as in their four previous encounters. This was their third time meeting at a major; second for the year. However, this time, Cilic was the victor. He dropped the opening set 5-7 but came back to take the 2nd set in the breaker. Cilic used this momentum to finally secure a break of Simon’s serve and take the set 6-3 and a 2-1 set lead in the match. Simon not one to be easily dismissed at this stage in a tournament, broke early in the 4th set for a 3-1 lead and maintained this lead to serve out the set 6-3.
“I knew that Gilles, he likes tough conditions. He’s grinder, counterpuncher, runs a lot and doesn’t mind,” said Cilic. Things remained even in the 5th set until Cilic broke in the 8th game for a 5-3 lead and then served it out with a forehand volley at net for the win 5-7 7-6 6-4 3-6 6-3. “I know what to expect against him, and today was no surprise for me. Even if I always beated him before, it was always very long and always very, very hard. I think he just deserve … to win this time,” Simon said.
After the match, Cilic stated, “I’m playing more consistent in this last four, five months. I think overall I improved my game and I learned actually to play with my sort of new style. I’m serving a bit better than what I used to a couple of years ago.” Cilic had 23 aces for the match and 4 double faults, which added to his total of 70 winners and 76 errors. He won 81% of his 1st serve points and 57% on his 2nd serve. Regarding his upcoming matchup against Berdych in the quarterfinal, “Tomas is very dangerous player. He’s very consistent throughout the year. He’s always pushing you to play your best to actually beat him. I hope I’m going to be on a good level of tennis if we gonna match up. Definitely very interesting too. I mean, for me as well he’s not unbeatable, but definitely very tough task.” Berdych leads the head to head 5-3.
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.
Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.
TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.
The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.
“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.
Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.
Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.
Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.
Groh’s coaching CV
- 2011: Michael Berrer
- 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
- 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
- 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
- ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.
Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
Only two players have won the award since 2004.
For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.
Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.
“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.
Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.
“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”
Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.
“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.
The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.
Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award
Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2
Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open
Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.
World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.
Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.
“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.
The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.
During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.
“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.
Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.
Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.
Marcos Baghdatis Lands First Coaching Role With Top 10 Player
Entry List For The Australian Open Announced
The 2019 ATP Tour Review
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
Dominic Thiem signs up to defend his Barcelona title
‘I Wasn’t Rude’ – Ubitennis Founder Defends Himself Following Run-In With Nadal In London
At His Best Novak Djokovic Is Better Than Federer And Nadal, Says Mouratoglou
Rafael Nadal To Play For ‘A Few More Years,’ Says Former Coach
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