Novak Djokovic Affirms Status as World's Best in 2014 US Open Win vs Andy Murray - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Affirms Status as World's Best in 2014 US Open Win vs Andy Murray

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TENNIS US OPEN – It was warm. It was late. But heat and time couldn’t stop Novak Djokovic. Neither could Andy Murray. On a night that rolled into the wee small hours of morning, Djokovic verified his standing as the No. 1 men’s player in tennis. Art Spander for bleacherreport.com

 

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He wasn’t perfect and had his lapses, but as John McEnroe—who was once in the position Djokovic now stands—pointed out on the ESPN telecast after midnight, all players have their lapses. The question is how many and for how long.

Djokovic’s were irritating; he several times swung his racket in anger after a missed shot he felt was a wasted opportunity. But they weren’t fatal. And at 1:16 a.m. local time Thursday, he finished off a 7-6 (1), 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-4, win over Murray in a U.S. Open quarterfinal.

Into the Open semis for an eighth consecutive time, tying him with Ivan Lendl (Murray’s former coach) and the man he’ll most likely face in Monday’s final, Roger Federer.

What a year for Djokovic. Finals at the French Open, victory at Wimbledon, over Federer. Now the semis of the U.S., where he’ll face Kei Nishikori, who after consecutive five-set, four-hour-plus matches may be weary. Not that Djokovic isn’t after his three-hour, 32-minute duel with Murray.

When Djokovic was asked what he thought about Nishikori, he answered, “My thoughts were directed to sleeping right now…or partying.” That drew a roar from the remainder of a crowd that reached 23,000 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Djokovic and Murray, who was seeded No. 8 but is not worse than the fourth-best player in the world, now have met 21 times, with Djokovic having won 13. “I knew it was going to be tough,” Djokovic said, “and the more aggressive one was going to win it.”

There isn’t too much Djokovic has lost in 2014, especially in the Grand Slam tournaments.

He could only—only, ha!—make the quarters of the Australian, beaten by eventual winner Stan Wawrinka (who Wednesday was Nishikori’s quarters victim), but after that, wow. He made it to the last day at Roland Garros, losing to the guy who always wins there, Rafael Nadal; then a second Wimbledon triumph; now two wins away from a second U.S. crown and an eighth Slam overall.

Even with Federer’s persistence and Nadal’s mercurial brilliance—limited by those too-frequent injuries, such as the wrist problem that kept him out of this Open—Djokovic has been the most consistent and successful the last three or four years.

He’s got a serve that’s efficient, if not blinding. He’s got incredible agility and tremendous speed. He runs down shots that seem irretrievable, shots that have the fans gasping—and then roaring.

If there is a weakness in his game, it may be a failure to put away an opponent. He had Murray beaten in the second set—or was Murray beating himself? After losing that set, Djokovic returned to display the skills he possesses.

Presuming he and Federer (whose quarterfinal is against the erratic Frenchman Gael Monfils) make it to the finals, it will be fascinating to watch their Wimbledon follow-up, this one on hard court instead of grass.

Flushing Meadows used to belong to Federer, who won there from 2004-2008.

If Djokovic, six years younger than the 33-year-old Federer, plays as he should, maybe he’ll take up the figurative ownership.

Djokovic has won Wimbledon twice, but the hard courts are clearly his best surface. He’s won the Australian four times, and he’s headed for a second win in America’s national championship. A year ago he lost in the final to Nadal.

“When you play him,” said Murray, who beat Djokovic in the 2012 Open final, “physically it’s extremely demanding. When you play him you have to be on it physically and mentally for a long period of time. I thought he was physically better than me in the end.”

After a lackluster few rounds, Djokovic-Murray was touted as the match to get us excited. And it did. It was classic New York, starting after the Serena Williams-Flavia Pennetta match at 9:43 p.m ET. It was a given play would go on long after the witching hour.

“I want to thank the fans who stayed,” Djokovic said on the loudspeaker system after the final point. “At times the tennis was not that nice. There were a lot of unforced errors. That was because of the battle. We always have long games against each other.”

A week apart in age, Djokovic, a Serb, and Murray, a Scotsman, stood at the baseline and slugged away, occasionally rushing the net. They broke serve numerous times, but finally Djokovic came through in the showdown between Grand Slam champions.

The best man finally won.

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Marton Fucsovics upsets Borna Coric to reach Rotterdam Final

The Hungarian is into his third ATP final after stunning the Croatian with a straight sets win.

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Marton Fucsovics is through to his third ATP final after beating Borna Coric 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 25 minutes at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

 

The 29-year-old Hungarian broke Coric fives time and won 75% of his first service points at the Ahoy Arena to become only the second qualifier in history to reach the title match. The first was France’s Nicolas Esdcude back in 2001. It is also the first time Fucsovics has beaten Coric on the Tour following on his forty attempt.

” I come here every year, it’s not my favourite surface but I can say after this week I love it, I love the atmosphere, I love the people here,” the world No.59 said during his press conference.
It’s a very famous tournament, it has a long history and I haven’t seen any Hungarians on the winners list but hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”

Coric, who is ranked 33 places higher, didn’t get off to a good start and Fucsovics made sure to take advantage of it in the first game of the opening set by earning three early breakpoints. He broke by winning an intense rally and finishing the point with a sensational forehand winner down the line that was almost picture perfect. There was a small lapse in his game at 3-2 when he served an off game and the Croat would break to put the set back on serve.

That’s when the world number 59 went into full overload earning two more breakpoints the following game after playing a solid point and finishing with a powerful smash at the net. He would break once more as the world number 26 would send a ball long to regain a 4-3 lead. The underdog would save two breakpoints from the Zagreb native who was starting to find his game playing some outstanding tennis and eventually serve out the first set.

The second set is where the Hungarian dominated and went for the kill. Eager to book his spot in the final against Andrey Rublev on Sunday afternoon. At 1-1 he would earn another breakpoint winning a long intense rally with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break the following point as Coric hit another unforced error and was visibly frustrated as he belted out in Croatian. After holding serve to consolidate the break Fucsovics smelled blood and once again unforced errors were creeping into the Croats game and he would break once again to take a commanding 4-1 lead.

Once again after having no issues holding serve the world number 26 was serving to stay in the match but the day belonged to the Fucsovics as he finished the match in style overpowering his opponent to break for a third time to take set and the match.

When asked what it is going to take to end up victorious on Sunday against one of the best players in the world, the Hungarian hopes he will be cheered on by his country.

” It’s going to be a tough match, I just want to enjoy it, I want to play my best tennis, I hope the people from Hungary will be supporting me “

Fucsovics beat Rublev in a Davis Cup World Group Playoff while Rublev got his revenge three years later at Roland Garros. Although both those meetings were on a outdoor clay court and this will be their first meeting on indoor hard.

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Losing Just As Important As Winning For Jannik Sinner And His 20-Year Goal

The 19-year-old rising star speaks out about his success in the sport at a young age and how he is coping with the pressure.

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The sudden surge in fame is something that has done little to deter Jannik Sinner who has already outlined a goal to play in the sport for another 20 years.

 

At the age of 19 the Italian is the youngest player currently ranked in the world’s top 100 on the ATP Tour. Despite his young age Sinner has already impressed many with a series of milestones. During his breakout season last year he became the first player to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open on their debut since Rafael Nadal in 2005. A couple months later he won his maiden title at the Sofia Open to become the youngest to do so on the ATP Tour since Kei Nishikori at the 2008 Delray Beach Open.

To put into context Sinner’s rapid rise in the sport, he didn’t crack the top 100 until October 2019. Amid the success comes high expectation from those cheering him on. In his home country of Italy many are hoping that he will be the player to end the drought in men’s Grand Slam winners. The last was Adriano Panatta at the 1976 French Open.

Although it hasn’t entirely been plain-sailing for Sinner who has lost in the first round of his two most recent tournaments. The toughest for him was at the Australian Open which he lost in five sets to Denis Shapovalov.

“I’m 19 years old, it’s a long road and the biggest pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself. Before you can win these big tournaments, you have to lose big games,” Sinner said during an interview with L’Equipe.
“It hurts, but it makes you grow. Like my defeat against Shapovalov in the first round of the Australian Open. I had a hard time taking it, I talked a lot with my team. Our job is to win but, I’ll say it again, it’s also important to lose when you’re young.”

Coached on the Tour by Riccardo Piatti, Sinner sees his development on the Tour as a work in progress as he looks to the positive side of losing matches. Explaining that he learns more about his tennis when losing than winning sometimes.

“My trajectory has been fast, but I’m looking ahead. The next three years are crucial for me. I have to work, lose matches, understand why I lost and play as many matches as possible to improve. When I have 200 ATP matches on the scoreboard, I will start to get to know myself better,” he said.

Sinner was born on Roger Federer’s 20th birthday in 2001. Like the Swiss Maestro he hopes to have a long career on the Tour as he sets sights on playing until his late thirties. Something that has become more of a regular occurrence in recent years.

“I need two or three years to better understand things on and off the court. I want to stay relaxed, because my goal is to play for another 20 years. Yes, I turned pro at 18, so I want to play until I’m 38!”

Although it is another member of the Big Three who has given him one of the most memorable moments of his young career so far.

“The match against Nadal at Roland Garros last year was very important for me. And my training with him before the Melbourne Open was even more important than playing in Melbourne,” he said.
“ At 19 years old, training for a fortnight with a player who won 20 Grand Slams was the best thing that could have happened to me. Not only for my career, but also as a life experience. I will never forget it.”

Sinner will return to action next week at the Open 13 in France where he is the fifth seed. In the first round he will play Grégoire Barrère.

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Matteo Berrettini Opens Up On Struggles Of Being A Top 10 Player

The world No.10 sheds light on how his rise in the sport has affected him both on and off the court.

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Being ranked among the best in the world is one of the ultimate goals for a tennis player but achieving such an accolade also has its drawbacks that few speak about.

 

Matteo Berrettini is Italy’s highest ranked player on the ATP Tour and has been continuously ranked in the world’s top 10 since his debut in October 2019. With a trio of Tour titles under his name the 24-year-old made headlines almost two years ago with his run to the semi-finals of the US Open in what remains his best Grand Slam performance to date. Since then he has not gone beyond the fourth round of a major.

Reflecting on his rise in the sport, Berrettini admits for the first time he has found it hard handling the pressure and expectation placed upon him after becoming a member of the top 10. Writing for Eurosport’s Players’ Voice, he says his rise in the sport has also had an impact on his personal life as well.

“I did not find it easy getting used to the sudden pressures of climbing the rankings so quickly. For me, I was tiptoeing, but suddenly felt like everyone was waiting for me to go faster. It is as if you have chosen a path, but that path suddenly becomes another. Imagine it this way: you are walking along a side road at your own pace, but it suddenly merges into a highway and everything travels so fast; you have to adapt immediately or otherwise you will be overtaken,” Berrettini wrote.
“When you get near the top, there is so much more you have to deal with, and not just tennis, but personal things too. Before, my life seemed much simpler; I go to the court, I play tennis, I think about winning. Today, there are so many more things to think about: managing expectations, those of others as well as my own, but also maintaining my relationships.”

This season Berrettini has experienced an encouraging start with wins over Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut at the ATP Cup. He also reached the quarter-finals of the Antalya Open and the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Elaborating further on his experience on the Tour, he admits that the mental side of the game has become more of a challenge for him in recent months. Berrettini has also endured his fair share of injury setbacks over the past month with the most recent being an abdominal strain he suffered during the Australian Open.

“The higher you go, the more complicated things get,” he said. “Because in addition to all of your worries about the technical and physical aspects of your game, which are fundamental, you have to also train the ‘boss’, as they say in Rome, the head.”

Regardless of the experiences, his dreams for the future remain the same. Winning the Italian Open, who was last won by a home player in 1976, as well as Grand Slam glory.

“Looking ahead on the court, I look forward to hopefully bringing happiness to fans, to feel that adrenaline once more of being able to excite and inspire people of all ages. With that extra incentive, I hope my results will speak for themselves,” Berrettini concluded.

Berrettini is the first Italian man in history to have won a match at the season-ending ATP Finals after defeating Dominic Thiem back in 2019.

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