US Open: Federer Misses Last Chance to Win a Grand Slam Title - UBITENNIS
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US Open: Federer Misses Last Chance to Win a Grand Slam Title

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TENNIS US OPEN – Suddenly, Roger Federer looked older. It wasn’t so much the creases in his face, the age lines. It was the creases in his game. It was the inability to handle Marin Cilic, to whom he never before had lost. Art Spander for bleacherreport.com

 

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

Suddenly, Roger Federer looked older. It wasn’t so much the creases in his face, the age lines. It was the creases in his game. It was the inability to handle Marin Cilic, to whom he never before had lost.

It was the comments after his defeat, the lack of belief to do what he had done for so many matches over so many years, which is make a comeback.

Federer was a lock to make the final of this U.S. Open. The day the draw came out, that’s what we heard. That’s what we wrote.

No road in a Grand Slam tennis tournament is without potholes, obstacles. Every one of those 128 people in a Slam is a consummate professional, a player who at his best or your worst can knock you out.

Yet, at his age, at this stage—and maybe considering he had five victories here, the Broadway of tennis—this Open highway seemed like a thoroughfare for Federer.

He would be there at the end, facing Novak Djokovic in the final. Or so we thought. And he thought.

Djokovic didn’t make it, stunned Saturday by Kei Nishikori. Federer didn’t make either, ripped in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, in his semifinal by Cilic.

The great chance, with Rafael Nadal not in the tournament and with nobody higher than a 14th seed—that would be Cilic—as an opponent, instead most likely became, at age 33, Federer’s last chance for that 18th Slam.

Father Time keeps sneaking up. So do people such as Cilic, 24, or Nishikori, 24. Nadal is 28. Djokovic is 27. They figure to be in the mix for a good while. Federer does not.

Experience counts in tennis. Speed and quickness count more. It’s a tough time when the mind realizes what the body no longer can accomplish, when the player grasps the awful idea he isn’t the man he used to be, that shots he once reached now go screaming by him.

It all played out on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Cilic, who was 0-5 against Federer—but took him to three sets a couple of weeks ago in Toronto, which may have been telling—not only pounded Federer with his serve, 13 aces, but outplayed him from the backcourt.

Two nights earlier, Federer was down two sets to Gael Monfils and won, as much due to Monfils’ shakiness as Federer’s consistency. So when similarly he was in a 2-0 hole against Cilic, the sellout crowd of more than 23,000 pleaded for Federer to produce. He couldn’t. The fans were bereft. So was Federer.

“I wasn’t as confident this time,” he conceded, “because Marin played more aggressive. He was serving huge. From that standpoint I knew that margins were slim, even though I still believed in my chance.

“I knew this comeback would be tougher, because of the risk he was taking, how big he was serving.”

But Andy Roddick served big. Djokovic serves big. Against them, Federer returned serve adroitly, expertly—not Saturday against Cilic. He almost seemed resigned, acknowledging his days of winning Slams—Federer’s taken only one of the last 19, the 2012 Wimbledon—were at an end.

“I’m really disappointed,” said Federer, “after how well I played this season, especially here also at the tournament. I really felt like I could win the tournament. Obviously, that’s not going to happen.”

And here, at Flushing Meadows, or at the Australian, French Open or Wimbledon, surely it’s never again going to happen. He already changed his training routine, already altered his tactics. He can’t make himself 25 again.

Federer made a marvelous run at Wimbledon this summer, on the grass where he always played spectacularly starting in 2001, reaching the final against Djokovic. In retrospect, it was more an aberration than an indication.

Where do the summers go? One day you’re the kid headed for greatness. Then in the figurative blink of an eye, you’re the veteran, with a family of four children, who is trying to turn the past into the future.

No Federer, no Djokovic, no Nadal, no Andy Murray…it’s a Slam final without any of these players for the first time since the 2005 Australian Open. Change is inevitable in sport. Whatever happened to Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi? Soon we’ll be asking whatever happened to Roger Federer.

In the last year or so, three times Federer was beaten in three straight sets in Slams. Now the number is four, and it’s justified to ask whether his number is up. Whether in the biggest events of tennis he’ll merely be an entrant instead of a contender.

“I’ll give it a go in Australia,” he insisted, meaning the Australian Open, the next Grand Slam, far off in January. “It’s been one of my most consistent Slams. I hope, you know, I get another chance at it. I can’t do more than really try hard, which I am doing.”

What he can’t do is stop the clock from ticking, and so he was asked whether a final without any of the Big Four meant a new generation was taking over.

“You create your stories,” was Federer’s response. “You said the same in Australia. Then we know what happened at the French Open final, Wimbledon final. But this is another chance for you guys (in the press). So you should write what you want.”

What we don’t want is to see the decline of Roger Federer, but it’s underway. He was all but awarded a place in the final of the U.S. Open but was unable to accept it.

Article from bleacherreport.com

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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