TENNIS US OPEN IMAGES – The images taken by Art Seitz during the last three days of competition at Flushing Meadows.
Zverev Defeats Isner to Advance to Semi-Finals of ATP Finals
The youngest player in the eight man field at the ATP Finals in London is into the Final Four. Alexander Zverev fired 18 aces to defeat John Isner 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in the he their final Round-Robin singles matches of the tournament.
The 21-year old Zverev with two wins and just two sets lost advanced into the Semi-Finals out of the Guga Kuerten Group. Marin Cilic, who will play his final Round-Robin match on Friday night can not catch Zverev even if he defeats Novak Djokovic tonight as he has already lost three sets. Isner has been eliminated losing all three contests.
Zverev was firing on all cylinders in the match hitting 25 winners and making just 10 unforced errors. He out-aced his American opponent by eight, something you don’t see very often. He also won 75-percent of his points on first serve and he lost just one of 11 points at the net in the match.
“I don’t think anybody matches up well against John, to be honest,” said Zverev. ” It’s always one or two points that decide the match. We have had so many tight matches. This is only the second time that has gone to two sets.”
The two players went back and forth in the opening set, both players nearly untouchable on serve. Through the first ten games of the match each player combined for 13 aces and lost just a total of 11 points on serve.
Isner’s best chance to make something happen came at 6-5 when he hit a huge crosscourt forehand for a winner setting up set point. But then Zverev’s ninth ace of the match followed by two more big serves sent the first set into a tiebreak.
At 5-5 Isner tried to sneak into the net after returning a Zverev second serve but the young German came up with a forehand shot that the big 6’10 American could not handle. Shortly thereafter, Isner then fired a forehand into the net and the set belonged to Zverev.
In the second, the 6’6 Zverev continued his hot serving. On two separate occasions he fired three straight aces to capture service games. He got the only break of the set when he was up 4-3. A shank forehand from the 33-year old and then a good second serve return low to Isner’s backhand side gave him a chance to close out the match. Moments later he did. The match ending on an Isner backhand return which sailed long.
Zverev finished second in Group B behind Novak Djokovic. He will face Roger Federer in the first of Saturday’s Semi-Finals at 2pm local time.
“It’s obviously great getting to the semifinals,” said Zverev. “But the tournament isn’t over. I am in the semifinals. There’s only good opponents left. There’s only the best in the world. I’m playing Roger tomorrow, which is going to be a very difficult but hopefully very nice match. We’ll see how far I can go.”
As for Isner’s take on the match: “I think he was pretty dialed in on his serve, which was of course very important. A lot of times with me it comes down to a few points here or there. I had the one breakpoint, and he aced me. That’s a credit to him. That’s why he’s ranked what he’s ranked, 4 or 5 in the world. He was better.
Roger Federer Staying Grounded As He Addresses Scheduling Concerns At ATP Finals
The world No.3 provides an update about his latest form following his win over Kevin Anderson in London.
20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer has vowed not to go ‘crazy’ as he closes in on winning his 100th tour title at this weeks ATP Finals.
The 37-year-old qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament on Thursday. Defeating Kevin Anderson in two sets to top his group despite losing his opening match on Sunday. Federer is now only two victories away from achieving the milestone in his trophy collection. An accomplishment that has only ever been previously achieved by Jimmy Connors. Connors won 109 titles between 1972-1996.
“Personally I’m still not thinking of the number 100.” Said Federer. “I won’t let that get in my head, make me go crazy because it should be something I’m excited about and not something I should feel extra pressure.”
After what has been a far from perfect week at The O2 Arena, the Swiss No.1 is keeping grounded about his chances of lifting the trophy this Sunday. His nemesis, Novak Djokovic, remains the favorite to triumph at the tournament. Djokovic has won four tournaments, including two grand slams, during the second half of 2018. His only losses were to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov.
“As long as I think Novak is in the draw, he’s playing so good again, it’s never going to be easy.” Admitted Federer.
“I’m happy I gave myself the opportunity. I’m happy that I’m raising my level of play throughout this week. This is what I hope to do. It’s exciting to be in this situation now, no doubt.”
From now until his next match, some would expect Federer to be taking to the court to tune up his game. Although, practice sessions have been put to bed for the foreseeable future.
“I’m happy for a day off.” He said.
“The day after Nishikori, as we realized it made me happy, relaxed, motivated for when I do come on court, that it’s working. We kept that. I didn’t practice yesterday. I doubt that I will practice tomorrow.”
‘We are not employed by a club’
Federer’s triumph over Anderson was the ninth straight sets match that has occurred at the ATP Finals this year. Prompting Dominic Thiem to hit back at critics over the level of play among the field. The only encounter to go the full distance was between Marin Cilic and John Isner.
Alexander Zverev hinted that one of the reasons for the performances is due to the length of the ATP calendar, which lasts 11 months. Something he has branded as ‘ridiculous.’ In 2019 there will be a total of 63 tournaments taking place on the ATP Tour.
“The good thing is we as players are not employed by a club. I can walk right now out of the door and go on vacation if I want to. Nobody is going to stop me. They won’t like it, but I can. That’s a massive privilege, I believe, that a tennis player has.” Federer commented when questioned about the length of the season.
“But the way the tour is structured right now, I just think you have to be very disciplined within the team to decide what’s best for that player, and the player needs to also give his opinion.”
Whilst there are no plans in force to change the length of the calendar, the ATP is in full swing when it comes to their new innovation. On Thursday they announced that launch of the ATP Cup. A 10-day event that will feature 24 teams in Australia at the start of the year. The first tournament will get underway in 2020.
At the ATP Finals, Federer will play the runner-up of the Guga Kuerten Group on Saturday afternoon.
ATP Finals Day 5 Preview: Roger Federer Fights For Survival
It’s the final day of round robin play for the Lleyton Hewitt Group, and all four players still have a chance to advance.
Roger Federer will be in serious danger of not advancing to the semifinals for only the second time in 16 ATP Finals appearances if he loses to Kevin Anderson on Thursday. And even a win doesn’t fully secure Federer’s spot in the semifinals. Roger’s only way of qualifying in defeat on Thursday is if Dominic Thiem wins in straight sets. Except for a few extreme cases, Anderson will qualify even if he loses to Federer, except for a few extreme cases.
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With a 0-2 record and having not yet won a set this week, Thiem’s only chance of advancing is if he defeats Kei Nishikori in straight sets and Anderson defeats Federer in straight sets. And even then, Thiem’s advancement would be determined by highest percentage of games won between himself, Federer, and Nishikori. Nishikori will likely advance if he wins on Thursday, unless Federer wins in straight sets. Nishikori can also possibly advance with a loss on Thursday, but only if Anderson defeats Federer. Got all that? If not, the below grid from the ATP may be helpful.
Lleyton Hewitt Group Standings
Advancement Scenarios for Thursday:
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) November 13, 2018
Dominic Thiem vs. Kei Nishikori
Kei holds a 3-1 record against Dominic, with Thiem’s only win coming at Roland Garros earlier this year. Nishikori owns victories over Thiem on all three surfaces, including a few weeks ago on an indoor hard court in Vienna. Kei dropped just four games in that quarterfinal. Nishikori played one of the worst matches of his career on Tuesday, taking only one game in a sound defeat at the hands of Anderson. But I would expect Kei to bounce back and play much better tennis today, and he’s a much stronger hard court player than Thiem. Dominic is only 2-6 lifetime at the O2, and is yet to advance to the semifinals, while Nishikori has done so in two of his previous three appearances. I expect Nishikori to prevail here today, though his advancement will still depend upon the result later this evening.
Roger Federer vs. Kevin Anderson
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These two met four months ago in this same city. That was of course in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, a match in which Federer held a match point in the third set. Roger though couldn’t close the match out, and ended up losing to Anderson 13-11 in the fifth. While that epic encounter will be fresh in both players’ minds, it remains Anderson’s only win over Federer. Roger won all four of their other meetings in straight sets: three of which were on hard courts, though all took place between 2013 and 2015. Kevin is a much different player today, and currently leads the Lleyton Hewitt Group after some stellar play this week. Federer rebounded nicely on Tuesday after dropping his opening match, and I’m sure he’ll be eager to avenge the painful Wimbledon loss from earlier this year. However, there’s a lot more pressure on Federer than Anderson based on the current standings and advancement scenarios. And if Nishikori indeed wins earlier in the day, Federer will know he needs to win in straight sets to have a chance of advancing. While I like Roger’s chances to overcome Anderson on an indoor hard court, taking him out in straight sets will be challenging considering Kevin’s current level. Thursday should prove to be a compelling day in London.
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