US Open: How the players rated in the men's competition - UBITENNIS
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US Open: How the players rated in the men's competition

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TENNIS US OPEN – Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori have been the best two players at this tournament. Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fabio Fognini were the biggest disappointments. Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem the two surprises, for different reasons, that didn’t reach the final.

 

It has been a strange US Open in the men’s singles event. For the first week there were hardly any surprises and many thought that we were headed for a Djokovic Federer final with little excitement before the final. In the second week though, the tournament came alive with captivating matches, upsets and an unexpected finish. Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori are the players of the tournament as well as the two biggest surprises, but they weren’t the only ones to impress. Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem also left their mark in the tournament. On the other hand there were a few disappointments like the French duo Gasquet Tsonga and the Italian Fabio Fognini. (Marks out of 10)

Marin Cilic 10 – The Goran Ivanisevic effect has been great on Cilic and it showed. The mild mannered Croat played a sensational tournament. The quality of his tennis increased as the tournament progressed as did his confidence in his abilities. The highlight of his tournament must be the thrashing of Federer in the semifinal. Cilic had never beaten the Swiss before, making the semifinal win even more impressive. Federer was reduced to the role of spectator as Cilic powered his way into the final in 3 quick sets. The difficult part starts now for the Croat, he will have to handle the extra fame and expectations, but there is time for that.

Kei Nishikori by Art Seitz

Kei Nishikori by Art Seitz

Kei Nishikori 9 – The Japanese player earned one point less than his rival because he didn’t win the final. Nishikori’s main regret must be that he failed to leave his mark on the final, but he played a fantastic tournament considering that he didn’t know whether he was going to travel to Flushing Meadows at all becuse of a foot injury. Luckily he decided to play. In the tournament he defeated three top 10 players, Raonic, Wawrinka and Djokovic before the final that he played with an empty tank of energy. Once the disappointment for the lost final has gone he will look back on an amazing couple of weeks that may have changed his career.

Novak Djokovic 7 – It was obvious that the World Number One wasn’t focussed on tennis, but marriage and a baby on the way are excellent excuses not to be focussed 100% on tennis. The two Master 1000 tournaments played, badly, before the US Open were a warning sign, but he played well during the opening rounds of the Major until he met Nishikori in the semifinals.

Roger Federer by Ray Giubilo

Roger Federer by Ray Giubilo

Roger Federer 6.5 – He gets half a point less than Nole as he already has a wife and kids (four) and he should be used to it by now. The comeback against Monfils was spectacular but it deprived him of the energy to counter Cilic’s onslaught in the semis. Another chance to win a Major title gone for Federer.

Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka 6 – It was a mediocre couple of weeks for both as they never managed to play their best tennis, but they did lose to the finalists. I expected better tennis from them even if their result wasn’t that bad.

Milos Raonic by Art Seitz

Milos Raonic by Art Seitz

Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov 5.5 – For quite some time now these two were considered to be the players most likely to unseat the current top players, but they were beaten to it. They both made it to the last 16 but it is fair to expect more from them. Hopefully watching Cilic and Nishikori inspired them to do better next time round.

Andy Murray 6 – The Olympic Champion is still far from the player capable of winning the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon the following year. The recovery from his back surgery is taking longer than expected, but initially the Scot didn’t think he would also have to replace Lendl as coach. The win against Tsonga and the first couple of sets played against Djokovic should encourage him even if he is now out of the top 10.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 5 – The win at the Rogers Cup raised hopes and expectations for the French player. Before the Toronto tournament, JWT had a poor season and hopes were that the Canadian event was the start of a better end of season, but it didn’t happen. He never really clicked and was easily beaten by Murray

Gael Monfils by Art Seitz

Gael Monfils by Art Seitz

Gael Monfils 8 – There is something in New York that inspires Monfils. In this event he was able to play good tennis, entertain and enjoy himself. He defeated Gasquet, Dimitrov and came close to ending Federer0s tournament. It’s a shame he only plays like this occasionally.

Dominic Thiem 8 – This was the US Open of the new generation also because of the Austrian’s performance. The 21 year old was playing in his first US Open (fourth slam). He reached the fourth round defeating his friend Gulbis and the experienced Feliciano Lopez on the way. His run was ended by Berdych, but hopefully he saw the two finalists as examples of how to grow and improve.

Nick Kyrgios 7 – Another positive tournament for the Australian. At Wimbledon he beat Nadal and started to get noticed by the general public and in New York he showed more of his talent. He shouldn’t be a one hit wonder and has the potential to become a very good player.

Andreas Seppi vs Nick Kyrgios by Art Seitz

Andreas Seppi vs Nick Kyrgios by Art Seitz

Richard Gasquet 3 – A year ago he was in the semifinals, a result that allowed him to qualify for the end of year Masters in London. A year later he looks lost. The separation from his coach Riccardo Piatti has hit him hard and he now looks confused as to how to play. Injuries don’t help, but he should be doing better with the talent he has at his disposal.

Fabio Fognini 2 – No offence to Adrian Mannarino, but a player of Fabio’s talent should not lose against the Frenchman, especially in a tournament like the US Open. What makes t worse is the manner of the defeat. Once the Italian fell behind in the score he didn’t fight back, but he started to pick fights with everyone as usual.

ATP

The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter

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By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.

 

We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

PositionPlayerCountryPts 
1DjokovicSerbia11540
2MedvedevRussia8640
3ZverevGermany7840
4TsitsipasGreece6540
5RublevRussia5150
6NadalSpain4875
7BerrettiniItaly4568
8RuudNorway4160
9HurkaczPoland3706
10SinnerItaly3350
11Auger-AliassimeCanada3308
12NorrieGB2945
13SchwartzmanArgentina2625
14ShapovalovCanada2475
15ThiemAustria2425
16FedererSwitzerland2385
17GarinChile2353
18KaratsevRussia2351
19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

PositionPlayerCountryPts
1AlcarazSpain6820
2NadalSpain6020
3RuudNorway5820
4TsitsipasGreece5550
5DjokovicSerbia4820
6Auger-AliassimeCanada4195
7MedvedevRussia4065
8RublevRussia3930
9FritzUSA3355
10HurkaczPoland2905
11RuneDenmark2888
12ZverevGermany2700
13Carreno BustaSpain2495
14NorrieGB2445
15SinnerItaly2410
16BerrettiniItaly2375
17ShapovalovCanada2105
18CilicCroatia2075
19TiafoeUSA2000
20KhachanovRussia1990

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?

BEST RANKING

Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match

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Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (twitter.com/atptour)

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.

 

2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.


Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.


Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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ATP Finals: Fritz Close But No… Final, Djokovic Advances

Novak Djokovic beats Taylor Fritz in two tie-breaks and is just one win away from his sixth title at Nitto ATP Finals

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Novak Djokovic - 2022 Nitto ATP Finals Turin (photo Twitter @atptour)

[7] N. Djokovic b. [8] T. Fritz 7-6(5) 7-6(5)

 

Even when physically not at his best, Novak Djokovic can still count on his incredible ability to play the most effective tennis in the most important moment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the opponent misses an easy shot while attempting to close out the set, but the pressure Djokovic puts on whomever is on the other side of the net makes even the easiest shot look a little bit harder.

The former world no. 1 has put together a clinical display of efficiency during the first semifinal of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin edging Taylor Fritz by two points in the tie-breaker of each set to reach his eighth finals in the end-of-year Championship.

It was not the best Djokovic, and it was not the best match: lots of errors on both sides, and a huge opportunity for Fritz to take the match to the distance when he served at 5-4 in the second set and then missed an easy backhand sitter to go a set-point up at 40-30, blaming an idiot spectator who indeed shouted in the middle of the point, when he really should have been able to put away that point blindfolded.

Fritz did not start the match in the best possible way: 10 unforced errors during the first five games, a break conceded at love at 2-2 and Djokovic appeared destined for a relatively quiet afternoon. But it was not going to be that easy: errors started flowing also on the Serbian side, and Fritz was able to equalize at 3-3. A tie-break was then needed to decide the winner of the first set, and the deciding point was a laser forehand down the line by Djokovic who swept point and set at 6-5 and headed off to the toilet for a comfort break after taking a one-set advantage.

But the break did not do him much good: unforced errors kept coming from the baseline, and Fritz blitzed 2-0 up with a break. At 4-3, the American wowed the Italian crowd with a magical backhand stop-volley to recover a service game where he found himself down 0-30, but when it was time to serve out the set, he missed that easy backhand we described earlier to give Djokovic another chance to close out a match in two sets.

And another chance is the last thing Djokovic should be gifted, although on a day like today, with Christmas time upon us, gift trading became the thing of the match. Two great points at 4-4 in the tie-break warmed the 12,000-strong crowd at Pala Alpitour to what could have possibly been a great end of the set, but Djokovic first earned a match point to be played on his serve with a good action from the baseline closed by a volley and then squandered it all with a very unusual unforced error on a routine backhand. But on his second match point, just a minute later, Fritz badly missed an inside-out forehand putting an end to the match and gifting Djokovic a chance to win his sixth title at the Nitto ATP Finals, the first in Turin.

On Sunday he will face either Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev: he has never lost to Ruud in three previous matches (3-0) and the only time he did not beat Rublev (2-1) was last spring in Belgrade in the final of the tournament organized by his family.

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