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 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 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 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 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.
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.
John Isner upsets Andrey Rublev to reach quarterfinals in Madrid
John Isner is into the Madrid quarter-finals after a last set tiebreak win over Andrey Rublev.
The American once again needed three sets and two tiebreakers to earn a top 10 scalp.
John Isner booked his spot in the quarterfinals of the Mutua Madrid Open by upsetting the number six seed Andrey Rublev 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and five minutes hitting 43 winners and 29 aces in the win.
“I’ve always served well, the conditions for the server are fantastic, physically I was heavy-legged today, I finished late last night, the good thing is I finished a bit earlier today and I should be ready to go tomorrow, I’m going to need all of my legs tomorrow against Dominic (Thiem) and I’m looking forward to it for sure”.
The first set was pretty routine and we didn’t see a single break of serve the entire set as the first set would be decided by a tiebreaker. That’s where the American ran away with it jumping out to a 4-0 lead playing some great tennis and he would take it 7-4 to win the first set 7-6.
The Russian was keen to get back in the match in the second set and earned the first two breakpoints of the match at 1-1 and broke to take an early 2-1 lead. That break was all the number six seed needed to serve out the second set taking it 6-3 and setting up a deciding third set.
The number six seed once again had the first break opportunity of the third set but it was immediately saved with the big booming serve from the Greensboro, North Carolina native. That was the only breakpoint of the set and once again the match would be decided by a tiebreaker.
This one was much more closer and we didn’t see a break of serve until 4-3 when the American returned the Russian serve with a powerful forehand to take a 5-3 lead.
He would go on to serve it out to win the match and set up a quarterfinal encounter with the Austrian Domenic Them and he spoke about the matchup in his post-match press conference.
“He’s fresh, he’s won two matches and I think he is the second-best clay courter right now so it’s going to be a very tough task for me tomorrow especially on this court because he hits the ball so big and pretty fast and he does so many things well and I am going to have to play extremely well if I want any chance to beat him”
Theim currently holds a 2-1 lead in the head to head and their most recent meeting was back in 2017 in Laver Cup on an indoor hardcourt when the Austrian won in three sets.
Christian Garin reaches his second career Masters 1000 quarter final in Madrid
Chile’s Christian Garin has reached his second Masters 1000 quarter final with a 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 win over world number 3 Danil Medvedev at the Madrid Mutua Open.
Garin earned an early break after a loose service game from Medvedev at 1-1. The second set went on serve with no breaks of serve en route to the tie-break. Medvedev cruised through to a 7-3 win with two mini-breaks. Garin broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to claim the third set 6-1.
Garin will face either this year’s Serbian Open champion Matteo Berrettini or Federico Delbonis. The Chilean player is tied at 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Berrettini and won his only previous match against Delbonis en route to last year’s title at the Rio Open. Garin won all his five titles on clay in Houston and Munich in 2019, Rio de Janeiro and Cordoba in 2020 and Santiago de Chile in 2021.
Jannik Sinner Vows To ‘Come Back Stronger’ After Madrid Misfortune
The 19-year-old believes his latest loss will help him grow as a player.
Italian rising star Jannik Sinner has revealed that he was suffering from an allergy during his latest match at the Madrid Open but has insisted it wasn’t the reason for his loss.
The world No.18 crashed out of the tournament in straight sets on Wednesday to Australia’s Alexi Popyrin. A player ranked 57 places lower than him who has reached the third round of a Masters tournament for only the second time in his career. The Italian struggled behind his second serve where he won just 41% of the points. A frustrating outcome for Sinner who led the match 5-3 before losing 6-7(5), 2-6.
“I suffer from allergy and here there is a lot of pollen, I also play with contact lenses and everything. This bothered me a lot,” said Sinner who was coughing throughout the match.
“I suffered more because there was more sun and in that field (court) he entered easily, but I did not lose for this (reason). He played better than me.”
The 19-year-old has recently broken into the world’s top 20 following what has been a solid start to the season. At the Miami Open he became only the fourth teenager in history to reach the final after Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. On the clay he recently reached the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Despite his disappointment in Madrid, Sinner is hoping that it will help him become an even better playing in the coming weeks heading into the French Open. A Grand Slam which he reached the quarter-finals at on his debut last year.
“This defeat helps me to grow, now I go to the court to work to be at the top for the next match. I’ll come back stronger than before,” he stated.
Sinner will be hoping to get back on track next week when plays his home tournament at the Italian Open. He made his Rome debut back in 2019 where he defeated Steve Johnson in the first round before going out. A year later he reached the third round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov in three sets.
As for Popyrin, he will face a showdown against top seed Rafael Nadal in Thursday.
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