ATP Shanghai: Close shave for Federer. Nadal and Wawrinka out - UBITENNIS
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ATP Shanghai: Close shave for Federer. Nadal and Wawrinka out

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TENNIS ATP SHANGHAI – On a day of big upsets three top players Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Grigor Dimitrov were knocked out in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Master. Roger Federer had to save five match points to battle past Argentina’s Leandro Mayer at the tie-break of the third set. Andy Murray beat Jerzy Janowicz in straight sets. David Ferrer fought back from a set down to overcome Martin Klizan. Diego Sampaolo

On a crazy day with a lot casualties where Stan Wawrinka lost against Gilles Simon, Grigor Dimitrov was upset by Julien Benneteau last week’s Tokyo champion Kei Nishikori lost against Jack Sock and Rafa Nadal was beaten by Feliciano Lopez, only Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray lived up to predictions qualifying for the third round.

Roger Federer, who had not played his first match since he help Switzerland reach the Davis Cup final in the semifinal against Italy in Geneva, had to dig deep to edge Leandro Mayer in three hard-fought sets. The Swiss Maestro had to save five match points to clinch the win with 7-5 3-6 7-6(7) after a thrilling match.

In the opening set Federer went down a break and fell behind 3-5 but he reeled off four consecutive games to clinch the first set with 7-5. Federer had to face a serious challenge when Mayer took a 3-1 40-15 lead. Federer fended off a set point as Mayer served at 5-4 before converted his fifth break point chance when Mayer hit a forehand into the net.

Federer dropped serve again in the first game of the second set but he did not recover and Mayer got a double break to draw level with a 6-3 win in the second set. Mayer won 80 percent of his first serve points in the second set.

The match became a thriller in the tenth game of the third set when Mayer earned two match points at 5-4 40-15. Federer managed to save both. Federer was lucky when a backhand passing shot down the line clipped the tape and fell back on his side of the net. The Swiss saved the second with a forehand down the line. It’s the second tournament in a row that Federer managed to save match points. At the US Open he saved two match points against Gael Monfils in the quarter finals and recovered from two sets down to clinch the win in the fifth set.

Mayer went up 2-0 and 5-2 and earned three more match points at 6-4 and 7-6 but Federer saved them before reeling off three points from 6-7 and converted his first match point with a backhand lob winner to scrape through with 9-7.

Thanks to this win Federer will overtake Nadal moving up to World Number 2 in the ATP Ranking. He will face Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round. Federer won their previous head-to-head match in three sets at the US Open.

Andy Murray, who won the Shanghai Rolex Master twice in a row in 2010 and 2011, took his second back-to-back win over Jerzy Janowicz with 7-5 6-2 one week after beating the Pole in three hard-fought sets in Beijing

Murray dropped just four points on his serve during the opening set. He earned a break point chance at 3-2 but Janowicz saved it with a forehand. The Polish player, semifinalist at Wimbledon 2013 and finalist at Paris Bercy in 2012, faced another break point in the following game but saved it with a powerful forehand and a volley.

The match went on serve until the final game of the first set. Janowicz served to stay in the set as he was 6-5 down, but Murray earned two break points. He converted on the first to wrap up the opening set when Janowicz hit his forehand into the net

The Dunblane star fended off two break points with aces at the start of the second set before getting the break to take a 3-1 lead. After Janowicz received medical treatment on his ankle when he was 1-3 down, Murray took control of the second set and got a double break in the fourth and in the eighth games to clinch the win. Murray has confirmed his good period of form in the Asian Swing winning nine of his last 10 matches including his first title of the year at Shenzhen and the semifinal in Beijing where he lost against Novak Djokovic.

“You have to play at a high level to win against him. He has not given me any matches when I have played against him”, said Murray

In the third round Murray will take on this year’s Cincinnati finalist David Ferrer who recovered from a set down to battle past Beijing semifinalist Martin Klizan with 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4. It will be an important match for both players who are bidding for a spot in the ATP Finals (9-16 November). Murray and Ferrer are currently ranked number 9 and 10 in the ATP Race to London.

Klizan, who upset Rafa Nadal last week in the quarter final in Beijing, came close to another surprise when he served for the match when he was leading 6-5 against Ferrer in the second set. However the Slovak player dropped serve and then lost the tie-break. Ferrer fended off five break points in the third set before getting a decisive break at 4-4 to clinch the win.

The first big surprise was Giles Simon who rallied from a set down to battle past Stan Wawrinka with 5-7 7-5 6-4. The 2014 Australian Open champion got a break in the 12th game of the opener to win the first set with 7-5. The Swiss player made a lot of forehand errors allowing Simon to win the second set with 7-5 to force the match to the decider. Wawrinka built up a 3-0 lead in the third set but Simon overcame an early break to claim the win after two minutes and 30 minutes. It’s the second week in a row that Wawrinka lost in the opening match after his first round defeat against Tatsuma Ito in Tokyo.

“It wasn’t that I had everything under control. I did two stupid games when I was leading 3-0. I was rushing a little bit. It was not my best day. This year has been tough. It has been an amazing year but it was really tough. It is not easy to stay at the top.”, said Wawrinka

Simon, who reached the semifinals last week in Tokyo, will take on Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri, who eased past China’s World Number 553 Chuhan Wang who upset Fabio Fognini yesterday.

Rafa Nadal, who was diagnosed with appendicitis on Sunday and was not in his best form today when he faced his compatriot Feliciano Lopez who won his third match in eleven years against Nadal with 6-3 7-6 (8-6).

Feliciano got a break to go up 4-2 in the opening set en route to cruising to a 6-3 win in the first set. Lopez won 80 percent of his service points and hit 15 winners to 9 unforced errors. Lopez recovered from 3-5 down in the second set and saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie-break before clinching the win after 1 hour and 44 minutes. Lopez fended off four of the five break points he faced. He will take on John Isner who hit 24 aces to battle past Steve Johnson after two tie-breaks with 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (9-7).

“I hope to have the surgery to remove the appendix at the end of the season. My thought is to play in Basel, Paris and London. In the past few months I have not had the best of luck since Wimbledon. I was playing a very positive year. After that I was unlucky with the wrist. Even today the doctors told me that I was very lucky that I did not have to go for surgery and that I can treat with antibiotics. Pain is under control”, said Nadal

Many fans expected a third round match between Grigor Dimitrov and Kei Nishikori but this section of the draw will feature a match between their two conquerors Julien Benneteau and Jack Sock.

Few people would have bet on a win by Benneteau over Dimitrov, although the Frenchman had recently shown his good form by reaching the final in Kuala Lumpur where he lost to Nishikori. However Dimitrov, who is 11th in the ATP Race to London and is bidding to qualify for the ATP Finals, was upset in straight sets with 7-5 6-3.

Jack Sock knocked out Kei Nishikori 7-6(5) 6-4. The US player hit 13 aces and 80 percent of his service points to put an end to Nishikori’s nine-match winning streak. Unfortunately Nishikori suffered from pain in his hip and lower back. Sock claimed his first win over a top-10 player

“It’s been hurting these couple of matches, maybe two or three matches in Tokyo too. I could not really play my best tennis”, said Nishikori.

Tomas Berdych, runner-up last week in Beijing last week, beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-1. Mikhail Youzhny edged Ivan Dodig 7-6(7) 6-7(4) 6-3. Milos Raonic pulled out of the tournament due to illness when Juan Monaco was leading 5-2 in the first set.

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Return To Top Four After Winning Italian Open

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Alexander Zverev has clinched his first Masters title since 2021 after downing Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at the Italian Open.

The world No.5 surged to a 6-4,7-5, victory at the Faro Italico to become the 10th player in the Open Era to win the Rome trophy on multiple occasions. He also won the tournament in 2017. Zverev’s latest win was aided by an impressive service display from the 27-year-old who also hit 15 winners against eight unforced errors. He is now 22-1 against players ranked outside the top five at the tournament with his only loss being to Matteo Berrettini five years ago.

“It means a lot. Winning my first (Masters) title and winning my first after my injury in Rome. Rome is a very special place for me,” the new champion said afterwards. 
“I said at the beginning of the week if Rome is the place of firsts for me I’m extremely happy about it. It’s a very special week.” 

Playing in his first Masters 1000 final since 2022, Zverev produced a serving masterclass throughout the opening set with the German winning 20 out of 21 points. In contrast, Jarry experienced more difficult but valiantly fought back with the Chilean saving two straight break points at 4-4. Eventually, the third seed sealed the opener two games later with the help of some costly shots coming from across the court. A deep shot towards the baseline was unsuccessfully returned by Jarry, handing Zverev a set point which he converted.

Continuing to pile the pressure on in the second set, Zverev had a double chance to break for a 3-1 lead but failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The opportunities continued to come and go. Back-to-back double faults from Jarry at 4-5 handed Zverev two championship points but once again he failed to take advantage. Eventually, he sealed victory two games later with the help of a forehand shot that Jarry returned out. Prompting Zverev to raise his hands in delight before later paying tribute to his rival. 

“He’s playing huge. You can see that by the opponents he beat and how he beat them,” he said of Jarry. 
“I told him if he continues playing like that he is going to have many more chances. I’m happy to be the winner.”

As a result of his Rome triumph, Zverev has secured a top-four seeding for the French Open. On Monday he will rise in the PIF ATP rankings to No.4 which will be his highest position since August 2022. During that same year, he sustained a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for months. 

“The focus is on Paris, that’s for sure. but let me enjoy this one for a day or so and then I will have my full focus on Paris,” said Zverev.

Zverev has now won six Masters 1000 titles which places him in joint-ninth on the all-time list along with Daniil Medvedev. 

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Novak Djokovic Accepts Geneva Wildcard Ahead Of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva as he looks to improve his form ahead of Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic has shockingly accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva.

The world number one hasn’t had the best season so far having yet to reach a final at any of his events this season.

There was hope for Djokovic that his fortunes would change on clay and the Serb started his clay court season by reaching the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo before losing to Casper Ruud.

However Djokovic’s clay court hopes were dashed in Rome as he lost in the third round to in-form Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

This has meant that Djokovic risks being undercooked for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros.

Therefore the Serb has had no option but to take a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 in Geneva.

Djokovic will join Casper Ruud, Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz in next week’s event.

Next week’s appearance will be the first appearance in Geneva in Djokovic who will be the top seed in Switzerland.

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