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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REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

Tennis Kafe has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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