TENNIS ATP VALENCIA – Andy Murray fought back from a set down to edge Kevin Anderson with 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4 in the quarter finals of the ATP 500 in Valencia and set up a crucial semifinal match for qualifying for the ATP Final in London. Ferrer swept aside Thomas Bellucci with 6-1 6-2. Murray is eighth in the ATP Race to London, two places ahead of Ferrer. Diego Sampaolo
Andy Murray has won the 16th win in the last 18 matches confirming his recent good form after the US Open. In his attempt to qualify for the ATP Finals Murray lifted the first two ATP titles of the year in Shenzhen and Vienna. Murray needed to reach at least the semifinals in Valencia to add points to his ranking and fulfilled his goal
Murray took a 2-0 lead with a forehand winner but he went down a break down after two double faults in consecutive games. Murray drew level to 4-4 but he faced three set points in the tie-break after another double fault. He probably felt tired after a busy schedule in the last month in his attempt to qualify for London. Anderson converted his set point to take the win in the first-set tie-break after 77 minutes.
Murray wasted a early break lead but he got a decisive break for 5-4 in the ninth game of the second set to draw level and force the match to the decider.
Murray got his fifth break of the match in the first game of the third set. He was solid on serve and did not face any break points in the rest of the third set. Only the final game of the set went to deuce where he closed out on his fourth match point after two hours and 44 minutes. Murray won 86 percent of his first serve points.
“It was tough. There were a lot of long rallies and long games. I started to read a little bit better at the end of the second set. I was creating a lot of chances on his service games. I improved my serve throughout the match. That was really the difference but it was extremely close. I just managed to get through. The match tomorrow will be important but even if I don’t win the tournament this week, I will have another opportunity next week in Paris”, said Murray.
Murray is currently ranked eighth in the ATP Race to London. He added 90 points to his total score closing his gap on seventh placer Tomas Berdych. Murray, winner in Valencia in 2009, could move up to fifth in the standings if he wins in the Spanish city.
Murray’s hopes to qualify for London have improved after the news that Rafa Nadal has officially announced that he will not play at the Master 1000 in Paris Bercy and at the ATP Finals in London to undergo appendix surgery after losing to 17-year-old 2013 US Open Junior champion Borna Coric. Moreover Milos Raonic’s defeat against David Goffin in Basel have also boosted Murray’s chances.
Ferrer eased past Thomas Bellucci 6-1 6-2 in just 67 minutes. Ferrer broke serve four times and saved three break point chances he faced. He won 74 percent of his service points. Ferrer recorded his 600th match win on the ATP Tour
With this win Ferrer has overtaken Raonic for ninth place in the ATP Race to London and could leapfrog Murray if he wins the home tournament
It will be the third match between Ferrer and Murray in the last month. Ferrer beat Murray in the third round in Shanghai but the Scotsman took a re-match last Sunday in the Vienna final.
“It’s going to be a tough match against Murray. Tomorrow is a very important match for both players. I will try to do my best because whoever wins tomorrow will have a lot of options to go to London”, said Ferrer
Frenchman Jeremy Chardy eased past Pablo Carreno Busta with 6-1 6-2 to reach his first semifinal since Brisbane last January. Chardy broke serve four time and won 92 percent of his first serve points. Chardy will face Spaniard Tommy Robredo who beat Pablo Andujar 7-6(4) 6-4.
Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months
The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.
Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.
The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.
“It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”
Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.
“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.
Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.
In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.
“Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.
Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.
Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA
The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.
It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.
Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.
“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.
The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.
Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.
Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.
“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.
Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.
Daniil Medvedev ‘Happy To Play Wimbledon’ If Ban Is Lifted
The world No.2 says he is willing to speak with other players about the situation ahead of his return to action following surgery.
Daniil Medvedev says he is still hopeful that he might be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon Championships should officials at The All England Club decide to change their stance.
At present the reigning US Open champion will not be allowed to play at the grass court major due to his nationality. Officials at the Grand Slam have confirmed that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine. Ian Hewitt, who is the chairman of The AELTC, said the action was taken in order to prevent ‘the propaganda machine of the Russian regime’ from potentially benefiting from their players’ success.
The ban is a controversial move for the sport which until now had a united approach when it came to allowing those players participate in tournaments but only as neutral athletes. Former Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokopvic and Andy Murray have all expressed some degree of opposition to the decision. Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA are considering the possibility of removing the allocation of ranking points at the event.
Speaking about the ban ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev acknowledges that it is a ‘tricky situation’ but is still hopeful that a u-turn could occur which would allow him to play. The 26-year-old has made four main draw appearances at Wimbledon with his best result being a run to the fourth round last year.
“There has been a lot of talk around it. I just tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” news agency AFP quoted Medvedev as telling reporters in Switzerland.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
“I can play: I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“I cannot play: well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”
The former world No.1 has been among a group of Russian players who have previously called for peace in the region. Although none of them have gone as far as publicly condemning the actions of their government. Something which has drawn criticism from Ukraine’s Elina Svitoliva.
“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev commented on the war.
Geneva will be the first event Medvedev has played in since reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open. He took time away from the Tour to undergo hernia surgery but has confirmed he intends to play at next week’s French Open despite his lack of match play on the clay.
During his time at those events, the tennis star says he is more than happy to speak with other players about the Wimbledon ban should they want to.
“Since I haven’t been on the tour, I haven’t talked to any of them face to face. It was the first time when I came here on Saturday when I can talk to players, and if they start talking about this, we can discuss,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, what’s going to happen, if there are going to be more decisions made.
“Same about Wimbledon. I don’t know if this decision is 100 percent, and it’s over.”
Granted a bye in the first round, Medvedev will start his Geneva campaign against either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.
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