Can Federer become world number 1 again? - UBITENNIS
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Can Federer become world number 1 again?

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TENNIS – Roger Federer has enjoyed an impressive 2014 season in which he clinched four titles compared to just one win in 2013. Although he has not won any Grand Slam titles Federer has moved up to World Number 2 in the ATP Ranking overtaking Rafa Nadal. The year is far from over for Federer who has still a chance to end the 2014 season in first place. Diego Sampaolo

 

What a year for Roger Federer! The Swiss Maestro ended 2013 in eighth place after a difficult year ruined by a back injury in which he won just one trophy in his favourite venue of Halle and he secured his spot for the ATP Finals only in the last qualifying tournament. After the 2014 Australian Open he fell to World Number 8, his lowest ranking since 2002. This year he won four tournaments in Dubai, Halle and two consecutive Master 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai. He lost an epic Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic with 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6 in the fifth set in the best match of 2014. He also reached the semifinal at the Australian Open (where he lost to Rafa Nadal after beating Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Andy Murray) and the at the US Open (where he lost to eventual winner Marin Cilic) and played three Master 1000 finals finals at Indian Wells (losing to Novak Djokovic), Monte-Carlo (where he was defeated by his compatriot Novak Djokovic) and in Toronto (losing to Jo Wilfred Tsonga). Federer also contributed to the historic achievement of the Swiss team who has reached the Davis Cup final for the first time since 1992. Switzerland will meet France in the much-awaited Davis Cup final on Indoor clay under the roof of the football stadium Pierre Mauroy in Lille from 21st to 23rd November. Federer is the player who has more match wins than anybody else on the circuit (61 victories), has more wins against top-10 players (13) and more finals (9).

“I am playing a solid, consistent season. It was about winning titles this season because last year I only got one, which was disappointing. The biggest concern this year was to remain healthy. That’s something I am so pleased about, to see how the hard work I put in last year is paying off. I am waking up normally. I am not half-broken like I was last year. I am playing the way I was hoping I could play again”, said Federer.

His Swedish coach Stefan Edberg has played a key role in Federer’s great season by contributing to his aggressive and attacking game. He showed the benefits of this tactic in the Shanghai semifinal last Saturday where he beat Novak Djokovic with a double 6-4 putting an end to Djokovic’s winning streak of match wins on Chinese soil. In the re-match of the Wimbledon final Federer approached the net 35 times and won 20 points at the net.

Although Federer has not won any Grand Slam tournaments this year, he has still some chances to end the year in first place in the ATP Ranking as can add points to his ranking. Djokovic is leading in the ATP Ranking by 2430 points over Federer with 9080 points.

Federer has three tournaments in his home city Basel, Paris Bercy and the ATP Finals in London plus the Davis Cup Final. He will defend 300 finalist points in Basel, 360 semifinalist points in Paris and 400 points in London where he lost in 2013 in the semifinal against Nadal. There is a question mark on Paris Bercy as Federer may the last Master 1000 Tournament of the year to have a week of rest to prepare the Davis Cup final in Lille where he will be looking to win one of the few trophies missing from his cabinet. The Davis Cup could add extra 225 points to Federer’s ranking.

On the contrary Novak Djokovic will have to defend his 2013 titles in Paris and London. However, Djokovic and his wife Jelena are expecting their first child in November and this could change Novak’s schedule in the final part of the year. The Serbian player, winner in Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Wimbledon and Beijing this year, is currently leading the ATP Race to London by 990 points (9010 to 8020 points). Federer has always performed brilliantly on the fast European Indoor courts and has a good chance to make up further ground.

Federer could become the oldest Number 1 player since André Agassi. He could also become the third player to end the year in Number 1 position without winning a Grand Slam title after Jimmy Connors in 1975 and 1977 and John McEnroe in 1982.

“I think this year everything is going really well. I have still many highlights to lool forward to for the end of the year. Usually everything slows down at the end of the season. Not for me this time. What does it need for Number 1 ? I am not quite sure that I need to look into that, how realistic it is or not. It is in Novak’s racquet. Nevertheless I am still going to be playing well again”, said Federer

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Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?

Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?

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Cincinnati Open, Western and Southern Open, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez
Photo Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.

 

In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.

Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.

“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.

These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.

“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.

Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.

This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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