Goffin hopes for a “revenge of the French Open” in his rematch with Federer in the Swiss Indoors Basel final - UBITENNIS
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Goffin hopes for a “revenge of the French Open” in his rematch with Federer in the Swiss Indoors Basel final



TENNIS SWISS INDOORS – On Sunday David Goffin and Roger Federer will face each other in the final of the ATP 500 Basel. The Swiss defeated Karlovic 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 in his semifinal whilst the Belgian won against Croatian teenager Borna Coric 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. From Basel Andreen Soley


Federer progressed to his 123rd Tour-level final with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 win over Ivo Karlovic. It is Federer’s nine straight final in his hometown tournament and even as he acknowledged that “the streak is great” he is anticipating a difficult final because Goffin has won so “much this year. You almost tend to forget how to lose at one point.”

Even as Federer took the 1st set against Karlovic in a tense and nervy tiebreak that saw him come back from an early minibreak down, the end was not entirely certain for Federer nor the Basel crowd. In the second set, they were silent during Karlovic’s service games and jubilant whenever Federer successfully served out a game. They had cause to be worried as Karlovic remained stalwart on serve and it was Federer who faltered and gave up the break in the second set which allowed Karlovic to level the match. As he prepared for the decider, Federer admitted that “I didn’t expect a break in the third set, so I was very happy to get that and bring it home.”

That vital break came in the 4th game when Karlovic went down three breakpoints and double faulted. It was an uncharacteristic service game and one can’t help but wonder if the partisan crowd wasn’t a factor. Federer admitted that the “crowd support was amazing” and hopes for more of the same tomorrow. For a tournament that has been marred by grumblings about the lack of a contract for the hometown son, Federer, it would be gratifying for him to seal his 6th Swiss Indoors Basel title.

Standing in Federer’s way is David Goffin who clinched his first top ten win by defeating world no. 9 Milos Raonic to make the semifinals in his Basel debut. Goffin took out Rafael Nadal’s slayer and wild card, Borna Coric in three sets to set up his 2nd meeting with Federer and reach his third Tour-level final. Goffin sealed the 1st set against Coric in 44 minutes. From the start, there was little to separate the two within the first six games as neither faced a single breakpoint. Then in that vital seventh game, Goffin generated and converted his first breakpoint with a well – timed forehand down the line to yield an error in response from Coric. Though Goffin would consolidated for 5-3, it was a difficult service game as he served two double faults and only produced one first serve. Goffin did succeed in serving out the first set at 15, but Coric was not deterred and quickly capitalized on some loose play from Goffin to go up 3-0 in the second set. Coric would comfortably hold serve for the remainder of the set and take it 6-3.

In the third set, we were left to wonder who would falter first. Coric showed early signs of frustration as he netted a backhand to go down love-15 in the second game of the set. He would hold for 1-all after yielding two deuce games. Goffin then held to 15 for 2-1, putting the pressure right back on Coric. Coric seemed assured of holding at 40-15 but then he sent a forehand into the net and double faulted to send the game to deuce. This time around, he could not manufacture an escape as he squandered his earned advantage with a second double fault to take the game to deuce again. A forehand error along with an ill-fated net approach allowed Goffin to break with a backhand-down-the-line winner. Coric could only scream at himself in frustration as Goffin went up 3-1. Goffin would consolidate the break for 4-1 and play his most comfortable service game at 5-2; he held to love with serves that didn’t venture over 160 km/hour which Coric did not punish. By the two hour mark, Goffin had survived a circuitous route to the Swiss Indoors Basel final and had three match points. Though he would squander them all, Goffin held firm with one of his biggest serves of the match at 207 km at deuce to generate and take his 4th match point when Coric sent a lob long. He won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

In his post-match interview Goffin would blame the flubbed match points on nerves and offer a teasing jab at hoping for a “revenge of the French Open” if he did meet Federer. In 2012, Federer ended his run in the round of sixteen at the French Open with a 4-set win. It promises to be an intriguing final. Federer declared his hope that “I can win here at home in Basel. It will mean the world to me. I’m looking forward to the match. I think it’s going to be an exciting but a tough one.”


Casper Ruud Topples Rune To Reach French Open Semis



Casper Ruud came out on top in his all-Scandinavian clash with Holger Rune to seal his place in the semi-finals of the French Open. 


Ruud, who is seeded fourth in the draw, battled to a 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, win over his Danish opponent in what was a topsy-turvy encounter on the Philippe Chatrier Court. It is the second year in a row that the Norwegian has defeated Rune in the last eight of Roland Garros and he now leads their head-to-head 6-1. He is through to the last four of a major for only the third time in his career. 

“I’m very relieved. I came into this match trying to not play with pressure but it is not easy when you’re playing a big match against Holger who is never easy,” Rune said during his post-match interview. “He is very aggressive. Luckily for me the first two sets he wasn’t feeling it too well. He made a lot of errors and I got a lot of points for free.’
“That helped settle my nerves but he fought back in the third set. In the fourth set, I was lucky to keep that break.”

The highly anticipated nighttime clash began in one-way fashion with Ruud claiming 12 out of the first 15 games with relative ease as an erratic Rune struggled to find his game on the court, hitting a total of 40 unforced errors during the first two sets. 

It wasn’t until the third frame that Ruud finally faced some resistance on the court as his opponent orchestrated the crowd to get behind him. Prompting the 20-year-old to hit a series of impressive shots to revive his hopes.

However, Rune’s comeback was short-lived as Ruud broke once more midway through the fourth set as he moved to a game away from victory. He earned his first match point at 5-2 following a double fault from his rival but failed to convert. Two more opportunities then came and went for Ruud before he managed to serve the match out in the following game.

“I think I did well,” he replied when asked about how he handled his nerves. “I kind of looked at it (the match) as if he was the favourite. He won the last time we played and he has had a better year than me so far.’
“He was hoping to get into his first (Grand Slam) semi-final and I was hungry to get into another semi-final. Luckily it worked out well for me.”

Awaiting the 24-year-old in the semi-finals on Friday will be Alexander Zverev who defeated Tomás Martín Etcheverry in four sets. He trails their head-to-head 1-2 but they have never faced each other on clay. 

“Ruud has been there before. He was in the final here last year, so he knows exactly what it means and what it takes,” Zverev told reporters.  

Ruud is now 16-5 this season when it comes to playing matches on the clay. Since the start of 2020, he has registered 86 wins on the surface which is more than any other player on the ATP Tour.

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Alexander Zverev Reaches French Open Semis 12 Months After Horrific Injury



Alexander Zverev says there is still work to be done at the French Open after sealing his place in the semi-finals of the tournament on Wednesday. 


The world No.27 battled to a hard-fought 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, win over Argentine underdog Tomas Martin Etcheverry in a match that featured numerous lengthy rallies. After dropping the second set, Zverev then had to bounce back from a break down at the start of the third before restoring his lead. Overall, he hit 45 winners to 44 unforced errors and converted five out of 11 break point opportunities. 

“I’m happy to be in a semifinal of a Grand Slam any time that I’m there but for me, the tournament is not over,” Zverev said during his press conference.
“I’m happy to be here, but I know that hopefully I have two more matches ahead, and they’re not going to get easier.”

It is the third consecutive season that Zverev has reached the last four at Roland Garros and the sixth time he has done so at a Grand Slam so far in his career. He has now won 13 consecutive matches against players ranked outside of the top 20 at the French Open. 

Unlike his previous Grand Slam runs, this one is perhaps more sweeter for the German considering what he has been through over the past year. At the clay court major in 2022, he took on Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals where he suffered a severe ankle injury that ended up sidelining him from competition for seven months.

“I couldn’t play for the first seven months of my injury. Then for the next three, four months, I was still in pain. I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to.” Zverev recounted.
“I think I’m at a stage now where I’m not thinking about the injury so much anymore. I’m not thinking about what happened. I’m just happy to be back where I was last year, and I have another chance. Hopefully I can take it.”

Despite his credentials, Zverev has only featured in the final of a major tournament once before. That was at the 2020 US Open where he led Dominic Thiem by two sets to love before losing the match in five. 

His record is a stark contrast to that on the ATP Tour where he has reached 30 finals, winning 19 titles. His collection includes two ATP Finals trophies, a gold medal from the Tokyo Olympics and five Masters 1000 crowns.

“Grand Slams are tennis history. That’s what you play for. I think the two most important things in tennis are Grand Slams and the Olympic Games.” He said.
“When you are in a semifinal or final of either of those, I think that’s very different from being in a final of another tournament.”

Zverev is aiming to become the first German man to reach a French Open final since Michael Stich in 1996. 

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Roland Garros Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Plays Coco Gauff in a Rematch of Last Year’s Final



A look at last year’s trophy ceremony after the women’s championship match (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

The quarterfinals conclude on Wednesday in Paris.


A year ago in the women’s singles championship match, Iga Swiatek defeated Coco Gauff 6-1, 6-3 to win her second Roland Garros title.  Swiatek leads their head-to-head 6-0, having claimed all 12 sets they’ve contested.  Can Coco provide any real resistance on Wednesday?

In the other WTA quarterfinal, Ons Jabeur and Beatriz Haddad Maia vie to reach their first French Open semifinal.

On the men’s side, we have another prominent rematch from last year’s tournament.  A year ago in this same round, Casper Ruud eliminated Holger Rune in a contentious Scandinavian battle.  Yet in 2023, Rune has been the better player.  Who will prevail this time around?

And one year after the serious ankle injury Sascha Zverev suffered in the semifinals of this event, he looks to return to that round, and faces a surprising quarterfinalist in Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

Beatriz Haddad Maia (14) vs. Ons Jabeur (7) – 11:00am on Court Philippe Chatrier

Jabeur is only 15-6 on the year, after missing time this season due to multiple leg injuries.  But she has rounded into strong form at a good time, dropping only one set to this stage.  This is the farthest Ons has ever advanced in Paris, as she plays for her third Major semifinal, all within the past year.

Haddad Maia had never previously advanced beyond the second round of a Slam, with an 0-7 record in that round.  Yet here she is in her first Major quarterfinal, on the surface where the least amount of previous success had come.  Beatriz has survived three consecutive three-setters, including an over three-and-half-hour one in the last round against Sara Sorribes Tormo.

These players met just two months ago in the same round on the same surface, with Jabeur easily prevailing 6-3, 6-0 in Stuttgart.  Ons will surely be the fresher player, and has an obviously huge edge in experience.  I like Jabeur’s chances of achieving her first Roland Garros semifinal.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Coco Gauff (6) – Not Before 12:30pm on Court Philippe Chatrier

In their 12 aforementioned previous sets, most have not even been close.  Only one, their very first, has gone to a tiebreak, and Gauff has averaged just 2.4 games per set. 

Coco is also yet to play her best this year.  While her record of 23-8 is far from embarrassing, she had not reached a quarterfinal in three months before this fortnight.  She continues to tinker with her forehand and serve, and has made recent changes to her coaching team.

Swiatek is 32-6 this season, and has lost only nine games through four rounds, though she did receive an unfortunate retirement in the last round from an ill Lesia Tsurenko.  So while Gauff always remains a threat, a Coco upset on Wednesday would be a bit of a shock.

Sascha Zverev (22) vs. Tomas Martin Etcheverry – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Philippe Chatrier

Zverev arrived in Paris with little form, and even admitted to feeling emotional returning to the scene where such a devastating injury happened a year ago.  But he has played excellently through four rounds, dropping just one set against his only opponent seeded higher than him (Tiafoe).  Sascha is playing for his third straight semifinal in Paris.

Before this year, Etcheverry had never won a match at a Major, and only owned four career victories at ATP level.  But the 23-year-old has won 19 tour-level matches this season, and reached two clay court finals (Santiago, Houston).  Tomas Martin is yet to drop a set this tournament, defeating three seeded players (de Minaur, Coric, Nishioka).

But in their first career meeting, Zverev is a huge favorite.  His power and experience should allow him to comfortably dictate matters on Wednesday.

Holger Rune (6) vs. Casper Ruud (4) – Not Before 8:15pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Ruud got off to a modest start in 2023 after achieving his first two Major finals in 2022, and accumulating 51 match wins.  But he’s now 15-5 on clay this season, and took three tight sets from Nicolas Jarry in a straight-set fourth round match that lasted nearly four hours.  Casper is 2-0 in his previous Slam quarterfinals.

Rune has been on a tear since last fall, reaching seven ATP finals, and winning three of them.  That includes three clay finals within the last two months (Monte Carlo, Munich, Rome).  He survived a grueling round of 16 contest against Francisco Cerundolo, decided by a fifth-set tiebreak.  This is Holger’s second Slam quarterfinal, after losing in four sets here a year ago to this same opponent. 

These two men exchanged words both at the net and in the locker room after that quarterfinal.  Casper, like many players, has voiced how immature he finds Holger’s on-court behavior to be.  Ruud won their first four meetings, but just two weeks ago in the semifinals of Rome, Rune came from behind to win in three.  All five of those matches took place on clay.

Holger appeared physically fatigued during much of his match on Monday against Cerundolo.  The outcome on Wednesday may heavily depend on his physical condition.  But if he’s feeling close to 100%, I give Rune the slight edge to achieve his first Major semifinal.

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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