Master 1000 Paris: Berdych secures his place in the ATP Finals. Raonic beats Federer - UBITENNIS
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Master 1000 Paris: Berdych secures his place in the ATP Finals. Raonic beats Federer



TENNIS MASTER 1000 PARIS – Milos Raonic kept his hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals alive by beating Federer 7-6, 7-5 for the first time in his career. Earlier in the day Tomas Berdych secured his berth for the World Tour Finals by beating Kevin Anderson 6-7, 6-4, 6-4.

In the first two quarter finals of the day at the Master 1000 Paris-Bercy Tomas Berdych secured his place for the World Tour Finals in London and Milos Raonic remained in contention for the last available place for the end-of-year tournament. The Czech won his quarter final match against Kevin Anderson coming back from a set down extending his winning streak against the South African to 12 matches and no defeats. The Canadian won his first ever match against the Swiss at his sixth attempt. Tomorrow Berdych and Raonic will face each other for a place in the final.

Raonic d. Federer 7-6(5), 7-5

Milos Raonic finally cancelled the zero in the head to head statistics with Roger Federer. The Swiss had won all the six previous meetings with the Canadian, but this it was the seventh seed who came out victorious. Raonic won 7-6(5), 7-5 in one hour and thirty two minutes of play keeping himself in the race for a place at the ATP Finals and moving the pressure now on Ferrer to beat Nishikori.

Federer lost harming his chances to return to the number one spot in the rankings, but today he was almost powerless to stop Raonic who played one of his best matches, certainly it was one of his most determined performances.

In the first set, as easily predictable, there were few chances for breaks. The only one happened to the Canadian in the sixth game. He earned the first and only break point of the set with a deep forehand return to the feet of Federer who couldn’t return the ball in the court. The Swiss saved the break point with a forehand winner. The set was decided at the tie-break which started with three consecutive mini-breaks which left Raonic ahead 3-1. The Canadian didn’t relinquish the lead earning himself three set points at 6-3. The first two set points were on Federer’s serve and the Swiss saved both, the third was on Raonic’s serve and he ended the set with his 11th ace of the match.

The drama in the second set all came at the end in the last three games. With the score at 5-4 for the Swiss, Raonic was serving to stay in the set. At 30 all the Canadian tried a stop volley but Federer reached the ball and passed with a passing shot in the ample space left by his opponent. It was Federer’s first break point of the match and a set point, but Raonic ended the Swiss’ hopes with his favoured weapon, his serve. In the next game Raonic broke serve. He got to break point with an outstanding return and then punished Federer with a backhand cross court passing shot. The seventh seed served for the match at 6-5 and he didn’t falter ending the contest after 1 hour and thirty two minutes with ace number twenty one of his match.

Federer’s chances to recapture the World Number one spot have been dented, but all is not lost. “I always thought it was going to get solved in London. What this means is I will have a good preparation for London.” said Federer, “It’s not that I didn’t want to win here, but I knew it was going to be tough from the start. I accept that. Now I will continue to prepare for London. I’m going to stay on indoors now. Obviously two days more is big. So I’m looking forward to some days off right now, really resting my body to the max in a short period of time. I have plenty of days now to get ready for London, which is kind of nice, as well. So I can actually properly practise for a change as well again.”

“Clearly he served well when he had to. I mean, it was a classic indoor match. Few shots here and there went his way today Really credit to him. When I did have the chance, he was there, as well. I didn’t do much wrong, either. It hurts to lose that way. Clearly he served well when he had to. I mean, it was a classic indoor match. Few shots here and there went his way today Really credit to him. When I did have the chance, he was there, as well.”

“I think this was the biggest win for me,“ said Raonic after the match. “I’m very motivated (to qualify for the ATP Finals). I think I have been sort of trying to find this level, fortunately I have been able to do so this week. I definitely struggled the last few weeks. If it wasn’t sort of me biting away the whole time and having that kind of motivation to need and to want to do well here, I don’t think I’d find the answers that I have this week.”

Berdych d. Anderson 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4

Tomas Berdych booked his place for the ATP Finals by winning his quarter finals match against Kevin Anderson 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and thirty-three minutes. The Czech player made life difficult for himself and could ave won this match more comfortably, but as in previous matches he struggled to kill the match when he had the opportunity. Berdych’s difficulties in closing the match should not detract from the good match played by the South African who was still unable to beat his rival after 12 matches.

In the first set the fifth seed took an early break, but he couldn’t hold onto his lead and ended up losing the set at the tie-break 7-4. In the second set Berdych was again the first to break serve and this time he didn’t give up the advantage and won the second set 6-4 without giving Anderson a break point. The third set saw the South African make the first break in the fourth game, but his lead was short lived as Berdych broke back immediately. The Czech made a second break in the ninth game which then allowed him to serve out for a place in the semifinal which he did.


Daniil Medvedev Targets French Open Breakthrough After Rome Disappointment



Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Daniil Medvedev believes there will be more title contenders at the French Open than previous editions with the Russian hoping to be one of them. 

The world No.4 heads into the Grand Slam after what has been a mixed clay swing. Medvedev suffered a third round defeat in Monte Carlo before bouncing back in Madrid where he reached the quarter-finals before retiring from his match with a minor injury. Meanwhile, at this week’s Italian Open, his title defence came to an end in the fourth round on Tuesday when he fell 6-1, 6-4, to Tommy Paul. 

“Mentally I had to be much better,” Medvedev said of his latest performance.
“I started to calm myself down and focus on the match only at the end of the match, and it was too late. I had to do better. I was expecting myself to play better.’
“It’s disappointing, but that’s how sport is. You lose and you go for the next tournament, which is a pretty important one.” He added. 

28-year-old Medvedev recently stated that he is seeing improvements in his game when it comes to playing on the clay. A surface which he has struggled on during stages of his career. Out of the 38 ATP Finals he has contested, only two of those were on the clay. Barcelona in 2019 when he finished runner-up and Rome last year which he won. 

As for the French Open, he has lost in the first round on five out of seven appearances. But did reach the quarter-finals in 2021 and the last 16 the following year. So could 2024 be his year?

“Now it’s maybe a little bit more open than it was ever before,” he said of this year’s event. 
“Good for me, too, because usually in Roland Garros I don’t play that well. The more open it is, the better it is for me.”

All of the top three players on the men’s tour are currently experiencing problems. Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open and recently underwent a medical assessment after getting hit in the head by a bottle in a freak accident. Jannik Sinner is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the French Open due to a hip issue and Carlos Alcaraz has been hindered by a forearm injury in recent weeks. 

“I’m feeling much better on clay,” Medvedev commented. “What is tough for me on clay sometimes is getting used to conditions. Every court – in every tournament in the world – is a bit different.
“On hard courts it’s the same: every court is different. On hard courts I have this ability to kind of quite fast get used to it. On clay, I need more time.”

Medvedev aims to become only the second Russian man in history to win the French Open after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996. The tournament will begin a week on Sunday. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Says Expanded Masters Events ‘Playing A Massive Role’ In Player Injuries



Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas has slammed the decision to extend the length of Masters 1000 tournaments to two weeks by warning that more injuries could occur in the future as a result. 

This week’s Rome Masters is taking place without two out of the world’s top three players. Jannik Sinner pulled out of his home event due to a hip injury and Carlos Alcaraz has been troubled by a forearm issue in recent weeks. Other players missing from the draw include Tomas Machac (Illness), Ugo Humbert (Left Knee) and Stan Wawrinka (Right Wrist). 

The tournament is taking place immediately after the Madrid Open which is also a Masters event that has been expanded to a two-week format in recent years. Supporters of the move argue that a bigger draw provides lower-ranked players with more opportunities to play in these events whilst others will have a day off between matches. 

However, world No.8 Tsitsipas isn’t completely happy with the schedule which he openly criticised on Monday following his 6-2, 7-6(1), win over Cameron Norrie. The Greek has won 12 out of 14 matches played on clay so far this season. 

“It’s a type of thing that hurt the sport a little bit, to have these types of things happen to the highest of the players,” Tsitsipas commented on his rival’s injuries.
“Without them, the show is not kind of the same. You have obviously the guys behind them (in the rankings). These kinds of tournaments deserve names like this to be playing and have the opportunity to play in front of these big stadiums and crowds.
“I’ve spoken about the fact that the schedule has a big toll on our bodies. It starts from the mental side, and it follows to the physical side. The extension of the days in the Masters 1000s I think plays a massive role and contributes a lot to the fact that these players are getting injured.”

The ATP’s extended format is set to be applied to seven out of the nine Masters 1000 tournaments from 2025. The only two yet to make or plan for such changes are Monte Carlo and Paris. However, Tsitsipas has called for changes to be made to the schedule.

“It was perhaps already a lot the way it was before with the seven-day events. Adding more days to that, well, you got to be some type of superhero to be consistent back-to-back 10 days in each event getting to the very end of it.” He commented.
“It’s not a very easy thing to do. Some people need to try it first to get an understanding and how it is to pull that off. Then they should make decisions based on that.
“I think this is not going to be the first time we see these types of things (player injuries). If these types of things continue with the same schedule not being adjusted or customized to the needs of the players, we might see more of these things occur in the future.”

It is not the first time a player has raised concerns about the extended format. Alexander Zverev previously said that the schedule is a disadvantage for the top players. Meanwhile, on the women’s Tour Caroline Garcia has criticised the move to expand WTA 1000 tournaments whilst Maria Sakkari said achieving the Madrid-Rome double has become harder to do

On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev has spoken in favour of the new format and describes injuries on the Tour as ‘part of the sport.’ The former US Open believes the issue is related to the quick surface changes players face and not the duration of tournaments. 

Tsitsipas will play Alex de Minaur in the fourth round of the Italian Open on Tuesday. 

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Novak Djokovic To Undergo Medical Check After Rome Thrashing, Bottle Incident



Novak Djokovic – ATP Roma 2024 (foto: Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis)

Novak Djokovic has indicated that he will speak to doctors following his lacklustre performance at the Italian Open where he crashed out in straight sets. 

The five-time champion was far from his best against Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo as he struggled to generate any rhythm in his tennis or a single break point opportunity. Djokovic’s below-par performance caught many off guard, including the tennis player himself who admitted afterwards that he was ‘completely off’ his game. 

Trying to find the reason behind his latest performance, the world No.1 isn’t ruling out the possibility that it might be linked to an incident that took place at the tournament two days ago. Following his win over France’s Corentin Moutet, Djokovic suffered a blow to his head after a fan accidentally dropped a metal bottle from the stands. Immediately afterwards, he experienced nausea, dizziness and bleeding for up to an hour but was checked by medical officials.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I have to check that.” Djokovic replied when asked if the incident affected his form on Sunday.
“Training was different. I was going for kind of easy training yesterday. I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.
“Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance. Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago.
“It could be. I don’t know. I have to do medical checkups and see what’s going on. “

The tennis star said he managed to sleep fine after his head blow but did experience headaches. He looked to be in good spirits the day after it happened and even turned up to practice in Rome wearing a safety helmet.

Djokovic’s concerns come two weeks before the start of the French Open where he is seeking a record 25th Major title. He will undoubtedly be one of the contenders for glory but admits there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the coming days. 

“Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it,” he said.
“The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, and no balance whatsoever on any shot.
“It’s a bit concerning.”

The French Open will begin on Sunday 26th May. 

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