Master 1000 Paris: Djokovic to face Murray in the quarter finals - UBITENNIS
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Master 1000 Paris: Djokovic to face Murray in the quarter finals

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TENNIS MASTER 1000 PARIS – Djokovic beat Monfils setting up a blockbuster quarter final match against Murray who secured his spot for London with a 6-3 6-3 win over Dimitrov. Federer sealed a comfortable 6-4 6-4 win over French 20-year-old Pouille setting up a quarter final against Raonic. Berdych has made another step forward to qualifying for London by reaching the quarter final with a 7-5 6-3 win over Lopez. Ferrer and Raonic will fight for the final spot at the ATP Finals. Ferrer beat his fellow Spaniard Verdasco 6-1 6-2. Raonic edged Bautista Agut 7-5 7-6(7). Diego Sampaolo

Eight of the top-10 players in the ATP Ranking were in action on a spectacular day at the BNP Paribas Masters at the Palais Omnisport in Paris Bercy.

Novak Djokovic beat local favourite Gael Monfils 6-3 7-6 in the final match of a busy day in the French capital to set up a blockbuster quarter final against Andy Murray.

Djokovic got off to good start with a break in the second game and pulled away to 3-0. Monfils failed to convert two break back points as the Serbian player was leading 5-3. Djokovic sealed the first set with 6-3 in 36 minutes.

Monfils broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. In the fourth game Monfils saved two break points with two aces and held his serve. It came down to the tie-break where Djokovic took a 3-1 lead as Monfils made a double fault. Nole pulled away to 5-2 after Monfils made a volley error and sealed the win in the 56-minute second set on his first match point

Monfils lost his 11th match in 11 head-to-head clashes against Djokovic, but they played many tight matches, notably the 2009 final at Paris Bercy which was decided by a tie-break in the third set.

Murray secured his spot for the ATP Finals for the seventh consecutive year with a 6-3 6-3 win over Grigor Dimitrov. Murray, who needed to reach the quarter final to book his berth for London, played a solid match in which he needed just 69 minutes to clinch the 20th win in the last 22 matches since the US Open.

Murray did not face any break point in the whole match and converted three of his four break point chances. He serve in the third and in the ninth games to clinch the first set in 33 minutes. He took a 3-1 lead in the second set before winning a spectacular 37-shot rally with a backhand slice and producing a forehand volley winner.

Murray sealed the win as Dimitrov hit a forehand into the net. Murray now leads 4-2 in his head-to-head matches against Dimitrov.

Murray took a re-match over the young Bulgarian who won their previous head-to-head matches played this year in the Acapulco final and in the Wimbledon quarter final.

The spot for the ATP Finals is a well-deserved prize for Murray who played for six consecutive weeks after falling out of the top-10 for the first time since June 2008. After the US Open Murray has won three titles beating Tommy Robredo in Shenzhen and Valencia (after two marathon matches in which he saved five match points) and David Ferrer in Vienna.

“There were no downs in the match. In some of the matches that I have played against the top players, I had some periods where my level had dropped off a little bit and the best players capitalized on those moments. The first months of the year were very difficult, and I had to dig deep at the end to salvage this year”, said Murray

Murray will renew his rivalry against Djokovic who has won 14 of their head-to-head matches and all three matches they have played so far this year.

“Novak has played some great tennis over the last few months winning Wimbledon and is World Number 1 for a reason. He is going to be very motivated to finish the season as the Number 1. It’s going to be a tough match”, said Murray

Roger Federer beat 20-year-old Lucas Pouille 6-4 6-4 to extend his winning streak to 14 matches Pouille advanced to the third round of a Master 1000 Tournament for the first time in his career after beating Ivo Karlovic and Fabio Fognini. The young Frenchman played against his idol Federer for the first time in his career.

Pouille kept pace with Federer until 3-3 in the first set when Federer got his first break for 4-3. The Swiss 17-time Grand Slam champion and 2011 Paris Bercy winner held serve backing up the break in the next game. Pouille won the next game for 4-5 but Federer held serve to love to clinch the first set with 6-4.

Pouille saved two break points at 2-2 with an ace to take the edge in the fifth game of the second set. Pouille delighted the French crowd with a series of backhand winners. The young Frenchman committed some unforced errors allowing Federer to take the break for 4-3 in the nine-minute seventh game of the second set.

In the quarter finals Federer will take on Milos Raonic. Federer has won all their six head-to-head matches and the last 10 sets they have played.

Raonic has kept his hopes alive to qualify for London after his 7-5 7-6(7) win over Roberto Bautista Agut in one hour and 44 minutes. Raonic and Ferrer will fight for the the final berth for the ATP Finals in London.

“It’s good that I didn’t spend too much energy. Milos has a lot in the racquet. It’s a good match and I am looking forward to it. There is a possible semifinal for both of us and also the London issue, so it’s more fun”, said Federer

Bautista Agut dropped serve at the end of the first set but he took two break leads in the second set. Raonic managed to recover both breaks. Bautista Agut went up 5-2 but Raonic saved a set point in the tie-break before the Spanish player made a forehand error at 7-7. Raonic, who is currently ranked 10th in the ATP Race, can secure his spot for London by winning the Paris Bercy title.

Tomas Berdych beat Feliciano Lopez 7-5 6-3 for his 53rd seasonal match win to get through to his 13th quarter final this season and to his fifth quarter final in this tournament. The World Number 8 player will secure his fifth consecutive ATP Finals if he reaches at least the semifinal in Paris Bercy, a tournament he won in 2005.

In the first set Berdych took a break lead but he had to face a tough challenge as many games were decided at deuce. He was broken when he was serving for the set at 5-4. Berdych broke serve at 6-5 to secure the win with 7-5 in the first set. Lopez converted only one of his seven break point chances in the first set. Berdych reeled off four consecutive games in the second set for 4-0 with two breaks before Lopez managed to recover one of the two breaks. Berdych hit an ace and a forehand before serving out for the match to win the second set wit 6-3.

“My coaches and friends know that I am not the kind of guy who plays well in the morning. After I won I turned to my camp and said: Okay. I made it. It was tough against Lopez because he slices and comes to the net”, said Berdych.

Kevin Anderson battled past Stan Wawrinka in a marathon match with 7-6(2) 5-7 7-6(3) after 2 hours and 50 minutes.

The opening set came down to the tie-break where Wawrinka cruised to a 3-0 lead before clinching the win with 7-2 after 53 minutes. In the second set Wawrinka wasted a break point chance in the first game. Anderson earned two break points in the 12th game. Stan saved the first but Anderson converted the second break point chance. In the third set Wawrinka broke serve at 4-4. The match was decided after a long and tight battle in the third set when Wawrinka was two points from winning the match when he was leading 5-4 30-0 on his serve but he was broken back for 5-5. The match was decided by the tie-break where Anderson prevailed 7-3.

Anderson won 75 percent of first serve points and hit 18 aces. Anderson and Wawrinka are now tied 3-3 in their head-to-head matches. Anderson has qualified to the quarter finals for the first time in Paris Bercy after reaching the third round three times. Wawrinka has won just two matches after the US Open and suffered three first-round defeats in three consecutive tournaments in Tokyo, Shanghai and Basel

“I should have won. In the end I made some stupid mistakes but I am not panicking. I am still Top 4 in the world and I have the ATP Finals to play and the Davis Cup Final on clay, which will totally different from usual tournaments”, said Wawrinka.

Berdych and Anderson will meet tomorrow in the quarter finals. The Czech player boasts a 11-0 winning record in their head-to-head matches.

Kei Nishikori defeated twice Paris Bercy finalist Jo Wilfred Tsonga 6-1 4-6 6-4 in two hours and nine minutes to set up a very interesting quarter final match against David Ferrer. If Nishikori beats Ferrer, he secures his berth for the ATP Finals. Nishikori leads 4-3 in their head-to-head matches.

The Japanese player dominated the match until 6-1 3-2. In a one-sided first set Tsonga won just 36 percent of his first serve points and Nishikori cruised to 6-1 in 30 minutes. In the second set Tsonga turned around the match.

The Frenchman saved four break points before breaking serve at 4-4. He confirmed the break in the next game and sealed the win in the second set to force the match to the third set.

At 1-1 in the third set Tsonga had the chance to take the lead for the first time in the match when he earned two break points but Nishikori saved them with two goo serves. At 4-3 for Nishikori in the decider Tsonga saved three break points. The Frenchman dropped serve when Nishikori was leading 5-4.

It was the last match this year on the ATP Tour for Tsonga who will now prepare for the eagerly-awaited Davis Cup between France and Switzerland in Lille.

David Ferrer, Paris Bercy champion in 2012 and runner-up last year when he lost the final against Novak Djokovic, cruised past his compatriot Fernando Verdasco with 6-1 6-2. Ferrer now leads 11-7 in the head-to-head matches against his fellow Spaniard in this battle between 30-year-old veterans. Ferrer, who played at the ATP Finals five times, will secure his spot for London if he reaches the final in Paris Bercy.

The winner of the match between Nishikori and Ferrer will face either Djokovic or Murray in the semifinal. On the other side of the draw the winner of the quarter final match between Berdych and Anderson will play against either Federer or Raonic.

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Daniil Medvedev Targets French Open Breakthrough After Rome Disappointment

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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

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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

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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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