Roger Federer claims his 6th Swiss Indoors Basel title in a “nightmare” final for his opponent - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer claims his 6th Swiss Indoors Basel title in a “nightmare” final for his opponent

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TENNIS SWISS INDOORS – Roger Federer claimed his 82nd overall career and sixth Swiss Indoors Basel title 6-2, 6-2 in just 51 minutes against 7th seed, David Goffin. The Belgian was no match for Federer who sealed up his hometown title without facing a single breakpoint in the final. From Basel, Andreen Soley

Roger Federer claimed his 82nd overall career and sixth Swiss Indoors Basel title in just 51 minutes against 7th seed, David Goffin. Goffin compiled an impressive 43-2 record across all levels since his first round loss against Andy Murray at Wimbledon. However, he was no match for Federer who sealed up his hometown title without facing a single breakpoint in the final. Goffin could not get into any of the Federer service games as he found it impossible to get a read on “where it was going. It’s not easy to return his serve, that’s why it was a nightmare for me today.”

Federer got off to a very fast start. He won the toss and elected to receive which was a cunning move as he must have noted how difficult Goffin found it to serve out his match versus Borna Coric on Saturday as he had squandered three match points. Aided by a Goffin double fault and two backhand errors, Federer broke in the first game of the set. Both men then held serve fairly comfortably until the 7th game when Federer generated three breakpoints. Goffin would surrender the second break with a backhand error allowing Federer to serve out the first set at love in just twenty-four minutes. Goffin admitted that he was a little bit nervous at the start of the match. “It’s never easy to start a final against Roger, the pressure is all on me…I didn’t play my best match of the week.”

Goffin would show some signs of resistance at the start of the second set despite opening with a double fault. He comfortably held serve in the first game and even sealed up the third game with three service winners. But his inability to gain any traction in Federer’s service games made the work that much harder on his own. Thus, it came as little surprise that he would eventually find the pressure too much and he found himself down a break after the fifth game even though he started out with 30-0 love with a great body serve and another one out wide. Federer consolidated the break even as he served a double fault to give the Swiss crowd jitters for 15-all. Federer held to 30 for 4-2 and then broke Goffin again on a clean forehand winner for 5-2. Federer would then serve out the match, capturing his hometown title, a remarkable 6th title out of eleven final appearances.

It is sweet success for Federer who has played under a cloud this week. Just this morning, Rene Stauffer and Simon Graf published a piece in a local German paper about his battles with Roger Brennwald, President and rights holder of Swiss Indoors Basel. Graf and Stauffer suggest that Brennwald has felt threatened by Roger Federer’s interest in the tournament as both a future tournament director and a potential business venture with his agent and business partner in the firm Team 8, Tony Godsick. The tension between the two Rogers has resulted in stalled talks regarding Federer’s contract for participation in the Swiss Indoors Basel.

The benefit for Federer is that he was not required to perform any sponsorship duties which allowed him to focus entirely on just playing in the tournament. As he had a late start on Wednesday, he knew that he would have to play five days straight if he wanted to win the title, so he “went into a cocoon” of just playing and resting for the matches. Federer believed that he “controlled the match with his serve and with [his] variation on the return,” which was unlike his experience of Goffin in their first meeting at the French Open in Paris in 2012. In that match, Federer recalled that he “had a hard time returning [Goffin’s] serve and a hard time dominating the baseline.” He’s happy that things were different this time around and that he was able to get the win.

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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