2014 ATP Finals: Djokovic in superb form as he dismantled Wawrinka - UBITENNIS
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2014 ATP Finals: Djokovic in superb form as he dismantled Wawrinka

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TENNIS 2014 ATP FINALS – Before the start of the 2014 Barclay’s World Tour Finals just after group assignments were made, many pundits held that Group A was the toughest of the two groups as it held 3 major winners, however, as it turned out, Group B is the one that has provided only moderately more interesting affairs.

 

Before the start of the 2014 Barclay’s World Tour Finals just after group assignments were made, many pundits held that Group A was the toughest of the two groups as it held 3 major winners, (Novak Djokovic [1], Stan Wawrinka [3], Marin Cilic [8]) and all 4 players had made it to a major final at least once in their career, (Tomas Berdych [6] back in 2010). Group B on the other hand only has two major winners (Roger Federer [2] and Andy Murray [5]) and Kei Nishikori [4] who recently made it to the last two at the US Open. Milos Raonic [7] was the lone man in the entire field without an impressive resume. However, as it turned out, Group B is the one that has provided only moderately more interesting affairs. Through two rounds of play in Group A, all matches have been consummate blowouts for the winners. Prior to the Djokovic verses Wawrinka match, the final match of Day 4, the three previous matches in the group featured at least one breadstick set (6-1). Wawrinka ended this streak in favour of having something much more “hefty” like a bagel set as Djokovic simply crushed the Swiss 6-3 6-0 in a mere 65 minutes.

The very early goings of the match captivated fans of the players and the sport alike as Wawrinka broke Djokovic and held serve for a 2-0 lead. The last time these two met was back in Australia when Wawrinka won a tight 5-setter in the quarterfinals and moved on to claim his first major title and in doing so ending Djokovic’s reign in Melbourne. However, as any fan of the sport knows, Wawrinka has not shown any real sign of that type of player outside of his winning run at Monte Carlo in April. He came into this tournament winning one match in his last four tournaments. Yet at the start of the match, one almost believed that Wawrinka was back to that winning major form. However, Djokovic crushed all hopes of that when he fully asserted himself in the match for a 5-2 lead. At one point, Djokovic had won 16/17 straight points on a 5-game streak. It was then fans knew that Wawrinka is back to his old Grade C form self and this matchup was not going to turn into a long awaited 3-setter that the tournament has been crying out for. This was going to be another whitewashing.

Wawrinka showed some true resilience to win the 8th game but Djokovic easily served out the set, 6-3. Djokovic was on another level. In fact, he was several levels above Wawrinka and thus virtually unplayable. In the 2nd set, Djokovic was simply hitting impossible shots from all corners of the court. Everything was working for the Serbian and anything that Wawrinka threw at him, he had the correct response. Nothing from the Swiss fazed him. The numbers alone tell the tale. Djokovic was winning 76% of his 1st serves and 50% on his 2nd serves whilst Wawrinka was at a measly 45% on his 1st serve and a pitiful 26% on his 2nd serve. The Swiss only won 3 points on serve and 7 points total in the entire 2nd set along with a 29 errors and 8 winners for the match. This poor level of play from Wawrinka only allowed for mere target practice for Djokovic as he hit winner after winner, (16 in all for the match) that even Wawrinka had to stop and applaud one of these magnificent shots. So it was no surprise that the match ended 6-3 6-0 in favour of Djokovic.

“[T]his year everybody before the tournament was expecting some big matches because was more surprise during all the year with me winning Grand Slam, Cilic also, Raonic, Nishikori being there”, Wawrinka noted. Those big matches have yet to occur at the O2 Arena in London. Of the 8 singles matches played, they have all been 8 straight-set victories to the higher ranked player with 1 bagel set (6-0), 6 breadsticks (6-1), 1 tiebreaker (7-6) where the loser did not win a single point for a total of 8 hours and 26 minutes of actual play, averaging just about 1 hour and 3 minutes per match. Djokovic, himself expressed surprise at this statistic but said that he hoped that he can keep up his level of play and continue to be on the winning side. He added, “After I lost the first two games, you know, obviously I didn’t start so great. I thought he played very well the first two games. But, again, I wasn’t frustrated. I kept my calm. After that, was a really amazing performance.” He will play Tomas Berdych this Friday to maintain his unblemished record in group play and solidify his claim as the world’s No. 1 player for the rest of the year.

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Singapore Champion Alexi Popyrin Dedicates Maiden ATP Title To Family

The world No.114 battled back from a set down to become the fifth active Australian player to win an ATP singles title.

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Rising star Alexi Popyrin has claimed the biggest title in his career to date after triumphing in the final of the Singapore Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old battled back from a set down to defeat world No.46 Alexander Bublik 4-6, 6-0, 6-2, in what was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. Popryin, who had never got past the quarter-final stage of a Tour event prior to this week, managed to turn his fortunes around with the help of an emphatic service display. During the second set he dropped no points behind serve and only one in the third. Overall, the Australian produced 11 aces and broke Bublik five times en route to victory.

A former junior world No.2 who won the 2017 French Open boys’ title, Popyrin has become the fifth active player from Australia to have won an ATP title. The other four are Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, Bernard Tomic and John Millman. During the trophy ceremony Popyrin said the breakthrough was a result of hard work as he paid tribute to his family.

“I’ll definitely have very fond memories of Singapore now, I’ll definitely remember this for the rest of my life,” he said.
“We put a lot of hard work in the pre-season and it’s paying off in the start of the year I’ve had. In Australia I felt really good so it’s just good to see all the hard work paying off.
“My family behind the scenes, they’ve sacrificed so much for me and to finally win a tournament just shows how much hard work they put in with me also. This is for them 100 per cent.”

Prior to Bublik, Popyrin also scored a win over former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. The breakthrough continues what has been an encouraging start to the season for the Next Gen star. At the Murray River Open in Melbourne he took Grigor Dimitrov to three sets before losing in the third round. Then at the Australian Open he knocked out top 20 player David Goffin.

Meanwhile, Bublik is left wondering what might have been. It was the second time the Kazakh has reached a Tour final this season after Antalya where he had to retire due to injury.

“His first final, his first title, I have four finals, which hurts now but just congratulate you and next time we’ll see if we can face in the final,” Bublik said.

Popyrin will rise to a ranking high of 82nd when the standings are updated on Monday.

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beats Hubert Hurkacz to reach the quarter final in Montpellier

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina came back from 1-3 in the opening set and converted four of the ten break points to claim a 7-5 6-2 win over Hubert Hurkacz in 1 hour and 34 minutes at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. 

 

Hurkacz went up a break in the fourth game at deuce to take a 3-1 lead. Davidovich Fokina broke back in the fifth game at 15 and held serve to draw level to 3-3. Hurkacz saved a break point in the seventh game to hold serve after two deuces. Davidovich Fokina converted his second break point in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Hurkacz saved three break points in the third game of the second set, but Davidovich Fokina broke twice in the fifth and seventh games at deuce to win the final four games from 2-2 securing his spot in the quarter final. 

The 21-year-old Spanish player set up a quarter final against Egor Gerasimov, who knocked out Aljaz Bedene 6-4 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 51 minutes. Bedene converted his second break point at deuce in the first game. Gerasimov broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gerasimov closed out the first set 6-4 with a break on his opportunity in the 10th game.

Bedene went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Gerasimov broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Gerasimov earned five match points at 6-1 in the tie-break. Bedene saved the first three chances, but Gerasimov closed out the tie-break 7-4 on his fourth opportunity. 

Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Gregoire Barrère 6-0 6-3. The Spanish player built up a 6-0 2-0 lead with four consecutive breaks. Barrère came back by winning three consecutive games to take a 3-2 lead with a break in the fourth game. Bautista Agut reeled off four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-3 

Dennis Novak came back from 3-5 down by winning the final four games in the second set to beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 35 minutes. Novak set up a quarter final clash against German Peter Gojowczyk, who came back from one set down to beat Juri Vesely 6-7 (3-7) 7-4 (7-4) 6-3 after 2 hours and 28 minutes. Gojowczyk hit 17 aces and won 86 % of his first service points. Gojowczyk saved four break points in the ninth game. Vesely earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-brek 7-3. The second set went on serve en route to the the tie-break. Gojowczyk earned one mini-break to win the tie-break 7-4. The German player converted his only break point in the second game to seal the third set 6-3.

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John Isner not happy with the cut in prize money for Miami Masters

John Isner took to Twitter to raise some issues about the ATP and latest state of affairs in Tennis.

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John Isner (@usta - Twitter)

The American took to social media to vent his frustration saying it doesn’t make sense.

 

John Isner took to twitter today after hearing the news that the Miami Open will be cutting its prize money down with the singles champion only taking $300,110 with a first round loser only winning $10,000 in prize money.

Isner and many other players on tour believe the tournament should be forced to due an audit to truly reveal what their finances are and to see if they are hiding anything.

“How about a true audit to see how much tourneys are actually hurting and then a money formula after the event to reconcile?”

“Amazing we still don’t have this in a lot of our big events. How does that make any sense?” 

He also tweeted about the promoters saying the system the ATP uses is broken.

The American also spoke of the unfairness in the cuts the players are taking in comparison to the actual events.

“So players should take a 60% cut and 80% champions cut while ATP executives keep full salaries, benefits, and expense accounts? Make that make sense. Seems just a little bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?”.

Isner finally believes the players should benefit from the tournament not just in the short term but over a long tenure.

““Tennis is plagued by conflict and lack of transparency”

The tournament is scheduled for March 23rd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the tournament has confirmed they won’t be doing a quarantine like the Australian Open.

The players will need to provide a negative PCR test to board a flight to the US and once they land they will be tested once again and isolate until a negative result is shown.

The players will only be allowed at the hotel and the venue and any player who doesn’t respect the rules will be subject to penalties and be withdrawn from the tournament.

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