ATP Finals 2014: Murray bounces back against Raonic. Federer needs one set to qualify - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals 2014: Murray bounces back against Raonic. Federer needs one set to qualify

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TENNIS – Andy Murray bounced back from his defeat against Kei Nishikori by winning a do-and-die match against Milos Raonic in straight sets with 6-3 7-5 in the second round-robin match to keep his hopes alive to qualify for the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London. Diego Sampaolo

Murray, three times semifinalist in the ATP Finals, played a decisive match against Raonic in the evening match between the two losers of the first day. There was at stake as the Scotsman would have been eliminated if he had been defeated. Murray had won just one of his previous four head-to-head matches against Raonic who beat the Scotsman last March at Indian Wells

Raonic, the first Canadian player to qualify to the ATP Finals in the singles tournament, fended off two break points at 1-2 but dropped his serve in the sixth game with a double fault, a wayward smash and a missed forehand. In the ninth game Murray could not convert two break points but he closed out the first set with his serve on his third set point after 37 minutes.

Murray lost nine of his service points and made 8 of his 11 unforced errors with his backhand. Raonic made 23 forehand errors and won just 38 percent of his first serve points.

Murray got an early break in the second set to build up a 2-1 lead when Raonic made a double fault but the young Canadian broke back for 2-2.

Both players held serve until 5-5 until Murray got the decisive break to 15 to take the 6-5 edge when Raonic sent a forehand wide and netted a half-volley. Murray clinched the win on his second match point after one hour and 31 minutes.

It was very important for Murray to win in straight sets to keep his hopes alive. Raonic has still a slim chance to qualify if he wins his match against Kei Nishikori in straight sets

Murray will meet Roger Federer in the final match of the Group B. The Basel player has not already qualified but has made a big step with his 6-3 6-2 win over Kei Nishikori. If Federer wins nine games (the first set and the first three games of the second set), he will be automatically first in his round robin group. Winning against Murray would be vital for Federer, as he may risk a semifinal clash against Nole Djokovic if he finishes runner-up in his group

“I played better today than in the first match. I hit the ball a lot cleaner than on Sunday. I started to tray and use as much variation as possible on my second serve. I discussed the first match loss with Amelie Mauresmo. She lost her first match 6-2 6-2 against Nadia Petrova. Then she went on to reach the final. It’s nice to have those sort of discussions, having someone who experienced a tough situation after losing the first match.”, said Murray

“For me it depends on the match between Kei and Milos. If Kei wins, then I need to beat Roger. If Raonic wins, I know that all I need to do is to win the match against Roger and I will be through”

The Scotsman is looking forward to his next match against Federer. “It’s a nice match on Thursday to look forward to, it will be a great atmosphere again. It’s always a pleasure to play against Roger. He is one of the greatest players that has ever played, so to get the opportunity in an atmosphere like this is excellent”, said Murray.

Raonic talked about hi slow first-serve percentage in the first two matches at the post-match press conference. “My first serve percentage shouldn’t have been above 40%. I started hitting 115 miles an hour to get it past 50 %. I have 24 hours to solve it and I am going to need it if I want to have any hope. There is no way around that. It’s something I got to do.”

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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