TENNIS – Roger Federer won an epic three-set match after saving four match points against his rival and friend Stan Wawrinka with 4-6 7-5 7-6(6). Federer fought back from 3-5 down in the third set and 5-6 in the decisive tie.break to battle past Wawrinka after 2 hours an d48 minutes. Federer will be bidding for his seventh title in the ATP Finals in a blockbuster final against three-time champion Novak Djokovic. Diego Sampaolo
Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka met for their 17th head-head match with the Basel player leading 14-2. Wawrinka won his only two matches on Monte-Carlo clay in 2009 and in this year’s final. Federer won their last match in the Wimbledon quarter finals in four sets with 3-6 7-6 6-4 6-4.
The first two games went on serve. Wawrinka got the first break of the match in the third game for 2-1. It was the first time this week that Federer dropped his serve. Wawrinka hit an ace to hold his serve for 3-1. Federer won the fifth game on his serve for 2-3 but Wawrinka hit two aces to go up 4-2. Wawrinka broke serve for the second time for 5-2 and served for the first set. Federer broke back for 3-5 as Wawrinka made a double fault and hit his forehand long and held his serve in the next game for 4-5. Wawrinka held his nerve and served out for the set to win the first set with 6-4. In the first set Wawrinka won all his first service points
Federer took the 3-2 lead as Wawrinka hit a passing shot into the net but he could not convert three break points in the sixth game. Wawrinka hit two groundstrokes and his smash into the net at 5-6 and dropped his serve to love.
Wawrinka broke serve at the start of the decider for 1-0. Federer questioned with the chair umpire Cedric Mourrier after an over-rule. When 0-40 was called, Federer thought it was 15-30.
Wawrinka saved two break points at 4-3 30-40 The Lausanne player came two games within a historic first final in this tournament but Federer rallied from 0-30 down to win the seventh game for 3-4. Federer put Wawrinka under pressure and earned two break point chances. However Wawrinka saved them to pull away to 5-3. Federer needed a break to keep his hopes alive. King Roger was on the brink of defeat when Wawrinka earned three match points at 5-4 40-30 but on the crucial moment he saved them as Wawrinka was serving for the match. As the drama increased the Swiss Maestro got the vital break after a 11-minute game to stay in the match when Wawrinka hit his backhand into the net after a long rally. Federer rallied from 15-40 to win the 11th game for 6-5 but Wawrinka held his serve to force the third set to the tie-break. Wawrinka brought up his fourth match point at 6-5 in the tie-break but Federer saved it with a service winner. Federer clinched the two-hour and 48-minute epic battle on his first match point with a drop volley for 8-6 in the tie-break to set up a blockbuster final against Novak Djokovic who edged Kei Nishikori in the afternoon. Federer has improved his lead over Wawrinka to 15-2.
“I thought it was an exciting match to say the least. I didn’t think I was going to turn it around anymore because Stan was playing well for a long time. You have got to keep believing that there is a slight chance that you are going to turn it around somehow, It happened today. I was able to win the second set by somehow hanging around. I got lucky. Stan played better from the baseline and that usually does the job on this court. But I kept fighting. It’s tough for Stan but I am thrilled to be in another final in London. I am happy we were able to play such a good match.”, said Federer.
“That game at the end I was nervous. It was not easy to play from the baseline. He was just pushing his slice baseline return. I was like. I was going to try to take it, try not to wait for a mistake, try to go for it. In a tough match like that, there are only few points that make the difference. I was playing great tennis. I am happy with the way I was playing. I had some big opportunities in the third set. I should have take it especially when I was serving for the match with the two match points. Maybe I didn’t serve well enough”, said Wawrinka
Federer will play his ninth final in his 13th appearance in the end-of-the year tournament equalling Ivan Lendl. He won his sixth title in 2011. Federer leads 19-17 in his previous head-to-head matches against Djokovic who has extended his winning streak to 31 consecutive indoor matches.
Federer and Wawrinka will team up next week for the eagerly-awaited Davis Cup final between Switzerland and France in Lille on Indoor clay.
Tennis Player Disqualified From Shanghai Qualifying Match Two Points Away From Victory
It will be a match that Australia’s Marc Polmans will never forget but for all the wrong reasons.
The World No.140 looked to be on the verge of victory against Italy’s Stefano Napolitano when leading their match 7-6(3), 6-6(6-5), in the final round of qualifying at the Shanghai Masters. However, disaster struck at the next point when Polmans temper got the better of him and subsequently cost him.
With match point, he approached the net to hit a backhand shot but it ended up in the net. Prompting the frustrated 26-year-old to hit a tennis ball that unfortunately hit the umpire. As a result of that action, he was automatically disqualified from the match which handed Napolitano the victory and a place in the main draw.
It is not the first time a tennis player has been disqualified for such an incident. During a 2017 Davis Cup tie between Canada and Great Britain, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified for firing a tennis ball that hit the umpire’s eye. Novak Djokovic was also disqualified from the 2020 US Open after hitting a ball that accidentally struck a lines judge.
“Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw
a tennis ball while on the grounds of the tournament site except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up),” the 2023 ATP rulebook outlines.
“For purposes of this rule, abuse of balls is defined as intentionally or reckless- ly hitting a ball out of the enclosure of the court, hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with disregard of the conse- quences.’
“Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine of up to $350 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule.”
It is a tough lesson for Polmans to learn. He was on the verge of playing in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career. He is currently the 10th highest-ranked Australian player on the ATP Tour and reached the final of a Challenger event in Guangzhou, China last month.
Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup
Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day
After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.
Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”
American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.
“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”
After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:
“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”
The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:
“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”
Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”
Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.
Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.
T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2
ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more
After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10
By Roberto Ferri
“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”
Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.
Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.
A few comments:
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.
Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.
Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.
Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively at the 2022 US Open, drop 4 positions.
One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.
ATP NITTO FINALS
From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.
Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.
Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.
The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.
Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.
ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS
The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.
The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.
Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.
Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.
We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.
The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.
Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
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‘He’s Here To Stay’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas Brings Father Back Into Team After Philippoussis Split
‘Bulls**t’ – Expert Involved In Simona Halep’s Anti-Doping Case Blasts Four-Year Ban
Maria Sakkari ‘Scared’ Of Anti-Doping Testing Measures After Halep Ban
Gutsy Novak Djokovic Prevails In Grueling Battle With Medvedev To Win US Open
Iga Swiatek Says Her Priority Is Form, Not Reclaiming No.1 Spot
Iga Swiatek Dismisses Criticism Over Recent US Open Exit
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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
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