ATP Finals: Federer saves 4 match points in an epic semifinal match against Wawrinka - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals: Federer saves 4 match points in an epic semifinal match against Wawrinka

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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.

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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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