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Master 1000 Paris: Third title for Djokovic

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TENNIS MASTER 1000 PARIS – Novak Djokovic claimed his third win at the BNP Paribas in Paris Bercy with a 6-2 6-3 win over Milos Raonic. The Serb has clinched the 600th match win of his career becoming the fifth active player to reach this milestone after Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt and David Ferrer and the 23rd in history to achieve this feat. Djokovic has become the first player to win two back-to-back Paris titles and extended his streak to 27 match wins Indoors. Djokovic got an early break in both sets and saved three break points in the seventh game after trailing 0-40. Djokovic broke three times against Raonic who had only been broken four times in four matches during this week and saved the four break points he faced. Diego Sampaolo

Djokovic has extended his lead over Roger Federer to 1310 points after his win in the French capital and the quarter final defeat of the Swiss player against Raonic boosting his hope to end the year at the top of the ranking. Djokovic is the first player in the history of Paris Bercy to retain this title and becomes the third player to win this tournament three times following in the footsteps of his coach Boris Becker and Marat Safin. The Serbian star had already won in Paris Bercy in 2009 and 2013. The triumph in the French capital has followed a great week in the life of the 27-year-old Belgrade player after the birth of his first son Stefan

Djokovic got his first break on Raonic’s first service game for 2-0 as the young Canadian hit a backhand volley into the net and held his serve in the next game for 3-0 before racing to 4-1. Raonic faced three break points in the sixth game but he reeled off eight consecutive games to save them with two aces. Djokovic fell 0-40 down on his serve but he saved three break points to pull away to 5-2. Djokovic had only a minor scare when he received medical treatment on his right calf at 5-2 but it was not serious as after returning to the court he got another break of serve on his set point for 6-2 after two unforced errors by the Canadian. The young Canadian reeled off eight consecutive points but Djokovic rallied from 0-40 to save three break-back ball chances in the seventh game Djokovic got his third break of the first set on the set point to wrap up the first set with 6-2 in 43 minutes. Raonic ended the first set with 19 unforced errors.

Djokovic reeled off five consecutive game from 4-2 to pull away to 6-2 3-0. Raonic, who produced 21 aces against Roger Federer in the quarter final, committed a double fault and dropped his serve in the second game of the second set to go down 2-0.

Djokovic backed up the break holding serve in the third game for 3-0. Raonic had no chance to get back into the match.but he saved two match points at 2-5 15-40 with a service winner and a forehand passing shot. Djokovic served out with a forehand down the line on his third match point in the ninth game to lift his third Paris Bercy title, his 20th Master 1000 and his 47th overall of his career. Djokovic crowned a perfect week in which he did not drop a set during the week

Raonic, who has never beaten Djokovic in their four head-to-head matches, won 66 percent of his first serve points and hit just nine aces. He was tired after a great week in which he beat Roger Federer in the quarter final and Tomas Berdych in the semifinal to reach his second Master 1000 final one year after losing to Rafa Nadal in Toronto. Thanks to his very consistent season Raonic has qualified for the ATP Finals for the first time in his career

“The key of the match was to get as many returns back in play. It’s easier said than done when somebody serves regularly around 220 kilometres per hour. Raonic uses it as his big weapon. This was his best shot throughout the week. He relies much on his serve in his game. If I can make him play an extra shot, maybe he drops his percentage of first serves and I can step in and maybe take initiative on the second”, said Djokovic

“This title is for my son. It’s the first Tournament I won since becoming a dad”, said Djokovic.

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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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