TENNIS ATP FINALS – Kei Nishikori opened the 2014 World tour Finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Andy Murray. The Japanese player managed to win in an erratic match where both players struggled to hold serve. From London Paul Sassoon
Kei Nishikori had a successful debut at the O2 Arena winning his first match at the ATP Finals. The fourth seed won 6-4, 6-4 against Andy Murray in the first match of Group B and of the tournament as a whole.
It was Murray’s first appearance in England after the Scottish independence referendum and there was some uncertainty as to how the English fans would welcome him after he came out in favour of the yes vote. When the players were presented there was no backlash and the Scotsman was welcomed on court by the fans. There wasn’t an overwhelming support though as the Japanese player walked on court to a similar cheer.
Nishikori won a scrappy match with few exciting rallies and many mistakes. Both players struggled with the serve, Nishikori made 8 double faults and could manage only 46% of first serves in the court whilst Murray made only 3 double faults and a more respectable 58% of first serves, but he only managed to win 7 points with the second serve out of 26 (27%). These two players were not expected to dominate on serve, but so many double faults and breaks of serve were somewhat of a surprise.
Nishikori won his first encounter with Murray at his fourth attempt by limiting his unforced errors compared to the Scot. In both sets the players traded breaks before the Japanese player made the decisive break in the last games of each set. Murray seemed to be out of the match at the start of the second set, he lost his serve in the second game and faced two break points in the fourth game, but he recovered and managed to draw level at 4 all after breaking back in the seventh game. But it was again a weakness in his serve that cost him the match in the tenth game of the second set, just like in the first, “I didn’t serve well enough today. I would say that was the biggest difference in the match. And when you’re not serving well, obviously on your own service games you want to be looking to dictate the points. When you’re returning, you kind of dictate when you have the opportunity. You don’t always have the chance if someone’s serving well.” Murray said in the press conference. Regarding his chances of qualifying to the semifinals, Murray is aware that this defeat makes life much tougher for him, “it’s harder to qualify when you lose your first match. That’s pretty obvious. But, yeah, unlike the other events, you still have a chance to go through. If this were anywhere else, I would be out of the tournament.”
Nishikori spoke about the moment that could have turned the match around in the fourth game of the second set when he failed to break the Scot for a second time in the set, “I should have finish maybe 6 2 or 6 3 before he’s coming back. But I was, you know, try to stay calm, even he was playing little better, you know, start playing little more consistent. I got little bit tight, honestly. But, yeah, I was, you know, try to stay focus even he came back strong. But, yeah, mentally I think I’m getting little more, you know, calm and strong.”
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
Zhizhen Zhang Handles Home Pressure As Murray Exits Shanghai
Jannik Sinner beats Danil Medvedev in the China Open final to clinch the ninth title of his career
Iga Swiatek cruises past Magda Linette to reach the quarter final at the China Open in Beijing
Dusan Lajovic beats Stan Wawrinka to reach the second round in Shanghai
‘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
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(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
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Sets Rublev Quarter-Final Clash
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Plenty Of Surprises Could Occur In This Year’s Wimbledon Women’s Draw
Latest news3 days ago
Jannik Sinner sets up a quarter final against Grigor Dimitrov in Beijing
Hot Topics1 day ago
Aryna Sabalenka Survives Scare, Wades Into Ball Quality Debate At China Open
Hot Topics2 days ago
Iga Swiatek Reacts To Row Over Use Of Performance Byes At China Open
Latest news24 hours ago
Jannik Sinner beats Carlos Alcaraz to reach the final in Beijing
Hot Topics2 days ago
‘My Brain Works Different’ – Coco Gauff Talks Positives From Online Criticism After China Open Win
Latest news2 days ago
Danil Medvedev is on a collision course for a potential quarter final against Jannik Sinner in Shanghai
ATP1 day ago
Tennis Player Disqualified From Shanghai Qualifying Match Two Points Away From Victory
Latest news2 days ago
Jannik Sinner beats Grigor Dimitrov to set up semifinal against Carlos Alcaraz