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World Tour Finals: Federer off to a flying start

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TENNIS WORLD TOUR FINAL – Roger Federer got off to a convincing start in the Group B of the round robin with a 6-1 7-6 win over Milos Raonic on his 13th appearance at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London. Diego Sampaolo

Roger Federer made a winning debut taking a re-match over Milos Raonic who beat the Swiss legend in the quarter finals of the Paris Bercy Master 1000. This time experience in this kind of tournaments made the difference in favour of Federer who saved all the four break points he faced to win his opening match at the ATP World Finals for the 10th time in his career. He needed 87 minutes to beat the young Canadian newcomer who has qualified for the first time in his career in the ATP Finals.

Federer, who brought up only one break point chance in the quarter final match in Paris, got six break point opportunities against the Canadian big-server.

Federer broke serve in the second game and cruised to 3-0 lead in the opening set. The six-time ATP Finals champion got a double break in the sixth game to wrap up the first set with 6-1 after 25 minutes. Federer dropped just four service points in the first set.

Raonic saved a break point early in the third game of the second set. The young Canadian player fought back from 0-40 twice to bring up break point chances at 2-2 and 3-3 but Federer held nerve and managed to save them. Raonic could not convert any of his four break point chances in the second set

Federer faced a tough opposition from Raonic at the end of the second set and had to save a break point point on Raonic’s set point at 5-6 30-40 with a service winner. The second set came down to the tie-break where Federer dominated with 7-0 after Raonic made a double fault and a forehand error.

Federer now leads 7-1 in his career head-to-head matches against Raonic.

On Tuesday afternoon Federer will take on Kei Nishikori who won the first of his four career head-to-head matches against Andy Murray with 6-4 6-4. Murray will face a crucial match against Raonic on Tuesday

“I was happy with how I performed. I thank the crowd for the standing ovation when I entered the building. The second set was much tougher. It was an important set to win. I don’t think he played a great breaker but it was great to win. It’s a small relief but we have a tough group, so it’s going to be hard advancing, buti t brings me a step closer. I am looking forward to playing Nishikori now.”

Federer talked about his targets he set at the start of the year and what woul mean for him to end the year at the top of the ranking.

“I have now five finals. I made another five finals. We are in the Davis Cup final. It was a very successful year. Better than I thought it was going to be, I figured I was going to struggle until March this year. Success kicked in quite quickly with Brisbane and the Australian Open. The rankings came by surprise all of a sudden. I had a small shot at World Number 1 after winning Shanghai. But It’s highly unlikely it’s going to happen. For me personally it doesn’t matter if it happened at the end of the year or another week during the year, as long as you could get back to world number 1 one more time. That would be very special because I have been there and I know how much it would mean. Winning a tournament is a one-week thing but getting back to world number 1 is an entirely different animal”, said Federer.

Raonic was obviously disappointed after losing 7-0 in the tie-break of the second set. “It can come down to one play. We might be playing a third set. It’s obviously disappointing the way I finished the second set. It took me more than one set to find my way into the match because of playing Roger, not because of playing here for the first time”, said Raonic

Asked about his next match against Murray, Raonic said: “It’s a completely different match. Things are going to be different than the first match”.

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Carlos Alcaraz And Novak Djokovic Wouldn’t Yield To Medvedev And Musetti At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz seemed to be on his own against a vastly improved Daniil Medvedev. The defending Wimbledon champion appeared to be out of tricks.

And Medvedev sensed it.

Alcaraz still scored a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Medvedev. It may look rather easy on paper, but there was nothing easy about Alcaraz’s victory. The young Spaniard just came through when he needed it to advance to what he hopes will lead to his fourth Grand Slam title.

MEDVEDEV APPLIED ENDLESS PRESSURE

Medvedev was always there, ready to pounce on any mistake by Alcaraz. But mistakes didn’t happen that often after Medvedev took the first set in a tie-breaker.

Alcaraz hadn’t served that well in the first set that Medvedev had taken in a tiebreaker. But it was a different story once Alcaraz found the mark on his serves. He just kept holding service until the match was his.

Remember, he’s only 21 years old. But now he faces someone in this Wimbledon final almost twice as old in 37-year-old Novak Djokovic.

NOVAK DIDN’T LET INJURED KNEE STOP HIM

Early in the match, Djokovic looked like he might have problems against Lorenzo Musetti. He appeared to have a slight limp in the right knee that was covered by a band. Of course, it’s been less than six months since Novak underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in that knee.

Djokovic didn’t always chase after balls in situations where his service game wasn’t in jeopardy. He just hit winners when the opportunities came along, and his serve was always ready to win a point, a game or the match.

MUSETTI WASN’T THE SAME

Young 25th seed Musetti had been so strong and talented in his quarterfinal upset of Taylor Fritz. The 22-year-old Italian had looked like he might be a threat to the likes of Djokovic and Alcaraz in the last two rounds in London.

Musetti appeared to be able to run down everything against the speedy Fritz, until Fritz seemed to grow tired in a fifth set that Musetti won easily.

The Italian wasn’t the same against Djokovic.

Djokovic was just too good and too consistent to allow Musetti to stop his bid for another title.

NOVAK THE VIOLINIST

The setting was completely different this time with Djokovic looking questionable at the start. But Musetti could hardly push Djokovic, and ended up losing by a 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Once Novak charged through the second set tiebreaker, dropping only two points, Musetti couldn’t get back into the match.

And then Novak came out pretending to play a violin on his racket for his precious 6-year-old daughter Tara, whom Novak said has been learning to play the violin for about six months.

Some fans apparently didn’t like this, but then there probably were others who became Novak Djokovic fans. Novak obviously is a great guy and dad these days.

After all, Novak has just played his 97th Wimbledon match, and he’s hoping in his 37th Grand Slam final to tie Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles.

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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Carlos Alcaraz Beats Fiery Medvedev To Reach Second Wimbledon Final

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Image via x.com/wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz has become the second Spanish man in history to reach multiple Wimbledon finals after beating Daniil Medvedev who had a run-in with the umpire during their semi-final clash. 

The defending champion battled back from a set down to beat his opponent 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Making it the fifth time in a row he has defeated a top-five player at Tour-level events. Alcaraz has now won 18 out of 20 matches played at Wimbledon so far in his career.

Meanwhile, ex-US Open champion Medvedev produced a solid fight early on before getting outmanoeuvred on the court. The world No.5 got caught up in a dispute with umpire Eva Asderaki concerning one call which resulted in him receiving a code violation. Whilst his exact words were not picked up on camera, it appeared that he used offensive language against Asderaki. 

(It was) Different conditions, but I’m happy with my performance today.” Said Alcaraz.
“He (Medvedev) was dominating the match and playing great tennis with his serves. It was difficult for me and he tried to pull out all the shots. 
“It was helpful to be up 2-1 (in sets) and after that I could enjoy the match. In general I think I played a good match.”

A roller-coaster opening set saw Medvedev start by coming through a six-minute service game before his defensive shot-making began to draw a series of unforced errors from Alcaraz, who was struggling to find the right balance in his powerful hitting. Three consecutive breaks of serve midway through the set moved Medvedev to a 5-2 lead.

However, another twist unfolded on Centre Court with Alcaraz clawing his way back to level. It was during this period that the Russian landed himself in hot water. During a rally, the umpire called a double bounce against the 28-year-old, who then appeared to swear multiple times at the official. Following a brief discussion with the supervisor, he was hit with a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“If you use a swear word you’re going to get a code violation and a warning and a fine, but if you verbally abuse the umpire, that’s when there’s a question mark. It could be a default,” The I quoted Tim Henman as telling the BBC.
“Just from where we’re sitting to see the umpire get down off the umpire’s chair, to see the umpire and the supervisor to go on the court, that doesn’t happen unless something has gone on.”

The controversy did little to unsettle the fifth seed who cruised through the tiebreaker by winning seven out of eight points.

Urging the crowd to cheer him on by putting his finger to his ear, Alcaraz produced a clinical fightback in the second frame to turn the match around in his favour. A three-game winning run guided him to level the match. 

The Spaniard continued to weather the storm with the help of back-to-back Medvedev forehand errors handing him a break for 3-1 in the third. It wasn’t a perfect performance from Alcaraz, who made the occasional mistake such as a mishit on a smash which would have given him a set point when leading 5-3. Nevertheless, it was enough for him to extend his lead to two sets against one. 

Closing in on victory and elevating the quality of his tennis, he dismantled the Medvedev two more times before converting his first match point by hitting a forehand shot that his rival returned out.

I tried to play long rallies and tried to play to the net as much as I can. I tried to not play his game.” He said of his tactics used against Medvedev.
“There were a few points that were really long rallies, but I tried to put my own game [on the match]. It was difficult to break the wall!”

Alcaraz is bidding to become the first player outside the Big Three to defend the men’s Wimbledon title since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. 

“I feel like I am not new anymore,” he commented.
“I know how I feel before the final I have been in this position before – I will try to do the things that I didn’t do last year and be better. 

In the final, he will play either Novak Djokovic, in what will be a repeat of last year’s title clash, or Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti. 

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Alex De Minaur Speaks About Kyrgios’ Retun After Wimbledon Withdrawal

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Nick Kyrgios (AUS) playing against Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios is expected to return to action in the coming weeks with an appearance at the US Open on the cards, according to his compatriot.

Alex de Minaur told reporters at Wimbledon on Wednesday that he believes the former top 20 player will return to action at some point during the upcoming US hardcourt swing. Marking the end of his lengthy absence from the sport due to various injury issues. 

Kyrgios underwent surgery on his left knee in January 2023 before suffering another injury blow with a wrist issue. The last Tour-level match that he played was at the Stuttgart Open in June last year. He has only been able to play six tournaments since reaching his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon in 2022. 

“I’m trying to have some hits with the players who are here to see where my wrist is at. It’s been 10 months since my surgery, so I’ll try to work my way back onto the court,” Kyrgios told the UTS website in June.

“I’ll be playing doubles in the next month (on the ATP Tour). It will be exciting. I’ll probably start there and hopefully, if everything is OK, I’ll move to singles and then I’ll see how long I’ll hang around for.

“I missed competing, I missed hearing the crowd, my fans. Even the people that hate me, I miss them, I miss them all. I can’t wait to be back.”

It is yet to be confirmed when Kyrgios will be returning to the court as he commentates on this year’s Wimbledon Championships for the BBC. He had recently held a hitting session with Novak Djokovic and in De Minaur’s view, the tennis star is certainly improving. 

“I’ve seen him hitting. I think it looks like he’s feeling a little better. As far as I know, I think the U.S. hard court is when he’s planning to return.” He commented.

“I don’t know the exact specifics, but it will all depend on his injury and how he’s feeling.”

Unfortunately for De Minaur his Wimbledon run has come to a sad end after the Australian pulled out of his quarter-final encounter against Novak Djokovic on Wednesday due to what he describes as a ‘freak injury’ with his hip. He is estimated to be sidelined from action between three and six weeks. 

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