AO2015: Djokovic through to the fourth round - UBITENNIS
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AO2015: Djokovic through to the fourth round

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TENNIS AO2015 – Novak Djokovic beat Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 6-4 to get through to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the ninth consecutive year but the four-time Melbourne champion had to face a tough challenge when he had to fight back from 3-5 in the first set tie-break. Diego Sampaolo

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Djokovic earned a break point in the first set but Verdasco managed to hold his serve. There were no breaks in the first set which came down to the tie-break where Verdasco got a mini-break to take a 5-3 lead but Djokovic broke back as Verdasco made a double fault. At 6-5 Djokovic earned a set point but Verdasco saved it with an ace. Djokovic clinched a hard-fought first set with 10-8 on his fourth set point when Verdasco made a backhand error.

Djokovic broke serve in the second game of the second set before fending off two break points in the following game with three aces to go up 3-0. The second set went on serve until the eighth game when Nole earned two break point opportunities but Verdasco saved them. Djokovic broke serve in the fifth game as Verdasco made a backhand error en route to sealing the win in straight sets.

Djokovic could not convert on 12 of his 14 break point chances

It was a turning point winning the tie-break as close as it was. I thought I served very well and allowed myself to have a lot of free points in the first serve. What I could have done better was just to capitalize on on the break point opportunities. But credit to him for playing well, serving well, especially down the T. It’s hard when somebody serves 215 down the T on the line, you can’t do much about it. It was a good challenge for both of us. He was a former top-10 player. Somebody that loves playing on the big stage, a powerful game.I am glad to go through in straight sets. I am pleased with how I served.I didn’t give him too many of the similar serves. I changed the pace, the angles. I tried to go for accuracy, vary with the serve, not give him rhythm. He had a couple of opportunities. I think the closest he was was love-40 n the second set. Then in couple of the last serves in the third set where he got 15-30, love-30 in my service games but I served well and this helped me to get out of the trouble in these big moments”, said Djokovic.

Djokovic has always thrived at Melbourne Park where he won four titles in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and has always played his best tennis here.

It’s a great confidence booster if you are on the court if you have great memories and you won the tournament four times. It’s not any tournament. It’s a Grand Slam, one of the four most important events in our sport. I am always trying to have the great performances I had over the years in the back of my mind. I try to use that to my advantage”

Djokovic will take on Gilles Muller from Luxemburg in the fourth round who beat John Isner 7-6 7-6 6-4. Muller has advanced to the fourth round in a Grand Slam since losing to Rafa Nadal in the 2011 US Open. It will be the first match between Djokovic and Muller.“Gilles has been on the tour for many years. He has a great lefty serve. I think the match tonight will help me in the next one as well. He has a similar game, except from the fact that he serves on volleys and he comes to the net. He has a nice slice serve. That’s his favourite. But he struggled a little bit with injuries in the last couple of years. I think that in the last six months he has been playing some of his best tennis. He reached the fourth round winning against some top players (Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta). Winning against John Isner in straight sets is never easy. He has done that, so he deserves respect. I need to be obviously very alert and hopefully I can return well, which is going to be one of the keys of the match

australian-open-2015-outfit-nishikori-150x84In the other top matches of the third round Saturday’s programme Kei Nishikori fought back from a set down to edge Steve Johnson with 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-2 6-3 after two hours and 26 minutes. Nishikori broke serve early in the first set but the US player broke back at 3-3. Nishikori made nine unforced errors in the first set before losing the tie-break 7-9. Nishikori turned around the match by taking two breaks in both the second and the third set to go up 2-1. The Japanese star got another break to seal the win.

The 2014 US Open runner-up converted on seven of his ten break point chances. Nishikori will take on David Ferrer who overcame a hard-fought battle to battle past Giles Simon in four sets with 6-2 7-5 5-7 7-6 (7-4) after 3 hours and 37 minutes in a re-match of last year’s third round clash at the US Open won by the Frenchman.

The US drought in Melbourne continues as there are no US players left in the fourth round.

David FerrerFerrer broke serve three times en route to clinching the opening set in 34 minutes. Simon dropped serve early in the second set but he broke back before taking the 5-4 lead. The Frenchman was broken again at 5-5. Ferrer sealed the second set.

Ferrer broke serve in the sixth game and served for the match at 5-3 in the third set before Simon reeled off three consecutive games to force the match to the fourth set. The Spanish player, semifinalist in Melbourne in 2011 and 2013, served for the match but he wasted a 5-1 lead in the fourth set when Simon won five consecutive games to go up 6-5. Ferrer held serve to force the match to the tie-break which featured seven mini-breaks. Simon dropped four service game to trail 2-6.The Frenchman saved two match points but Ferrer claimed the win with 7-4.

Reigning Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka claimed a 6-4 6-2 6-4 win over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen to set up a fourth round match against Guilerrmo Garcia Lopez who beat Vasek Pospisil from Canada 6-2 6-4 6-4. Wawrinka got his first break in the ninth game of the first set at 4-4 before a double break to cruise to 4-0 in the second set. Nieminen broke serve early in the third set but he dropped his serve. Nieminen served to stay in the match at 4-5 but Wawrinka got the break to love to seal the win. The defending champion hit 55 winners to 39 unforced errors

Garcia Lopez trails 3-4 in the previous head-to-head matches but claimed the last head-to-head clash against the Swiss in the first round at last year’s Roland Garros.

wawrinka-australian-open-2015-150x93I lost against him in the first round at the Roland Garros last year. We had some tough battles in the past. It will depend on me, the way I am going to play, the way I am going to find my game to be aggressive, because I need to make my game”, said Wawrinka.

Milos Raonic, runner-up to Roger Federer in the Brisbane final earlier this year, converted on five of his 14 break points to beat Benjamin Becker on his fourth match point with 6-4 6-3 6-3 as the German made his double fault. Raonic, who has been broken only once in the tournament, will take on Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round. Lopez beat Jerzy Janowicz 7-6 (7-6) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) after an exciting match. There were 11 break points in the first set (7 for Lopez and 4 for Janowicz). Feliciano cruised to a 3-0 lead but Janowicz fought back to draw level to 3-3. The first came daown to the tie-break which featured six mini-breaks. Lopez clinched it after the Polish player committed a double vault at 7-6. In the second set Janowicz earned five break points but Lopez saved them and took the 2-0 lead with a 6-4 win. In the third set Lopez faced a break point at 3-2 Janowicz but the Pole failed to convert it. Lopez won the tie-break with 7-3.

Last year I made my first quarter final and I followed it up with my first semifinal at Wimbledon, I have a better understanding of how to deal with things, a better understanding of how to play second weeks. The tournament starts in the second week of the semis. It’s time to buck down.”

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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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