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



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.”


Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro



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One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Injured Alcaraz Pulls Out of Rio Open After Two Games

A sprained ankle a couple of minutes into his debut at the Rio Open forced top seed Carlos Alcaraz to abandon his match against Thiago Monteiro



Carlos Alcaraz after the injury - Rio 2024 (photo Tennis TV)

For world no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, this year’s Rio Open lasted two games: the Spanish champion had to retire on the score of 1-1 in the first set during his first-round match against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro due to a sprained right ankle suffered in the second point of the match.

In an accident somewhat reminiscent of the terrible one suffered by Zverev in the semi-final of Roland Garros 2022, Alcaraz’s right foot “got stuck”  in the clay as he returned towards the center of the court after returning from the left, and he immediately flew to the ground dropping his racket. The Spaniard immediately asked for a medical time-out, but as soon as he took off his shoe it was immediately clear that his ankle had already swollen.

After having a tight bandage applied, Alcaraz tried to continue the match, but just two games later he understood that it was not possible to continue so he shook hands with his opponent, abandoning the Brazilian tournament.

The match was played on a very heavy court due to the rain that had fallen heavily during the day. The organizers had been forced to cancel the daytime session and play could only begin around 7.30 pm local time, after the courts had remained under pouring water all day.

Alcaraz told the press present in Rio: “I think these things happen, especially on clay. It wasn’t a problem with the court, I hurt myself in a change of direction and this happens on this type of surface. I went back into the match to see if I could continue or not. I spoke to the physiotherapist on the court and we decided, together, that I would continue to see if the ankle would improve. It didn’t happen, so we preferred to be cautious and withdraw as a precaution.”

Considering that Alcaraz left the court on his own two feet and managed to wobble through a couple of games after the injury, it is quite likely that the injury he suffered is much less serious than the one that kept Alexander Zverev away from tournaments for over seven months. However, it will be necessary to verify whether it is just a sprain or whether tendons or ligaments have been involved. If this were to be the case, the prognosis could turn out to be longer, and this is happening less than two weeks before the start of the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami.

The Spaniard is scheduled to play an exhibition in Las Vegas on 3rd March against Rafael Nadal: it will be decided in the next few days whether to withdraw as a precaution for the first Masters 1000 of the season in Indian Wells.

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Can Jannik Sinner dodge the morning-after syndrome?

Very few players have managed to follow up their first triumph in a Major. Hewitt is the last new Grand Slam champion to immediately win an ATP title. Nadal, Djokovic and Federer all misfired, can Jannik Sinner do better?



Jannik Sinner - Australian Open 2024 (photo: X @federtennis)

By Roman Bongiorno

“The morning-after syndrome,” as they call it. The list of great champions who have suffered from it – Carlos Alcaraz, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, is impressive.  Some of the most illustrious names in our sport, the most successful ever. Yet, even for those who are legends, the match immediately after their first Grand Slam triumph is often an insurmountable hurdle.

The very young Spanish phenomenon, born in 2003, was the latest striking example. After winning the 2022 US Open and becoming the new world No. 1, Alcaraz managed to win just one set in his next two matches: he lost 6-7 6-4 6-2 in the Davis Cup against Felix Auger Aliassime, who was definitely on fire in that period, and was inflicted a 7-5 6-3 defeat by veteran David Goffin in his first match at the ATP 500 in Astana.

Mentally, it’ not easy. The most important triumph of one’s life, immediately to be put aside.  And go back to work. The media are quick to pounce on any slip, headlines hinting at signs of a career already over: “it’s gone to his head”, “he has made his money” etc.

Less than a year later, Carlos Alcaraz was once more a Grand Slam champion, beating Novak Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon.

Just think of tennis legends such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who fell victims to this serious syndrome. The former, after his triumph at Roland Garros 2005, stepped back on court on the green grass of Halle, losing in 3 sets to the world number 147 German Alexander Waske: 4-6 7-5 6-3. For many, that was a disastrous defeat foreshadowing a future that would not be as bright as it had seemed. Rafa told another story, by winning another 21 Grand Slam titles, on every surface.

The Serbian, on the other hand, thrived on the hard courts of Melbourne, just like Jannik Sinner. In 2008, after winning the title, he was engaged in Davis Cup against Russia. He did not finish his rubber against Nikolay Davydenko and retired at the beginning of the fourth set while trailing 2 sets to 1. In his first ATP tour appearance, in Marseille, after brushing aside Ivan Dodig, he was ousted in three sets by Gilles Simon. Over the following 15 years Novak Djokovic went on to become the has become the most successful player ever.

What about Roger Federer? After lifting the trophy won at Wimbledon in 2003, he moved to the home clay of Gstaad.  He survived the morning-after syndrome  after a fierce but victorious struggle in the first round with the Spaniard Marc Lopez, ranked No.190. Then he cruised till the final, but was defeated in a five set hustle 5-7 6-3 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Jiri Novak.

The morning-after did not spare Juan Martin del Potro. After his stunning victory over Federer at the 2009 US Open, he set foot on an ATP tennis court three weeks later in Tokyo. It was Edouard Roger Vassellin, 189th in the world, who spoiled the party, neatly defeating the Argentinian in two sets, 64 64.

Even “Ice man” Bjorn Borg, the man without (apparent) emotions, focused only on tennis and winning, lost the first match after his success at Roland Garros 1974. He was defeated in the first round in Nottingham by world No. 71 Milan Holecek from Czechoslovakia. Over the next years he definitely made up for that impasse on English lawns.

A rare bird at last, and not by chance does it come from Australia, a land which is ever so rich in unique species. Lleyton Hewitt, who in 2001 after steamrolling Pete Sampras in the US Open final, immediately won his next matches, two singles rubbers in the Davis Cup against Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson, and then went on to win in Tokyo by beating Michel Kratochvil in the final.

Jannik Sinner has been building up his success on gruelling feats. Sure he’s eager to be back on the Dutch indoor courts of Rotterdam where he enjoyed a brilliant run last year, only surrendering to Danil Medvedev in the final. Just one year ago the Russian seemed an impossible opponent to defeat. Now, in the last 4 challenges, Jannik has beaten him 4 times. The last one, in the final of the Australian Open.

Rotterdam could have been the stage for a rematch, but Medvedev has pulled out of the tournament. Jannik Sinner appears as a favourite, and is vying to close in on that third place of the rankings currently held by Daniil.

Jannik has set out on his mission. But even if he were to be defeated in the first round by an opponent ranked beyond the top 200, no one should dare cry failure. Italy at last has a Grand Slam winner, and he is not to be downplay him in case of first defeats.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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