AO2015: Murray ends Kyrgios' dream - UBITENNIS
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AO2015: Murray ends Kyrgios’ dream



TENNIS AO2015 – Andy Murray won the eagerly awaited quarter final against young Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios in three sets with 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 on a cold and breezy evening in a football-like atmosphere in the Rod Laver Arena to reach his fifth Australian Open semifinal and his 15th career Grand Slam semifinal. Murray dropped just 21 points on serve and faced the first break point only in the seventh game of the third set at 4-2 immediately after breaking for the second time in the match. Murray set up a semifinal against Tomas Berdych who beat Rafael Nadal 6-2 6-0 7-6 in straight sets. Diego Sampaolo

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

The two stars met for the second time in their careers. In their only previous match Murray won in straight sets in the Toronto Master 1000 last summer. Kyrgios played his second Grand Slam quarter final after Wimbledon where he lost to Milos Raonic after his famous fourth-round win over Rafa Nadal. The young Aussie reached the quarter final stage in the home tournament after his epic five-set win against Italian Andreas Seppi after coming back from two sets down.

There were a lot of expectations for Kyrgios who has become the first teenager to reach two Grand Slam quarter finals after Roger Federer. The Australian player grabbed the headlines on all Australian newspapers after his win against Andreas Seppi. Kyrgios has become the first Aussie player to reach the quarter final in the home Slam since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 when he eventually lost the final against Marat Safin.

Murray, three-time finalist at Melbourne Park in his career, was the favourite after winning his last 10 matches against home players in Grand Slam tournaments and has never lost to a player ranked as low as World Number 53 Nick Kyrgios The lowest player to defeat Murray at the Australian Open was Juan Ignacio Cela in 2006 when the Scotsman made his debut in his tournament

Murray’s experience on the big stage proved to be decisive against the younger home star. The Scotsman was playing his 21st Grand Slam quarter final and his sixth consecutive Round of 8 match at Melbourne Park. In the previous matches the Dunblane star showed good form dropping just a set in the tie-break against Grigor Dimitrov.

The first five games of the first set were dominated by serve (four aces for Murray and 3 aces for Kyrgios). Murray broke in the sixth game of the first set as Kyrgios hit a couple of forehand into the net. Kyrgios saved a break point with an ace but dropped his serve at deuce. Murray held serve for 5-2. Kyrgios saved two set points in the 8th game before winning it with his forehand but Murray sealed the first set in the next game with 6-3 after 32 minutes.

In the tie-break of the second set both players Murray got the mini-break on the first point and backed it up with a big serve. Kyrgios got the mini-break back with a volley but Murray clinched four of the next five points. Kyrgios faced a second serve at 5-5 but he could not make a return. When Kyrgios was serving at 5-6 on Murray’s set point, the Scotsman hit a lob inside the line to win the breaker 7-5 to go up 2-0. Kyrgios rallied from 0-2 down in the previous match against Seppi but this time Murray was too strong.

Murray hit another lob en route to clinching the break for 4-2 in the sixth game of the third set. Kyrgios earned his first break point of the match in the seventh game of the third set and converted it for the break-back when Murray hit a backhand drop-shot into the net for 3-4 keeping the hopes of the Aussie Fanatics alive. The dream was short-lived as Murray hit two cross-court forehand winners to come back from 0-30 and broke serve again in the eighth game for 5-3. He served for the match and sealed the win with a forehand winner down the line on the first match point in just over two hours.

Murray hit 48 winners to 28 unforced errors and converted on three of his nine break point chances. Kyrgios produced 36 winners and 38 unforced errors and converted just one of his two break point opportunities.

Murray got through to his fifth Australian Open semifinal. He achieved three wins.

It was a tricky match because he has an exceptional serve and makes it very difficult for you when he Is serving. I knew what he is capable of and I didn’t underestimate him. Nick is a huge hitter, so I tried to keep the ball out of his reach. I played a slightly different style tonight and thankfully it worked. The conditions were very tricky. I was quite happy with the way I handled everything tonight. The end where we walked out onto the court was a really strong breeze. When you were at that end you were playing with the wind, so it was tricky because it was a very strong breeze. When you are down the far end of the court you had to do a lot more defending. If you tried to play with any sort of height the ball was dropping short. It was very easy for me or him to attack. I tried to just keep the ball low from that end, I used a lot of slice, and played pretty flat. It was tough for him and it worked”, said Murray.

Murray got through to the semifinal dropping one set. “For me it was tricky one to judge, to say how well I played, because I found the conditions difficult tonight. So I tried to use the conditions to my advantage and played a slightly different style than what I had been in the other matches. I would say the match against Dimitrov was a very high level. It was a clean match. Both of us were striking the ball well. I made improvements with each of the matches. I just tried to play the best with what the conditions were allowing you to do and I think I did that quite well”

Despite the defeat Kyrgios was happy with the experience of playing his second Grand Slam quarter final and the first in the home Major in the famous Rod Laver Arena

It was a really good experience. That was my first Aussie Open Grand Slam match in the Rod Laver Arena, so that was really cool. But it was too good for me tonight. There are some things I can take from that match and get better at. I think that he has got a good chance of winning the whole thing”, said Kyrgios

In the semifinal Murray will face Tomas Berdych who beat last year’s finalist Rafa Nadal 6-2 6-0 7-6 (7-5) in straight sets breaking a 17-match losing streak against the Spanish player who was playing just his 10th match but just his first against a top 10 player since losing to Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round at Wimbledon.

It did not feel any different going into the match knowing I would play against Berdych rather than Nadal because Tomas had played very well so far up to today and Rafa’s form had been a bit up and down. He was coming in having not really played much tennis at all for quite a long time. When he was playing towards the end of last year he certainly wasn’t fit, so I wouldn’t imagine he would have been practicing loads either. I wasn’t too surprised. Rafa got himself back into the match in the third set and he was clearly not playing so well at the beginning”, said Murray

Berdych dominated the first two sets dropping just two games in the first two sets but Nadal clawed his way into the match when he fended off two match points when he was down 15-40 in the 12th game. Berdych raced to 5-1 in the tie-break but Nadal fought back reeling off three consecutive points. Berdych lost his double mini-break lead but he earned two more match points with his forehand return winner. Nadal saved the first but Berdych converted on his second match point at 6-5 with his second serve after two hours and 13 minutes. Berdych beat Nadal for the first time since the 2006 Madrid quarter finals.

It was not my day. I did not play with the right intensity, with the right rhythm and my opponent played better than me. You have to play better against a player like Tomas. I didn’t play my best tennis today. ”, said Nadal after the match.

Berdych is now coached by Daniel Vallverdu, who worked for a long time with the Scotsman but left his team last November. Berdych leads 6-4 and won the last two head-to-head matches. They are 3-3 level in hard-court matches. Berdych won their last match at Cincinnati in 2013.

I will find it weird on the day but it’s something that you del with as a player. My goal isn’t to beat Dani, my goal is to beat Berdych. So I don’t think about that in the next days.”


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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