Goran Ivanisevic leads the way in the coaches’ rankings - UBITENNIS
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Goran Ivanisevic leads the way in the coaches’ rankings

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TENNIS – A trend that appeared last season and that will spill into 2015 was that of legendary former players pairing up with the game’s top performers to try and steer them to the greatness they achieved. Sometimes the results of these coaches aren’t clear to see but in the case of Goran Ivanisevic it couldn’t be more evident. Bruno Bergareche Sans

 

A trend that appeared last season and that will spill into 2015 was that of legendary former players pairing up with the game’s top performers to try and steer them to the greatness they achieved. What’s fascinating is that the former pro’s seem to link up with players who have similar characteristics to themselves, meaning they can relate to their style of play, but perhaps what these top players need precisely is something a little bit different to help them out with the parts of their game that still have room for improvement.

Roger Federer with Stefan Edberg

Roger Federer with Stefan Edberg

Having said that a player of Federer or Djokovic’s calibre probably isn’t going to learn anything new in terms of playing tennis, as they most probably have surpassed the level of Edberg and Becker respectively. But what these coaches can bring to the table is experience and, above all, another top level tactical view from which to feed off. When Federer faces Nadal or Djokovic he has his ideas on how to tackle these two top players but Edberg may have different ideas which, combined, will give the Swiss maestro a vaster spectrum of information and that’s precisely where these coaches play a big role.

Sometimes the results of these coaches aren’t clear to see but in the case of Goran Ivanisevic it couldn’t be more evident. One of the true characters of the game in the nineties, Ivanisevic defied all the odds on his way to winning his maiden Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2001 as a Wild Card in what was one of sport’s most remarkable stories. When he partnered Marin Cilic, many eye brows were raised as to whether his temperament was ideal to overlook the career of a promising yet shy tennis player. But that’s exactly what a player needs from his coach: for him to contribute characteristics the player doesn’t have. Ivanisevic provides the spark and gung-ho mentality that Cilic was lacking. Marin was reliable and consistent; he beat the players he had to beat but he lost to the players he had to lose against. With Goran in his corner he let the chains free and started striking the ball freely without too much of a care, just like Ivanisevic did, enjoying the game instead of being eaten up by fear. That mixture of ideas was devastating and led Cilic to an unthinkable US Open title in September with one of the performances of the year against Federer in the semi-final.

Boris Becker by Art Seitz

Boris Becker by Art Seitz

On paper Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker were better players, as was Michael Chang, who mentors Kei Nishikori, but coaching is a different world and it’s about providing your pupil with what he lacks and that’s exactly what Goran Ivanisevic does with Marin Cilic. Another interesting partnership which has come together for 2015 is that of Richard Gasquet and Sergi Bruguera. The Spaniard could help to raise the Frenchmen’s game, especially on clay, which would be much needed for Gasquet who seems to be submerged in a sea of doubts. That partnership remains to be seen but if there’s a ranking for coaches, right now Goran Ivanisevic is the man at the top of the pile.

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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Danil Medvedev cruises past Jan-Lennard Struff to set up an all Russian quarter final against Andrey Rublev

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Ninth seed Danil Medvedev cruised past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1 in 66 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

Medvedev committed just 12 unforced errors and won 18 of Struff’s 25 second serve points.

 Medvedev broke twice in the second and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. The young Russian player got two consecutive breaks in the second and fourth games to race out to a 4-0 lead and held his service game at deuce after saving a break point in the fifth game. Struff held his serve to get his first game on the scoreboard, but Medvedev sealed the win on his first match point. The Russian player has improved his head-to-head record to 3-0 againt Struff.

Medvedev has won 11 of his past 13 matches during the North American hard-court season. He has a solid 41-16 record this season. He finished runner in two consecutive finals to Nick Kyrgios at Washington and to Rafael Nadal in Montreal.  In the quarter final the Russian star will face his compatriot Andrey Rublev, who upset Roger Federer 6-3 6-4.

Recent Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 6-2 in just under an hour setting up a quarter final against Richard Gasquet, who beat Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka beat Australian player Alex De Minaur 7-5 6-4 in 83 minutes with one break in each set. Nishioka rallied from 4-6 down in the tie-break of the first set to edge Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes.

“It was a great match and I got better as it went on. I am feeling sharp. I am feeling great now and I am looking forward to the quarter finals of a Masters 1000. I have nothing to lose”, said Goffin.

 

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Roger Federer Crashes Out Of Cincinnati Masters

The seven-time champion has suffered a blow to his preparations for the US Open.

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World No.3 Roger Federer has been knocked out of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati after falling in straight sets to Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

 

The 20-time grand slam champion struggled to find his range as he was overwhelmed by his fearless opponent during the 6-3, 6-4, loss. Despite the huge disparity in experience between the two, 21-year-old Rublev managed to dominate the majority of rallies with the help of some heavy hitting. Producing 17 winners to six unforced errors, compared to Federer’s tally of 19 and 20.

“I respect him a lot, I respect all the top players a lot, but today when I was going to court I was going there to win.” Rublev said during an interview with Amazon Prime.
“I was not going (to the match) to enjoy. I was going to fight, try to win and do my best.”

Rublev’s shock win saw the underdog outdo the Swiss maestro in almost every area of the match. Winning the most first serves (85% to 63%), second serves (57% to 63) and a bigger majority of points at the net (5/6 to 7/19). Breaking him twice in the opening set and once in the second. The Russian, who is 70th in the world, is the lowest ranked player to defeat Federer on the tour since Thanassi Kokkinakis at the 2018 Miami Open.

The loss leaves a mark on Federer’s impressive record in Cincinnati, which he has won a record seven times. It is the first time he has failed to reach the quarter-final stage since losing to Ivo Karlovic in the third round back in 2008.

“He was playing well. I was maybe struggling especially on the offensive, because overall I didn’t think I was feeling the ball badly.” Federer reflected during his press conference. “It’s just, you know, sort of fast-court conditions and when you sometimes then can’t rely on that serve to go or on the one-two punch, which I didn’t think was excellent today from my side, you need an opponent that maybe lets you get by some tougher moments, but he didn’t do that.”
“He was super clean. Defense, offense, serving well. Didn’t give me anything. He was everywhere. So it was tough for me, but excellent match by him. I was impressed.”

Rublev now has a meeting with compatriot Daniil Medvedev in what will be his first quarter-final at Masters level. Medvedev has reached the final of tournaments in Washington and at the Rogers Cup since Wimbledon. He is yet to drop a set this week and brushed aside Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-1, in his third round match.

“It’s going to be an interesting match for Russia.” Rublev previewed. “It will be a tough match for me because the way he plays. Nobody likes to play him.”
“I lost to him in a Challenger a few years ago, so it’s going to be interesting tomorrow.” He added.

The latest victory is only Rublev’s second over a top five player in his career. His first was against Dominic Thiem at the German Open last month.

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