TENNIS AO2015 – The first Grand Slam of the season is already behind us. The Australian Open has traditionally thrown up more surprises and upsets than the other Slams as a result of it being right at the start of the season, when players still haven’t got a groove going. This season that hasn’t been the case. Except for Roger Federer, all of the top eight seeds reached the quarter finals and not many conclusions can be drawn from Melbourne. Bruno Bergareche Sans
What is clear is that Novak Djokovic is still the man to beat. Although the Serb wasn’t as brilliant as he has been in the past, he seemed to do just enough to coast to the trophy, without having to switch too much through the gears. When you’re winning slams in that manner then you’re in a class of your own, and with an outstanding fifth Australian Open, Djokovic now takes his overall tally to 8, with there being no clear indication of where his limit could be.
Melbourne also signalled the return of Andy Murray to the top four, a status he had struggled to regain after his back problems. For Murray the Australian Open was like going back in time to his pre-Lendl days. The man from Dunblane played aggressive tennis which helped him to impressive wins over Dimitrov and Berdych but it was his temperament and attitude which let him down in the final, as it had done on so many occasions previously to his first Grand Slam triumphs. The Briton has now lost six of his eight Grand Slam finals which is a very poor record and Amelie Mauresmo has her work cut out trying to ensure that the Scot keeps his focus in important matches because it has proven to be his downfall time and time again.
As for the semi finalists, Stan Wawrinka did his job on paper which was to reach the semi finals and bow out to Djokovic in five sets, but in reality his performance in those semis were a bit of a worry for fans of the Swiss star. Wawrinka was extremely erratic and later admitted that he was mentally drained; a very concerning fact when we’re just a couple of weeks into the new season. That semi final defeat also means that Wawrinka drops to number 9 in the world which means he could face the top four as early as in the last sixteen of tournaments. The other semi finalist leaves Melbourne with a slightly bitter taste feeling. Berdych will be radiant about his straight sets win over Rafa Nadal after a 17-match losing streak against the Spaniard but he really didn’t back it up against Murray in the semi finals. The gulf between the Scot and the Czech player was far too big for what Berdych’s aspirations are. With Vallverdu now in his corner, the man from Prague will look to definitively get himself up amongst the big boys but it always seems he’s just one step below.
With regards to Nadal, not much was expected from the Mallorcan and even more so after just about surviving against Smyczek in the second round. But if there is one thing you’re always going to get from the Spaniard its grit and determination and he put in a solid run to the quarter finals with a good win against Anderson in the fourth round. The match against Berdych however was a true measuring tool to gauge where Nadal was exactly and it went to prove that the 14-time Grand Slam champion has quite a way to go in terms of getting rid of the rust.
The one surprise of the tournament which is mentioned briefly at the top of the article was Roger Federer’s exit at the hands of Andreas Seppi. A curiosity about Federer’s draw at the Australian Open is that he played players ranked 47 (Lu), 48 (Bolelli) and 47 (Seppi) in the opening three rounds. The difference in results only going to show how beautifully unpredictable this sport is. Roger will be bitterly disappointed with such an early exit from a Slam and will be raring to get back on the courts but the sensation is that it will be very difficult for the Swiss maestro to add any more Slams to that incredible record of 17.
One of the positive stories from the Australian Open was the awakening of Australian tennis. One of the greatest powerhouses, if not the greatest, in the history of tennis, Australia has experienced a void since Lleyton Hewitt which appears to be coming to an end on the evidence of the opening Slam of the season. Huge hope Nick Kyrgios made the most of Federer’s absence to rampage through to the quarter finals with box office big hitting tennis and with a less flashy yet equally efficient game, Bernard Tomic had his typical good run in Melbourne which was only ended by Berdych in the fourth round. Kokkinakis also got the fans going with a tremendous first round win against Sam Groth. Now these players have to show they can also do it without their home crowd behind them.
So to wrap it all up, what we can conclude from the Australian Open is that Djokovic will take some beating, Murray has to cut down his moaning, Nadal needs some court time and Australia is putting its name back on the map. Let the tennis continue.
Andrey Rublev wins Rotterdam dispatching Marton Fucsovics in straight sets
The Russian and world number 8 won the title in Rotterdam beating his Hungarian opponent in straight sets.
Andrey Rublev is the 2021 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament champion after beating Marton Fucsovics in Sunday’s final 7-6 (4),6-4. He was clinical from the word play not giving an inch in a match that was pretty tight.
The triumph has extended the unbeaten run of the 23-year-old in ATP 500 tournaments to 20 matches. To put that into perspective, only Roger Federer and Andy Murray has achieved more consecutive wins in that tournament category. In his latest match Rublev won 75% of his first service points and 63% of his second.
“Marton was playing with a lot of confidence, having come through qualifying,” said Rublev.
“He played an extraordinary tournament. It was a tricky final for me as I was favourite. But in a final, that doesn’t matter.”
Initially it was Fucsovics who got off to a very fast start as it seemed nerves were playing a factor in the early on going for the Russian and he was facing three breakpoints in the opening service game of the match.
Thanks in large part to his big serve the number four seed was able to save those break points and hold his opening service game. From there the nerves had gone and tennis fans were witnessing the Rublev they had watched all week with his powerful serve and ground strokes.
The following game the Russian earned two breakpoints of his very own but it was the world number 59 who would save them this time with his forehand. There wasn’t another breakpoint until 6-5 when Rublev earned a set point but it was Fucsovics again coming up big to save it and force a tiebreak.
In that breaker Rublev would bring his game up an extra level and broke on the opening point with his ferocious forehand up the line. After jumping out to a 3-1 lead the world Fucsovics wasn’t going to throw in the towel and managed to win two straight points with some solid groudstrokes to tie the breaker at 3-3.
It was then Rublev’s turn to respond and he won three points off the trot with three stunning winners that were unreturnable and would take the first set when the Hungarian sent a return long.
The momentum clearly with the Russian from winning the first set and in the first game of the second set earned an early breakpoint and would break playing another amazing rally and finishing the net with a volley winner.
At 4-2 the number four seed had a chance to go up a double break when he had two more breakpoints but the world number 59 came up with two huge serves to save them and eventually hold serve.
Rublev would serve it out to take the set and the match and the title and was very pleased with the win.
” I’m doing everything right, I’m moving in the right direction, I need to keep working the same way to improve the things I need to improve to be able to compete even better”
On the other side of the spectrum Fucsovics spoke on the fact that he started in qualifying and made it all the way to the final.
“I’m very happy, I’m very satisfied with my performance, it wasn’t too bad to play two matches in the qualies, I got used to the court, and I think physically I was fit the whole time all the matches even today, I’m very happy to be in the top 50, to reach the final in the 500, my goal is to win a 500 or win a tournament “
Rublev has now won eight ATP titles in his career.
Rankings Monopoly Of ‘Big Four’ To End
The will be a brand new world No.2 for the first time in more than a decade!
Later this month there will be a change to the ranking system which hasn’t occurred in almost 16 years on the Tour.
Daniil Medvedev is set to overtake Rafael Nadal and climb into the world No.2 position to become the first player outside of the Big Four to do so since Lleyton Hewitt on July 25th 2005. The Russian has been on the verge of taking the spot away from the Spaniard following his run to the final of the Australian Open last month. He had an opportunity to secure the spot in Rotterdam but suffered a shock loss in the first round.
Confirmation of Medvedev’s rise to the second spot was announced by the ATP on Saturday after Nadal officially withdrew from the Acapulco Open. Meaning that a series of points will drop off.
25-year-old Medvedev has won three out of the past five tournaments he has played in on the Tour. During that period he won 12 out of his 13 matches against a member of the top 10. The only loss was to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne. He is already the highest ranked Russian man since Nikolay Davydenko in 2007.
“There’s some confidence when you win tournaments. I won three in a row, one of them [the ATP Cup] was a team competition, of course,” Medvedev said prior to playing Rotterdam. “When you get the confidence going, in the tight moments you feel like you can always make the winners or put the ball back in the court when you have to and make your opponent miss.”
There is still a way to go for a player outside of the elusive Big Four to top the rankings with Djokovic currently having a lead of more than 2000 points. The last player outside of the quartet to do so was Andy Roddick back in 2004.
Medvedev returns to action next week at the Open 13 in France. Granted a bye in the first round, he will start his campaign against either Egor Gerasimov or Yannick Hanfmann.
Marton Fucsovics upsets Borna Coric to reach Rotterdam Final
The Hungarian is into his third ATP final after stunning the Croatian with a straight sets win.
Marton Fucsovics is through to his third ATP final after beating Borna Coric 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 25 minutes at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.
The 29-year-old Hungarian broke Coric fives time and won 75% of his first service points at the Ahoy Arena to become only the second qualifier in history to reach the title match. The first was France’s Nicolas Esdcude back in 2001. It is also the first time Fucsovics has beaten Coric on the Tour following on his forty attempt.
” I come here every year, it’s not my favourite surface but I can say after this week I love it, I love the atmosphere, I love the people here,” the world No.59 said during his press conference.
“It’s a very famous tournament, it has a long history and I haven’t seen any Hungarians on the winners list but hopefully I can do that tomorrow.”
Coric, who is ranked 33 places higher, didn’t get off to a good start and Fucsovics made sure to take advantage of it in the first game of the opening set by earning three early breakpoints. He broke by winning an intense rally and finishing the point with a sensational forehand winner down the line that was almost picture perfect. There was a small lapse in his game at 3-2 when he served an off game and the Croat would break to put the set back on serve.
That’s when the world number 59 went into full overload earning two more breakpoints the following game after playing a solid point and finishing with a powerful smash at the net. He would break once more as the world number 26 would send a ball long to regain a 4-3 lead. The underdog would save two breakpoints from the Zagreb native who was starting to find his game playing some outstanding tennis and eventually serve out the first set.
The second set is where the Hungarian dominated and went for the kill. Eager to book his spot in the final against Andrey Rublev on Sunday afternoon. At 1-1 he would earn another breakpoint winning a long intense rally with a stunning forehand winner.
He would break the following point as Coric hit another unforced error and was visibly frustrated as he belted out in Croatian. After holding serve to consolidate the break Fucsovics smelled blood and once again unforced errors were creeping into the Croats game and he would break once again to take a commanding 4-1 lead.
Once again after having no issues holding serve the world number 26 was serving to stay in the match but the day belonged to the Fucsovics as he finished the match in style overpowering his opponent to break for a third time to take set and the match.
When asked what it is going to take to end up victorious on Sunday against one of the best players in the world, the Hungarian hopes he will be cheered on by his country.
” It’s going to be a tough match, I just want to enjoy it, I want to play my best tennis, I hope the people from Hungary will be supporting me “
Fucsovics beat Rublev in a Davis Cup World Group Playoff while Rublev got his revenge three years later at Roland Garros. Although both those meetings were on a outdoor clay court and this will be their first meeting on indoor hard.
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