Dubai: Djokovic, Federer and Murray advance - UBITENNIS
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Dubai: Djokovic, Federer and Murray advance

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TENNIS DUBAI – Andy Murray reeled off the first eight games of the match en route to sweeping aside Joao Sousa with 6-0 6-2 in just 57 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Murray did not face any break points and converted on five of his nine break point chances. Novak Djokovic cruised to a easy 6-1 6-2 win in just 61 minutes. Roger Federer recovered from a slow start to ease past Fernando Verdasco with 6-4 6-3. Diego Sampaolo

 

Dubai defending champion Roger Federer won all his five previous head-to-head matches against Fernando Verdasco dropping just one set. They have not met since their second round match at the 2012 US Open. Federer recovered from a slow start in the first five games in which he went down 1-4 by reeling off five consecutive games to love (20 consecutive points) to clinch the first set with 6-4. Verdasco broke serve in the second set and held serve to go up 3-0. Federer clawed his way into the match breaking back to love for 3-4. Federer got the second break to love to take the 5-4 lead. He reeled off 15 consecutive points to finish off the first set with 6-4. Federer picked up where he left off by breaking serve at the start of the second set for 1-0. Verdasco broke the losing streak by breaking serve in the second game for 1-1. Federer wasted a 40-15 lead on Verdasco’s serve in the fifth game but he converted on his third break point to take a 3-2 lead. Federer sealed the 6-4 6-3 win with another break of serve to set up a quarter final against Richard Gasquet.

Federer announced earlier this week that he will not play the Davis Cup in 2015 and will not defend the title won last year. Switzerland will start the title defense next week against Belgium without Federer and Stan Wawrinka. While Federer will not play the Davis Cup this year, Wawrinka could play the next matches

“It wasn’t a difficult decision. I have played for so long and I think by winning it I can finally do whatever I please, to be quite honest”, said Federer commenting on his decision to skip the Davis Cup this year.

Murray hit an ace to close out the first set with a bagel in just 21 minutes before breaking serve in the opening game of the second set. He held serve to cruise to 6-0 2-0. Sousa scored his first point of the match in the third game of the second set but Murray sealed the win with a break in the seventh game to go up 5-2. Sousa committed 38 unforced errors (19 in the first set). The Scotsman is playing in Dubai for the first time since finishing runner-up to Roger Federer in 2012. Murray will face Croatian rising star Borna Coric who rallied from 1-4 down in the third set against Marcos Baghdatis before the player from Cyprus withdrew from the match at 4-4 in the tie-break of the third set.

“I picked the right shots and played the right way when he was struggling. I didn’t give him any free points. I didn’t make sort of needless errors. He was getting more frustrated because he could not get any free points. I was going for more and more shots and obviously making more errors because of it”, said Murray.

Novak Djokovic needed just 61 minutes to beat Andrei Golubev from Russia in just 61 minutes. Djokovic hit 17 winners and won all 8 points at the net. Golubev committed 39 unforced errors

Tomas Berdych, runner-up twice in Dubai in 2013 and 2014, edged Simone Bolelli with 7-6 (9-7) 5-7 6-0 in two hours and 24 minutes to record his 500th career win. Berdych will face Sergiy Stakhovsky who also needed three sets to edge past Denis Istomin with 6-4 3-6 6-4.

Richard Gasquet battled past Roberto Bautista Agut after a hard-fought match with 6-4 3-6 7-6 (8-6).

The Dubai Tournament has been voted by players as the most favoured ATP 500 Tournament of 2014. This tournament has collected the ATP 500 World Tour award for the seventh consecutive year and for the 11th overall. The other prizes were awarded to Indian Well for the Master 1000 category and to the Queen’s in the ATP 250 category.

“We are honoured to receive the award for the best tournament in the ATP 500 category. Every year we endeavour that the players have a fantastic experience when they come to Dubai and that they enjoy a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere”, said Colm McLaughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of the Dubai Duty Free tournament.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval

Changes are coming to the men’s Tour which includes a brand new ‘profit-sharing formular’ for players.

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Masters tournaments in North America, Europe and Asia are set to be expanded over the coming months after the ATP Board recently approved some ‘key aspects’ of their strategic plan.

 

In a letter issued to players, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said an agreement has been reached concerning a variety of topics, which include the expansion of various Masters 1000 events. It is understood that the plan is for Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to be increased to 12-day events instead of just one week. Putting them more in line with Indian Wells and Miami. Tennis.com reports that under the new structure, ATP 250 events will also take place during the second week of those tournaments and they could receive a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

Masters 1000 events are the third highest-ranked category events in men’s tennis after Grand Slams and the ATP Finals in terms of prize money and ranking points on offer. The series was first introduced back in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the name ‘Masters 1000’ was born. The number represents how many ranking points the winner receives.

Besides the proposed changes to the Masters series, the Board has also given a green light to “a new Profit-Sharing formula” and “long-term prize money levels.” The prize money increase is reportedly said to be 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events.

“This represents significant progress for our sport and the way our player and tournament members operate under the equal partnership of the ATP Tour. It is only through the spirit of this partnership, transparency, and alignment of interests that we can truly maximise your potential and switch our focus to the competition we face in the border sports and entertainment landscape,” Gaudenzi wrote in his letter to players.

Part of the plan also include making changes to ATP Media, who are in charge of broadcasting the events. At present it is currently jointly owned by the Tour and each of the Masters 1000 events. However, in the future it has been proposed that those tournaments trade in their ownership rights for shares in ATP media. Exact details about this process have not been publicly disclosed and it is unclear if all of the tournaments would agree to such a move.

The ATP also wants to create a ‘Tennis Data Innovations’ which will be an independent entity.

All of these proposed changes are still subject to further agreement around additional matters. The ATP have been working on details of their strategic plan for the past 18 months.

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