ATP Indian Wells: Murray drawn in Djokovic's half. Nadal with Federer - UBITENNIS
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ATP Indian Wells: Murray drawn in Djokovic’s half. Nadal with Federer

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TENNIS ATP INDIAN WELLS – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray, experienced David Ferrer and an array of younger stars Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov will assemble in the Californian desert for the first of the nine Master 1000 Tournaments at Indian Wells. Last year’s US Open champion. Diego Sampaolo

 

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal have won the Indian Wells Master 1000 Tournament a combined 10 times in the past 11 editions of the Californian Tournament. They are the top-4 seeds at Indian Wells for the first time since 2012. However, the Indian Wells will not be a three-men show, as there will be plenty of interesting stories like the come-back from injury of 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic and a lot of intriguing match-ups in the early rounds.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic will be bidding to defend his title won last year when he beat Roger Federer in an exciting three-set final. Djokovic won the Indian Wells tournament three times in 2008, 2011 and 2014. He started his season with his fifth Australian Open title but lost the Dubai final against Federer. Djokovic will be looking to win his 50th career title.

Djokovic will face a tough first round clash against either Marcos Baghdatis or Jiri Vesely before a possible second-round match-up against Julien Benneteau The Serbian super-star was drawn in the top-half and is in collision course with in-form David Ferrer for a potential quarter final. Ferrer made a good start to his season winning three titles in Doha, Rio de Janeiro and Acapulco but lost his last seven head-to-head matches against Nole. The World Number 1 player will first have to beat John Isner in the third round in a re-match of last year’s Indian Wells semifinal. Isner may first clash against Kevin Anderson in the third round.

Ferrer could clash against Australian Bernard Tomic in a potential third-round match. The winner of this match could take on Marin Cilic who will start his season after being forced to withdraw from the Australian Open and the first two months of the year because of a shoulder injury. Cilic has never advanced the fourth round stage at Indian Wells. After his first triumph at the US Open Cilic won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow but he was knocked out in the first round in Shanghai and lost all his three matches at last year’s ATP World Tour Finals.

Djokovic could clash against Andy Murray in the semifinals, if the Scotsman overcomes a very tough quarter final against Kei Nishikori, who recently finished runner-up in Acapulco. Nishikori could face off either Acapulco semifinalist Ryan Harrison or Mardy Fish, who makes his comeback to the ATP Tour for his first tournament since Winston Salem in 2013 after a long absence to heart issues.

Murray reached the final at the Australian Open but he lost in the quarter final in Rotterdam and Dubai (where he lost to Croatian rising star Borna Coric). Last weekend The Dunblane two-time Grand Slam champion led Great Britain to a Davis Cup 3-2 win over the USA in Glasgow thanks to his two singles match wins against John Isner and Donald Young. Murray could meet either Rio de Janeiro’s finalist Fabio Fognini or Ernests Gulbis.

Murray finished runner-up at Indian Wells in 2009 but has never won this tournament.

One of the most intriguing early-round match-up could be played between last year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov and 2015 quarter finalist Nick Kyrgios in the second round. The winner of this match could square off against Milos Raonic in the fourth round. These players are on collision course with 2013 Indian Wells champion Rafa Nadal who lost in the third round last year in this tournament.

Rafa will start against either Sijsling or a qualifier in the second round before possibly facing Pablo Carreno Busta, Donald Young or Jeremy Chardy. Nadal, who won his first tournament of the year in Buenos Aires on his favourite clay surface, could meet Frenchman Gilles Simon in the fourth round.

Raonic could clash against Simone Bolelli for the third time this year. The Italian won their last match in Marseille last month.

Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal are on collision course for a blockbuster semifinal in the bottom half of the draw. It could be the 34th match-up between the two popular stars of the circuit. Federer could clash against 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in a projected all-Swiss quarter final. First Wawrinka will have to overcome a possible fourth-round clash against Tomas Berdych in a re-match of this year’s Rotterdam final.

Federer will not face a easy task in the early rounds as he is projected to meet Jerzy Janowicz in the second round and Andreas Seppi in the third round in a re-match of this year’s Australian Open third round won by the Italian player. Before the possible Swiss derby Federer could play against Roberto Bautista Agut.

In the build-up to Indian Wells Grigor Dimitrov beat Roger Federer 6-2 1-6 7-5 in an exhibition match at the Madison Square Garden in New York. Both players offered a great show especially in the third set when they entertained the crowd with a series of spectacular rallies. Dimitrov fought back from a set down in the third set. Federer held serve to draw level to 5-all in the third set but Dimitrov, who had not won a single set in his career against the Swiss legend, got the decisive break to clinch the win.

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Alexander Zverev Pushed But Manages To Beat Isner As Europe Storms To Lead In Laver Cup

The German gave Team Europe a massive lead after winning a tight match.

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image via https://twitter.com/LaverCup/

Alexander Zverev needed a trademark ” Laver Breaker” to beat the 6ft 10 Amercian John Isner 7-6, 6-7, 10-5 in two hours and 17 minutes on the saecond day of the Laver Cup.

 

The German hit 13 aces in the match, meanwhile Isner went 0 for 3 on breakpoints.

” I think in this format playing John (Isner) is one of the toughest opponents there can be and he is the best server of all time plus he was hitting the ball extremely hard and well today,” said Zverev.
To be honest I played a pretty good match,” he added.

In the first set, both players had zero issues holding serve. In the opening tiebreak it was extremely tight but the world number four managed to get the crucial break at 4-3 and that was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second frame stayed on serve until 3-3 when the American had two chances to break but the Hamburg native managed to save both. In the following game he responded by earning three break points of his very own but Isner saved all three and held serve.

Isner had another chance at 5-5 but was unable to convert and again proceedings went into another tiebreaker to decide the second set. In that breaker, the world number 22 jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the German responded winning the next three points to make it 3-3.

After that, it stayed on serve until 7-6 and it was the American who managed to break Zverev to win the second set and force a match tiebreak to decide the match.

The first four points went on serve and it was the German who got the first break and jumped out to a 6-3 and that lead was enough for him to serve out the match and give Team Europe a 7-1 lead.

After the match in his on-court interview, Zverev spoke about the second set and the level both he and Isner was playing at.

” Even the second set that I lost I didn’t do many things wrong so it shows that the match was very high level and obviously happy to give Team Europe the lead”. He said.

Day 2 results :

In the first match of the day, the Aussie Nick Kyrgios faced Stefanos Tsitsipas and it was the world number three who took the match in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes.

After the match, Krygios mentioned in his post-match press conference that the Laver Cup would be the last event he played in 2021, stating that his mother’s health is not doing well and he is planning to return to Australia to be with her.

In the night session Danil Medvedev, the current US Open champion, took on Denis Shapovalov and the Russian only needed one hour and 15 minutes to beat him 6-4, 6-0 to give Team Europe a 9-1 lead.

In the last match of the day, a doubles clash featuring Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev took on Isner and Krygios, and again it was the Europeans who managed to win 6-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Day 3 Preview :

On Sunday Team Europe will have a chance to clinch the trophy in their first match as they only need two more points and on Sunday a win is worth three. The day will start with a doubles match featuring Rublev and Zverev taking on Shapovalov and Rielly Opelka.

In singles, Zverev will face Felix Auger Aliassime, Medvedev will face Diego Schwartzman, and the last match scheduled is Isner vs Tsitsipas.

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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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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