BNP Paribas Open: Comfortable victories for Djokovic and Murray - UBITENNIS
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BNP Paribas Open: Comfortable victories for Djokovic and Murray

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TENNIS BNP PARIBAS OPEN – Novak Djokovic started his title defence with a 6-1 6-3 win over Marcos Baghdatis in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open. Andy Murray, runner-up at Indian Wells in 2009, eased past Canadian Vasek Pospisil with 6-1 6-3. Diego Sampaolo

 

Novak Djokovic improved his winning record to 8-0 in his head-to-head matches against Marcos Baghdatis with a easy 6-1 6.3 win to advance to the third round. Djokovic is bidding to win his fourth title at Indian Wells and become the 12th player in the Open Era to win 50 titles.

Nole fought back from 15-40 in the second game on Baghdatis’ serve to break. The Serbian player took control of the match and got another break at 4-1 before holding serve in the next game to wrap up the first set with 6-1. Djokovic hit 10 winners to 3 unforced errors in the first set.

The second set went on serve until the fifth game when Djokovic broke serve with a return winner and a service winner before holding serve in the sixth game to pull away to 4-2. Djokovic earned two match points on Bagdhatis’ serve at 5-3 and wrapped up the match on the second opportunity.

Djokovic will take on Albert Ramos in the third round before a possible clash against John Isner in the fourth round if the US player beats Kevin Anderson in the third round.

Isner beat Jurgen Melzer 6-3 6-4 after 68 minutes winning 92 percent of his first serve points.

Isner lost the semifinal against Djokovic in last year’s edition at Indian Wells and finished runner-up to Roger Federer in 2012.

Andy Murray, who finished runner-up to Rafa Nadal at Indian Wells in 2009, made a winning start to the tournament with a 6-1 6-3 win over Vasek Pospisil. The Scotsman broke three times in the first set. Pospisil won 33 percent of his first serve points and committed 10 unforced errors. Pospisil broke serve at the start of the second set but Murray broke back in the next game. Pospisil saved two break points in the fourth game but Murray got the break in the eighth game before serving out for the match to love

Murray continued dominating the match breaking serve four more times.

Murray will face Phillip Kohlschreiber who dropped just four games in his 6-3 6-1 win over Tim Smyczek. The German broke serve twice in the first set and cruised to 5-0 in the second set. Smyczek avoided the bagel by winning his first game of the second set. Kohlschreiber clinched the win with an ace.

Murray edged Kohlschreiber 12-10 in the fifth set at the 2014 Roland Garros. He could meet Nishikori in the quarter final

Kei Nishikori did not play a great match but he beat Ryan Harrison 6-4 6-2. It was the second match in one month between the two players after Nishikori won Harrison in three sets in Memphis

Both players struggled to hold their serve in the first set and traded breaks seven times Nishikori clinched the first set on the third set point with 6-4 after 48 minutes. Nishikori committed less unforced errors in the second set (seven compared to 18 in the first set) and broke immediately. He got a break in the second set and held on to win the second set with 6-2 after one hour and 27 minutes. Nishikori, who reached the quarter final at each of his four tournaments this year, set up his next round match against Fernando Verdasco who beat James Duckworth 6-2 7-6. Verdasco, who reached the Round of 16 at Indian Wells last year, did not face any break point chances and converted on three of his break points.

There were ups and downs in the first set. The first match is always tough. In almost every game we couldn’t hold serve but we also returned well. That’s why there were a lot of breaks. In the second set I was playing an almost perfect game. I was hitting good serves. No break points. I didn’t face any break points. Luckily I got the first break, so it was easier mentally to hit a good shot”, said Nishikori.

David Ferrer came back from a set down to battle past Ivan Dodig 4-6 6-1 7-6 (8-6). Both players traded breaks at the start of the first set. Dodig rallied from 0-40 to break serve in the seventh game and managed to hold his serve until the end to win the first set with 6-4. Ferrer broke serve in the second game to 30. Ferrer saved three break points in the fifth game en route to winning the second set with 6-1. In the third set Dodig saved two break point chances in the second and the fourth game, while Ferrer fended off one break point in the fifth game. The decider went on serve until the 11th game when Ferrer got the crucial break. Dodig saved two match points forcing the decider to the tie-break. Dodig opened up a 2-0 lead but Ferrer broke back for 3-3 with a mini-break. Dodig got another mini-break for 4-3 and held serve for 5-3. Ferrer reeled off three consecutive points to take the 6-5 lead before clinching a hard-fought win on his fourth match point. Ferrer, who won three titles in Doha, Rio de Janeiro and Acapulco, will take on Bernard Tomic who beat Croatian rising star Borna Coric

Juan Monaco, this year’s runner-up in Buenos Aires, knocked out US Open champion Marin Cilic with a double 6-4.

Feliciano Lopez fought back from a set down to battle past Edouard Roger Vasselin 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-4.

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REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

UPDATE*

Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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