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Federer clinches his seventh Dubai title

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TENNIS DUBAI – Roger Federer clinched his seventh title in his “home” tournament at Dubai with a 6-3 7-5 win against Novak Djokovic. Two breaks (one for each set) were enough for Federer to defend his last year’s title in the ATP 500 Tournament. Federer converted his two break points, while Djokovic failed to transform his seven chances. Diego Sampaolo

 

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic met for the 37th time in their careers. They played for the second consecutive year in Dubai after Federer won a fantastic semifinal in the 2014 edition before clinching the title in the final against Tomas Berdych. Djokovic was bidding to win his 50th career title and improve the record of wins of his coach Boris Becker.

Djokovic earned two break points at 40-15 in the third game as Federer was serving at 1-1 but Federer held his serve by saving them to take the 2-1 lead. Djokovic held his serve to draw level to 2-2. Federer held his third service game to love to take the 3-2 edge. At 40-40 Federer sent his backhand into the net and Djokovic held his serve to draw his serve for 3-3.

Federer brought up the first break point of the match with his down-the-line winner in the eighth game and converted his first opportunity to open up a 5-3 lead when Djokovic hit his forehand long. He went on to serve out for the first set to clinch the first set with 6-3 after 37 minutes. Federer hit four aces in the first set.

At 3-2 in the second set Djokovic Federer hit the 9000th ace of his career at the start of the second set to become the fourth player in history to strike at least 9000 aces after Goran Ivanisevic, Ivo Karlovic and Andy Roddick and held his serve for 3-3. The first six games went on serve until 3-3 without a single deuce.

Federer put pressure on Djokovic with down-the line backhands but the Serb fought back from 0-30 down by winning four consecutive points.

Djokovic got his chances to push the match to the third set at 15-40 on serve in the 8th game and then in the 10th game when he earned two set points but he failed to convert them.

Djokovic earned two break point chances but Federer saved them at 3-4 15-40 down and won the game with two service winners and two aces to draw level to 4-4.

Djokovic won the ninth game for 5-4 40-15 and brought up two set points on Federer’s serve but the Swiss legend saved them in the most crucial stage of the match with two aces and a service winner. Djokovic wasted a 40-0 lead but committed a costly double fault on his serve.

Federer converted his first break point with his cross-court forehand winner to take the lead with 6-5. The World Number 2 hit the net on his first match point and had to fend off a seventh break point before wrapping it up on the second match point with a powerful forehand after 84 minutes to win his seventh win in Dubai with 6-3 7-5

Federer improved his winning record to 20-17 in his head-to-head matches over Djokovic and won his first final against his Serbian rival since Cincinnati in 2012.

In his 11 appearances in the Dubai tournament he had already lifted this trophy in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2012 and 2014 and reached two more finals in 2006 and 2011. He has a win-loss record of 47-5 in this tournament. The only other tournaments where Federer won seven times are Wimbledon and Halle

Federer served very well hitting 12 aces taking his total to 9007 aces in his career. He converted on his two break point chances and won the most crucial points of the match. Djokovic earned seven break points but he failed to convert on any of them.

Federer clinched the 84th trophy of his career and his second title of the year after Brisbane where he made history by winning the milestone 1000th career match of his career.

“I think the first set belonged to me, whereas the second set belonged to him. He created many more opportunities. I struggled to get into his service games more frequently. It seemed like the moment I wasn’t serving great he created chances for himself and put a lot of pressure on me. It was a huge game at 5-5 40-0 for him. I crawled my way back into the game and ended up breaking him. That was big, but I think that the break points saved were even bigger toninight. We get out the best of each other. I am pleased I did some good serving when I had to. I definitely won the big points tonight. It’s really become a very nice rivalry. I think we play very nicely against each other and it seems people like the way we play against each other as well. Novak has become such an unbelievable player especially in the past five, six years. It is a pressure playing against him every single time again”, said Federer.

“Roger served very well. He converted on his two break points, while I earned seven break points but I didn’t convert on any of them”, said Djokovic

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Mikael Ymer overcomes Richard Gasquet to advance to the second round in Marseille

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Swedish 21-year-old Next Gen player Mikael Ymer edged past Richard Gasquet 6-3 3-6 7-5 after 2 hours and 22 minutes to reach the second round at the Open 13 in Marseille.

 

Ymer fended off 7 of the 10  break points he faced and broke serve in the third match point in a marathon third game setting up a second round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ymer raced out to a 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks. Gasquet pulled back one break in the seventh game to close the gap to 2-5, but Ymer served out the first set in the ninth game with an ace.

Ymer saved three break points in the sixth game, but Gasquet earned the break on his third chance in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3.

Ymer got an early break in the second game of the third set to open up a 3-0 lead. Gasquet broke back in the ninth game and held serve to draw level to 5-5. Ymer converted his third break point at deuce to seal the third set 7-5 in the 12th game.

Benoit Paire beat Gregoire Barrere 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the all-French match. Paire earned his only break of the match in the third game of the opening set. He saved two break points in the fourth game of the second set. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Paire cruised through to a 7-1 win.

Ilya Ivashka overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-1 3-6 6-4. Ivashka broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Popyrin earned one break in the fourth game to clinch the second set 6-3. Popyrin got an early break at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Ivashka sealed the win with a break.

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Alexander Zverev Going In The Right Direction, Says Becker

The German tennis legend gives his verdict on Zverev’s current form following his grand slam breakthrough.

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Former world No.1 Boris Becker believes Alexander Zverev’s recent run at the Australian Open was confirmation that he belongs at the top of men’s tennis.

 

Last month the 22-year-old achieved his best ever grand slam performance by reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne Park before losing to Dominic Thiem. At the tournament he scored wins over Andrey Rublev, who won two consecutive titles prior to the event, and former champion Stan Wawrinka. Zverev has been tipped as a future world No.1 in recent years and remains the only active player outside of the Big Four to have won three or more Masters trophies. Although he has previously struggled to shine in the biggest events of the sport.

“Alexander Zverev has made a great step forward with his first participation in a grand slam semi-final.” Becker told reporters in Berlin on Sunday. “Although he had difficult weeks before, for which there were reasons.”

At the start of the year it looked as if the world No.7 was in trouble. At the ATP Cup he lost all three of his matches played. A performance Becker blames on his off-season training. During November and December Zverev played a series of exhibition matches with Roger Federer across South America and China.

“He didn’t train enough during the winter break and came to Brisbane unprepared.” He said.
“We exchanged some serious words off the court and he took them to heart.’
“Of course I’m happy he had such success. This is also a confirmation for him that he belongs at the top of the world (in tennis).”
“But the competitors never sleep, that’s a never ending story. He has to confirm this again and again.”

So far in his career, Zverev has won 11 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world. His biggest triumph occurred towards the end of 2018 when he won the ATP Finals in London.

Reflecting on his Melbourne run last month, Zverev believes he managed to achieve the milestone thanks to a new approach he took to the event. Instead of looking at the whole tournament, he narrowed his focus to match-by-match.

“I went here in a different way. I went match by match. Didn’t look very far. I just knew I had opponents in front of me. I had to play well to beat them. That was it.” He said last month. “Whenever I won, I’d sit down in the locker room and somebody told me who I’m playing next.’
“I went step by step, match by match. Usually I [haven’t done] that in Grand Slams.”

Zverev will return to action next week at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. A tournament where he finished runner-up 12 months ago. Becker believes his compatriot could do some damage on the hard courts over the coming weeks with two prestigious North American events taking place next month in Indian Wells and Miami.

“The next tournaments are on hard courts in America. He will play there as well. There he can take a lot of points.” Becker concluded.

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New York Open Sunday Recap: Kyle Edmund Wins His Second Career ATP Title

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Kyle Edmund raising the trophy at the New York Open (newyorkopen.com)

And in an exclusive interview with UbiTennis, runner-up Andreas Seppi of Italy reveals he is pulling out of Delray Beach next week due to an injury suffered in the final.

 

In Sunday’s championship match, neither player faced a break point until 6-5 in the first set.  In that twelfth game, Seppi struggled to make first serves, with Edmund hitting winners off both sides to break and secure the first set 7-5.

Kyle would break again to open the second, as Seppi played another loose game with neutral ball errors and a double fault. Up a set and a break, Edmund began to swing freely. Despite that, Seppi was able to survive a barrage of Edmund groundstroke winners to save multiple break points at 0-3. Edmund would then hold at love to make it 4-1, when Seppi left the court for a medical timeout. When Andreas returned, Edmund broke again by outlasting Seppi in the longest rally of the match. Kyle then closed out the match 7-5, 6-1 to win the second ATP title of his career.

When I spoke with Andreas after the match, he told me he felt something in his left hamstring as he was running for a drop shot in the fifth game of the second set.  Seppi shared he will be skipping the Delray Beach event next week due to the injury, and will head home a week earlier than expected to rest and await the arrival of his first child.

“I just felt like I could really never put him under pressure today,” Seppi told me, when asked about how difficult it was to get into Edmund’s service games.

Edmund had a great serving day, striking 11 aces and facing no break points.  He won 94% of first serve points in the match (31/33), against a player in Seppi who had won 36% of his return games this week prior to today’s final.  I asked Kyle about how crucial his serving was in Sunday’s victory.

“When I got my first serve in I lost a couple points on it, so it really worked well for me. When you get that first strike in- I mean that big first serve in- when I can get on my forehand, that’s where I want to be, and I was winning a lot of points like that this week,” said Edmund.

Kyle also spoke about how important this title is to him.

“When you’re young and training, or playing tennis, these are the sort of things you imagine: wanting to win professional titles,” said Edmund.

In the doubles final, Dominic Inglot and Aisam-ul-Haq-Qureshi won their first title as a team, defeating Reilly Opelka and Steve Johnson 7-6(5), 7-6(6). Inglot and Qureshi initially served for the championship at 5-4 in the second, yet failed to close out the match. In the eventual second set tiebreak, Johnson narrowly missed a forehand down the line at 6-6. On the next point, an unreturned Inglot serve ended the American team’s quest for a title on home soil. Inglot and Qureshi were also finalists last week in Montpellier.

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