ATP Monte Carlo Masters: 2014 finalists upset as Djokovic and Nadal move on - UBITENNIS
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ATP Monte Carlo Masters: 2014 finalists upset as Djokovic and Nadal move on

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TENNIS – Swiss tennis had a bad day as both Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka were knocked out of the third round one year after they played an historic first all-Swiss Monte-Carlo final. Wawrinka lost to Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-2. Federer was stunned by Gael Monfils with 4-6 6-7 after one hour and 44 minutes. Rafa Nadal overcame John Isner in three sets with 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 6-3. Novak Djokovic beat Andreas Haider Maurer 6-4 6-0. David Ferrer won a hard-fought match against Giles Simon Diego Sampaolo

Fifteen of best 16 seeded players highlighted a fantastic day with eight third round matches at the Monte-Carlo Country Club in Monte-Carlo.

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka were projected to play a all-Swiss quarter final but this re-match of the all-Swiss final will not materialize as they were knocked in the third round stage. First Grigor Dimitrov took just 54 minutes to cruise past defending champion Stan Wawrinka with 6-1 6-2. Then Gael Monfils followed up his fantastic win over Aleksander Dolgopolov with a 6-4 7-6 win over Federer.

Federer led 2-1 after the first three games went on serve. Federer converted on his first break point chance in the fourth game to extend his lead to 3-1 but Monfils broke straight back in the next game to claw his way back for 2-3. From 2-3 Monfils reeled off four of the next five games of the first set.

Federer saved a break point at 3-3 with his backhand volley. Both players held their serve in their next two games for 4-4. Monfils converted on the second of his three break point chances taking advantage of Federer’s consecutive forehand errors to get his second break for 5-4 before holding serve in the final game to clinch the first set with 6-4. .

The second set went on serve until the tie-break. Federer could not convert on his two break points. Monfils earned five break points but he did not convert any of them.

In the third game Federer held his serve with an ace in the third game to take the 2-1 lead. Federer brought up a break point chance in the fourth game but he sent his backhand wide. Monfils hit his backhand winner to save the break point for 2-2. The Frenchman brought up three break point chances but Federer saved them. In the sixth game Monfils saved a break point with his powerful service and held his serve with a smash.

In the seventh game Monfils earned a break point chance but Federer saved it. At 5-5 Monfils earned another break point chance but Federer saved it with his service. Monfils won the 12th game to love to force the second set to the tie-break. Monfils took the 2-1 lead with a mini-break. Federer won two consecutive points with his serve before getting a mini-break with a forehand winner. Federer went up 5-3 but Monfils reeled off four consecutive points to seal the win with 7-5 when Federer sent his forehand out

Monfils won his second consecutive match on clay against Federer after beating the Swiss legend last November in the Davis Cup Final in Lille.

“I am surprised I was able to increase my power so quickly. I was able to hit hard from the baseline, to be aggressive. I am very pleased with the match”, said Monfils.

Federer hit 17 winners but he committed 38 unforced errors and converted on only one of his three break point cances. Monfils produced 17 winners.

 “It was not the best end to the match. I should have done better with the break up in the first set. I did a good job to hang around the second set. I also had chances of my owb. It remained close but I never felt like things were really happening the way I wanted them to be going during the whole match. It’s the very beginning of the clay season. It’s going to take me some time to feel 100 percent comfortable. ”, said Federer.

Federer will now train in Switzerland in preparation for his next two clay tournaments in Istanbul and Madrid.

Monfils won for the second consecutive time against Federer after his straight-set win in the Davis Cup Final in Lille.

“I am surprised I was able to increase my power so quickly. I player better than yesterday against Dolgopolov. I was able to be aggressive and to  hit hard from the baseline. I am very pleased with the match”, said Monfils

In the quarter finals Monfils will face Grigor Dimitrov who dismissed Defending champion Stan Wawrinka with a clear 6-1 6-2 in just 54 minutes in the inaugural match of the third round programme. Dimitrov and Wawrinka met for the fourth time in their careers on the ATP Tour. Wawrinka won the first two matches, while Dimitrov took the win in their third head-to-head

It promised to be a spectacular match but it did not live up to expectations. Wawrinka went up 15-0 on his serve but Dimitrov won four consecutive points to break serve in the first game. Dimitrov got a double break for 3-0. Wawrinka did not win a single point on Dimitrov’s serve and went down 0-4. Stan the Man, as the Swiss player is nicknamed, saved a break point chance and won his first game with a cross-court forehand.

Wawrinka could not convert on four break points in the sixth game of the first set.

Dimitrov converted on his second set point to win the first set with 6-1 after just 25 minutes. Wawrinka dropped his serve three times and committed 24 unforced errors.

Dimitrov won the first game on his serve in the first game of the second set. Wawrinka held his serve to love to draw level to 1-1 in the second game. Wawrinka saved the first two break point chances in the fourth game but he sent his forehand wide to drop serve for 1-3. Wawrinka went 40-15 to earn two break point chances but he failed to convert them to trail 1-4.

Dimitrov sealed the one-sided match with 6-2 a few minutes later with a break after 55 minutes when Wawrinka sent his forehand out of court. Dimitrov has reached the quarter finals for the second time in Monte-Carlo. He reached this stage of the tournament in 2013 when he lost to Rafa Nadal.

Dimitrov fended off all the six break point chances he faced and converted on five of his nine break point chances.

Dimitrov has scored his first win over a top-10 player this year and his first since he reached the semifinals at Wimbledon last year after beating Andy Murray. Wawrinka made 45 unforced errors and produced just 4 winners. He did not convert on any of his six break point chances  The Bulgarian could not win back-to-back matches in his previous four tournaments this year.

Dimitrov drew level to 2-2 in his head-to-head matches against Wawrinka.

“It is always interesting when  Gael is on court. I feel very happy to come out and help. I think this is the first big feeling for me I had in a long time. I am happy to come out there on the court and also test myself”, said Dimitrov.

Novak Djokovic, winner in Monte-Carlo in 2013 and at the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami this year, cruised past Andreas Haider Maurer 6-4 6-0. Nole extended his winning streak to 14 consecutive matches this year.

Djokovic will face last year’s US Open champion Marin Cilic who fended off the only break point he faced in his 6-3 7-6 (7-5)  win over Jo Wilfred Tsonga.

The first set went on serve until 3-2 in the first set when Cilic broke serve. The Croatian player held serve in the next game to pull away to 5-2 en route to winning the first set with 6-3 in 29 minutes. Cilic hit 10 winners to 8 unforced errors. Tsonga produced 4 winners to 9 unforced errors.

In the second set Tsonga wasted a set point at 5-4 enabling Cilic to draw level to 5-5. The set came down to the tie-break where Tsonga rallied from 0-3 down by reeling off two consecutive points. Cilic hit an ace to go up 4-2. Tsonga recovered by winning three consecutive points to go up 5-4 with a forehand winner. Cilic did not give up and reeled off three points to clinch the tie-break with 7-6 with a drop-shot.

Eight-time Monte-Carlo Rolex Master Rafa Nadal edged past John Isner in three sets with 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 6-3.

Nadal fended off two set points in the tie-break to win the first set with 8-6. Isner fought back from 0-40 on his serve to hold his serve before breaking to take a 5-4 lead as Nadal sent his forehand long. He held serve to force the match to the third set. Nadal brought up two break points with a passing shot and broke serve for the first time in the match in the fourth game of the decider with a forehand winner. Nadal held his serve in the next game to pull away to 4-1 en rute to wrapping up the match after two hours and 20 minutes.

“I lost in three sets in Rio. I lost in three sets in Indian Wells. I lost in three sets in Miami. To break this streak of three set losses was important”, said Nadal

Nadal set up a all-Spanish quarter final against his compatriot David Ferrer who overcame a long and hard-fought match against Giles Simon with 6-2 6-7 (3-7) 6-1. Ferrer converted on six of his 20 break point chances and fended off four of the five break point chances he faced.

Milos Raonic edged past Tommy Robredo with 6-3 3-6 6-3. It was the fourth time Raonic beat Robredo in four head-to-head matches. Despite a foot problem Raonic broke serve in the final game of the first set to win 6-3. Raonic went down a break to lose the second set with 3-6. The third set went on serve until the eighth game when Raonic broke serve for 6-3 before holding to 15 to reach the quarter finals.

Raonic will take on 2007 and 2012 Monte-Carlo semifinalist Tomas Berdych who overcame Roberto Bautista Agut with 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 after one hour and 39 minutes Berdych converted on all his three break point chances and hit 41 winners.

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Simona Halep Provides Injury Update On Knee Ahead Of US Open

The return of Simona Halep looks a long way away from happening as a knee injury continues to bother the Romanian.

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Simona Halep has provided an update on her knee injury as she faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open.

The former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion’s comeback has not gone according to plan so far as she returned from a doping ban in Miami earlier this year.

However playing time has been limited for the Romanian as her second tournament of the year ended in a first round retirement at a Challenger event in Paris.

As a result of her retirement Halep was forced to miss Roland Garros and Wimbledon as she looked to recover from a knee injury.

The injury is more serious than meets the eye though as Halep provided an update on her knee injury and revealed it’s an injury that has been occurring for the last few months, “I wanted to provide a little health update since I have been away from the court lately. It is not the best news, but I wanted to share all the same,” Halep revealed on Instagram.

“For a few months now, I have been struggling with a knee injury. It’s an injury I have never had before and it has been a tough one to manage, with the pain persisting. It has been a very difficult period (almost two years) mentally and emotionally for me and struggling physically on top of that definitely doesn’t help.

“I have decided to take the time needed to recover properly, rather than training and playing through pain. My instinct has always been to try to come back as soon as possible, but I am not a machine, I am a human being and I need time to recover from everything I have gone through.

“I’ll keep you posted and, as always, want to thank you for your permanent support. I hope to be back on court very soon.”

Halep now faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open which starts on the 26th of August.

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Alexander Zverev Commits To Olympics, Speaks About Miscommunication Between Olympics And ATP

Alexander Zverev is preparing for his Olympic title defence.

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Alexander Zverev has spoken out on the miscommunication between the Olympics and the ATP tour with tennis’ top stars set to miss some big events on the tour.

The German is getting ready to defend his Olympic title that he won in Tokyo as Zverev heads to Paris.

After narrowly missing out on Roland Garros glory, Zverev now has an opportunity at redemption as he aims for a second consecutive gold medal at the Olympics.

However there is a dilemma for big players this year as the same week as the tennis event at the Olympics at the ATP 500 event in Washington.

This is an event that Zverev usually plays but will have to miss it due to playing in Paris.

Speaking out on the miscommunication, Zverev said it’s no secret that the ATP are not best friends on the Olympics but has committed to the historic event, “The ITF or the Olympics are not best friends with the ATP, that’s not a secret,” Zverev was quoted by Tennis Infinity as saying.

Everybody continues their own tour. Yes, the Olympics is one of the, if not the, most important events we have in sports. So, the best players in the world are always going to play the Olympics over anything else, over points and over prize money.

All the top players went to Wimbledon a few years back, despite having no points on the line. It’s about prestige, it’s not about points or money. It’s about winning these kinds of titles and having medals for your country.

That’s what it’s about. I would never choose to play a 500 event over the Olympics. There are no thoughts on that, and I think Washington is going to be quite an interesting 500 event, I would say.

The ATP 500 event in Washington will be headlined by Grigor Dimitrov, Ben Shelton, Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe as they are among those that have chosen ranking points over the Olympic experience.

As for Zverev he is continuing his Olympic preparations in Hamburg where he will face Pedro Martinez in the semi-finals.

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Rafael Nadal Reveals Delight At Setting Up Ajdukovic Semi-Final After Four Hour Victory

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the Bastad semi-finals after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

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(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the semi-finals in Bastad after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion prevailed in a marathon 6-7(2) 7-5 7-5 victory to reach his first semi-final since Wimbledon 2022.

The Spaniard converted ten of his 21 break point opportunities as he reached the semi-finals.

After the match Nadal revealed his delight at reaching the last four and prevailed Navone for his resilient display, “I lost for some moments my concentration, but I was able to hold physically until the end,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“That is so important for me. Let’s see how I am tomorrow, but today I am alive and in the semi-finals, so that’s very important. There were a lot of changing dynamics in every single set. For moments, he was in control. For moments, I was in control. But at the end, no one was in control! That’s true, and I had a good chance in the second with 3-0. Then I was very close to losing the match in the second set.

“In the third [I was ahead] again with 5-2, but he’s a great fighter and he played a great match. I wish him all the very best for the rest of the season.”

Nadal will now play Duje Ajdukovic in the semi-finals as he aims to continue his eight match winning streak in Bastad with this being his first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2005.

The other semi-final will be Nuno Borges against Thiago Agustin Tirante with both players reaching their maiden ATP tour semi-final.

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