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



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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‘Super happy’ Holger Rune Reacts To Winning First Match Since Wimbledon In Beijing



Holger Rune says he is pain-free and has gained confidence since reuniting with his former coach after ending his seven-match losing streak at the China Open. 


Rune, who is the third seed in Beijing this week, beat former top 10 player Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4, in his opening match on Friday. The Dane fired 15 winners compared to only three unforced errors during the 85-minute encounter. It is the first time he has won a match on the Tour since Wimbledon in July.

“It feels very good. I had a tough period both with my body and with matches,” said Rune. “I’m happy to be back feeling good and feeling mentally well off the court. I’m super happy with my level today.”

The 20-year-old is experiencing a roller-coaster season where he reached the final of two Masters 1000 events and won a title in Germany during the first six months. However, recently he has struggled for wins on the Tour and ended his collaboration with Patrick Mouratoglou. 

On top of that, Rune has also been hampered by a back injury which he recently underwent treatment on before coming to China. He previously told Danish TV that he had a pinched nerve in the fifth lumbar vertebra in his spine since the clay-court season. As a result, he has had to make adjustments to his service motion to overcome this problem. 

“I didn’t feel any pain in my body,” he stated following his latest match. 
“I’m feeling healthy and taking care of my body. Mostly I’m happy to play without pain and enjoy myself.”

Guiding the world No.4 now is Lars Christensen who he has previously worked with since childhood. 

“It has helped my confidence. After some tough periods, he knows me so well,” Rune commented. “He knows when I’m back at my best level so it is easy for us to communicate and find the best version of Holger. That we did today.”

Rune will next play Grigor Dimitrov who staged an epic comeback to defeat Mackenzie McDonald. The Bulgarian was a set and 5-2 down before fighting back to prevail 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-1, over the American who was experiencing problems with his shoulder. 

Medvedev, Sinner though in contrasting matches

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In other matches at the tournament, second seed Daniil Medvedev stormed to a 6-2, 6-1, win over Tommy Paul. He has now recorded 39 hardcourt wins on the Tour so far this season which is more than any other player. 

“It’s not easy for both of us. Both of us a little jet lagged. Him maybe more, coming from Vancouver,” Medvedev said afterward. “Maybe that made the difference, but if I think only about myself, I’m happy with my level. 
“I played great. The start of the match was not easy, but it’s never easy first round, especially in another part of the world. Then I was playing better and better during the match, so I’m happy about my level.”

This week is the first time Medvedev has played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the US Open final. He is seeking to win his fifth title of 2023. 

Also through to the next round is Italy’s Jannik Sinner who struggled at times with his fitness during his troublesome 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3, win over Dan Evans. The world No.7 served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but failed to capitalize on the opportunity, lost a 3-0 lead in the decider and then started limping on the court. During the closing stages, he also fell when trying to return a ball and appeared to hurt himself. Despite all the drama, Sinner still managed to seal the win. 

Sinner is now 16-1 in opening matches this season. He is bidding to reach his 12th tournament quarter-final in Beijing. 

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Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe



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Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe. 


Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5). 

“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”

In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated. 

Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.

“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.

Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players. 

Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem. 

“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”

The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22. 

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India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



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A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

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