Djokovic wins a third Master 1000 title for the year in Monte-Carlo - UBITENNIS
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Djokovic wins a third Master 1000 title for the year in Monte-Carlo

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TENNIS – Novak Djokovic claimed his second Monte-Carlo title after battling past Tomas Berdych with 7-5 4-6 6-3 in the Monte-Carlo Master 1000 final which was interrupted by rain for nearly one hour Diego Sampaolo

Djokovic has improved his winning streak this year to 17 consecutive victories becoming the first player in history to triumph in the first three Master 1000 tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami and Monte-Carlo). He has now collected 23 Master 1000 titles equalling Roger Federer in second place on the list of the most successful players in this series of tournaments.

It was not a easy win for Djokovic who was broken in the first game of the first set after Berdych hit a backhand.

Berdych, who lost 18 of his 20 head-to-head matches against Djokovic, won eight of the first ten points in the first tow games of the set to open up a 2-0 lead. Djokovic began putting pressure on Berdych who started to make unforced errors.

In the sixth game when he brought up two break points. Berdych saved the first break point opportunity with a service winner but Djokovic converted on the second chance for the break-back when Berdych sent a forehand wide.

Djokovic recovered from 1-3 down to take a  5-3 lead with a double break of serve but he hit a forehand into the net in the 10th game and could not serve it out for the set. Berdych bounced back drawing level to 5-5 after winning six points in a row but Djokovic converted on his third set point chance when Berdych sent his backhand into the net at 6-5 to clinch the first set.

Berdych brought up three break points in the fifth game. He failed to convert on the first two opportunities after unforced errors before Djokovic saved the third chance with a service winner.

After the second set resumed following a rain delay, Berdych clinched his third break opportunity in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead en route to winning the second set with 6-4 and forcing the match to the decider. It was the first time this week that Djokovic was forced to the third set.

Djokovic stormed out to a 4-0 lead in the third set with a double break after a series of unforced errors from Berdych. The Czech player bounced back by recovering one of the two breaks for 1-4

Berdych earned another break point chance in the seventh game but he committed unforced errors. Djokovic served out for the match on his serve  He sealed the win on his second match point when Berdych hit his return long.

Djokovic did not play his best match and committed 38 unforced errors but he managed to win his second title in his “home” tournament where he trains regularly three tears after his first triumph.

He started his magic season in which he lost just two matches, won the Australian Open and the first three Master 1000 tournaments. He has the chance to win the Grand Slam if he will continue the season in this kind of form . His big goal is to win the Roland Garros, one of the very few tournaments missing from his cabinet

“I am sitting here with this trophy. This is very special to me. That is what matters. Sometimes winning ugly is necessary. It is a remarkable start to the season for me. I thought I won this match with my heart and with battle. That’s how I feel like I won it”, said Djokovic

“The most important period of the year is coming up right now. Obviously the Roland Garros and Wimbledon are the priority. That’s where I want to perform my best. We will take step by step and see how far I can go”, said Djokovic.

Berdych put pressure on Djokovic with powerful groundstrokes in the first two sets but it was not enough to beat the Serbia star.

“There have been just a couple of points that didn’t go the way that I wanted. I have been pushing him quite hard. I had enough chances to make this match happen on my way and I could be the one with the trophy today”, said Berdych.

Monte-Carlo doubles final: Mike and Bob Bryan clinch their 106th title with 7-6 6-1 win over Fognini and Bolelli

US twin brothers Mike and Bob Bryan defeated this year’s Australian Open champions Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in one hour and nine minutes in the doubles final of the Monte-Carlo doubles final to clinch their 5th win in Monte-Carlo and their 106th tour-level title. The Bryans captured a hard-fought first set at the tie-break with 7-3 before cruising to 4-0 in the second set. The US twins clinched their third break in the seventh game of the second set.

The US doubles stars fended off all four break points they faced and won 73 percent of their first service points. They had already triumped at the Monte-Carlo Country Club in 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

“I thought we competed very well today. We stayed patient. The breaks weren’t coming early. They hit great serves. We were just feeling them out. We haven’t played them for a few years but I thought we played a solid tie-break”, said Mike Bryan. We got in some baseline rallies and went toe to toe with them. We are really excited to come in here and get the job dome. It’s one of our favourite tournaments”, said Mike Bryan.

It’s the third time the Bryans have lifted a trophy this year, as they won in Delray Beach and Miami (beaten by Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil). This is their 34th Master 1000 title. Thanks to their win they have closed their gap on Fogni and Bolelli who lead the ATP Race to London (which qualifies for the ATP Finals in London) after winning at the Australian Open and finishing runner-up at Indian Wells.

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Roland Garros 2024: ‘Proud’ Iga Swiatek Seeks Consistent Improvement

Iga Swiatek continues to find improvement despite her dominance ahead of her Roland Garros opener.

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Ubitennis/Francesca Micheli

Iga Swiatek had admitted she is ‘proud’ of her clay court season but is seeking consistent improvement over the rest of the season.

The world number one is aiming for a third consecutive Roland Garros title and heads into Paris in dominant form.

Titles in Madrid and Rome with two contrasting wins over Aryna Sabalenka means she is the overwhelming favourite heading into the fortnight.

Speaking ahead of her opening match Swiatek spoke about how she is a better tennis player from 2022 and how proud she is of her clay court season so far, “I think I’m a better player because I just grew and I worked hard during the past two years,” Swiatek explained in her press conference.

“I feel like I’m progressing, so I guess I should be a better tennis player. Comparing the results, or my feelings, two years ago it was all kind of new for me, and I think I won so many matches also because nobody really expected it.

“When the streak started, I wasn’t even second in the rankings, so I think other players were also unprepared maybe for my game sometimes. Now it’s different. Now they are prepared, and I feel like I keep having a target on my back, because I’m No. 1. So I think actually I’m more proud of what’s happening right now and winning all these titles this year already has shown that we are going on the right path.”

Despite her recent dominance, Swiatek isn’t resting on her laurels as she continues to seek improvement.

The Pole has been working on several areas on her game including the serve as she has become a more aggressive player over the last couple of years.

Swiatek spoke on the changes she has made with her coach as she seeks more consistent improvement, “Changing the technique, I think it allowed me to serve faster. We worked on my placement as well, so it got better for sure. I feel like I have more options when I’m serving,” Swiatek told the Roland Garros website.

“As you could see in Rome, for example, I had many situations when I was a break point down, and I was able to kind of save the game with my first serve. So this tournament showed that we are going in the right direction. Next goal is to keep my serve at a consistent level throughout the whole season. We’ll see how that’s going to go.

“But I think overall my coach from the beginning had a great idea about my serve. The other thing is me implementing it, so we are working hard for the movement to be smooth and to get muscle memory, so even under the biggest pressure and stress, I’m going to be serving the same way.”

Swiatek will begin her campaign against qualifier Leolia Jeanjean in her opening round match on Monday with potentially Naomi Osaka awaiting in round two.

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Roland Garros 2024: Practice Makes Perfect For Carlos Alcaraz In Roland Garros Title Bid

Carlos Alcaraz is looking to overcome the pain barrier as he searches for Roland Garros glory.

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Carlos Alcaraz is bidding for a first Roland Garros title but the Spaniard will need to overcome the pain barrier in order to achieve his goal.

The world number three enters this year’s tournament with mixed preparations having suffered an injury during practice in Monte-Carlo.

Alcaraz failed to play in Barcelona, where he was defending champion, before exiting Madrid at the quarter-finals stage to eventual winner Andrey Rublev.

Despite Alcaraz’s lack of fitness, the Spaniard will feel he has a good chance of achieving a special landmark as he has the opportunity to win 75% of the career Grand Slam.

Speaking ahead of the fortnight Alcaraz admitted he is feeling better but needs to change some psychological feelings when hitting the forehand again, “I’m feeling better. At least I can practise, hit balls without pain. That’s a really good point for me,” Alcaraz explained in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I’m not feeling any pain in the practices when I step on the court. But I’m still thinking about it when I am hitting forehands. Probably I’m gonna say I’m a little bit scared about hitting every forehand 100 percent. So I have to change it in my first match.”

Roland Garros holds a special place in Alcaraz’s heart having had good memories and matches in the past with the Spaniard reaching the semi-finals last year.

Now Alcaraz is aiming to win his maiden title in Paris as he continues his development at an elite level.

The Spaniard spoke about how special Roland Garros is and spoke about how wide open this year’s tournament is given the form and fitness of Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner, “Right now, I don’t see a clear favourite to win the tournament, but there is a wide range of players who can do it,” Alcaraz explained.

“It’s Roland-Garros and it’s a really special tournament. Everybody wants to do good results here. This tournament is one of the main reasons that I’m practicing every day. I want to be a better player, to be able to win these kinds of tournaments.”

Alcaraz starts his Roland Garros on Sunday against lucky loser J.J. Wolf.

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Tomas Machac Stuns Novak Djokovic To Reach Maiden ATP Final In Geneva

Tomas Machac is into his first career ATP final after stunning Novak Djokovic in Geneva.

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Tomas Machac is into his first ATP final after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4 0-6 6-1 in Geneva.

The world number one seemed to be struggling physically throughout the contest as Machac earned the biggest win of his career.

After trailing 4-1 in the opening set, Machac played aggressive tennis against a sub-par Djokovic to win five games in a row and take the opening set.

In the second set Djokovic was back to his brilliant best as he won six consecutive games to level the match at one set all.

However the Serb was clearly struggling with his fitness and conditioning as Machac secured the biggest win of his career, reaching a first ATP final.

Speaking after the match Machac was lost for words as he looks ahead to Saturday’s showdown, “I have no reaction right now, I just fought for every ball,” Machac told the ATP website.

“When you play against Novak you just hope. You just try to play your best and see what it looks like. I am looking forward to playing in a final for the first time.”

As for Djokovic, the Serb is yet to reach a final this year and will need to get his form back on track as he prepares to begin his Roland Garros title defence against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

Meanwhile Machac will play either Casper Ruud or Flavio Cobolli in the final.

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