French Open 2015: Men's Preview - UBITENNIS
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French Open 2015: Men’s Preview

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TENNIS – Rafa Nadal, nine-time Roland Garros and defending champion, was drawn in the same quarter as Novak Djokovic during the Main Draw ceremony of the Roland Garros in Paris. Nadal, who dropped to World Number 7 but seeded 6th at this event, is on collision course with Novak Djokovic for a potential clash of titans in the quarterfinal. Diego Sampaolo

 

Nadal (6) boasts an incredible record of 66 wins in his 67 matches at the Roland Garros and clinched nine titles from 2005 to 2014 in his ten appearances. However, this year, during the European clay court season, Nadal has not won a title, a period which he has dominated in the past. He reached the semifinal in the Monte-Carlo, the final in Madrid and the quarter final in Rome. His only title for the year was in Argentina earlier in February.

Djokovic (1) on the other hand has won two clay tournaments in Monte-Carlo and Rome and is the heavy favourite to win his first ever Roland Garros title and complete the career Grand Slam as well as being half way through to a calendar slam. A calendar slam has only been completed by one man Rod Laver though bot Nadal and Federer have come close to accomplishing this feat. Nadal has beaten Djokovic three times in Paris; twice in the finals in 2012 and 2014 and in the semifinal in 2013.

Nadal will start against Quentin Halys from France in the first round before a possible match against either Alexandr Dolgopolov or Tommy Robredo (18). He could potentially face Grigor Dimitrov (10) in the fourth round. Djokovic will open his Roland Garros campaign against Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen before meeting either Bernard Tomic (27) or wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis in the 3rd round. Everyone expects that both Djokovic and Nadal will get to the quarterfinal to face each other in their 4th matchup in Paris. Many feel that this will definitely be the year when Djokovic finally gets a win over Nadal on Philippe Chatrier court.

The most interesting first round matches in the first quarter of the draw are Dimitrov vs Sock, Coric vs Querrey and Almagro vs Dolgopolov

Andy Murray (3), who won his first two clay tournaments in his career in Munich and Madrid, was drawn in the same half as Djokovic and Nadal. Murray, who reached two semifinals in Paris in 2011 and 2014, could potentially meet 2013 finalist David Ferrer (7) in the quarter finals.

Murray will not have a difficult path until the fourth round when he could meet either John Isner or this year’s Australian Open quarter finalist Nick Kyrgios. Ferrer could face Joao Sousa in the second round and either Gimeno Traver or Italian Simone Bolelli in the third round

The most interesting first round matches in this section of the draw are Isner vs Seppi, Haase vs Cilic, Kyrgios vs Istomin, Vesely vs Mayer.

In the bottom half of the draw, Tomas Berdych (4) who could meet either Italian Fabio Fognini (28) in a re-match of the exciting Rome third round or Jo Wilfred Tsonga in the third round before a possible quarter final against Kei Nishikori (5). Berdych will start against a qualifier, while Nishikori will face Paul-Henry Mathieu.

Nishikori could face Thomaz Bellucci in the second round and Fernando Verdasco (32) in the third round. In this section of the draw there are other Spanish players Roberto Bautista Agut (19) and Feliciano Lopez (11).

The most interesting matches in this section of the draw are American Steve Johnson vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (26), Bautista Agut vs Florian Mayer and Lukas Rosol vs Juan Monaco

Roger Federer (2) could face Frenchman Gael Monfils (13) for the fourth time at the Roland Garros in a potential fourth round match. Monfils beat the 2009 Roland Garros champion in their more recent two encounters. If they both progressed to this round, it has the potential to be an epic match in front of Monfils’ home crowd.

Federer could renew his battle against Stan Wawrinka (8) in the quarterfinal in what could be a potential re-match of last week’s Rome semifinal. Before his possible clash against Federer, Monfils could meet Dominic Thiem and Istanbul finalist Pablo Cuevas in his section

Federer, who recently won the inaugural tournament in Istanbul and finished runner-up in Rome in the final against Djokovic, will open his Paris campaign against a qualifier before a possible match against Marcel Granollers, while Wawrinka will play his first match against Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan before a possible third round clash against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

Milos Raonic, world’s number 6 withdrew from the event earlier this week due to a nagging foot injury.

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Christian Garin extends his winning streak to ten consecutive matches in Santiago de Chile

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Chile’s Christian Garin beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 0-6 7-6 (7-4) in the quarter final in Santiago de Chile after two hours to extend his winning streak to 10 consecutive matches including six three-set matches. Garin, who won two titles this year in Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro, will take on Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild in the quarter final.

 

Garin converted on six of his seven break points. The Chilean started the opening set with three consecutive breaks and closed it out with a hold at love thanks to an ace in the eighth game.

Davidovich Fokina broke three times to take a bagel in the second set. Garin fended off two break points at 2-3 and earned a break at 15 in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Garin wasted two match points at 5-4 as he was serving at 5-4. Alejandro Fokina broke back with a drop shot to draw level to 5-5. Garin got another break in the 11th game after a double fault from Davidoch Fokina. The Spanish Next Gen player broke back in the 12th game to set up a tie-break. Garin clinched the breaker 7-4 with a forehand winner.

“This is a very important tournament for me. I hope I can play here every year. I want to compete well here after winning in the past two tournaments. I have won several matches. I have a lot of confidence. I feel the responsibility of always winning and much more in Chile. The crowd’s support helped me a lot. After the second set I started to feel pain in my back. I wasn’t feeling good, but the people’s support was important. It was nice to see the crowd helping me when I came down”,said Garin.

Thiago Seyboth Wild edged Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Seyboth Wild never faced a break point and converted one of his six break points to clinch the win in straight sets. Londero saved all three break points in the opening set, including two set points at 5-6 to set up a tie-break. The Argentine earned a set point with a service winner.

Seyboth Wild fended off the set point with an ace. Londero did not convert a second set point at 7-7 after a forehand error. Thiago Seyboth sealed the tie-break with a backhand down the line winner. The Brazilian player earned a break in the third game of the second set with a forehand down the line winner and lost six points in five service games and closed out the match with a service winner in the 10th game.

Seyboth Wild reached the second round in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month

Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro beat Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 6-4 after 1 hour and 23 minutes. The Brazilian player saved all three break points chances and broke three times to reach his second quarter final of the season after Buenos Aires.

Monteiro will face Spain’s Albert Ramos Vinolas, who beat lucky loser Juan Pablo Varillas 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 in one hour and 39 minutes. The Spanish player rallied from 3-5 down in the first set and fended off a set point at 4-5 to clinch the tie-break of the opening set 7-3.

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Novak Djokovic saves three match points to reach the final in Dubai

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This year’s Australian Open champion and four-time Dubai winner Novak Djokovic came back from losing the first set to beat Gael Monfils 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 after 2 hours and 35 minutes at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Tournament. He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in tomorrow’s final.

 

Monfils wasted a chance of defeating Djokovic for the first time in 16 head-to-head matches, when he did not convert three match points at 6-3 in the tie-break of the second set.

Djokovic dropped his serve three times in the first and second set and went down a set and a break in the second set.

Monfils dropped six points on his serve and broke Djokovic twice to win the first set 6-2. Djokovic saved a break point in the first game of the opening set before dropping his serve in a marathon third game, when he hit his backhand long. Monfils hit a service winner to open up a 3-1 lead. The Frenchman earned another break in the seventh game after a drop shot error from Djokovic. Monfils sealed the opening set 6-2 with a service winner in the eighth game after 45 minutes.

Monfils went up a set and a break in the third game of the second set at love after a loose forehand from Djokovic. Monfils earned a break with a forehand crosscourt winner. Djokovic broke straight back to draw level to 3-3 in the sixth game after Monfils netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve with an ace for 4-3. Monfils won his service game in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Djokovic held his third consecutive service game to take a 5-4 lead, but he wasted a set point in the next game with a loose forehand.

Djokovic earned five set points in the second set, but Monfils saved them to set up a tie-break. Monfils forced an error from Djokovic to take a 4-2 lead and hit a backhand down the line winner in the eighth game. Monfils brought up three match points with a forehand winner, but Djokovic saved them to draw level to 6-6.

Monfils fended off a set point at 6-7 with a service winner. Djokovic earned a mini-break, but he made a forehand error in the next point. Djokovic earned his eighth set point at 8-8 and converted it, as Monfils made his sixth double fault.

Djokovic earned two consecutive breaks in the third and fifth games and closed out the match with his third break at 5-1 in the seventh game with a forehand winner to complete the come-back setting up a final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“It’s anybody game really. Stefanos has won eight matches in a row now from last week in France winning the Marseille title, now playing more or less every single day, which is quite impressive. It’s not easy. I hope I can recover. I hope I can be atm y best be at my best because I need to start better than I have tonight. Hopefully I can get a title. Today I just wasn’t taking my chances when I was having rallies on those first five set points. That kind of turned around from 3-6 in the tie-break. From that moment onwards I felt I was going through the ball better”, said Djokovic.  

 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches the final in Dubai for the second consecutive year

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Daniel Evans 6-2 6-3 in 1 hour and 21 minutes in the semifinal of the Dubai Duty Free Championships to reach the final at this tournament for the second consecutive year. Tsitsipas will play his second consecutive final one week after lifting the Open 13 Trophy in Marseille.

 

Tsitsipas converted on four of his ten break points and did not face a break point. The Greek player has dropped just one of the 17 sets he has played since arriving in Marseille last week.

Tsitsipas earned his first break with a backhand winner in the fifth game of the opening set to take a 3-2 lead and consolidated it with a hold at love. Tsitsipas converted his second break point in a three-deuce seventh game after a forehand error from Evans before claiming the first set in the eighth game with an ace after 34 minutes.

Evans saved four break points at the start of the second set. Tsitsipas earned an early break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead and backed it up with a service winner for 3-1.

Tsitsipas held serve for 5-3 before closing out the second set with his fourth break in the ninth game.

Tsitsipas finished runner-up to Roger Federer in the final of last year’s edition of the Dubai tournament. Tomorrow the Athens native player will face either Novak Djokovic or Gael Monfils.

“I just managed to stay solid throughout the whole match. I didn’t have massive breakdowns and just played a quality of tennis which I enjoyed. I am really impressed by the quality of my game today and I really hope to bring the same and probably better in the next round”, said Tsitsipas.

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