RG 2015 Day 5: Djokovic, Nadal, Williams survive as Schiavone wins epic battle - UBITENNIS
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RG 2015 Day 5: Djokovic, Nadal, Williams survive as Schiavone wins epic battle

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TENNIS – Novak Djokovic (1) beat Gilles Muller from Luxemburg 6-1 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes, although he received treatment on his hip. Djokovic scored his second win against Muller in a Grand Slam tournament this year after prevailing in the fourth round at last January’s Australian Open. Diego Sampaolo

 

Djokovic converted on five of his 12 break points and hit 35 winners.

“There are no significant injury concerns. Thankfully it’s nothing major. It’s not a concern for the next match, which is the most important thing. It wasn’t pleasant with the conditions that were changing today. I think a bit of heavier conditions made the court a little bit more wet and it was pretty slippery”, said Djokovic

Andy Murray (3) dropped the second set but clinched the match in four sets with 6-2 4-6 6-4 6-1 against Joao Sousa. The Scotsman cruised to 6-2 in the first set in which he dropped just three points on serve but he was seriously tested in the second set where he won just 36% of his first serve points. In a trade of break Murray dropped his serve for 3-5 but he broke straight back. However Sousa broke again to clinch the second set.

Sousa got two chances to take an early break in the third set but he failed to convert it after hitting his return long. Murray earned a break point at 3-3 with his backhand winner down the line and took the break with a forehand into the corner. He served out for the third set with 6-4.

Murray broke early in the fourth set before taking a 3-0 lead with a cross-court forehand winner. He got another break to close out the match after two hours and 30 minutes.

Rafael Nadal (6), the 9-time champion here had a tough test against fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro but the defending champion was able to come away unscathed 6-4 6-3 6-1. David Ferrer (7) also faced a fellow Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3 6-2 6-1. Several other seeded players also won including Marin Cilic (9), Kevin Anderson (15), Leonardo Mayer (23) and David Goffin (17).

This year’s French Open might be the tipping point for the next generation of ATP stars as four of them find themselves in the 3rd round of the French Open. 20-year old Nick Kyrgios (29) got through to the 3rd round without playing Kyle Edmunds withdrew from the tournament with injury. Borna Coric, 18, knocked out Tommy Robredo (18) in 5 sets 7-5 3-6 6-2 4-6 6-4. 19-year old Thanasi Kokkinakis had a similarly epic match against his compatriot Bernard Tomic (27) coming from 0-2 sets down to take it in 5th set after denying Tomic the chance to serve out the match, 3-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 8-6.

Although American Jock Sock is slightly older than the others at 22 years old, his stocks too are rising. He recently won his first ATP title in Houston this year and already knocked out 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov in the 1st round. In his next match, he battled hard against Pablo Carreno-Busta taking the match in 4 sets 6-7 7-6 6-1 7-6. In the 3rd round, Kyrgios will face Murray, Coric against Sock and Kokkinakis will face Djokovic. These all make for some very interesting encounters come Saturday in Paris.

Schiavone battled past Kuznetsova after 3 hours and 49 minutes

In a clash between two former French Open champions, 2010 winner Francesca Schiavone battled past 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in an epic three-set match with 6-7 (11-13) 7-5 10-8 in a repeat of the legendary Australian Open 4 hour and 44-minute match in 2011 where the Italian prevailed yet again 6-4 1-6 16-14 in the longest women’s Grand Slam match in the Open Era. Many felt that the Russian had a chance to win this title as she had recently shown good form in Madrid when she got to the final.

In the 1st set, Kuznetsova (18) edged Schiavone 13-11 in the tiebreaker after an hour and 20 minutes. Schiavone rallied from a 0-2 deficit in the 2nd set to take it 7-5 and forced the match to a decisive 3rd set. Kuznetsova took a 4-2 lead in the third set and served for the match four times at 5-4, 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7 but each time she would be denied the opportunity to close out the match. Schiavone was relentless fending off the match point with a backhand winner before clinching the win when Kuznetsova hit her volley into the net after 3 hours and 49 minutes in the third longest match at the Roland Garros.

Schiavone will face Andrea Mitu who recovered from a set and a break down to upset Karolina Pliskova (12) with 2-6  7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

“I don’t know how much of it is magic or how much of it is working and just keeping going and believing in something that looks so far away but it’s so close. I feel like every match for me is great history now. It doesn’t matter where I am. The score doesn’t matter.Everything is a bonus for me,” said Schiavone

Serena Williams (1) had to dig deep when she recovered from a set down to edge Anna Lena Friedsam with 5-7 6-3 6-3. The German came close to breaking serve in the second set in the 1st and 5th games but Williams recovered to win the second set with 6-3 before getting the early break in the decider en route to clinching the third set with 6-3. Williams set up a blockbuster third round match against Victoria Azarenka (27) who defeated Lucie Hradecka 6-2 6-3. In their most recent encounter in Madrid, Williams had to fend off three match points before clinching the match in the 3rd set tiebreaker.

Julia Georges upset Caroline Wozniacki (5) 6-4 7-6 (7-4). The German hit 39 winners, including a forehand winner on her match point which enabled her to close out the match after one hour and 46 minutes. Georges scored her sixth win over a top-five player and her first at Grand Slam level. Other winners on the day include Andrea Petkovic (10), Irina Begu (30), Sara Errani (17), Timea Bacsinszky (23) and Madison Keys (16). Several unseeded players also made it through to the 3rd round, Sloane Stephens, Irina Falconi, Alison Van Uytvanck, Tsetvana Pironkova and Kristina Mladenovic.

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Daniil Medvedev Can Improve Further After US Open Win, Says Coach

Gilles Cervara has overseen the rise of the world No.2 since 2017 and he believes there is still more to come.

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The 2021 Men's Singles Champion, Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

The team of Daniil Medvedev are already looking into ways the Russian can improve his game less than a week after he won the US Open, according to his coach Gilles Cervara.

 

On Sunday the 25-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his first-ever Grand Slam title and become the first Russian man to win a major since Marat Safin in 2005. Impressively Medvedev only dropped one set in the tournament which was against Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.

Guiding Medvedev to glory in New York was his coach Cervara who has been working with him since 2017. The Frenchman was recognized for his work with Medvedev back in 2019 when he was named ATP coach of the Year. Speaking to Tennis Majors earlier this week, Cervara believes part of the success they have had is due to the desire to continuously improve.

“It’s huge to have won the US Open. But Daniil, me and the whole team, we are always focused on performance,” he said. “It’s a way of life, of thinking, which means that I will always be drawn to the idea of doing better, and therefore of winning the next tournament. To make this possible, I have to set up workouts to be even stronger and respond to more situations, to win even more.”

It is hard to question the approach taken by Cervara when you look at Medvedev’s results on the hardcourts. According to the ATP, the world No.2 has won 147 matches and 12 titles on the surface since 2018 which is more than any other player. The next best player is Djokovic with 115 wins and 10 titles.

Medvedev could end the year as world No.1 but it will be far from easy. He is currently more than 1300 points behind Djokovic in the standings. If he wants to overtake him he will need to win or reach the finals of key events in Indian Wells, Paris and the ATP Finals. Although it is hard to project an exact route as it is unclear as to what tournaments will be played.

“I tell myself that it involves work and improving many things on a daily basis. The team has already started to think: yes, he wins a Grand Slam, but we can see a lot of things to improve,” Cervara commented. “These things represent the concrete aspects to be deployed with a view to a potential future great result. To be number one and win other majors, you have to achieve concrete things, at work, every day.”

Just because Medvedev has won a Grand Slam doesn’t automatically mean that he will go on to dominate the Tour. 12 months ago at the US Open, it was Dominic Thiem who triumphed at the tournament. However, the Austrian admitted that he struggled over the following months after achieving one of his career goals. Thiem didn’t play in this year’s US Open due to a wrist injury.

“I don’t think that will happen to him, but if we want to use what has happened for others, then yes it is a point of attention. It’s too early to know. If that happens, we will look for solutions,” Medvedev’s mentor commented.

One of the most unique aspects of Medvedev’s game is how far he stands behind the baseline during points. In one research article conducted by UbiTennis on the 2020 ATP Finals, the average player stood 1.9 meters behind the baseline. However, Medvedev’s return position was between 4.51 and 5.51 meters. Interestingly the analysis found that the further he stood behind the more he won.

Cervara admits that initially he tried to stop Medvedev from standing so far behind the baseline but the Russian refused to do so. His initial fear was that the tennis player was opening himself up to too many angles which his opponent could use. However, he soon came to realise that this wouldn’t be the case.

“I tried to get him to return closer to the line, but he refused,” he said. “He felt that as he got closer to the line, things just stopped happening for him. I think I had the intelligence to listen to him and put myself in his shoes, not to deconstruct something that is advantageous for him thanks to his size, his eye and his playing intentions. And the stats tell us that it pays a lot.”

Medvedev is set to return to action in just over a week at the Laver Cup. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 44-9.

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Top Seed Tennys Sandgren Defaulted From Match Two Games In At Challenger Event

The tennis player was on court for less than 20 minutes before the incident happened.

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Tennys Sandgren’s appearance at the Atlantic Tire Championships Challenger event in Cary was a very brief one after he was disqualified from his first round match for hitting a lines official with a ball.

 

The world No.103 was taking on Christopher Eubanks in the first round on Tuesday and got off to a promising start by breaking in the first game before working his way to a 40-30 lead in the second. However, Sandgren then landed himself in hot water after hitting a tennis ball which struck one of the court officials. At the time the American was frustrated after hitting a forehand error.

The bizarre incident wasn’t caught on camera by the tournament livestream but Sandgren gave his version of events shortly after. He said a ball thrown to him by a ball kid hit him in the genitals and after that he slapped a wayward ball towards the fence. However, that wayward ball ended up hitting the ‘tushy’ of a court official.

https://twitter.com/TennysSandgren/status/1437933892456140809

Immediately after the incident, the tournament supervisor was called to the court by the umpire. Following a brief discussion on the court, Sandgren was then disqualified from the match for an action which he later took full responsibility for.

“Just to be clear, this was all totally my fault,” he wrote on Twitter.

It is not the first time a player has been disqualified for hitting a ball which then struck an official. The most famous incident took place at last year’s US Open when Novak Djokovic was disqualified from his fourth round match after hitting a ball which hit the lineswoman in the throat. In another incident, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified from one of his Davis Cup matches after unintentionally firing a ball into the umpire’s eye.

Sandgren, who is a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, has experienced a disappointing 2021 season so far. The American is yet to win back-to-back matches at a tournament and has only recorded a total of eight wins overall. Since January he has fallen more than 50 places in the ATP rankings.

Full video (go to the 19-minuite mark)

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Daniil Medvedev Marks US Open Milestone With FIFA-Inspired ‘Dead Fish’ Celebration

In his own words, the new champion produced an ‘L2 + Left’ celebration after defeating Novak Djokovic in New York on Sunday.

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Daniil Medvedev reacts to winning the Men's Singles championship match at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

Daniil Medvedev’s reaction to winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open wasn’t random. In fact, he has been thinking about his FIFA-inspired celebration since Wimbledon.

 

On Sunday the world No.2 defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become only the third Russian man in history to win a major title. The triumph caused heartbreak for his opponent who was on the verge of achieving the elusive Calendar Slam which last happened on the men’s Tour back in 1968. Leading 6-4, 6-4, 5-4, Medvedev sealed victory after a Djokovic return slammed into the net. Prompting him to literally drop to the ground in a somewhat unusual way.

“Only the legends will understand, what I did after the match was a L2 + Left,” he said during the trophy presentation.

The reference was to the game FIFA with L2 + Left being the code for what is called by some as the brick fall celebration or what Medvedev describes as ‘dead fish.’ When a player would just drop to the ground on his side after scoring a goal.

“When I was running through [the draw at] Wimbledon… I was really confident about my game. I think it was one night, you know, you cannot fall asleep. Five, 10 minutes you have crazy thoughts, like every other person,” he said.
“I was like, OK, if I’m going to win Wimbledon, imagine I win it against Novak or whatever. To not celebrate is going to be too boring, because I do it all the time. I need to do something, but I want to make it special.”

Medvedev’s planned celebration was no secret with him openly speaking with others in the locker room leading up to the US Open. No names of who he spoke to were mentioned by the Russian who says his peers described the idea as ‘legendary.’

“I like to play FIFA. I like to play PlayStation. It’s called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you’re going to do this. You’re going to score a goal, you’re up 5-0, you do this one,” he continued.
“Yeah, I talked to the guys in the locker [room], they’re young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, ‘That’s legendary’. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that’s legendary. That’s how I wanted to make it… It’s not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself.”

It certainly was legendary from Medvedev.

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