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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Novak Djokovic Confirmed For Olympics But Del Potro Pulls Out After Medical Advice

The Serbian will be bidding to win gold in Tokyo later this year for the first time in his career.

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This year’s Olympic tennis tournament has been given a boost after officials confirmed world No.1 Novak Djokovic will be playing at the Games.

 

The 19-time Grand Slam champion had been contemplating whether to play at the event or not amid ongoing COVID-19 conditions. Djokovic previously said he would reconsider travelling to Tokyo if fans weren’t allowed to attend. Since that comment, organisers have given the green light for up to 10,000 domestic fans to attend Olympic venues. Although foreign fans are banned from attending this year due to the pandemic.

Amid questions over Djokovic’s participation, the Serbian Tennis Federation has told Sportski Zurnal that he has pledged to play. It will be the fourth time the 34-year-old has represented his country in the Olympics. So far in his career, Djokovic has only won one medal which was bronze back in 2008. He also finished fourth in 2012.

“Novak has confirmed his desire to participate in the Olympic Games and we have already sent a list with his name on it to the Olympic Committee of Serbia. It will be forwarded from there,” the Tennis federation told Sportski Zurnal.

As it currently stands Djokovic is on course to achieve the calendar ‘golden slam.’ A rare achievement where a player wins all four Grand Slam titles, as well as the Olympics, within the same year. In singles competition the only person to have ever achieved this was Stefi Graf back in 1988.

“Everything is possible, and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam,” Djokovic said after winning the French Open
“But, you know, I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon. This year we have only two weeks between the first round of Wimbledon and the finals here, which is not ideal because you go from really two completely different surfaces, trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“So obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days’ time. I don’t have an issue to say that I’m going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course, I am.”

Del Potro’s comeback delayed again

There is less positive news for Juan Martin del Potro, who was the player who beat Djokovic to win a bronze medal back in 2012. The Argentine hasn’t played a competitive match on the Tour since June 2019 due to a troublesome knee injury. Back in March the former US Open champion said playing at the Olympics again was motivating him during his rehabilitation.

However, since then progress has been slower than what Del Potro would have liked. As a result, he has been advised not to play in the event and continue his recovery.

Delpo won’t be able to play the Olympics Games. The knee rehab is going well according to the doctor’s plan but he suggested Juan Martin to go on with his rehab process and training, and skip Tokyo 2020,” a statement from Del Potro’s communication team reads.

Since 2010, the former world No.3 and two-time Olympic medallist has undergone eight surgeries.One on his right wrist, three on his left wrist and four on his knee. He has won a total of 22 ATP titles so far in his career.

The Olympic Tennis event will start on July 24th at the Ariake Coliseum.

RELATED STORY: Why Are So Many Tennis Players Skipping The Olympics?

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Vasek Pospisil dispatches James Ward in Eastbourne

Vasek Pospisil is into the second round at Eastbourne.

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Vasek Pospisil (@TennisCanada - Twitter)

The Canadian won his first match on grass of the year beating the local favourite James Ward.

 

Vasek Pospisil is through to the second round of the Viking International ATP 250 in Eastbourne after beating the Brit James Ward in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 13 minutes on court number two.

“It was a good match, I played pretty well, I thought I served well and he is a tough opponent on grass because he has a tough first serve but I was pretty sharp and played well when I needed to and happy to get the win”.

It was the Canadian who had the first chance to break at 1-1 and he got the early break and that one break was good enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second set was much of the same and actually was identical to the first with the world number 66 getting the break to take a 2-1 lead but faced a breakpoint when consolidating the break.

Again that one break was enough for him to serve out the match and book his spot in the next round. This is Pospisil’s first win since the month and after the match, he spoke about how the last couple of months have been for him.

“It was good I just took a break from the tour just to refresh the mind and the body and I hadn’t seen my family in nine months so it was a good reset and I felt I needed a break to kinda be excited about touring and the covid conditions and now I’m back and I am happy to be back and I am playing well so it was a nice break.”

Pospisil will now face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the next round after the Spaniard beat the Swede Mikael Ymer in straight sets 7-5, 6-1.

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Daniil Medvedev Searching For Confidence Boost Ahead Of Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says he is not the same player as he was two years ago when he last played Wimbledon.

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When it comes to playing on the grass this year Daniil Medvedev admits that the biggest issue for him might concern the mental side of the sport as opposed to the physical side.

 

The world No.2 kicked-off his grass swing last week in Halle where he was stunned in the first round by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the Tour in 2020, that was the first time the Russian had played a match on the surface in almost two years. Short on matches, Medvedev is back in action this week in Mallorca after taking a wildcard into the tournament.

“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev told atptour.com. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”

Since he last played at Wimbledon, Medvedev surged on the ATP Tour by winning six titles with all of them being on a hardcourt. Furthermore, he also reached the final of the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. He is the first player outside of the Big Four to be ranked in the world’s top two since July 2005.

Despite his previous success on the grass, Medvedev admits he remains wary about playing on the surface and the conditions he may face.

“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” he said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”

In Mallorca Medvedev has a bye in the first round. His opening match will be against either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or France’s Corentin Moutet.

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