RG15 Day 3: Djokovic, Nadal, Serena advance as Bouchard and Dimitrov exit - UBITENNIS
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RG15 Day 3: Djokovic, Nadal, Serena advance as Bouchard and Dimitrov exit

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Novak Djokovic (1) beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-2 7-5 6-2 to extend his winning streak to 23 consecutive matches this year. By Diego Sampaolo

 

After taking the 1st set with relative ease, Djokovic had to rally from 2-5 in the 2nd set by winning 20 of the last 25 points. The Finn came within two points of clinching the second set when he led 5-3 30-0. He even went up 40-0 as he served for 6-5 lead but Djokovic clawed his way back into the set with two consecutive breaks of serve and took the set 7-5. In the 3rd set, there was no stopping Djokovic as he opened up with a 4-0 lead as he eventually took the match 6-2 7-5 6-2.

Rafa Nadal (6), 9-time Roland Garros champion, beat last year’s US Open Junior finalist Quentin Halys 6-3 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes. Nadal got a double break in the opening set and though Halys was able to break Nadal the 7th game for 3-4, Nadal broke again in the 9th game to clinch the first set with 6-3.

Nadal broke Halys in the 6th game of the 2nd set to take a 4-2 lead and maintained this lead as he served out the set at love for a 6-3 6-3 lead. Nadal sealed the third set with a break of serve in the 5th game. In the second round he will face his compatriot Nicolas Almagro who edged past Aleksandr Dolgopolov 6-3 2-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6)

“I think he played aggressive. He played well. He played with some mistakes but when you want to risk on every single ball, the mistakes are there. The tennis is moving that way. It’s younger and aggressive. The tour is moving to hit the ball stronger and quicker going for the winners all the time”, said Nadal

22-year-old Jack Sock pulled off the biggest upset of the day when he defeated Grigor Dimitrov (10) with 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 6-3. Sock fended off 6 of the 10 break points he faced, hit 30 winners and made 18 unforced errors. Sock won the 2014 Wimbledon doubles title but underwent surgery last December to repair a torn hip muscle. Earlier this year he won his first title on clay in Houston.

The first set came down to the tie-break where Sock rallied from 3-5 to clinch the set with 9-7. In the 2nd set, Sock took control of the set after it was leveled at 2-2 to break Dimitrov twice and won the set 6-2. Dimitrov, who has never recovered from 0-2 set deficit in his career and in the 3rd set, he dropped his serve early to trail 1-4. Sock closed out the match 7-6(7) 6-2 6-3.

“Today was a great match for me. For the most part I took care of my serve fairly well and was able to get into a lot of his service games and make him play some balls … I am able to take my time on clay and kind of maneuver the ball around. Movement is another big part of my game. I feel like on clay. I get a lot of balls.”

 said Sock

Sock’s compatriot John Isner (16) beat Italian Andreas Seppi 7-5 6-3 6-2. Isner hit 21 winners and got six breaks of serve.

“A lot is said about clay and how it’s a defensive surface. I would say it’s a misconception. I think clay is a very good attacking surface. A guy like Nadal plays great defense but knocks the cover off the ball. He is the greatest player of all time. I am a completely animal than anyone. My serve is going to play no matter what the surface and going to keep me in the match” said Isner.

Leonardo Mayer from Argentina, finalist in Nice last week, recovered from a set down to battle past Jiri Vesely 3-6 7-6(6) 6-3 5-7 6-2. After losing the first set Mayer clinched the second set on his fourth set point. Vesely broke serve at 6-5 in the fourth set to force the match to the fifth set. Mayer won the decider with 6-2.

Serena Williams advances to the second round but Bouchard is knocked out

The biggest upset of the day was Eugenie Bouchard (6) who has continued to struggle this year losing her first round match against French Kristina Mladenovic with 6-4 6-4.

The young Canadian, who reached the semifinal last year at the Roland Garros and the final at Wimbledon, lost eight of her last nine matches and has not beaten a top-30 player yet in 2015.

Mladenovic broke serve in the seventh game for 4-3 in the first set en route to clinching the first set 6-4. Mladenovic cruised to 5-0 in the second set. Bouchard clawed her way back into the set by reeling off four games in a row winning 12 of 15 points played at one stretch in the set. However, Mladenovic held serve the 3rd time she serve for the match to take it 6-4 6-4.

Petra Kvitova (4), last year’s Wimbledon champion and Madrid winner earlier this month on clay, was on the verge of defeat at 4-4 in the third set against Marina Erakovic from New Zealand, who reached the third round in Paris in 2013 and was beaten by Kvitova in straight sets last year. Kvitova got the decisive break before serving out for the match to win 6-4 3-6 6-4. Kvitova will take on Silvia Soler Espinosa in the second round.

“I think it was quite cold and the balls are really heavy and they didn’t really fly. It was really difficult to go for the shots. It was really tough to make any winners or ace from the serve, said Kvitova after the match

Serena Williams (1) cruised past Andrea Hlavackova 6-2 6-3. Serena went up a break early in the first set to take a 3-0 lead. Hlavackova broke back in the fourth game but Williams broke again to take 6-2. The World Number 1 player got an early break in the second set and held her serve until the end of the second set to move through to the 2nd round.

This year’s Australian Open semifinalist Madison Keys won the all-US matchup against Varvara Lepchenko (who reached the fourth round in Paris in 2012) with a 7-6(3) 6-3 scoreline. Keys went up 3-1 but Lepchenko rallied to draw level at 3-3 before forcing the set to the tie-break. Keys won the breaker with 7-3 after 51 minutes. Lepchenko got an early break in the 2nd set for 2-1 but Keys recovered and won 5 of the next 6 games. The player from Illinois served out for the match at 5-3 before wrapping up the match with her 8th ace.

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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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