Roger Federer (2) beat Marcel Granollers 6-2 7-6 6-3 to get through to the 3rd round. Federer broke twice to win the 1st set with 6-2 but he dropped his serve and had to recover from 2-4 down in the 2nd set before clinching the second set at tie-break with 7-1 points. Diego Sampaolo
Federer recovered from a 0-2 deficit to start the 3rd set by converting his third break point chance in the very long 7th game, which featured 12 points. Federer reeled off five consecutive games before closing out the match with 6-3 after one hour and 47 minutes. Federer hit 38 winners and three aces.
“I was actually playing very well. I wasn’t nervous really. Even though I was down a break in the second set, I still felt the match was in my raquet. When you feel that way, you are always going to feel more confident”, said Federer.
Federer will take on Damir Dzumhur who beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-2. Federer’s compatriot, Stan Wawrinka (8) did not have all it all his way against Serbian Dusan Lajovic as he dropped the 3rd set and had to close the match out in four sets with a 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-3 scoreline after 2 hours and 37 minutes.
Wawrinka (8) played a solid match until 6-3 5-1 when he dropped his serve for the first time but he wrapped up the second set with 6-4. Wawrinka played a solid match until 6-3 5-1 when he dropped his serve for the first time in the match. However he wrapped up the second set 6-4. In the 3rd set, both players traded breaks for four consecutive games but it was Lajovic who took advantage of the many errors being made by Wawrinka to win the set 7-5. Wawrinka recovered to clinch the match in the fourth set with 6-3.
Wawrinka will face American Steve Johnson who recovered from a set down to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky with 2-6 6-3 7-6(5) 7-6(6). This was a solid battle between the two unseeded players and though Stakhovsky had opportunities to take the 3rd and 4th sets, Johnson hung tough and battled through for the win.
Kei Nishikori (5) had to battle hard to get past Thomaz Bellucci 7-5 6-4 6-4. The World Number 5 saved a break point in the sixth game before wasting a chance to get the break at 4-4. Nishikori broke in the 11th game to clinch the first set with 7-5. Bellucci was not deterred as he fought admirably in the 2nd and 3rd set but unfortunately for him, Nishikori raised his level of play in the key moments to get the win. Nishikori will play Benjamin Becker who battled past Fernando Verdasco (32) with 6-4 0-6 1-6 7-5 10-8. Verdasco served for the match up 5-3 in the 4th set but his game collapsed as Becker started to reassert himself in the match.
Tomas Berdych (4) won the all-Czech match against Radek Stepanek with 6-3 6-7 6-3 6-3. Berdych went up a break en route to winning the first set with 6-3. Stepanek earned a set point at 5-4 in the 2nd set but he could not convert but he later seized another opportunity to take the set in the tiebreaker. Berdych sensing that his upset was possible raised his level of play to take the 3rd and 4th sets comfortably and hence the match.
Pablo Cuevas (21) battled past Dominic Thiem 7-6 7-5 6-7 7-5. Thiem fought hard but it appeared as though exhaustion set in and he was unable to give more. He recently won his first ATP title last Saturday. Meanwhile, Frenchmen have been having a great tournament thus far as a number of them made it through to the 3rd round. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (14) easily knocked out Dudi Sela in straight sets 6-4 6-1 6-1, Gilles Simon (12) got past Martin Klizan 7-5 6-2 6-3 and Gael Monfils (13) bad to battle it out in 5 sets to secure the win over Diego Schwartzman 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3. Both Nicholas Mahut and Benoit Paire secured upset wins over their opponents. Mahut edged out Ernests Gulbis (24) 6-3 3-6 7-5 6-3 and Paire upset Fabio Fognini (28) 6-1 6-3 7-5. As a result of this loss, Gulbis’ ranking will drop to the 80s. He has won roughly around 6 matches all year.
Lucic Baroni upsets Halep
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni upset Simona Halep (3) for the second time in a Grand Slam tournament having done so the first time at the US Open last year. Lucic-Baroni clinched a very tight first set in which Halep twice recovered from being a break down to get to 5-5. However, Lucic-Baroni found her A-game again was able to serve out the set 7-5. Her confidence increased as she raced out to a 5-0 lead. Halep struggled mightily in the set as nothing appeared to work in her favour. Halep won the sixth game but Lucic-Baroni closed out the match with an ace for 7-5 6-1.
“It’s incredible. Simona is such a great champion and I respect her so much and to play her on such a big stadium makes me so happy. I am so proud of myself. It’s such a huge win for me. It’s just amazing”, said Lucic Baroni.
French Open defending champion Maria Sharapova (2) cruised past Vitalia Diatchenko with 6-3 6-1 setting up a third round match against Samanta Stosur (26) who who cruised past French wild-card Amandine Hesse 6-0 6-1.
Sharapova leads 14-2 in the head-to-head against Stosur but last year the Russian star was just six points from losing against the Australian player when she went down a set and break before winning nine consecutive games to clinch a hard-fought victory.
Ana Ivanovic (7) fought back from losing the first set to edge past Misaki Doi with 3-6 6-3 6-4. Ivanovic will face Donna Vekic who followed up a first round win against Caroline Garcia with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Bojana Jovanovski
Angelique Kerber (11) winner in Charleston and Stuttgart, continued her good form on clay with an easy win over Alja Tomljanovic with 6-3 6-2. The German will take on Garbine Muguruza (21) who beat Camila Giorgi 6-1 6-4. Giorgi fought back from 1-5 in the second set by reeling off three consecutive games and saved a match point at 4-5 but Muguruza was able to fend off the Italian. Giorgi committed 35 unforced errors.
Flavia Pennetta (28) cruised past Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2 6-0 setting up a third round match against Carla Suarez Navarro (8). Pennetta leads 4-2 in their head-to head matches but lost her previous match at the French Open in 2008. Other winners on the day include Sabine Lisicki (20), Ekaterina Makarova (9), Lucie Safarova (13) Alize Cornet (29) and Elena Svitolina (19) who beat Yulia Putinseva 1-6 7-5 9-7.
ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more
After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10
By Roberto Ferri
“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”
Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.
Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.
A few comments:
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.
Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.
Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.
Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively at the 2022 US Open, drop 4 positions.
One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.
ATP NITTO FINALS
From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.
Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.
Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.
The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.
Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.
ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS
The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.
The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.
Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.
Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.
We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.
The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.
Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
Love him, or hate him. But respect him.
No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.
Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.
Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.
DJOKOVIC WENT ONE STEP FURTHER
Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.
It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.
Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.
A FOURTH AND 24TH TITLE, AND A 24 TRIBUTE
At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.
The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.
Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.
Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.
THREE POINTS MAY HAVE BEEN DECISIVE
Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.
Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.
The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.
James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.
Alcaraz Fell Victim To Unbeatable Medvedev
Carlos Alcaraz was no match for Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semi-finals.
A star had to fall. There was no other way.
This time, Carlos Alcaraz was the victim. Daniil Medvedev was unbeatable.
The 6-6 Russian was everywhere, playing almost perfect tennis in a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alcaraz.
So, one former champion went down while one advanced to Sunday’s final at the U.S. Open.
And then there was Novak Djokovic, another former champion headed for the title match.
U.S. OPEN WAS THE BIG WINNER FRIDAY
The U.S. Open couldn’t lose once Djokovic dominated young American Ben Shelton, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Djokovic appeared to be content with just winning while getting the preliminaries over with. He seemed to be a little miffed by Shelton’s cockiness. There were no hugs or embraces when the match ended. Just a handshake.
Shelton has huge potential, but it’s going to take some time before he’s ready to join the likes of Djokovic, Medvedev and Alcaraz. He’s a better athlete than he is tennis player.
Novak is ready to go for a record 24th Grand Slam title.
Believe it or not, Medvedev will be playing in his fifth Grand Slam final.
Sunday should be a great day in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with two former champs, Djokovic and Medvedev, going against each other.
CAN COCO HIT WITH SABALENKA
The women’s final will be interesting. Can Coco Gauff compete with Aryna Sabalenka?
Sabalenka looked helpless against Madison Keys’ big strokes and serves in the first set of their semifinal on Thursday.
Sabalenka couldn’t win even one game in that set. She looked helpless.
But she obviously felt all along that she could beat Keys anytime she wanted. Or why else would the powerful Sabalenka go for broke on almost every shot? And it almost cost her.
Amazingly, Sabalenka waited almost to the final moments to decide to play within her game and stop the wildness.
Once Sabalenka decided to settle down and play to win, Keys went just the opposite way, similarly to her one-sided loss to Sloane Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open final.
Keys appeared ready to win this time as she held a 6-0, 5-4 advantage over new world’s No. 1 Sabalenka, who seemed to be stumbling all over the court as she repeatedly hit wild shots in every direction.
Just like that, everything changed. Sabalenka started hitting winners everywhere as Keys reversed roles with Sabalenka. Not only did Sabalenka win the second set while dropping just one point in a tiebreaker, she stormed through a decisive 10-point third-set tiebreaker to win the match.
James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.
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