TENNIS – Stan Wawrinka (8) beat Roger Federer (2) 6-4 6-3 7-6(4) on the Suzanne Langlen Court on a sunny but windy afternoon in Paris to qualify for the semifinals of the Roland Garros. The Lausanne player has reached the semifinals of the French Open for the first time in his career and his second semifinal of the year after the Australian Open last January. Diego Sampaolo
“Stan the Man” as he is commonly known amongst his fans, had won just 2 of his previous 18 head-to-head matches with his countryman. Most recently, he lost their last match in the Rome semifinal in May and had never beaten his compatriot in their previous three Grand Slam matches including the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last year.
This time Wawrinka took control of the match from the start and never relinquished until the end. Wawrinka earned a break point in the opening game of the match but Federer managed to save it as it took him near 7 minutes to hold serve. Federer again had to face break points in the 3rd game. This time around Wawrinka broke serve to love in the third game and pulled away for a 4-2 lead. Federer never recovered from this early deficit. Federer saved the first set point with a serve-and volley but Wawrinka converted the second set point to take it 6-4.
Wawrinka won four consecutive games from 2-3 in the second set with a break at 3-3. The 2014 Australian Open champion got a double break to clinch the second set with 6-3. Through 2 sets, Federer had yet to break serve. The third set went on serve with Federer serving to stay in the match down 4-5 and 5-6. The decider came down to the tie-break where Federer took a 2-1 lead. This is about as much of a lead Federer would get as Wawrinka was on a roll and raced out to a 6-3 lead. The end was drawing near for Federer who only save one of the match points. Wawrinka converted on his second opportunity to score a rare straight sets victory over Federer at a major.
Federer, who fought back from two sets down nine times in his career, never broke Wawrinka for the entire match. He was 0/4 on break points whereas Wawrinka broke Federer 3 times for the match. This was the first time Federer has failed to break serve in a Grand Slam match since his defeat in the fourth round of the 2002 US Open; near 13 years ago. It was the first time that Wawrinka beat Federer in a Grand Slam tournament. Federer now leads 4-1 in their Grand Slam matches.
Stan made it tough. When you lose there is always a bunch of things, the opponent, the conditions, the court and it’s the same for both guys. I am looking forward to what’s coming ahead now.There is nothing positive about losing today because I don’t need the extra days but I will use them with my family and have a great time with them and recover my body. I am looking forward to Halle and Wimbledon. I want to win it and I feel like my game is good. It’s been solid. I have just got to keep it up now”, said Federer
In the semifinal Wawrinka will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who edged past Kei Nishikori in five sets with 6-1 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3. Nishikori fought back from two sets down to draw level and force the match to the fifth set. Wawrinka and Tsonga are tied 3-3 in their head-to-head matches. It will be the third time that Wawrinka and Tsonga played at the Roland Garros. In both matches they played the fifth set. Wawrinka won in 2011, while Tsonga prevailed one year later.
Tsonga held his serve to 15 on his opening service game before breaking serve in the next game. The Frenchman got his second break to open up a 4-0 lead. Nishikori won his first game but was broken again to lose the first set 6-1.
Tsonga broke again at the start of the second set. The Frenchman got the double break en route to winning three consecutive games to serve for the set at 5-2. However, the match was interrupted for near 30 minutes at this point when piece of metal sheeting from an advertisement board fell down into a section of the crowd. There were a few minor injuries. Upon resumption of the match, Nishikori recovered one of the breaks and held serve to be down 4-5. Tsonga had another chance to close out the set and he recovered from a 0-30 hole by winning 4 consecutive points and took the set 6-4.
The third set went on serve until the ninth game. After saving three break points Nishikori held his serve in a hard-fought ninth game which lasted 13 minutes and featured 18 points for 5-4. He then went on to break Tsonga in the 10th game as he served to stay in the set. The match was now 2-1 sets Tsonga. Finally it looked like Nishikori was ready to play a match as for most of it, he looked lethargic and uninterested as he committed error and error. In the 4th set, Nishikori continued building the momentum as he broke Tsonga early for 3-1. Tsonga earned a break point chance at 5-3 but Nishikori saved it. Nishikori hit an inside-in forehand to force the match to the fifth set. Tsonga recovered from 15-40 to get the break for 3-1 in the fifth set, At 5-3 Tsonga clinched the win with an inside-out forehand
Tsonga, who beat Tomas Berdych in four sets in the fourth round, beat two top-5 players in a Grand Slam for the first time in his career. Tsonga will play his second semifinal here two years after losing to David Ferrer in 2013.
Tomorrow Novak Djokovic will take on Rafa Nadal in a blockbuster quarter final. The other quarter final match will be played between David Ferrer and Andy Murray
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells
The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…
Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.
It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.
Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.
” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.
Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.
In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.
Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status
The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.
The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.
However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.
“I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.
Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.
Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.
“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.
The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.
“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”
Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.
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