ATP Tour: The 2015 Grass season in full swing at Halle and Queen’s - UBITENNIS
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ATP Tour: The 2015 Grass season in full swing at Halle and Queen’s

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TENNIS – The grass season is in full swing this week with two historic tournaments, the AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club in London and the Gerry Weber in Halle, Germany. Both tournaments have been upgraded this year to ATP 500 and have attracted 16 of the top 20 players in the ATP Ranking. Diego Sampaolo

 

Five of the top 10 players will be in action at the Queen’s Club: Top-seed Andy Murray, Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic, Rafa Nadal and defending champion Grigor Dimitrov.

Murray won the Queen’s Tournament three times in 2009, 2011 and 2013. He is making his 10th appearance at the Queen’s Club. In 2013, he scored the Queen’s/Wimbledon double as he won both titles. He is in good form as he won his first two clay tournaments in Munich and Madrid and reached the semifinals at Roland Garros. Murray will take on Yen Hsun Lu on Tuesday.

Nadal won the Queen’s in 2008 some weeks before winning the epic final against Roger Federer at Wimbledon for his first of two Wimbledon titles. He has won his first grass title since Wimbledon 2010 last weekend in Stuttgart. Nadal will open against Aleksandr Dolgopolov.

Wawrinka will make his return to the court after his triumph at the Roland Garros couple of weeks ago. Last year he lost against Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinal and lost the quarterfinal against Federer at Wimbledon.

Queen’s first round match round-up:

Grigor Dimitrov rallied from a break down against Sam Querrey to win the second set with 6-3 after losing the first set with 6-4. However, because of poor lighting, the match was suspended and will be on Tuesday. Dimitrov is the defending champion at these championships.

Milos Raonic, who is making his first appearance after undergoing foot surgery which forced him to miss the French Open. He had a tough test in his opening match as he had to fight back from a set down to edge past James Ward with 5-7 6-3 6-2.

Ward played a solid first set in which he won 81 percent of his first serve points and broke serve in the 11th game. The British player came close to breaking serve early in the second set. However, it was Raonic who converted on his break point opportunity to take the 2nd set 6-3 winning the decider with 6-2.

“It’s past me. I am just trying to make the most of being back on court”, said Raonic

Raonic will face Richard Gasquet who cruised past Italian Simone Bolelli 6-1 6-2 to clinch his 400th career win. The Frenchman has become the 13th player and the third player from his country after Yannick Noah and Fabrice Santoro to reach the milestone 400th win. Gasquet broke serve four times in the first set. The Frenchman won 73 percent of his service points

Also noteworthy at these championships is the fact that Australian Lleyton Hewitt lost his last match on his 16th and final appearance at the Queen’s Club against Kevin Anderson with 7-6 5-7 2-6.

The match was a hard fought contest as Anderson faced 5 break points in the opening set saving all of them to force the set to be decided in a tiebreaker. Hewitt got a mini-break at 2-0 en route to winning it with 7-5 points. The second set went on serve until the 7th game when Hewitt broke Anderson’s serve to love. The Aussie player had a match point at 5-4 in the second set but Anderson saved it and went on to win the set 7-5. In the third set Anderson stepped up his game to clinch the decider with 6-2.

“This has been one of my favourite tournaments. I am going to have so many memories in this tournament”, said Hewitt, who won the Queen’s four times in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2006. In 2002, Hewitt also won Wimbledon.

Fernando Verdasco fought back from a set down and saved three match points to win the all-Spanish first round match against Roberto Bautista Agut with 3-6 7-5 7-6(4). Bautista Agut broke serve for 3-1 and dropped just four points on his serve en route to winning the first set with 6-3.

Bautista saved the first break points of the second set in the seventh game but he dropped his serve in the 11th game with a double fault. Verdasco clinched the second set 7-5 forcing the match to the second set.

The third set remained on serve and thus the match had to be decided by the tie-break where Verdasco maintained his early lead to take it 7-4 points and thus the match.  Guillermo Garcia Lopez beat Pablo Andujar 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 in another all-Spanish match.

Halle Gerry Weber Open: Federer opens with a hard-fought win against Kohlschreiber

Roger Federer fought back from a second-set loss and a mini-break down to battle past another Gerry Weber former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6(8) 3-6 7-6(5). Federer, who is playing for the 13th time in Halle, went up a break for 4-2 but Kohlschreiber broke straight back to force the first set to the tie-break.

Federer had to fend off two set points in the tie-break of the first set before clinching a hard-fought set 10-8 points.

Kohlschreiber converted his second break point chance in the 8th game and held his serve to love in the next game to win the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the third set.

The German fought off two match points at 4-5 in the 9th game of the third set. As neither player broke in the decisive set, another tiebreaker was needed to decide the match. The German player got the early mini-break for 3-2. Federer rallied from 4-5 in the breaker by reeling off the final three points. He converted the match point to clinch the match after two hours and 11 minutes.

Federer will play either against Sergiy Stakovskiy (who beat the Swiss player and then defending champion in the 2nd round of Wimbledon in 2013) or Ernests Gulbis.

Roger Federer won the Gerry Weber Open a record seven times. He reached the final in Rome and the quarterfinal at the Roland Garros on his less favourite clay surface but he is determined to add more titles in Halle and Wimbledon. Federer is projected to play against Bernard Tomic in a possible quarter final.

The Halle line-up features Tomas Berdych who is making his return to the Gerry Weber Open for the first time since 2012. He has been drawn in the same quarter as rising stars Borna Coric won his first match on grass with his 6-4 3-6 6-3 over Donald Young and Alexander Zverev.

The second seed is Kei Nishikori who will face a tough first round match against Dominic Thiem before a possible quarterfinal against this year’s Istanbul finalist Pablo Cuevas.

Gael Monfils, who reached the semifinal in Stuttgart, could face a potential quarter final against Tommy Robredo.

“I am looking forward to Halle and Wimbledon. It’s a big goal. I want to win it and I feel like my game is good. It’s been solid. It’s been positive and I have just got to keep it up”, said Federer

Dustin Brown, a German player of Jamaican origin who plays very well on grass and beat Rafa Nadal last year in Halle, beat Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-5 6-2 after losing just six of his first service points. German rising star Aleksander Zverev beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-4 6-4. Florian Mayer edged Jan Lennart Struff 6-2 0-6 7-6 (7-4).

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Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.

 

He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.

Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.

Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.

“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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Stan Wawrinka edges Danil Medvedev in a five-set thriller to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka reached the quarter final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career with a 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over fourth seed and 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev after 3 hours and 25 minutes. Wawrinka qualified for the last eight for the first time since 2017.

 

Wawrinka earned his first break in the fourth game, when Medvedev sent his backhand long. Wawrinka did not convert two more break points in the sixth game before breaking for the second time at love to close out the opening set 6-2 after 32 minutes. Wawrinka won 85% of his first serve points and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors in the opening set.

Medvedev broke in the third game of the second set to open up a 3-1 lead, when Wawrinka netted his forehand. The Russian player clinched the second set with three service winners at 5-2 to level the score.

Medvedev broke serve in the seventh game of the third set after a backhand error from Wawrinka and closed out the set with a service winner in the 10th game.

Wawrinka wasted a break point in the fourth game of the fourth set. Both players traded service holds en route to the tie-break. Wawrinka earned an immediate mini-break to open up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. The former Australian Open champion hit a half-volley winner to cruise to a 5-2 lead and converted his first set point, when Medvedev netted a backhand in the ninth point.

Wawrinka broke Medvedev at 15 in the first game of the fifth set and saved three break points at 2-1. Wawrinka went up a double break in the seventh game and forced an error from Medvedev to wrap up the match, as he was serving for the win in the eighth game.

Wawrinka set up a quarter final against Alexander Zverev, who beat Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4. Zverev beat Wawrinka twice in their two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

“That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere. It was really tough to play against Danil. It was really tough to play against Danil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is something special here in Australia. I am finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I am happy with the result”,said Wawrinka.

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