Wawrinka upsets Djokovic to claim the French title - UBITENNIS
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Wawrinka upsets Djokovic to claim the French title

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TENNIS Stan Wawrinka fought back from a set down to beat Novak Djokovic in four sets with 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 after 3 hours and 12 minutes clinching the second major title of his career in the Roland Garros final held on a sunny day in Paris. For Djokovic the French Open remains the only Grand Slam title missing from his trophy cabinet. Wawrinka was presented with the Coupe des Mousquetaires by three-time Roland Garros champion Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten who incidentally beat Wawrinka’s coach, Magnus Norman in 2000. Diego Sampaolo

 

Wawrinka had to save an early break point to hold serve after a 39-shot rally in the first game of the match. He had to save another in order to remain on serve. However, the pressure of holding serve got to him as he was broken at love in the 7th game after double faulting. Soon Djokovic was serving for the opening set up 5-4. Wawrinka saved two set points but Djokovic was able to close it out 6-4. The Serbian released a roar as he converted on set point. 

Djokovic looked to be about to run away with the match as he earned a break in the opening Wawrinka service game in the 2nd set. However, the Swiss No. 2 fended it off and later began routinely earning break points on the Djokovic serve. Djokovic found himself continually under pressure to hold serve but he accepted the challenge as he held time each time. Serving to stay in the set down 4-5, Djokovic again looked poised to hold serve as he was up 30-0. “Stan the Man” sensing that the crucial stage of this match, lifted his game to win four consecutive points and earned himself a 6th break point. A backhand error from Djokovic leveled the match as Wawrinka took the 2nd set 6-4. 

Wawrinka held his serve at the start of the third set but Djokovic again have to save break points in his service game. The pressure proved to be too much as Wawrinka broke serve to love in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead en route to clinching the third set with 6-3. Wawrinka hit 15 winners and won 19 of 21 first serve points in that set. Now it was the Swiss who seemed poised to take his 1st French title and not the overwhelming favourite, Djokovic. 

Djokovic sensing that another French Open final failure is near, quickly took control of the 3rd set when he raced out to a 3-0 lead. However, Wawrinka was not about to be denied this chance as he broke back winning 12 of his next 15 points to level the set at 3-3. Djokovic held serve for 4-3 and earned himself triple break points to go up 5-3 and serve for the 4th set. Wawrinka again raised his level and held serve for 4-4. He then broke Djokovic on his 15th break point of the match with another brilliant backhand winner. Serving for the match up 5-4, Wawrinka employed another brilliant backhand to take the match saving break point for his 1st French Open title 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4.  

Wawrinka hit 60 winners including nine aces and converted on four of his 15 break point chances. Thanks to his second Grand Slam title Wawrinka will return to World Number 4 in the ATP Ranking. Wawrinka has crowned a magical tournament in which he beat fellow countryman Roger Federer (2) in the quarterfinal and local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (14) in the semifinal. In collecting this title, the Swiss player also made a bit of history as he also won the junior title in Paris back in 2003. He has become the first past junior winner to win the men’s title since Mats Wilander in 1988 and the sixth player to win at both junior and senior level. He is the third oldest first time Roland Garros champion in the Open Era.

“I had a good talk with my coach Magnus Norman before the final. I was feeling realaxed until maybe 15 minutes before to go on the court. Then I started to be really nervous. I am still surprised with the way I played because I think I played amazing today. I was really nervous but I didn’t really choke. I was always going for my shots, always going for my shots. Pierre Paganini plays a key role in my career. He is instrumental in the good results all along my career. It’s always strange when I tell myself that I have a Olympic gold medal, the Davis Cup and two Grand Slams”, said Wawrinka

Djokovic said after his defeat that this defeat and the appreciation from the crowd will give him extra motivation to bounce back next year “You go through emotions I was more nervous than any other match. We both were aware of the importance of the matchand that’s why you tend to have these particular stuations. I am proud of the fight that I put into this match. I tried my best. It wasn’t to be. This is sport. That’s what happens on this level. You have to accept the loss. I respect the respect the crowd showed me. It was more or less the same situation like last year in the closing ceremony. This gies me more motivation to come back and keep on trying”, said Djokovic

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Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career

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Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.

 

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.

 

Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.

 

“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati

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David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.

 

Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”

 

 

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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