TENNIS – Novak Djokovic (1) beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-4 6-2 6-3 in the 2nd round of Wimbledon on an unusual very hot day with temperatures rising to 34°C. The defending champion will take on Bernard Tomic (27) in the third round. Stan Wawrinka (4) beat Victor Estrella-Burgos in 2 sets with 6-3 6-4 7-5. Grigor Dimitrov (11) also won in three sets with 7-6(8) 6-2 7-6(2) against Steve Johnson Diego Sampaolo
Nieminen, who is playing his last Wimbledon, started the 1st set with a break thanks to 3 winners. Djokovic initially had trouble reading the Nieminen serve but finally managed to break serve in the 6th game. Djokovic closed out the set 6-4 when Nieminen made a couple of double faults. Djokovic broke twice the 2nd set for 6-2 before cruising to 6-3 in the 3rd set.
“I am glad with the way I am playing and I am getting into form. As the tournament progresses, hopefully I will be able to elevate the level of my performances,” said Djokovic
Wawrinka defeated Estrella-Burgos 6-3 6-4 7-5 in an hour and 31 minutes. Wawrinka broke serve at 4-3 in the first set, at 4-4 in the second set and at 5-5 in the third. Wawrinka faced two break point chances at 4-5 0-30 in the third set but Estrella Burgos did not convert them. Shortly afterwards Wawrinka converted his first match point. Wawrinka made 28 unforced errors of which 6 were double faults.
Stan the Man set up a 3rd round match against Fernando Verdasco who battled past Dominic Thiem (32) with 5-7 6-4 5-7 6-3 6-4, the second 5-setter of the tournament for the Spaniard. The 1st set went on serve until 5-5 when Verdasco committed 2 double faults and dropped his serve. Thiem closed out the set. The 2nd set was similar to the 1st as it went on serve until the 10th game when Verdasco broke serve to take the set. Verdasco made too many mistakes in the 3rd set to be broken in the 11th game. Thiem again served it out to take a 2-1 sets lead. Thiem did not convert a break point chance at the start of the 4th set and Verdasco broke in the 6th game to win the 4th set with 6-3. Thiem bounced back in the 5th set to take a 3-1 lead but was broken back in the next game. Verdasco clinched the decisive break in the eighth game before closing out on his next service game with a backhand passing shot.
Grigor Dimitrov (11) overcame Steve Johnson 7-6(8) 6-2 7-6(2). The tie-break of the opening set was a close fight. Both players held serve until Dimitrov got a mini-break as he was leading 9-8. The Bulgarian star broke serve twice to clinch the second set with 6-2. In the third set Johnson earned a set point on Dimitrov’s serve but the Bulgarian saved it with his first serve winner. Dimitrov dominated the tie-break 7-2 points.
“I loved out there. I enjoyed it. It was a great day to play tennis. I knew what to expect from Johnson. We have played each other a couple of times and also practised together,” said Dimitrov. Dimitrov will take on Richard Gasquet (21) who beat fellow Frenchman Kenny De Schepper 6-3 6-0 6-3.
Another semifinalist from last year Milos Raonic (7) battled past Tommy Haas 6-0 6-2 6-7(5) 7-6(4). The Canadian hit a 145 mph, the third fastest serve at Wimbledon, and fended off all three break points he faced. Raonic will face last year’s quarterfinalist Nick Kyrgios (26) who beat Juan Monaco 7-6(5) 6-3 6-4 on a match where he did not face any break point chances.
“Playing on Court 1 in Wimbledon at my age, my career was very special. I am not going to forget it, that’s for sure,” said Raonic
Marcos Baghdatis, Australian Open finalist in 2006, fought back from two sets down to battle past World Number 120 John Millman from Australia 6-7(5) 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4. Both players traded breaks five times between the 5th and the 10th games. The 1st set came down to the tie-break. Baghdatis got a mini-break at the start of the tie-break but Millman broke twice before closing out on the third set point. Millman broke serve twice in the fifth and the seventh games to take the second set with 6-2. Millman broke serve in the first game of the third set and opened up a 2-0 lead but Baghdatis broke serve twice in the fourth and in the eighth games to clinch the third set with 6-3.
Baghdatis broke at the start of the start of the fourth set and got a double break in the eighth game before closing out on the third set point. In the fifth-set battle Baghdatis broke serve in the third game. Millman failed to convert a break point in the sixth game. Baghdatis wasted two match points on Millman’s serve before closing out the match with 6-4
Marin Cilic (9), last year’s quarterfinalist, battled past Rikardas Berankis 6-3 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 7-5. Cilic started well winning the first set with 6-3 but Berankis broke serve in the 10th game to win the second set with 6-4. Cilic won the third set at the tie-break with 8-6 but committed too many mistakes allowing Berankis to win the fourth set and force the match to the fifth set. Berankis earned two break points at 5-5 but Cilic saved them. Cilic clinched a hard-fought fifth set with 7-5 setting up a third round match against John Isner.
Kei Nishikori (5) withdrew from the tournament before his match against Santiago Giraldo due to a left calf injury which forced him to retire from the semifinal against Andreas Seppi in Halle.
“It got better last week before the first match. I thought it was going to be okay but in the last match against Simone Bolelli in the fifth set I was hurting too much. I tried to warm up today when I was running and walking. I decided not to play today”, said Nishikori
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.
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.
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Vasek Pospisil dispatches James Ward in Eastbourne
Vasek Pospisil is into the second round at Eastbourne.
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.
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.
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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