Roger Federer (2) withstood the heavy bombardment that was Sam Groth’s service action to come through somewhat unscathed in 4 sets, 6-4 6-4 6-7(5) 6-2 in 2 hours and 16 minutes. Federer took his chances and broke Groth once in the first two sets. Groth was fighting hard but his game is not one of variety and playing against Federer, one needs a full repertoire. Federer was in full command up 2-0 sets. Cordell Hackshaw
In the 3rd set, he was unable to get a break and so the set was forced to a tiebreaker. Federer double faulted for first time and gave Groth the mini break. He committed a few more errors, missing the openings for passing shots. Groth was now back in the match taking the 3rd set 7-6(5). In the 4th set, Federer quickly shifted the momentum back in his favour breaking Groth in the 2nd game and held for 3-0. Groth now had his back against the wall and was unable to push off. Federer broke again to close out the match 6-2 in the 4th set. Federer will take on Spain’s Roberto Bautista-Agut (20) who easily dismissed Nikoloz Basilashvili in straight sets 7-6 6-0 6-1.
Bautista-Agut’s countryman Pablo Andujar did not have such an easy time against his 3rd round opponent Tomas Berdych (6). Andujar took the opening set 6-4 but did not win a game in the 2nd dropping it at love. Berdych continued to apply the pressure to the Spaniard in the 3rd set denying him any break point opportunities and was soon up 2-1 sets. In the 4th set, Andujar battled hard as he broke to level things at 2-2 after Berdych broke to take the early lead. Andujar would break again in the 9th game to serve for the set at 5-4. However, Berdych did not want to see a 5th set and so he too broke to level the matter at 5-5. This forced the set to a breaker as neither player would break. Berdych lifted his game and took the breaker 7-3 point and thus the match 4-6 6-0 6-3 7-6(3).
Berdych will play Gilles Simon (12) who had to get by his countryman Gael Monfils (18) on two different courts. Theirs was the last singles match of the day, scheduled originally on Court 1. However, in the middle of the 4th set, Simon up 2-1 sets, 3-6 6-3 7-6(6), the match was suspended because of fading light and moved to Centre Court. Monfils found his range again and took the 4th set 6-2. In the decisive set, Monfils’ showboating got the better of him as he continued to make too many unforced errors. Simon, not surprisingly, proved to be the steadier of the two and so took the set and the match 3-6 6-3 7-6(6) 2-6 6-2. Monfils had an impressive 60 winners in the match 20 of which were aces compared to the 27 winners and 2 aces of Simon. On the other hand, Monfils had 67 errors which became his undoing as Simon only had 30.
Two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13) saw all hopes of him going further this year dashed when he was upset by Ivo Karlovic (23) in 4 sets, 7-6(3) 4-6 7-6(2) 7-6(9). Even more noteworthy about this match is the fact that in the 4th set tiebreaker, Tsonga had set point 7-6 to force a 5th set. However, Karlovic took two swings on the forehand volley which went unnoticed by the chair umpire. Thus Karlovic won the point for 7-7, extending his life in the set. He eventually took it 11-9 points. After the match Tsonga felt that it was something that the chair umpire should have caught. However, Karlovic felt what he did was within the rule as his stroke which made contact with the ball twice was in a single motion.
Karlovic’s opponent in the 4th round would be the home favourite Andy Murray (3) who took out Andreas Seppi (25) 6-2 6-2 1-6 6-1. This match was marked by the very “opportuned” medical time outs. Seppi took one in the early part of the 3rd set and then went on to win 6 straight games. This winning streak earned Seppi the 3rd set 6-1 and a break in the 4th set 1-0. Then it was Murray’s turn to get some “medical treatment” for his shoulder and/or back. Murray too went on a 6-game winning streak to win the match. Both players apparently shared a laugh at net regarding the peculiar circumstances of the match.
In the other two matches, Viktor Troicki (22) took out Dustin Brown, the qualifier to knocked out Rafael Nadal (10) in the 2nd round. Troicki won 6-4 7-6 4-6 6-3. His opponent in the Round of 16 would be Canadian Vasek Pospisil who dashed local British hopes when he defeated wild card entrant James Ward 6-4 3-6 2-6 6-3 8-6. Marin Cilic (9) made quick work of John Isner (17) upon resumption of their match suspended on Day 5 due to darkness. Tied at 10-10 in the 5th set when play finished the day before, Cilic broke Isner in the 22nd game to take it 7-6 6-7 6-4 6-7 12-10.
So the Round of 16s for the men’s draw are set and all eight matches would be played on Monday. They are as followed:
Novak Djokovic (1) v Kevin Anderson (14)
Marin Cilic (9) v Denis Kudla (w)
Stan Wawrinka (4) v David Goffin (16)
Richard Gasquet (21) v Nick Kyrgios (26)
Vasek Pospisil v Viktor Troicki (22)
Ivo Karlovic (23) v Andy Murray (3)
Tomas Berdych (6) v Gilles Simon (12)
Roberto Bautista-Agut (20) v Roger Federer (2)
Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker
According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.
Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.
Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.
This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.
The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.
Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.
“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.
“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”
Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.
Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.
Juan Carlos Ferrero Analyses Key Areas For Carlos Alcaraz’s Development
Juan Carlos Ferrero has outlined the next steps in Carlos Alcaraz’s development.
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero has analysed the key areas for the Spaniard’s development heading into the 2024 season.
The former world number one’s season has come to an end after a successful year which saw him win the Wimbledon title as well as winning two Masters 1000 titles.
Alcaraz capped off an incredible season by reaching the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
However there is a long way for the Spaniard to go if he wants to consistently go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic.
Speaking to Marca Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero spoke about the Spaniard’s development and said that Alcaraz is too emotional, “Be more regular in games, not open doors. Sometimes there are mistakes and it is something that we have to improve a lot,” Ferrero commented.
“Although it is true that he opens doors, he always competes well and at the highest level. He knows it, the other day he already said that Novak doesn’t give you one. He has to improve his decision making and he will achieve that with experience. Carlos is very emotional and that sometimes helps him and other times not so much.”
It’s clear Alcaraz’s high-quality is there but to consistently do it against Djokovic is another task altogether as the Spaniard looks to go from strength-to strength next season.
One area that is clearly a priority for Alcaraz is physical conditioning especially considering what happened against Djokovic at Roland Garros earlier in the season.
Ferrero said that will be a clear focus heading into 2024 but couldn’t guarantee that Alcaraz will play a tournament before the Australian Open, “Because of the year and the fatigue he has been in, what he needs is rest and disconnecting for 8-10 days with his friends,” Ferrero stated.
“From there, the thinking must go back to working really hard, strong and well to start very strongly in Australia. One can never be sure of that. Sometimes you play a tournament and it doesn’t go well, you left home too early. There are many ways of thinking.
“This year we haven’t played Australia and he finishes number two. That means there is no urgency to play a tournament early. Carlos is a player who enters competition quickly, you don’t usually see him without rhythm.
“Although it is true that he becomes more dangerous from the round of 16, from the quarter-finals. I am confident that the two exhibition matches and the training sessions will help us play a good tournament.”
Alcaraz will be looking to play the Australian Open which starts on the 15th of January after the Spaniard missed last year’s tournament due to a leg injury.
Australian Open Chief Confident Nadal Will Play But Kyrgios’ Participation Uncertain
The tournament director of the Australian Open says he is ‘certain’ that Rafael Nadal will play at the Grand Slam even though the Spaniard has yet to outline his comeback plans.
Craig Tiley told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday he hopes to receive some clarity over Nadal’s intentions in the next couple of weeks but is confident he will play. However, the tennis official had previously claimed in October that the former world No.1 had already committed to play in the event before his team denied that statement.
Nadal, who has won 22 Grand Slam titles, hasn’t played a Tour match since his second round defeat at the Australian Open in January due to a hip injury. He was originally expecting to take an eight-week break but the recovery didn’t go to plan and he ended up having surgery. In May he confirmed that he will take an extended break from the sport to heal his body and admitted that retirement next year is a possibility.
“Rafa has been training, I follow him closely, probably every day because he’s a massive drawcard for us,” the Reuters News Agency quoted Tiley as saying.
“He wants to play, he’s obviously planning on playing. It all depends on how he pulls up.
“Hopefully in the next week or the next two weeks, we get some specific confirmation of that. I’m certain Rafa will be here because he’s not going to want to miss the opportunity to repeat what he did a couple of years ago.”
Earlier this month Nadal confirmed that he intends to return to the Tour but admits that he will continue to experience a degree of pain. Although he has yet to give any information about which tournament he will begin his comeback at. The 2024 season begins during the first week of January.
“I’m well, training, and happy. I’m at a good stage of my life,” atptour.com quoted Nadal as telling reporters in Barcelona.
“Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again someday, and now I genuinely believe I will. I’m still not ready to say when, but I’m able to train increasingly longer, and the progress is good.’
Will Kyrgios play?
Another player Tiley is eager to welcome back is home player and former Wimbledon Finalist Nick Kyrgios who has only played one Tour-level match this season due to injury. He underwent knee surgery in January and then tore a ligament in his wrist during the summer. As a result, the Australian currently doesn’t have an ATP ranking due to his inactivity.
“We have spoken to Nick, and he obviously wants to do the best he possibly can to give him the best chance to play in January,” Tiley said of Kyrgios.
“Whether he’s playing, whether he’s doing something else, Nick will be here in January and to get him to play will be great. But we’ve got to take it as it comes and he’s got to make sure he takes care of his health …”
Kyrgios recently worked as an analyst for the Tennis Channel during this year’s ATP Finals in Turin and gave a brief update on his ongoing recovery during a segment.
“After last year, I had such a great year, and I’m so hungry to get back out there,” the 2022 Wimbledon finalist commented.
“So I’m doing everything I can to get back out there. Obviously, you know how injuries are every day, just doing the rehab, doing the gym work.”
The Australian Open will begin on Sunday 14th January. Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka are the defending champions.
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