This Wimbledon Final One of Novak’s Most Impressive - UBITENNIS
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This Wimbledon Final One of Novak’s Most Impressive

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TENNIS – This Wimbledon championship was one of Novak Djokovic’s most impressive victories. Roger Federer played a terrific match, even though he’s less than a month away from celebrating his 34th birthday. Unlike Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka who appeared to play for games or tiebreakers they never reached as they fumbled along the way, Djokovic only flinched in a second set that went to a tiebreaker. James Beck

 

NOVAK LEAVES NO DOUBT ABOUT NO. 1
After splitting a pair of tiebreakers with Federer, Djokovic left no doubt in the third and four sets who was the best player at this year’s Wimbledon.

In the process, Djokovic is getting closer to making his own case for inclusion in the greatest players ever chatter. Three or four more Grand Slam titles added to his current total of nine would thrust Djokovic in the middle of the conversation, alongside the likes of Federer, Rod Laver, Rafa Nadal and Pete Sampras.

DJOKOVIC HAS TIME TO STAMP HIS OWN SEAL OF GREATNESS
Having just turned 28 years old less than two months ago, Djokovic has time to stamp his own name on the list, especially considering that only he and Nadal have won nine of the last 15 Grand Slam titles, and only Murray and Wawrinka with two each have won multiple major titles the last four years. Federer and Marin Cilic own the other two major titles since the start of 2012.

Federer never gave up on Sunday as he unleashed a barrage of brilliant shots at Djokovic, only to suffer a 7-6 (1), 6-7 (10), 6-4, 6-3 setback in the Wimbledon final. The Swiss great simply couldn’t match Djokovic off the ground. Too many unforced errors.

FEDERER’S SERVE INFLUENCED BY NOVAK
Of course, Federer’s serve wasn’t working the way it was in a straight-set win over Murray in the semifinals when his serve was virtually untouchable.

But then again, Murray isn’t in Djokovic’s league when it comes to quick starts and movement against an opponent’s serve. So, Djokovic obviously had something to do with Federer trying to put a little extra on his first serves.

THIS ONE COULD HAVE BEEN A THREE-SETTER
Djokovic actually should have won this one in straight sets as he carelessly hit a forehand long with a set point in the 10th game of the second set and then had six more set points, two on his serve, in the tiebreaker he lost, 12-10.

But you have to credit Federer for the way he staged an all-out assault on Djokovic after falling behind 6-3 in the second-set tiebreaker. He was the Federer of old, blending his marvelous quick-hitting talents with his seasoned experience to deal Djokovic what at the time looked like a serious blow to his chances of repeating as the Wimbledon champion.

In reality, Djokovic was still the same player who should have been up two sets to none at that point.  Djokovic wore out Federer in the last two sets with his awesome serving and even more awesome court coverage.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN NEW YORK
Where does all of this leave the men’s game heading to New York for the final Grand Slam event of the year? Novak has to be the favorite.

But in the summer heat of Arthur Ashe Stadium, anything can happen. Just look back to 2014 when the only fluke win in the last four years might have been Cilic’s title in the U.S. Open.

With that in mind, Wawrinka might be ready to step it up in another major after appearing to have dead feet on second-service returns against Richard Gasquet in the Wimbledon quarterfinals. The Swiss powerhouse will have to get his head back together and go for service returns rather than little chips that usually ended up in the net.

WAWRINKA EXPLOSIVENESS MIGHT RETURN
If Wawrinka brings the explosiveness in his game he demonstrated two years ago against Djokovic in the U.S. Open semifinals as well as in his two Grand Slam conquests, he certainly has to be among the top three or four contenders.

And even though it’s been a really off year for Nadal, surely the Spanish left-hander has been off somewhere practicing and searching for the secret that he possessed just a couple of years ago. If Nadal decides to play aggressively, rather than passively as he has most of the year, he has to be considered a threat in New York.

NADAL HAS NOTHING TO LOSE
It’s almost as if Nadal has nothing to lose these days. Some of the so-called experts are saying he is washed up.

But don’t count on it. He is still the same player, with the same capabilities he had when he won an Australian Open title and nearly won a couple more Down Under; won two U.S. Opens; and also captured an Olympic gold medal on hard courts in 2008.

Nadal is less than a year older than Djokovic.

Nadal just needs to step “inside” the lines and play aggressive tennis by going for his shots the way he did in his major conquests.


James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com

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Andy Murray Outlines ‘Big Concern’ About His Current Fitness Ahead Of US Open

The 35-year-old is looking to see if he can find a reason behind his latest problem on the Tour.

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Andy Murray (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Britain’s Andy Murray has admitted that he is alarmed about the frequency of cramping he is experiencing during matches played in North America this season.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion crashed out of the Western and Southern Open on Wednesday after losing in three sets to compatriot Cameron Norrie. During the closing stages of their encounter, it was visible that Murray was once again struggling with cramps. A condition that occurs when a muscle shortens and causes a sudden pain that can make it hard to move.

It is usual for athletes to experience cramps but for Murray the issue is a ‘big concern’ for him. Saying that this year is the first time in his career he has suffered from the issue on a regular basis.

“I think pretty much every tennis player in their career has cramped usually in these sorts of conditions,” Murray said during his press conference.
“But the consistency of it for me is a big concern. It’s not something that I have really experienced. I have experienced cramping but not consistently like over a number of tournaments.
“It’s a big concern for me because it’s not easy to play when it gets bad like it was at the end (of his match against Norrie). I feel like it had an impact on the end of the match.”

Murray says his cramping occurs ‘predominantly’ in his legs but different parts. The former world No.1 is now looking into seeing if he can find a possible explanation as to what might be triggering the cramps. The issue comes less than two weeks before the start of the US Open.

“It’s a big concern for me that and something that I need to address and find a solution for,” he said. “No one knows exactly why cramps happen. There are many reasons, whether its hydration, whether it’s the food that you have taken in, whether it’s fatigue and lack of conditioning, stress.’
“I need to try and understand what’s going on there.”

Since Wimbledon, Murray has achieved a win-loss record of 3-4 on the Tour with his best run being to the quarter-finals in Newport. He is currently ranked 47th in the world.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: A Loaded Schedule Features All Third Round Matches

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Emma Raducanu on Monday in Cincinnati (twitter.com/cincytennis)

Thursday’s schedule in Cincinnati is overflowing with appealing contests.  ATP third round singles action is especially stacked, featuring 11 of the world’s top 20, including world No.1 Daniil Medvedev and Carlos Alcaraz.  WTA action features top names such as world No.1 Iga Swiatek and reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

 

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Jessica Pegula (7) vs. Emma Raducanu (10) – Not Before 7:00pm on Center Court

It’s been a tough season for Raducanu, but she seems to be peaking just in time for her US Open title defense.  The 19-year-old followed up her comfortable victory over Serena Williams by dominating Victoria Azarenka 6-0, 6-2.  She is currently in a trial coaching relationship with Dmitry Tursunov, who in recent years guided the careers of two other WTA players to new heights (Sabalenka, Kontaveit).  That partnership appears to be paying immediate dividends for Emma, much like Tursunov’s coaching did for Aryna and Anett.  Pegula has become the American No.1, and since last August, has reached the semifinals at three WTA 1000 events in North America, including just last week in Toronto.  But in their first career meeting, Raducanu’s blistering form this week makes her the favorite.


Felix Auger-Aliassime (7) vs. Jannik Sinner (10) – Not Before 7:00pm on Grand Stand

This is a rematch from three months ago at the Madrid Masters 1000 event, where Auger-Aliassime crushed Sinner 6-1, 6-2.  That was an especially surprising result on clay, which is not Felix’s best surface.  The 22-year-old Canadian is now 35-19 on the year, and defeated Alex de Minaur in straight sets on Wednesday.  Sinner has a slightly better record of 38-10, and on Tuesday, outlasted Thanasi Kokkinakis in an over three-hour match decided by a third-set tiebreak.  Over the last few months, Sinner has been the more in-form player.  Jannik has won nine of his last 11 matches, while Felix has only managed five of his last 10.  With not much separating their abilities, confidence may be key, and that’s to Sinner’s advantage.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Taylor Fritz (11) vs. Andrey Rublev (6) – Fritz easily dismissed of an obviously-hampered Nick Kyrgios on Wednesday.  Rublev came back from a set down to take out Fabio Fognini.  Taylor is 3-2 against Andrey, which includes a straight set victory earlier this year at Indian Wells.

Petra Kvitova vs. Ons Jabeur (5) – Jabeur saved three match points on Wednesday against Ohio native Katy McNally.  A round earlier, Kvitova saved match point against last year’s runner-up, Jil Teichmann.  Petra leads their head-to-head 3-1, though Ons earned her first win in their friendly rivalry this season.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Madison Keys – On Wednesday, Swiatek outlasted the other finalist from the 2017 US Open, Sloane Stephens.  On the same day, Keys ousted another French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko. 

Daniil Medvedev (1) vs. Denis Shapovalov – This week, Shapovalov has earned his first back-to-back wins since May.  He has split four previous meetings with Medvedev, though Daniil has claimed their most recent two. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs. Diego Schwartzman (13) – Schwartzman already survived two three-setters this week.  He’s 2-2 overall against Tsitsipas, though Diego has taken both of their matches on hard courts. 

Marin Cilic (14) vs. Carlos Alcaraz (3) – Cilic won this event in 2016.  He’s 1-1 against Alcaraz, who is now 43-8 in 2022.


Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Cincinnati Daily Preview: Brits Andy Murray and Cam Norrie Meet in the Second Round

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A look at Center Court at the Lindner Family Tennis Center (twitter.com/cincytennis)

On Monday, Andy Murray overcame another three-time Major singles champion, Stan Wawrinka, in a three-hour thriller.  In the second round, he meets the new British No.1 Cam Norrie, who reached his first Slam semifinal last month at Wimbledon.

 

WTA action is headlined by three matches between Slam singles champs, which includes world No.1 Iga Swiatek.  Also on Wednesday, Rafael Nadal will play his first match since withdrawing from the Wimbledon semifinals.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Andy Murray vs. Cameron Norrie – 11:00am on Center Court

Murray will be happy he had a day of rest after his emotionally and physically taxing match against Wawrinka.  He has compiled a solid record of 23-14 this season, with 2022 being his most active year since 2017, when his hip issues began.  But Norrie has taken his place as the top British male, and has really come into his own over the past 18 months.  Cam is now 38-18 this season, and has reached 10 finals since the start of last year.  Their only prior meeting occurred three years ago in Beijing, with Murray prevailing in a long, tight three-setter that lasted nearly three hours.  But three years later, Norrie is a much-improved competitor.  While playing your fellow countryman is often tricky, especially when they’ve been knighted, Cam should be favored to even their head-to-head.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Sloane Stephens (WC) – Not Before 3:00pm on Grand Stand

Swiatek is vying for her 50th win of the season on Wednesday, with 37 of those victories coming consecutively between February and July.  But since those 37 wins in a row, Iga is only 3-3, and suffered a frustrating loss last week in Toronto to Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-5 in the third after three hours of play.  Stephens continues to be a streaky player, as the 2017 US Open champion has gone on multiple winning and losing streaks of four matches or more throughout the year.  On Monday night, she crushed Alize Cornet 6-1, 6-0.  Sloane often plays her best tennis in American hard courts, and advanced to the third round or better of this tournament in seven straight appearances between 2012 and 2019.  These two Major champs have never played before.  Stephens could be primed for another win streak, and it would be understandable if Swiatek experienced a dip in her level after all the tennis she’s played this year.  Yet after dominating the tour for most of the year, Iga should still be favored.


Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Victoria Azarenka vs. Emma Raducanu (10) – It’s a two-time Australian Open champ against the reigning US Open champ.  Azarenka defeated Kaia Kanepi in three sets on Tuesday, while Raducanu easily prevailed over Serena Williams 6-4, 6-0.

Elena Rybakina vs. Garbine Muguruza (8) – It’s another two-time Major champ against the reigning Wimbledon champ.  Rybakina is 2-2 since her surprising run at The All-England Club, while Muguruza is a subpar 9-13 on the year.  They split two meetings last year, with Elena victorious in the more notable encounter, in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics.

Taylor Fritz (11) vs. Nick Kyrgios – Fritz started the summer by winning the title in Eastbourne, while Kyrgios was the champion in Washington.  This will be their first career meeting.

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Borna Coric (PR) – Despite his injury issues, Nadal is a staggering 35-3 in 2022, and 20-1 on hard courts.  Coric missed a full year of action due to shoulder surgery, and is just 12-12 at all levels since returning.  Borna has won two of their four previous meetings, including six years ago at this event.


Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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