Can Borna Coric Repeat His Basel Heroics Against Rafael Nadal? - UBITENNIS
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Can Borna Coric Repeat His Basel Heroics Against Rafael Nadal?

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Borna Coric of Croatia hits a shot against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium. — Reuters pic

One of the most anticipated first round matches at the US Open will be the Monday showdown between 9-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal and teenage sensation Borna Coric.

The match will be the second encounter between the two players. Their first meeting was in the quarterfinals of the 2014 ATP Swiss Indoors, where Coric stunned Nadal to claim the first top ten scalp in his career at the age of 17. The Croat described the victory as ‘an unbelievable feeling’ as his winning streak at the Swiss tournament elevated him into the top 100 for the first time in his career. Coric was the youngest player in the top 100 in 2014 since Rafael Nadal.

Coric has the game to beat Nadal, however, their upcoming encounter in Flushing Meadows will be very different. The second part of the 2014 season was troublesome for Nadal, who suffered from appendicitis as well as a wrist injury in the build-up to Basel.  At the time Nadal openly admitted that he experienced a great amount of difficulty.

”Every day I felt more tired, I tried to practice, to get fit but it was not possible. The past four, five months have been very tough for me. It’s been difficult to play and compete.”. Nadal admitted.

Despite Nadal’s injury woes, Coric does possess the game to cause trouble for any player ranked inside the top ten. Nadal might of been in poor form last year, but it is questionable if he would of beaten him if he was on form. The 2013 US Open Boys’ champion has been described by many as one of the key players when the era of the ‘big 4’ finally ends. On the other hand Coric still has a couple more years to go before he reaches his full potential and he is yet to win an ATP title.

Looking ahead to his match against the two-time US Open champion, a reflective Coric told USA Today reporter Nick McCarvel that he has “nothing to lose” and said “Some people play 10 years for this one moment.”.

The 2015 season

Reflecting on both players’ current season, Coric will go into the match as the weaker of the two. Nadal has produced a win-loss of 41-14 this year, claiming three ATP titles. Meanwhile Coric is currently at 20-21 with no ATP titles. Despite this difference, in regards to wins over top 10 players Coric almost matches Nadal. Due to a roller-coaster season, with Nadal briefly dropping to his lowest ranking since 2005, he has only beaten two top 10 players in 2015 (David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych) compared to Coric’s one (Andy Murray).

The Croat will be aware that Nadal will be eager to redeem himself on the main stage of tennis following his second round exit at Wimbledon. If the 18-year-old is able to reach the top of his game and has the belief. There is a strong possibility that he could become the first man in history to knock Rafael Nadal out of the first round of the US Open.

The first round match between Borna Coric and Rafael Nadal will commence on Monday at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. They are the second match in the night session.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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