Federer is in his 7th US Open final after defeating Wawrinka - UBITENNIS
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Federer is in his 7th US Open final after defeating Wawrinka

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US OPEN – Perhaps after the dramatic upset of Serena Williams (1)by Roberta Vinci earlier in the day and the would be crowning glory of these championships, a calendar grand slam for an American at an American major tournament, went by the wayside, everything else just became mundane.The men’s semifinals just did not have any dramatic flair or panache to them at all as they were both straight sets affairs. It might also be the fact that the both Novak Djokovic (1) and Roger Federer (2) saw the top 2 seeds on the women’s side exited in the semifinals in spectacular style that they felt it necessary to get through their matches in quick time. After Djokovic routed Marin Cilic (9) 6-0 6-1 6-2 in just 1 hour and 25 minutes, Federer comfortably moved passed his countryman Stan Wawrinka (5) 6-4 6-3 6-1 in an hour and 32 minutes. A 6th Djokovic v Federer final is on tap for the year.  Djokovic is 3-2 for the year and 20-21 lifetime.

In the opening two games of the match, it looked like Wawrinka was going to pull off another upset win over Federer as he did last time they met at the French Open quarterfinals. Wawrinka held serve with ease for 1-0. On the other hand, Federer had all sorts of trouble getting on the scoreboard. Wawrinka was hitting hard and deep. Federer was constantly on the backfoot and soon had a breakpoint on his serve. In the end, he closed out the 13-point game to level it at 1-1. At this point in the match, there was a noticeable shift in momentum; Federer’s level began to rise whereas Wawrinka’s dipped. Wawrinka, up 30-0 on his serve, lost his way as he committed 4 straight errors to give Federer the break. Federer quickly got to 3-1. Wawrinka steadied his ship by holding serve for 2-3 and saw triple break points in the 6th game. However, all three quickly disappeared as Federer brought out his serving game online and closed out the game for 4-2. Federer maintained this lead to close out the set when Wawrinka’s forehand went long, 6-4 Federer in 36 minutes.

In the 2nd set, it became quite clear that Wawrinka’s serve was not helping him in the match. At the end of the day, Wawrinka only got 49% of his first serves in play and only won 58% of those points and just half of the points on his second serve. Federer on the other hand got 65% of the first serves in play, won 80% of those points and 63% of his second serves. Thus Wawrinka was having to constantly defend his serve whereas Federer coasted. Warwinka thrice went down 0-40 on his service game and whereas he was able to fend off those break points to hold serve for 3-2, he never recovered the other two times. Federer won the set 6-3 having won the last 16/17 points.

Facing a 0-2 sets deficit, Wawrinka soon became despondent on court. Federer was definitely playing on a much higher level than he was. Nothing he did made any impact of Federer’s game. His serve was unreliable and his groundstrokes were being returned with interested and often Wawrinka just simply looked lost on court. The reigning French Open champion was making far too many unforced errors. He would go on to make 30 for the match compared to 17 from Federer who simply seemed to have all the answers. “For sure it doesn’t help when you play Roger and he’s trying to play really aggressive, really fast. When he get the lead, when he get the break, then he’s relaxed. The way he’s playing he’s reading better, moving better, so everything going faster, that’s for sure,” Wawrinka said after the match. The 3rd set was routing, Federer took control of the match after 1-1 to take the last 5 games and get into this 7th US Open finals, first since 2009. Were Federer to win on Sunday, it would be his 6th US Open title and 18th overall major title.

 

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Daniil Medvedev Targets French Open Breakthrough After Rome Disappointment

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Daniil Medvedev believes there will be more title contenders at the French Open than previous editions with the Russian hoping to be one of them. 

The world No.4 heads into the Grand Slam after what has been a mixed clay swing. Medvedev suffered a third round defeat in Monte Carlo before bouncing back in Madrid where he reached the quarter-finals before retiring from his match with a minor injury. Meanwhile, at this week’s Italian Open, his title defence came to an end in the fourth round on Tuesday when he fell 6-1, 6-4, to Tommy Paul. 

“Mentally I had to be much better,” Medvedev said of his latest performance.
“I started to calm myself down and focus on the match only at the end of the match, and it was too late. I had to do better. I was expecting myself to play better.’
“It’s disappointing, but that’s how sport is. You lose and you go for the next tournament, which is a pretty important one.” He added. 

28-year-old Medvedev recently stated that he is seeing improvements in his game when it comes to playing on the clay. A surface which he has struggled on during stages of his career. Out of the 38 ATP Finals he has contested, only two of those were on the clay. Barcelona in 2019 when he finished runner-up and Rome last year which he won. 

As for the French Open, he has lost in the first round on five out of seven appearances. But did reach the quarter-finals in 2021 and the last 16 the following year. So could 2024 be his year?

“Now it’s maybe a little bit more open than it was ever before,” he said of this year’s event. 
“Good for me, too, because usually in Roland Garros I don’t play that well. The more open it is, the better it is for me.”

All of the top three players on the men’s tour are currently experiencing problems. Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open and recently underwent a medical assessment after getting hit in the head by a bottle in a freak accident. Jannik Sinner is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the French Open due to a hip issue and Carlos Alcaraz has been hindered by a forearm injury in recent weeks. 

“I’m feeling much better on clay,” Medvedev commented. “What is tough for me on clay sometimes is getting used to conditions. Every court – in every tournament in the world – is a bit different.
“On hard courts it’s the same: every court is different. On hard courts I have this ability to kind of quite fast get used to it. On clay, I need more time.”

Medvedev aims to become only the second Russian man in history to win the French Open after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996. The tournament will begin a week on Sunday. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Says Expanded Masters Events ‘Playing A Massive Role’ In Player Injuries

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas has slammed the decision to extend the length of Masters 1000 tournaments to two weeks by warning that more injuries could occur in the future as a result. 

This week’s Rome Masters is taking place without two out of the world’s top three players. Jannik Sinner pulled out of his home event due to a hip injury and Carlos Alcaraz has been troubled by a forearm issue in recent weeks. Other players missing from the draw include Tomas Machac (Illness), Ugo Humbert (Left Knee) and Stan Wawrinka (Right Wrist). 

The tournament is taking place immediately after the Madrid Open which is also a Masters event that has been expanded to a two-week format in recent years. Supporters of the move argue that a bigger draw provides lower-ranked players with more opportunities to play in these events whilst others will have a day off between matches. 

However, world No.8 Tsitsipas isn’t completely happy with the schedule which he openly criticised on Monday following his 6-2, 7-6(1), win over Cameron Norrie. The Greek has won 12 out of 14 matches played on clay so far this season. 

“It’s a type of thing that hurt the sport a little bit, to have these types of things happen to the highest of the players,” Tsitsipas commented on his rival’s injuries.
“Without them, the show is not kind of the same. You have obviously the guys behind them (in the rankings). These kinds of tournaments deserve names like this to be playing and have the opportunity to play in front of these big stadiums and crowds.
“I’ve spoken about the fact that the schedule has a big toll on our bodies. It starts from the mental side, and it follows to the physical side. The extension of the days in the Masters 1000s I think plays a massive role and contributes a lot to the fact that these players are getting injured.”

The ATP’s extended format is set to be applied to seven out of the nine Masters 1000 tournaments from 2025. The only two yet to make or plan for such changes are Monte Carlo and Paris. However, Tsitsipas has called for changes to be made to the schedule.

“It was perhaps already a lot the way it was before with the seven-day events. Adding more days to that, well, you got to be some type of superhero to be consistent back-to-back 10 days in each event getting to the very end of it.” He commented.
“It’s not a very easy thing to do. Some people need to try it first to get an understanding and how it is to pull that off. Then they should make decisions based on that.
“I think this is not going to be the first time we see these types of things (player injuries). If these types of things continue with the same schedule not being adjusted or customized to the needs of the players, we might see more of these things occur in the future.”

It is not the first time a player has raised concerns about the extended format. Alexander Zverev previously said that the schedule is a disadvantage for the top players. Meanwhile, on the women’s Tour Caroline Garcia has criticised the move to expand WTA 1000 tournaments whilst Maria Sakkari said achieving the Madrid-Rome double has become harder to do

On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev has spoken in favour of the new format and describes injuries on the Tour as ‘part of the sport.’ The former US Open believes the issue is related to the quick surface changes players face and not the duration of tournaments. 

Tsitsipas will play Alex de Minaur in the fourth round of the Italian Open on Tuesday. 

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Novak Djokovic To Undergo Medical Check After Rome Thrashing, Bottle Incident

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Novak Djokovic – ATP Roma 2024 (foto: Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis)

Novak Djokovic has indicated that he will speak to doctors following his lacklustre performance at the Italian Open where he crashed out in straight sets. 

The five-time champion was far from his best against Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo as he struggled to generate any rhythm in his tennis or a single break point opportunity. Djokovic’s below-par performance caught many off guard, including the tennis player himself who admitted afterwards that he was ‘completely off’ his game. 

Trying to find the reason behind his latest performance, the world No.1 isn’t ruling out the possibility that it might be linked to an incident that took place at the tournament two days ago. Following his win over France’s Corentin Moutet, Djokovic suffered a blow to his head after a fan accidentally dropped a metal bottle from the stands. Immediately afterwards, he experienced nausea, dizziness and bleeding for up to an hour but was checked by medical officials.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I have to check that.” Djokovic replied when asked if the incident affected his form on Sunday.
“Training was different. I was going for kind of easy training yesterday. I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.
“Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance. Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago.
“It could be. I don’t know. I have to do medical checkups and see what’s going on. “

The tennis star said he managed to sleep fine after his head blow but did experience headaches. He looked to be in good spirits the day after it happened and even turned up to practice in Rome wearing a safety helmet.

Djokovic’s concerns come two weeks before the start of the French Open where he is seeking a record 25th Major title. He will undoubtedly be one of the contenders for glory but admits there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the coming days. 

“Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it,” he said.
“The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, and no balance whatsoever on any shot.
“It’s a bit concerning.”

The French Open will begin on Sunday 26th May. 

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