Feliciano Lopez produced the best result in his career at the US Open when he defeated Fabio Fognini in straight sets to reach his maiden quarter-final in the tournament at the age of 33.
The reward for the Spaniard will be a last eight meeting with world number one Novak Djokovic. Djokovic beat another Spanish player, Roberto Baustista Agut, in his fourth round match. Lopez will be familiar with the Serbians playing style after playing him on five separate encounters between 2007-2012. His head-to-head record against Djokovic is dire with a win-loss of 0-5. The 33-year-old has played 12 sets against the top seed in his career, but has only won one of them (Dubai 2011).
With the odds being stacked against him, the left-handed 33-year-old candidly admitted in his after match press conference that if Djokovic is playing at his best, he doesn’t know what to do. Nevertheless, Lopez still intends to enjoy meeting number 6 with the Serbian king of tennis.
“When Novak plays good, you don’t know what to do to be honest. He has no weaknesses in his game”. He said.
“I just have to try my best, take the chances, enjoy this match in the biggest court in the world against the best player in the world”.
The last time Lopez defeated a world number 1 player was in 2010 at the Aegon Championships, where he stunned Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals. Looking at possible ways that he could repeat another sensational upset five years on, the world number 19 said that he has to be ‘very aggressive‘ and ‘play even better‘.
“In order to win I think I just have to be very aggressive and I have to play even better”. The 33-year-old told the media.
“If I’m able to do it, I do not know because the level is going up and up every round. It’s a great opportunity and a great challenge”.
Prior to the US Open Lopez has reached the last eight of a Grand Slam on three previous occasions. His trio of quarter-final appearances happened at Wimbledon in 2005, 2008 and 2011. In 2005 he was the first Spanish man to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon since 1972.
The quarter-final match between Feliciano Lopez and Novak Djokovic will take place on Tuesday.
Return Of Roger Federer Shouldn’t Be Underestimated, Says Ivanisevic
The former Wimbledon champion believes Federer could still be a threat on the Tour following his injury-related absence.
The coach of Novak Djokovic says Roger Federer shouldn’t be written off by anybody as the Swiss Maestro nears his return to the Tour after almost a year away.
Goran Ivanisevic believes the world No.5 could still pose a danger to players on the Tour this season. Federer hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Djokovic at the Australian Open last year due to a right knee injury. He underwent two surgical procedures in 2020 with the second taking place after the first failed to produce the desired results.
Speaking about Federer during an extensive interview with Tennis Majors, former Wimbledon champion Ivanisevic believes that he is a threat to others on the Tour based on personal experience. As a player he played against him twice on the ATP Tour and lost both of those matches in straight sets. Although that was during the early stages of Federer’s career (2000 and 2001).
“I have played against Federer and I have coached against Federer. One thing I have learned is that you should never write him off, so I won’t do it now,” he said.
“He is always dangerous, particularly at Wimbledon and to a lesser extent at the US Open. If he is playing, that means that he is ready and when he is ready, he is an extremely difficult opponent to have.”
The 39-year-old will start his comeback next week at the Qatar Open in Doha where he will be the second seed behind Dominic Thiem. It had been originally hoped that Federer would be ready in time for the Australian Open last month but he didn’t have enough time to do so.
Shedding some light on Federer’s current form, fitness trainer Pierre Paganini recently told Tages-Anzeiger that he only decides to return to the Tour if he knows he can play well. Although Paganini admits that it could be a long road ahead.
“It’s a bit early to answer this question,” he replied when asked about Federer’s title chances.
“The opponents are strong, tennis is getting stronger. And he made one decisive contribution to it. So it is almost his fault that it is so.’
“But I would like to emphasize that he also knows that the road will be a little longer. I cannot imagine him not asking questions about the withdrawal (retirement).”
Although Federer has been reported as training as normal once again. It was recently confirmed that he will not be playing at the Miami Open after opting instead to conduct a training block heading into the clay-court season next month.
“He trains practically normally. If you could see him, you would say: he is not injured, everything is fine,” said Paganini.
“But we must not forget only when all the stages are finished does reactivity begin to work. This is very important in tennis. We’ve been working on that for a long time, and that’s where you can see if the puzzle works, in all its variants. That’s where we are now. This is good for him because it took an incredible amount of patience to get to this point. It’s crazy thinking about all this.“
The Qatar Open main draw will get underway next Monday.
Alexander Bublik pulls off the biggest win of his career as he upsets Alexander Zverev in Rotterdam
Alexander Bublik produced the biggest win of his career to reach the second round in Rotterdam.
The Kazak world number 43 stunned the tennis world beating the number three seed and world number seven.
Alexander Bublik is through to the second round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam at the Ahoy after beating the world number seven and number three seed Alexander (Sascha) Zverev in straight sets 7-5 6-3. Bublik hit 21 winners in the match while Zverev finished the match with 20 unforced errors.
A good start for the German
Zverev hadn’t played a match since losing in the Australian Open quarterfinal vs Novak Djokovic a couple of weeks back so we didn’t know if rust was going to be an issue.
The German actually got off to a great start earning two break points in the opening game of the match and managed to get the early break and we though this was going to be the in form Zverev we are used to seeing.
At 4-3 the Kazak had a chance to go back on serve setting up two break points with a brilliant passing shot and breaking the very next point as the number three seed missed a volley at the net to even the set at 4-4.
With the world number seven serving to stay in the set the world number 43 went on the attack and managed to earn a set point with a stunning forehand winner.
He would break and take the first set 7-5 winning the next point with a great finish at the net with a overhead.
The Kazak pulls it off
After both players held their opening service games in the second set the German had a chance to take another lead and broke to take an early 2-1 lead as Bublik hit an untimed unforced error.
The Kazak would once again bounce back and this time break to go back on serve at 3-3 as the German was struggling making lots of unforced errors. The very next game he had five breakpoints to take the lead and it took him until the fifth break chance to get it done as he would break with a superb passing shot to take a 5-3 lead.
Bublik would serve out the match to take it in straights and send another seed packing. After the match Bublik gave his thoughts about the big win in an on court interview.
“Well I mean ya beating Sascha is great I guess, the match was up and down for both of us, I don’t think he played well today , I didn’t play well either, had some problems with the serve, I was a bit more consistent today, I was a bit more lucky in a few shots here and there, I believe I had more luck than he did today but I’m happy to get through”.
Bublik will face Tommy Paul in the next round with a chance to make the quarterfinals after making the final last week in Singapore and falling just short.
ATP To Introduce ‘COVID-19 Protected Ranking,’ Updates Policy On Players Ranking Format
A redistribution of the ATP Bonus Pool and allocation of funding for tournaments to cover quarantine costs are among a series of measures which has been announced.
The governing body of men’s tennis has issued a series of guidelines which aims to support players during the COVID-19 pandemic with the creation of a new protected ranking.
Under new rules set out by the ATP, players who are absent from the Tour for four or more weeks will be eligible to protect their spot in the rankings. The idea being that it supports those who may incorporate difficulties travelling internationally due to the various restrictions which are currently in place. In a press release the ATP says it will allow ‘greater flexibility’ in the players scheduling without it having a negative impact on them.
However, the new rule cannot be applied to Grand Slam or Olympic tennis events which fall under the jurisdiction of the International Tennis Federation. Furthermore, players will only be allowed to use the protected ranking to enter the amount of Masters 1000 tournaments that they have missed.
The ‘best of’ logic approach to how a player’s ranking is calculated has been extended until at least August 9th this year. The somewhat complex calculation means that points won from events between March 4th – August 5th 2019, which were not played in 2020, will be extended a further 52 weeks and weighted at 50%. Usually a player’s ranking is based on their best performances at a series of events over a fixed period but due to the pandemic numerous changes have been made. So for example a player can count 50% of their result from the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters or 100% from this year’s Monte Carlo Masters depending on which one is better. They are not allowed to use the same event twice in the calculation.
The ATP Players Council has also given their backing to the redistribution of funds from ATP Bonus Pool which was normally issued to the top 12 players at the end of the season. Now it will be used to increase the minimum prize money levels at both ATP 250 and ATP 500 tournaments to 80% and 60%. It was previously set at 50%.
“Our tournaments’ revenues continue to be severely impacted by restrictions on ticket sales, and a substantial improvement on this front looks unlikely before mid-year. Our focus is to ensure the Tour continues supporting as many players as possible and I would like to thank the top-ranked players and the Player Council for supporting this measure, which will help improve conditions for the larger player group over the coming months.” Said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
Finally, every tournament on the ATP and Challenger Tour will be presented with up to $10,000 to fund hotel accommodation should any player be required to enter isolation or quarantine upon a positive COVID-19 test.
Return Of Roger Federer Shouldn’t Be Underestimated, Says Ivanisevic
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