Lopez recovers to win in five, Fish retires - UBITENNIS
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Lopez recovers to win in five, Fish retires




Feliciano Lopez

In the familiar surrounds of the Louis Armstrong court, Mardy Fish said farewell in a five set defeat to eighteenth seed Feliciano Lopez.

It had started so promisingly for the home man, as he took two of the first three sets, serving for the match in the fourth. Lopez recovered from the brink however, and won the final three games of the fifth set when Fish started to cramp.

Both men forced fifteen-thirty in the opening games, to no avail. An entertaining point played out in Fish’s game, as a decent rally ended when Fish read a Lopez overhead backhand volley to guide a forehand up the line.

Lopez raced through his second service game, before setting up to break Fish at thirty-forty after Fish made aggressive groundstroke errors. Fish dissuaded the threat with an ace, coaxing two errors in turn from Lopez to level up at two games all.

Fish knew his opponent was of far higher pedigree than his favourable opening fixture and continued to push hard, notably pushing Lopez off-balance with excellent depth off his returns. This brought him to deuce, and two unforced errors from Lopez handed the crowd favourite the early lead at four-two.

Fish then broke again for a commanding lead, as Lopez continued to look unsettled by the quality of return, stopping play unsuccessfully to challenge one that landed near his feet. Fish took the first set with a comfortable service hold.

The first set statistics were notable in that Fish came forward and won more points at the net than his Spanish counterpart, who normally relies on serve and volley for many points. Fish had the eye in returning from the ad court, as Lopez consistently tried to use the wide left-handed serve to force Fish off court. Fish, however seemed content to guide his reliable backhand down the line on most of these returns.

Lopez started the second set in more traditional fashion, coming forward to volley more. A highlight point saw Lopez come in off a short sliced approach. Fish chased it down and  produced a good lob but Lopez, with his back to his opponent, volleyed at full stretch to take the point.

Fish then faced pressure of his own, as Lopez forced another break point. Like the first set, Fish’s serve proved his escape, Lopez failing to return four successive ad court serves, and a sliced approach in the net saw Fish register in the second set.Both men held until the sixth game when Lopez broke to love. Fish committed three errors, and Lopez read a smash to brilliantly pass in securing the break. Both men held with ease the rest of the way through the second set.

The errors returned at the start of the third set for Lopez, missing two regulation forehands. A net court then fell kindly for Fish to earn the first break points of the third set. Another forehand sailed wide from Lopez and the American led again. Fish consolidated to love, as Lopez’s frustration grew. Fish broke again for five-one, and quickly re-acquired the set advantage.

Lopez immediately handed Fish the break in the fourth set, with an error-strewn game, though Fish quickly returned the favour. Lopez then threatened again in the sixth game, but Fish recovered from love-thirty to hold.

It was Lopez though, who finally wavered, with Fish rediscovering his tenacious returning of the first set. A vicious Fish backhand into the corner left Lopez unable to put the ball in play, and Fish seemed set to extend his farewell run.

He changed ends but failed to serve out, double faulting on break point for five-all. Lopez then broke again as Fish threw three errors and a poor drop shot Lopez’s way, the Spaniard taking a set that had seemed lost moments earlier.

Fish threw caution to the wind in the final set, putting his faith in his backhand, having multiple chances to break in the fifth and seventh games but failing to take any of four opportunities. He then perhaps unsurprisingly succumbed to cramp, and Lopez ran through the final few games to set up a clash with tenth seed Milos Raonic or compatriot Fernando Verdasco.


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



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



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.


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.


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.


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



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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