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US Open Tournament in Review

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Benoit Paire, US Open 2014 (foto LUIGI SERRA)

Benoit Paire enjoyed a strong open

 

 

It goes without saying that the US Open marked a terrific run for both winner Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, but there were so many other narratives that ran throughout the tournament, featuring shock exits and surprising runs. We take a look at some of them here.

Positive Opens

Feliciano Lopez: Soon to join Roger Federer at thirty-four years of age on September 20th, Lopez matched his best-ever run at the US Open by reaching the quarter-finals for a third time. Impressive wins over Raonic and Fognini, and taking eventual champion Djokovic to four sets.

Marin Cilic: Despite not being able to repeat as champion, a little perspective would suggest that his semi-final run, for just the third time in his career in all Slams makes for a good Open. Playing with an injury, he made hard work of Mikhail Kukushkin and Jo Wilfried Tsonga, before falling to Djokovic.

Donald Young: Came into the Open with poor form, but competed much higher than his ranking. He lost in Round 4 to Stan Wawrinka, but twice coming back from two set deficits against seeds Gilles Simon and Viktor Troicki was massively impressive.

Benoit Paire: Another to shock two seeds in Tommy Robredo and Kei Nishikori. His win over Nishikori after going down two- sets-to-one will live long in the memory for fans of the Frenchman.

Kevin Anderson: An immensely popular player on tour, many will be relieved to see Big Kev finally break into the quarter-finals. He had fallen seven times at the fourth round hurdle before his victory over Andy Murray.

Disappointing Opens

Us Open 2014, Andy Murray

A disappointing Open for Andy Murray

Andy Murray: His defeat to Anderson marked his earliest exit at  any Slam since the US Open of 2010, excluding events he did not play. A final and two semis though still makes this a good year, and there is still a chance of Davis Cup glory.

Milos Raonic: The big-serving Canadian will have hoped for better than just a third round performance. He negotiated the tough Fernando Verdasco in the second round, but was upset by Feliciano Lopez in the third.

Grigor Dimitrov: The Bulgarian will be mightily disappointed to have bowed out in the second round to Mikhail Kukushkin. A disappointing year all around after a positive 2014.

Kei Nishikori: Last year’s finalist suffered a shock early exit to Benoit Paire. Has not seemed right since the French Open.

David Ferrer: Perhaps not at the same levels that saw him as a consistent quarter-finalist at the very least, he would still have expected to beat Jeremy Chardy of France in round 3.

Rafael Nadal: The first year since 2004 that Rafa has not won a Grand Slam. His worst performance at the US Open since 2007, excluding 2012 and 2014, when he did not play

 

Farewell to: Lleyton Hewitt, Mardy Fish and Jarkko Nieminen, who have all announced that the 2015 US Open was to be the last time they competed in Flushing Meadows. Tommy Haas has indicated that 2015 might have been his last Open.

Juniors: The Boys Singles Final will have made heartening viewing for home fans, as it was contested by two Americans. The victor was Taylor Harry Fritz 6-2,6-7, 6-2 over Tommy Paul. Both have already made strides on the pro circuit. Fritz has scored wins over Pablo Carreno Busta and Dudi Sela, whilst Paul qualified for the main draw of the Open with a highlight win over Blaz Rola, before falling to Andreas Seppi in the first round. Hope for the future of American tennis.

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‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances

John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.

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One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.

 

Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.

Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.

“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”

This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.

During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.

“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.

De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.

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Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome

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Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion. 

 

The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome. 

Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve. 

Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0. 

Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand.  Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman. 

Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4. 

Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner. 

Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes. 

Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide. 

Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.

Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final. 

“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic. 

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Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman

Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.

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It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.

 

The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.

“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.

44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.

“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”

The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.

It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.

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