Young and Murray last men through to the Round of 16 - UBITENNIS
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Young and Murray last men through to the Round of 16

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US OPEN – American Donald Young staged another 5-set comeback from 0-2 sets down this time against Serbian Viktor Troicki (22) to move through to only his 2nd appearance in the Round 16 at a major. He was the second to last man to make it through as Andy Murray (3) took out Thomaz Bellucci (30) in straight sets. Young and Murray were the last two men to enter into the last week of the major as the draw has been set and there are many interesting encounters slated in this pivotal round to decide who will make it through to the quarterfinals.

 

Having come back from a 0-2 sets in the opening round against Gilles Simon (11), Young again looked like he was on his last legs v Troicki after he lost the 2nd set 0-6. Young is only of the few players who is entered in all three main draws at these championships (singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles) thus he has been playing a lot of tennis. However, one would not be able to tell as the crowd lifted him up from the brink of defeat. After dropping the first two sets, Young started off the 3rd with a 3-0 lead but Troicki soon broke back to level it at 3-3. Neither player broke again in the set and so it was decided in a breaker. This was where Young began his ascendancy and Troicki appeared to have gone into decline. Young took the breaker 7-3 points and in the 4th set, just raced out to a 5-1 before closing it out 6-2 and leveling the match. In the decisive set, Young broke early for 3-1 and maintain this lead to close out the match 4-6 0-6 7-6(3) 6-2 6-4.

Young will face Stan Wawrinka (5) who seemed to be still struggling to find his game out on court. He appeared to be a bit unhappy thus far. However, he has yet to drop a set at these championships. He has been pushed to the limit in all of his matches. His win over Belgian Ruben Bemelmans was no different looking at the scoreline 7-5 6-47-6(6). This is Wawrinka 4th consecutive year into the 2nd week of the US Open. His encounter with Young would be their second at these championships as Young defeated Wawrinka back in 2011 in the 3rd round. It goes without saying that the crowd would be squarely behind the American and not the 2-time major champion.

Murray had a far easier time getting past Bellucci than he did in his previous round against France’s Adrian Mannarino who pushed the British player to 5 sets. Bellucci failed to win a set as Murray took it 6-3 6-2 7-5. Murray will next face Kevin Anderson (15) who is performing well within reason of his talent. He took on young Austrian sensation Dominic Thiem (20). Thiem who has been playing reasonably solid tennis since Wimbledon winning two titles in the summer, went out moderately easier against the South African. Anderson won it 6-3 7-6(3) 7-6(3).

Tomas Berdych (6) and Richard Gasquet (12) have been quietly going about their business at these championships and will face either other in the 4th round for a place in the quarterfinals. Both players have enjoyed success here at these championships having made the semifinals in the past. Berdych took out Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (31) in 4 sets having narrowly escaped going down 0-2 sets to the Spaniard, (3)6-7 7-6(7) 6-3 6-3. Gasquet took out another Australian Bernard Tomic (24) having earlier taken out Thanasi Kokkinakis in the opening round. Tomic perhaps ran out of steam having been pushed to 5 sets v fellow Aussie Lleyton Hewitt in the 2nd round. Gasquet won in straight sets 6-4 6-3 6-1.

Roger Federer (2) made it through to the 2nd week of the US Open for the umpteenth time in his career. In his entire career at the Open starting in 2000, Federer has only failed to make it to at least the 4th round once and that was in 2000 when he lost in the 3rd round. His opponent this time around was Philipp Kohlschreiber (29) who has yet to secure a win over 17-time major champion in their 9 previous meetings. Federer’s game level was not peak against the German but he was solid enough to get the job done in straight sets 6-3 6-4 6-4. Federer will face John Isner (13) who came through to the 4th round after his opponent Jiri Vesely  retried from the match down 0-2 sets. This match up of Federer v Isner is sure to be an intriguing one as the US Open crowd has a lot of love for Federer as a 5-time champion here. This will certainly be conflicting for them as he is facing an American.

The Round of 16 for the men’s side shape up like this:
TOP HALF
– Novak Djokovic (1) v Roberto Bautista-Agut (23)
– Feliciano Lopez (18) v Fabio Fognini (32)
– Benoit Paire v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (19)
– Marin Cilic (9) v Jeremy Chardy (27)

BOTTOM HALF
– Stan Wawrinka (5) v Donald Young
– Kevin Anderson (15) v Andy Murray (3)
– Tomas Berdych (6) v Richard Gasquet (12)
– John Isner (13) v Roger Federer (2) 

 

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.

 

He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.

Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.

Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.

“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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