Feliciano Lopez: Picking his Moments - UBITENNIS
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Feliciano Lopez: Picking his Moments

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Feliciano Lopez

Lopez reached his career-high ranking of 12 earlier this year

 

Tennis is often a sport that rewards consistent players for hard work over the course of a season. Consistently going deep into tournaments is often what it is all about. But there will also be those that argue it is not about remaining consistent all the time, but more about hitting form at the right events. 

It is perhaps ironic then that veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, a consistent member of the top 100 for so many years, has maintained his best rankings in a period of stop-and-start displays.

Lopez has spent much of his career as an anomaly, one of the few Spaniards who openly embraces the old-school serve and volley displays at every opportunity. He has managed three quarter-finals at Wimbledon, runs that have seen him defeat Andy Roddick, and Mario Ancic in the past. Yet the wily old Spaniard has shown himself to be adept at all surfaces. His two finals this year have come on clay and hard, not his supposed favourite of grass.

Lopez this year has embodied a character that has turned up when it has proved most important (most of the time) to ensure that his run in the top 20 continues strongly at thirty-four years. He enjoyed an uncharacteristically strong start to the year with a Round of 16 showing at the Australian Open. A run that could have been abruptly ended when he faced match points in the first round against young American Denis Kudla. Yet Lopez emerged, and then severely tested eighth seed Milos Raonic in the Round of 16 losing in five. A runner-up showing in his next tournament in Ecuador had whispers of the top 10 being mentioned, and he reached his to date career high ranking of 12 after his quarter-final in Indian Wells, where he defeated Kei Nishikori in straight sets.

Lopez scarcely goes through a season without a blip and this has been no different, even if the environment from whence it came was surprising. It was his beloved grass, with Lopez suffering one of his worst seasons, failing to win consecutive matches on the surface even during its newly extended season. He lost to Sam Groth, John Isner, Yen-Hsun Lu, and most shockingly, Nikoloz Basilasvhili at Wimbledon. At fast as praise for a good season can come, criticism can also, and Lopez was playing well beneath his rank of 16 (at that point) and his hard-earned reputation on grass.

Gstaad represented brief relief from a poor spell, winning back-to-back matches for the first time in a stretch dating almost four months. Still he was now on few horizons with the author of this article expecting him to quickly follow Ernests Gulbis in collapsing down the rankings. Yet he picked up his season again in Cincinnati by shocking Raonic and Nadal before falling to Federer. Picking his time yet again, he took down Raonic for a second time this season at the US Open, before giving eventual champion Djokovic a battle, going down in a fourth set tie-break.

He has again risen to form, and his excellent runner-up showing in Kuala Lumpur shows he is not yet finished this year. It has been a odd year for Lopez, performing well in two Slams, poorly in the others, with similarly up-and-down results in the Masters. His ranking is though, testament to the rewards that going deep at the right tournaments can bring. They can provide your rock when you are down, and be the source of you confidence when things are going well. Things are most definitely now going well again for Lopez, and with his form a top 10 finish looks unlikely, but not entirely out of the question.

 

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Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau beat Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the doubles tournament in London

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Former ATP Finals champions Jean Julien Rojer from the Netherlands and Horia Tecau from Romania beat 2019 year-end number 1 team Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-2 5-7 10-8 after 90 minutes in Max Mirnyi Group of the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London.

 

Tecau broke serve with a backhand crosscourt winner to take a 3-1 lead in the opening set. The Romanian player went up a double break with a backhand crosscourt winner at 5-2 to seal the opening set after 28 minutes.

Cabal and Farah did not convert any of their break points in the ninth game of the second set before breaking serve for the first time in the match two games later to claim the second set 7-5 forcing the match to the decisive set.

Rojer and Tecau went up a 6-2 lead in the Match Tie-Break. Cabal and Farah won four consecutive points to draw level to 6-6. Rojer and Tecau rallied from 7-8 down by winning three consecutive points to claim the Match Tie-Break 10-8.

Rojer and Tecau have now a 1-1 record in Group Max Mirnyi. The Dutch and Romanian team took the re-match against Cabal and Farah, who won their previous head-to-head clash in five sets at Wimbledon en route to their maiden Grand Slam doubles title.

“I am happy with our form. We lost the first match and knew we would need to bounce back against a very good team. We played a very good first set, prior to them making adjustments in the second set. We played a really good Match tie-break”, said Rojer.

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Wimbledon Finalist Tomas Berdych To Retire

Details have been released about a ‘special announcement’ being made by the former world No.4 later this week.

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LONDON: It has been confirmed that Tomas Berdych will travel to London where he is expected to formally announce his retirement from tennis at the age of 34.

 

The former world No.4 will address his future in the sport during a media engagement at the ATP Finals on Saturday. An event he has played six times during his career with his last appearance being back in 2015. News of Berdych’s upcoming departure was first reported by the Czech newspaper Blesk, who contacted his father.

“I think it will be a great end on Saturday,” Blesk quoted Martin Berdych as saying.

In the aftermath of the media report, Berdych took to social media to confirm that he will be making an announcement. Although he did not specify as to what it will be. The Czech hasn’t played on the tour since his first-round loss at the US Open due to injury. Overall, he has only managed to play 22 matches this season. Winning 13 of them.

“Hey guys, if you want a surprise don’t watch any media or social networks, but I know it is impossible these days,” Berdych said in a video uploaded to his Twitter account. “I know, these little mistakes happen.”
“I had it planned as a little surprise on Saturday where I’m going to be in London. But now it’s not even possible because it is all over (the news). It’s fine, more information is going to come on Saturday.” He added.

Speculation about Berdych’s retirement from the sport began to gain momentum in September following an interview with idnes.cz. Where he opened up about his struggles with both back and hip injuries.

Playing during the same era as the prestigious big Three of the sport (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer), Berdych still managed to establish himself as one of the tour’s top players during his career. Winning 13 ATP titles in 32 finals he played in, including the 2005 Paris Masters. Berdych remains the youngest player in history to win a Masters 1000 title. He also finished seven consecutive seasons inside the world’s top 10 (2010-2016) and managed to remain inside the top 100 for an impressive 794 weeks (2004-2019).

Should Berdych retire on Saturday, he ends his career with 640 wins. Including 53 against top 10 opposition. He has featured in 61 grand slam main draws with his stand out performance being a run to the final of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships.

Berdych has earned $29,491,328 in prize money. The ninth highest amount in the history of men’s tennis (as of 11th November 2019).

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 4 Preview: Medvedev Seeks Revenge Against Nadal

After a day of upsets in the Andre Agassi Group on Monday, will the surprises continue today?

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sascha Zverev were both 0-5 respectively against Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal, yet both were victorious in the opening round.  Tsitsipas and Zverev will now compete to take the lead in the group, while Nadal and Medvedev compete the keep their advancement hopes alive. And for Rafa, the year-end No.1 ranking is also up for grabs between himself and Novak Djokovic.

 

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Daniil Medvedev (4)

This is a rematch from the epic US Open final two months ago.  On that day in New York, Nadal was up two sets and a break, seemingly cruising to his 19th Major singles title.  But Medvedev would fight his way back to even the match, eventually succumbing to Rafa in a five-set, five-hour thriller.  Since that final, Nadal has battled multiple injuries, and has not completed any event he’s entered. Meanwhile the US Open was one of six straight consecutive finals for Medvedev, yet he’s now 0-2 over the past month.  Both Nadal and Medvedev admitted they were not at their best on Monday. Rafa is obviously not back to 100% after the abdominal injury he suffered in Paris less than two weeks ago. Jim Courier on Tennis Channel in the US said he’s never seen Nadal hit his forehand worse than he did on Monday.  And after taking some time off after his six straight finals, Medvedev has been struggling to rediscover his form, and said he’s been playing poorly in practice. Their only other previous match was also this summer, when Rafa dominated Daniil in the Rogers Cup final, dropping only three games. But judging by Rafa’s level against Zverev on Monday, I like Medvedev’s chances on an indoor hard court to secure his first win over Nadal.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) vs. Sascha Zverev (7)

This will be their fifth career meeting, with all of them occurring within the past 18 months.  Zverev claimed their first matchup last summer in Washington, but Tsitsipas has taken the last three, including most recently just last month in Beijing.  Their rivalry turned in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup last August, when Stefanos saved two match points in the second set tiebreak to come back and upset Sascha in three.  Tsitsipas has now won six of their last seven sets contested. While Zverev has been a better player since the Laver Cup in September, and served very well against Nadal on Monday, Sascha is still not quite at the level he reached a year ago when he won this event.  And Tsitsipas has been the much more confident competitor of the two throughout this year. Based on their head-to-head history and recent form, Tsitsipas should be favored to remain undefeated in the Andre Agassi Group. 

 

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