Ivo Karlovic rallies from a set down to edge Stan Wawrinka in Basel - UBITENNIS
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Ivo Karlovic rallies from a set down to edge Stan Wawrinka in Basel

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Ivo Karlovic fought back from a set down to edge past Stan Wawrinka with 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4. Wawrinka looked to be in control of the match until the second set when he was leading 6-3 3-1 but Karlovic turned around the match winning the second set with 7-2 at the tie-break. Karlovic got the break at the start of the third set. Wawrinka saved two match points at 3-5 but Karlovic served out for the match to take the third set with 6-4.

Swiss hero Stan Wawrinka, 2015 Roland Garros champion, faced a very tough debut against Ivo Karlovic, who hit 1340 aces this year and broke the record of aces held by his countryman Goran Ivanisevic during the China Open in Beijing. Wawrinka led 5-1 in his previous head-to-head matches against Karlovic, including a three-set win last August in Cincinnati.

The first three games went on serve. Wawrinka held his serve with a service winner in the third game before breaking serve in the the fourth game as Karlovic made two double faults.

Wawrinka consolidated the break by holding his serve in the fifth game for 4-1. Karlovic hit a service winner to win his service game for 4-2. Both players held their next service games en route to 5-3. Wawrinka served for the first set. He saved two break points in the ninth game before closing out the first set with a service winner.

In the second set Karlovic faced three break points. Wawrinka converted his third opportunity to go up 1-0 before winning his service game in the second game. Karlovic managed to hold his serve in the third game for 1-2. Wawrinka won his service game with a service winner to open up a 3-1 lead.

Karlovic won two consecutive games breaking back to draw level to 3-3 and consolidated the break to love to take the 4-3 lead. The break-back turned around the match in favour of Karlovic. Wawrinka won his next service game to love for 4-4. Both players held their next service games en route to the tie-break.

Karlovic got two mini-breaks on the second and the seventh points to take a 5-2 lead and served out for the set forcing the match to the third set.

Wawrinka faced two break points at the start of the third set. Karlovic converted the break point with a forehand error by Wawrinka and held his service game to open up a 2-0 lead. Both players went on serve in the next five games en route to 4-3 for Karlovic.

The Croatian ace record holder earned two match points on Wawrinka’s serve at 5-3. Wawrinka saved both match points with his serve and his backhand winner. Karlovic served out for the match with his third consecutive ace  after 1 hour and 48 minutes.

“I had a poor first set and missed a lot of my volleys but I began improving in the second set and got a bit lucky when I converted my break points in the sixth game at 3-3. After that things started going my way”, said Karlovic

Wawrinka hit 35 winners to 24 unforced errors and converted two of his five break points. He won 82 percent of his first serve points. Karlovic hit 29 winners to 27 unforced errors and converted two of his six break points. He fired 21 aces and made 3 double faults

Karlovic will face Dusan Lajovic in the next round.

Wawrinka has lost for the fourth consecutive year and in eight of his twelve appearances in the first round in Basel.

“It’s never easy to lose a match like that, especially since I felt I played well for two sets. He is playing his best year. so far, he has improved his game a lot. He serves amazing and you don’t get many chances. Today I got my chances and I didn’t take them”, said Wawrinka

Kevin Anderson beat Croatian 18-year-old rising star Borna Coric (last year semifinalist in Basel) 6-3 6-2 in one hour to reach the second round of the Swiss Indoor Open in Basel where he will take on  Donald Young. The South African player did not drop any of his service points and hit 29 winners, including 14 aces.

Marin Cilic, who won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last week, beat local favourite Marco Chiudinelli 6-3 7-6 (7-3). The Croatian player dropped just four of his service points.

Jack Sock defeated lucky-loser Denis Kudla 6-4 6-2 setting up a second round against his compatriot John Isner. David Goffin rallied from a break down in the first set to beat Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-3. Teymuraz Gabashvili overcame a second-set loss to edge Leonardo Mayer 7-5 4-6 6-4.

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Daniil Medvedev Targets French Open Breakthrough After Rome Disappointment

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Daniil Medvedev believes there will be more title contenders at the French Open than previous editions with the Russian hoping to be one of them. 

The world No.4 heads into the Grand Slam after what has been a mixed clay swing. Medvedev suffered a third round defeat in Monte Carlo before bouncing back in Madrid where he reached the quarter-finals before retiring from his match with a minor injury. Meanwhile, at this week’s Italian Open, his title defence came to an end in the fourth round on Tuesday when he fell 6-1, 6-4, to Tommy Paul. 

“Mentally I had to be much better,” Medvedev said of his latest performance.
“I started to calm myself down and focus on the match only at the end of the match, and it was too late. I had to do better. I was expecting myself to play better.’
“It’s disappointing, but that’s how sport is. You lose and you go for the next tournament, which is a pretty important one.” He added. 

28-year-old Medvedev recently stated that he is seeing improvements in his game when it comes to playing on the clay. A surface which he has struggled on during stages of his career. Out of the 38 ATP Finals he has contested, only two of those were on the clay. Barcelona in 2019 when he finished runner-up and Rome last year which he won. 

As for the French Open, he has lost in the first round on five out of seven appearances. But did reach the quarter-finals in 2021 and the last 16 the following year. So could 2024 be his year?

“Now it’s maybe a little bit more open than it was ever before,” he said of this year’s event. 
“Good for me, too, because usually in Roland Garros I don’t play that well. The more open it is, the better it is for me.”

All of the top three players on the men’s tour are currently experiencing problems. Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open and recently underwent a medical assessment after getting hit in the head by a bottle in a freak accident. Jannik Sinner is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the French Open due to a hip issue and Carlos Alcaraz has been hindered by a forearm injury in recent weeks. 

“I’m feeling much better on clay,” Medvedev commented. “What is tough for me on clay sometimes is getting used to conditions. Every court – in every tournament in the world – is a bit different.
“On hard courts it’s the same: every court is different. On hard courts I have this ability to kind of quite fast get used to it. On clay, I need more time.”

Medvedev aims to become only the second Russian man in history to win the French Open after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996. The tournament will begin a week on Sunday. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Says Expanded Masters Events ‘Playing A Massive Role’ In Player Injuries

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas has slammed the decision to extend the length of Masters 1000 tournaments to two weeks by warning that more injuries could occur in the future as a result. 

This week’s Rome Masters is taking place without two out of the world’s top three players. Jannik Sinner pulled out of his home event due to a hip injury and Carlos Alcaraz has been troubled by a forearm issue in recent weeks. Other players missing from the draw include Tomas Machac (Illness), Ugo Humbert (Left Knee) and Stan Wawrinka (Right Wrist). 

The tournament is taking place immediately after the Madrid Open which is also a Masters event that has been expanded to a two-week format in recent years. Supporters of the move argue that a bigger draw provides lower-ranked players with more opportunities to play in these events whilst others will have a day off between matches. 

However, world No.8 Tsitsipas isn’t completely happy with the schedule which he openly criticised on Monday following his 6-2, 7-6(1), win over Cameron Norrie. The Greek has won 12 out of 14 matches played on clay so far this season. 

“It’s a type of thing that hurt the sport a little bit, to have these types of things happen to the highest of the players,” Tsitsipas commented on his rival’s injuries.
“Without them, the show is not kind of the same. You have obviously the guys behind them (in the rankings). These kinds of tournaments deserve names like this to be playing and have the opportunity to play in front of these big stadiums and crowds.
“I’ve spoken about the fact that the schedule has a big toll on our bodies. It starts from the mental side, and it follows to the physical side. The extension of the days in the Masters 1000s I think plays a massive role and contributes a lot to the fact that these players are getting injured.”

The ATP’s extended format is set to be applied to seven out of the nine Masters 1000 tournaments from 2025. The only two yet to make or plan for such changes are Monte Carlo and Paris. However, Tsitsipas has called for changes to be made to the schedule.

“It was perhaps already a lot the way it was before with the seven-day events. Adding more days to that, well, you got to be some type of superhero to be consistent back-to-back 10 days in each event getting to the very end of it.” He commented.
“It’s not a very easy thing to do. Some people need to try it first to get an understanding and how it is to pull that off. Then they should make decisions based on that.
“I think this is not going to be the first time we see these types of things (player injuries). If these types of things continue with the same schedule not being adjusted or customized to the needs of the players, we might see more of these things occur in the future.”

It is not the first time a player has raised concerns about the extended format. Alexander Zverev previously said that the schedule is a disadvantage for the top players. Meanwhile, on the women’s Tour Caroline Garcia has criticised the move to expand WTA 1000 tournaments whilst Maria Sakkari said achieving the Madrid-Rome double has become harder to do

On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev has spoken in favour of the new format and describes injuries on the Tour as ‘part of the sport.’ The former US Open believes the issue is related to the quick surface changes players face and not the duration of tournaments. 

Tsitsipas will play Alex de Minaur in the fourth round of the Italian Open on Tuesday. 

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Novak Djokovic To Undergo Medical Check After Rome Thrashing, Bottle Incident

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Novak Djokovic – ATP Roma 2024 (foto: Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis)

Novak Djokovic has indicated that he will speak to doctors following his lacklustre performance at the Italian Open where he crashed out in straight sets. 

The five-time champion was far from his best against Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo as he struggled to generate any rhythm in his tennis or a single break point opportunity. Djokovic’s below-par performance caught many off guard, including the tennis player himself who admitted afterwards that he was ‘completely off’ his game. 

Trying to find the reason behind his latest performance, the world No.1 isn’t ruling out the possibility that it might be linked to an incident that took place at the tournament two days ago. Following his win over France’s Corentin Moutet, Djokovic suffered a blow to his head after a fan accidentally dropped a metal bottle from the stands. Immediately afterwards, he experienced nausea, dizziness and bleeding for up to an hour but was checked by medical officials.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I have to check that.” Djokovic replied when asked if the incident affected his form on Sunday.
“Training was different. I was going for kind of easy training yesterday. I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.
“Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance. Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago.
“It could be. I don’t know. I have to do medical checkups and see what’s going on. “

The tennis star said he managed to sleep fine after his head blow but did experience headaches. He looked to be in good spirits the day after it happened and even turned up to practice in Rome wearing a safety helmet.

Djokovic’s concerns come two weeks before the start of the French Open where he is seeking a record 25th Major title. He will undoubtedly be one of the contenders for glory but admits there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the coming days. 

“Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it,” he said.
“The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, and no balance whatsoever on any shot.
“It’s a bit concerning.”

The French Open will begin on Sunday 26th May. 

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