Lukas Rosol knocks out Jo Wilfried Tsonga to reach the quarter finals in Vienna - UBITENNIS
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Lukas Rosol knocks out Jo Wilfried Tsonga to reach the quarter finals in Vienna

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Lukas Rosol knocked out last week’s Shanghai Masters 1000 finalist Jo Wilfried Tsonga by 6-4 3-6 6-1 to reach the quarter finals at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Rosol won for the first time after three defeats against Tsonga, who won the Austrian tournament in 2011. After this defeat Tsonga lost ground in the battle for one of the remaining two spots for the ATP Finals.

Tsonga dropped his serve to go down 4-5 in the first set. Rosol held his serve to win the first set on the next game. Tsonga won the second set by 6-3 to force the match to the third set. Rosol cruised to 6-1 with a series of winners.

“The surface was slow, but it’s not an excuse because you have to adapt to different conditions and to different surfaces. I won’t be playing until Paris Bercy. I now have time to rest. I will return home to prepare well for Paris Bercy. I hope to be more consistent in 2016. I didn’t play enough to win. I tried but things did not work for me. I am not sad for not qualifying for London. ”, said Tsonga

It was a day of mixed fortunes for French tennis as Gael Monfils beat Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-4 6-4 to set up a quarter final against Rosol.

The match started with three consecutive breaks in the first three games. Monfils broke serve in the first game to 15 but Lorenzi broke back in the next game to 30. Lorenzi made a double fault on the break point to drop serve again to 15. Lorenzi missed two break points for 3-3. Monfils held his serve on the third chance and pulled away to 4-2 with an ace. Lorenzi won his service game with a winner and an ace for 4-5. Monfils served out for the set to love for 6-4.

Lorenzi made three double faults to drop his serve in the third game to trail 1-2. In the next game the Italian player broke back to draw level to 2-2 with a down the line backhand.

In the seventh game Monfils broke serve to 30 with a backhand passing shot to take the lead with 4-3. Monfils served out for the match at 5-4 and held his serve to love to clinch the win.

Spanish star David Ferrer, who is currently ranked eighth in the ATP Ranking and is top seed in Vienna, brushed aside his compatriot Guillermo Garcia Lopez with 6-1 6-1 to boost his chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London. Ferrer broke serve five times and hit five aces. Thanks to his 49th win in 2015 Ferrer has reached his 12th quarter final this season. Ferrer won four titles this season but missed most of the summer season with an elbow injury

Ferrer fended off two break points at the start of the first set before converting five of his break point chances.

“I have pressure but I am in a good position. There is more pressure on the others”, said Ferrer

Ferrrer will face Italian Fabio Fognini who beat Radek Stepanek 6-1 6-4. Fognini held his first service game before breaking serve in the second game for 2-0. Fognini got a double break to cruise to 6-1 after Stepanek made four break points. Fognini broke serve in the ninth game to take the 5-4 edge before serving out for the match in the next game.

Ferrer has a 15-0 winning record against Fognini.

Kevin Anderson fought back from a set down to edge past Jiri Vesely with 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 7-5. Anderson earned two set points on Vesely’s serve but the Czech player forced it to the tie-break. Vesely took the first set with 7-4. Anderson bounced back winning the second set with 6-3 before saving break points at 5-5 in the decider. The South African player held his serve before breaking on the final point of the match to reach his third quarter final this season after a two-hour and 30-minute battle. Anderson hit 15 aces to bring his total to 980 this year.

Anderson will face Steve Johnson who battled past Jerzy Janowicz 6-4 6-7 (7-9) 6-4. Johnson fended off the two break points and fired 20 aces to Janowicz’s 23. Janowicz drew level by winning the tie-break in the second set with 9-7 but Johnson went up a break to win the third set.

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Jack Draper Stuns Tiafoe in Stuttgart; Becomes New British Number One

The Brit serves up astonishing 31 aces in just 17 service games

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Britain’s Jack Draper was pushed all the way before beating defending champion Frances Tiafoe in a third set tie-breaker to reach the semi-finals of the Boss Open in Stuttgart today – a result which also makes him the new British number one.

Draper’s biggest wins of his career came when he defeated world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas in Montreal last year as a qualifier, and also beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in reaching the US Open third round. However, today’s victory over Tiafoe confirms his ascent to the top spot in the British rankings, something which is extremely proud of.

“It’s an incredible privilege, an honour to be in that position,” he said afterwards. “I’ve been so lucky to have guys like Andy Murray, Cam Norrie and Dan Evans ahead of me all these years and they’re still in the mix pushing me, so it’s a real honour, a big milestone.”

Games went with serve in the opening set until Tiafoe broke when the scores were even at five games all. Tiafoe, whose three ATP titles have come on all three surfaces, survived a break back point in the next game to take the set with 15 winners and an impressive 71% of first serves in. The payers stopped briefly for a rain delay at the start of the second set.

“It was difficult, it wasn’t easy after the first set, I thought Frances played a really good game, just the one break.” Said Draper. “Going off, I was very frustrated, but then I came back really strong, I knew I had my opportunities and I knew I would have some more. I’m really happy with the way I served and competed and how brave I was at the end.”

As the second set continued, Draper missed two breakpoints when 4-3 ahead including a huge chance when he pushed his opponent out wide and approached the net – but put too much on his drop volley which Tiafoe punished. Draper had been serving unbelievably throughout the set with 11 aces overall, and blitzed through another love service game to go 5-4 up and apply some scoreboard pressure.

In the next game he hit a strong forehand up the line to win the crucial first point and then chased down a drop shot to hit another flashy winner to go 0-30 ahead. Tiafoe won the next point but then double faulted to give Draper set points – and he converted with yet another superb forehand up the line to level the contest at a set all.

Both players held serve easily at the start of the third but then tested each other out as the set progressed. Tiafoe fought through a deuce game and got to 30 all on Draper’s serve but the Brit averted the danger. Draper missed a match point when 5-4 up with a missed return but entered the tie-break in good shape – his first serve was almost unplayable winning over 85% when in.

“I’m incredibly happy with the win. I’ve lost all my last three third set tie-breakers so to come through today was really amazing, I’m really proud of my effort. I’m really happy with the way I served and the way I played; it was a really high-quality match. Frances was serving very well himself so to serve the way I did; it was a really big positive for me.”

Draper now goes on to face another American Brandon Nakashima who progressed after Jan-Lennard Struff withdrew with sickness. Speaking about his next opponent who was born in the same year as Draper, he said: “He’s someone who is an incredibly good young player, a really exciting talent, I think he had a lot of injuries last year like myself but he’s been rising this year and playing a lot of matches. Like everyone here, they’re all amazing players and it will be a tough battle.”

After the match, Draper spoke to Sky Sports and elaborated further about the positive influence of the other British top five, and about the Euro 2024 tournament beginning this evening.

“Those guys have all inspired me to be better. Obviously, Andy is a two-time Wimbledon and Olympic champion and has achieved so much in the game. For me he’s one of the greatest players. I’ve learned so much from those guys, the professionalism, the discipline and they’ve always been really good for me, just as a young player looking up to them and copying what they do so I’m very grateful for that.”

“[In the football]: Hopefully England can do one better than three years ago because we did well to get to the final. We have an incredibly strong team. It’s going to be a lot of tough matches but hopefully they can pull through.

On the other side of the draw, former champion Matteo Berrettini faced qualifier James Duckworth.  The Australian, who reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2021, could only manage 64% of first serve points won and committed 16 unforced errors while also facing eight breakpoints. A single break of serve in both sets was enough for the Italian to move forward into the semis, as he won 6-4, 7-5 with another strong serving display.

“It was a really solid match, especially on my serve, I didn’t give him any breakpoints,” said Berrettini afterwards. “I felt like the rhythm on the serve was really good, on grass it’s really important and in the right moments I stepped in and was more aggressive. It’s really important to put a lot of returns in and that’s what I tried to do and it worked out, and so I’m happy for that.

When asked why he was so hard to beat on the faster surface he replied, “you should ask my opponents that! I think obviously for my weapons, my serve, it pays off on grass to play aggressively and that’s what I like to do. I’m using the slice as well on the backhand side and it’s important to play good in the important moments and being able to put pressure on your opponent when you’re serving is really important, and I think that’s the key. And when I step on grass, I feel like I want to play for hours and hours so here I am”

The 28-year-old is a big football fan, and was also asked about whether he would watch the opening match of the tournament. “Germany is playing tonight so I will watch tomorrow’s match. I love Germany but to supporting Germany is a little bit too much! Tomorrow is the start [for Italy] so good luck to the guys. Three years ago, we had really good memories during this time, so let’s see!”

Following Struff’s earlier withdrawal against Nakashima, it meant there was only one other quarter final today where Lorenzo Musetti progressed despite dropping the first set 4-6 to Hungarian Alexander Bublik. The Italian raced through the second set 6-1, and when he broke serve to go 1-0 ahead in the decider, Bublik retired.

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Wimbledon Stands By Center Court Start Time Despite Calls For Change

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Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Cameron Norrie (GBR) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Joe Toth

The All England Tennis Club has confirmed they will not be starting matches earlier on Center Court at Wimbledon despite concerns raised by some players at last year’s tournament.

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were among those who called for matches to start earlier on the premier venue at Wimbledon to prevent the possibility of matches lasting two days. Djokovic’s fourth-round match and Murray’s second-round encounter were both affected in the 2023 tournament. Due to the Grand Slam having an 11pm curfew as part of their agreement with local authorities, any match running after that time must be finished the following day when conditions might be different to what they played the first part of their match in.

“Obviously the curfew is probably something that is much more difficult to change because of the community and the residential area we are in,” Djokovic previously told reporters.
“I think the matches could be pushed to at least start at 12:00. I think it would make a difference.”

However, Wimbledon has chosen to stick to their usual 13:30 start time which could be due to the decision to provide more prime time airtime to the BBC. Usually, three matches are held on Center Court during the championships but if one of those were to be a lengthy encounter, it increases the chances of the final match going into the second day. Something that some argue will be better for players rather than making them play into the early hours like at other major events. 

 “We are very comfortable with the start times that we have. We’re very comfortable with the fact we have one session instead of two and we’re very comfortable with the fact that we won’t have the situation whereby we finish early in the morning because we have an 11pm cut-off.” The Times quoted The All England Club chairwoman, Debbie Jevans, as saying on Thursday. 

Sally Bolton, who is the Chief Executive of The All England Club, confirmed their decision was made following their annual tournament review. Even though some studies have established evidence that the average length of men’s Grand Slam matches has increased in recent years. The Athletic found the average duration increased by 23.4% between 1999 and 2023 from 2hr 21min to 2hr 54 min.

“We’re very happy with what we concluded,” said Bolton. “We’ve reviewed it, we’ve thought long and hard, looked at the data around the length of matches and the trends that are occurring in that space. We’re very confident and happy with the decision we have made.”

This year’s Grand Slam will have a record prize money pool of £50 million with the singles champions each taking home £2.7M. There have been increases in every round of the tournament but the biggest year-on-year rises are for the quarter-final stages or later. 

Key dates for Wimbledon 2024

  • Wednesday 19 June: Initial wild cards announced 
  • Monday 24 – Thursday 27 June: Qualifying Competition
  • Friday 28 June: The Official Draw will be at 10am
  • Saturday 29 – Sunday 30 June: Player’s post-tournament press conferences 
  • Monday 1 – Sunday 14 July: The Championships 2024 

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Matteo Berrettini Beats Shapavolov to Reach Last Eight in Stuttgart, but Shelton Falls

Qualifier James Duckworth upset the second seed and now faces Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.

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Matteo Berrettini - Wimbledon 2023 (foto Ubitennis)

In the shock of the day, Australian qualifier James Duckworth took out second seed Ben Shelton in three sets to advance to the quarter finals where he plays Matteo Berrettini, who won comfortably against Denis Shapavalov.

In the first meeting between the two, Duckworth completed a 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 win in just over two hours against the American, who was playing his first match on grass this season and is still short of match play on the surface. Despite blasting 21 aces, he could not win enough points behind his second serve and lost the match – although he had won more marginally more points in total. 

The 32-year-old Duckworth was formerly ranked inside the top 50 after claiming a personal-best 22 tour-level wins in 2021. However, he has been plagued by injuries since and has undergone nine different surgeries. He squeezed through the first set tie-break and despite a blip in the second set, refocussed in the decider and managed to break serve for the first time and make it count. 

In the headline match of the day featuring powerful serving along with brilliant sliced backhands from two former top tenners battling their way back from injury, Matteo Berrettini overcame Denis Shapavalov 6-4, 6-4.

The head-to-head showed Shapavolov with a 2-0 record but both matches were over five years ago and both on hard courts. Interestingly, while both matches went to three sets, it was the Canadian who had won all four tie-breaks played. 

I knew that I hadn’t beaten him before,” said Berrettini aftrewards. “They were two tough matches although a long time ago. I knew I had to play my best tennis to beat him today. I know that in my career I have been pretty successful on grass, especially here and now let’s see if I can reach the semi-finals. I have to rest a little bit and think tomorrow about the next match. It was a perfect test for me to see my level, after a long time on grass, especially after the battle I had on Tuesday, I’m really happy to be through to the quarter finals.”

Both players played a high quality first set where once again serve dominated proceedings; Berrettini winning 82% and Shapavalov 83% behind first serves while both saved a breakpoint each. But in the game of tennis, double faults can be costly, especially if you do it at the wrong time. And it was the Canadian who threw in his one and only double fault when at breakpoint down to lose serve and go 4-5 down.

Berrettini took three hours to defeat Roman Safiullin on Tuesday but fortunately had a day off before today’s encounter, while Shapavalov fought from 2-4 down in the first set to win 7-6, 7-5 over qualifier Matteo Martineau despite ten double faults.

Shapavalov, who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon three years ago before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic, was rattled midway through the second set when serving and heard some computer bleeps between his first and second serve to lose concentration and concede the break. 

Berrettini was the first Italian man to reach the quarter finals of all four Grand Slams, and the only two-time winner of this event since it switched to grass in 2015, a place he clearly enjoys playing.

I put a lot of emphasis on my serve, especially on the grass,” he explained. “It’s important to make him feel the pressure that when he is serving, he better not get broken, otherwise he will be in trouble. I like using the slice to come in on the grass, especially against the one handed backhand, it’s something that’s very useful. We practised a little bit together yesterday and this morning so I’m happy that it worked.”

Shapavalov was the second Canadian after Milos Raonic to break the top ten of the rankings in 2020, but has now dropped outside of the top 100. The Italian offered some words of comfort to his beaten opponent: “Due to our conditions, we both got injured, and that’s why I think he’s probably going to be in the top 50, 30, 20 really soon, we know his potential, and for me as well. I know how tough it is to come back after many injuries, so good luck to him.”

In the first match of the day, America’s Brandon Nakashima flashed winners from across the court and defeated French veteran Richard Gasquet in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to advance to his second grass court quarter final in just 71 minutes.

Both players traded breaks of serve early in the first set before 70th ranked Nakashima took the decisive break to lead 5-3. He served out a love game to take the opener. He then broke again right at the start of the second set to take full control of the match. 

Gasquet, in the draw as the highest lucky loser after top seed Alexander Zverev withdrew with fatigue after reaching the Roland Garros final, struggled to make much impact on his return games as Nakashima regularly ramped up the speed on his first serve. Still, he showed flashes of his trademark backhand late on with a couple of flourishing winners as the match neared the end. But even when the Frenchman had break back chances in the second set, the American saved them with huge aces. 

“It’s never easy against a player like Richard, he has so much experience on the tour,” said 22-year-old Nakashima on court afterwards. “I’m just happy to win and with the way I played today. I served and volleyed at the important moments and happy to be in the quarter finals. I served well during the big points; it was very crucial to get the confidence. I was returning well and capitalising on the breakpoints I had was also very important.”

It was Nakashima’s first time in Stuttgart, and he also paid tribute to the crowd: “It’s a beautiful tournament, I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far and I’m happy to play again here tomorrow. Thank you all for coming out and I appreciate the support.”

The next match on Centre was a first tour-level meeting between another Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech and home hope Jan-Lennard Struff – who did not disappoint the home fans with a straight sets victory. 

Games went with serve in the first set and neither player came close to a breakpoint – until the 28-year-old Rinderknech served at 4-5 down and Struff hit a forehand winner at 30-30 to bring up a set point. But though Rinderknech saved four set points in all, the scoreboard pressure finally told as Stuff converted on his fifth when approaching the net forcing an error from his opponent. 

Rinderknech, who broke into the top 50 for the first time in January 2022, rallied well in the second set and took it to a tie-break but capitulated without winning a point as Struff completed a 6-4, 7-6 win.

The German has now reached his third Stuttgart quarter final in his last four appearances, missing a match point against Frances Tiafoe in last year’s final. “I was serving pretty good today, all match,” he said after the match. “That can put a bit of pressure on his service games if he doesn’t get a look on mine, I’m very happy with the result today. It’s very nice to play in Germany and amazing support always, so I really enjoy it.”

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