Roger Federer cruises to second round in Basel - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer cruises to second round in Basel

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Local star Roger Federer made his eagerly-awaited debut against Mikhail Kukushkin in front of his local fans at the Swiss Indoor Open in Basel at the St.Jakobshalle.

Federer won his two previous head-to-head matches against the Kazakh player at Wimbledon in 2011 and in the Davis Cup quarter finals in 2014 in Geneva without dropping sets.

In last year’s edition of the Swiss Indoor Open Kukushkin beat the other Swiss star Stan Wawrinka in the first round with 6-4 6-7 6-3.

Federer won his first service game to love. In the second game he went up 0-40 on Kukushkin’s serve but the Kazakh player forced the game to deuce. Federer converted his break point on his fourth break point opportunity. He saved break point chances to hold his service game for 3-0. After 13 minutes Federer led 4-0. Kukushkin avoided the bagel winning his first game with his forehand winner but Federer closed out the first set in the next game after 21 minutes.

Federer could not convert break points in the first game of the second set. Kukushkin held his serve to take a 1-0 lead. Federer held his service game to draw level to 1-1. Kukushkin saved break points in a 5-minute third game to take a 2-1 lead. Federer hit his 20th winner to draw level to 2-2. Federer earned three break points and converted his second chance for 3-2 after Kukushkin made a double fault. Federer got the double break in the seventh game to pull away to 5-2 before serving out for the match after 54 minutes.

Federer hit 29 winners to 15 unforced errors. He converted only four of his break point chances but saved the two opportunities he faced. He won 91 percent of his first serve pointts 72 percent of his second serve points.

Federer will take on Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round. The Basel native player leads 10-0 in his previous head-to-head matches against the German player.

Kohlschreiber overcame a second-set loss to beat Jerzy Janowicz with 6-4 3.6 6.3.

The Swiss Maestro has won the home tournament six times. Only once in 1998 Federer lost in the first round against André Agassi. The then 17-year-old player from Basel won just five games against the US legend.

Federer will donate his appearance fee in Basel to his Foundation,which helps disadvantaged children and promotes their access to education and sport.

Grigor Dimitrov beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3 6-4 to set up a second round match against Rafa Nadal. Dimitrov, who is now ranked number 28, got an early break in the first set en route to winning the first set with 6-3. The Bulgarian player broke serve in the ninth game to take the 5-4 lead with two forehand passing shots before closing out in the next game.

John Isner beat Ernests Gulbis 6-3 6-4 taking a re-match for his defeat in their previous head-to-head match last week in Vienna. Isner hit 28 winners to 14 unforced errors and hit 19 aces and won 90 percent of his first serve points. Isner broke in the second game on his second opportunity. The match went on serve without break points until the ninth game when Isner served out for the first set. Gulbis wasted a break point in the sixth game of the second set. Isner converted his break point chance in the ninth game

Number 8 seed David Goffin fought back from a set down to overcome Andreas Seppi with 3-6 6-4 6-4. Seppi got a double break in the first and in the fifth games en route to taking a 4-1 lead. Goffin recovered one of the two breaks but Seppi sealed the first set with a third break. In the second set Goffin got a double break. Seppi recovered one of the two breaks but the Belgian closed out with 6-4 drawing level to 1-1 on sets. Goffin got an early break at the start of the second set. Seppi broke back to draw level to 4-4 but Goffin broke again for 5-4.

Richard Gasquet edged past Jiri Vesely 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-4. Gasquet broke serve in the second game of the first set. The Frenchman earned three set points on Vesely’s serve but failed to convert them. He closed out the first set in the next game. The second set went on serve without break points until the break point. Vesely got two-mini-breaks to win the tie-break with 7-2 forcing the match to the third set. Vesely did not convert two break points in the fourth game. Gasquet also had break points in the seventh game but he failed to convert them. In the 10th game Gasquet earned a break point at 30-all. This time he clinched the break to win the decider with 6-4. Gasquet will face Dominic Thiem in the second round.

 

 

 

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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