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Tomas Berdych beats young prodigy Zverev

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Berdych could now be considered a veteran, but defeated zverev in one hour and twenty seven minutes

Berdych could now be considered a veteran, but defeated Zverev in one hour and twenty-seven minutes

Tomas Berdych may have joined the group of players aged over thirty on the tour last month, but the Czech showed no signs of slowing as he defeated teenager Alexander Zverev in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

 

Berdych started the match well, holding and then breaking Zverev through dominating the baseline exchanges. A love service hold saw Berdych register three games before Zverev had another chance to get on the scoreboard. That the young German did, demonstrating a willingness to come forward and volley, also taking more initiative in points on his own serve, as he overcame the early shock of losing his opening service game.

Though Zverev had settled down with his own serve, there was little he was able to do against his opponent’s. Berdych found more rhythm, holding to thirty and fifteen through predictable, but uncompromising baseline solidity. The Czech, who confirmed his place in London for the O2 last week, threatened to break at five-two, earning deuce after picking short balls from Zverev. With his first serve deserting him, Zverev fired long on a forehand to give Berdych a break and set chance. The serve returned for a point, with Berdych netting the return. A double fault followed, but Zverev again followed with another great serve, and finally held when Berdych missed two backhands.

Berdych then suffered his first real lapse of the set, with two more errors giving Zverev hope of levelling up. A Berdych serve got him to fifteen-thirty, when Zverev missed a return. It prompted Zverev to launch a furious tirade claiming it was in, but was too late to challenge. Berdych hit two big serves, one an ace on second serve, to earn a set point. He missed with a down-the-line backhand but he served cleanly from deuce to take the opening set.

Zverev continued his complaints about the call in between sets, as he took a medical time-out for what appeared to be a left hamstring injury.

Zverev held to start proceedings in set two, and then looked to break Berdych. The big Czech dove to try and pick up a Zverev passing shot, but was rewarded only with a knock to his left wrist in the fall. A rattled Berdych then fell love-forty behind. Berdych saved one with a trademark serve down the tee, but double-faulted on the second break chance and Zverev led in set two. He held for the three love lead, having dropped just a point in each of the three games of the second set.

Berdych held and then returned to parity, breaking to fifteen when Zverev netted a backhand rallying ball. Again Berdych fell into trouble, a big forehand miss handed Zverev love-thirty again. Berdych rediscovered his dominant serving, two aces ensuring the Czech made it three-all. Zverev failed to serve his next game out at forty-thirty, missing wide with a forehand. Berdych then broke, returning from a seemingly losing position to take the break, and lead in the second set. Zverev staged a furious battle to reach four-all, but handed the break straight back. Berdych finally served out to fifteen to advance to the quarter-finals.

Earlier results saw the progress of two frenchman. Richard Gasquet saw his opponent Steve Darcis retire with injury having lost the first set. Jeremy Chardy also progressed with a 6-3, 7-6 win over Federico Delbonis of Argentina.

Berdych will face the winner of Nicolas Almagro and Grigor Dimitrov.

 

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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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