Caroline Wozniacki Shocks Serena Williams In Denmark - UBITENNIS
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Caroline Wozniacki Shocks Serena Williams In Denmark

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Caroline Wozniacki serving against Serena Williams at the Energy Denmark Champions Battle Exhibition in Herning, Denmark. (image via wtatour.com)

Caroline Wozniacki has given herself a big confidence boost ahead of her off season training by defeating world No.1 Serena Williams in straight sets (6-3, 6-4).

 

The two players were taking part in the second edition of the Energy Denmark Champions Battle Exhibition at the Boxen in Herning, Denmark. Labelled as ‘the biggest tennis event in Denmark’, 7000 spectators attended the event to see their home player stun the world No.1.

The win for Wozniacki comes off the end of a tricky year where she has slipped down to 17th in the rankings. On the tour the Dane has played Williams on 11 occasions, winning just one of the encounters at the 2012 Miami Open. Shortly after her win, Wozniacki spoke of her delight.

“It was a great experience to play in front of the audience here in Herning”. Wozniacki said.
“It was a really good game where we both got tested our form of before we go into a period of hard training next season. It was something very special to play against Serena here at home, the victory is very nice, especially when you can share it with a home crowd”.

34-year-old Williams ended her 2015 season early to focus on ‘health issues’. She hasn’t played a match on the tour since her shock defeat in the semifinals of the US Open. Williams was on course to become the first player since 1988 to win all four Grand Slam titles within one season before she lost to Roberta Vinci in New York. Speaking in Denmark, the world No.1 complimented Wozniacki on her performance.

“Caroline had a good game, she deserved to win. It has been so nice here in Herning, to be with Caroline at her home has been a great experience. I have enjoyed it here in Herning”. Williams said.

Wozniacki was awarded a Shamballa bracelet worth 100,000 Danish krones (just over $14,000) for the win.

Prior to the clash between Williams and Wozniacki there was a men’s doubles competition. ATP World Tour Finals champions Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Rojer played 2012 Wimbledon champions Frederik Nielsen and Jonathan Marray. During a tough match Tecau and Rojer won 6-4, 3-6, 10-5.

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Rafael Nadal’s Future In The ATP Finals Hangs In The Balance Despite Monster Win

It was another dramatic victory for the top seed in London, but will it be enough to keep him in the tournament?

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LONDON: Rafael Nadal’s future fate in this year’s ATP Finals is up to one of his rivals in the competition after he closed out his round-robin campaign with an epic win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

Nadal, who secured the year-end No.1 spot yesterday, fought from behind to record a roller-coaster 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5, win at The O2 Arena. Spending almost three hours on the court to avoid suffering multiple losses in the group stage of the tournament for the first time since 2011. Throughout the Monmouth battle, he hit six aces along 38 winners without facing a single break point in the entire match.

“I did all the things I could do today,” Nadal said afterward on the court. “I fought until the end. If I am able to play in front of you (the crowd) tomorrow against Roger it would be a huge honor.’
“If not, I hope to see you next year.” He added.

The London showdown was a clash of two different scenarios. Nadal knew that he had to win the match to even have a chance of progressing to the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time since 2015. In contrast, Tsitsipas had the luxury of knowing that regardless of how he performs he is through to the last four no matter what.

Despite the stakes being significantly higher for Nadal, Tsitsipas was not set on taking it easy. The opening set saw both players stan firm behind their service games as neither refused to buckle. Nadal’s attacking play was muzzled by Tsitsipas’ defensive capabilities. Creating a level playing ground between the two despite the world No.1 winning four out of their five previous meetings.

49 minutes passed with no break point opportunities occurring in Nadal’s must-win encounter. Paving way for a tiebreak where ironically the difficulty for both men was trying to hold their serve. Exchanging mini breaks between each other twice, it would be Tsitsipas who scored a decisive blow. A Nadal backhand into the net followed by another shot going beyond the baseline moved the Greek to his first set point. Cheered on by a huge roar from the London crowd, he clinched the lead with the help of a 134 mph ace.

Nadal would once again need to draw upon his warrior-like fighting spirit to turn his fortunes around. Emulating his heroics against Daniil Medvedev two days ago. Bursts of frustration from the 33-year-old erupted throughout the second set as he got within a point of breaking Tsitsipas on multiple occasions, but failed to do so. Despite his shortfalls, the breakthrough finally occurred during the business end. At 4-4, two games away from defeat, he wore down Tsitsipas’ serve to move ahead 5-4. Prompting an emphatic fist pump from the Spaniard as he took proceedings into a decider.

With all to play for, Nadal maintained a high level of intensity in his shot-making as the titanic clash continued. Electrifying the crowd in what was one of the best matches of this year’s tournament. The final set once again featured little disparity between the two, but it would be Nadal who would prevail. At 5-5 in the decider, an unsuccessful approach at the net from Tsitsipas resulted in the top seed breaking. Triggering jubilation among the Nadal contingent in the crowd. Serving for the win, he sealed it at the expense of another mistake from his rival. This time it was a shot into the net from the Greek.

Moments after his thrilling triumph, Nadal was presented with the year-end No.1 trophy for the fifth time in his career. Making it a double celebration.

“I am super happy. Honestly, after all the things I went through in my career in terms of injury, I never thought at the age of 33-and-a-half I would have this trophy in my hands again.” Said Nadal.

The chances of the world No.1 being in the semi-finals now lies in the hands of Medvedev. The Russian must defeat Alexander Zverev in his match later tonight. If he doesn’t, Nadal will be eliminated from the competition. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas must wait to see if he finishes first or second in the group. If Nadal does qualify, he will play Federer next.

Regardless of if he makes it or not, Nadal has paid tribute to those close to him during what has been a mixed season. Besides his two Masters 1000 and two Grand Slam titles in 2019, he has also been affected by various injury setbacks. The ATP Finals is the first event he has been able to complete since the US Open in September.

“It’s really emotional. There has been a lot of work to get me where I am today. Without my team and family this thing would have been impossible.” He reflected.
“There have been some bad moments and you have always been there. Before Monte Carlo, after Monte Carlo, without the support of these people, things would have been much different for me this year. I can’t thank them enough.”

Nadal has now won 53 matches this season.

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Could The ATP Cup Move Tim Henman Closer To Davis Cup Captaincy?

The former world No.4 sheds light on if he would like to lead his nation in a more permanent role in the future.

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LONDON: A day after three world No.1 players spoke out about the ATP Cup, it was Tim Henman’s turn to face the media at The O2 Arena on Friday.

 

The 45-year-old will lead the British team in the inaugural event at the start of 2020. Placing him in a national team captain role for the first time in his life. He was nominated for the position by three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray, who spoke with him just over a month ago. The two have known each other since Murray was a teenager.

“If I’m honest, it was not something that I had given a great deal of thought at that stage,” said Henman.
“Then when we did discuss it, I think there are lots of reasons why I accepted, and I think one of the reasons is Andy. I have had a great relationship with him for a long, long time.”

As it currently stands the former world No.4 will lead a team of five players. Besides Murray, Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie, Jamie Murray, and Joe Salisbury have all committed to the event. Which has a prize money pool of $15 million and up to 750 ranking points for those who win the title without losing any matches.

Henman’s selection came ahead of Leon Smith, who has been the British Davis Cup captain since April 2010. Smith, who guided his country to the Davis Cup title in 2015, has been in contact with Henman about his new role.

“Leon is someone that I have known for a long, long time. He’s done a fantastic job in Davis Cup.” Henman states.
“From my point of view, I’m very excited about the ATP Cup, but this isn’t in any way a stepping stone for me moving into other things. I don’t want to do that. I’ve got enough, other commitments with my family, with Wimbledon, the partners that I work with.”

The four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist appears adamant when he plays down a future role in the Davis cup, which has a new format from this year. However, he admits that should he shine in Australia next year, it could persuade him to change his mind in the future. Two out of the three captains before Smith (John Lloyd and Roger Taylor) didn’t take on the role until after their 50th birthdays.

“As I sit here now I don’t have an aspiration to be Davis Cup captain. It’s in a new format now, but certainly before when the time commitment was going to be much more significant it was never something that really appealed to me.’ Henman explains.
“But talking specifically about this event, I’m really looking forward to and I think there are so many exciting aspects of it.’
“Once the event has happened, then I will have time to reflect and see what I want to do going forward.” He added.

The ATP Cup will start on January 3rd. Britain has been drawn in the same group as Belgium, Moldova, and Bulgaria. They will kick off their campaign in Sydney on the opening day of the tournament against Bulgaria, who is being captained by Grigor Dimitrov.

Henman’s Davis Cup player record

First year played 1994
Total nominations 21
Ties played 21
Singles W/L 29/8
Doubles W/L 11/6
Total W/L 40/14

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 6 Preview: Rafael Nadal’s Fate Hangs In The Balance

Who will join Dominic Thiem, Roger Federer, and Stefanos Tsitsipas in Saturday’s semifinals?

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The final stage of round-robin matches will get underway at The O2 on Friday. Yesterday saw Rafael Nadal seal the year-end No.1 spot after challenger Novak Djokovic lost in straight sets. However, there is little for to celebrate for the king of clay. Today he faces the prospect of winning his match and still not qualifying for the semi-final stage of the tournament. 

 

Here are the advancement scenarios for the Andre Agassi Group, with Tsitsipas advancing regardless of today’s results:

  • Zverev advances if he wins, or if he loses in three sets and Tsitsipas wins.
  • Nadal advances if both he and Medvedev win.
  • Medvedev advances if he wins in two sets and Tsitsipas wins.

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (6)

Nadal seemed all but out of this tournament less than 48 hours ago, down 5-1 and a match point in the third set to Medvedev.  But Rafa made a classic comeback, aided by a Medvedev meltdown, and Nadal now has new life. Rafa will need more help from Daniil today, as the only way Nadal can advance to tomorrow’s semifinals is if he wins and if Medvedev defeats Zverev.  The first half of that equation will not be an easy task, against a confident and thus-far undefeated Tsitsipas. Stefanos already beat Medvedev and Zverev this week, and owns victories this year against Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal. The win over Rafa even came on clay in Rafa’s home country, when Tsitsipas prevailed in three sets at the Madrid Masters.  But Nadal has been victorious the other four times these two have played, including the very next week at the Rome Masters. A fast indoor hard court is far from Rafa’s favorite surface, yet he should feel good coming off his great escape on Wednesday. He also does not have the pressure of battling for the year-end No.1 ranking, as the King of Clay has already secured that crown thanks to Federer’s win over Djokovic last night.  And as our own Adam Addicott reported, Tsitsipas had an injection in his foot earlier this week, so he’s obviously not 100%. At the beginning of this week, Nadal’s advancement chances seemed slim, as he arrived with an abdominal injury that hampered his play on Monday. But with his tournament life on the line, I’m not betting against one of tennis’ all-time great competitors to find a way to win.

Daniil Medvedev (4) vs. Sascha Zverev (7)

If Nadal does win in the afternoon session, it would eliminate Medvedev from the tournament before this night match even takes place.  Regardless of the afternoon match outcome, Zverev will be playing for his tournament life in this last match of the round robin stage. Sascha owns a 4-1 record over Daniil, though Medvedev claimed their last meeting.  That was just last month in the final of the Shanghai Masters. But the Russian is not the same player he was a month ago, and he’s 0-3 since that championship match in Shanghai. Of course that includes the loss to Nadal two days ago, where Medvedev completely unraveled in the third set, sarcastically giving a thumbs up to his team after nearly after point he lost.  It will be tough to come back and win after that defeat, especially against a player who has dominated their head-to-head. And as the the defending champion in London, Zverev has good vibes playing at the O2. The German should be favored to win, which would guarantee his place in the semifinals for the second straight year.

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