Novak Djokovic battles past Tomas Berdych in a very tight quarter final in Paris Bercy - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic battles past Tomas Berdych in a very tight quarter final in Paris Bercy

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Novak Djokovic edged Tomas Berdych 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (9-8) in a very tight match with no breaks of serve. With this win Djokovic has improved his winning streak to 20 consecutive matches and to 28 consecutive sets. He has also won 34 consecutive matches indoors since his last defeat in Paris Bercy in 2012 against Sam Querrey.

 

Berdych earned set points in both sets but failed to convert them with forehand errors. For the first time in his 680 win on the ATP Tour Djokovic could not break his rival’s serve but he managed to win the most crucial points

Djokovic now holds a 20-2 lead in his head-to-head matches against Berdych, including seven indoor wins. This year Djokovic had won his previous two matches in three sets against Berdych in the Dubai semifinal and in the Monte-Carlo final.

Both players served very well and there were very few opportunities to break serve.

The first set went on serve with just two break points. Djokovic brought up only one break point in the third game. Berdych brought up his only break point on the set point at 5-6 on Djokovic’s serve with a backhand down the line. Djokovic saved the break point by winning three consecutive points with his serve and forehand to force the set to tie-break.

Djokovic got a double mini-break in the tie-break to go up 4-1. He earned four set points at 6-2. He converted his second set point with his forehand to win his 27th consecutive set with 7-3. Both players hit 10 winners but Djokovic made 12 unforced errors to Berdych’s 20.

The second set went on serve with no break points. Only the fifth game went to deuce and was won by Djokovic on serve. In the second set tie.break Djokovic took a 5-3 lead. Berdych won three consecutive points to take the edge with 6-5 but he wasted his first set point as he missed a forehand down the line. Berdych earned a second set point with a backhand down the line. At 7-7 Berdych hit two forehands out to give Djokovic his first match point but the Serbian star hit a forehand long for 8-8. Berdych handed Djokovic a second match point. Djokovic converted it as Berdych hit a backhand into the net after two hours and seven minutes.

Djokovic hit 19 winners to 22 unforced errors and won 80 percent of his first serve points. Berdych made 38 unforced errors.

 

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Roger Federer Says ‘Revolution’ Needed To Help Next Generation Of Tennis Players

The Swiss Maestro has called for more to be done to address the issue of social media abuse.

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Roger Federer (SUI) Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer believes there needs to be a rethink regarding how the rising stars of tennis are supported on the Tour.

 

The former world No.1 has called for what he describes as the ‘press situation’ to be reconsidered in the wake of some tennis players opening up about their mental health. Earlier this year at the French Open Naomi Osaka revealed that she has been suffering from depression and social anxiety. Osaka opted to skip press conferences during the French Open but it wasn’t until after the tournament she spoke about the reason why she did so. Meanwhile, Emma Raducanu’s run to the fourth round at Wimbledon ended up with her withdrawing from the Grand Slam due to ‘breathing difficulties’ which was partly due to the unfamiliar situation she was in.

40-year-old Federer, who has been one of the biggest names in the sport for well over a decade, says the stress his younger peers experience on the Tour is partly due to social media. Something he said wasn’t as prevalent when he was younger.

It hurts when you see what happens and when they don’t feel well. The stress is so great. And I think a lot has to be down to social media: the first ten years of my life there was no social media, maybe I had just a website, then the next ten years social media was everywhere,” Federer told GQ magazine.

As for how players are treated by the media, the Swiss Maestro has called for a revamp of the protocols with all parties sitting together for discussions. Although he didn’t outline what changes he would make. In Grand Slams players are usually required to conduct press conferences following their matches and could be fined for not doing so.

“In regards to this (social media), the press situation does need to be reconsidered. I think I’m one of the athletes who’s done the most press – ever! And I agree that it’s always the same,” he said.
“I think players, the tournaments, journalists, we need to sit down together in a room and go, “OK, what would work for you and what works for us… We need a revolution. Or at least an evolution of where we are today.’
“I think we do need to help, coach and mentor the younger generation more. I can’t imagine going through the beginning of my career with social media; I have no clue how I would have handled it.”

In recent years one common problem faced by players is a rise in social media abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Raducanu and Sloane Stephens has been targeted by racist abuse. Meanwhile, during his country’s Davis Cup tie against Belarus Diego Schwartzman was targeted by trolls following a shock loss.

“For every ten nice comments there’s always one negative comment and, of course, that is the one you focus on,” Federer commented. “It’s a horrible situation. Even when I am feeling down I know I need to act a certain way in front of the world’s press. We need to remember that tennis players are athletes and professionals, but we are also human too.”

Federer is currently sidelined from the Tour due to a right knee injury which also troubled him throughout 2020. So far in his career he has won 103 ATP titles, spent 310 weeks as world No.1 and has earned more than $130M in prize money. According to Forbes Magazine, he was the seventh highest paid athlete in the world between May 2020 and May 2021.

Despite the numerous records he has broken and reaching the milestone age of 40, there are still no signs that Federer has any plans to retire from the sport in the near future.

“When, like any athlete, you will just know when the time is right. I am not going to be the one that’s just going to stick around because I want to stick around. You know, I still want to play exhibitions down the road and have fun and go to markets in places I’ve never been before. The fans mean a lot to me, but I do not want to abuse my body. I still want to run around with my kids and ski… So I think you just know,” he concluded.

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Anett Kontaveit Lifts Ostrava Title After Rediscovering Passion For Playing

The 25-year-old is closing in on a place in the world’s top 20 for the first time in more than two years.

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image via https://twitter.com/JTBankaOpen

The recent resurgence of Anett Kontaveit shows no signs of slowing down after she cruised to the Ostrava Open title on Sunday without dropping a set in the entire tournament.

 

Kontaveit, who is currently ranked 30th in the world, battled her way to a 6-2, 7-5, win over Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari. Throughout the clash the Estonian didn’t drop her serve as she fired a total of 26 winners past her opponent who is the third consecutive top 20 player she has defeated on the Tour. Earlier in the tournament she also dismissed Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and home favourite Petra Kvitova.

Impressively Kontaveit has won 12 out of her past 13 matches played with her only loss being to Iga Switek at the US Open. Her rise started in August at the Cleveland Championships where she lifted only the second WTA title of her entire career. Prior to the tournament, she was on a four-match losing streak.

“I think I really started enjoying playing again, and I think that’s been the main key,” the 25-year-old commented on her recent results on the Tour. “I’m having a really good time on court and I’m having fun through the battles and the tough matches as well. I sort of started finding my way in Cleveland.”

Helping her find footing once again is Dmitry Tursunov, who previously worked with Aryna Sabalenka. The two started collaboration on a trial basis during the summer. Tursunov reached a high of No.20 on the men’s Tour during his professional career and won seven ATP 250 titles.

“My new coach also has given me some new energy and new perspectives as well. I’m just feeling a little more comfortable and enjoying myself more.” She said.

After her success in the Czerch Republic, Kontaveit will climb up the rankings on Monday as she nears an entry back into the world’s top 20 for the first time since September 2019. She is projected to rise to 23rd spot.

“When you are winning matches it definitely gives you confidence,” she explains. “I feel like I am definitely playing better than I was in the middle of the season and I think good things can come of it. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, I’ve really had a good time on court, and I’ve enjoyed it. That’s the thing I’m really most happy about.’
“One of my friends, who is here this week in Ostrava, she played doubles, she told me ‘While we’re here we might as well enjoy it’ – that really sort of stuck with me this week.”

Kontaveit has won 31 matches so far this season.

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Hubert Hurkacz Reigns Supreme In Metz, Kwon Breaks New Ground In Nur-Sultan

The two players achieved personal career milestones on the ATP Tour but for different reasons.

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Image via https://twitter.com/MoselleOpen/

Top seed Hubert Hurkacz has ended his title drought on European soil after defeating Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets to win the Moselle Open in France.

 

The world No.13, who claimed his first Masters title in Miami earlier this year, rallied his way to a 7-6(2), 6-3, win over Carreno Busta in less than 90 minutes. Throughout the tournament Hurkacz didn’t drop a set against players such as former world No.1 Andy Murray and Lucas Pouille. In the final, the Pole broke Carreno Busta four times and won 73% of his service points to seal the victory.

“Pablo is an amazing player, so playing against him in the final here is something special,” Hurkacz said in his on-court interview. “I needed to raise my level to play my best to be able to compete with him and today I came out on top and I am super, super happy about this.”

Metz was the first Tour-level event that Hurkacz has played as the top seed. His latest triumph continues what has been a successful season for the 24-year-old who also won the Delray Beach Open earlier this year, as well as Miami. He is the fifth player this year to have won a third title on the ATP Tour after Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Casper Ruud and Alexander Zverev who have all won four trophies.

Speaking during the trophy presentation, Hurkacz paid tribute to the support he has received during the tournament and the atmosphere he has been playing in. Giving a special mention to the band who was playing in the arena.

“The atmosphere here is very special here with all of you guys,” he added. “You guys [the band] make it an amazing atmosphere, so that is so nice that you guys are here.”

Hurkacz’s win-loss for the season has now been improved to 29-16. Besides his successes on the Tour in recent months, he has also experienced disappointment. At one stage of the year he was on a six-match losing streak before reaching the semi-finals of the Wimbledon in what was his best-ever performance at a Grand Slam tournament.

As a result of his win in Metz, Hurkacz will climb one spot in the ATP rankings to 12th on Monday. He is yet to break into the world’s top 10.

Kwon ends South Korea’s 18-year wait

Elsewhere on the ATP Tour, Soon-woo Kwon has become only the second man from his country to ever win a title and the first since 2003. The 23-year-old underdog defeated James Duckworth 7-6(6), 6-3, to complete what has been a memorable performance at the Astana Open. Earlier in the week he knocked out second seed Alexander Bublik and third seed Dusan Lajovic.

“I was thinking before the match this could be my last chance to win an ATP trophy, you never know what is going to happen,” The KTF Press-Service quoted Kwon as saying.
“I did what I can. Thanks to this tournament, I now have a lot of confidence and hopefully I can lift more trophies in the future.’
“After today, I can reach for something like the Top 20, after this week I have more belief that I can do this.”

One of the most impressive aspects of Kwon’s milestone win is the tight turnaround he has made in recent days. Last weekend he was playing a Davis Cup tie on the Grass in America where he scored two crucial wins for his country in their tie against New Zealand.

“Last week I played Davis Cup in Newport. I flew all the way from there to here. it’s a 10-hour difference,” he said.
“I just came with an open mind, an open heart. I knew it would take time to adjust to the courts, so I wasn’t tight. From the first round I was relaxed and hit the ground running. Each match I was getting better and better, I stayed calm and played freely.”

Kwon, who reached the third round of the French Open earlier this year, is now set to break into the world’s top 60 for the first time in his career.

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