Stan Wawrinka tips Andy Murray for world No. 1 in 2016 - UBITENNIS
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Stan Wawrinka tips Andy Murray for world No. 1 in 2016

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Andy murray (image via 15min.it)

In the buildup to the ATP Finals in London Stan Wawrinka has spoken to British media about Andy Murray’s potential to reach the top of the rankings.

 

During an interview with TalkSport, the French Open champion believes that Murray has the ability to dethrone Djokovic, who has enjoyed a record breaking year on the tour. The Serbian will be bidding to claim his 11th title of the year at next week’s year-end finals. Djokovic has won three Grand Slam tournaments, six Masters titles and one ATP 500 title in 2015.

When Wawrinka was asked about the prospect of Murray becoming world No.1, the Swiss said that he believes the two-time Grand Slam champion has the potential.

“He can. He is number two so he is really close and he has won two Grand Slams [at the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013] and some big tournaments on clay courts”. Wawrinka said.
“Novak has been amazing and at a different level this year, but we will see because every year there is a chance to change that.”

Murray recently played Djokovic in the final of the Paris Masters where he suffered a straight sets defeat. In comparison to the Serbian, Murray has won four titles this year, including two masters titles. The Brit has played Djokovic seven times this year, winning just one of the encounters in the final of the Canadian Open. Despite there just being one place separating the two men in the ATP rankings, Djokovic currently leads Murray by 6815 points.

Wawrinka will join Murray and Djokovic at the O2 Finals next week. The Swiss will be in the Ile Natase group with Murray whilst Djokovic will play in the Stan Smith group with the prospect of facing Roger Federer. The top two of each group will progress to the semifinals. Wawrinka will play in the year-end tournament for the third consecutive year. Speaking about the O2 event, he called it ‘the best indoor tournament’ on the ATP Tour.

“Yes, I think it’s a dream for every player to play there (ATP Finals)”. Wawrinka said.
“I came here two years ago for the first time and it was an amazing event, it’s a crazy indoor stadium for playing tennis, which i enjoy”.

The ATP Finals will get underway on Sunday. The full draw can been seen here.

 

SEE ALSO – Djokovic and Federer the favourites in Stan Smith, but is Rafa the contender in the other group?

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Roger Federer Overcomes Fucsovics To Reach 57th Grand Slam Quarter-Final

Roger Federer came back from a set down to defeat Marton Fucsovics and reach his 57th grand slam quarter-final.

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Roger Federer (@atptour - Twitter)

Roger Federer reached his 57th grand slam quarter-final with a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 victory over Marton Fucsovics. 

 

The Swiss maestro overcame tough conditions and a rusty opening set to reach the Australian Open last eight with a four set victory.

It now means Federer will play his 15th Australian Open quarter-final and his 57th grand slam last eight when he plays world number 100 Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday.

After an epic match with John Millman a couple of days ago, Federer was hoping that victory would give him confidence against an in-form Marton Fucsovics.

There were some confident moments to start the match as Federer struck the ball cleanly off both wings as he looked for a fast start.

But Fucsovics was also hitting the ball well, creating wide angles to make life difficult for the 20-time grand slam champion.

Eventually it was the Swiss maestro who would blink first as a poor game full of unforced errors and poor decision-making handed the early break to the Hungarian.

Fucsovics kept his cool and continued to play with bold as well as brave tennis to hold his nerve and seal the opening set in 37 minutes.

However the first set was the only set where Fucsovics played anywhere near his best tennis as Federer stepped up a gear for the rest of the match.

Using good variety, Federer settled into a rythym as the winners flowed from his racket as the Hungarian started to fade especially on serve.

Two breaks of serve was needed in the second set as he blasted his way to the second set, 6-1.

Another masterclass was handed out in the third set although not without struggled as Fucsovics capitalised on Federer inconsistency to break late in the set.

Although by that point Fucsovics was two breaks down when he broke and Federer broke him back anyway as he shortened the points up at the net as the 3rd seed took a two sets to one lead.

In a match lacking in quality, it was Federer who proved to be the more ruthless and clinical player as he took advantage of a lethargic Fucsovics.

Another two breaks of serve sealed a spot in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for a 15th time in his career. Next up will be world number 100 Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday.

After the match, Federer admitted the conditions were tough to play in, “Was a tough start,” Federer said in his post-match interview.

“I thought that Marton played clean. It was the rest of the Millman match, he gave me a beatdown from the baseline, so maybe took my confidence away a little bit, and it just took some time.

It’s really slow in the night time especially when it’s cool like this. I had to figure it out, finally found a way at the start of the second set and from there, things got a little bit easier.”

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Coco Gauff’s Australian Open Ends In Tears, But Sets Sights On Olympic Debut

The tennis prodigy has big ambitions for the coming months.

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Within two days Coco Gauff’s Australian Open journey have gone from one extreme to the other.

 

On Friday she stunned the women’s draw by knocking out defending champion Naomi Osaka in straight sets at the age of 15. Becoming the youngest player to defeat a defending champion in the Open Era at the tournament. Once again Cocomania erupted on the tour with many praising her as the next big thing in the sport. However, the fairytale run has come to an abrupt halt.

Returning to the court on Sunday, the teenage sensation was unable to maintain a one-set advantage as she crashed out 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-0, to Sofia Kenin. Another American rising star who won a trio of WTA titles last year. It perhaps wasn’t the best performance for Gauff, who exit the match shedding tears in the immediate aftermath.

“I was disappointed that I lost obviously. But I don’t really think anything of Naomi or my previous matches had anything to do. I think naturally when I lose, I’m just a bit emotional.” Said Gauff.

Amid the disappointment, Gauff is certainly heading in the right direction to become one of the world’s best. Following her latest win in Melbourne, her resume now includes being the youngest player to defeat a top five opponent since 1991 and the first American woman in 30 years to reach the third round (or better) of her first three grand slam tournaments.

Gauff herself believes she is rapidly improving on the tour. Especially when it comes to her fighting spirit on the court. Illustrated best by her win over Sorana Cirstea earlier this week when she came back from a set down.

“That I’m capable of coming back. I know my second round I was down.” She reflected.
“Also I think I just improved since Auckland (ASB Classic) to now, even though it was a short amount of time, just a week. I honestly feel like I improved a lot in that week.’
“With more training, I’m sure I’ll do better.”

It is that determination which the world No.67 aims to continue for the rest of the season. Due to her age, Gauff’s schedule is impacted by the WTA’s age eligibility rule. Which limits how many tournaments young players are allowed to play in order to prevent early burnout. It is commonly known as the Jennifer Capriati rule, who shot to fame at such a young age.

With prestigious events in Indian Wells and Miami on Gauff’s mind, she is also dreaming of making her Olympic debut later this year. A tough ask for the teenager. Not only is she limited to how many tournaments she can play, the American is yet to contest a Fed Cup tie. A key requirement for Olympic qualification. Although it is plausible that a counter argument could be presented regarding her age if her team wanted to make an appeal to the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

“That’s definitely the goal. Hopefully I can get my ranking up and qualify. I’m sure the cutoff is the French Open. I’m pretty sure I only have like three tournaments before French Open.” she said.
“It will be difficult. But I’m going to try as hard as possible. I definitely do want to play in the Olympics. Yeah, I mean, it would be pretty cool.”

The Olympic tennis competition will take place between July 25th – August 2nd in Tokyo, Japan.

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Ash Barty Hopes To Avoid Kvitova Heartbreak After Erratic Fourth Round Win At Australian Open

It was a tough day at the office for Barty, who has a shot at revenge in the next round against a two-time grand slam champion.

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Ash Barty overcame a stern test to progress to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for only the second time in her career.

 

The top seed produced glimmers of both her best and worst form throughout her 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, win over America’s Alison Riske. The player who knocked out of the Wimbledon Championships last year. Barty looked at times tentative on the court, but found another gear in her play when required. Improving her head-to-head record against Riske to 2-1.

“I just had to hang in there. It was very tough from the different ends (of the court) playing very differently.” Barty said during her on-court interview.
“I just had to hang in there and try to give myself a chance.”

Throughout her latest clash against the world No.19, Barty’s quest for consistency vanished at times. Best illustrated by the match statistics, which saw her hit 20 winners to 34 unforced errors. Another issue for Barty was her second serve, where she won just seven out of 24 points. Reflecting on her performance, the 23-year-old admitted that she struggled with the windy conditions in Melbourne.

“It’s (the wind) exceptionally hard on you when the ball is from one end of the court. On the other you can’t really feel it.” She explained.
“When it’s behind you, you have to think really smart and try to use it.”

At the start of the match Barty went off guns blazing with the help of a combination of both powerful shot-making and slice. During the opening set, the crowd favourite broke twice en route to taking a 6-3 lead in just 35 minutes. However, Riske refused to go down without a fight. Capitalising on some costly mistakes from the French Open champion, she raced through the second set with ease to draw level. Silencing the animated crowd on the Rod Laver Arena.

With a place in the last eight of a grand slam at stake, the cat and mouse chase continued into the decider. Once again Barty looked to be in control of proceedings as she raced to a 4-1 lead with the help of two love service games. Still, it was not enough to down her opponents spirits. Once again Riske fought back with the help of a three-game streak to draw level.

Despite the scares, Barty still managed to find a way to score victory. With Riske serving to stay in the match, the 29-year-old produced a duo of fatal errors. At 30-30 a backhand error elevated the top seed to her first match point. Then a double fault brought an anticlimactic ending to the encounter to send Barty through.

In the last eight it will be a case of deja vu for the world No.1. She will take on Petra Kvitova, who knocked her out of the tournament at the same stage last year. However, since then Barty has beaten the Czech three times on the tour.

“I love Petra but lets hope she doesn’t break my heart on Tuesday.” She said.
“It’s been an incredible year for me the last 12 months. I’m just excited that I get another opportunity in the quarter-final of a grand slam. You don’t get those every week.”

The mutual respect between the two players was also echoed by Kvitova, who defeated Maria Sakkari on Sunday. She was runner-up in Melbourne last year to Naomi Osaka.

“Ash we have obviously played many times. We played here last year in the quarters. I like her. She’s a great person.” Said Kvitova.
“Whatever will happen will happen. One of us will go through. It will be a tough match, for sure. I try my best, and we’ll see how that goes.”

Barty is bidding to become the first home player to win a singles title at the Australian Open since 1978.

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