Grigor Dimitrov sets up a final against Viktor Troicki in Sydney - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov sets up a final against Viktor Troicki in Sydney

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Grigor Dimitrov followed up his quarter final win over Alexander Dolgopolov with a 6-2 7-6 (7-4) win over Gilles Muller in the semifinal in his second match on Friday after the quarter finals were washed out on Thursday due to persistent rain.

 

Both players finished their quarter final matches before returning to the court for the semifinals on Friday.

In a rain-interrupted match Dimitrov dropped just two points on serve to cruise to 6-2 in the first set. Muller fired 12 aces in the second set but he was unable to overcome Dimitrov who saved three break points. The Bulgarian player fended off a set point in the 10th game before sealing the win on the first match point with 7-4 in the tie-break. Dimitrov has reached a final for the first time since October 2014 when he lost to Tomas Berdych in Stockolm.

Dimitrov won 79 percent of his service points and withstood 12 aces.

“I am happy to be back in a final. I am aiming definitely higher and looking at the big picture right now. Whether it’s Brisbane or Sydney or any other tournament, it’s just as important as any other Grand Slam or any of the Masters 1000. I am just taking this very seriously, but at the same time trying to enjoy this moment. I think I know when I do that, I feel happier. It’s been a good day at the office. I was pretty tired yesterday. Four times on and off the court and I played Alex in tough conditions. That took a lot out of me”, said Dimitrov.

In tomorrow’s final Dimitrov will face defending champion Viktor Troicki, who rallied from a set down for the second time today to edge out Teymuraz Gabashvili 3-6 6-4 6-4 in just over two hours. Earlier today Troicki beat Nicolas Mahut 4-6 6-3 6-3.

After a short rain delay Gabashvili got two early breaks of serve to race to a 3-0 lead. Troicki broke serve but Gabashvili pulled away to 5-3 before breaking serve for the third time to seal the first set. The Russian player broke again in the second set to take a 4-2 lead before the match was interrupted by rain again.

After the rain delay Troicki bounced back breaking serve twice to reel off four consecutive games and forced the match to the decider. Troicki raced to a 5-2 lead but he missed a match point in the next game. Gabashvili broke serve to claw his way back to 4-5 but Troicki held his serve to love to book his berth in the final against Dimitrov.

“It was a successful day. I played good tennis considering the conditions today. It was tough mentally going on and off the court all the time”, said Troicki.

Round up quarter finals:

Grigor Dimitrov came back from a set down to edge out Alexander Dolgopolov 4-6 6-3 6-4 to reach the semifinals at the Apia International in Sydney. The match resumed on Friday after it was suspended by rain on Thursday as Dimitrov was leading 4-2 in the third set. As Dimitrov served for the match at 5-4, he closed out the match at love. Dimitrov and Dolgopolov spent two hours and 14 minutes on court over two days.

“I was actually rushing a lot this morning. I didn’t expect the match before between Gabashvili and Tomic to finish that way. So I just jumped straight to the court from the practice court. I served well, so I think that was good enough. I knew Alex would come out and start shooting every ball so I had to be ready”, said Dimitrov.

Dimitrov set up a semifinal against Gilles Muller who beat Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (7-5) 6-3. Both players closed out the first set before the match was suspended. The second set went on serve before Muller got the break to take a 4-3 lead. Muller sealed the win in the ninth game on the second match point.

Dimitrov hit 24 winners to 29 unforced errors compared to Dolgopolov’s 29 winners to 39 unforced errors.

“You just have to be ready to play, stay focused and be ready for whenever you have to play and that’s something I did very well”, said Muller.

Last week’s Brisbane semifinalist Bernard Tomic, winner in Sydney in 2013 and finalist in 2014, was trailing 3-6 0-3 against Teymuraz Gabashvili when he withdrew from the match due to dizziness.

Gabashvili’s next rival in the semifinal is Viktor Troicki who rallied from a set down to overcome French qualifier Nicolas Mahut in three sets with 4-6 6-3 6-3. With this victory Troicki has extended his streak to 10 consecutive wins in Sydney.

Mahut got a break at 3-3 in the first set en route to taking a 5-3 lead. The Frenchman saved a break-back point in the next game before clinching the first set.

Troicki broke at the start of the second set and never looked back to take the second set with 6-3. Troicki and Mahut traded breaks at the start of the third set. Troicki broke again in the seventh game before sealing the win with another break in the ninth game.

“I feel physically fit and ready to play the long matches. I think it’s great preparation for the Slam where we have longer matches and we can play five sets”, said Troicki.

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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