Viktor Troicki clinches his second consecutive Sydney title after a tight three-set battle against Grigor Dimitrov - UBITENNIS
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Viktor Troicki clinches his second consecutive Sydney title after a tight three-set battle against Grigor Dimitrov

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Viktor Troicki clinched his second consecutive title at the Apia International ATP 250 at the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney after saving a match point in a tight tie-break of the third set against Grigor Dimitrov. Troicki came back from losing the first set to win the match in the tie-break of the third set with 2-6 6-1 7-6 (9-7). Troicki has become the first player to win two consecutive titles in Sydney since James Blake’s back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. The Serbian player has lifted his third career title after Moscow in 2010 and Sydney in 2015.

 

Dimitrov and Troicki, who were respectively the third and the fourth seeds in this tournament, met for the second time in the first two weeks of 2016. Last week Dimitrov came back from a set and a break down to edge out Troicki 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 to reach the quarter finals at the Brisbane International.

Troicki came into the final as the defending champion with a winning streak of 11 consecutive victories at the Sydney Olympic Park. He also reached the final in this tournament in 2011.

Dimitrov cruised past Troicki in the first set by getting a double break in the third game for 2-1 and in the seventh game for 5-2. Dimitrov played a one-sided first set in which he did not face a break point chance en route to taking the win with 6-2.

Troicki turned around the match in his favour in the second set where Dimitrov dropped his serve with three double faults in the second set to fall behind 0-2. Both players traded breaks in the next two games. Dimitrov broke straight back on his third break-back chance in the third game after a forehand error by Troicki to claw his way back to 1-2 but Troicki broke again for 3-1. Troicki held his serve in the the next game to pull away to 4-1. Troicki got another break before winning his fourth consecutive game to close out the second set.

The third set was  marked by an exciting battle in which most of the games were decided at deuce. Dimitrov earned two break points at the start of the third set. Troicki fended off three break point chances in the fourth game of the third set to draw level to 2-2. Troicki earned two break points at 4-4 with a backhand winner and converted his first chance for a 5-4 lead as Dimitrov hit a backhand into the net. Troicki served to defend the Sydney title won last year but Dimitrov broke straight back to 30 in the next game to draw level to 5-5 with a one-handed backhand winner when Troicki was serving for the match. Dimitrov won the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead but Troicki forced the match to the tie-break.

In the tie-break Dimitrov went down 1-3 but he clawed his way back to draw level to 4-4. Troicki earned the first match point at 6-5 but Dimitrov saved it. Troicki had to fend off a match point at 7-6 before clinching a very tight and intense tie-break with 9-7 on his second match point with a cross-court backhand passing shot winner. Troicki scored his first win in his third head-to-head match against Dimitrov.

Troicki has enjoyed a great week in which he beat Nicolas Mahut in the quarter final before overcoming Teymuraz Gabashvili in three sets in the semifinal on Friday.

“One ball decided the match. It was my favourite shot of all at the end to win it. So many times that shot brought me a lot of happiness. That’s how I won the Davis Cup title. i could not imagine what would have happened if I lost today. It would have been just crazy to recover from it”, said Troicki

Dimitrov, who was looking to win his first tournament since his triumph at the Queen’s in 2014, lost the fourth final in his seven attempts. Despite the defeat it’s been a good week for Dimitrov who has showed good form at the start of the 2016 season under the guidance of his new coach Franco Davin, who previously trained Juan Martin Del Potro. Dimitrov lost to Roger Federer in three sets in the quarter finals last week in Brisbane before reaching the final in Sydney after winning both the quarter final and the semifinal on Friday after a rain-affected Thursday.

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares win the doubles title:

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares claimed their first ATP doubles title as a team with a 6-3 7-6 (8-6) win over Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea. Murray and Soares, who played their first doubles tournament, rallied from 0-5 down in the second set to win the third set at the tie-break.

“It’s not easy. Me and Jamie played for a long time with our former partners so it’s nice to see we are on the right way at the beginning of our partnership. I think we played two very good weeks. We improved in every single match from the beginning of the year. I think that’s the most important thing. Our goal is to be strong as a team. This week we proved we can be a strong team”, said Soares.

ATP

REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

UPDATE*

Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.

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Dominic Thiem signs up to defend his Barcelona title

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Defending champion Dominic Thiem has signed up to play at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in 2020. The 26-year-old Austrian player will make his sixth main draw appearance in Barcelona, where he won the title last year beating Danil Medvedev.

 

Thiem reached the round of 16 as a qualifier in his debut at this event in 2014. One year later Thiem lost in the first round in 2015 and did not play in 2016.

The player from Wiener Neustadt lost the 2017 final to 11-time Barcelona champion Rafael Nadal. In 2018 Thiem was beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter final. In last April’s edition Thiem lifted the title without dropping a set. He beat Nadal in the semifinal before claiming a win over Medvedev in the final.

Thiem tied with Djokovic for ATP Tour-lead with five titles. He won his biggest title at Indian Wells Masters 1000 beating five-time champion Roger Federer and joined his compatriot Thomas Muster as second Austrian player in history to win an ATP Masters 1000 title. Thiem claimed three more titles in Kitzbuhel, Beijing and Vienna and beat Novak Djokovic in five sets to advance to his second consecutive Roland Garros final. Thiem saved two match points against Federer in Madrid Masters 1000 quarter final before losing to Novak Djokovic in semifinal.

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Late Replacement Tomljanovic To Face Maria Sharapova In Abu Dhabi

The order of play for the first day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship have been confirmed.

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There has been a change made to the line-up for next week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship with Ajla Tomljanovic making a last-minute entry.

 

Tomljanovic, who achieved a ranking best of 39th back in April, will be making her debut at the three-day exhibition event. Which will feature a women’s match for the third time in a row. The Australian has been called in to replace French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova, who has been forced to pull out due to injury.

“It’s really disappointing to have to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,” Anisimova said in a press release. “I was looking forward so much to coming to Abu Dhabi and I hope to make the trip in the future.”

The 26-year-old will take on five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova on the opening day of the event. Who hasn’t played on the WTA Tour since her first round loss at the US Open due to a shoulder problem. Sharapova will also be making her debut at the Zayed Sports City’s International Tennis Centre. The two players have never faced each other on the tour.

“I’ve heard amazing things about Abu Dhabi and the championship, and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of this crowd against Maria.” Said Tomljanovic, who will be the first Australian to play at the event. “It will give the perfect challenge ahead of a big season.”

Tomljanovic’s clash with Sharapova is set to be the final match to take place on the opening day of the event. They are only the fourth and fifth woman to ever play in the competition, which has hosted a men’s tournament since 2009. Jelena Ostapenko (2017), Serena Williams (2017 and 2018) and Venus Williams (2018) are the only other WTA players to have taken part.

The full order of play for the opening day has been confirmed by the organisers. Prior to Sharapova’s match, two men’s quarter-finals will take place. ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will play Gael Monfils with the winner booking a clash against Novak Djokovic. Then world No.4 Daniil Medvedev takes on South Korea’s Hyeon Chung. The winner of that match will play Rafael Nadal.

“The 12th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is fast shaping up to be the most exciting in the event’s history. We are looking forward to providing our spectators with a dynamic combination of world-class tennis and family fun in what is an unmissable event,” said John Lickrish, CEO of Flash Entertainment.

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship takes place between December 19-21.

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