Tomas Berdych eases past Thomas Fabbiano to set up a quarter final against Nick Kyrgios in Dubai - UBITENNIS
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Tomas Berdych eases past Thomas Fabbiano to set up a quarter final against Nick Kyrgios in Dubai

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Number 3 seed Tomas Berdych eased past Italian Thomas Fabbiano 6-2 6-2 in 74 minutes to reach the quarter finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tnnis Championships. Berdych fired eight aces and converted five of 10 break points.

Berdych got a double break to clinch the first set 6-2. The Czech went up a set and a break at the start of the second set but Fabbiano broke straight back in the second game and held his serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. In the fifth game Berdych broke serve on his third opportunity to take a 3-2 lead. Fabbiano saved two break points in a very long seventh game but Berdych converted his third opportunity to go up 5-2 before serving out for the match in the next game after 1 hour and 14 minutes.

Berdych reached the Dubai final twice and the semifinals in four of the last five years. He holds a 22-4 win-loss record in this tournament.

Berdych will face Nick Kyrgios who swept aside Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-2 to take his seventh consecutive win. It will be their third head-to-head match  between Berdych and Kyrgios. The Czech player beat Kyrgios at last January’s Australian Open, while the young Aussie took the re-match in the semifinals in Marseille last week.

“Nick is playing really good, with a lot of confidence. He is full of fireworks on the court, in a good way. He is playing really aggressive- He is going for a lot of shots, risking a lot. His match is on a much higher level than usual. He is doing well. So for me it’s going to be a big challenge. Definitely I have a lot to give him back for last week and just really need to refocus myself, try to raise the game and play some good tennis again”, said Berdych.

Kyrgios said of his quarter final match against Berdych. “He beat me at the Australian Open. I beat him last week in Marseille. The conditions here are completely different, so it should suit him. His serve is big. It is going to be a good match. I am looking forward to it. He is a great player. Today’s match was a major improvement from Tuesday. I think I adapted well to the conditions. I got a much better session in beforehand, got a good rest and was really prepared”, said Kyrgios.

Stan Wawrinka beat Croatian qualifier Franko Skugor 7-5 6-1. Skugor scored the fourth win of his career on the ATP Tour. The first set went on serve until the 11th game when Wawrinka got his first break of the match at 5-5 with his backhand passing shot.

Wawrinka won 8 of his next 9 games to secure his spot in the quarter finals. The Lausanne star hit his return winner to break serve in the second game of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead. The 2015 Roland Garros champion got a double break but needed five match points to seal the win. Wawrinka saved a break point in the fifth game of the first set with an ace and another in the second game with a forehand winner. Wawrinka made 36 unforced errors. Wawrinka will face Phillip Kohlschreiber who beat Borna Coric 6-2 7-6

Roberto Bautista Agut swept aside 19-year-old Hyeon Chung 6-0 6-1 in a one-sided match. Bautista Agut, who won two titles in Auckland and Sofia, converted five of his seven break point chances and won 64 points on return.

Bautista Agut got his first break in the opening game and his serve in the next game. He faced the only problems in the second and in the third games which went to deuce. In the second game Chung earned three game points but could not hold his serve. Bautista faced a break.back point in the third game but he saved it to open up a 3-0 lead. Bautista got a double break to 15 to cruise to 4-0 and held his serve to love in the fifth game. Bautista Agut earned two set points and closed out the first set on his second set point in just 28 minutes.

Bautista Agut converted the first of his three break point chances in the second game to win his eighth consecutive game. Chung, winner of the ATP Most Improved Player Award in 2015, got his first game on the scoreboard when he held his serve in the fourth game for 1-3 but Bautista Agut got his double break in the sixth game to cruise to 5-1. Bautista served out on his first match point after just 54 minutes  Bautista Agut has reached the quarter finals for the fifth time this season.

“It’s good to win like this, playing well and doing everything you practise for and you get the result but I have to be humble and know that to win like this is impossible. You have to work a lot and play two hours for every win. For sure, I am happy because I won fast today but I know it’s going to be tougher and tougher”, said Bautista Agut

Bautista Agut will face world number 57 Marcos Baghdatis, who breezed aside Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-2 in 66 minutes. Baghdatis broke serve in the ninth game to clinch the first set before getting a double break to cruise to a 3-0 lead in the second set. The Cypriot fended off the five break points he faced.

Number 6 seed Feliciano Lopez beat Lukas Rosol 6-3 7-6. The Spanish player needed just a break to clinch the first set 6-3. Lopez got a late break in the second set before earning a chance to serve for the match at 6-5. Rosol managed to break back to force the second set to the tie-break. Lopez came from behind in the breaker to secure his spot in the quarter finals.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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