Kyle Edmund sets up meeting with Novak Djokovic in Miami, Sam Groth gets season back on track - UBITENNIS
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Kyle Edmund sets up meeting with Novak Djokovic in Miami, Sam Groth gets season back on track

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Edmund edged Jiri Vesely to set up an encounter with Novak Djokovic (Image via Zimbio.com)

Britain’s Kyle Edmund will face World no.1 Novak Djokovic for the first time in the second round of the Miami Masters after he defeated Jiri Vesely 6-4, 5-7, 7-6.

In a close match with the Czech left-hander, Edmund took the first set, serving strongly and capitalising on the single break point afforded to him. Vesely came back in the second with two breaks serving a attempted comeback by Edmund in the final game to take the match to a decider.

It was Edmund who continually set the pace in the third, earning three break points and winning more than half of the points on Vesely’s second serve. Yet the break would not come, and determined display from the Czech took the match to a tiebreak. The tiebreak went to form though, as Edmund just edged his opponent eight-six for his first ever meeting with a current world no. 1.

Sam Groth will be relieved to finally get his season going by beating Victor Estrella-Burgos 6-3, 6-2. The Australian had not won since his opening match at the Australian Open, but his win put to a end a run of seven straight losses (including Challengers). Groth will have his work cut out in the next round, as he faces perhaps the star name of 2016 in Austrian Dominic Thiem.

American Rajeev Ram continued his fine season, defeating Evgeny Donskoy 7-5, 7-6 to move into the second round. He will face Tomas Berdych. Fernando Verdasco will join him, as the former Grand Slam semi-finalist defeated Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller in straight sets 7-6, 6-3.

Lucas Pouille  progressed, erasing an early break for Teymuraz Gabashvili before winning 7-5, 6-3. There was disappointment for a highly-regarded prospect though as Andrey Rublev fell to defeat against Inigo Cervantes 6-4, 6-2 in just over one hour. Rublev failed to make much headway against the Cervantes serves, as the Spaniard dropped just a single point in the match when he landed the first serve.

Dennis Novikov was the first of the home contingent to fall, as the qualifier was beaten 6-1, 7-6 by Dusan Lajovic. Novikov played a poor first set, but retrieved a break late in the second to force a tiebreak, only for the Serbian to win seven-five. Lajovic will face 2014 US Open Champion Marin Cilic in the second round.

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Nuno Borges Denies Erratic Nadal First Title In Two Years At Swedish Open

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Nuno Borges has become the second Portuguese player in history to win an ATP title after beating a lacklustre Rafael Nadal in straight sets at the Bastad Open in Sweden. 

Borges, who was seeded seventh in the tournament, capitalised on his rival’s patchy play and produced a series of impressive drop shots to claim a 6-3, 6-2, victory. He has dropped only one set in the entire tournament which was in the second round against compatriot Henrique Rocha. The maiden title triumph will elevate him to a ranking high of 42 on Monday. 

The run to the title follows what has been a difficult past few weeks for the 27-year-old, who had suffered first round losses at four consecutive tournaments before Bastad. At the start of this season, he achieved his best-ever Grand Slam run by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open. 

“I was wishing for this moment for a while. It’s crazy,” Borges said during his on-court interview.
“I know we all wanted Rafa to win, and a part of me wished that, too. But something even bigger inside of me really pushed through today.
“Through the emotions, through all the ups and downs. It wasn’t about playing my best tennis today. It was just coming up in the big moments where I wanted and I couldn’t have played better.”

Throughout the clash, 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal struggled with his serve and was broken five times. He was particularly fragile behind his second serve where he won just 28% of points (5/18). Serving has been an issue for Nadal throughout the tournament with him getting broken 16 times across his three previous matches but in all of those encounters, he managed to find a way to win. However, he was unable to find a way to beat Borges. 

“Many congratulations to Nuno. You play great during the whole week, so you deserve it more than anybody else here.” Nadal said in tribute to his opponent. 
“I have been here during the whole week enjoying this amazing place. I really had fun on the court. Played some very long, some good matches, some not that good moments.
Today wasn’t my best day but all the credit to Nuno. He played very well and it was so difficult for me.”

Nadal, whose quarter-final match against Mariano Navone lasted a marathon of four hours, was seeking to win the trophy for the first time since 2005. He was playing in his first tournament since losing in the first round of the French Open to Alexander Zverev. 

“I don’t know if I will be back here playing, probably not, but I enjoy it a lot. Playing for one more time here, without a doubt.” He said. 

As for Borges, he has achieved one of his childhood dreams which was to play Nadal in the final of an ATP event. The only other player from Portugal to have won a title on the men’s tour is Joao Sousa.

“It’s my first time here and I never thought I would be here playing in a full stadium against Rafa on clay. It is a dream come true and right now I’m living in the clouds.” Borges concluded. 

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Matteo Berrettini Outlines Goal For 2025 After Winning Gstaad Open

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Matteo Berrettini - Gstaad 2024 (foto X @atptour)

Matteo Berrettini has secured his return to the ATP top 50 for the first time in almost a year after winning the Swiss Open. 

The Italian defeated France’s Quentin Halys 6-3, 6-1, in less than an hour during a rain-interrupted final in Gstaad. It is the second time Berrettini has won the tournament after 2018 when he won his first ATP trophy. He now has nine ATP titles to his name with five of those victories occurring on the clay. 

“It seems like it was yesterday that I won my first title here six years ago. But, a lot of matches, a lot of things happened,” the 28-year-old said during his on-court interview. 
“I’m just so glad that I can keep playing, keep enjoying. I think I found that energy of six years ago during this week.
“This place is special for me. I’m just so happy.”

Berrettini was given a stern test early on by Hayls who entered the main draw via qualifying and beat fifth seed Jan-Lennard Struff in the semi-finals. Early in the first set, he fended off a trio of break points when down 0-40 at 3-3. Then in the following game, Berrettini broke before proceedings came to a halt at 5-3 due to rain. 

The sixth seed dominated the match when play resumed by winning seven out of the next eight games en route to victory. Impressively winning 90% of his first service points and 88% of his second. 

“At the beginning, I was trying to figure out how to play because, during the whole week, the conditions were really different,” Berrettini explained.
“Every day was different. It was really windy and then we had a bit more wet. Then today it was really cold and and drizzling
“I was able to not get broken from Love 40. I think from there on I found the right energy. When we stopped, I came back on court, I was I found the perfect focus.”

Sunday’s victory will move Berrettini up the rankings to 50th in the world in what will be his best position since August 2023. The rise follows what has been a roller-coaster few months of the Tour. Last season he was sidelined from tournaments due to a tear in an oblique muscle before injuring his ankle at the US Open. Then in January, a foot injury forced him out of the Australian Open. 

“We decided it wasn’t the year that we would think about ranking because there were so many uncertainties, so many doubts,” he explains.
“The most important thing is that I’m healthy and I’m playing good.
“I think when it’s, when that thing is those things are there, then everything can come. It would be nice.”

With the American hardcourt swing approaching, Berrettini has his eyes on being ranked high enough to be seeded at the Australian Open. 

“To be in the top 30 in order to be sitting in Australia I think that’s, that’s a pretty good goal that I can have right now.” He outlined. 
“But, again, everything can happen, hopefully, a good run also in the US Open and a US swing. I just want to keep enjoying and being healthy.”

Berrettini’s win-loss record on the Tour is now 16-6 so far this season. 

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F1 Star Russell Receiving Tips From Djokovic On Longevity In Sport

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Novak Djokovic is a renowned figure in the world of tennis but his influence also extends into other sports with Formula One being one of those.

Mercedes driver George Russell has been sharing ideas with the former world No.1 about staying in the sport for as long as possible. Djokovic, who turned 37 in May, is the oldest player in the world’s top 30 in the PIF ATP rankings. He has won 12 out of his 24 Grand Slam titles after turning 30. 

Russell, who is 26, said the two got talking after bumping into each other at the gym. The Brit has achieved two victories and three pole positions so far in his career on the F1 circuit. He is currently in seventh position in the 2024 Driver Standings with 111 points. 

I bumped into him at the gym, and we walked home together,” Russell told the Reuters News Agency.

“We’ve shared ideas together, and he’s been really open with me with things he’s trying and what’s working for him. We’re just talking, many different ideas. Physical and mental.

“I don’t want to share too much because they are private conversations, but I just really like how he’s constantly wanting to learn more and that inspires me to learn more about myself, what works for me, what works for them and pushing the boundaries.”

The hope for Russell is that the tips he receives from Djokovic will help him in the future so he can continue driving for as long as possible. He will continue driving for Mercedes until at least 2025 which is when his contract renewal is due.

“There’s a lot that he knows that I won’t and vice versa, and you’ve got to take all these ideas from the best in each profession and see what you can take for yourself,” he said.

“I feel fit, healthy and in a great place right now at the age of 26 but I need to make sure that I’m fit, healthy and as motivated in 10 years’ time, 15 years’ time, who knows, 20 years’ time.

“I’m trying to put in work now.”

Russel is a tennis fan and describes the sport as ‘probably his favourite to watch.‘ He attended Wimbledon earlier this year with his girlfriend and caught up with the Serbian tennis star

Despite his age, Djokovic has no plans to retire and has stated intended his intention to return to Wimbledon next year following his defeat to Carlos Alcaraz in the final seven days ago. In recent years he has made adjustments to his schedule to prioritise the Grand Slam events.

“I don’t have anything else in my thoughts right now that this is my last Wimbledon.” He said.

“I really want to play at least whatever. I don’t know. I don’t have any limitations in my mind. I still want to keep going and play as long as I feel like I can play at this high level.”

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