Tomas Berdych retirement against Philipp Kohlschreiber paves the way for a potential comeback for Germany in Davis Cup - UBITENNIS
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Tomas Berdych retirement against Philipp Kohlschreiber paves the way for a potential comeback for Germany in Davis Cup

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Berdych looked to feeling the effects of his efforts from Friday and Saturday, as a hamstring injury forced him to retire against Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Philipp Kohlschreiber was the beneficiary of an injury retirement from Tomas Berdych to ensure that the Davis Cup World Group First Round encounter between Germany and the Czech Republic would go to a fifth and deciding rubber. Kohlschreiber was leading by two sets, 6-3, 7-5, when Berdych retired with a hamstring injury.

Berdych had led the head-to-head with Kohlschreiber 8-1 coming into the tie, but Berdych required significant treatment in the fifth game of the match, and never truly looked comfortable on court, surrendering two break in the first set.

Berdych did at least find some success in the second set, holding serve for most of the set with more comfort than in the first. Yet he could not find any way to get engaged against the Kohlschreiber serve, failing to earn any break points. Berdych was continually serving from behind in the set and he was finally broken at 5-6, handing the German a precious two-set lead.

It looked a long way back for the Czech, who had played an epic five-set match against Alexander Zverev, as well as the doubles with Radek Stepanek on Saturday. He then decided to retire, handing the victory to Kohlschreiber, and ensuring that the tie would be decided by that match between Alexander Zverev and Lukas Rosol at the arena in Hannover. Both men lost five-set matches on Friday Zverev to Berdych, and Rosol to Kohlschreiber.

Rosol leads the head-to-head with Zverev 2-0, having not dropped a set. It is worth noting though that of the four sets that Rosol has won, three have gone to tie-breaks, suggesting that yet another close match could decide this tie.

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Jack Draper Into Stuttgart Final; Faces Berrettini in Title Match

British 22-year-old left-hander serving bombs, on cusp of first ATP tour title

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Jack Draper - (foto X @atptour)

New British number one Jack Draper reached the final of the Boss Open in Stuttgart following an impressive 6-3, 6-3, victory over American’s Brandon Nakashima and now faces former champion Matteo Berrettini in tomorrow’s final.

The young Brit put in another commanding serving display, winning a stunning 94% of points behind his first serve, as well as mixing in strong returns and delicate drop shots to dispatch his opponent in just 72 minutes. 

“I’ve been putting together some really good tennis this week, I’m playing as well as I can, I feel really confident in my game,” said Draper on court after the match. “You got to take your chances at this level because all these players are here to beat you and they believe they can beat you. So, you have to believe that extra.”

Draper held a breakpoint in the opening service game but could not take advantage. In the next game he was 0-30 down on his serve, but in a sign of things to come he pulled out three aces to signal his intent. The next few games were more even but at three games all Draper put Nakashima under serious pressure and finally broke through after his fourth breakpoint in the game, clenching his fist to his team. He broke again to take the first set 6-3 allowing him the advantage of serving first in the second set.

Draper made his move in the when 3-2 up; a lovely drop shot, then a nice net exchange forced an error from his opponent. Nakashima hit his third double fault and Draper’s strong backhand down the line won him the game. Another easy service game with two more aces followed and Draper stormed to a 5-2 lead in just 23 minutes. Nakashima held the next game from 0-30 down forcing Draper to serve out, and despite missing two volleys he closed the match with his thirteenth ace. 

In his press conference after the match, Draper spoke about how comfortable he feels on the grass: “I reached the junior final at Wimbledon. A few years ago, I played my first professional tournaments on grass, had good and not so good results. Last year I completely missed the season. This year it was new, just because I’m British doesn’t mean I’m automatically good on it. But it suits my game, my service is good and I want to build on that.”

Draper follows in Andy Murray’s footsteps who also reached the final two years ago and spoke about his influence in his journey to the top of the British rankings: “obviously, I have been looking up to Andy since I was a little kid, and I remember going to watch him all over the world and I am very proud to be following in his footsteps. I didn’t think too much about [the rankings]. I always wanted to be one of the best players in the world. When that comes with the home No. 1, of course it’s great. I had Murray and Norrie as role models, they helped me a lot. It’s a great honour now and a great boost for my career.”

Draper now has the chance to win his first tour level title, and looking ahead to tomorrow’s final, he spoke about his new aggressive mindset: “[I need to] recover well, rest well and give it my all, that’s all I can do. Everyone here is an incredible player; anyone can beat anyone. Matteo plays at such a high level, but I have to play my A-game to have a chance. I lost the last two finals in close 3-set matches against good players. Hopefully I’ll play the game differently now. I was waiting for mistakes back then, now I’ve developed. I’ll do my best and see what comes out.”

Draper also spoke about how he feels totally at home at the tournament, one of the smaller events on tour allowing fans much closer access to the players who regularly walk past without layers of security and bodyguards.

“The German tournaments are so friendly. It’s nice to be in a clubhouse, you’re treated well, lots of fans and kids come,” said Draper. “This atmosphere makes it incredible to play here, whether you win or not. It’s important to me to feel at home at a tournament and they’ve done that really well here. I don’t speak much German. Thank you, that’s it. I like the country, the food is good, the people welcome you. They love tennis here, they like the players, it’s a nice atmosphere and I like being there for the fans.”

Berrettini awaits 

In the final, he faces two-time former champion Matteo Berrettini, who came through a tough first set and was triple breakpoint down when serving for it before running away with the match 6-4, 6-0 against compatriot Lorenzo Musetti, courtesy of 17 winners and a healthy 77% points won at net.

“I am very happy,” said the Italian afterwards. “It feels more difficult every time but then I find a way to play better. There must be something here. I’ve always played successfully here. I really missed the feeling of playing successfully. It means a lot to me to be back in the final here.”

The 28-year-old has won four titles on the faster surface and is now going for his third Stuttgart title. “It’s just special here,” he said. “There is a bit of altitude, but you can definitely feel it. I felt at home here from the very first time. Then there’s my BOSS family and there are a lot of Italians here. It’s a big Italian community. Even the ball kids are growing up with me. I can still remember when they were smaller. It means I’m getting older too, but that’s fine. I like being here.”

In his press conference, Berrettini opened up on how he has been able to deal with missing so much of the tour due to injury: “what I missed most because of the injuries was the competition. That also made me sad because I missed so much. That I couldn’t play Rome for three years in a row, for example. Now I’m going to miss Paris/Olympics, that was always my lifelong dream. It’s very hard as an athlete. At the same time, our season is very long with many important tournaments. When I missed the clay season, I told myself that I would enjoy the grass season all the more. I try to see the glass half full, not half empty. It was the right move to let the sadness come first, that’s normal. Then you pull yourself out of it.”

Finally, as he looked ahead to tomorrow’s final, he recognised the threat posed by the young Brit: “First time against Draper: I haven’t even practiced with him yet, if I’m not mistaken. He has a lot of talent, serves great and is a lefty. You don’t beat players like that easily. It will be a tough match, but at the same time a first meeting and a final. I hope that my coaches have studied him. I will definitely enjoy the final.”

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Novak Djokovic Starts Rehab Ahead Of Ambitious Wimbledon Return

Novak Djokovic could make an ambitious return to Wimbledon.

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(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Novak Djokovic has started his rehab after having surgery on a meniscus injury he suffered at Roland Garros.

The Serb suffered the injury during his fourth round clash with Francisco Cerundolo where Djokovic came back from two sets to one down to claim victory.

However Djokovic played no further part at Roland Garros as he suffered a bad meniscus injury and had to withdraw from the tournament.

It resulted in Djokovic having to have surgery the following day in Paris as he gave up his world number one ranking to Jannik Sinner.

Now the road to recovery starts for Djokovic as he posted on Instagram the start of his rehabilitation programme.

Usually the programme takes three weeks to six months to recover from but Djokovic’s injury wasn’t as bad as first reported.

It remains to be seen as to whether Djokovic will make his return at Wimbledon or whether he will wait until the Olympic Games to make his return.

Last year Djokovic reached the final at Wimbledon before losing to Carlos Alcaraz in a five set epic.

However it would be no surprise to see Djokovic withdraw as the one thing the Serb is yet to achieve is to win Olympic Gold.

A fully healed Djokovic could be tough to stop in Paris as he looks to achieve a lifetime goal.

Wimbledon starts on the 1st of July while the Olympics starts on the 27th of July.

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Determined Andreescu Ready To Maintain Consistency After Defeating Osaka

Bianca Andreescu is back to her best after defeating Naomi Osaka in s-Hertogenbosch.

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(@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

Bianca Andreescu is ready to maintain consistency as her form continues to improve with her latest victory coming against Naomi Osaka in S-Hertogenbosch.

In a battle of the former US Open champions, Andreescu defeated Osaka 6-4 3-6 7-6(3) to move into the semi-finals.

The Canadian is only playing her second tournament this year after her run to the third round at Roland Garros, losing to eventual finalist Jasmine Paolini.

However that hasn’t stopped Andreescu from producing incredible performances as has gone back to the variety that earned her the US Open title five years ago.

Speaking about the match Andreescu praised her consistency on return as she admitted that she really wanted to the victory, “So the key for. me was to stay as consistent as possible,” Andreescu told the WTA website.

“My return today, the goal was to just bunt it back and then take control of the second serve. At 5-2, I might have let up a little bit on my serve. I was saying to myself ‘Go for it’ but the other side of myself said ‘Calm down’. So I got a bit conflicted with that.

“But really could have gone either way. It was two points difference maybe, in the whole match. I never give up. I ran a lot today. More than her for sure. I really wanted it. I really wanted it today and I think that made the big difference.”

Since that US Open title win five years ago, Andreescu has failed to live up to her potential as she has gained the reputation of being one of the most injury prone players on the tour.

Now the Canadian is aiming to find some consistent playing time as she aims to rebuild her ranking.

Speaking ahead of the semi-finals in Holland, Andreescu is not getting to far ahead of herself, “These are the reason we play this sport,” Andreescu commented after beating former world number one Osaka.

“Winning against players like this, at least for me, it really shows me where my level is at. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself because every day is different. I just want to take it in and use it to my advantage.”

Next for Andreescu will be Dalma Galfi in the semi-finals as she plays her first WTA semi-final since January 2023.

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