Gerry Weber Open – Revised Expectations - UBITENNIS
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Gerry Weber Open – Revised Expectations

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By Cheryl Jones

As Robert Burns warned centuries ago in a poem, “The best laid plans of mice and men – often go askew”. That happened in Halle today when Philipp Kohlschreiber had to pull out of the Gerry Weber Open.

Yesterday, against Ivo Karlovic, he looked strong. Today, a hasty press conference was called and alas, no more for him here. He will travel to his home and have an MRI on his left hip to make certain that the treatment he is seeking will be all that is necessary to give that hip a rest before heading to Wimbledon.

He said that he had suffered a strain in the Stuttgart tournament where he eventually finished as runner-up. He had faced Dominic Thiem, (who oddly enough was supposed to be his opponent this Friday afternoon), in a two-day final that wrapped up on Monday of this week. It surely left him tired and likely numb as he waded into the fray here in Halle. He said that in the match against Karlovic he felt the strain, but with his win, hoped that it was merely something that would disappear after a good night’s sleep. That didn’t happen. Today, his personal physio, and the Physio (a physical therapist employed by the GWO) for the tournament agreed that the injury was serious enough to require some down time in order to give the hip a time to mend itself.

When he was asked about his plans for Wimbledon, he said, “It is my goal to play, but moving on the lawn is full of intense rallies and right now, I just had to make the decision to withdraw.”

Thiem moved into the semis with a Walkover. He is ranked seventh in the world and seems to be the hottest young professional in today’s game.

Today was Fitness Day at the tournament. While Kohlschreiber’s fitness isn’t an issue, after having performed on a tennis court for the past ten days, others’ fitness has to be questioned. Cramping and complaints have often been the bugaboo that has ended many a career prematurely. Today’s game requires more than a modicum of preparation to compete day after day.

A prime example of that necessity is thirty-four year-old Roger Federer. He has spent many years going far into tournament after tournament. He will be moving to the semi-final round after a match that ended with a 6-1, 7-6 score today. The match had its ups and downs after the first set seemed to point to an easy skate into the next round for the Swiss maestro. He faced David Goffin in the Match of the Day on center court. It was interesting to watch the player from Belgium skillfully dance away from any ball coming at what would have been his backhand. Goffin uses two hands in a motion that seems awkward and definitely not a natural response to balls that fly away from his forehand. However, in the Tie-Break in the second set, he utilized both his hands as he managed many a winner with those hands gripping the racquet handle. But the skill of Federer, who has a more fluid backhand, forehand and virtually every other feint, bob or weave that has led him to a career that has many pundits saying he is one of the best ever to play the game.

Tomorrow will be a showdown that begins at noon. Federer will face Alexander Zverev of Germany who has a game that has made it to the “You’ve got to see this young man play” stage and Dominic Thiem, the Austrian whiz kid, will face Florian Mayer, another German who defeated Andreas Seppi late today 7-6, 6-3.

Even though Kohlschreiber had to withdraw to nurse his aching hip, Germany will be well represented in tomorrow’s contests. Perhaps there will even be one in the final on Sunday.

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Ons Jabeur Becomes Latest Olympics Withdrawal

Ons Jabeur has played the last three Olympic Games but will not compete in Paris.

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Ons Jabeur has become the latest tennis player to withdraw from the Olympic Games.

The Tunisian would have been an outside contender to claim an Olympic medal for her country but has now withdrawn from the event.

Writing a statement on social media, Jabeur took the decision in order to look after her health as she aims to prepare for Wimbledon and the US Open.

It could be Jabeur’s last chance to compete at the Olympic Games with her career nearing towards an end.

The Wimbledon finalist has competed at the last three Olympic Games but lost in the first round on all three occasions.

Jabeur joins Emma Raducanu, Aryna Sabalenka, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev as the players that are absent from this summer’s event.

The tennis event at the Olympics will start on the 27th of July and will take place at Roland Garros in Paris.

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Milos Raonic Beats Norrie; Holger Rune Falls to Thompson on Day 1 at Queens

MIlos Raonic hit 47 a record 47 aces on his way to victory as Frances Tiafoe retires against Hijikata, but Dimitrov goes through.

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Canada’s Milos Raonic blasted a record-breaking 47 aces on his way to a nail-biting 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-6(9) over home hope Cameron Norrie at the cinch Championships in London.

Former Wimbledon runner-up Raonic won 86% behind first serve, and saved both breakpoints he faced, but the 47 service winners was the most on the ATP tour for over 30 years and he squeezed through the two-hour fifteen-minute contest saving two match points in the final set tie-breaker.

“[Serving] is a big part of my game,” he said after the match “If I didn’t have my serve my career would be very different. My serve has always been the most important shot to me. This small record, it’s something special, something meaningful. So overall, a very positive thing and a fun stat to be proud of.”

Meanwhile Norrie remained upbeat despite the loss and firmly believes his form will turnaround soon: “I’m feeling great about my game but not getting results. It’ll come good, I have a lot to be positive about and won’t dwell on it.”

In the upset of the day, Australia’s Jordan Thompson sent seventh seed Holger Rune packing with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 win putting him into the second round and a possible meeting with Andy Murray. In the first meeting between the two players, it was the 30-year-old who is ranked 43 in the world who played the important points better and got more balls back in court compared to Rune, who slipped on court and complained to the umpire about the surface being too wet.

In other results, qualifier Rinky Hijikata went through when Frances Tiafoe retired at the start of the third set with an injury to his right hip after a fall. The American took the first set 7-5 but the Australian hit back taking the second 6-4.

First on court today was former champion Grigor Dimitrov who cruised through against Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-2 in just over an hour, breaking the Frenchman’s serve five times, while the final match of the day was suspended and will be completed tomorrow. Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo was leading Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 2-0 in the decider having split the first two sets.

“I was very happy with the way I started the match. I think I set the bar high and wanted to be steady the whole time,” Dimitrov said after his match. “Serve and return I just tried to focus on, they are the fundamentals of this surface. As the match went on, I felt more solid and more secure, so I am very happy.”

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Carlos Alcaraz Feeling Fresh Ahead Of Queen’s Club

Carlos Alcaraz will look to defend his Queen’s Club title.

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Carlos Alcaraz is raring to go ahead of the grass court season as he prepares for his Wimbledon title defence at Queen’s Club.

The Spaniard is living in a dream right now having won his third Grand Slam title at Roland Garros followed by the news he will team up with Rafael Nadal at the Olympics.

It’s been an incredible last month and Alcaraz reflected on his title run in Paris and spoke about his vacation in Ibiza as he refreshed himself ahead of the grass court season, “I had a few days off. I went to Ibiza with a group of friends. I had fun. It was a great time celebrating Roland Garros,” Alcaraz told the ATP website.

“For me as a player, I need this kind of thing. Every player is different but for me to reach my best tennis I have to separate the professional part from the personal part. I have some days off to forget a little bit that I am a professional player. Being with my friends and family means I can rest a little bit.

“Roland Garros was a fantastic two weeks for me, a dream come true lifting the trophy.”

However tennis is a brutal sport and now Alcaraz’s attention turns to the grass court season where he had amazing memories last year.

The Spaniard won a five set thriller with Novak Djokovic to win his maiden Wimbledon title as he enters this year as defending champion.

Now Alcaraz is ready to attack the grass court season and is only focused on the next month ahead, “I have more matches in my bank on grass and now with the great run I had last year at Queen’s and Wimbledon I know a little bit on how to play and understand the game a little bit on grass,” the Spaniard explained ahead of Queen’s Club.

“I am more mature playing on this surface. The first practice I have done here, my movement wasn’t as good as last year but it is a slow process, so I have to be really focused in every practice and every match. We have to be focused on the tournament that we are playing right now.

“But right now my mind has to be here on the grass to be ready. As soon as I can to play good tennis and to get ready for Wimbledon. Right now my focus is on the grass and then after that, my mind will be on clay again to be at my best for the Olympics.”

Alcaraz will aim for a big run at Queen’s Club and will begin his campaign against Francisco Cerundolo on Tuesday afternoon.

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