John Isner Praises ‘Good Guy’ Juan Martin Del Potro Following Win At Queen’s - UBITENNIS
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John Isner Praises ‘Good Guy’ Juan Martin Del Potro Following Win At Queen’s

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John Isner in action on day 3 of the 2016 Aegon Championships (source: Zimbio.com)

John Isner didn’t shy away from showing his appreciation to Juan Martin Del Potro following his 7-6(2), 6-1, win in the first round of the Aegon Championships. 

 

Seeded seventh at Aegon Championships, Isner was pushed all the way by former US Open champion Del Potro. The world No.17 fended off a total of six break points within two service games to maintain the advantage in the match. Nevertheless, the 6-foot-10 player was able to close the proceedings in straight sets by capitalising on some errors coming from across the court as well as producing 25 aces.

Towards the end of the match Del Potro suffered a duo of on-court slips, but fortunately managed to resume play. Those slips handed a huge advantage to Isner, who was able to dictate points against his increasingly cautious opponent. In typical Isner fashion, he clinched the victory with an ace.

“At the beginning of the match, it was pretty slippery, especially for me,” Isner said about the conditions.
“I haven’t practiced on the grass that much since I arrive because of the rain. It was a little bit difficult as far as it goes.”
“As the match progressed, I started to feel a lot more comfortable out there.”

The encounter between Isner and Del Potro was their first since 2013. Following his win at the Queen’s club, the 31-year-old spoke highly about the hugely popular Del Potro. This week is the Argentine’s seventh tournament since returning to the tour after a 10-month hiatus due to a wrist injury.

I don’t know if he is 100% healthy right now, but tennis definitely needs him in the game. He is one of the most popular players without a doubt.” He told ubitennis.net.

Del Potro’s popularity is well known. Whether he plays in Buenos Aires, Madrid or London, the Argentine has been always a crowd favourite. His Twitter account currently has 2.32 million followers (three times more that Stan Wawrinka) and on Facebook he has over 1.76 million likes. It is without a doubt that the former grand slam champion is a prominent figure in tennis, but what is it that makes him so likeable?

“I don’t know. He just is. He’s pretty affable,” Isner told ubitennis about the reason  for Del Potro’s popularity.
“He’s just a good guy. He’s so laid back. Everyone in the locker room likes him. He’s just a big chill dude and doesn’t seem to have a worry in the world.”

In light of the match-fixing and doping scandals tainting tennis this year, the Del Potro return is one of the happier highlights for the sport. He is certainly a figure to look up to, or in 6-foot-10 Inser’s case, look down to.

“I’m older than him, so I don’t look up to him in that sense,” the American replied.
“It’s someone that I have the utmost respect for  considering he pretty much reached the top of the game and has been out for so long since then.”

Isner might of won the first round encounter, but it has done little to dent the seemingly flawless image of Juan Martin del Potro.

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Andrey Rublev reaches his second consecutive final in Hamburg

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World number 14 Andrey Rublev reached his second consecutive final at the European Open in Hamburg after a 6-4 6-2 win over Casper Ruud in the first semifinal under a closed roof on Centre Court. In last year’s edition of the Hamburg tournament Rublev beat Ruud 3-6 7-5 6-3 in the second round. 

 

Rublev earned an early break at the start of the first set. Ruud broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Rublev got another break in the next game with a backhand drop shot winner and wrapped up with a service hold at love after 50 minutes. Ruud received treatment on his right shoulder before the second set.

Rublev went up a double break at the start of the second set to take a 3-0 lead. Rublev pulled one break back in the fourth game and held serve to claw his way back to 2-3. Rublev broke for the third time at love and converted his second match point with a forehand winner. 

Rublev has reached his third final in 2020 after winning back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide last January. He became the first player since Dominik Hrbaty in 2004 to win two consecutive titles in the first two weeks of the year.  

Rublev has improved his win-loss record to 24-6 this year. Only Novak Djokovic has won more matches this year with 31 victories in 32 matches.

Ruud was playing in his fourth semifinal from five clay tournaments in 2020. The Norwegian player won his maiden title in Buenos Aires and finished runner-up in the Santiago de Chile final. 

“It is my first ever time that two years in a row I reached a final at the same tournament. For the moment, it is the most special tournament for me. We will see how it goes tomorrow”, said Rublev. 

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Elina Svitolina sets up final against Elena Rybakina in Strasbourg

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Elina Svitolina secured her spot in her final of the 2020 season after a hard-fought 6-2 4-6 6-4 win over number 4 seed Aryna Sabalenka after 1 hour and 54 minutes in the semifinal at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. 

Svitolina avenged a three-set defeat against Sabalenka in their only previous head-to-head clash in Wuhan 2018. 

Svitolina converted six of her ten break points and dropped her serve four times. 

Svitolina earned her first break in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead. Sabalenka got the break back with a series of forehands at 2-1. Svitolina held serve for 3-2 before forcing an error with a forehand to earn three break points. Svitolina converted her first chance after a wide backhand from Sabalenka. Svitolina fended off a break point before earning her first set point in the eighth game after a double fault from Sabalenka. Svitolina converted her second set point with a dropshot forehand winner. 

Sabalenka served well in the second set and broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead after a forehand unforced error from Svitolina. In the eighth game Sabalenka fended off a break point with a crosscourt backhand. 

Sabalenka held serve at 15 in the 10th game with two forehand winners to close out the second set 6-4 forcing the match to the decider. 

Svitolina broke serve for 2-0 in the third set, but Sabalenka pulled the break back in the fifth game and held serve at love to draw level to 3-3. Svitolina got another break in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead after consecutive backhand errors by Sabalenka. Svitolina made a double fault at 30-30 to face  a break point, as she was serving for the match. Sabalenka converted her chance with a volley winner. Sabalenka went up a 40-0 in the 10th game, but Svitolina drew level after two double faults and a wide forehand from Sabalenka. Svitolina earned a match point after a long forehand by Sabalenka. Svitolina sealed the win after Sabalenka made her third double fault.  

The Ukrainian player is bidding to win her second title in 2020 after her triumph in Monterrey before the lockdown. 

“Winning titles is something that you always want to do when you enter the tournament. Every final is special. You try to give everything that you have to win the trophy. Each match, I am playing better and better. I played some good matches against top players, in Rome as well. It’s important for me to take every match and move forward from there”. 

Svitolina set up a final against 21-year-old Elena Rybakina, who beat Nao Hibino 6-3 6-4 after 1 hour and 16 minutes to advance to the fifth final of her career. Rybakina won the second title of her career in Hobart last January and reached finals in Shenzhen, St. Petersburg and Dubai before the lockdown. The Kazakh player has improved her win-loss record to 21-4 record during 2020. 

Rybakina, who beat Hibino at the 2019 French Open, dropped 18 points in 10 service games and saved all three break points she faced. Hibino faced two break points in the second game, which featured six deuces. Rybakina saved both break points and held serve with a service winner in the fifth game. 

Rybakina earned a break in the sixth game when Hibino netted a forehand and held serve with an ace. The number 5 seed closed out the first set 6-3 with a hold at love in the ninth game after 37 minutes. 

Rybakina got a break at love, as Hibino made a double fault in the first game of the second set, and consolidated the lead in the second game with a backhand winner. After six holds of serve Rybakina saved a break point in the eighth game with two winners and held serve at 5-4. 

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Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas advance to the semifinal in Hamburg

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Fifth seed and 2019 Hamburg finalist Andrey Rublev hit 30 winners in his 6-2 7-5 win over Roberto Bautista Agut in 1 hour and 31 minutes to reach the semifinal at the European Open in Hamburg at the renovated Am Rothenbaum venue. 

 

Rublev earned an early break in the opening game, as Bautista Agut missed a backhand down the line. Rublev went up a double break to take a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner. Bautista Agut pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Rublev broke for the third time in the seventh game to open up a 5-2 lead and closed out the first set in the eighth game with a backhand volley after 34 minutes. 

Rublev went up a break in the third game at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. Bautista Agut broke back to draw level to 2-2. Rublev converted his third break point in the fifth game and held serve at love to take a 4-2 lead. Bautista Agut broke back for the second time to draw level to 4-4. Rublev broke Bautista Agut at 5-5 30-40 with two forehands at the net and sealed the win in the 12th game, when Bautista Agut hit a backhand return into the net. 

Rublev will face either Ugo Humbert or Casper Ruud in the semifinal.  

“Roberto is one of the most consistent players on Tour. It’s really tough to beat him. You need to play at an amazing level and be really fit. He never gives you an easy match. I am really pleased as I played well, even in the first set, in the spite of the score. There were long games and I am happy to get through the second set”, said Rublev. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas recovered from 3-5 in the tie-break of the tie-break in his 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 over Dusan Lajovic in 1 hour and 38 minutes to reach the semifinal. 

In the opening set Tsitsipas saved a break point in the fifth game and two more chances in the seventh game. The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Tsitsipas rallied from 3-5 down in the tie-break by winning four consecutive points to take a 7-5 lead after 57 minutes. 

The second set started with three straight breaks. Tsitsipas opened up a 3-1 lead with a forehand winner. The Greek player broke twice in a row to open up a 5-1 lead. Tsitsipas missed out on two match points on Lajovic’s serve at 5-1 and Lajovic held serve after three deuces. Tsitsipas closed out on his third match point to clinch his 21st win in 29 matches this year. 

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