Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic advance to the Wimbledon second round in three sets, as Ivo Karlovic beats his compatriot Borna Coric - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic advance to the Wimbledon second round in three sets, as Ivo Karlovic beats his compatriot Borna Coric

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Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic advanced to the second round by beating Sam Groth and Pablo Carreno Busta respectively in three sets. Ivo Karlovic won the all-Croatian match against his younger compatriot Borna Coric in three sets.

Kei Nishikori broke six times to beat Sam Groth 6-4 6-3 7-5. Nishikori will face either Julien Benneteau or Ilya Marchenko. Nishikori took a medical time-out after winning the second set to love to receive treatment to his torso. The Japanese player was forced to withdraw from the Gerry Weber Open in Halle earlier this month.

In the fourth game of the opening set Nishikori saved three break points at 1-2. Nishikori broke serve in the fifth game and never looked back to win the win the first set 6-4. Nishikori started the second set with a break in the first game as Groth made a double fault. The Australian player broke straight back in the second game. Nishikori got another break in the fifth game for 3-2 en route to winning the second set 6-3.

Nishikori broke serve in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead. Groth broke back in the next game for 2-1. Groth earned two break points at 5-5 but Nishikori saved them before breaking serve in the 12th game to take the third set 7-5

Milos Raonic beat Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-4. The Canadian star fired 27 aces and faced two break points in the third game of the second set, which he faced with his powerful serve.

Carreno Busta fended off the only break points he faced in the first service game of the opening set. In the tie.break Raonic fought back from 3-4 by winning the final four points to win the first set. The first set went on serve until 5-4 for Raonic in the tie-break when Carreno Busta made a forehand error and a double fault.

Raonic got two consecutive breaks in the third and fifth games of the second set to wrap uo the second set 6-2. He got one more break in the third game of the third set. Raonic did not convert the first two match points but wrapped up the match in the next game on his seventh match point.

Raonic will take on Andreas Seppi, who beat Guillermi Garcia Lopez 6-2 6-4 6-0. Raonic won his only head-to-head match against Seppi in in the 2013 Davis Cup.

Thirty-seven year-old Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic beat his 19-year-old compatriot Borna Coric 7-6 (10-8) 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in one of the most interesting matches of the first day of the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament at the famous All-England Club. The Croatian expereienced player hit 26 aces and faced only one break point in the eighth game of the second set.

There were no break point chances until the tie-break of the first set. Coric got a mini-break on the first point of the tie-break to build up a 4-2 lead but Karlovic fought back by winning three consecutive points to take a 5-4 lead.  There were no mini-breaks in the next 10 points until 9-8. Coric did not convert two set points before dropping a point on his serve to lose the tie-break 10-8.

Both players earned their first break points in the seventh and eighth games of the second set but failed to convert them. The second set came down to the tie-break. Coric got two mini-breaks to build up a 6-2 lead to earn four set points. Karlovic bounced back by winning four consecutive points to draw level to 6-6 before fending off another set point. Coric did not convert five set points before Karlovic got a decisive mini-break to convert his first set point for 9-7. Karlovic clinched his only break of the match in the 10th game to close out the third set 6-4. Karlovic, who reached the quarter final in 2009, will face Lukas Lacko in the second round.

Another Croatian player Marin Cilic made a good start to his Wimbledon campaign with a 6-3 7-5 6-3 win. The 2014 US Open champion fired 18 aces and won 89 percent of his first serve points to reach the second round at Wimbledon for the seventh time in his career.

Sam Querrey fought back from two sets down to overcome a marathon match against Lukas Rosol 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-4 12-10 in a marathon match.

Adrian Mannarino beat British rising star Kyle Edmund 6-2 7-5 6-4. The Frenchman converted seven of his ten break points. Both players struggled on serve in the first set and faced break points in five consecutive games. Mannarino got three consecutive breaks to win the first set 6-2. The Frenchman clinched his fourth consecutive break at the start of the second set. Edmund broke back to draw level to 5-5 as Mannarino was sreing for the second set. Mannarino broke again in the 11th game before serving out for the set in the next game. Both players traded breaks at the start of the third set. The set went on serve until the 9th game when Mannarino got his second break of the third set. Mannarino served out to love to clinch the match.

Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-4 6-4 to clinch his biggest win at Wimbledon since 2013 when he beat Roger Federer. Pierre- Hugues Herbert overcame Phillip Kohlschreiber in four sets 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-3.

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Daniil Medvedev Targets French Open Breakthrough After Rome Disappointment

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Daniil Medvedev believes there will be more title contenders at the French Open than previous editions with the Russian hoping to be one of them. 

The world No.4 heads into the Grand Slam after what has been a mixed clay swing. Medvedev suffered a third round defeat in Monte Carlo before bouncing back in Madrid where he reached the quarter-finals before retiring from his match with a minor injury. Meanwhile, at this week’s Italian Open, his title defence came to an end in the fourth round on Tuesday when he fell 6-1, 6-4, to Tommy Paul. 

“Mentally I had to be much better,” Medvedev said of his latest performance.
“I started to calm myself down and focus on the match only at the end of the match, and it was too late. I had to do better. I was expecting myself to play better.’
“It’s disappointing, but that’s how sport is. You lose and you go for the next tournament, which is a pretty important one.” He added. 

28-year-old Medvedev recently stated that he is seeing improvements in his game when it comes to playing on the clay. A surface which he has struggled on during stages of his career. Out of the 38 ATP Finals he has contested, only two of those were on the clay. Barcelona in 2019 when he finished runner-up and Rome last year which he won. 

As for the French Open, he has lost in the first round on five out of seven appearances. But did reach the quarter-finals in 2021 and the last 16 the following year. So could 2024 be his year?

“Now it’s maybe a little bit more open than it was ever before,” he said of this year’s event. 
“Good for me, too, because usually in Roland Garros I don’t play that well. The more open it is, the better it is for me.”

All of the top three players on the men’s tour are currently experiencing problems. Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open and recently underwent a medical assessment after getting hit in the head by a bottle in a freak accident. Jannik Sinner is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the French Open due to a hip issue and Carlos Alcaraz has been hindered by a forearm injury in recent weeks. 

“I’m feeling much better on clay,” Medvedev commented. “What is tough for me on clay sometimes is getting used to conditions. Every court – in every tournament in the world – is a bit different.
“On hard courts it’s the same: every court is different. On hard courts I have this ability to kind of quite fast get used to it. On clay, I need more time.”

Medvedev aims to become only the second Russian man in history to win the French Open after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996. The tournament will begin a week on Sunday. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Says Expanded Masters Events ‘Playing A Massive Role’ In Player Injuries

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas has slammed the decision to extend the length of Masters 1000 tournaments to two weeks by warning that more injuries could occur in the future as a result. 

This week’s Rome Masters is taking place without two out of the world’s top three players. Jannik Sinner pulled out of his home event due to a hip injury and Carlos Alcaraz has been troubled by a forearm issue in recent weeks. Other players missing from the draw include Tomas Machac (Illness), Ugo Humbert (Left Knee) and Stan Wawrinka (Right Wrist). 

The tournament is taking place immediately after the Madrid Open which is also a Masters event that has been expanded to a two-week format in recent years. Supporters of the move argue that a bigger draw provides lower-ranked players with more opportunities to play in these events whilst others will have a day off between matches. 

However, world No.8 Tsitsipas isn’t completely happy with the schedule which he openly criticised on Monday following his 6-2, 7-6(1), win over Cameron Norrie. The Greek has won 12 out of 14 matches played on clay so far this season. 

“It’s a type of thing that hurt the sport a little bit, to have these types of things happen to the highest of the players,” Tsitsipas commented on his rival’s injuries.
“Without them, the show is not kind of the same. You have obviously the guys behind them (in the rankings). These kinds of tournaments deserve names like this to be playing and have the opportunity to play in front of these big stadiums and crowds.
“I’ve spoken about the fact that the schedule has a big toll on our bodies. It starts from the mental side, and it follows to the physical side. The extension of the days in the Masters 1000s I think plays a massive role and contributes a lot to the fact that these players are getting injured.”

The ATP’s extended format is set to be applied to seven out of the nine Masters 1000 tournaments from 2025. The only two yet to make or plan for such changes are Monte Carlo and Paris. However, Tsitsipas has called for changes to be made to the schedule.

“It was perhaps already a lot the way it was before with the seven-day events. Adding more days to that, well, you got to be some type of superhero to be consistent back-to-back 10 days in each event getting to the very end of it.” He commented.
“It’s not a very easy thing to do. Some people need to try it first to get an understanding and how it is to pull that off. Then they should make decisions based on that.
“I think this is not going to be the first time we see these types of things (player injuries). If these types of things continue with the same schedule not being adjusted or customized to the needs of the players, we might see more of these things occur in the future.”

It is not the first time a player has raised concerns about the extended format. Alexander Zverev previously said that the schedule is a disadvantage for the top players. Meanwhile, on the women’s Tour Caroline Garcia has criticised the move to expand WTA 1000 tournaments whilst Maria Sakkari said achieving the Madrid-Rome double has become harder to do

On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev has spoken in favour of the new format and describes injuries on the Tour as ‘part of the sport.’ The former US Open believes the issue is related to the quick surface changes players face and not the duration of tournaments. 

Tsitsipas will play Alex de Minaur in the fourth round of the Italian Open on Tuesday. 

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Novak Djokovic To Undergo Medical Check After Rome Thrashing, Bottle Incident

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Novak Djokovic – ATP Roma 2024 (foto: Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis)

Novak Djokovic has indicated that he will speak to doctors following his lacklustre performance at the Italian Open where he crashed out in straight sets. 

The five-time champion was far from his best against Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo as he struggled to generate any rhythm in his tennis or a single break point opportunity. Djokovic’s below-par performance caught many off guard, including the tennis player himself who admitted afterwards that he was ‘completely off’ his game. 

Trying to find the reason behind his latest performance, the world No.1 isn’t ruling out the possibility that it might be linked to an incident that took place at the tournament two days ago. Following his win over France’s Corentin Moutet, Djokovic suffered a blow to his head after a fan accidentally dropped a metal bottle from the stands. Immediately afterwards, he experienced nausea, dizziness and bleeding for up to an hour but was checked by medical officials.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I have to check that.” Djokovic replied when asked if the incident affected his form on Sunday.
“Training was different. I was going for kind of easy training yesterday. I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.
“Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance. Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago.
“It could be. I don’t know. I have to do medical checkups and see what’s going on. “

The tennis star said he managed to sleep fine after his head blow but did experience headaches. He looked to be in good spirits the day after it happened and even turned up to practice in Rome wearing a safety helmet.

Djokovic’s concerns come two weeks before the start of the French Open where he is seeking a record 25th Major title. He will undoubtedly be one of the contenders for glory but admits there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the coming days. 

“Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it,” he said.
“The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, and no balance whatsoever on any shot.
“It’s a bit concerning.”

The French Open will begin on Sunday 26th May. 

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