Angelique Kerber Clinches The US Open Title In New York Classic - UBITENNIS
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Angelique Kerber Clinches The US Open Title In New York Classic

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Angelique Kerber has won her first US Open title after outlasting tenth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, in a titanic two-hour clash in New York.

Many expected a classic meeting between the two players, who have played each other in tournament finals in their three previous meetings since 2015. It was an expectation that both players triumphantly lived up to with just seven points separating the two throughout the entire match, which was played in the 23,700 capacity Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Playing in her third major final of 2016, Kerber swiftly settled into the match against her more inexperienced opponent. During the first game, Pliskova’s nerves and misfortunes played into the hands of the second seed. A duo of double faults combined with a forehand into the net gifted Kerber her first break point of the match. She converted with ease after a stroke of bad luck hit her opponent with the stings of her racket breaking.

Pliskova’s nervy start failed to taint what was an outstanding opening set of tennis with both players wowing the audience. As Kerber valiantly battle to maintain the lead, fending off a trio of break points, her focus in the match failed to wobble unlike her straight sets loss to the Czech in their previous encounter. Running around the court and playing aggressively, the 28-year-old had an answer to every question that was asked of her.

The high intensity and tenacity that Kerber played with soon rewarded her after a Pliskova double fault handed her a set point. It was an unworthy way to get the opportunity considering her opponents sharp and spirited performance in the opening set. Nevertheless, Kerber seized her chance when another lengthy rally between the two concluded with her hitting a winning forehand down the line.

Edging herself on by shouting words of encouragement in German, Kerber maintained her brick wall defence beyond the first set. Facing the prospect of being broken at the start of the second, she rallied back by hitting shots deep and into the corner of the court. It was a pattern that continued over the next couple of games with Pliskova’s heavy hitting moving her into a seemingly dominant position before the new world No.1 hit back to restore control.

The breakthrough for the Czech finally occurred in the seventh game when a lob shot landed in, gifting Pliskova her first break of the match to lead 4-3. After trying for so long, the tenth seed finally dismantled Kerber’s serve as she moved to a game away from clinching the second set, thanks to some successful heavy hitting. The task of serving the set out proved no problem for the 24-year-old as an ace followed by a Kerber shot landing out took the match into a decider.

As six games stood in the way of both players winning their maiden US Open title, it was a rejuvenated Pliskova that struck first. After coming from behind through the majority of the encounter, a deep return forced Kerber to hit the ball out to break for a 2-1 lead in the decider. The advantage was short lived after back-to-back unforced errors from the Czech resuscitated Kerber’s titles hopes as she broke back to level 3-3.

As the match approached the closing stages, there was still no reduction is the high standard of tennis set by both players. Holding to love, Kerber moved to a game away from victory to mount the pressure on Pliskova. It was a position that was too much for the Czech as a backhand into the net resulted in three championship points. The title was then secured after a forehand from her opponents was blasted outside of the court.

The enormity of the occasion drew Kerber to tears with the realisation of what she has achieved coming apparent. Not only is she the first German winner since Steffi Graf in 1996, she has also extended her lead at the top of the rankings.

“It’s just amazing, I’ve won my second grand slam within one year.” An emotional Kerber said during her trophy ceremony.
“This is the best year in my career. It is incredible because to play here (New York) is where everything started in 2011 and now I’m standing here five years later with the trophy. It means so much to me.”

Going a break down in the deciding set, Kerber said that her mentality helped her to claw her way back into the match.

“I was trying to stay in the moment, trying to play my game, be more aggressive. I was just trying to enjoy playing the final.” She said.

Kerber’s triumph still doesn’t take anything away from her final opponent, who produced 40 winners in her first grand slam final. Speaking after her defeat, Pliskova is looking on the positive side of her tournament performance.

“ I definitely found out that I can play my best tennis on the biggest stages against the top players.” Pliskova said.
“Even though I couldn’t get the win, I’m really proud of myself, I was really happy with the way I was playing the last two weeks and hopefully there will be many more finals to come.” She later added.

As a result of her run to the title, Kerber exits the event with a prize money fund of $3,50,000.

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Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev Fight Back To Clinch Dramatic Laver Cup Victory For Europe

20-time grand slam champion Federer has hailed Europe’s latest triumph in the team tournament as an ‘unbelievable roller-coaster.’

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After three days of pulsating action at the Laver Cup in Geneva, it was the final 10-point tiebreaker that separated team Europe from their opponents.

 

Lead by Roger Federer and Co, the European contingent was expected to cruise towards victory given their calibre of seven top 20 players compared to only one from team World. They headed into the final day of competition with a 7-5 lead, but a dramatic twist in momentum saw the underdogs claim six consecutive points. Thanks to Jack Sock and John Isner triumphing in the doubles, followed by Taylor Fritz stunning Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-7(3), 10-5. Making it Fritz’s first ever win over a top five player.

“That was a big match for Team World. We really needed that win. To let my team down the first day and contribute to the team today and give them the win means so much to me,” Fritz said during an on-court interview. “This has to be one of the biggest wins of my career. You’re usually just playing for yourself, but it means so much when you’re playing for other people.”

In danger of losing the title for the first time in the history of the Laver Cup, it was up to 20-time grand slam Federer to start the comeback. The Swiss maestro is one of the co-founders of the team tournament. Taking on Isner, Federer delighted his animated home crowd with a resounding 6-4, 7-6(3), triumph. Reducing his teams deficit from 7-11 to 10-11.

“What an atmosphere and what a match. I’m thrilled that I was able to give something back to the team after a tough Match Tie-break (in doubles) earlier today,” Federer said. “Team Europe has been amazing. They’ve fought so hard and played so well.”

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Undoubtedly Federer is the player everybody in Geneva wanted to see, however, it was Alexander Zverev, who had the most pressure placed on his shoulders. Not only was he playing the final match of the 2019 tie, he had to win or Eureope’s stronghold on the Laver Cup would come to an end. A situation he was also placed in 12 months ago.

Standing in Zverev’s way was former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic. A player renowned for his blistering serve. Like the 2019 event, it was a turbulent encounter. At one set apiece, the German ousted his rival in a decisive tiebreaker. Working his way to five match points after hitting a deep backhand winner. It was on his first opportunity where Zverev prevailed after hitting a forehand cross-court winner. Claiming the match 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 and prompting the world No.6 to drop onto his knees as an almighty roar erupted around the Palexpo Arena.

“It was an unbelievable weekend. They (team world) were one or two points away from winning it all. Credit to all of you. Every one of you deserved to win.” Zverev said in tribute to his deflated opponents afterwards.
“I played an unbelievable tiebreaker. I am super thankful to Roger, Rafa and the team. Without them on the bench today I would not have done it.” He added.

In the aftermath of the triumph, blue confetti dropped onto the black court in Geneva. Symbolising Europe’s latest triumph in the competition and their third in a row. It was during the trophy ceremony where it confirmed that the 2020 event will return back to America and be held in Boston. The venue will be the 20,000 capacity TD Garden, which is the home ground of NBA team Boston Celtics and NHL team Boston Bruins.

“Congratulations Team World on an unbelievable fight, I can’t wait for the next one in Boston. For us, so many emotions. It’s been an unbelievable roller-coaster.” Federer said in a tribute to close the 2019 competition.
“Bjorn, you’re a great captain, and Rocket (Rod Laver), thanks for being here today. It makes it more special.
“It’s been a dream weekend for me to be playing in Switzerland. Thank you for all the noise you’ve made, I’ve loved every moment.”

The 2020 Laver Cup will take place between September 25-27.

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Andy Murray Undecided On Future, Plays Down Chances Of Returning To His Best

Murray’s future in the sport may be uncertain, but he has no fear regardless of what may happens.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray has said it would be ‘silly’ for him to think that he could return back to the top of his game.

 

The former world No.1 has been dodged by hip problems over the past two years and has undergone two surgeries within that period. The most recent took place after the Australian Open where he had hip resurfacing surgery. Due to the problems, Murray is currently ranked outside the top 400 and is still in the middle of returning back to singles competition.

Murray’s next test will be the Zhuhai Championships, which will officially get underway on Monday. It will be the fourth tournament where he has played in the singles draw after having surgery. During a pre-tournament press day, the Brit spoke frankly about his chances of hitting top form in the future.

“Honestly, I’m not expecting to get back to my very best,” Murray said during an interview with AFP news.
“I think it would be probably a bit naive and silly to think that would be the case.
“I do feel like tennis-wise I can still compete at the highest level in terms of my skill, it’s just whether physically I can get to a high enough level to be competitive right at the top.
“I’ve still got quite a ways to go in that respect, I don’t know exactly where the end point is.”

Earlier this week at the Laver Cup, John McEnroe told reporters he ‘absolutely believes’ that Murray could return to the top 10 as long as he stays injury free. The Brit has spent 41 weeks as world No.1 during his career. The 14th longest streak in the Open Era.

For the moment retirement is not on the mind of the 32-year-old. Who has vowed to continue playing as long as he keeps improving further on the tour. However, the prospect of walking away from the sport for good is not as daunting as it once was for him.

“Tennis has always been a huge part of my life, but I realised probably then that actually my health was the most important thing for a happy life and I had always probably been worried about what life might look like after tennis,” he said.
“I had a glimpse these last few months and it was brilliant.
“I was just in no pain, just doing lots of different things, hanging out with friends and family, and it was great.
“So I am looking forward to when I do stop playing eventually.
“But while I am not in pain just now, I will try to keep playing tennis because I enjoy it.”

Murray will play Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the Zhuhai Championships in what will be an opportunity to get revenge. He lost to the American in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open last month.

Timeline of Murray’s latest comeback

June:- wins doubles title at Queen’s with Feliciano Lopez in comeback tournament. A week later he loses in the first round of the men’s doubles draw in Eastbourne with Marcelo Melo.
July: Returns to Wimbledon for the first time since 2017. Pairs up with Serena Williams to reach third round in the mixed doubles. Loses in the first round of the men’s doubles.
August: Continues to play a couple more doubles tournaments before starting his singles comeback at the Cincinnati Masters, where he loses his opening match to Richard Gasquet. Then in Winston-Salem he was ousted by Sandgren in the first round.
September: Plays first Challenger event since 2005. Scores two wins before losing in the quarter-finals.

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Former Mentor Of Dominic Thiem Slams Trio Of Rising Stars In Men’s Tennis

The renowned Austrian coach has branded Alexander Zverev a ‘total failure.’

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The man responsible for helping Dominic Thiem rise to the top of the sport has blasted three players tipped to become stars of the game in the future.

 

Gunter Bresnik, who is also known for his previous work with Ernests Gulbis, believes some players are missing what Daniil Medvedev has on the tour. Medvedev is currently in the midst of his breakthrough season. This week is the fifth consecutive tournament where the Russian has reached a final on the ATP Tour. During the summer he claimed his first Masters title in Cincinnati and finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the US Open.

“I said to Dominic in February in Buenos Aires: ‘Do not just look forward to Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, look back: Medvedev is coming.” Bresnik said during an interview with heute.at.
“He laughed at me, Medvedev is smart, has that Russian sense of humour, is moving extremely well. (This is what) the other boys are missing.”

Asked to pinpoint who he meant, the 58-year-old didn’t hold back. Describing Germany’s Alexander Zverev as a ‘total failure.’ Zverev is currently ranked sixth in the world and has 11 ATP titles to his name. The most prestigious of which being the ATP Finals, which he won last November. However, Zverev wasn’t the only player to be criticised by the Austrian.

“Zverev is a total failure, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas was grotesque at two majors this year, (Denis) Shapovalov would be dangerous because he has the weapons, but he has not been trained well in recent years.” He claims.

Bresnik has a wealth of experience when it comes to tennis. In his career, he has worked with more than 20 players who have reached the top 100. Including Boris Becker, Henri Leconte, Stefan Koubek and Jeff Tarango. In his home country, he was the Sports Director of the Austrian Tennis Federation (1998-99) and Davis Cup Captain twice (1992-1993 and 1998-2004).

Unsurprisingly Bresnik has a more favourable opinion when it comes to Thiem, who is now working with former player Nicolas Massu. He has known the world No.5 since he was a child. The two got acquainted after Thiem’s father applied to work at his academy in Vienna.

“Thiem, he has no technical weakness, he can control the highest speed in a controlled manner, he was closer to Nadal than Medvedev in New York last year, many forget that, but he has to get his level.” He concluded.

At present Bresnik is working with WTA player Mira Antonitsch, who is yet to crack the top 500 on the tour.

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