US Open Men’s Semifinal Previews: Djokovic Closes In, Nishikori Aims For More Success - UBITENNIS
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US Open Men’s Semifinal Previews: Djokovic Closes In, Nishikori Aims For More Success

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Novak Djokovic returns a shot to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during their Men’s Singles Quarterfinals match on Day Nine of the 2016 US Open. (Source: Alex Goodlett/zimbio.com)

The men’s semifinals at the US Open will be a case of the grand slam champions against those who are still chasing their dream of winning a major title.

 

Top seed Novak Djokovic will play his 10th consecutive semifinal in New York against French talent Gael Monfils in what will be their 13th meeting on the ATP Tour. The journey to the last four have been a somewhat different experience for the world No.1 compared to Monfils. Djokovic has spent just six hours and 25 minutes on the court following a trio of retirements by his opponents in the previous rounds. Jiri Vesely withdrew from the second round due to a left forearm injury, then Mikhail Youzhny was struck by a leg injury and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was troubled by his knee in the quarter-finals.

On the other hand, Monfils has spent an extra three hours and 16 minutes on the court. The entertaining and popular Frenchman progressed to his first major final for nine years without dropping a set. On his way to the last four, the 10th seed produced convincing wins over Nicolas Almagro, Marcos Baghdatis and Lucas Pouille.

The upcoming match is expected to be one that both men will enjoy. Djokovic has previously talked about his admiration for Monfils’ enlightening playing style and even admitted that he loves watching the 30-year-old play.

“I love watching Gaël. He’s one of the few players that I will definitely pay a ticket to watch.” Djokovic said.
“He’s very charismatic. Plays with a smile. Enjoys tennis. Enjoys life.”

Regardless of his compliments, Djokovic has a dominating record over Monfils, winning all of their previous encounters. The top seed will be the outstanding favourite to cruise to his 21st grand slam final, despite his roller coaster journey since the Wimbledon Championships. Having the edge in this potentially thrilling encounter, the world No.1 is maintaining a level-headed approach against his increasingly consistent opponent.

“He seems more focused at this time of his career. Especially on the hard court this year, maybe he’s playing the best tennis he ever played.” The world No.1 said about Monfils. “He’s very consistent.”
“I’m definitely expecting a tough battle.”

In the other semifinal, two-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka faces a tricky clash against Japan’s Kei Nishikori. Both men have recovered from the brink of defeat on their way to the semifinals. Wawrinka saved a match point against Great Britain’s Dan Evans during a five-set epic encounter in the third round. He followed up on the successful comeback with wins over Illya Marchenko and Juan Martin del Potro later in the tournament. Meanwhile, Nishikori has dropped at least one set in four out of his previous five matches. The only exception occurred in the fourth round when he defeated Ivo Karlovic. In the last eight, Nishikori knocked out Andy Murray in a marathon clash, despite trailing by two sets and being on the verge of being broken in the fourth.

Friday’s match will be the sixth meeting between the two with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 3-2. Their previous meeting occurred at the Canadian masters, when the Japanese player downed a below-par Wawrinka in straight sets. The Swiss player will be eager for revenge against Nishikori, who has also previously defeated him at the US Open in 2014, but he is remaining coy about his match tactics.

“It’s going to be interesting for sure. We played many times against each other.” Wawrinka said.
“I saw him play today (Wednesday). He was playing really well.
“It’s going to be a tough match, for sure.”

Wawrinka may be the higher ranked player, however, it is a irrelevant factor in the upcoming match. Nishikori has already displayed his talent in Flushing Meadows, reaching the final in 2014. It will be a tough match between the two players and both are worthy of reaching the final. The showdown will certainly be a battle of the fittest.

Order of play for Friday September 9th

Arthur Ashe Stadium
Starting at 12:00 PM
Coco Vandeweghe (USA)/Rajeev Ram (USA) [7] v Laura Siegemund (GER)/Mate Pavic (CRO)
Not Before 3:00 PM
Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] v Gael Monfils (FRA) [10]
Not Before 4:30 PM
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [3] v Kei Nishikori (JPN) [6]

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Serena Williams Confident In Bid For Grand Slam History Claims Patrick Mouratoglou

Patrick Mouratoglou says that Serena Williams is confident of another grand slam victory despite recent setbacks.

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Serena Williams and Patrick Mouratoglou (@BBCSport - Twitter)

Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed that the American is confident in her bid for more grand slam history. 

 

Despite the American not winning a set in her last four grand slam finals, Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou has claimed that she is still confident in winning another grand slam again.

Serena’s last grand slam win was at the Australian Open in 2017 before taking a break from the sport to become a mother.

Although it has been a struggle, Mouratoglou believes time is on the 37 year old’s side, “I think time is working for her,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports.

“I think she was much better at the US Open than she was at Wimbledon and Wimbledon better than Roland Garros. 

“She is getting back in shape and the more in shape she will be the more dangerous she will be. I think she has started to play really good tennis.”

Losses to Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep and Bianca Andreescu have exposed Serena’s lack of confidence and how nervous she is in the grand slam finals.

However Mouratoglou believes that Serena’s historic moment will come sooner rather than later, “It is one match for history and the pressure is quite high,” he said.

“I am not in her mind but I can figure she is playing one match for history. This is the highest pressure anyone can have in life and on the other side of the court she plays girls who have zero pressure because it is their first final.

“They are going to play many [Grand Slams], they are young, they are excited, enthusiastic so they play without pressure and that makes a big difference. But at some point she will figure out how to deal with that.”

Serena’s next tournament is scheduled to be the WTA Finals in Shenzhen in late October, should she qualify although there is a good possibility that we won’t be seeing on a tennis court until next year.

Will 2020 be the year that Serena finally figures out how to deal with the pressure of creating more history for herself? Only time will tell.

 

 

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‘Enjoy Staying Relevant’ – Nick Kyrgios Hits Back At Rafter’s Suspension Call

The 24-year-old isn’t happy about what the former world No.1 said.

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Nick Kyrgios has suggested that he hasn’t been suspended from the ATP Tour due to his ability to attract crowds to events in response to comments made by Pat Rafter.

 

The Australian world No.27 is currently under investigation for a series of incidents he committed during the summer. At the Cincinnati Masters he was fined $113,000 for eight violations committed during his match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov. Ranging from unsportsmanlike conduct to walking off the court without permission. Then at the US Open Kyrgios accused the ATP of being ‘corrupt’ before clarifying his statement 24 hours later. Arguing that there are double standards in the game when it comes to some players.

Following those events, the ATP released a statement confirming an investigation. Looking into whether or not Kyrgios breached the Player Major Offence section of the code and if any further action is required. Although there has been no mention of a suspension or any further action since. Something former world No.1 Rafter has openly questioned.

“I don’t understand why it hasn’t happened,” he said during the launch of the ATP Cup.
“There is obviously something else going on behind the scenes. I don’t know.
“On paper it looks like he should be suspended, to me.”

Rafter, who is a two-time US Open champion, admits that his compatriot is a big attraction in men’s tennis despite his behaviour. Although he insisted that Kyrgios’ popularity shouldn’t stop him from being punished if necessary.

“But at what stage do you say the crowd is more important? Or are you trying to uphold a certain standard or protocol for players to adhere to.” He stated.

Kyrgios has responded to the comments by taking aim at Rafter. In a Twitter post, he accused him of trying to ‘stay relevant.’ The 24-year-old also claims that Rafter is known for criticising other Australian players.

“Everywhere I play the stadiums are sold out, and the event makes money with me around? Not surprised rafter has commented on this topic, guy loves hanging fellow aussies out to dry. Enjoy staying relevant champ.” He wrote on Twitter.

New York Times journalist Christopher Clarey has reported that a final decision regarding a possible suspension will likely be made after the Laver Cup. The team tournament is officially part of the ATP calendar, but technically not the same framework. So if a player was banned from the tour, they could still technically play in the Laver Cup anyway.

Kyrgios will play in the Laver Cup later this week.

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Roger Federer To Play Duo Of Tennis Stars In South American Exhibitions

The showdowns will take place during the week after the conclusion of the ATP Finals.

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Roger Federer (@WeAreTennis on Twitter)

20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer will be heading to Argentina in November as part of his South American tour.

 

The world No.3 is set to take on Juan Martin del Potro on November 20th. There has been speculation that the two would play an exhibition match in recent weeks, but it wasn’t confirmed until Tuesday evening when Del Potro released a video. It will be held at The Parque Roca Stadium, which has a capacity of approximately 15,500 people. The venue has held multiple Davis Cup ties over the years.

“I just wanted to tell you I’m so excited to come back to Argentina to play my good friend Juan Martin del Potro at Parque Roca,” Federer said in a video on Del Potro’s Twitter account.

On the tour, the two tennis titans have clashed 25 times since 2007. Federer currently leads their head-to-head 18-7, but lost their most recent meeting in the final of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open. Federer was the person who Del Potro defeated to win his first and so far only grand slam title at the 2009 US Open.

“I will play again in Argentina and, nothing more and nothing less than with one of the best tennis players in history, my friend Roger Federer.” The Argentine said in Spanish on social media.

Del Potro is currently on the comeback from injury. He hasn’t played a match since injuring his right patella at the Fever-Tree Championships in June, which required surgery. It was the second time he has injured his knee within the past year. He is set to return to the tour next month at the Stockholm Open.

Following on from his stint in Buenos Aires, Federer will then play in the Colombian capital of Bogota. In the country, he will face German tennis star Alexander Zverev on November 22nd. A player who he currently has a 3-3 head-to-head record against on the ATP Tour.

The Moviestar Arena Bogotá will be the host of the match. It has held numerous tennis exhibitions, including Federer’s clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga back in 2012.

“Getting Roger Federer returning to Colombia is something difficult to achieve. Colombia goes through a great moment in sports and that’s why we decided to call this event.” Organisers IMLA said in a statement.

Federer’s South American tour will take place during the same time as the Davis Cup Finals. An event he recently said he is unlikely to play in 2020.

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