Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic and John Isner advance to the next round in Paris Bercy - UBITENNIS
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Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic and John Isner advance to the next round in Paris Bercy

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Tomas Berdych overcame a tough second-round match against Joao Sousa to win in three sets 6-3 3-6 7-5 at the BNP Paribas at the Accorhotel in Paris Bercy to keep his chance alive to qualify for the ATP Finals in London. Milos Raonic hit 17 aces to beat Pablo Carreno Busta, while John Isner saved two set points to overcome Misha Zverev. Richard Gasquet had to save seven set points to beat Steve Johnson in straight sets.

Berdych, who won the Paris Bercy title in 2005, got one break in the sixth game for 4-2 with a down the line backhand. He faced a break point after committing a break point in the ninth game but saved it with a backhand down the line en route to winning the first set 6-3. Sousa also needed only one break at love in the eighth game to clinch the second set forcing the match to the decider.

In the third set Berdych went down 0-30 at 4-4 with a double fault and faced two break points. The Czech player saved the first opportunity with his forehand and the second with his serve.

Both players went on serve until the 12th game, when Berdych got the decisive break on the first of his two break points to win the third set 7-5. Berdych will face either Gilles Simon or Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round.

Berdych is currently ninth with 2880 points in the ATP Race to London and is in contention for the final two spots for the ATP Finals in London with Dominic Thiem (seventh with 3205 points) and Marin Cilic (eighth with 3090 points). The Czech player needs to reach at least the semifinal to keep his chance of qualifying for the end-of-season tournament alive, although he may face a very tough quarter final against Andy Murray.

Berdych won in Shenzhen Open but lost in the first round in Tokyo and Vienna and in the second round in Shanghai. He is out of the top 10 for the first time since 2010.

“If you don’t play your best, you don’t really deserve to be there. Luckily, I am healthy. Who would have said that Iwould be answering questions about London when I was in the hospital in Cincinnati (due to appendicitis) ? This is a nice bonus. I am hopeful that working with Goran Ivanisevic will help improve my game. I like his approach and how he tries to simplify things for me. Hopefully I can get to the point where I can start to use his experience in all the big matches he’s played”, said Berdych.

Milos Raonic beat Moscow Kremlin Cup winner Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. A tight first set came down to the tie-break without break points. At 5-5 Raonic got his only break point with with only one mini-break, as Carreno Busta netted his return. Raonic sealed the first set with his 10th ace. Raonic, who was sidelined by an injury problem ahead of his semifinal at the China Open in Beijing, sealed the second set 6-4 with the only break of the match in the fifth game for 3-2, as Carreno Busta hit a low shot into the net from the vaseline.

The Canadian player, who finished runner-up to Roger Federer in Paris Bercy in 2014, fired 17 aces and won 98 percent of his first-serve points He did not face any break points in the whole match. He will take on either Pablo Cuevas or Paolo Lorenzi in the third round.

“The ankle is improving. I still have it wrapped up for safety but it’s not really causing any nuisance”, said Raonic.

Former Paris Bercy semifinalist John Isner overcame Misha Zverev 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 to set up a second round match against 2012 champion David Ferrer. The US player fended off two set points at 6-7 and at 8-9 in the tie-break of the first set before sealing the win with a break with a break in the third game of the second set. Isner hit 14 aces and dropped just six of his first service points.

Ferrer has beaten isner in seven of their head-to-head matches

Zverev earned the firts break point with a backhand return in the 12th game but failed to convert it. Isner got the decisive mini-break, as Zverev sent a forehand volley. The US player got the only break in the third game of the second set and never looked back to close out the match 6-3.

Nicolas Mahut came back from one set down to beat Martin Klizan 4-6 6-4 6-3 setting up a second round match against David Goffin.

Jack Sock, who beat Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-2 7-6 (7-3). Sock went up a double break to win the first set 6-2. In a tighter second set without break points the US player clinched the win on his second match point in the tie-break. Sock, finalist in Stockolm two weeks ago, will face Dominic Thiem in the second round.

Feliciano Lopez converted his third match point to prevail over Pierre Hugues Herbert 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 setting up a second round match against another French player Lukas Pouiille.

Richard Gasquet beat Steve Johnson 6-4 7-6 (13-11) after saving seven set points in the second set. Gasquet got a double break in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead. Johnson got one of the two breaks back in the eighth game to trail 3-5 and held his serve in the next game. Gasquet served out for the first set at love. The second set went on serve until the tie-break, but Johnson had to save eight break points (four in the third game, one in the fifth game and three more in the ninth game).

The French player had to save a set point at 6-5 before the match came down to the tie-break. The US player earned four set points at 6-2 in the tie-break but Gasquet saved them by winning five consecutive points for 7-6. Johnson created two more opportunities at 8-9 and 10-11 but Gasquet fended them off by winning the final three points to win the tie-break 13-11.

Grigor Dimitrov won the first set 6-3 before Marcos Baghdatis withdrew from the match due to a hip injury. The Cypriot got the first break of the match in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Dimitrov broke straight back to draw level to 2-2. The Bulgarian broke again at 15 in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead before holding his next two service games to clinch the first set 6-3. Dimitrov will face either Novak Djokovic or Gilles Muller in the third round.

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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Carlos Alcaraz And Novak Djokovic Wouldn’t Yield To Medvedev And Musetti At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz seemed to be on his own against a vastly improved Daniil Medvedev. The defending Wimbledon champion appeared to be out of tricks.

And Medvedev sensed it.

Alcaraz still scored a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Medvedev. It may look rather easy on paper, but there was nothing easy about Alcaraz’s victory. The young Spaniard just came through when he needed it to advance to what he hopes will lead to his fourth Grand Slam title.

MEDVEDEV APPLIED ENDLESS PRESSURE

Medvedev was always there, ready to pounce on any mistake by Alcaraz. But mistakes didn’t happen that often after Medvedev took the first set in a tie-breaker.

Alcaraz hadn’t served that well in the first set that Medvedev had taken in a tiebreaker. But it was a different story once Alcaraz found the mark on his serves. He just kept holding service until the match was his.

Remember, he’s only 21 years old. But now he faces someone in this Wimbledon final almost twice as old in 37-year-old Novak Djokovic.

NOVAK DIDN’T LET INJURED KNEE STOP HIM

Early in the match, Djokovic looked like he might have problems against Lorenzo Musetti. He appeared to have a slight limp in the right knee that was covered by a band. Of course, it’s been less than six months since Novak underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in that knee.

Djokovic didn’t always chase after balls in situations where his service game wasn’t in jeopardy. He just hit winners when the opportunities came along, and his serve was always ready to win a point, a game or the match.

MUSETTI WASN’T THE SAME

Young 25th seed Musetti had been so strong and talented in his quarterfinal upset of Taylor Fritz. The 22-year-old Italian had looked like he might be a threat to the likes of Djokovic and Alcaraz in the last two rounds in London.

Musetti appeared to be able to run down everything against the speedy Fritz, until Fritz seemed to grow tired in a fifth set that Musetti won easily.

The Italian wasn’t the same against Djokovic.

Djokovic was just too good and too consistent to allow Musetti to stop his bid for another title.

NOVAK THE VIOLINIST

The setting was completely different this time with Djokovic looking questionable at the start. But Musetti could hardly push Djokovic, and ended up losing by a 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Once Novak charged through the second set tiebreaker, dropping only two points, Musetti couldn’t get back into the match.

And then Novak came out pretending to play a violin on his racket for his precious 6-year-old daughter Tara, whom Novak said has been learning to play the violin for about six months.

Some fans apparently didn’t like this, but then there probably were others who became Novak Djokovic fans. Novak obviously is a great guy and dad these days.

After all, Novak has just played his 97th Wimbledon match, and he’s hoping in his 37th Grand Slam final to tie Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Daniil Medvedev Calls For Video Replays After ‘Small Cat’ Insult At Wimbledon Umpire

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Daniil Medvedev - Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

Daniil Medvedev admits the use of his words against the umpire in his Wimbledon semi-final match was not pleasant but he believes he didn’t cross a line. 

The world No.5 was issued with a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct during the first set of his clash with Carlos Alcaraz. Medvedev was visibly irritated when umpire Eva Asderaki ruled there was a double bounce before he returned a ball during a rally. He was then caught on camera mouthing an insult to Asderaki who consulted with the tournament supervisor before issuing him with a violation. Verbal abuse towards match officials can lead to players being defaulted from matches. 

Medvedev went on to win the first set before losing in four to Alcaraz. After his exit from the tournament, he was quizzed about what he said. 

“I would say small cat, the words are nice, but the meaning was not nice here,” he said without elaborating any further.

Continuing to defend his actions, the 28-year-old said he had previously been involved in a similar incident involving Asderaki where a double-bounce call was made against him at the French Open. Medvedev says memories of what happened were triggered today. 

“I don’t know if it was a double bounce or not. I thought no. That was tricky. The thing is that once long ago at Roland Garros against (Marin) Cilic I lost, and she didn’t see that it was one bounce. So I had this in my mind. I thought, again, against me,” he said.

“I said something in Russian, not unpleasant, but not over the line. So I got a code for it.”

It is not the first time Medvedev has used the phrase ‘small cat’ as an insult. During a heated match against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the 2022 Australian Open, told umpire Jaume Campistol he would be a small cat if he did not take action against claims that Tsitsipas was being coached illegally during the match.

The former US Open champion says he did not fear being defaulted from his latest match before going on to say video replays should be allowed in the sport. A comment that was also made by Coco Gauff during the French Open earlier this year after she was caught up in a dispute concerning a double-bounce.

“Not at all because, as I say, I didn’t say anything too bad,” he replied when asked if he was concerned he might be disqualified for what he said on Friday.

“The thing is that I think it would be so much easier with a challenge system. The challenge system shows a bounce. So if there was a bounce, it would show it. 

“Then if we use it, we would never have this situation. So I don’t know why we don’t use the challenge system for double bounce, the Hawk-Eye or whatever.”

Medvedev’s focus will now turn back to the clay ahead of the Olympic games which will be held at Roland Garros. 

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