Jo Wilfried Tsonga wins in four against Jack Sock for fourth-round place in Australia - UBITENNIS
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Jo Wilfried Tsonga wins in four against Jack Sock for fourth-round place in Australia

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Tsonga is into the fourth round at the one slam he has reached the final of in the past. (Zimbio.com)

Jo Wilfried Tsonga played a largely composed match against the in-form Jack Sock to progress into the fourth round of the Australian Open, winning 76 75 76. Tsonga edged the first two sets, before a bad error cost him the third. The twelfth seed quickly recovered, breaking early in the fourth, and winning to earn a meeting with either Dan Evans or Bernard Tomic.

 

Sock had won the Auckland title the week before the tournament began, and had not dropped a set in defeating Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Karen Khachanov. Tsonga had dropped a set against Thiago Monteiro in round one, before a rather more comfortable win in the second against Dusan Lajovic.

The first set went comfortably with serve, as neither man faced break point. Tsonga came closest by forcing a deuce game at four-five, but Sock pulled through without major difficulty.

The inevitable tiebreak saw Tsonga face adversity on the first point. Sock followed an aggressive return into the net, before Tsonga played a perfect lob. Tsonga’s finishing volley then caught a section of the line, despite a challenge from Sock. It proved key as Tsonga then struck a forehand winner on his second shot of the next point, going behind Sock for the mini-break. Tsonga handed the mini-break back when he found the net with a big forehand. Tsonga retrieved the lead with a backhand cross-court passing shot. A forehand error on a net approach from Sock then handed the first set to the Frenchman.

Sock was the first to force pressure in the second set, earning a break point in the first service game. It was to be the only such opportunity that Tsonga offered, though the set was more open than the first, with Tsonga forcing his own break point chances shortly after. It would not be until the penultimate game of the set that fans on Margaret Court Arena would see the first break, as a Tsonga forehand caught Sock off-balance, and another forehand sealed the break. Tsonga gave an exhibition in serving to close out the set to love to leave the American down two sets.

Sock again tried to make headway early in the third, only to be continually denied by the 2008 runner-up. Sock faced a tough deuce game at four-all, but held, as did Tsonga through the rest of the set to force another tiebreak.

Tsonga again took the lead, racing into an early four-love lead with the American’s trademark forehand breaking down. However, Tsonga is known for inconsistencies himself, and allowed Sock back in. The American saved a match point with an ace at five-six, and earned a set point when Tsonga dumped a backhand into the net. Tsonga saved though, and a beautiful touch at the net earned him another match point again against the Sock serve, but could only miss into the tramlines.

Sock then won the set, with a great defensive shot, hoisting the ball up after a attacking Tsonga forehand. Tsonga played the smash a little deeper than the service line, but missed into the net to give the American a lifeline.

Tsonga quickly atoned for the aberrational smash however, breaking Sock immediately in the fourth when the American ripped a forehand into the net. The two parts of Sock’s game that he relied on had broken down in the serve and the forehand. Sock nearly went down a second break, but instead held. He improved his game to really challenge as Tsonga served the match out, forcing a deuce game, but it was ultimately the Frenchman who held firm to reach the fourth round.

In the other early men’s match, Andreas Seppi continued his fine form by knocking out Belgium’s Steve Darcis 46 64 76 76.

 

ATP

‘Why Don’t You Like Him?’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas Quizzed Over Rivalry With Fellow Player

It can be safe to say that these two players will not be teaming up to play in the doubles any time soon.

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LONDON: ‘We would not go to dinner together’ was a phrase used by Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas when addressing his rivalry with Daniil Medvedev on Monday.

 

The 21-year-old scored his first win over the Russian on his sixth attempt. A historic occasion for Tsitsipas, who is the first Greek to qualify for the ATP Finals. However, the talk after wasn’t so much about the match. It was about his somewhat fiery relationship with Medvedev that is highlighted by one particular incident.

During the 2018 Miami Open, the umpire had to step in after the conclusion of their match. Both were frustrated with each other for taking long toilet breaks. Medvedev took his at the end of the second set and Tsitsipas took his midway through the decider. On top of that, there was also a dispute over a net point. At the end of their match, Medvedev called his rival ‘a small kid who doesn’t know how to fight.’

“I did get pissed and said what I said, which I do regret, but at the time I was very frustrated that things happened this way.” Tsitsipas recounted.
“I completely forgot about the past. I mean, our chemistry definitely isn’t the best that you can find on the tour. It just happens with people that it’s not that you can just like everyone.”

Since then there has been little improvement in relations. During the Shanghai Masters in October, Tsitsipas took a swipe at what he described as a ‘boring’ style of play from his opponent. Prompting another jibe from Medvedev.

Based on the comments, it appears that neither players are fond of each other. But can it be described as hatred between the two? If you ask Tsitsipas, his answer is a resounding no.

“It’s not that I hate him. I guess as he said, we will not go to dinner together, so…” The Greek explained.
“I respect him, for sure. That’s because he had a long way to come where he is right now. He’s a Grand Slam finalist, so that takes a lot of respect from me to him.”

Despite the diplomatic response, there is no doubt that the camp of the world No.6 is delighted with his latest victory in what had been a one-sided rivalry until now.

“It means more than extra. It’s a victory that I craved for a long time now, and it’s great that I came in at this moment.” Tsitsipas concludes.
“He’s a tough player. He’s a very difficult player to face. He’s not giving you an easy time when you’re out on the court. So it definitely means a lot.”

It is not impossible that the two could face each other again later this week if they both reach the final. Although that will be a tough task given both Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev are also in their group.

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ATP

Summer Success Comes At A Cost For Daniil Mdvedev In London

The 23-year-old serves as a reminder that a rapid rise in sport also come with consequences.

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LONDON: Coming into this year’s ATP Finals, it could be argued that there has been one stand out player on the tour and he isn’t a member of the Big Three.

 

Daniil Medvedev has enjoyed a sensational rise over the past six months to become one of the most formidable players in the sport. After Wimbledon, he reached the final of six consecutive events. Claiming Masters titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai, as well as winning the St. Petersburg Open. Overall, he has won 59 matches out of 78 played so far this year. More than anybody else on the ATP Tour. There is no doubt he has blossomed but has he peaked too early for the season-ending event?

Taking on Stefanos Tsitsipas in his opening match on Monday, the Russian was edged out in two tightly contested sets. Although he was unable to generate a single break point opportunity. Something that has only happened to him once before this season, which was when he played Nick Kyrgios. Before their latest clash, he lead the Greek 5-0 in their head-to-head.

“I think the general energy was not the way I wanted. I’m not talking only about physical. Mentally I was missing something.” Medvedev explained during his press conference.
“I didn’t have good enough energy to get the win today.” He added.

Since his Shanghai victory on October 16th, Medvedev has been unable to make any further dents on the tour. After missing two tournaments, he lost his opening match at the Paris Masters to Jeremy Chardy.

A slump like this was always inevitable given his run in recent weeks. Fortunately, there are no injury issues for the 23-year-old to worry about. On the other hand, he is struggling to find a way to solve his mental demons. Could it be tiredness after a long season or is it something more significant?

“I decided to take a break from Moscow in the end because I knew that my body needs rest if I don’t want to get injured,” Medvedev stated.
“It’s something more mental. I lost the momentum a little bit, but I will try my best to get it back.”

Unfortunately, time is not on his side this week at the ATP Finals. After a consequence of his loss, he faces two critical matches against defending champion Alexander Zverev and world No.1 Rafael Nadal. He may have to win both of those matches to qualify for the semi-final stage depending on how his rivals perform.

“I should say I’m quite confident that at one moment I will get it back. The other question is is it going to be this tournament or the next one?” The world No.4 concluded.

Medvedev is the first Russian player to feature in the end-of-season showdown since Nicolay Davydenko back in 2009.

Evene when his London journey comes to an end, there will be no rest for Medvedev. Next week he will lead his country in the revamped Davis Cup finals.

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(VIDEO) Thiem Shocks Federer on Opening Day at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals

A video recap from the O2 Arena in London. Djokovic loses just three games to Berrettini but it’s Thiem’s straight-set win to Federer that makes the headlines

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Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals (photo Roberto Zanettin)

Chief Editor Ubaldo Scanagatta comments on the first two singles matches of the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals. Novak Djokovic started his quest for his record-tying sixth ATP Finals title with a comprehensive victory over Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini. Dominic Thiem advance to 3-0 in the year against Roger Federer who is not faced with the prospect of defeating Berrettini and Djokovic to advance to the semifinals.

 

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