Stan Wawrinka Overcomes Unenthusiastic Tsonga To Reach Australian Open Semis - UBITENNIS
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Stan Wawrinka Overcomes Unenthusiastic Tsonga To Reach Australian Open Semis

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Stan Wawrinka (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Stan Wawrinka (Roberto Dell’Olivo)

Fourth seed and 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka outlasted a dissapointing Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 7-6(2) 6-4 6-3 to reach the last four in Melbourne.

Just like the previous seven meetings, this match contained a tight opening set with both men feeling their way into this match. Tsonga going for too much power in the opening moments, which resulted in unnecessary errors. Whereas Wawrinka was looking to slice the ball too often and using that to set up his big one handed backhand, which didn’t often pay off. During the first set both men had tight service games but neither could break the server. Half of the 12 service games went to 40-30 or Deuce which shows you how tight the opening set was and how there was little margin for error. If it wasn’t for a spectacular reflex half-volley from Tsonga at 5-5, Wawrinka would have had a chance to break the Frenchman’s serve. However no break points were created, so the first set resulted in a tiebreak.

The 2014 champion was 4-0 in tiebreakers at this year’s Australian Open, while Tsonga was 1-3. The Swiss’ confidence in these tiebreakers would prove pivotal as Wawrinka would use his confidence to overpower his opponent in the tiebreak. A misfiring forehand from Tsonga allowed the fourth seed to grab the first set 7-6(2).

The second set had an edge to it, with Tsonga seemingly frustrated at the way the first set ended he began the second set with purpose to his play. As a result he created the first break points of the match in the third game, however the three time grand slam champion remained firm. Tsonga was valiant and showed more risk taking, and in the seventh game, he was rewarded a break point after a bizarre volley from Wawrinka. The 12th seed wasn’t to be denied and took the first break of the match to lead 4-3.

However this didn’t last long as Tsonga lost his focus and all concentration, as a result Wawrinka broke straight back. The momentum had swung and in the tenth game, Wawrinka created set points to go two sets to love up and an unforced forehand error from the Frenchman sealed the second set from Wawrinka 6-4.

The third set saw a dominant performance from Wawrinka as he got the early break in the second game and the fourth seed raced into a 3-0 lead. An unenthusiastic Tsonga had nothing else to offer, so Wawrinka used his power and tennis IQ to hold and serve out the match 7-6(2) 6-4 6-3 in 2 hours and 17 minutes.

Wawrinka played a really solid match and showed that he has what it takes to win a fourth major title. The win sealed a milestone for Wawrinka, his 250th win on a hard court. For Tsonga, it was a Dissapointing and unenthusiastic performance who had an incentive to win his first major as the two major obstacles of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are out. However the ‘nearly’ man of tennis once again proved that he hasn’t got the right mindset to win his first grand slam.

Wawrinka has now reached his 8th Australian Open semifinal and will now play either Mischa Zverev or Roger Federer in the last four.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

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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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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