Grigor Dimitrov And Juan Martin del Potro Reach The Third Round In Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Grigor Dimitrov And Juan Martin del Potro Reach The Third Round In Indian Wells

Published

on

Photograph of Juan Martin del Potro

Grigor Dimitrov needed just one hour and nine minutes to see off Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-0 in the second match on Stadium 2 to reach the third round in Indian Wells. The Bulgarian squandered an early break advantage and got pegged back to 3-3, but then raced away with the match, winning nine of the next 10 games to see off the Russian.

 

In the following match on the same court Juan Martin del Potro reached the third round for the first time since his run to the final in 2013, battling past Federico Delbonis 7-6(5), 6-3 in an entertaining all-Argentine clash. Delbonis recovered from a break down and had a set point, pushing his compatriot all the way in the first set. However, a strong tiebreak from the 31st seed proved to be telling, with del Potro needing just the one break in the second to secure victory.

Dimitrov defeats Youzhny 6-4, 6-0

Dimitrov, seeded 12 at this event, has made a blistering start to 2017, picking up two titles in Brisbane and Sofia, while also reaching a second Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open (l. Nadal). Meanwhile world number 82 Youzhny came into this match with a 5-5 ATP record so far for the season, with a quarter-final run in Chennai being a highlight. The Russian defeated fellow countryman Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round but could not find a way past his opponent on this occasion.

Dimitrov produced some flawless tennis in the early exchanges of the match, breaking the Russian immediately following a double fault. The 12th seed looked to be cruising, up 40-15 on serve in the third game, but failed to clinch the hold, going wide with an inside out forehand down the line to relinquish his lead.

Matters nearly got worse for the Bulgarian in the seventh game after a couple of unforced errors left him down 0-30 on serve. Dimitrov raised his level, taking four points in a row, closing with a forehand winner to move back in front at 4-3.

Serving to stay in the opening set, Youzhny faltered. The 34-year-old made a few untimely mistakes, finishing with a forehand into the net in what was an error strewn set from both men, the Russian making 18 unforced errors and Dimitrov making 14 as he sealed it 6-4.

Photograph of Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov has only lost two matches this season (l. Nadal & Goffin) Photo: zimbio.com

After suffering huge disappointment at the end of the first set things looked to be going from bad to worse for Youzhny as he found himself facing two break points in a lengthy second game. Dimitrov missed his return of serve on the first before his forehand broke down on the second to give his opponent a lifeline. After squandering a third break point the 34-year-old had a couple of chances to escape with the hold but appeared to be struggling in the heat as he prepared to face another break point. The world number 82 produced one of the points of the match, closing with a lob on the backhand side to keep his hopes alive, yet more errors eventually proved costly for the Russian as he dropped serve in a game which lasted over 10 minutes.

Failure to hold on in that game proved to be the straw that broke the camels back for Youzhny as he dropped serve in the fourth game and once again when serving to stay in the match to hand victory to Dimitrov 6-4, 6-0.

The Bulgarian next faces 17th seed Jack Sock, who defeated qualifier Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 0-6, 6-4.

del Potro defeats Delbonis 7-6(5), 6-3

In the first meeting between del Potro and Delbonis it was a slow start from both players, but the 31st seed secured an immediate break of serve. The former US Open champion looked in complete control as he played what will go down as one of the shots of the tournament, lobbing his countryman with a hotdog shot to move to a 0-30 advantage in the fifth game. After Delbonis recovered to hold serve it proved to be a turning point.

Delbonis capitalised on some unforced errors from the 31st seed in the following game and secured the break back on his second opportunity to level at 3 games all. The world number 49 had to stave off three break points in the seventh game but hung tough, playing some big time tennis to move in front for the first time in the match. It looked as though this shift in momentum in Delbonis’ favour might bring him the first set, as he brought up a chance to take it in the tenth game. del Potro responded, reeling off three points in a row to keep his hopes alive.

Both players held their subsequent service games to take them into a first set tiebreak. A double fault from Delbonis handed his countryman a first mini break, which the 31st seed used to his full advantage, moving 6-3 in front. Delbonis hit back to save two set points but went wide with a forehand down the line on the third to seal a tough first set for del Potro 7-6(5) after one hour and 14 minutes.

The second set proved to be far more straightforward for the 31st seed as he secured the only break of the set in the fourth game. Delbonis battled hard as he had done throughout the match, saving two break points in that game before squandering a game point of his own which subsequently led to him relinquishing his serve.

Throughout most of the second set del Potro was solid as a rock on serve. With the exception of trailing 0-30 in the fifth game, the Argentine only dropped a further two points on serve. The former finalist here won 14 out of the 15 points when his first serve found the mark and del Potro closed out the match with a hold to love to seal a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory in one hour and 51 minutes.

Next up for the Argentine, a third round clash with defending champion Novak Djokovic following his straight sets win over Kyle Edmund 6-4, 7-6(5).

ATP

Novak Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Father’s Absence From Australian Open Final

Published

on

Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic said he mutually agreed with his father that he did not attend his latest Australian Open match but admits it was a bitter pill to swallow. 

 

Srdjan Djokovic had attended his son’s matches throughout the majority of the tournament but has recently been caught up in controversy. On Wednesday a video surfaced on social media of the 62-year-old posing for a photo with pro-Russian supporters with one of the fans waving a flag with the face of Vladimir Putin on it. Another fan was also wearing a t-shirt with the ‘Z’ symbol on it which is used to support the Russian army. 

The Russian and Belarussian flags were banned from the tournament this year following an incident in the first round. A Russian flag was shown during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Prompting anger from Ukraine with its ambassador to Australia calling for a ‘neutral flag’ policy to be implemented. 

Srdjan has since issued a statement saying the incident was ‘unintentional’ and said his family ‘only wish for peace in the world.’ He subsequently also missed Djokovic’s semi-final match to avoid any possible ‘disruption’ before doing the same for Sunday’s final.

“I thought things would calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there,” Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title
“That hurts me and him (Srdjan) a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again? So it was not easy for him.”

Whilst he was not in the stands, Djokovic was reunited with his father shortly afterwards. Although the tennis star said Srdjan ‘was not feeling his best’ due to the situation. 

“It is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it’s important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he’s here for me,” Djokovic continued. 
“If it’s going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he’s not in the box, then so be it. That was the whole conversation.’
“In a way, I’m also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it’s fine. In the end, we have a happy ending.”

Djokovic has now won five out of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. At the Australian Open alone he has won 28 matches in a row.

Continue Reading

ATP

Australian Open Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas Play for the Men’s Championship

Published

on

Novak Djokovic this week in Melbourne (twitter.com/australianopen)

A year ago, Novak Djokovic experienced quite an embarrassing debacle.  After the unvaccinated Djokovic was initially granted an exemption and allowed to enter Australia, he was later detained, and eventually deported and prevented from competing at this tournament.  His refusal to get vaccinated continues to prevent Novak from competing in North American tournaments, missing Indian Wells, Miami, Canada, Cincinnati, and the US Open last year. 

 

But at the events Djokovic has been allowed to participate in over the past seven months, he has been nearly unstoppable.  Since the beginning of Wimbledon last June, he is now 37-2, with five titles.  Novak comes into this championship match on a 16-match winning streak, with seven of those victories against top 10 opposition.  With a win on Sunday, Djokovic not only ties Rafael Nadal in their ongoing race for history with 22 Major titles, but he also regains the World No.1 ranking, despite all the tennis he’s missed.

However, standing in his way is a hungry and confident Stefanos Tsitsipas.  This is the Greek’s second Major final, and the second time he’s encountered Djokovic in this round of a Slam.  Two years ago in the championship match of Roland Garros, Tsitsipas secured the first two sets, before losing to Novak in five.  If Stefanos can win one more set on Sunday, he’ll not only win his first Major title, he’ll also become the World No.1 for the first time.

Also on Sunday, the women’s doubles champions will be crowned.  Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, who have won six Majors as a team, face Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, who are vying for their first Major as a team. 


Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) vs. Novak Djokovic (4) – 7:30pm on Rod Laver Arena

Djokovic’s excellence in the latter rounds of the Australian Open is rivaled only by Nadal’s excellence at Roland Garros.  Novak is now 19-0 in the semifinals and finals of this tournament, which is quite staggering.  He’s also won his last 27 matches at this event, and his last 40 in Australia in general, a streak that dates back over five years.  While Novak suffered a hamstring injury a week before this fortnight, he has still advanced to this final rather easily, dropping only one set through six matches.

Tsitsipas has now reached the semifinals or better in four of the last five years at the Australian Open, but this is his first time reaching the final.  He enjoys plenty of Greek support at this event, and appears to have some extra swagger in his step during this fortnight.  Stefanos has dropped three sets to this stage, and has been superb at saving break points.  Through six matches, he has saved 44 of 53 break points faced.

Both men feel fully at home on Rod Laver Arena, and have described it as their favorite court.  But this is their first meeting on RLA.  They’ve met plenty of times on other courts though, in a rivalry that’s been thoroughly dominated by Djokovic.  The Serbian leads 10-2, and has claimed their last nine matches.  That includes four matches that took place in 2022, in which Novak won eight of their nine sets.  They played three times within a six-week period this past fall on indoor hard courts, with their closest and best matchup taking place in the semifinals of Bercy, where Djokovic prevailed in a final-set tiebreak.

Djokovic is undeniably a huge favorite to win his 10th Australian Open.  But that common knowledge takes a lot of pressure off Tsitsipas, who was so close to defeating Novak the last time they met in a Slam final.  Djokovic has been rather unbothered by all competition during this tournament, even with an injured hamstring.  Can Stefanos pull off one of the bigger surprises in recent tennis history?  I expect him to challenge Novak on Sunday, but Tsitsipas’ backhand remains a liability. And with Djokovic determined to avenge what he sees as mistreatment a year ago in Australia, a Novak loss would be truly surprising.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

Continue Reading

ATP

Australian Open: Facing Tsitsipas For World No. 1 Spot May Be Different for Novak Djokovic

Published

on

Image via https://twitter.com/atptour/

It probably was a good thing that Novak Djokovic wasn’t facing a top opponent in the Australian Open semifinals. Certainly not one the caliber of Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

Of course, Tommy Paul did his best. He just isn’t a top ten caliber player.

The American could rally with Djokovic, but when it came time to win the point or game, he  usually was nowhere to be found on the Rod Laver court.

DJOKOVIC WILL NEED TO BE BETTER

The fact that Tsitsipas is in contention for the No. 1 ranking in men’s tennis is enough to ensure that Paul isn’t quite in the league with the Greek superstar.

Djokovic will need to be better than he was against Paul when he steps onto the court to face Tsitsipas on Sunday night in the Australian Open singles final.

There was Djokovic blundering his way through a one-sided 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 win over Paul. The scoreline should have been closer to 3-1-2. But Novak appeared to have all kinds of physical ailments — legs, knees, bandaged hamstring. Or just plain conditioning and breathing hard. You name it.

NIGHT-TIME DUTY ONCE AGAIN

It was just night time in Melbourne. You wonder what might have happened if Novak had been assigned some daytime duty like everyone else in the tournament. Say, like Tsitsipas had been assigned for his closer than the scores reflex in the Greek’s 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 win over Karen Khachanov in Friday’s other semifinal.

Tsitsipas is a real threat to claim the world’s top ranking on Sunday night with a victory over the legend from Serbia. Of course, in the 2021 French Open final, Tsitipsas won the first two sets against Djokovic.

It’s possible. Tsitsipas could come through this time.

A SHADOW OF THE OLD NOVAK

Novak was only a shadow of the old Djokovic Friday night. And that was against a player who may never earn a berth in another Grand Slam semifinal.

Of course, Djokovic wasn’t quite as out of it as Rafa Nadal was in the second-round blitzing by Mackenzie McDonald. But Nadal was nursing a hip injury. He may be a different player in Paris in four months.

Djokovic still has all of the big shots and serves he has displayed for much of the last two decades. He just didn’t seem to know where all of those weapons were headed in the semifinals.

IS NOVAK’S BAG OF TRICKS EMPTY?

Of course, if Novak pulls a solid performance out of his bag of tricks and denies Tsitsipas the world’s top ranking, Djokovic likely would stand in Nadal’s path in Paris to a record 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

The task won’t be easy. First, Novak has to take care of business on Sunday night. But with a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title up for grabs, Djokovic may actually look like himself. 

As Novak says, he wants to be known as the best player in the world.

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. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending