Novak Djokovic sets up tantalising encounter with Juan Martin del Potro in Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic sets up tantalising encounter with Juan Martin del Potro in Indian Wells

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World No.2 Novak Djokovic has defeated Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-4 7-6 in the second round of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 event. It was the defending champion’s  first match at this year’s tournament (he received a first round bye), and sets up an encounter with Juan Martin del Potro in third round, after the Argentine was a winner against Federico Delbonis.

Djokovic got off to a good start, securing an early break against the Edmund serve, and led 4-2 in the first set. The first set then followed serve as Djokovic eased through his own service games without facing any break points.

The second set was a much closer affair, as Edmund twice took the lead. Using his powerful forehand to good effect, Edmund was able to move Djokovic off the court and was rewarded with the first break for 3-1. Djokovic managed to draw errors from Edmund by forcing longer rallies, notably targeting the Briton’s backhand. The Serbian star retrieved the break, but was immediately broken again as the relentless forehands from Edmund again gave him the lead. An untimely double fault in the next game from Edmund brought Djokovic level again, and both men would then hold for a tiebreak.

Djokovic took an early lead, but Edmund went into the change of ends level after picking Djokovic off at the net. Djokovic’s overall consistency and his ability to pin Edmund in his weaker backhand corner began to tell, and the Serbian eventually sealed a close straight sets win.

Djokovic’s third round match with Juan Martin del Potro is easily one of the fixtures most fans will desire to see. The two have a history of producing stunning matches, including at the Shanghai Masters, and a memorable Wimbledon semi-final from 2013. They also met in the 2016 Olympics, a match which del Potro won en route to the silver medal, and they met in Acapulco last week, where Djokovic won despite being down a break late in the third set.

Djokovic is the three-time defending champion in Indian Wells, having defeated Roger Federer in 2014/2015, and Milos Raonic in 2016. The Serbian has won the title four times overall as he also won the event in 2008 when he defeated Mardy Fish.

In other matches, Steve Johnson edged Kevin Anderson to level their head-to-head at 4-4. The American came through the match 6-4, 3-6, 7-6.

 

 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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