Vasek Pospisil Proves ‘Anything Is Pospisil’ In Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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Vasek Pospisil Proves ‘Anything Is Pospisil’ In Indian Wells

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Canadian freelance journalist John Horn reflects on a match that saw Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil stun world No.1 Andy Murray.

Vasek Pospisil (zimbio.com)

Anything is Pospisil. Three words you may have heard before but not many people, if any, would have said them again heading into Vasek Pospisil’s second round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday night against the World No. 1 Andy Murray. Let’s be honest, the cards weren’t exactly stacked in the Canadian’s favour. A 3-20 career record against Top 10 opponents, an 11-match winless streak against Top 5 players in the world and an 0-4 career head-to-head record against Murray. Add in just 13 wins in his last 37 singles matches overall.

But you can throw all that out the window, because the 26-year old native of British Columbia came up with the biggest win of his tennis career stunning the defending Wimbledon Champion 6-4, 7-6 in an hour and 51 minutes in front of a boisterous crowd at the main stadium court in Indian Wells, California. Not bad for someone who needed to win a pair of qualifying matches just to get into the main draw and had been playing lower tier Challenger events of late.

“If I pick a handful of great moments in my career, this is definitely one of them,” said Pospisil. “To beat the No. 1 player and somebody as accomplished as Andy, one of the greats of the game, is amazing.”

Both players took their time getting into the match with four breaks of serve in the first seven games. Then it was Pospisil who hit a great forehand service return down the line to jump ahead 5-4. In the next game he held serve to take the opening set 6-4.

Pospisil then broke again in the first game of the second set and had break chances to go up 3-Love but instead it was Murray who held serve and then broke back and levelled things up 2-2. The players stayed on serve the rest of the way until the tiebreak.

Pospisil took an early 3-1 lead in the tiebreak after Murray double faulted for the seventh time in the match. He then increased the lead to 6-2 with some smart aggressive tactics at the net. After dropping both points on his serve, Pospisil on his fourth match point, capitalized on a weak forehand from Murray and hammered it cross court to secure the victory. The pro Canadian crowd which included musician David Foster and former boxer Mike Tyson went into a frenzy and the weight of the past 14 months for Pospisil seemed to disappear.

“I was telling myself especially in the tiebreak, I remember saying whatever the score I don’t want to have any regrets. I don’t want to come out of the match thinking why did I play a passive point when I am playing a baseliner who’s one of the best baseliners ever,” said Pospisil who will see his ranking improve from 129th in the world. “I just did well to keep focused on what I wanted to do on playing aggressive and taking it to him coming into the net, kind of giving him different looks and played it a little bit differently than I did against him the previous times and it worked out tonight.”

The aggressive style encouraged by his new coach, 17-time Grand Slam doubles winner Mark Woodforde paid off. Mixing in his serve and volley game at times seemed to catch Murray off guard and Pospisil performed like the player he was three years ago when he was ranked as high as No. 25 in the world.

“Crowds like it when guys are being aggressive,’ said a gracious Murray. “He came up with some fantastic shots. I didn’t serve particularly well tonight, which didn’t help things. And then in the second set, he started to play more aggressively. I was giving myself decent looks at passing shots. I missed a few tonight. He also came up with some really good reflex volleys on important moments and important points.”

Pospisil, who won the doubles title at Indian Wells two years ago, had 27 winners on the night and won 71% of points on his first serve. He became the first Canadian to beat a World No.1 since Daniel Nestor defeated Stefan Edberg in a Davis Cup match in Vancouver 25 years ago.

“I felt like a big result was coming, because I believe in my abilities, but just kind of had to put the pieces together again,” Pospisil said. “Obviously to beat the No. 1 player in the world is incredible. I mean, it’s the biggest win of my career, and I’m just thrilled right now.”

NOTES:

  • Pospisil had dropped all four career meetings with Murray and hadn’t won any of the nine sets they had played until Saturday night.
  • Pospisil’s next opponent will be Serbian Dusan Lajovic ranked #106 in the world. Pospisil won their only career meeting in straight sets on grass in the Netherlands in 2014
  • Pospisil has played five matches over five days at Indian Wells this year. He has won all five of those matches. Two qualifying and two main draw singles matches and one main draw doubles match with partner Steve Johnson. He will get a well deserved day off on Sunday.

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Daria Kasatkina And Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Lead Calls For VAR In Tennis

There have been calls for VAR to be introduced into the sport.

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Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina have called for VAR to be implemented in tennis.

The calls have came after Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik in Dubai.

As Bublik lead 6-5 in the final set, Rublev shouted in the face of an umpire allegedly swearing in Russian which was picked up by one of the officials.

This saw Rublev be disqualified from the event with Bublik reaching the final in Dubai.

However as a result of the incident players have called for a VAR review system with the video showing inconclusive proof of whether Rublev did swear in Russian.

Leading the calls for such innovation are Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina as the duo called for VAR to be introduced on twitter, “So you can just disqualify a player, take away all his points and money, without even checking the video? What a joke, yet another confirmation that we need VAR in tennis and an electronic appeal system in all tournaments,” Kasatkina said on social media.

VAR has been implemented in football and also a similar system in rugby with mixed results.

It’s clear though that more technology would help umpires identify whether a grounds for disqualification would be necessary.

So far VAR has been trialled at the Next Gen Finals and the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

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Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

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Andrey Rublev Disqualified In Dramatic Dubai Semi-Final

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final in Dubai.

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik after being accused of swearing in Russian.

The event took place in Dubai where Rublev had more than enough opportunities to win the match having been 4-2 40-0 up in the deciding set.

However Bublik came back into the match as he caught up with Rublev in what was turning into a fascinating contest.

The score was at 6-5 Bublik when Rublev’s frustrations boiled over when he allegedly told the official at the side of the court that he was a ‘f****** moron’ in Russian.

One of the officials on the sidelines at the side of the court reported the incident and the supervisor ruled that Rublev should be defaulted.

The incident below means that Rublev will now lose all his ranking points and prize money, resulting in Rublev exiting the world’s top five.

An ending that didn’t warrant the dramatic contest and after the match Bublik agreed that the consequences, “I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy,” Bublik was quoted by Sports Illustrated.

“He’s not this kind of guy. But I guess that’s the rules. That’s what they did, they just follow the procedure.”

Bublik will hope for a smoother finish to the final when he takes on Ugo Humbert for the title.

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