Tommy Robredo Defeats Dan Evans At The French Open, Ramos-Vinolas & Carreno Busta Also Advance - UBITENNIS
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Tommy Robredo Defeats Dan Evans At The French Open, Ramos-Vinolas & Carreno Busta Also Advance

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Tommy Robredo

Tommy Robredo recovered from a set down to defeat Dan Evans 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to book his place in the second round in what is his last tournament with a protected ranking.

 

Evans has been very public about his dissatisfaction and lack of confidence playing on the clay but any signs of that looked far from his mind as he took a set and a break lead. Robredo did not panic and dug deep to get himself back in the set and once he snatched that he was in command. Breaks were traded but the 35-year-old was always in control and wrapped up the match after two hours and 47 minutes.

Elsewhere on day one at Roland Garros there were victories for three of Robredo’s Spanish compatriots. 19th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas defeated qualifier Marius Copil 6-7(7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, while 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta eliminated Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez upset 26th seed Gilles Muller, winning 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-2. There were also wins for Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi, Mikhail Kukushkin, Taro Daniel and Horacio Zeballos.

Evans got off to the perfect start in the blistering Paris heat, breaking his opponent’s serve immediately. The Brit was very fired up and swiftly took a 2-0 lead, but the highly experienced Spaniard hit back immediately, reeling off three games in a row to move in front.
After a series of service holds Evans capitalised at the perfect time, breaking in the eleventh game after forcing Robredo wide with a forehand to give himself the opportunity to serve for the opening set.

The Brit had impressed throughout the match on serve and only dropped two points behind his first serve as he closed it out on his second set point, sealing it with a powerfully struck forehand which his opponent could not return.

The British number three appeared to be struggling with an issue regarding his stomach and left the court at the end of the set but that did appear to affect him back on the court. Evans quickly moved to two break points and despite Robredo saving the first with a backhand volley, a backhand down the line winner from the Brit secured an immediate break and put him in charge of the first round match.

After losing five games in a row Robredo responded with three in a row of his own, breaking Evans to love as he closed out a perfect game with a forehand cross court winner. In the 10th game Evans’ level dropped, with a double fault, two missed volleys and a forehand long costing the Brit the game and the set as the 35-year-old levelled at one set all.

Robredo was the more animated player at the start of the third and it was his time to make the perfect start, winning four points in a row from 30-0 down to break his opponent’s serve before swiftly taking a 3-0 lead.

Dan Evans

Dan Evans (Photo: Zimbio.com)

With Evans’ challenge in this match somewhat fading, his opponent offered up a lifeline in the fifth game, playing several loose points on serve and the Brit capitalised to get back on serve. The reprieve did not last long as Robredo re-engaged, racing to a 0-40 advantage. The Brit saved the first break point with an overhead smash but has no answers to his opponent’s groundstrokes on the second opportunity to regain the break advantage.

The lapses on serve continued, with Robredo once again failing to stamp his authority on the match, dropping serve to love before regaining the break once again to move 5-3 in front. On this occasion the Spaniard had no trouble closing out the set on serve, moving just one set away from a place in the second round.

With Evans hitting 10 unforced errors compared to just five winners the odds of the Brit turning the match around looked slim. The odds of a comeback became even greater when Robredo secured an immediate break of serve. Seemingly on his last legs, the Brit staved off a break point in the third game to keep himself in the match.

Evans had the chance to hold in the fifth game to continue to stay in touch, but could not resist the pressure from Robredo as he moved up a double break and closed in at 5-1 up. Robredo broke serve in the very next game courtesy of a double fault from the Brit to secure a four set victory 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.

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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more

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After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10

 

By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

PositionPlayerCountryPts+/-
1DjokovicSerbia117951
2AlcarazSpain8535-1
3MedvedevRussia7280
4RuneDenmark4710 
5TsitsipasGreece46152
6RublevRussia45152
7SinnerItaly4465-1
8FritzUSA39551
9RuudNorway3560-4
10ZverevGermany30302
11TiafoeUSA2690-1
12de MinaurAustralia26851
13PaulUSA26601
14Auger-AliassimeCanada23401
15KhachanovRussia2135-4
16HurkaczPoland20351
17NorrieGB1985-1
18MusettiItaly1925 
19SheltonUSA173528
20DimitrovBulgaria1735-1

A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.

ATP NITTO FINALS

From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.

RankPlayerCountryPts+/-
1DjokovicSerbia89451
2AlcarazSpagna8175-1
3MedvedevRussia6590 
4SinnerItalia4365 
5RublevRussia36401
6TsitsipasGrecia3570-1
7RuneDenmark3055 
8ZverevGermania3030 
9FritzUSA3010 
10RuudNorway2625 

Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.

ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS

The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
1AlcarazSpain817520032
2RuneDenmark305520034
3SheltonUSA1455200219
4MusettiItaly1300200218
5FilsFrance953200444
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
7StrickerSwitzerland576200290
8MichelsenUSA4922004117
9MedjedovicSerbia4852003121
10CazauxFrance4552002130
11CobolliItaly4052002132
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.

BEST RANKING

Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

PlayerPositionCountryProgress
Shelton19USA28
Jarry22Chile3
Baez28Argentina4
Fils44France4
Arnaldi47Italy14
Altmaier49Germany4
O’Connell53Australia16
Seyboth Wild76Brazil30
Gojo77Croatia28
Watanuki78Japan7
Mmoh81USA8
Hijkata83Australia27
Stricker90Switzerland38

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open

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Love him, or hate him. But respect him.

 

No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.

DJOKOVIC WENT ONE STEP FURTHER

Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.

A FOURTH AND 24TH TITLE, AND A 24 TRIBUTE

At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.

THREE POINTS MAY HAVE BEEN DECISIVE

Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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Alcaraz Fell Victim To Unbeatable Medvedev

Carlos Alcaraz was no match for Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semi-finals.

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(@RelevantTennis - Twitter)

A star had to fall. There was no other way.

 

This time, Carlos Alcaraz was the victim. Daniil Medvedev was unbeatable.

The 6-6 Russian was everywhere, playing almost perfect tennis in a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alcaraz.

So, one former champion went down while one advanced to Sunday’s final at the U.S. Open.

And then there was Novak Djokovic, another former champion headed for the title match.

U.S. OPEN WAS THE BIG WINNER FRIDAY

The U.S. Open couldn’t lose once Djokovic dominated young American Ben Shelton, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Djokovic appeared to be content with just winning while getting the preliminaries over with. He seemed to be a little miffed by Shelton’s cockiness. There were no hugs or embraces when the match ended. Just a handshake.

Shelton has huge potential, but it’s going to take some time before he’s ready to join the likes of Djokovic, Medvedev and Alcaraz. He’s a better athlete than he is tennis player.

Novak is ready to go for a record 24th Grand Slam title.

Believe it or not, Medvedev will be playing in his fifth Grand Slam final.

Sunday should be a great day in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with two former champs, Djokovic and Medvedev, going against each other.

CAN COCO HIT WITH SABALENKA

The women’s final will be interesting. Can Coco Gauff compete with Aryna Sabalenka?

Sabalenka looked helpless against Madison Keys’ big strokes and serves in the first set of their semifinal on Thursday.

Sabalenka couldn’t win even one game in that set. She looked helpless.

But she obviously felt all along that she could beat Keys anytime she wanted. Or why else would the powerful Sabalenka go for broke on almost every shot? And it almost cost her.

Amazingly, Sabalenka waited almost to the final moments to decide to play within her game and stop the wildness.

Once Sabalenka decided to settle down and play to win, Keys went just the opposite way, similarly to her one-sided loss to Sloane Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open final.

Keys appeared ready to win this time as she held a 6-0, 5-4 advantage over new world’s No. 1 Sabalenka, who seemed to be stumbling all over the court as she repeatedly hit wild shots in every direction.

Just like that, everything changed. Sabalenka started hitting winners everywhere as Keys reversed roles with Sabalenka. Not only did Sabalenka win the second set while dropping just one point in a tiebreaker, she stormed through a decisive 10-point third-set tiebreaker to win the match.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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