ATP Halle: Roger Federer Through, Russian #NextGen Quarterfinal Awaited - UBITENNIS
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ATP Halle: Roger Federer Through, Russian #NextGen Quarterfinal Awaited

Day 4 at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle set the top half quarterfinals, including the No. 1 seed Roger Federer!

Jakub Bobro

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The headlining match of the day was last on Stadion, between 1st seed Roger Federer and the No. 29 ranked German Mischa Zverev. The match was very high quality, both players net rushing and providing entertaining grass court tennis. There was a funny moment in the first set when Federer thought he hit a winner so he let out a shout resembling a “come on”, but Zverev lobbed the ball back. It was a set point for Federer, and the point was replayed. Federer had several break/set points at 5-4, but Zverev prevailed, and it almost seemed like he would reciprocate as Federer went down 15-30 on his serve. The first set went into a tiebreak and after trading a mini-break each, Zverev was serving at 4-5. Federer powered through the two points and took the first set in a tiebreak, 7-4. Both players focused on their service games in the second sets, with no games going to deuce. In typical Federer fashion, the Swiss was conserving energy and waiting for Mischa Zverev to make the mistake. Federer got his chance at 4-4, broke serve, and won the match 7-6(4) 6-4. The legendary Swiss beat Mischa Zverev 6-0 6-0 in 2013 in quarterfinals of Halle, which proves Zverev’s improvement since then. Federer next faces defending champion Florian Mayer in the quarterfinals. The Swiss leads the head-to-head 7-0, including 3 previous wins over Mayer in Halle in 2005, 2012 and 2015.

 

Day 4 in Halle Westfalen was kicked off by a match between the 3rd seed Kei Nishikori and the 21-year-old Karen Khachanov, No. 3 in the #NextGen Race to Milan. Khachanov stands at 198 cm, and is generally a power player, giving him a solid chance at the upset over Nishikori, who prefers slower surfaces. Khachanov was the one to advance to the quarterfinals, but not based on his skill. Nishikori started to have problems with his left hip at 2-2, took a medical timeout. He seemed to be in a lot of pain while receiving the treatment, and after a couple of points, Nishikori retired from the match. Khachanov’s quarterfinal opponent is a fellow Russian #NextGen player, the 19-year-old Andrey Rublev. It was Nishikori’s first retirement, but the Japanese player is known for being rather frail and injury-prone. It is very unlucky for Nishikori to get injured so close to Wimbledon, and he has to hope that he will be fit by then.

Andrey Rublev faced a fellow Russian from a different generation in the second round, Mikhail Youzhny. Rublev upset 8th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his opener, while Mikhail Youzhny beat s-Hertogenbosch finalist Ivo Karlovic in straight sets. Rublev started the set in a very dominant fashion, taking the opening set 6-0. Youzhny wasn’t giving up and broke for 4-2 in the second set. When serving out the set at 5-3, Youzhny turned away 3 break points and finally used the set point No. 4. The final set was more straightforward with only one game going to deuce. Rublev broke for 2-0, and both players held on to their serves, so Andrey Rublev won 6-0 3-6 6-3. Rublev has now broken the Top 100, the live ranking puts him at No. 91. With a win over Khachanov, the 19-year-old could move to Top 75. Rublev and Khachanov have never faced each other before, not even the junior circuit because of their 2-year difference, and this Russian derby will be one to follow for years to come.

Home crowd favorite and defending champion Florian Mayer also marches on to the quarterfinals. The German has had a lackluster year thus far, entering Halle with a win/loss record of 2-11. Things looked even worse after the 33-year-old lost to Jeremy Chardy in the opening round of Stuttgart. The 500 points Mayer won in Halle last year provided the majority of his points, and after they all dropped on Monday, Mayer’s ranking was in free fall. From No. 51, Mayer dropped by 83 places to No. 134. Wins over Paire and Pouille are his first main tour back-to-back wins since the Halle title last year. Reaching the quarterfinals now puts him at No. 109, still a long way from his initial ranking. In this match against Pouille, Mayer won 6-7(6) 6-4 6-3. The ending of the opening set was quite dramatic, with Pouille pulling off a 194 km/h second serve at 6-6, at Mayer foot faulting at set point for Pouille. Mayer was very dominant on serve in the other two sets and picked spots to break when Pouille was vulnerable. The German won 82% of points after the 1st serve and finally came back to win a match from set down for the first time this year. Pouille stayed true to his great tiebreak record and improved it to 81%, while Mayer won only 9% of tiebreaks this year. The biggest key to Pouille’s demise were the 52 unforced errors.

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Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.

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Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.

 

Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.

 

It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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