Djokovic Survives 5 Set Scare At French Open - UBITENNIS
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Djokovic Survives 5 Set Scare At French Open




After two relatively easy victories at this years French Open it appeared the Novak Djokovic we all saw hoist the winners trophy a year ago had perhaps returned. Just maybe we got ahead of ourselves as Djokovic needed five sets in the third round to survive a scare from Diego Schwartzman winning 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Djokovic at times looked unbeatable and at times looked miserable. In the end, the 12-time Grand Slam winner outlasted his less experienced opponent dominating the final two sets of the match.

“Playing a five-setter is, at this stage, is good, you know,” replied Djokovic.” I enjoyed playing, really, even though of course at times I was not playing my best, especially for first three sets, but, you know, fourth and fifth set went completely my way.”

With dark clouds and light rain overhead, Djokovic broke Schwartzman to go up 3-1 in the first set but then gave it back three games later. Schwartzman then capitalized on an awful service game from Djokovic which included two poorly played drop shot attempts and took the first set 7-5. The newest Lacoste ambassador with 20 unforced errors in the opening set.

The Djokovic of old suddenly appeared in the second set. He looked much more confident winning 90 percent of his first serve points, didn’t face a break point along the way and had 13 winners.

In the third, the two players held serve until the ninth game when Djokovic hit a forehand crosscourt long and wide giving his opponent a break. In the following game Schwartzman managed to save four break points, held serve and grabbed himself a two sets to one lead. Djokovic was in jeopardy of becoming the first defending champion to lose prior to the round of 16 since 2004.

However, from the fourth set on, it was all Djokovic. He dominated Schwartzman, who had never defeated a top-10 player before, moving him around the court and winning the majority of the points improving his career record to 6-2 in five set matches at Roland-Garros.

“Well, he definitely deserved the applause he got in the end of the match, because he was fighting, he was playing really well,” said Djokovic. “He was the better player probably for first three sets. And then the fourth and fifth set went the way I hoped that the whole match can go. So I’m glad that I have some positives, of course, to take from today’s match. I was mentally still, you know, strong and as calm as I could be, even though I was two sets to one down I kept believing I could break his resistance. It was just too many unforced errors from myself.”

Djokovic did have a run in with chair umpire Carlos Ramos midway through the fourth set. The veteran official gave the world No. 2 his second time violating warning which shortly thereafter lead to an unsportsmanlike warning for bad language. The two exchanged words in English for about 30 seconds with Djokovic wondering what he said that instituted a warning. Ramos said he didn’t like Djokovic’s attitude after he had directed some words at him and didn’t like the way he hit a ball after losing a point.

Djokovic, now has 58 career match wins at Roland-Garros which is third all-time. He will face a tricky opponent in Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the next round. Ramos-Violas seeded 19th, also needed a five set win in his third round match outlasting Lucas Pouille.

“It was good to be part of five-set match. You know, I didn’t play too many of the five setters the last couple of years. I see a lot of good things in it. I think it will put me in a good place mentally, as well. Physically I don’t think it’s going to affect me at all. You know, I have had many situations like this before where just, you know, having a day to recover is more than enough.”

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream



Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid



Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon



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Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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