Novak Djokovic Tackles Donald Young Test To Reach The Semifinals In Eastbourne - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Tackles Donald Young Test To Reach The Semifinals In Eastbourne

Joshua Coase

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic advanced to the semifinals at the Aegon International in Eastbourne after coming through a tough test against Donald Young 6-2, 7-6(9) as his preparations for Wimbledon continue.

 

The top seed looked back to his best and perfectly at home on the grass in the opening set, racing through it only dropping three points on serve to take it 6-2. The second set was a rather different story as Young grew in confidence and earned the chance to serve for the second set at 5-4. The American had a set point then and a couple more in the tiebreak, but Djokovic held his nerve and finally got over the line on his fourth match point to extend his time by the seaside in his first trip to Eastbourne.

Prior to this match on Centre Court, second seed Gael Monfils completed his second round match with a 6-3, 6-2 win over British wildcard Cameron Norrie. The two players managed 45 minutes court time on Wednesday evening and returned Thursday morning with the Frenchman leading by a set and a break 6-3, 2-1. Norrie had half a chance to break back immediately at 15-30 on his opponent’s serve, but the second seed responded to hold to stay in front. The 21-year-old Brit secured his first ever ATP World Tour level win a few days ago with victory over Horacio Zeballos, but was outhit by the second seed in this match. Monfils secured a second break in the seventh game on his third opportunity and served it out with an ace on his second match point to seal a quarterfinal place.

Monfils will now face former Wimbledon quarterfinalist Bernard Tomic later on Thursday after the Australian ran out a comfortable winner over sixth seed Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-2 in just 50 minutes. Seventh seed Richard Gasquet also booked his place in the last eight with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Kevin Anderson and will now meet third seed John Isner, who came through a tough battle against Dusan Lajovic 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4). In the other matches held over from yesterday, defending champion Steve Johnson saw off qualifier Thomas Fabbiano in three sets 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to set up a meeting with Daniil Medvedev, who recovered from a set down to defeat Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.

In the first men’s quarterfinal match of the day in front of a sell out crowd, top seed Djokovic started out strongly on serve and had three break point opportunities in the fourth game at 0-40. An ace, followed by an unreturned second serve, followed by an unreturned first serve kept Young in the game. The American did extremely well to raise his level and make it five points in a row to stay with the world number four early on.

Young could not hold off the 12-time Grand Slam champion for long as the Serb secured the first break of serve in the sixth game after his opponent went well wide with an aggressive forehand. After an encouraging start Young struggled to stay with the top seed from the back of the court and soon faced two set points on his own serve. Djokovic only needed one, securing the set 6-2 after 26 minutes with a forehand winner which landed on the baseline. The former world number one was growing in confidence all the time playing in his first Wimbledon warm-up event since 2010, only losing two points behind his first serve and one behind his second over the course of the opening set.

A lapse in concentration in the third game of the second set left Djokovic facing a first break point in the match, but the Serb refocused, hitting an unreturned first serve before holding to stay in front. With that rare opportunity passing the American by, his standard of play dropped on serve, with a double fault leaving Young having to save two break points against him. Young, also a quarterfinalist at Queen’s last week, responded very well under pressure, serving his way out of trouble to win the next two points and save a third break point before holding to level at two games all.

After a series of service holds it was the top seed who next faced adversity on serve in the ninth game, facing two break points. Agonisingly for Young, sensing the importance of the moment in the match, he tentatively struck backhands into the net on both points to squander the chance. A double fault from the Serb gifted the American a third bite at the cherry and this time he took it after Djokovic went long with a backhand slice.

Serving to level at one set all, a double fault left Young down 15-30, but the American responded to move to set point. Djokovic held firm and prevented his opponent from taking them into a final set before converting on his second break point in the game to restore parity and level at five games all.

A hold to love from the top seed made it six points in a row, but a strong response from Young, finishing with a 93mph forehand winner took the players into a tiebreak.

A double fault from Djokovic instantly handed the mini break to his opponent, but the world number four swiftly levelled the scores. Young pushed in front again to take a 5-3 advantage before the world number four came back once again to level at 5-5. A well executed backhand cross court winner brought up a second set point for the American, which the top seed duly saved with an unreturned serve.

After the second change of ends Djokovic earned his first match point but missed a backhand to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats in the tiebreak. A backhand down the line winner brought a second match point, this time on the top seed’s own serve, but once again he could not get over the line. A third match point also went begging as the players changed ends once again at nine points apiece. The most untimely of double faults from Young gave Djokovic a fourth chance and this time he took with an unreturned first serve to secure a place in the semifinals against either Johnson or Medvedev.

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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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