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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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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