Wimbledon Day 11 Preview: The Gentlemen’ Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 11 Preview: The Gentlemen’ Semifinals

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Roger Federer (zimbio.com)

We’re down to the final four men in the gentlemen’s draw, with only one of the “big four” remaining. That would of course be the most prolific men’s singles major champion of all-time, with seven Wimbledon titles to his name. We also have a former major champion who is looking for a return trip to a major final, and is playing some of the best tennis of his career. Then there’s a former Wimbledon finalist, who in the seven years since has not been able to book a return trip to a major final. Finally we have a first-time major semifinalist who has upset the number one seed for two years running at the All England Club.

 

Marin Cilic vs. Sam Querrey

The first of the two semifinals will feature a rarity in modern day tennis: two men who are not named Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, or Murray. Cilic has won all four of his previous meetings with Querrey. Out of those four meetings, three of them were on grass, and two of them on the lawns of Wimbledon. Their most notable battle was in the third round of Wimbledon in 2012, a five-and-a-half hour affair which is the second longest Wimbledon match ever. Cilic prevailed 17-15 in the fifth set on that day. Three years earlier, these two men also played a five set match at Wimbledon, with Cilic winning 6-4 in the fifth.

While Cilic has never lost to Querrey, they have obviously had some very tight, very long matches. That’s no surprise considering how well both of these 6’6” players can serve, especially on the grass. While both men played five set matches on Wednesday to advance to this semifinal, Querrey has now played three straight five set matches over the past week. Querrey must be a bit drained, which is not the best way to arrive to your first ever major semifinal. Marin is in great form, and has much more big match experience than Sam. It’s likely we’ll see Cilic back on Centre Court come Sunday in his second major final.

Roger Federer vs. Tomas Berdych

The second semifinal will see Roger Federer walk onto the court as the heavy favourite. This is Roger’s record-breaking 12th gentlemen’s semifinal at SW19, while this is only Tomas’ third. Federer is 10-1 in those semifinals, with his only loss coming last year to Milos Raonic in a match where Roger was injured. This is Federer’s 42nd major semifinal, and he holds a career record of 28-13 in this round. Berdych has appeared in six major semifinals, and has only prevailed in one of them. Federer leads their head-to-head 18-6, and has won all seven of their most recent meetings over the past four years. Roger is in great form in 2017 – he’s only lost two matches in the whole year, and he even held match points in those losses. He is the only man remaining who is yet to drop a set during this fortnight.

Meanwhile Berdych has struggled in 2017 – he has no titles on the year, and was in danger of dropping out of the top 20 prior to his return to the Wimbledon semifinals. With all of that being said, this match could be more dynamic match than the above statistics reveal. This is the first major in many years where Federer is such a heavy favorite, without any other members of the “big four” advancing this far. That’s a lot of pressure Roger has not recently experienced. Federer is also a few weeks shy of turning 36-years-old. As many former champions have detailed, the older you get, the more off days you have on court. Meanwhile Berdych knows he is not expected to win this match, which may allow him to hit freely. And Tomas also knows he’s capable of out-hitting Roger, just as he did in two previous major quarter-finals: the 2010 Wimbledon and the 2012 U.S. Open. Additionally Berdych should feel well-rested: he barely played for an hour in his quarter-final on Wednesday due to Novak Djokovic’s retirement. Federer is yet to be tested at this event: if Berdych can stay close and extend this to four or five sets, this may become a dangerous hurdle as Roger strives for his 11th final at the All England Club.

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Fabio Fognini To Undergo Arthroscopic Surgery On Both Ankles

Fabio Fognini is to have surgery on both ankles as he aims to extend his tennis career when the ATP Tour returns.

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Fabio Fognini (@ASB_Classic - Twitter)

Fabio Fognini will undergo Arthroscopic surgery on both ankles in Italy today after re-injuring them in training. 

 

The Italian took to social media to announce that he will have the surgery on both his ankles immediately as he looks to take advantage of Tennis’ hiatus.

In the post Fognini revealed that this is not a new problem he has been suffering from, “I’ve been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now, it’s an issue I’ve learned to cope with,” Fognini explained.

“Then my right ankle started playing up in the past two years as well. I had hoped the various issues would go away during my two months break from the game because of the lockdown but, when I resumed training they were still there. 

“After medical examination and a long discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles. I believe it is the right thing to do while the tour is on this enforced break.”

This is big news for the Italian, who is now 33 years-old and with his time on the tour running out this is a big risk but a risk worth taking in order to increase his longevity.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the world number 11 as he looks to take advantage of the hiatus in the tennis calendar and get himself fully ready for the 2021 season.

Since turning pro 16 years ago, Fognini has won 9 ATP singles titles and been a grand slam champion in doubles with his flamboyant style remaining consistent over the years and will look to continue this form after surgery.

Meanwhile a decision on the US Open is expected to be made in the next couple of weeks as the tournament organisers are hoping to still hold the tournament on the 31st of August.

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Australian Tennis Great Passes Away Aged 83

Ashley Cooper is one of only 11 men in history to have won three grand slam titles within the same year.

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Women’s world No.1 Ash Barty has led tributes to multiple grand slam champion Ashley Cooper, who passed away on Friday.

 

Cooper was one of the sports best players in the years leading up to the birth of the Open Era. He was declared the world’s best amateur player in 1957 and 1958. It was during 1958 where he really stood out by winning three out of the four major tournaments within the same season. Something only 10 other players in the history of men’s tennis have been able to achieve. Cooper also achieved success in the doubles by winning another four grand slam titles. In the Davis Cup he led Australia to a 3-2 victory over America in the 1957 final.

Whilst his achievements occurred during the 1950s, Cooper did sort of have a taste of what it was like to place in a major event during the Open Era after featuring in the main draw of the 1968 French Open. He progressed to the second round after his opponent retired before withdrawing from the tournament without playing a single point.

After retiring from the sport, he maintained his links with tennis. Working alongside Tennis Queensland with their player development and was on the Board of Directors for Tennis Australia.

“Ashley was a giant of the game both as a brilliant player and an astute administrator and he will be greatly missed,” said Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
“His contribution to the sport went far beyond his exploits on the tennis court. His rich legacy includes the magnificent Queensland Tennis Centre, a project he was passionate about, nurturing the development from the very beginning, and resulting in the return of world-class international tennis to Brisbane.”
“Ashley was also the most humble of champions and a great family man. Our hearts go out to his wife Helen and his family, along with his wide and international circle of friends, including so many of our tennis family.”

Paying her own tribute, French Open champion Barty took to Twitter to send her sympathy to Cooper’s family. Last year she was presented with the Ashley Cooper Medal at the Queensland Tennis Awards. The highest individual honour that can be issued by the organisation named in after the tennis great.

Rod Laver, who is one of Australia’s greatest tennis players of all time, described Cooper as a ‘wonderful champion’ in his tribute.

“So sad to hear of Ashley’s passing. He was a wonderful champion, on and off the court. And what a backhand! So many cherished memories. Farewell my friend. My thoughts are with Ashley’s wife, Helen, and his family.” Laver wrote on Twitter.

The have been no details released on the exact cause of Cooper’s death, but it has been reported that he has been battling ‘a long illness.’ He was 83-years-old.

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Novak Djokovic aims at breaking Federer and Nadal Grand Slam records

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Novak Djokovic told US program In Depth presented by Graham Bensinger that he wants to break all Grand Slam records and play for many years. The Serbian player is the third best ever player with 17 Major titles behid Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19).

 

“I believe that the journey chooses you and not the other way around and I know that I still have things to do in sport. At the same time, they are not the only things that motivate me, what really feeds me is the desire to keep growing. I can achieve all feats and become the greatest in history maintaining on the courts”, said Djokovic.

The Serbian legend said that he does not set set any limits. He was still unbeaten before the suspension of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. His winning streak includes a record of 18 consecutive match wins and a 21-match win streak dating back dating back to the Davis Cup Finals last November. He beat Roger Federer in the semifinal and Dominic Thiem in the final to clinch his 8th Australian Open title. He became the third man to win 8 titles at a Grand Slam tournament. Last February he saved three match points against Gael Monfils in the semifinal before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final in Dubai.

 “I don’t believe in limits. I think limits are just illusions of your ago or your mind. I definitely want to go on for a long time but I know that at the same time I have to maintain the right principles and the routine to maintain the health and well being of my body, mind and soul”, said Djokovic.

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