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.
Dominic Stricker cruises past Luca Nardi at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah
Third seed Dominic Stricker cruised past Luca Nardi 4-1 4-1 4-2 in 54 minutes in the fastest match in the history of the Next Gen Finals at the Next Gen ATP Finals at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah bouncing back from his defeat in the first match against Flavio Cobolli on Tuesday.
Stricker converted four of his six break points and hit 13 winners, including 3 aces.
Stricker came back from 15-40 down in the first game after two double faults from Nardi and broke serve with a return winner on the deciding point to take a 1-0 lead. The world number 94 saved three break-back-back points in the second game from 15-40 down before breaking for the second time in the fifth game to win the first set 4-1.
Stricker broke serve at 30 in the second game of the second set and held serve at love in the third game to race out to a 3-0 lead. Stricker served it out on his second set point.
Stricker earned an early break in the first game of the third set on the deciding point and held his next service games. Nardi saved the first match point but he hit his backhand into the net on the second match point after the longest rally of the match.
“We had a long discussion yesterday evening about how to do it today. I think it was really good that we talked a lot after what maybe was not my best performance. Now to come out today like that, I think nobody expected that. I am just happy that I did it and now I am going to try my best to recover for the third group match”, said Stricker. Stricker is now 1-1 in Green Group. The Swiss player is aiming to reach his second consecutive semifinal at the Next Gen Finals. He is looking to crown a good year after reaching the fourth round at the US Open.
Jannik Sinner, Arnaldi End Italy’s 47-Year Wait For Davis Cup Title
An in-form Jannik Sinner has secured Italy’s first Davis Cup title in almost half a century after crushing Alex de Minaur in straight sets.
The world No.4 headed into the crucial match with his country boasting a 1-0 lead over Australia after Matteo Arnaldi won his clash against Alexi Popryin in three sets. Taking on a fiery de Minaur, a composed Sinner surged to a 6-3, 6-0, victory in Malaga to hand his country an unassailable lead and the title. The dominant performance saw Sinner produce a total of 25 winners with 18 of them coming from his forehand side. It is the sixth time he has beaten de Minaur on the Tour and he is yet to lose against him.
“It helps a lot to play for the whole team,” Sinner said of his latest win. “It has been an incredible thing for all of us and we are really happy.”
Sinner first broke three games into his encounter with de Minaur after the Australian hit a lob shot that landed out. In control of proceedings, he rallied his way to 5-3 before opening up a 40-0 lead against his opponent’s serve. With three set points at his disposal, Sinner converted his second with the help of another unforced error coming from across the court.
Closing in on the historic victory, the 22-year-old was in clinical form throughout the second frame as he raced to a 5-0 lead in under 30 minutes. Destroying whatever hopes Australia had of a shock comeback. Sinner closed out the match on his third attempt after a De Minaur backhand drifted wide, prompting an almighty smile on his face.
“Thanks to Australia. I know with the new format it is a little bit different to have to all come to one place. it means a lot.” Said Sinner.
In the first match of the day, Arnaldi ousted Popryin 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, in a two-and-a-half-hour marathon. The world No.44, who made his Davis Cup debut in September, held his nerve throughout a tense deciding set where he saved all eight break points he faced. Overall, he hit a total of 40 winners past Popryin and was visibly emotional afterward.
“This match was very important and emotional for a few reasons,” Arnaldi told reporters.
“This year for me was the first time playing for my country. I played when I was junior, but Davis Cup is just different.’
“And three weeks ago, an important person passed away. I think he gave me the power to try to stay there (in the match). It wasn’t easy to play, but they gave me the power at the end to try to win.”
It is the second time in history Italy has won the Davis Cup and the first since 1976. The triumph caps off what has been a memorable week for the team who 24 hours earlier beat Novak Djokovic’s Serbia in the semi-finals with Sinner saving three match points against the world No.1 in the singles.
“I’m really thankful and proud to have these guys,” Italian captain Filippo Volandri commented.
“We have had to manage with a lot of emergencies during these past two years but we did it and we did it like a family.” He added.
Italy, who has become the 11th country in history to win Multiple Davis Cup titles, currently has six players in the ATP top 100 with four of those being in the top 50.
Alexander Zverev Deserves More Respect According To Boris Becker
According to Boris Becker, Alexander Zverev deserves more respect from tennis journalists.
Boris Becker has claimed that Alexander Zverev deserves more respect despite Zverev failing to live up to his potential at Grand Slams.
Zverev has only reached one Grand Slam final in his career despite being a regular inside the world’s top ten as well as performing at regular ATP events.
This season Zverev played a limited schedule after recovering from an ankle injury but still managed to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.
However most critics have been loud when judging Zverev’s career as it was looking likely that he would be a regular Grand Slam champion.
The German has failed to live up to expectations but former Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes Zverev deserves more respect.
Speaking to Eurosport Becker also said that Zverev’s father being the coach is a more than successful approach when it comes to the former US Open finalist’s career, “In my opinion, he doesn’t get enough respect from the tennis experts internationally,” Becker explained.
“They’re all talking about the young three or four, but don’t give Zverev, Medvedev or Rublev enough respect. He’s playing with his fist in his pocket a little bit, wants everyone show that he is not a thing of the past, but that his best time is yet to come.
“Surely his father knows best what is good for his son, but if you look into the box at the competition, you can also see changes.”
Becker has followed Zverev for most of his career so knows that the best is yet to come from the German.
Alexander Zverev will look to prove himself next season when he starts his 2024 season when he represents Germany at the United Cup.
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