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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Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Rotterdam Due To Back Injury

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Rotterdam due to ongoing back problems.

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Rafael Nadal (@WeAreTennisITA - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from next week’s ATP 500 event in Rotterdam due to a back injury.

 

The Spaniard’s back problems have started since before the Australian Open which he managed to play the tournament in Melbourne with the problem.

Eventually Nadal lost in his Australian Open quarter-final to Stefanos Tsitsipas from 2 sets to love up.

Despite playing in Melbourne, Nadal’s back problems continue to derail his schedule as he has now withdrawn from Rotterdam.

In a statement on Twitter, Nadal said that after consulting his doctor it was not the best idea to play Rotterdam.

“It is with great sadness that I have to forfeit from Rotterdam. As most of the fans know, I suffered back problems in Australia that started in Adelaide and continued in Melbourne,” Nadal said.

“We found a temporary solution that allowed me to play without pain in the second week of the tournament. Once I got back to Spain I visited my doctor and together with my team they’ve advised not to play this upcoming week.”

Nadal’s 10 year hiatus from the tournament continues as he looks to recover from the problem as soon as possible.

The 20-time grand slam champion’s main priority will be the clay-court swing where he can win a record-breaking 21st grand slam title.

Nadal’s next scheduled tournament will be the Miami Masters in late-March.

Meanwhile Nadal could now lose his world number two ranking next week as the top seed which is now Daniil Medvedev could replace him there.

The recent Australian Open finalist will need to reach the final if he wants to become the world number two but will face stiff competition in Holland from the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Milos Raonic.

The tournament will start on the 1st of March.

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John Isner not happy with the cut in prize money for Miami Masters

John Isner took to Twitter to raise some issues about the ATP and latest state of affairs in Tennis.

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John Isner (@usta - Twitter)

The American took to social media to vent his frustration saying it doesn’t make sense.

 

John Isner took to twitter today after hearing the news that the Miami Open will be cutting its prize money down with the singles champion only taking $300,110 with a first round loser only winning $10,000 in prize money.

Isner and many other players on tour believe the tournament should be forced to due an audit to truly reveal what their finances are and to see if they are hiding anything.

“How about a true audit to see how much tourneys are actually hurting and then a money formula after the event to reconcile?”

“Amazing we still don’t have this in a lot of our big events. How does that make any sense?” 

He also tweeted about the promoters saying the system the ATP uses is broken.

The American also spoke of the unfairness in the cuts the players are taking in comparison to the actual events.

“So players should take a 60% cut and 80% champions cut while ATP executives keep full salaries, benefits, and expense accounts? Make that make sense. Seems just a little bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?”.

Isner finally believes the players should benefit from the tournament not just in the short term but over a long tenure.

““Tennis is plagued by conflict and lack of transparency”

The tournament is scheduled for March 23rd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the tournament has confirmed they won’t be doing a quarantine like the Australian Open.

The players will need to provide a negative PCR test to board a flight to the US and once they land they will be tested once again and isolate until a negative result is shown.

The players will only be allowed at the hotel and the venue and any player who doesn’t respect the rules will be subject to penalties and be withdrawn from the tournament.

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Lleyton Hewitt ‘Hugely Honoured’ To Be Elected To Hall Of Fame

The class of 2021 have been confirmed with The Original 9 of women’s tennis also being inducted.

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Former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt celebrated his 40th birthday by being notified that he will be inducted into the prestigious Tennis Hall of Fame.

 

The Australian tennis star will be inducted into the player category after coming in first place in a vote by tennis fans that took place last year and being selected by the official voting group of media, historians and Hall of Famers. Hewitt was one of five candidates up for the vote. He is the first person from his country to enter the Hall of Fame since wheelchair tennis player David Hall did so in 2015.

Hewitt played in 46 ATP finals during his career in which he won 30 titles. In the Grand Slams he defeated Pete Sampras at the 2001 US Open to clinch his maiden major trophy. In the following year he triumphed at the Wimbledon Championships. It was during 2001 when he topped the ATP rankings at the age of 20 to become the youngest player to ever do so since the system was implemented in 1973. A record that he still holds this present day. Hewitt spent a total of 80 weeks as world No.1 which is 10 times longer than John Newcombe, who is the only other Australian man to have held the top spot for multiple weeks.

“The Hall of Famers are people who I admired so much throughout my career – especially people like [Tony] Roche and [John] Newcombe and Rod [Laver] and so many others,” Hewitt said in a statement. “They were all motivating factors in my career and to be recognised alongside them in tennis history is an incredible honour.”

In the Davis Cup Hewitt was instrumental in helping his country win two titles. He holds the Australian Davis Cup record for most ties played (43), most years played (19) and the most total wins in the competition (59). After retiring from the sport he became captain of the team.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome these tennis greats into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” Hall of Fame President Stan Smith said. “Lleyton Hewitt always competed hard until the last ball was hit, and this is very apparent in the Hall of Fame resume he built, which includes a Wimbledon trophy, a US Open trophy, two Davis Cups, and being World No. 1.”

Original 9 also receive recognition

Also inducted into the class of 2021 are the Original 9 who played a pivotal role in the formation of women’s tennis. The group, who are the first to make the hall of fame, made history in 1970 after signing $1 contracts with Gladys Heldman to take part in a tournament. At the time both playing opportunities and prize money for women were significantly different to that of their male counterparts. The event led to the formation of the Virginia Slims Circuit and then to the birth of the WTA Tour.

“The Original 9 were true trailblazers in tennis history,” said Smith. “It took a lot of courage to do what they did, and we have today’s incredible WTA Tour to thank for it, as well as opportunities for women in so many other sports.”

The members of the Original 9 are Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Julie Heldman, Billie Jean King, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Judy Tegart Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid.

Finally, tennis coach Dennis Van der Meer will be inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously after passing away in 2019.

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