Grigor Dimitrov Powers To Maiden Masters Title In Cincinnati - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Grigor Dimitrov Powers To Maiden Masters Title In Cincinnati

Avatar

Published

on

Grigor Dimitrov (zimbio.com)

On the eve of his re-entry into the world’s top 10, Grigor Dimitrov illustrated his potential as a force in the men’s game with a clinical 6-3, 7-5, win over Nick Kyrgios in the final of the Western and Southern Open.

 

Battling against the 22-year-old for the biggest title of his career, Dimitrov was not fazed by the significance of the occasion. The Bulgarian dropped only 13 points behind his serve and hit 21 winners. A sharp contrast to Kyrgios, who produced a winner-error count of 21-31.

“I don’t know what to say… thank you for the support… This tournament has been one of my favorites. Every year things seem to be better.” A delighted Dimitrov said during the trophy ceremony.

The clash at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre was a milestone in men’s tennis. Masters 1000 tournaments have largely been dominated by the presence of the ‘big four’ in recent years. So much so that the clash was the first time two debut Masters finalists have faced each other since the 2002 Hamburg Open. It was also the first time in history that two players born in the 1990s have contested the final of a Masters event.

Embarking upon the historic match, it was the serve that proved pivotal. Throughout the week in Cincinnati, both players have won over 95% of their service games (98% for Dimitrov and 95% for Kyrgios).

Embed from Getty Images

Dimitrov’s nerves failed to hold him back as he survived some tentative moments during the opening set. At 2-2, back-to-back double faults elevated Kyrgios to his first break point opportunity. The Australian failed to convert due to some sublime defence from his opponent. The following game saw the opposite scenario. Dimitrov’s game plan of keeping the ball low troubled 6’4” Kyrgios, who hit a backhand into the net to reward the Bulgarian a break point chance in his favour. The seventh seed secured the breakthrough with the help of a deep return, for a 4-2 lead. That sole break decided the outcome of the first set as Dimitrov eased the 6-3 lead with a love service game. Prompting a huge celebration from the army of Bulgarian fans in the crowd and leaving Kyrgios pondering his next move.

Dimitrov fans pose for Ubitennis (photo by Lorenzo Dellagiovanna)

With the momentum firmly on the side of the world No.11, Kyrgios soon saw the humorous side of the situation. During the early stages of set number two he joked ‘I don’t make returns often’ when a serve by Dimitrov was ruled out by the umpire. He was less friendly when discussing the court officials, who made some questionable calls.

“How many (mistakes) have we had already? How many, too many!” Kyrgios complained to the umpire during one of the changeovers.

Besides the Australian’s vocal outbursts, both players illustrated their best play with the help of some solid serving. Still, it was former Wimbledon semifinalist Dimitrov that had the edge. At 5-5 in the second set, a trio of Kyrgios double faults guided the Bulgarian to the break and moved him to one game away from victory. Serving for the biggest title of his career, Dimitrov surged to 40-15 before a forehand error from Kyrgios secured the title for him.

Kyrgios leads the praise

Embed from Getty Images

As chants of ‘Dimitrov’ erupted throughout the stadium, it was almost like he was playing in his native Bulgaria. Even an upbeat Kyrgios joked about the atmosphere before paying his own personal tribute to the new Cincinnati champion.

“I want to congratulate Grigor. It’s great to see him back in top form. I knew you had it in you. A few weeks ago I was down and he had me out on the practice court… Today I felt, ‘I knew this guy is fitter than me.'” Said Kyrgios.

Sunday’s win was Dimitrov’s 24th on a hard-court this season, the highest on the ATP Tour going into the US Open. He will now rise to ninth in the ATP rankings, his best position since September 2014. In the ATP race to London, he now lies in sixth place.

The 26-year-old exits Cincinnati with $954,225 in prize money to mark his first ever Masters title.

ATP

Liam Broady On Why He Wore Rainbow Laces During His Australian Open Match

Following his first round defeat, the Brit spoke about why he believes it is important to speak out in support of the LGBT community.

Avatar

Published

on

Image via https://twitter.com/the_LTA/status/

It is sometimes the small gestures which go a long way and Liam Broady showed that during his first round match at the Australian Open.

 

Taking to the John Cain Arena for his night-time clash against Nick Kyrgios, the qualifier embarked upon a situation he had never experienced before with a boisterous crowd cheering on their home player. At times the atmosphere resembled that a football match with fans drinking beer and chanting Christiano Roinaldo’s ‘siu’ celebration. The reason as to why they were doing that particular chant was unclear.

Broady ended up falling 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, to Kyrgios who will next play the formidable Daniil Medvedev. Throughout the match the world No.128 was wearing rainbow laces and he did so for a special reason.

“I just kind of wanted to send the support. I know obviously within men’s tennis — is it a taboo? I don’t think it’s really a taboo, but I’ve seen questions before about why there aren’t any openly gay men on the tour, and I just wanted to kind of voice my support in that kind of general area,” Broady explained during his press conference.
“And the LGBTQ community, I mean, a lot of those guys have given me a lot of support throughout my career and have been there since day one, so I kind of wanted to give a thank you in my own sort of way.”

The Rainbow Laces initiative was created by LGBT charity Stonewall and initially marketed specifically towards football’s Premier League before later expanding into other sports. The idea is to get players to wear rainbow laces in order to raise awareness of LGBT representation within sport.

Tennis is renowned for having some of the most formidable LGBT athletes over the years with the likes of pioneers such as Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova who were among some of the first to speak openly about their sexuality. However, on the men’s Tour it is somewhat different. There are currently no openly gay players and only a small handful in the past. Although most of those players, such as Brian Vahaly, came out after retiring from the sport.

“I saw that the first openly gay footballer just came out in Australia (Josh Cavallo) a month or two ago. And it’s difficult, right? I mean, it’s a big thing to do and at the end of the day in the 21st century, it’s pretty rubbish that people don’t feel like they can be openly gay. It’s quite sad, really,” Broady continued.
“Hopefully I will help raise awareness for it and if there are people in the locker rooms and you kind of, you don’t want to force them to come out, you know, especially if they don’t want to. It’s their choice.’
“So you just got to try and support in the way you can and just let them know that everything’s okay.”

It is not the first time the 28-year-old has spoken out about LGBT rights. In 2018 he criticized Margaret Court who likened gay-rights activists to Adolf Hitlef in terms of what she claims is ‘propaganda.’ Court has a history of making anti-LGBT remarks despite insisting that she has nothing against gay people.

Broady says he doesn’t personally know of any gay player on the Tour. Although if there was, he assumed that it would be known because the sport is a ‘pretty leaky ship’ when it comes to having private details revealed online.

On Monday the Australian Open will launch their first ever Pride Day at the tournament.

.

Continue Reading

ATP

Australian Open: Pablo Carreno Busta Through But Fabio Fognini Stunned

Busta has booked his place in the second round at Melbourne Park for the sixth year in a row.

Avatar

Published

on

Pablo Carreno Busta - image via https://twitter.com/SuperTennisTv/

On day one of the Australian Open, Spanish ace Pablo Carreno Busta sealed an efficient straight-sets win to take his place in the second round.

 

The Spaniard was no match for Argentinian qualifier Tomas Etcheverry coming through 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).

The 30-year-old from Giron sailed through the opening set that included two breaks in the fourth and sixth game.

Etcheverry, who won three matches to qualify for the Australian Open, improved in the second set.

However, it wasn’t enough as Carreno-Busta flicked through the gears breaking his younger opponent in the third and seventh game to seal the set.

In the third, the 2017 and 2020 US Open semi-finalist took an early break of serve, only to be pegged back by Etcheverry who forced a tie-break.

It wasn’t to be for the 22-year-old though as Carreno-Busta turned up the heat with some big groundstrokes to move into round two.

Next up for the world number 21 is Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor who thrashed a poor Fabio Fognini in straight sets.

The out of sorts Italian was beaten 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

Having lost in the first round of the US Open in September, the former world number world number is nine is in danger of slipping outside the top 40.

Having shown much promise to win a first Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo back in 2019, the husband of former US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, looks desperately short of motivation and confidence.

Fognini is yet to go beyond the fourth-round of a major, and at 34 time is running out for him to mine the potential that made him one of the sports best juniors growing up alongside Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

Elsewhere, former Australian Open star Lucas Pouille, was knocked out in round one by fellow Frenchman Corentin Moutet.

Wildcard Pouille has endured a glut of injuries since making the semi-finals at Melbourne Park three years ago.

The 27-year-old has now fallen to 159 in the world. 

Pouille made a bright start to take the opening set 6-3, but his lack of fitness and confidence soon showed, as he lost the following sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.

Czech Jiri Vesley, also slumped out to American wildcard Stefan Kozlov 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

He will face seventh seed Matteo Berrettini next.

Continue Reading

ATP

Cameron Norrie Puzzled By Australian Open Defeat

It was a bad day at the office for the British number one.

Avatar

Published

on

Cameron Norrie ad Indian Wells 2021 (Credits: @BNPPARIBASOPEN on Twitter)

Cameron Norrie is finding it hard to pinpoint where it all went wrong for him in his first round match at the Australian Open.

 

The 12th seed could only win seven games against Sebastian Korda as he crashed out 6-3, 6-0, 6-4, after just over 100 minutes of play. It is the third time in four appearances that Norrie has fallen in the first round at Melbourne Park but last year he did manage to reach the third round. Against his American rival, he hit 29 unforced errors compared to 23 winners and was broken five times.

I had a week off to prepare, prepared as well as I could, and I was just slow, I was missing routine backhands, which I never miss,” Norrie said during his press conference.
“I honestly can’t put a finger on it. I just need to get better and improve. Lots to work on.’
“Any time I had a chance to kind of come back, he (Korda) served his way out of it. And on the bigger points he was much better than me. I didn’t play well in any big points today.”

It has been a far from smooth start to 2022 for the 26-year-old who also suffered disappointment at the ATP Cup earlier this month. In the team tournament he lost all three of his singles matches to Alexander Zverev, Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Zverev is the only one of the trio currently ranked higher than him.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of Norrie’s latest defeat is the fact he seemed perplexed about why he played the way he did. Asked by one journalist if he was possibly suffering any lingering affects from catching COVID-19 during the festive period he replied ‘No, I think I prepared as well as I can, and I felt fine physically, fine mentally.’

Norrie was one of the breakthrough stars last year on the ATP Tour when he raced up the world rankings. He featured in six Tour finals across three different surfaces and won the biggest title of his career at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The stellar season earned him a place at the ATP Finals as a reserve and he even played two matches following the withdrawal of Stefanos Tsitsipas due to injury.

“I don’t know why I played the way I did today. I was feeling good physically,” he said. “Yeah, I played a lot of matches (last year) but this is what we (tennis players) are paid to do and just not good enough. I just need to raise my standards, practice, matches, and execute a lot better.”

Of course, credit has to be given to Korda, who is making his debut at Melbourne Park. The American had a far from ideal preparation for the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19 which forced him to withdraw from two warm-up events.

21-year-old Korda has now beaten a top 20 player on six separate occasions. He will play France’s Corentin Moutet in the second round.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending