Roger Federer Unsurprised By Lacklustre Start At The US Open - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Unsurprised By Lacklustre Start At The US Open

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Roger Federer (zimbio.com)

It was a far from perfect start to the US Open for Roger Federer, who endured a tough five-set clash against 19-year-old American Frances Tiafoe in the first round.

The Swiss second seed struggled to exert his usual consistent dominance in the match, hitting 56 unforced errors compared to 41 winners. During stages when he was in the lead, Federer came undone. Ahead by two-sets-to-one, an inspired Tiafoe fought back to force proceedings into a decider. Then in the deciding set a 5-2 lead was cut to 5-4, before he finally triumphed in the match.

“It was very exciting. I really enjoyed myself even though maybe I also was tired and nervous at the end. It was very cool to be part of that match.” Federer said after the match.

Delighting the Arthur Ashe stadium with a late-night classic, questions about Federer’s current form is mounting. Leading into the final grand slam of the season, he withdrew from the Cincinnati Open due to a back problem. As a consequence, his preparation heading into New York was disrupted. He still remains one of the favourites to win the title, but Federer himself admits that parts of his game is ‘rusty.’

“I don’t think I had the preparation I was hoping to get.” He explained. “Since Montreal, focus has been more on the back, making sure I can play the tournament rather than being well-prepared. I always knew I was going to come in feeling rusty or not great. I was hoping to start better.”

At the start of the match Federer immediately dropped his first service game and subsequently the opening set. Playing in his 17th US Open main draw, the 36-year-old admitted that he initially struggled to adapt to the court. A somewhat perplexed statement from a player that has previously won the title five times.

“I really struggled early on. I think Frances connected well. I just really kind of lost my footing sometimes. My eye wasn’t working. I was misjudging distance. I think I was also being a bit cautious with my movement. Then in the second set I think it all started to come together.”

Praise for the Next Generation

Tuesday’s clash wasn’t all about Federer’s roller coaster journey on the Arthur Ashe Stadium. The rising star Tiafoe manage to illustrate the potential he has. He is currently ranked 70th in the world, ten places below his personal best, and has already won two Challenger titles this season. Tiafoe is part of the ATP next Generation campaign, who promotes the future stars of the men’s game.

“I think it’s a great initiative, the NextGen. Frances has done well, as well, this year. Moved up the rankings. Got a taste of Arthur Ashe, how it is to play against top players. He’s only going to learn from a match like this and become better.” Federer evaluated.

It is clear that the next generation of players is moving their way onto the big stage of tennis. 20-year-old Alexander Zverev, who defeated Federer at the Rogers Cup, is seeded fourth in the tournament.

Prior to the Next Generation campaign, Federer was part of the ‘New Balls Please’ intuitive, which worked on the same concept. In his group was the likes of Lleyton Hewitt, Tommy Haas Gustavo Kuerten.

“Obviously our generation also was very strong. We went on to become, many of us, top five players. I wish the same for them (the next gen).” The 19-time grand slam champion said.

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Roberto Bautista Agut wins his milestone 400th match on the ATP Tour

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Roberto Bautista Agut came back from one set down to beat Australian Open doubles finalist Andrea Vavassori 4-6 6-3 6-1 after 2 hours and 1 minute at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. 

Vavassori earned an early break in the first game. The Italian player earned three break points in the seventh game, but Bautista Agut saved them. The Spanish player broke straight back in the eighth game. Vavassori broke again in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and saved two break points before closing out the first set 6-4 on his second set point. 

Both players went on serve in the first four games of the second set. Vavassori earned a break point in the fifth game, but he did not convert it. Bautista Agut broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and did not face any break points to win the second set 6-3. 

Bautista Agut broke three times to cruise through to a 6-1. 

Bautista Agut reached the 400th milestone win on the ATP Tour.  The Spanish player has become the 13th active player with at least 400 ATP Tour wins. He achieved 20 wins against members of the top 10, ten wins against top 5 players and four against world number 1s. Bautista Agut is one of the nine players, who have beaten Novak Djokovic as World number 1 more than twice. 

“For me it’s just a number. The important thing is that I have done great work over these years, that I have a very consistent career, a career that I can feel proud of “, said Bautista Agut. 

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Martina Trevisan beats Naomi Osaka to reach the second round in Rouen

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Martina Trevisan upset former world number 1 Naomi Osaka 6-4 6-2 in the opening round of the Open Capfinances Rouen Metropole. 

Osaka has played her first clay-court match since Roland Garros 2022, where she lost to Amanda Anisimova. The Japanese player has not won a match on clay since beating Anastasia Potapova in the first round of the Madrid Mutua Open in 2022. She helped Japan beat Kazakhstan in the Billie Jean King Cup. 

Trevisan reached the quarter final in 2020 and the semifinal in 2022 at Roland Garros. The former world number 18 won her only title in Rabat in 2022. She reached the quarter finals of the Zaragoza ITF 100 tournament. 

Both players traded breaks in the first two games. Osaka earned two break points at 3-2 and three more chances at 4-3, but she was not able to convert them. Trevisan broke serve in the ninth game following a series of forehand errors. 

Trevisan broke twice in the third and seventh games and served out the win on her first match point. 

Sixteen-year-old Mirra Andreeva beat Elina Avanesyan 7-5 6-4 in 1 hour and 41 minutes to reach her second quarter final of 2024. 

Andreeva went up a break in the seventh game, but Avanesyan pulled back on serve to draw level to 4-4. Andreeva broke for the second time in the 11th game to win the second set 7-5. Andreeva broke in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Avanesyan converted her third break-back point in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Andreeva broke serve at love in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Avanesyan broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Andreeva broke for the third time in the ninth game and served out the win on her second match point after saving two break points. 

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Linda Noskova cruises past Jelena Ostapenko in Stuttgart to clinch her third top 10 win

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Linda Noskova cruised past number 8 seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 6-1 on her debut at this tournament in just 68 minutes to reach the second round at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

Noskova has claimed her third top 10 win this year. She beat Iga Swiatek in the third round of the Australian Open en route to her first Grand Slam quarter final and Maria Sakkari in Doha. 

Noskova raced out to a 5-1 lead with two breaks of serve in the first and third games. Ostapenko pulled one break back in the eighth game for 3-5. Noskova earned three set points in the ninth game with a return winner and converted her first chance to clinch the first set 6-3. 

Noskova broke twice in the second and fourth games to cruise through the second set 6-1. 

Noskova converted all her five break points. 

Marketa Vondrousova beat Donna Vekic 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 26 minutes to reach the second round. The reigning Wimbledon champion converted four of her eight break points. 

Vondrousova went down 2-4 down in the first round, but she came back by winning four games to clinch the first set 6-4. Vondrousova broke in the fourth game of the second set to take a 3-1 lead. The Czech player earned three game points to lead 4-1, but Vekic pulled back on serve at 3-2 with a passing winner. Vondrousova earned another break to take a 5-3 lead after a drop-shot misfire by Vekic and served out the win with two consecutive aces. Vondrousova now leads 2-1 in her head-to-head matches against Vekic. 

Elise Mertens overcame Tatjana Maria 6-1 4-6 6-0 to set up the first clash of her career against world number 1 Iga Swiatek. 

“At the age of 22, it’s unbelievable what Swiatek has already achieved. Definitely in the future, she will achieve a lot more. She is a bit like an all-court, all-around player, so you don’t really find a lot of weaknesses. That’s why she is world number 1”, said Mertens. 

This year’s Abu Dhabi champion Jasmine Paolini cruised past her doubles partner Sara Errani 6-1 6-0 with three breaks of serve in each set. 

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