Shapovalov Continues to Roll...Upsets Tsonga in 2nd Round - UBITENNIS
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Shapovalov Continues to Roll…Upsets Tsonga in 2nd Round

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Nick Kyrgios, Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal and now Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. That’s the list of players who have all fallen at the hands of teenager Denis Shapovalov. Tsonga, the No. 8 seed was dominated for the most part by the 18-year old falling 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 in the second round at the US Open on Wednesday night.

The victory was impressive on a number of fronts for Shapovalov. He was playing in the largest stadium in the world (Arthur Ashe) for the first time, he was played in the second round of a main draw Grand Slam for the first time and he was playing someone who had won 75 percent of matches in his career when facing left handed players.

Shapovalov looked calm cool and collected from the first point onwards. He started the match by breaking Tsonga at Love in the opening game. He went on to win eight of the first ten points. That was the only break of the set as Shapovalov peppered his opponent with some solid baseline play as well as some nice touch at the net. He won nine of the 11 points he played at the net in the first set.

In the second set Tsonga had his first break chance in the fourth game but Shapovalov hit a big forehand winner to get out of it. A big serve two points later evened things at 2-2. In the seventh game Tsonga’s serve gave him some trouble. He double faulted on break point giving Shapovalov a 4-3 lead. He then went on to hold serve twice, the final game at Love to take a commanding two set lead.

Tsonga, who had won just one hard court match since Wimbledon, began to show his frustration in the third set. After a pair of missed service returns he yelled out in anger. The Frenchman unable to come up with any answers for the future tennis star.

Shapovalov appeared to be on his way to victory after he broke Tsonga at Love to go up 5-4 but Tsonga was able to create break points of his own in the following game and broke Shapovalov for the first time.

They needed a tiebreak to decide the third set and it belonged to the Canadian right from the start. Tsonga double faulted on the first point and Shapovalov built up a comfortable 5-2 lead. After a backhand error sailed long Shapovalov was victorious.

The numbers that stood out the most for Shapovalov was his play at the net. After struggling with his volleys at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, he won an impressive 23 of 32 points at the net on Wednesday night. He also had just 19 unforced errors something which had plagued him of late. He had 28 winners as well.

“I played unbelievable today, very high level,” said Shapovalov. “Yeah, I don’t know why, but I just managed to stay loose and go for my shots the whole match, except a little bit at 5-3 or 5-4, serving for the third set. I stayed loose from the beginning. I mean, I broke him first game. I mean, obviously it’s intimidating, it’s so big, there’s so much going on… I was going in with nothing to lose.”

Shapovalov needed to win three rounds in qualifying just to get into the main draw. He has won 12 of the last 13 sets he’s played and he’s certainly enjoying his first main draw US Open experience.

“I was having fun on the court. There were a couple times during the match I was just smiling, having a good time. I was enjoying the atmosphere. It’s a dream come true for me to play a night match on Arthur Ashe. I mean, I grew up wanting to do this.”

Shapovalov will now face Kyle Edmund who won his second round match in straight sets. Despite the youngster’s limited top level tennis experience, Shapovalov has played Edmund twice in 2017. He beat the World No 42 on his home soil on the grass at Queen’s Club this summer. They also played in Davis Cup in Ottawa in February. That was the match in which Shapovalov accidentally hit a ball in the direction of chair umpire Arnaud Gabas striking him in the eye.

He’s an unbelievable player. He goes for his shots,” Shapovalov said of Edmund. “He’s not afraid to take it to the guy. There’s no easy matches here…For a guy like me, every match is tough and I’m going to have to battle it out.”

Note:

Shapovalov has seen his world ranking jump from 256th in February to his current No 69 just six months later.His win on Wednesday night puts him currently insider the Top 60 for now.

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.

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Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

 

The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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