Kevin Anderson Predicts An ‘Interesting’ Year Ahead As He Aims To Build On US Open Run - UBITENNIS
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Kevin Anderson Predicts An ‘Interesting’ Year Ahead As He Aims To Build On US Open Run

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Kevin Anderson (zimbio.com)

Kevin Anderson believes the big names in tennis will continue to experience stiff opposition from their rivals throughout 2018.

 

The 31-year-old out faced Rafael Nadal in the final of the US Open on Sunday, losing in straight sets to the Spaniard. Anderson’s fairy tale route to his maiden grand slam final occurred at a time when two of the big four are out due to injury, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. The US Open emulated other tournaments this season with the rise of the lesser known figures. Even though, the winner was the favourite. The pattern could be a sign of things to come, according to Anderson.

“It will be very interesting.” He said about the upcoming 2018 season. “I think this year there has been a lot of guys stepping up and attaining results that haven’t been in the past. I think you can take a lot of confidence in those successes.”

Still, there are two household names that have dominated the grand slams this year. Roger Federer and Nadal have won all of the major tournaments between them for the first time since 2010. The dominance of the two has been hailed by Anderson, who is yet to defeat either player on the tour.

“I think they have so many skills they can rely on. In addition to that is just the amount of experience they have had. Playing at this level I think they feel very comfortable, and obviously they might get nervous, but just like anything, the more you do it, the more used to it you get.” The 31-year-old explained about his two rivals.
“Looking at Rafa, he’s just such a great competitor. He really makes you earn every single point. Roger, he can really take the matches out of your hands. So it’s been a very interesting year on the Grand Slam front. Certainly will be very interesting to see what happens next year, as well.”

Regardless of what happens next year, the South African is hoping that he will be one of the players challenging for the big titles. Less than 12 months ago the injury-hit player was contemplating surgery to treat his troublesome hip. A series of injuries had halter Anderson’s progression on the tour with him slipping down to as low as 80th at the start of 2017.

Top 10 within sight

Anderson has risen to 15th in the world following his New York run. His highest position since February 2016. He is now within sights of re-entering the top ten once again. So far in his career, he has only spent one week in the world’s top 10.

“The target of getting back to 10 is something I set myself a little while ago,” Anderson said. “Got off to a bit of a tough start beginning of the year, but especially this summer I’ve really put myself in a good position.
“When I’m taking care of the stuff I need to, the ranking will take care of itself. It’s great to see the jump I’ve made and the spots I have been able to climb, something I can be very proud of.”

Despite the recent surge, there is still room for improvement. Against Nadal, he failed to get a single break point opportunity and produced a costly 40 unforced errors. Allowing the top seed to dominate proceedings.

“I think there are a few lessons I learned again against him that I needed to do differently if I play him again. I needed to execute them a bit better.” The South African concluded.

The 31-year-old will return to action next month at the Japan Open in Tokyo.

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Marin Cilic wins his first title since Queen’s 2018

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Marin Cilic claimed the 19th ATP Tour title of his career and his first since Queen’s 2018 with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 win over Felix Auger Aliassime  after 1 hour and 50 minutes in the final of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. 

 

Cilic won 100% of his first-serve points in three of his five matches and did not drop a set this week. 

The Croatian star is not 3-3 in grass court finals and 19-14 in his overall title matches. 

Both Cilic and Auger Aliassime saved three break points in their first service games. Cilic converted his ninth break point to take a 6-5 lead in the 11th game. Cilic was not able to serve out the first set, but he cruised through the tie-break 7-2, when Auger Aliassime hit a forehand long. 

The second set went on serve in the first seven games. Auger Aliassime won 64% of his first-service points, while Cilic claimed 90% of his second serve points. Cilic earned the only break of the second set in the eighth game to seal the second set 6-3. 

Cilic will play at Queen’s next week. 

“It was a very important win. I played two semifinals and did not win a title since 2018, also on grass at Queen’s. Winning here brings out joy for me, good confidence and a good feeling. Experience plays a big part, especially on grass. The conditions can be difficult, the court plays quite quick. I felt this was a good chance for me to give it my all, keep my intensity. Even though  some games were up and others down, that was a big part of my victory today”, said Cilic. 

Auger Aliassime has dropped to 0-8 in his eight ATP Tour Finals. “Today I am not facing a final. I am facing Marin Cilic. It is two different things. There has been times when I have not played my best then I felt I was not playing well, but this time around, I felt like it was close, but overall I think he was a better player overall”, said Auger Aliassime. 

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Felix Auger Aliassime sets up Stuttgart final against Marin Cilic

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Felix Auger Aliassime beat Sam Querrey 6-4 7-5 in 80 minutes to advance to the eighth ATP Tour Final of his career at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart without dropping a set this week. 

 

Auger Aliassime did not face a break point and hit seven aces. The Canadian Next Gen converted his first break point in the ninth game to claim the first set 6-4. 

The 20-year-old Canadian rising star won 89% of his first service points before earning a break point at 6-5 to seal the win. He lost to Matteo Berrettini in the 2019 final in Stuttgart. 

Auger Aliassime will face 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who won the first set 6-3 before Jurij  Rodionov, before the Austrian wild card was forced to withdraw from the match at 0-1 due to an injury problem at the start of the second set. 

“I am feeling really good and very excited to be in the final after quite a period that I didn’t reach a final. I think this was very positive week. I have played good tennis, served very well. Considering it is a shorter season, with one week less. It was great to play this week. Losing to Roger Federer gave me more time to prepare for the week. I have not enjoyed being at a tournament so much in a long period of time, because it is the first time my son, my wife and I are together at one tournament. The set up in Stuttgart is really nice. There is a lot of grass and open space aroung the hotel for my sonto play and it is so much fun having them around”, said Cilic. Cilic leads 2-0 in his head-to-head matches against Auger Aliassime. They will play their first match on grass. 

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Barbora Krejcikova reaches both singles and doubles final at Roland Garros

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Barbora Krejcikova has qualified for the singles and doubles finals at Roland Garros this weekend, as she and Katerina Siniakova claimed a 6-1 6-2 win over Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera. 

 

Krejcikova has the chance to become the first player to win both the women’s singles and doubles titles at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce claimed both tournaments in 2000. Serena Williams is the most recently player to win both the singles and doubles titles at any Grand Slam tournament, at Wimbledon 2016.

The Czech team will take on Bethanie Mattek Sands froand last year’s Roland Garros singles champion Iga Swiatek, who beat Irina Camelia Begu and Nadia Podoroska 6-3 6-4. Swiatek reached the quarter final this year in the singles tournament. Krejcikova and Siniakova have qualified for both Grand Slam women’s doubles finals this season. They lost to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka at the 2021 Australian Open last February. 

Krejcikova and Siniakova are bidding to win their second Roland Garros women’s doubles title. 

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