US Open Day 12 Preview: The Men’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
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US Open Day 12 Preview: The Men’s Semifinals

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

While there’s disappointment in the tennis world missing out on the highly anticipated Nadal/Federer semifinal clash, there’s a lot of reasons to be excited for Friday’s men’s semifinals. On one side we have two surprise semifinalists making their first appearance at this stage of a major. It will be fascinating to see how they both perform in the biggest moment of their careers. On the other side we have two of the most popular players on tour, as well as two of the game’s greatest warriors, in what will be the battle of the monster forehands.

 

Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Kevin Anderson

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This is certainly not the most high-profile major semifinal, but I think it will still be captivating. Both are very likable players, and with contrasting styles that should make for an interesting matchup. While both have received generous draws on their road to this semifinal, both have also played at a high level despite the pressure of this wide open draw weighing on them. Anderson is 2-0 against Carreno Busta, including a straight-set win just a few weeks ago in Montreal. The South African has the much bigger game and will be the favorite to advance to his first major final. But don’t count out Pablo – he’s shown us he’s a fighter during his breakout 2017 season. A prime example is his fourth round victory over Milos Raonic at Roland Garros, where we fought from behind to win 8-6 in the fifth. There will surely be plenty of nerves on both sides of the net, which could make this an extended, dramatic semifinal.

Rafael Nadal vs. Juan Martín Del Potro

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The head-to-head here is a tight 8-5 in favor of Nadal, but Del Potro leads 5-4 on hard courts. Their most recent matchup saw Juan Martin defeat Rafa in a final set tiebreak at the 2016 Rio Olympics. That victory guaranteed Del Potro a medal, while Nadal would miss out on the podium. Rafa will surely find motivation in remembering that disappointing loss, and find comfort in knowing he’s a completely different player one summer later. Last year, Nadal missed many months of the season due to a wrist injury, and was far from 100% at the Olympics. This year he has already won four titles (including of course his 10th French Open), and regained the number one ranking heading into New York. Meanwhile Del Potro has struggled in 2017, as he headed into the US Open with only 18 wins on the year. But Juan Martin came to life in his amazing comeback victory over Dominic Thiem, and followed it up with his best tennis of the season in upsetting Roger Federer. The last time he defeated Federer in New York, he also defeated Nadal. In their only previous US Open meeting, Del Potro clobbered Nadal, allowing the Spaniard only six games in the 2009 semifinals. I don’t expect such a lopsided victory here for either player. If Juan Martin plays as well as he did for the last three sets against Thiem, and for the entire match against Federer, he’ll be extremely hard to beat. Nadal did not play his best earlier in this tournament, but looked to have his swagger back in his last two rounds. That being said, Rafa hasn’t really been tested yet by a legitimate threat. Both men seem to be close to 100% after the injuries and illness they’ve recently endured. I expect this second semifinal of the day to also be a prolonged encounter. Does Del Potro have another big upset in him? Considering Nadal has not won a hard court tournament in nearly four years, and hasn’t been at his best this summer, I suspect the Argentine just might.

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Nick Kyrgios Insists Bombshell Assault Charge Didn’t Affect Wimbledon Prep

The tennis star has been publicly questioned about the allegations for the first time.

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Image via https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios says he has ‘a lot of thoughts’ concerning the revelation that he has been charged with assaulting his former girlfriend.

 

On Tuesday it was reported in the media that the tennis star has been summoned to court next month over an incident involving his former partner  Chiara Passari. The incident is reported to have taken place in December 2021 which has triggered the charge of ‘common assault.’ In the worst-case scenario, those convicted of such offenses can face up to two years in prison in extreme cases. 

The timing of the news coincides with Kyrgios enjoying his best-ever win at a Grand Slam. He defeated Cristian Garin in straight sets to book a showdown with Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon semi-finals. A player who he has beaten on three previous occasions. It was after his milestone win when the tennis star was asked about the assault charge. 

“Obviously I have a lot of thoughts, a lot of things I want to say, kind of my side about it,” he said.
“I’ve been advised by my lawyers that I’m unable to say anything at this time.’
“I understand everyone wants to kind of ask about it and all that, but I can’t give you too much on that right now.”

Due to the ongoing legal case, it is unclear if Kyrgios was informed about the charge on the same day the news broke out or before. Although he has assured that the development had no impact on his preparations or affected his mentality at The All England Club. 

“It didn’t really affect me at all, to be honest,” he stated.
“Obviously seeing it — I’m only human. I read about it and everyone else was asking questions. It was hard. It was hard to kind of just focus on the mission at hand. It was the quarterfinals of Wimbledon today. I know deep down that’s what I was prepared for.’
“It didn’t really affect my preparation at all. I knew I stayed true to myself and gave my best performance today.”

The court is a much happier place for Kyrgios at the moment. Currently ranked 40th in the world he is the lowest-ranked player to reach the last four at Wimbledon since Marat Safin did so in 2008. His win-loss record on the grass this season currently stands at 12-2.

The surge in form for the tennis star comes during what has been a roller-coaster career where he had doubted on multiple occasions if he wanted to continue playing. 

“I obviously had thoughts the last year, year and a half, whether I wanted to play anymore. I lost the love, lost the fire and lost the spark,” Kyrgios reflects.
“Then some things just changed in my life. I kind of just rediscovered that I’ve got a lot of people that want me to play, that I play for. I’ve got a lot left in the tank. I feel like I’m probably playing some of my best tennis, mentally I’m feeling great.”

As for his upcoming clash with Nadal, the former top 20 star feels that it could be a very special encounter. Although the match is currently overshadowed by Nadal’s health with him nursing an abdominal injury.

“We are two completely different personalities. I feel like we respect the hell out of each other, though,” he said. “I feel like that would be a mouth-watering kind of encounter for everyone around the world. That would probably be the most-watched match of all time. I would argue that.”

Kyrgios will play Nadal on Friday. 

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Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood

The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.

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Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. 

 

The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.

“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.

Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.

“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said.  “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”

Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name. 

“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”

Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.

However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.

“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”

Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007. 

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Wimbledon: Nick Kyrgios Shakes off Injury Trouble During Epic Clash To Reach Quarter-Finals

The Australian is through to the last eight but how will his body fair in the next round?

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Nick Kyrgios has reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final in eight years but fresh concerns have risen over his current health. 

 

The world No.40 ousted America’s Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-1, in a marathon last-16 encounter but at times looked to be in discomfort. Throughout the match, Kyrgios clinched his right shoulder on multiple occasions and required a medical timeout during the third set. The issue comes two days after his dramatic clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas who has since accused the tennis star of bullying. 

Despite the injury scare, Kyrgios still managed to produce a total of 35 aces and dropped serve only three times in the match. Overall, he hit a total of 78 winners against 42 unforced errors. 

“It was a hell of an effort by Brandon. He is a hell of a player. He is 20-years-old and he is going to do some special things (in the future), that’s for sure,” said Kyrgios.
“It wasn’t anywhere near my best performance but I’m super happy to get through. I fought really well today and the crowd was amazing. it was special stepping out here (on center court) once again.”

Kyrgios’ use of unorthodox antics was on display from the start. Besides a series of heavy-hitting, his first use of the underarm serve occurred just three games into the match. Although it was canceled out by a let call. It was soon after that when the alarm bells first began to ring with the Australian showing visible discomfort with his right shoulder. Appearing to clutch it after almost every point. At 5-4, Nakashima was the first to draw blood after a forehand shot from his rival landed beyond the baseline to hand him the break to clinch the opener.

Whilst Kyrgios initially looked to be far from his best, he was handed a lifeline at the start of the second frame. 20-year-old Nakashima produced a double fault followed by a forehand shank to hand Kyrgios an early break. The American was making his second main draw appearance at the tournament and sixth overall in a major.  Seizing the moment, Kyrgios consistently served around the 130 mph mark to close in on leveling the match. Doing so with a serve down the middle of the court his rival returned into the net. 

However, the shoulder still proved problematic for the 26-year-old who had to take a medical time out for treatment half-way through the third frame. Visibly bothered by the issue and shaking his head, he continued playing on Center Court and somehow managed to go ahead. During the third set tiebreak, a Nakashima double fault handed Kyrgios an early break as he worked his way to a 6-2 lead. He then sealed the set with a blistering forehand return.

The roller-coaster continued into the fourth frame with Kyrgios buckling after hitting back-to-back errors to go down a break. It was at this point that he fumed at a comment made by somebody in the crowd.

“It’s the same sh*t over and over again. I’m trying to obviously make my first serve. Stop saying that. Obviously, I’m trying to f**king make my first serve.” He was heard saying during the changeover.

Nakashima continued the momentum with a three-game winning run to force the encounter into a decider. 

Despite the blip, Kyrgios managed to find another level by storming through the decider by winning six out of the last eight games played.

“I’ve played a lot of tennis in the last month-and-a-half. I’m just proud of how I managed to steady the ship,” Kyrgios replied when asked about his shoulder. “He came out firing in the fourth set. My five-set record is pretty good and that is what I was thinking about.’
“I was like ‘I’ve been here before, I’ve done it before and I can come through again.’”

Kyrgios is the sixth Australian man in the Open Era to reach the last eight of Wimbledon on multiple occasions after also doing so in 2014. The run continues his fine form on the grass this season where he has already reached back-to-back semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle.

In the next round, he will play Chilean underdog Christian Garin who edged out Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4, 7-6 in an epic clash to become only the fourth man from his country to ever reach the quarter-final stage. Garin saved two match points en route to victory after four hours and 34 minutes of play. 

“I was really excited to play de Minaur, to be honest. He has been flying the Aussie flag for so long. I came on the court when he was two sets to love up and I was expecting to play him but I’m not going to think about that,” said Kyrgios.
“I need a glass of wine for sure tonight.”

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