Dimitrov aims to maintain perfect record at ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Dimitrov aims to maintain perfect record at ATP Finals

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(Grigor Dimitrov – photo via zimbio.com)

Two-time Grand Slam semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov will aim to remain undefeated when he will take on Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in the final round-robin match of the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Friday. Will Dimitrov be able to achieve a 3-0 record in the Pete Sampras Group or will the fans witness an upset at the O2 Arena tonight?

 

World No. 6 Dimitrov has already sealed his place in the semi-finals of the season ending finale as the winner of the group following his triumphs over the 4th seeded Dominic Thiem and Belgium’s David Goffin in his first two matches.

However, the Bulgarian will want to keep up with the good work he has been doing in the British capital as the win over Carreno Busta will give him the much needed momentum before his big last 4 duel against Jack Sock on Saturday.

“Every match is important to me… It doesn’t matter if I’ve qualified or not”, said Dimitrov. “I’m just going to follow my rhythm and what I’ve been doing right and keep on playing. I’m not here just to participate. I’m here to come out and win”.

On the other hand, Carreno Busta cannot advance through to the semis, following his tough three-set defeat at the hands of Thiem in his first match of the event. The London alternate, who replaced an injured Rafael Nadal from the competition, was at a huge disadvantage right from the very beginning as he could participate in only two matches instead of the three by other players.

But that reality didn’t prevent him from giving his all against Thiem as he fought hard to stretch him to a decider. In the end, it didn’t prove enough as the World No. 4 prevailed in two hours and six minutes. Friday’s contest in essence is a dead-rubber as Carreno Busta cannot move beyond the round-robin stage of the event and that reality could give him the license to approach the match as if it was a free hit.

“I hope to do well against Grigor and make it another good match,” Carreno Busta added. “I want to go to the offseason with a good taste.”

Head-to-head: Grigor and Pablo have met five times before on the ATP circuit with the Bulgarian leading the man from Spain 3-2. While Dimitrov won their initial three encounters handsomely, Carreno Busta has won their subsequent two matches, on the red dirt of Madrid in 2015 and at the French Open in 2017. However, Dimitrov is in red-hot form at the moment and he should be able to complete a clean sweep of his round-robin matches with an easy win in this contest.

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‘Why Don’t You Like Him?’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas Quizzed Over Rivalry With Fellow Player

It can be safe to say that these two players will not be teaming up to play in the doubles any time soon.

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LONDON: ‘We would not go to dinner together’ was a phrase used by Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas when addressing his rivalry with Daniil Medvedev on Monday.

 

The 21-year-old scored his first win over the Russian on his sixth attempt. A historic occasion for Tsitsipas, who is the first Greek to qualify for the ATP Finals. However, the talk after wasn’t so much about the match. It was about his somewhat fiery relationship with Medvedev that is highlighted by one particular incident.

During the 2018 Miami Open, the umpire had to step in after the conclusion of their match. Both were frustrated with each other for taking long toilet breaks. Medvedev took his at the end of the second set and Tsitsipas took his midway through the decider. On top of that, there was also a dispute over a net point. At the end of their match, Medvedev called his rival ‘a small kid who doesn’t know how to fight.’

“I did get pissed and said what I said, which I do regret, but at the time I was very frustrated that things happened this way.” Tsitsipas recounted.
“I completely forgot about the past. I mean, our chemistry definitely isn’t the best that you can find on the tour. It just happens with people that it’s not that you can just like everyone.”

Since then there has been little improvement in relations. During the Shanghai Masters in October, Tsitsipas took a swipe at what he described as a ‘boring’ style of play from his opponent. Prompting another jibe from Medvedev.

Based on the comments, it appears that neither players are fond of each other. But can it be described as hatred between the two? If you ask Tsitsipas, his answer is a resounding no.

“It’s not that I hate him. I guess as he said, we will not go to dinner together, so…” The Greek explained.
“I respect him, for sure. That’s because he had a long way to come where he is right now. He’s a Grand Slam finalist, so that takes a lot of respect from me to him.”

Despite the diplomatic response, there is no doubt that the camp of the world No.6 is delighted with his latest victory in what had been a one-sided rivalry until now.

“It means more than extra. It’s a victory that I craved for a long time now, and it’s great that I came in at this moment.” Tsitsipas concludes.
“He’s a tough player. He’s a very difficult player to face. He’s not giving you an easy time when you’re out on the court. So it definitely means a lot.”

It is not impossible that the two could face each other again later this week if they both reach the final. Although that will be a tough task given both Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev are also in their group.

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 2 Preview: Rafael Nadal Begins Hunt For Elusive Title

Rafael Nadal competes to win this event for the first time, as well as secure the year-end No.1 ranking.

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It was just one week ago that Nadal regained the No.1 ranking from Novak Djokovic for the first time since 2018.  But with only a 640-point lead over Novak in the year-end race, he’ll likely need at least a few wins this week to still be holding that crown seven days from now.  Djokovic is certainly favored to reach the semifinals, and each round robin match win is worth 200 points, with a semifinal win worth 400 and a final win worth 500. Rafa is joined in the Andre Agassi Group by three players who are 23-years-old or younger.  Two of those players are making their ATP Finals debuts, while the other is the defending champion.

 

Daniil Medvedev (4) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (6)

These are the two debuting players in the Andre Agassi Group, and they aren’t exactly best friends.  Their first match was last year in Miami, when Medvedev had some heated comments for Tsitsipas after a testy match which consisted of a few extended toilet breaks and a let cord Tsitsipas winner for which Daniil said he received no apology.  But Medvedev has completely owned this rivalry, with a 5-0 record. Although, all their matches have been tight, with Tsitsipas claiming a set in four of the five. Since the end of the grass court season, Medvedev has been the best player in the world.  From July to October, he reached six straight hard court tournament finals, with three titles. During that 11-week span, he went 29-3. He leads the tour this season with 59 match wins. But all that tennis has taken a toll on Daniil, as he withdrew from his home tournament in Moscow due to exhaustion, and lost his opening round in Paris to Jeremy Chardy.  Tsitsipas had a great first half of the year, highlighted by reaching his first Major semifinal in Australia and winning two titles. But the second half wasn’t as impressive, with losses in the first round of both Wimbledon and the US Open. However, he’s improved his form since the Laver Cup, having not lost to a player outside the top 5 since that event. Stefanos will be hoping to catch Medvedev at less than his best today considering their head-to-head, though I expect Medvedev to be refreshed after playing only one match in the past month.  And he’ll surely be motivated in his ATP Finals debut against a player he’s clashed with in the past. Daniil should be favored to be victorious on Monday afternoon.

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Sascha Zverev (7)

After pulling out of Paris just over a week ago with an abdominal injury he suffered during practice, Nadal’s participation at this tournament was in question, which has been a theme over the years.  This is Rafa’s 15th consecutive year qualifying for this tournament, yet this is only his ninth time playing.  The good news is if he’s healthy enough to play all three of his round robin matches this week, he won’t need to face Djokovic or Federer, as they were drawn in the other round robin group.  And just like Monday’s other singles matchup, this is a rivalry where one player owns a 5-0 record. Fortunately for Nadal, that head-to-head against Zverev is in his favor. Their first match was at Indian Wells in 2016, when Zverev had an easy volley on match point, but hit it into the net.  He wouldn’t win another game in that match, and still hasn’t gotten a win over Nadal. And though he was the champion here a year ago, 2019 has been a challenging year for Sascha. He’s experienced turmoil off the court within his team, and has failed to take his career to the next level. If Rafa is close to 100%, that should be enough to overcome a defending champion who is lacking confidence.

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Lukas Kubot and Marcelo Melo come back from one set down to beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek

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Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo came back from one set down to beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 4-6 6-4 10-5 in one hour and 40 minutes at the Nitto ATP Finals at the O2 Finals in London. Kubot and Melo moved to 1-0 in the Group Jonas Bjorkman.

 

The Polish and Brazilian team join Michael Venus and and Raven Klaasen at the top of the Group Bjorkman with a 1-0 lead.

Dodig and Polasek rallied from 3-4 down by winning three consecutive games to claim the opening set 6-4. Kubot and Melo saved a break point in the fourth game before getting the first break three games later to take a 4-3 lead.

Dodig and Polasek did not convert a break point before dropping serve, but they earned two consecutive breaks to claim the first set 6-4. Dodig and Polasek were broken in the first game of the second set and did not convert any of their two break points in the next game.

Kubot and Melo wasted four consecutive set points in the ninth game, but they served out the second set at love with a backhand passing shot down the line to force the match to the third set.

Kubot and Melo got two mini-breaks in the Match Tie-Break 10-5. Kubot hit an ace to seal the tie-break 10-5.

“It feels great to get the win. I think we played a very good match today. I think the level was high. We are very happy to play such a great set and a Match Tie-Break”,said Melo.

 In the first match of the afternoon match Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus saved four break points in his 6-3 6-4 win over Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-3 6-4 in 64 minutes. Klaasen and Venus saved two break points in the opening game before breaking serve in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Klaasen claimed the break with a backhand volley after a forehand return from Venus. Klaasen and Venus sealed the opening set after 30 minutes.

Both players held serve in the first six games before Klaasen and Venus claimed the decisive break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead after a double fault from Salisbury.

“To be the first match of the Finals is a bit nerve racking and to get off to a good start certainly puts our minds at ease for the rest of the tournament”, said Klaasen.

 

 

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