Dimitrov to battle Goffin for ATP Finals title - UBITENNIS
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Dimitrov to battle Goffin for ATP Finals title

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(Grigor Dimitrov – photo via zimbio.com)

Newly crowned World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov will challenge the supremely confident David Goffin for the biggest prize of his career in London on Sunday night. Will Mr. Showtime shed his Baby Fed tag and prove to his critics that he is the real deal by winning ATP’s year-end championships?

 

It has been a season to remember for the 26-year-old Dimitrov. In fact, he has finally lived up to the promise he showed as a youngster which led to his comparisons with Swiss maestro Roger Federer. After losing an epic Australian Open semifinal to current No. 1 Rafael Nadal and securing titles in Brisbane and Sofia, Dimitrov won his maiden Masters crown in Cincinnati just before the US Open to cement his place in the top-10 of the ATP rankings.

At the O2, Dimitrov has been virtually unstoppable. After making a sluggish start against Dominic Thiem in his tournament opener before prevailing 7-5 in the deciding set, Dimitrov has grown in confidence, dismantling Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta in no time whatsoever, while he came back from a set down to end the American Jack Sock’s late-season surge in the semis on Saturday.

Twice before in his career Sock had beaten Dimitrov after going down a couple of match points and he was once again threatening to repeat the same feat after he saved three in the final set, but Grigor stayed calm and eventually came out as the winner after Sock committed a forehand unforced error.

Looking to stop Dimitrov’s charge will be Goffin, the man nobody expected to get past the great Federer, especially when he entered his semifinal clash against the 19-time Grand Slam champion with a 0-6 head-to-head record. However, not only he surprised himself, but also stunned both Roger and the huge army of his fans with a stunning display of power hitting from the baseline.

Undoubtedly, Goffin played the match of his life, showing his full repertoire on the court, frustrating the World No. 2 at times with the pace and depth of his ground-strokes. Initially, that result looked highly unlikely as Federer won the opening set in just 33 minutes, but the diminutive Belgian had other ideas.

While he went on to raise his level, Federer’s level suddenly dropped. Taking advantage of that situation, Goffin first went on to level the contest and then subsequently registered his maiden win over Federer, becoming just the sixth player to defeat both Roger and Rafa in the same tournament.

Head-to-head: Dimitrov is 4-1 against Goffin in their previous head-to-head matches and had annihilated him 6-0, 6-2 in their group clash on Wednesday. He is also the more complete player and would not want to let this opportunity slip away from his hands. On the other hand, Goffin would be feeling a little exhausted after his shock win over Federer which could prove to be undoing tonight.

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Rafael Nadal Hoping Coronavirus Will Not Spoil His Olympic Dreams

The 19-time grand slam champion speaks out about the worldwide outbreak.

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World No.2 Rafael Nadal has said he is hopeful that a remedy can be found to contain the worldwide Coronavirus outbreak in order to stop what he describes as ‘fear’ erupting.

 

Several countries have declared major medical emergencies in order to tackle the illness, which also goes by the name of Covid 19. It is believed to have originated in China, where the most infections and deaths from the illness have been recorded. However, Iran is also struggling with an outbreak, Italy has quantified 11 towns, Saudi Arabia is preventing foreign pilgrims from entering their country and Japan has closed schools.

Coronavirus has also had an impact on various tennis events with a string of Chinese ITF and Challenger events cancelled. Meanwhile on Sunday, the final of the ATP Bergamo Open in Italy was cancelled due to concerns. Making it the first time an European event has been impacted by the threat posed by Coronavirus.

“I hope it is controlled, that a remedy is found and this uncertainty is stopped, this psychosis, this fear. It is the most important thing, not only for the Olympic Games, but for humanity, “ Nadal commented on the issue following his second round win at the Mexican Open.

One of the biggest sporting events is also under threat – the Olympic Games. This year’s edition will be held in Tokyo, Japan. IOC council member Dick Pound has recently said the sporting event will be cancelled if there is ‘world health at stake.’ The World Health Organisation is currently working with Olympic organizers, who are keen to empathise that they have no intention of cancelling the event.

“Our basic thoughts are that we will go ahead with the Olympic and Paralympic Games as scheduled,” Committee chief executive Toshiro Muto recently told Japanese reporters.
“For the time being, the situation of the coronavirus infection is, admittedly, difficult to predict, but we will take measures such that we’ll have a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Nadal is one of many tennis players hoping to win a gold medal later this year. The Spaniard is already a three-time Olympic after competing in 2004, 2008 and 2016. He has previously won two gold medals. Claiming the singles title in 2008 and the doubles trophy alongside Marc Lopez in 2016.

“Regarding the Olympic Games, to say that it is one of the most special events in the world. It is a unique experience to be there and I consider it the most difficult tournament to win because you only have two or three chances in your career, “ Nadal commented.

The Olympic tennis tournament will get underway on July 25th. It will be held at the Ariake Coliseum.

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Novak Djokovic reaches the semifinal in Dubai for the ninth time in his career

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Novak Djokovic cruised past Karen Khachanov 6-2 6-2 in one hour and six minutes to reach the semifinal at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Tournament for the ninth time in his career.

 

Djokovic dropped 13 points in eight service game and converted on five of his nine break points. He dropped his serve only once in the first set.

Djokovic held serve with a drop shot winner in the third game and broke serve at love with a forehand return down the line winner in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. The 2020 Australian Open champion held his serve with a drop shot winner in the third game and broke serve at love with a return down the line winner.

Djokovic held serve at love with a volley winner to consolidate the break. The Serbian player went up a double break earning his chance to serve for the set, as Khachanov netted a backhand in the sixth game. Khachanov pulled one break back after a forehand error from Djokovic, as the Serb failed to convert a set point in the next game. Djokovic got another break in the eighth game to clinch the opening set 6-2 on his third set point in 32 minutes, as Khachanov hit a backhand into the net.

Khachanov fended off a break point in the second game of the second set before Djokovic earned a break at love in the fourth game with a lob. Djokovic sealed the second set with another break at 5-2.

“I don’t know if I am playing the best tennis of my career. That’s a big statement, but I am feeling and playing well.  I like the conditions, but in windy conditions it’s not easy to serve and find rhythm. I know it wasn’t Karen’s day, but I think I played a very solid match. I am trying to be in the present and execute my game plan”, said Djokovic.

Djokovic set up a semifinal against Gael Monfils, who won the all-French clash against Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-3 after 73 minutes. Monfils broke serve twice in the fifth and ninth games to win the first set 6-3 and went up a 5-1 lead with two breaks. Gasquet pulled back one of the two breaks, as Monfils was serving for the match at 5-1. Monfils served out the win on his first match point.

Monfils is seeking his third title of the year after winning two consecutive tournaments in Montpellier and Rotterdam.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches his second consecutive semifinal in Dubai

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Last year’s finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas came back from one set down to beat Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6 6-4 6-4 reaching the semifinals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the second consecutive year.

 

Struff earned three set points at 5-4 in the opening set. Tsitsipas recovered to 30-40, as Struff hit two forehands into the net. The German player converted his third break point chance to win the first set 6-4 after 45 minutes.

Tsitsipas earned an early break in the first game of the second set, as Struff hit a forehand long at 15-40. Tsitsipas rallied from 15-40 down, when he was serving for the second set at 5-4, and converted his second set point with a forehand down the line winner.

Struff fended off four break points in the first game of the decisive set. Tsitsipas earned the decisive break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 and sealed the win on his first match point. Tsitsipas will face Daniel Evans, who beat Andrey Rublev 6-2 7-6 (11-9).

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