Dimitrov and Sock fight for place in London final - UBITENNIS
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Dimitrov and Sock fight for place in London final

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(Grigor Dimitrov – photo via zimbio.com)

World No. 6 Grigor Dimitrov will battle Paris Masters champion Jack Sock in the semifinals of the ATP Finals on Saturday. Will the Bulgarian succeed in overturning his losing record against the American tonight?

 

Two-time Grand Slam semifinalist Dimitrov has been the most consistent player in the ATP’s year-end Championships. He has been even better than the firm favorite Roger Federer as he simply bludgeoned his way past the likes of David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta much to the delight of his ever growing army of fans in the British capital.

Such has been the dominance of the 26-year-old that he needed less than an hour to beat Rafael Nadal’s replacement, Carreno Busta in his final Group Pete Sampras contest on Friday. His victory against Goffin was even sweeter as he hardly had to break any sweat for his 6-0, 6-2 triumph over the Belgian star on Wednesday.

In fact, it would be an understatement to say that Grigor has been imperious of late; actually he has simply played like his idol, the great Federer. In essence, he has finally graduated from the Baby Fed tag at the event.

Looking to overcome his challenge will be the ninth-ranked Sock, whose run through to the last 4 stage of the competition has grabbed more eyeballs than Dimitrov’s perfect record in London. He has done a tremendous job of qualifying from a group that featured more prominent names of Marin Cilic and Alexander Zverev.

The man from the United States, who managed to secure his place in the tourney at the 11th hour, had his backs to the wall and was staring at defeat in the deciding sets of his clashes against Cilic and Zverev, before turning things around in his favor and eventually earning the right to fight Grigor for a place in Sunday’s showpiece final.

Once again, carefree tennis will be his mantra against Dimitrov as it has won him a lot of matches recently. “I’m playing with a lot of confidence as well, coming off Paris, playing here, winning some of my matches, getting into the semis”, Sock said. “I’m going to have fun, play big, play free, like you just said. That’s definitely not going to change. No one expected me to be here in the first place.”

Head-to-head: While Dimitrov beat Sock in their first ever meeting in Sweden in 2014, the big American has won their last three matches. His three match winning streak against Grigor started with a straight sets win at the 2015 French Open, followed by a comfortable victory in Montreal in the same year before completing his hat-trick at Indian Wells in 2017. However, predicting the winner in this match is a bit difficult as both the players are playing perhaps the best tennis of their lives, but Dimitrov has the slight edge as he is the more all-round athlete.

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REPORT: Japanese Tennis Association To Lose One Billion Yen In 2020

The loss of a key men’s event in the country has resulted in millions of dollars being loss in revenue.

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Venue of the 2019 Mens Japan Open (image via https://twitter.com/rakutenopen)

The cancellation of a premier tennis event in Japan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is set to have a massive financial impact on the country’s governing body.

 

Last month organisers made the decision to scrap the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships this year amid fears of a second wave of the virus in October when the it is set to take place. The tournament is currently categorised as an ATP 500 event and has been held annually since 1973. In 2019 Novak Djokovic won the tournament for the first time in his career without dropping a single set throughout. Other previous winners also include Roger Federer (2006), Rafael Nadal (2010) and Andy Murray (2011).

“Given concerns about a second wave of the infection both in Japan and overseas, we came to the anguished conclusion that we had to cancel,” organisers said in a statement.

It has been estimated that as a result of the move, the Japanese Tennis Association (JTA) will lose millions of dollars in revenue. National news agency Kyodo has estimated the loss to be at least 1 billion Yen ($9.4 million) based on this event alone and no others.

JTA executive director Naohiro Kawatei told Kyodo that moving athletes in and out of the country is problematic due to the current situation. Tokyo has recently raised it’s Coronavirus alert level to the top of a four-point scale after there have been more than 100 new daily cases of the virus in the city for six days in a row. Furthermore, The Bank of Japan has revised down their growth forecasts.

“In addition to players coming from overseas, it is the responsibility of organizers to facilitate their departure, so there are some differences between our sport and others,” said Kawatei.

At present the women’s top tournament in the country is still on the 2020 schedule. The Pan Pacific Open, which is classed as a Premier event, is currently set to take place during the week commencing November 2nd.

Recently the Asian swing of the tennis season has been thrown into jeopardy after the Chinese General Administration of Sports recommended that no sports events take place in the country unless they are related to Olympic qualification. Although sports federations, including both the ATP and WTA, are seeking clarity from officials before they make their next move. China is usually where the majority of Asian tennis events are played, including the WTA Finals.

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Official: No Swiss Indoors In 2020 Due To COVID-19

Roger Federer’s home event was set to take place between October 26th and November 1st.

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By Emil Evtimov

The ATP 500 Swiss Indoors tournament in Basel won’t happen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The organizers of the Swiss Indoors already hinted a couple of weeks ago that the tournament in Roger Federer’s hometown was unlikely to happen due to the Coronavirus and the financial impact from the restrictions on spectator capacity.

This year’s edition would have been the 50th anniversary of the tournament, but is now out of the ATP calendar. Organizers are already making plans for the 2021 edition between 23 and 31 October.

“Dear tennis friends, As a result of the Corona pandemic, the world’s third largest indoor tournament has been definitively cancelled,” a statement issued by the tournament reads.
“The ATP has now formally approved the request to cancel the Swiss Indoors Basel, after the tournament management of the Swiss Indoors had already declared in mid-June that it would be irresponsible and unfeasible to hold the tournament in view of the medical, social and economic uncertainty.”

Founded by Roger Brennwald, the Swiss Indoors had been held every year since 1970. It became an event on the Grand Prix Circuit in 1977 and has been classed as a ATP 500 tournament since 2009. 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, who is a former ball boy at the event, has won the title a record 10 times.

The latest development leaves another big question mark on the remainder of the 2020 season. ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi spoke frankly during an interview with Sky Sport Italia and admitted that he is still unsure of what the final quarter of the calendar will look like.

“We have no idea how the Asian swing or the European indoor season could go. It might sound obvious, but I can’t predict how the virus will affect us going forward, there are too many variables to consider,”  he said.

As of today, the ATP Tour should restart on 14 August with the Citi Open in Washington, followed by the Cincinnati Masters and US Open. After that the tour goes to Europe for a mini clay season with the two Masters (Madrid and Rome) and Roland Garros.

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France’s Lucas Pouille To Undergo Surgery

The 26-year-old has suffered another setback to his plans for a return to the Tour.

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Lucas Pouille (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Lucas Pouille says he is hopeful that he will be able to play tennis again this season after announcing plans to undergo surgery.

 

The world No.58 confirmed on Tuesday morning that he will be having an operation on his right elbow later this month in Paris. Pouille has only managed to play one match this year on the ATP Tour due to the injury, which was at the Indian Wells Challenger tournament where he lost in straight sets to Noah Rubin.  The issue has been bothering the Frenchman since last October when he shut down his season early after the Shanghai Masters.

“It’s never an easy decision to take, but I will get surgery on my right elbow this month in Paris. After new medical exams, it appeared it was the best solution in order to finally be able to play pain-free. I still hope to play before the end of the season.” Pouille said in a statement.

Pouille initially looked to be on track to making a return to action after participating in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in June. An exhibition tournament created by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou. However, he lost two matches to Feliciano Lopez and Elliot Benchetrit before being forced to withdraw from the competition due to his elbow.

In recent days the coach of the former world No.10,  Loic Courteau, said they will not be travelling to the US Open next month. Although it is unclear if Courteau’s comments were made before or after the decision to undergo surgery was made.

“I will not be in New York, for the good reason that Lucas… is not going to play the tournament,” he told French television.

Pouille has won five ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $7 million in prize money. He is currently the eighth highest ranked French player on the ATP Tour.

Pouille’s ATP titles breakdown

2018 1 Montpellier (Indoor/Hard)
2017 3 Vienna (Indoor/Hard)
Stuttgart (Outdoor/Grass)
Budapest (Outdoor/Clay)
2016 1 Metz (Indoor/Hard)

 

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