Dominic Thiem to battle Grigor Dimitrov in clash of young talents - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem to battle Grigor Dimitrov in clash of young talents

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(Dominic Thiem – photo via zimbio.com)

World No. 4 Dominic Thiem will square-off against two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov in the opening match of the Pete Sampras Group at the ATP World Tour Finals in London on Monday. Can Thiem come out on top of the equally talented Bulgarian who also possesses a potent one-handed backhand?

Dominic Thiem, alongside Alexander Zverev is considered as one of the future stars of the game and his rise to No. 4 in the ATP rankings has certainly substantiated that claim. In literal terms, the year 2017 has been his breakthrough year in terms of results. Thiem won the Rio Open in February, was the runner-up in Barcelona and Madrid and made it to the semis of Roland Garros and Rome.

Moreover, apart from the success he has achieved what makes Thiem a talking point among the sport’s elite is the way he plays the game. His playing style is extremely soothing to the eye, elegance is a hallmark of his ground-strokes and he barely hits a shot that looks ugly. In addition to that, his movement on the court is quite smooth and he never seemed to rush through his strokes.

Despite his beautiful all-round game, Thiem has completely gone off the boil in recent times. Since Wimbledon, he has accumulated an 8-9 win/loss record including an 0-3 streak during the Asian leg of the tour. His best results after Wimbledon have been a quarterfinal appearance in Cincinnati and a round of 16 showing at the US Open.

Dimitrov has followed a similar trajectory to Thiem as far as the season’s results are concerned. After winning titles in Brisbane and Sofia and reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open, Maria Sharpova’s ex-boyfriend failed miserably during the clay court season as he barely managed to sneak past the round of 16.

But, he did latch on to the big opportunity he got in Cincinnati as he went on to win the title in the absence of Roger Federer and the early exit of Rafael Nadal. However, he disappointed a lot of people with his poor performance in New York as after his Cincinnati title run he was expected to do exceedingly well in the final Grand Slam of the year, but lost to Andrey Rublev in the 2nd round.

Grigor somehow managed to stem the tide after the US Open by getting through to the final of the Stockholm Open, and progressing through to the semis in Beijing before losing to eventual champion Nadal. Dimitrov lost in the third round of the Paris Masters but the loss came at the hands of John Isner and that too in the deciding set tie-breaker and it wouldn’t have hurt his confidence that much.

Head-to-head: The pair have met thrice before on the ATP tour with Thiem having a marginal advantage because of his 2-1 lead over the current World No. 6. However, there two recent meetings have been extremely close with Dimitrov winning in three fiercely fought sets in Brisbane and Thiem overcoming Dimitrov in a three-set thriller in round three of the Madrid Masters. Once again, we should expect a tight match with the more aggressive player having the last laugh.

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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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