Filip Krajinovic upsets John Isner to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career as qualifier - UBITENNIS
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Filip Krajinovic upsets John Isner to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career as qualifier

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Serbian qualifier Filip Krajinovic upset John Isner 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-5) after 2 hours and 27 minutes to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career in Paris Bercy at the age of 25.

 

Krajinovic entered the French tournament with just one match win at Masters 1000 level. The number 77 player has become the lowest ranked player to reach a Masters 1000 final World number 191 Andrei Pavel in 2003 and the first qualifier to advance to the final in this category since Jerzy Janowicz in Paris Bercy 2012.

Kraijnovic came into the semifinal after beating Yuichi Sugita, Sam Querrey and Nicolas Mahut and took advantage of a walkover after Rafa Nadal was forced to withdraw from the semifinal due to a knee injury. Isner reached the semifinal after winning three-set matches against Diego Schwartzman, Grigor Dimitrov and Juan Martin Del Potro.

Krajinovic made just four unforced errors in the first set, but he saved three break points and converted his only break point in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, as Isner hit a forehand volley into the net. The young Serbian hit consecutive backhand winners down the line to hold at love for 5-3. He held at love for the second consecutive service game to close out the first set, when Isner sent a forehand into the net after 32 minutes.

In a fifth deuce game Krajinovic hit a forehand wide. Isner came through to hold serve with a backhand volley for 3-2. The US player hit an ace to hold, as he was serving at 4-4.

Both players went on serve with no break points until the tie-break. Isner started the tie-break with ace down the middle and raced out to a 5-0 lead. Krajinovic got his first point on the scoreboard with a second serve ace down the middle. Isner hit two consecutive aces to cruise through to a 7-2 win in the tie-break to force the match to the third set.

Krajinovic saved a break point in the first game of the third set. He came through a tough five-deuce ninth game to hold serve for 5-4. Isner held serve at 15 to force the decider to the tie-break, where Krajinovic reeled off five of the final six points from 2-4 to take a 7-5 win.

Isner got a mini-break on the first point, as Krajinovic made an unforced error. Isner fired his 30th ace to raced out to a 3-0 lead. Krajinovic hit his 12th ace on the fifth point to claw his way back to 2-3. Isner held a 4-2 lead in the tie-break of the final set and was just three points from reaching his second consecutive final in Paris Bercy. Krajinovic got back the mini-break for 3-4, as Isner made a half-volley error. Krajinovic won the next two points to take a 5-4 with backhand down the line and a forehand error from Isner. Krajinovic hit a forehand return to earn a match point and closed out the match with a forehand into the corner.

The Serbian rising star dropped to his knees and kissed the court in joy. His euphoric coach ripped off his shirt to celebrate the incredible win.

Krajinovic, who was ranked world number 234 at the start of the season, will climb to at least number 33 next week, when the the new ATP Rankings will be released.

“The emotions are amazing. When I served for the match my hand was shaking. It was tough to control the emotions. It was the best day in my life but the tournament is not over yet”, said Krajinovic.

Isner fired 91 aces during this week but it was not enough to reach the final. He needed to win the title in Paris Bercy to secure the final qualifying spot for London. Only Jack Sock can overtake Pablo Carreno Busta in eighth place in the ATP Race to London, if he wins in Paris Bercy.

“It was very disappointing. I had an opportunity here to do some things I have never done before. I have been very close in tournaments, especially in Masters events. I just haven’t broken through. This one is going to sting because I knew I was the highest ranked player in the semifinals”, said Isner.

 

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.

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Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

 

The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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