Roger Federer Declares ‘Full Steam Ahead’ As He Hits Back At Critics Of The ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Declares ‘Full Steam Ahead’ As He Hits Back At Critics Of The ATP Finals

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Roger Federer (zimbio.com)

LONDON: Roger Federer managed to demonstrate his fighting spirit both on and off the court at the ATP Finals within a matter of hours.

 

Opening up the 48th edition of the season-ending event in London, he held his nerve to edge out Jack Sock 6-4, 7-6(4), in two tightly contested sets. Despite never facing a break point on his own serve, the 36-year-old was provided with plenty of food for thought by his American opponent. Overall, he hit 28 winners to 23 unforced errors, as well as producing five aces.

“I think we’re all going to start playing better every round that goes by.” Federer explained. “It’s just still early days in the tournament. Can’t expect to play your best against the best players in the world in that first match.”

Federer was playing in his first match on the tour since winning the Basel Open. Leading up to the Tour Finals, he withdrew from the Paris Masters and missed out on the chance of finishing the year as world No.1. At the time he declared that his body ‘needed a break.’

The Swiss player admits that his two-week recovery took ‘a long time.’ Although he his seeking solace in his win over Sock, which is his 12th victory against a top-10 player this season. Overall, Federer has lost just four matches in 2017.

“This is the best I’ve felt since the del Potro finals. I’m very happy to see that I didn’t have to pay the price for taking it easy resting, recovering.” He said.
“But then turning it up the last few days got me in shape for today.
“Now I think I’m in the tournament. Now there’s no more turning back. Just full steam ahead every match that comes.”

Love for London

It is blatant as to why the focus of the 19-time grand slam champion has been on the season finale in London. Hosted at the O2 Arena since 2009, he has featured in five out of the eight previous finals. Critics argue that that surface of the event should be changed more regularly to make it more fair. The tournament will be held at the venue until at least 2020 with players playing on an indoor hard court.

“Could it be switched up to clay once in a while? Yeah, maybe.” Federer admits. “Could we have more 1000s on grass? Yeah, we could have that, too. Could we have less on clay, more or hard courts? Could we have more or hard courts, less on clay? Yes, it’s all debatable.”
“I think it’s not the time of the year for clay, so there you have it. You can do indoor clay, I guess, but that’s a bit silly.”

Whilst the surface remains the same, it doesn’t mean the conditions are. Some players have noted that the speed of the court has increased, drawing praise from the world No.2. In the past the tournament has been marred by a series of one-sided matches. Last year 17 out of 27 matches played was decided in straight sets.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing, because we did see some very one-sided matches in the past.” Federer commented about the speed of the court. “I don’t know what the reason was, if it was just a fluke that it happened to be that way or actually just that the better baseliner just really outplayed the other.”
“I think it’s going to keep the results closer to one another.” He later added.

This year Federer is bidding to win a record seventh title at the ATP Finals. In the tournament’s history, he holds the record for the most wins (53), the most appearances (15) and has a prize money record of $15,349,000 (prior to this week).

 

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Novak Djokovic reaches the semifinal in Tel Aviv

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Novak Djokovic beat Canadian lucky loser Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to reach the semifinal at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. 

 

Djokovic has improved his record to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Pospisil. He has won all 13 sets they have played. 

Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Djokovic earned two mini-breaks to race out to a 4-0 lead. Pospisil won five of the next six points to draw level to 5-5. Djokovic won the next two points to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Djokovic went up a break at the start of the second set. Pospisil broke back in the fifth game to reduce the deficit to 2-3. Djokovic broke again in the eighth game before serving out for the match in the next game. 

Djokovic set up a semifinal against Roman Safiulin. The Serbian player is aiming to win his third title this season after his previous triumphs in Rome and Wimbledon. He is currently ranked 15th in the ATP Race to Turin. As he won a Grand Slam title at Wimbeldon this year, he will qualify for the ATP Finals if he remains in the top 20. 

“It was a great and positive win. Vasek is one of my best friends on the tour. We have known each other for many years. It is never easy playing someone you respect so much and like so much, but we are both professionals and wanted to win the match and you can see that. ”, said Djokovic. 

Constant Lestienne came back from one set down to beat Maxime Cressy 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-3) setting up a semifinal against Marin Cilic, who reached his fifth semifinal this year after receiving a walkover from Liam Broady.   

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Jannik Sinner reaches his third consecutive semifinal at the Sofia Open

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Jannik Sinner cruised past Aleksandar Vukic 6-2 6-3 to advance to his third consecutive semifinal at the Sofia Open. Sinner scored his 45th tour.level win this season moving up to 12th in the ATP Race to Turin. He will rise to 10th if he wins his third consecutive title in Sofia. 

 

Sinner has extended his winning streak to 11-0 at the Sofia Open. He claimed the trophy at this tournament at the Sofia Open in 2020 before he successfully defended his title last year.  

Sinner faced four break points after three double faults in the first game of opening set. Vukic saved a break point with a forehand at 1-2. Sinner broke twice in the sixth and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. 

Sinner built up a 3-0 lead with a break at the start of the second set. Vukic broke back in the seventh game for 3-4. Sinner earned his second break in the eighth game. Sinner missed out on his first match point with his fifth double fault. Vukic fended off a second match point with a forehand passing shot. Sinner saved a break point with an ace before sealing the win on his third match point. 

“I hope to raise my level in the next match. I am happy to reach the third semifinal at this tournament. I feel at home in Sofia. I will try to play my best tennis in every match”, said Sinner, 

Sinner will face a semifinal match against Holger Rune, who will face Ilya Ivashka 6-2 5-7 6-4 after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

Rune broke in the fifth and seventh games to win the first set 6-2. Ivashka saved four break points in th third game before breaking for the first time in the match in the 12th game to close out the second set 7-5. 

Rune earned a break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Rune broke for the second game in the ninth game and held serve on his second match point. 

Lorenzo Musetti moved past world number 132 player Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 after 1 hour and 16 minutes to reach his second ATP Tour semifinal of the season. 

Struff earned an early break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead. Musetti came back from 15-40 down to break back in the fifth game with a backhand passing shot winner. Musetti went down 0-2 in the tie-break, but he rallied by winning seven of the next eight points to seal the tie-break 7-3. Musetti broke twice in the second and fourth games and sealed the win on his first match point with a forehand winner after 77 minutes. Musetti set up a semifinal match against Marc Andrea Huesler, who saved two match points in the tie-break of the second set to beat Kamil Majchrzak 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-3. 

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Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin

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Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals singles tournament in Turin, Joining Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal and US Open winner Carlos Alcaraz. 

 

Ruud secured his spot in the year-end championships by winning his second-round match in Seoul. 

Ruud reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Miami and two Grand Slam finals at Roland Garros and at the US Open. He also won three ATP Tour titles in Buenos Aires, Geneva and Gstaad. The Norwegian player has scored 47 ATP Tour-level wins and is ranked third behind only Alcaraz (52) and Tsistipas (49). 

Ruud made his first appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin last year. He won his round robin matches against against Cameron Norrie and Andrey Rublev before losing to Danil Medvedev in the semifinal. 

“I just got the news that I qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin and I am looking forward to coming back to Italy. I had such a great time last year. It’s a great country for tennis”, said Ruud. 

Tsitsipas has become the fourth player to qualify to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals. The Greek player will make his fourth consecutive appearance at the year-end tournament. He won the title in 2019 beating Novak Djokovic in the final. Tsitsipas started the 2022 season with a semifinal at the Australian Open last January. He advanced to the final in Rotterdam where he finished runner-up to Felix Auger Aliassime.

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion won his second consecutive title at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Last May Tsitsipas finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. During the US hard-court season the Athens native player lost to Borna Coric in the final of the Cincinnati Masters 1000 tournament. 

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