Grigor Dimitrov Eyes Improvement Following Australian Open Loss - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov Eyes Improvement Following Australian Open Loss

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Grigor Dimitrov (zimbio.com)

World No.3 Grigor Dimitrov admits that there are areas in his game that he needs to improve following his Australian Open exit.

 

The Bulgarian third seed crashed out in four sets to 23-year-old Kyle Edmund in the quarter-finals of the tournament. Suffering his worst lost (in terms of ranking) since going out to Andrey Rublev at the US Open last September. It comes after what has been a shaky campaign in Melbourne for Dimitrov. Earlier in the tournament, he overcame blips in his matches against Mackenzie McDonald and Rublev.

“I think overall it wasn’t a bad one, but certainly wasn’t where I wanted to be.” Dimitrov concluded about his Australian Open run.
“That’s at least the positive thing, that there’s a little bit of a room that I feel I can improve quite a few weeks ahead of me. I need to be smart the way I’m practicing now, not to overdo it again, but in the same time make sure I find my rhythm again, my game itself a little bit, the elements when I play.”

Focusing on the positives of his run, it is the fourth time that Dimitrov has managed to reach the last eight of a major tournament. Melbourne remains his most successful grand slam with 20 matches wins under his belt. Dimitrov is currently ranked third in the world following his run at the ATP Finals title last November.

“I’m very critical with myself. I always want a lot from myself. When I don’t reach a certain goal that I’ve planned, it really drops me down.” The 26-year-old explained.
“It makes me sad. But those are the moments that I think I’ve learned throughout the years, especially last year after here was tough after I lost the semifinal. But, again, I still had to kind of lift myself up and kind of go on, like pick myself up, dust myself off.”

One area of improvement he is seeking concerns his serve. Against Edmund he produced seven double faults and won 53% of his second service points. To put this into perspective, he has only managed to win 50% or more second service points in two out of his five matches in Melbourne.

Dimitrov’s winning second service rate
R1 – 58%
R2 – 28%
R3 – 38%
R4 – 40%
QF – 53%

“I’ve been thinking since day one, even Brisbane, I still felt that I have not served well enough.” Admits Dimitrov.
“Definitely that’s one of the things I’ve struggled a lot in the past week. That’s one thing I know if I can turn around, make sure I’m a bit more consistent.”

Admiration for Edmund

Despite suffering disappointment, Dimitrov has praised the efforts of his rival. The Brit was playing in his first grand slam quarter-final and has become only the sixth male player from his country to reach the last four of a major tournament in the open era. He is also set to break into the top 30 on the ATP Emirates rankings for the first time in his career.

“Kyle deserves all the respect. He deserved to win, simple as that,” said Dimitrov.
“He’s been working so hard the past months. I’ve seen that. [I’ve] played him a couple of times.
“I take full responsibility of my match today. There’s no point for me to say what I did wrong because I can sit here and talk about it, but it’s all about him right now. He’s the winner.”

Edmund will play either Rafael Nadal or Marin Cilic in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Dimitrov is set to return to action in the second week of February at the Sofia Open in his home country of Bulgaria.

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Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname

The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.

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Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.

“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”

Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.

I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”

Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.

Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since Kei Nishikori in 2008

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Carlos Alcaraz beat Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag becoming the youngest ever champion at ATP Tour level since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in Delray Beach in 2008 and the youngest Spanish ATP Tour champion since RafaelNadal in Sopot 2004. 

 

Alcaraz earned his first break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead with an inside-in forehand winner and he never looked back by holding his next service games. The Spanish teenager broke serve in the third game as Gasquet made a double fault. Alcaraz converted his third break point in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Gasquet earned three break points but he was not able to convert them. 

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players. I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and  I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future”, said Alcaraz. 

Gasquet was aiming to win his first ATP Tour title since s’Hertogenbosch in 2018. 

“It was tough for me to play with his full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin. He is playing unbeievable. He is only 18 and of course he had a great future and Ijust could not play at his level and his intensity”, said Gasquet. 

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