Kyle Edmund Stuns Dimitrov To Reach Australian Open Semis - UBITENNIS
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Kyle Edmund Stuns Dimitrov To Reach Australian Open Semis

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Kyle Edmund has become the sixth British man in the Open Era to reach a grand slam semifinal after knocking out world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, at the Australian Open.

 

The encounter on the Rod Laver arena was the second meeting between the two players this year after Brisbane. Similar to their first match, Edmund pushed Dimitrov around the court with the help of his speedy serve and electrifying forehand. The only difference was that this time he was able to prevail against the inconsistent third seed, who hit seven double faults and 36 unforced errors.

“I knew it was going to be tough.” Said Edmund, who didn’t start playing tennis until the age of 10.  “I had a bit of a dip in the second set. I think it was quite poor tennis at some points (of the match).
“In the third set I managed to break his at the end. I had a bit of a blip in the fourth set, but I just held my nerve in the last game and pray that last ball was out.”

Embarking upon his maiden grand slam quarter-final at the age of 23, Edmund displayed few signs of nerves during what was a roller coaster clash. Trading breaks during the opening set, the British No.2 managed to come out on top in the crunch moments. The first real breakthrough for Edmund occured at 4-4 when he slammed a forehand winner down the line to break for a 5-4 lead. Enabling him to seal the first set after coming through a tentative service game, where he fended off a trio of break points before securing the lead.

“I was nervous, but once you go on there (the court) it is another tennis match. That’s what I kept saying to myself. I’ve hit millions of forehands, backhands and serves. It is just a case of can you do it under pressure.” He explained.
“I backed myself, believed it and it worked.”

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Grabbing a stronghold in the match, Edmund braced himself for an inevitable comeback from his opponent. ATP Finals champion Dimitrov has won 20 matches at Melbourne Park, more than any other major event. The Bulgarian illustrated why he is the third best player in the world with a one-sided second set to level the match as the errors started to mount from the Brit.

Despite the setback, Edmund refused to be intimidated as his rival began to once again buckle under the pressure. Experience proved irrelevant after a Dimitrov double fault resulted in a break of serve and eventually cost him the third set. The intensity of Edmund’s shots continued to wore Dimitrov down as he continued to dictate the rallies. An impressive display from somebody who is yet to reach an ATP Tour final.

Closing in on the most significant win of his career was by no means a simple task. Exchanging breaks in the fourth, it was once again Dimitrov’s inconsistency that paved the way for the Yorkshire-based player. Two games away from victory, a backhand into the net from the third seed on break point moved him nearer towards the finish line. The focus of the world No.49 was unstoppable as he hit an ace down the centre of the court to grab his first match point. Converting it with ease after a Dimitrov shot drifted beyond the baseline. Moving the Brit into his maiden grand slam semifinal.

“It’s an amazing feeling. I’m very happy.” Said Edmund, who was trying to get to grips with what he had achieved.  “With these sorts of things you are so emotionally engaged that you don’t really take it in. You don’t really enjoy yourself.”
I just tried to enjoy the moment. It was my first match on this court (Rod Laver) and it was very special.”

As a result of his triumph, Edmund is now a member of a prestigious group of British men to have reached the last four of a major in the Open Era. Joining  Roger Taylor, John Lloyd, Greg Rusedski, Tim Henman and Andy Murray.

“As a kid you’re just growing up looking at idols who you inspire to be. When you’re on these types of stages reaching the last stages of the best tournament of the world, it is obviously very pleasing.” He said.
“Of course, I want to keep going.”

In the semifinals the 23-year-old will take on either Marin Cilic or top seed Rafael Nadal.

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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 reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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