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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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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