It was a case of a number of potential future stars featuring in the Noumea Challenger in New Caledonia on Wednesday. Former ATP Star of Tomorrow winner Taylor Fritz was one such player in action.
Fritz faced compatriot Kevin King, who was looking to push his ranking into the Top 200 with a strong run here. Fritz managed to deny him, though it took a scoreline of 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 and 2 hours and 20 minutes to do so.
He is joined by 4th seed Casper Ruud, The young Norwegian had been tipped by many to be a big star. However, he didn’t manage to break the Top 100 in 2017 like many had expected him to, suffering a drop in form. Ruud is 2-0 in 2018 so far though, as he defeated Roland Garros Junior winner Geoffrey Blancaneaux 6-2, 6-3. It is the first time since September last year that Ruud has registered back-to-back wins. Still just 19, Ruud could easily break into the Top 100 this year, and could be considered as a candidate to feature in the Next Gen Finals.
Britain’s Cameron Norrie is another aiming to break into the Top 100 for the first time. The Texas-based player came close in 2017 after winning three Challenger titles, but fell just short. Norrie, as in the first round, overcame a slow start to defeat France’s Vincent Millot 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
6th seeded Frenchman Gleb Sakharov defeated veteran compatriot Stephane Rober 6-1, 6-4, and was joined by 7th seed Kenny De Schepper, who was the victor over qualifier Alejandro Gonzalez 6-1, 6-2. Tim Puetz also reached the quarter-finals courtesy of a 7-5, 6-1 win over Hubert Hurkacz.
Rafael Nadal Apologizes To Opponent After Wimbledon Win
The Spaniard admits he made a mistake.
Rafael Nadal said he was ‘wrong’ to call his opponent to the net during the third set of their third round match at Wimbledon.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion booked his place in the last 16 of the tournament by defeating Lorenzo Sonego 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Nadal, who hasn’t won Wimbledon for more than a decade, was out in full flow as he raced to a two-set and 4-2 lead. At that point, Sonego managed to get the roof to be closed due to poor lighting.
After speaking to the umpire, Nadal called his opponent to the net for a discussion over what is believed to be about the noise he was making during the match. After losing his 4-2 advantage, Nadal battled back by breaking once again to secure victory.
“Well, first of all, I have to say that I was wrong. Probably I should not call him on the net. So I apologize for that. My mistake in that. No problem. I recognise that,” said Nadal.
“Then after that, all the stuff during the match that I don’t want to comment (on), because is something that I spoke with him in the locker room and it stays there. Only thing I can say is I saw him personally. I apologise for that.
“My intention was never to bother him at all. Just to tell one thing that was bothering me that I think he was doing in that moment, but that’s it.
“I think there is some code between players. Yeah, we had some issues there. But that’s it.”
The two shared a lengthy exchange at the net after the conclusion of the match and there were no hard feelings between either player.
Controversy aside, Nadal has hailed what he believed is his best performance at The All England Club yet. Against Soego, he won 73% of his service points and hit 24 winners.
“It was my best match, without a doubt, since the tournament started,” said Nadal. “I have made improvements and I’m very happy.’
“I’ve made I think a lot of things much better than the previous days, the determination, the way that I manage to play more aggressively and going to the net plenty of times.”
Nadal will play Dutch world number 25 Botic van de Zandschulp in the last 16.
“Every Match Is A War” – Carlos Alcaraz Excels With Best Performance Yet At Wimbledon
The world No.7 reacts to his latest win ahead of a showdown with a fellow rising star of the sport.
Carlos Alcaraz believes he is quickly finding his footing on the grass after storming into the fourth round of Wimbledon on Friday.
Alcaraz, who is playing in only his second grass-court tournament as a pro player, blasted his way past Germany’s Oscar Otte 6-3, 6-1, 6-2, in exactly 100 minutes. The Spaniard dropped only 14 points behind his serve as he hit a total of 37 winners against eight unforced errors.
“I played unbelievable. This was my best performance so far. So I’m really happy with the level, and I will try to keep this level into the next round.” Alcaraz said afterwards.
The 19-year-old has been a revelation on the Tour this season which has already seen him crack the world’s top 10 and win two Masters 1000 titles. He currently holds the record for the youngest player to ever win an ATP 500 event, as well as being the youngest to score back-to-back wins over Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament.
In one way Alcaraz’s rapid rise in the sport is illustrated by his current campaign at Wimbledon. In the first round he found it tough going throughout his five-set win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Learning from that experience, his form improved in the second round against Tallon Griekspoor (who he defeated in straight sets) and even more so against Otte.
“Every match is a war. Every match you can play unbelievable or you can play your worst match,” he explains. “Obviously Monday was my first match on grass (this year). It was really tough. Struff played unbelievable.’
“After four, five days the training, the matches, you learn how to play more on grass, how to move more on grass.”
“Now I feel more comfortable playing on grass, and I feel better on grass right now.”
Alcaraz’s next ‘war’ will be another rising star of the Tour – Jannik Sinner. A player who is less than two years older than him. They locked horns last year at the Paris Masters where the Spaniard prevailed in two close sets. Alcaraz also won their meeting at a Challenger event in Alicante back in 2019.
With a place in a Grand Slam quarter-final at stake, it is expected to be a tough battle. Although a challenge is something Alcaraz thrives on.
“Playing against Jannik is always tough. I like to play these kinds of matches, these kinds of challenges.” He said.
“On grass you have to play aggressive, you have to go to the net, you have to try to play more aggressively than the opponent. That’s my idea that I try in every match, to not let the opponent dominate the match.” He added.
The upcoming showdown will be Alcaraz’s sixth Tour-level match on grass which is only two less than that of Sinner.
Novak Djokovic Shrugs Off Threat Of Covid-19 Outbreak At Wimbledon
The world No.3 explains why he is not ‘overconcenred’ about COVID-19 at the Grand Slam.
Novak Djokovic says the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak at Wimbledon is one that doesn’t concern him too much after a trio of top-20 players withdrew.
Earlier this week Marin Cilic, Matteo Berrettini and Roberto Bautista Agut all withdrew from the tournament after testing positive for the virus. Unlike the strict protocols that were in place last year, The All England Club has based its policy on local health advice. Where it is recommended that a person takes action if they have symptoms of the virus but they are not required to do so.
With fewer testing measures in place at Wimbledon, there is a high possibility that there are people working on site carrying COVID-19 without realizing it. However, the threat to players is one that reigning champion Djokovic is not too concerned about.
“I did visit the city (London) a few times before the tournament started but I’m not overconcerned about anything. I’m just trying to stay healthy, focused and play the tournament.” Djokovic said following his third round win.
“I’m not thinking about whether or not I’m going to catch COVID. But being cautious is something that is a necessity I think for everyone, and particularly because we have been through what we’ve been through in the last two years.”
Djokovic is one of the few top players who didn’t have a vaccination against covid. Resulting in him having a high-profile legal dispute with Australian authorities which resulted in his deportation and him missing the Australian Open. The tennis star later explained that he didn’t want to be vaccinated as he is cautious about what will be injected into his body. Even though the vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization.
However, nemesis Rafael Nadal said on Thursday that he is taking extra precautions due to the threat. To common knowledge, there is no rule in place preventing a player who tests positive for Covid from playing in the Grand Slam.
“I am not doing many things. Just staying here (at Wimbledon) and staying in the house, not going out at all anymore. That’s part of this challenging world that we are facing in the last couple of years.” Nadal said.
“I am not saying that we are not doing things the proper way because at some point we need to open everything again, we need to be free, have a normal life.”
According to the National Office of Statistics (ONS) it is estimated that 1 in 30 people currently have the virus in the UK in the week ending June 24th.
Jannik Sinner Beats Alcaraz In Youngest Second Week Men’s Match At Wimbledon Since 1985
‘She Got lucky’ – Jelena Ostapenko Has Dig At Opponent After Wimbledon Exit
WIMBLEDON: Day Six Talking Points world no.1 Iga Świątek left stunned by Alizé Cornet
(EXCLUSIVE) Mats Wilander on Sinner’s Chances of Beating Alcaraz, Kyrgios’ Antics At Wimbledon
Roger Federer Hopes To Play One Last Wimbledon As Icons Mark Center Court Anniversary
REPORT: Rafael Nadal And Wife Mery Expecting First Child
Alexander Zverev Issues Injury Update Following French Open Retirement
Andy Murray Cautiously Optimistic About Recovering From Injury In Time For Wimbledon
REPORT: Alexander Zverev To Be Sidelined From Tour For Up To Two Months
“More Minimal Than I Thought’ – Coco Gauff On Playing First French Open Final
US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic’s loss had more to do with fatigue than pressure”
US Open, Steve Flink on the Murray-Tsitsipas Controversy
(VIDEO) Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin Del Potro Gathering Momentum In Comeback Bids
Steve Flink On Wimbledon: “Bautista Agut would be a tough semifinal test for Djokovic”
Wimbledon, Flink: “Djokovic Will Beat Zverev in the Final”
ATP3 days ago
Rafael Nadal Gives His Verdict On Three WTA Stars After Reaching Wimbledon Third Round
Hot Topics21 hours ago
Wimbledon Shocker: Stefanos Tsitsipas Accuses Kyrgios Of Bullying
ATP2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Equals Laver’s Grass-Court Winning Streak With Emphatic Wimbledon Win
Latest news3 days ago
‘Dream’ Wimbledon Defeat Sends Former Semi-Finalist Kirsten Flipkens Into Singles Retirement
Focus3 days ago
Wimbledon Daily Preview: Djokovic, Kerber, Alcaraz Face Seeded Opposition
ATP2 days ago
Novak Djokovic Shrugs Off Threat Of Covid-19 Outbreak At Wimbledon
Latest news2 days ago
Venus Williams Is Triumphant in Wimbledon Return But Unclear On Her Future
ATP2 days ago
Tim Van Rijthoven Goes From Injury Woes To Wimbledon Sensation