Pablo Carreno Busta threw his racket into the air in relief as well as celebration after seeing off his longtime nemesis Kevin Anderson, 6-4 5-7 7-6(6) to move into the semi-finals of the Miami Open today on Crandon Park Stadium court.
The 16th seeded Spaniard came into the match with a 0-4 head to head record against the tall South African, with the last defeat taking place just two weeks ago at Indian Wells 4-6 6-3 7-6(6). This time he would not be denied, fighting off a match point in the final set tiebreak having already squandered two in the second set an hour or so earlier.
Carreno Busta took the opening set in 43 minutes by breaking the 6th seeded Anderson in the seventh game to love with a running forehand pass up the line which the lunging South African was unable to control on the backhand volley, and then closing out the set 6-4 on serve with an ace up the centre.
Although Anderson went ahead 2-0 in the second set, courtesy of a double fault on break point by the Spaniard, he dropped his serve immediately when Carreno Busta set up two break points by ripping a forehand cross court pass and converting two points later when Anderson netted a backhand.
With the momentum firmly in his favour, the Spaniard broke again to go ahead 3-2; nailing a backhand up the line into the open court on break point.
It looked as if a comfortable straight sets victory for the Spaniard was going to be a formality as he served 6-4 5-4 40-15, but the stubborn South African was having none of it as he saved both match points in quick succession. A forehand cross court pass followed by a backhand return up the line that had Carreno Busta in all kinds of trouble as his forehand, hit off balance, sent the ball sailing over the baseline brought the score back to deuce. Anderson set up break point with a forehand cross court winner, and the Spaniard’s mishit forehand found the net to bring the score to 5-5.
With Anderson holding comfortably for 6-5, the tension in the serving arm of the nervous Spaniard was palpable as he served two double faults to lose the 53 minute set, 7-5.
Games went with serve in the final set, with the only break point coming at 4-4 on the Anderson serve, set up with an amazing sliced forehand cross court pass played at full stretch by Carreno Busta, followed by a backhand cross court pass. The South African extricated himself with a service winner on break point and held for 5-4 with an ace.
Going into the final set breaker, there was little to choose between the two, but it was Anderson who got the first mini break to go ahead 2-1, but with cries of “Vamos Pablo!” ringing in his ears, the Spaniard hit straight back, turning around a 3-5 deficit with a run of two points for 5-5. However, when his backhand went long to hand Anderson a match point, thoughts of Indian Wells must have come flooding back.
On match point, Anderson got the short return, but hit his forehand long to the delight of the Carreno Busta fans. The Spaniard set up his third match point with a backhand volley winner, and clinched the match when Anderson’s mishit backhand return found the first row.
“Last time I lost to him 7-6 in the final set and today I started playing really good, returning good and serving good, being very aggressive”, Carreno Busta said. “When I served for the match in the second set at 40-15, he played some very good points; passing shots and returning really good, hitting winners with his forehand, and after that it was a very tough moment for me to lose the second set. But I continued fighting on court and at the end of the match I saved a match point and finally I won. I’m very happy with the victory because it’s very important to me to get this victory against him and also to be in the semi-finals.”
The Spaniard owed the victory as much to his fighting spirit as to the support he received from his fans on the stadium court. “When I lost the second set, I was feeling a little bit tired at the beginning of the final set”, he said. “It was the crowd who started to shout “Vamos Pablo!” and at 3-3 I started to believe in myself again, in my game, and I think 50 percent of the victory is because of them.”
The stats show that there was very little to choose between them, with Carreno Busta winning one more point (106/211) than Anderson (105/211). His break point conversion rate was less impressive however, (3/10) 30% compared to Anderson (3/4) 75%. Anderson won hands down in the ace department with 14 unreturnables against just 6 from the Spaniard.
Wimbledon Finalist Tomas Berdych To Retire
Details have been released about a ‘special announcement’ being made by the former world No.4 later this week.
LONDON: It has been confirmed that Tomas Berdych will travel to London where he is expected to formally announce his retirement from tennis at the age of 34.
The former world No.4 will address his future in the sport during a media engagement at the ATP Finals on Saturday. An event he has played six times during his career with his last appearance being back in 2015. News of Berdych’s upcoming departure was first reported by the Czech newspaper Blesk, who contacted his father.
“I think it will be a great end on Saturday,” Blesk quoted Martin Berdych as saying.
In the aftermath of the media report, Berdych took to social media to confirm that he will be making an announcement. Although he did not specify as to what it will be. The Czech hasn’t played on the tour since his first-round loss at the US Open due to injury. Overall, he has only managed to play 22 matches this season. Winning 13 of them.
“Hey guys, if you want a surprise don’t watch any media or social networks, but I know it is impossible these days,” Berdych said in a video uploaded to his Twitter account. “I know, these little mistakes happen.”
“I had it planned as a little surprise on Saturday where I’m going to be in London. But now it’s not even possible because it is all over (the news). It’s fine, more information is going to come on Saturday.” He added.
Speculation about Berdych’s retirement from the sport began to gain momentum in September following an interview with idnes.cz. Where he opened up about his struggles with both back and hip injuries.
Playing during the same era as the prestigious big Three of the sport (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer), Berdych still managed to establish himself as one of the tour’s top players during his career. Winning 13 ATP titles in 32 finals he played in, including the 2005 Paris Masters. Berdych remains the youngest player in history to win a Masters 1000 title. He also finished seven consecutive seasons inside the world’s top 10 (2010-2016) and managed to remain inside the top 100 for an impressive 794 weeks (2004-2019).
Should Berdych retire on Saturday, he ends his career with 640 wins. Including 53 against top 10 opposition. He has featured in 61 grand slam main draws with his stand out performance being a run to the final of the 2010 Wimbledon Championships.
Berdych has earned $29,491,328 in prize money. The ninth highest amount in the history of men’s tennis (as of 11th November 2019).
Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus secure their spot in the semifinal in the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London
Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus beat Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-3 6-4 in the evening’s double match securing their spot in the semifinal with a record of 2-0 in the Group Jonas Bjorkman.
Klaasen earned an early break with a forehand volley to open up a 3-1 lead. Venus and Klaasen dropped just four points on serve and did not face a break point. Venus held serve at 5-3 to close out the opening set 6-3 after 32 minutes.
Both teams held serve until the ninth game, when Venus got the first break at 4-4 with a half-volley winner, when Melo was serving on a deciding point. Kubot and Melo fended off two match points in the next game to force a deciding point and got their first break point of the match.
Venus sealed the win after 71 minutes with a big serve on their third match point in the 10th game. Klaasen and Venus won 86 % of their serve points.
US players Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury scored their first win in the Group Jonas Bjorkman at the Nitto ATP Finals, when they beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 3-6 6-3 10-6 in the Match Tie-Break. The US team improved their ranking to 1-1.
Dodig and Polasek earned the first break in the fourth game of the opening set to open up a 3-1 lead. They saved four consecutive break points in the ninth game, when they were serving for the first set at 5-3. Dodig and Polasek sealed the first set with a service winner after 33 minutes.
Ram and Salisbury did not convert break points in the most crucial moments of the first set. Ram and Salisbury earned their only break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and did not face a single break point to win the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the third set.
Ram and Salisbury opened up a 3-0 lead with an early mini-break in the Match tie-break. Dodig and Polasek rallied to draw level to 5-5. Ram and Salisbury sealed the win on the first match point, when Polasek hit a backhand volley into the net at 9-6.
Dodig and Polasek, who won two titles in Cincinnati and Beijing, lost to Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 10-5 in the Match Tie-Break in last Saturday’s first match.
ATP Finals 2019 Day 3 Preview: A Must-Win Match Beckons For Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic plays Dominic Thiem for a commanding lead in the Bjorn Born Group, while Roger Federer faces Matteo Berrettini to stay out of last place.
Djokovic completely dominated Berrettini on Sunday, allowing the debuting Italian just three games. Matteo will likely need a win today to have any reasonable chance to advance to the semifinals. If advancement comes down to a tiebreak, he currently has no sets won and an extremely low percentage of games won. With Federer’s 7-5, 7-5 loss to Thiem on Sunday, his situation is slightly less dire than Berrettini’s. But a loss today would make’s Roger’s likelihood of advancing extremely slim, especially with a match against Djokovic looming on Thursday.
Roger Federer (3) vs. Matteo Berrettini (8)
Their only previous meeting was four months ago in this same city. On Manic Monday at Wimbledon, Federer crushed Berrettini 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just 74 minutes. Matteo was open about how disappointing his performance was that day, as he was overwhelmed by playing the 20-time Major champion on Centre Court. However, it’s worth noting Berrettini had played a dramatic five-set match just 48 hours prior where he saved match points to come back and defeat Diego Schwartzman. Matteo should be much fresher for the rematch today, but will he again be overwhelmed by the occasion? The beating he sustained at the hands of Djokovic two days ago will not inspire much confidence. And he’s facing a man who has only once failed to advance to the semifinals of this event in 16 career appearances. It would be quite surprising if Federer failed to prevail today.
Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Dominic Thiem (5)
The last time these two men faced off was in the semifinals of this year’s Roland Garros. That match began on an absurdly-windy Friday in Paris, conditions Thiem handled much better than Djokovic. Their match would take two days to complete, with Dominic taking it 7-5 in the fifth, ending Novak’s campaign to win his fourth consecutive Major. Overall however Djokovic leads their head-to-head 6-3. Novak is 3-0 on hard courts, though they haven’t played on this surface since this event three years ago, when Djokovic won in three. Thiem was impressive in taking it to Federer on Sunday, and Dominic’s hard court skills have drastically improved over the past two seasons. But on an indoor hard court, Djokovic remains a considerable favorite to be the only undefeated player in the Bjorn Borg Group by the end of play Tuesday.
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