Fearless Fernando Verdasco Motivated By Threat From Younger Rivals - UBITENNIS
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Fearless Fernando Verdasco Motivated By Threat From Younger Rivals

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Fernando Verdasco (zimbio.com)

Age is just a number for world No.39 Fernando Verdasco as he relishes his 16th year on the ATP Tour.

 

Since making his debut at the 2003 Wimbledon championships, the 34-year-old has enjoyed success during an era where Spanish tennis has been dominated by Rafael Nadal. Reaching a high of 7th in the Emirates rankings back in 2009 and winning six titles on the ATP Tour. Despite his age, he has no plans of hanging up his racket just yet. Verdasco is currently the tenth oldest player in the top 100.

“Tennis has always been my life since I was a baby. I always loved this sport. I always love to play.” He told reporters in Indian Wells.
“Of course you always have some crisis in your life that you just — you just want to go on a beach and just relax some days with friends.
“But actually, when I’m away for maybe a week, maybe 10 days, I miss it. And then I just want to go back to the court, to the gym, and work and try to keep improving and working hard to stay at the top level and being able to fight against the best players in the world.”

Despite the trend of players playing later into their careers, this season has already seen rising stars make their mark on the tour. 21-year-old Hyeon Chung reached the semifinals of the Australian Open. Meanwhile, this week’s BNP Paribas Open saw a quartet of youngsters make a winning start in the men’s draw. Felix Auger-Aliassime (17), Denis Shapovalov (18), Alex De Minaur (18) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (19) all triumphed in the first round.

Speaking about the rise of the next generation, Verdasco is relishing the challenge they pose to him. Explaining that it motives him to improve his game further.

“Now I’m 34 and I have to fight against players 21, 22, 23 that are much younger. They have much less miles or kilometres in their legs. And I just have to work really hard and keep that motivation high to be able to win matches.”

Verdasco’s mentality brought him success on Saturday in Indian Wells. Taking on third seed Grigor Dimitrov, he stunned the 26-year-old Bulgarian 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3. Heading into the clash, the Spaniard had a 1-10 record against top 10 opposition at Indian Wells. Prior to Dimitrov, he also defeated Richard Gasquet (who was ranked ninth at the time) during the 2009 tournament.

“It is amazing always the feeling when you come (to) one tournament like this in a stadium with good atmosphere against one of the top players in the world. You’re able to do your job and have a good day and win the match.” He said about the win

In the third round Verdasco will play Next Gen star Taylor Fritz, who was four-years-old when he made his tour debut at the 2002 Estoril Open. He leads their head-to-head 1-0.

 

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‘She Got lucky’ – Jelena Ostapenko Has Dig At Opponent After Wimbledon Exit

The top 20 star was also not happy with the umpire following her latest loss.

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Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) - Credit: AELTC/Florian Eisele

Former Grand Slam champion Jelena Ostapenko believes her exit from Wimbledon was nothing but a stroke of bad luck after criticizing her match umpire.

 

Ostapenko, who was the 12th seed in the tournament, fell 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, to Germany’s Tatjana Maria. The clash was a frustrating encounter for the Latvian who had an array of chances to establish a strong lead. After winning the opener, she boasted a break advantage in each of the next two sets before losing them. Then at 5-4 in the third, she failed to convert two match points before losing the final two games of the match.

“I thought it was like my match. I had to win it and she got just so lucky in some moments so she could come back. I felt I was the player who had to win this match today,” said Ostapenko.

Claiming that she felt she was playing at a better level than Maria,  Ostapenko has taken a swipe at the match official for making in her view ‘a huge mistake.’   She is not the first player to criticize the court officials with Nick Kyrgios expressing his frustration about them multiple times at the tournament.

“She got lucky, she framed it, put the ball on the line,” she commented on how her match ended. “Then the chair umpire made a huge mistake on 5-All in the third set when it was breakpoint on my serve and I had no challenges left. People who watched the match texted me that it was quite big out.”
“All those small things together, they come and you can lose such a match. Of course, I’m really disappointed because if I lost against an amazing player who just beat me in a great match, but I just lost my match.”

A win would have elevated Ostapenko into the last eight of a major for the first time since Wimbledon 2018. The 25-year-old is currently ranked 17th in the world but has been as high as fifth before.

It was visible how annoyed she was with the match immediately afterward when she threw her water bottle onto her chair out of anger, knocking it out. Prompting an inevitable reaction of boos from the crowd.

“I’m an emotional player. I hate losing because I’m such a competitive person,” said Ostapenko.
“So I think it’s normal. Of course, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but it’s easy to say from the outside when you are not in my place, it’s easy to judge.”

As for Maria, she will play compatriot Jule Niemeier in the quarter-finals. 

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Who Is Marie Bouzková? Six Things To Know About The Wimbledon Quarter-Finalist

After previously never going beyond the second round of a major, the Czech is making a name for herself at The All England Club.

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Image via https://twitter.com/WTA_insider

Czech Republic’s Maria Bouzkova has broken new ground at Wimbledon by reaching the quarter-finals on Sunday. 

 

Coming into the tournament, the 23-year-old has failed to win back-to-back matches in 12 Grand Slam appearances. However, the past week has seen her breakthrough with a surprise run to the quarter-finals. She secured a place in the last eight with a 7-5, 6-2, win over France’s Caroline Garcia. The player who defeated Emma Raducanu in the second round.

In her latest match, Bouzkova was by far the most consistent player on the court as she produced just four unforced errors against 13 winners. In comparison, Garcia’s tally was 25 against 24. She broke the Frenchwoman four times in the match en route to victory. 

“I don’t know how I got here,” said Bouzkova.
“Now we will celebrate with strawberries and cream. It’s one of our 100 routines at Wimbledon.”

Bouzkova’s run at Wimbledon has brought the Czech into the limelight for the first time. Although some may not be too familiar with the right-hander who plays with a two-handed backhand. Here are five things to know about the underdog. 

  1. As a junior, she won the 2014 US Open title and reached the final of the Wimbledon doubles event that same year. 
  2. Wimbledon is where Bouzkova won her first Grand Slam main draw match back in 2019 after defeating Mona Barthel in the first round. 
  3. Prior to Garcia, she defeated Danielle Collins, Ann Li and Alison Riske-Amritraj this week. Collins was the sixth top 20 player she has defeated and second this year after Karolina Pliskova.
  4. She was ranked as low as 97th in the world earlier this season but is currently up to 66. Her career-best is 46. 
  5. Has reached three WTA finals in as many years in Guadalajara (2022), Melbourne 250 (2021) and Monterey (2020).
  6. She has a win-loss record of 18-9 so far this season. Although prior to Wimbledon, she has not won any matches on the grass after losing in the first round of Eastbourne to Shelby Rogers. 

Bouzkova will play either second seed Ons Jabeur or Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.

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Rafael Nadal Apologizes To Opponent After Wimbledon Win

The Spaniard admits he made a mistake.

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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. 

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