Frances Tiafoe battles back from the brink to sink Edmund - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Frances Tiafoe battles back from the brink to sink Edmund

Avatar

Published

on

Frances Tiafoe fought his way back from the brink of defeat to move into the third round of the Miami Open with a 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(5) win over Kyle Edmund, lasting 2 hours and 25 minutes under the blazing Miami sun here in Key Biscayne.

 

It was the first career meeting between the two, and although the British no.1, seeded 22, was the slight favourite, it was apparent from the start that this was going to be a slug-fest to savour.

Miami Open 2018 - Day 6

The two players, together with Juan Martin Del Potro, possess the biggest forehands in the game today, and both used their considerable weapons from the back of the court to hold serve comfortably throughout the first set until Tiafoe serving at 5-6 found himself at set point down. A huge first serve into the body brought the score to deuce, and the american held moments later to force a tiebreak.

Edmund was the first to wilt under pressure in the breaker with two unforced errors to gift his grateful opponent two set points. The american was swift to punish him with an emphatic 136mph ace up the centre to close out the set to howls of approval from the home fans.

The quality of the tennis did not diminish in the second set as Edmund continued to put Tiafoe under pressure on his serve. Although the american managed to save a break point in his opening service game, he dropped his next service game with a forehand approach into the net. It proved to be decisive as Edmund served out the set to love, 6-4, with a 113mph ace out wide.

Going into the final set, it seemed as if the momentum was with the young Brit as he broke a tiring Tiafoe for a second time in the match, to move ahead 3-2. However, Tiafoe was far from done, and to chants of “Let’s go Frances!”, the american found a second wind in the nick of time as Edmund sought to serve out the match at 5-4. Having fought to get a break point when the Brit’s nerve betrayed him with an unforced error on the backhand, Tiafoe broke back when Edmund netted an awkward backhand volley off a Tiafoe dink. The crowd erupted in delight and a fist pumping Tiafoe ran to his chair having held for 6-5 in the very next game.

Although Edmund was able to hold for the tie break, Tiafoe raced into a commanding 6-1 lead with an almost unassailable 5 match points. Edmund rallied bravely to save the first four, but he was powerless to do anything about a 119mph bomb up the centre, Tiafoe’s 15th ace, to clinch the match to the delight of the raucous home crowd who had witnessed a truly great Houdini escape by the young american.

“Just make the return, make him play”, Tiafoe said in response to a question about his mindset at break point 4-5 in the final set. “Try to put him in an awkward position and I did. I was lucky to win the game.”

Having won his maiden title at Delray Beach a few weeks ago with a clutch of three set wins over the likes of Del Potro, Hyeon Chung and Denis Shapovalov, it was clear that the confidence from those victories helped him to get over the line here in Miami, together with his improved serve.

“Delray Beach taught me a lot. I beat some quality players back-to-back-to-back, which I’ve never done before. I’ve played so many matches matches in my career so far where I played unbelievable, but come up short. Now I’m feeling really comfortable when it gets tight. I actually embrace it. I want it. It’s fun for me. I’m just trying to ride this wave as long as I can.”

Tiafoe’s improved serve was a huge factor today; 15 aces to Edmund’s 7 and he got 71% of first serves into court, winning 78% of the points off it.

“My serve was terrible last year. Yeah, I’m serving good. Done a lot of work on it. Did some tweaks on it in the off-season. I felt I was serving terrible in Australia. Before New York 250, I tweaked it again. Feeling good since. I’ve been staying on it. Yeah, probably the best I ever served in my life.”

As for Edmund, looking back at the closing stages of the match, the British no.1 was not sure that there was much he could have done differently; “That’s tennis”, he said philosophically. “He broke me. It happens. I didn’t do too much wrong. I played reasonably well. A lot better than in Indian Wells. I need to keep working to get my fitness back.”

ATP

Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

Avatar

Published

on

Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

Avatar

Published

on

The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

Continue Reading

ATP

Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

Avatar

Published

on

The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending