Grigor Dimitrov comes back from one set down to beat Pierre Hugues Herbert in Monte-Carlo - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov comes back from one set down to beat Pierre Hugues Herbert in Monte-Carlo

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Grigor Dimitrov came from behind to beat French qualifier Pierre Hugues Herbert 3-6 6-2 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes reaching the third round at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

 

Herbert dropped four points on serve in the first set and went up a double break to win the opening set. The Frenchman got an early break in the third game, when Dimitrov sent a forehand long.

Herbert sealed the first set with a deep return in the ninth game to close out the first set.

Dimitrov bounced back by breaking serve in the fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-2. Dimitrov earned break points in three consecutive games. Herbert held his serve in the third game but dropped his serve in the fifth game when he netted his backhand. Dimitrov earned a double break in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead and wrapped up the second set with a forehand winner.

Dimitrov got the first break of the decisive set in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Herbert broke straight back in the next game, when Dimitrov sent a forehand long. The Bulgarian player broke again in the seventh game and dropped just two points in his next two service games to close out the match setting up a third round clash against either last year’s finalist Albert Ramos Vinolas or Phillip Kohlschreiber.

Fernando Verdasco also came back from one set down to beat Pablo Cuevas 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 after two hours and 50 minutes. The Spanish did not convert two set points at 5-2 in the first set. Cuevas won five games in a row with two breaks in the ninth and eleventh games to win the first set.

Verdasco saved three match points at 3-5 and broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. After a trade of breaks bot players set up a tie-break. Verdasco rallied from 2-3 down to win the tie-break 7-4. Verdasco broke three times in the first, fifth and seventh games to win the third set 6-1.

Andreas Seppi beat last week’s Marrakesh finalist Kyle Edmund 6-3 5-7 6-2. Edmund converted just two of his eleven break points. Both players fended off break points in their opening service games before Seppi reeled off four straight games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Edmund pulled one break back in the seventh game at love for 2-5 but Seppi held his final service game at 15 to close out the first set in 33 minutes.

Edmund converted his six break point of the second set in the 12th game, when Seppi netted a backhand. Edmund saved three break points in the first game of the third set, but Seppi reeled off the next three games with a break in the third game. The Italian earned another break in the seventh game at 30 to close out the match.

Misha Zverev came back from one set down to beat Lucas Pouille 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7-3). Pouille broke twice in the third and seventh games to win the first set 6-2. Zverev bounced back by getting a double break in the second and fourth games to win the second set 6-1 to force the match to the third set. In the decider Misha hit a backhand long to drop his serve at 2-3 30-40, but broke straight back at love in the next game. Zverev opened up a 4-1 en route to winning the decisive tie-break 7-3.

Fabio Fognini beat Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka 6-4 7-5 in one hour and 26 minutes to reach the second round.

The Italian player got an early break at love and held his service game to open up a 2-0 lead in the first set. Ivashka broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2, when Fognini made a forehand error. Fognini took another break lead at love in the fifth game, but Ivashka broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. After two holds of serve Fognini got the break in the ninth game with an inside-in forehand and two inside-out forehands before serving out for the first set at 30 in the next game.

Ivashka got an early break in the second game to open up a 2-0 after Fognini made two double faults. The player from Belarus won 12 of the next 14 points to open up a 3-0 lead. Fognini got his first game of the second set on the scoreboard for 1-3 and earned his first break point of the set, but he failed to convert it. Fognini rallied from 2-5 down by winning five consecutive games with two breaks in the ninth and eleventh games to seal the win setting up a second round match against Jan-Lennard Struff.

 

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REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

Tennis Kafe has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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