John Isner stuns Alexander Zverev to win the Miami Open - UBITENNIS
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John Isner stuns Alexander Zverev to win the Miami Open

John Isner has won the Miami Open in sensational fashion by beating Alexander Zverev 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 in 2 hours and 29 minutes of pulsating drama here at Crandon Park, Key Biscayne.

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Miami Open 2018 - Day 12

 

He becomes the first American to win the Miami Open since 2010 when Andy Roddick took the title, and will reclaim a career high ranking of 9 this week. It sees the final edition of the Miami Open at Key Biscayne close with a clean sweep of American champions, with Sloane Stevens winning the ladies final and the Bryan brothers winning the men’s doubles yesterday.

The 14th seeded American threatened to go into an early lead when he held three break points in the opening Zverev service game, but the German 4th seed held on and in the fifth game engineered a break point himself with a glorious forehand cross court pass. Isner snuffed it out with a 133mph bomb up the centre and held from there for 3-2.

The American was holding his own from the back of the court and had Zverev in trouble again in the sixth game when he brought up two break points with a backhand pass up the line. The German escaped once again, closing out the game with an ace, and from there games went with serve comfortably to set up the tiebreak.

Zverev took control of the breaker from 3-4 down with a run of 4 points after the American wilted under pressure with a mistimed forehand going long and a double fault, closing out the 58 minute set when Isner sent his backhand wide.

The second set looked for all the world as if it was also going to be concluded by a tiebreak with each man holding comfortably until suddenly, Zverev, serving at 4-4, found himself in trouble courtesy of a double fault and a mishit forehand off a low mid-court ball which found the backstop. The American wasted no time in punishing the German by converting his break point opportunity with a thunderous inside out forehand which clipped the sideline for a clean winner, and closed out the set on serve 6-4 to level the match to the delight of the majority in the packed stadium court.

Isner was rock solid on serve in the final set, holding serve to love twice in succession and forcing Zverev to save a total of 5 break points, and as the score moved to 4-4 Zverev found himself in trouble once again, but this time he could not escape. His mistimed backhand which flew long gave Isner 15-40, and when he netted an easy short forehand in the next point to drop his serve, the furious German smashed his racket in disgust twice over on the court to loud boos and a code violation warning from the umpire. Isner served out the match in the next game to love to clinch the title, nailing a 131mph ace up the centre to win the biggest title of his career.

“It’s incredible”, Isner said. “To come back from a pretty disappointing first set that I had some chances in; some break points and serving at 4-3 in the tiebreaker and lost four straight points. At that point I was actually exhausted, but somewhere in the second set I found a second wind and I felt so much better in the second set and the third set than I did in the first set. To win like that, with a crowd like that, you can’t replicate moments like that. It was absolutely amazing.”

It’s amazing. This tournament has so much history, all the best players have played here over the years. For Sasha and I to share the court in the last men’s singles match ever here at this tournament, is amazing. I never thought I would be in this moment considering how I was playing coming into this event, so for me to come out the winner is pretty unique.”

Sloane showed yesterday that she steps up on the big stage with the US Open and here and I think she had gone through a losing streak and she was telling everyone to relax, and she was absolutely right about that. And then Bob and Mike winning yesterday, and I share a coach with them, David McPherson, and that’s a clean sweep right there.”

“To leave this tournament ranked top 10 in the world, I got there in 2012 and again in 2014, and I have matched my highest ranking in 2018. I’ve done it three times and it’s up to me now to keep pushing forward. This is a big hurdle for me, mentally more than anything to get over the hump in a tournament like this. I will play many tournaments like this, and maybe I can give myself another opportunity.” 

“It’s very special”, Isner said regarding winning the Miami Open on Easter Sunday. “It’s incredible. I wrote on the camera ‘He is risen’. It’s very special. I don’t talk about it too much, but it’s an important piece of my life, even more so now that I’m married. It’s something that my wife and I always talk about and we always go to church. I missed the service this morning, of course, but it’s very, very special. It’s an incredible day.”

Zverev was left to contemplate his below par performance from the baseline that ultimately cost him the match.

“I think I missed more shots today than I did the whole tournament”, Zverev said. “I played bad from the baseline. But, you know, it’s not easy against John, because you always feel the pressure that if you get broken, you’re not going to win the set. That’s maybe a factor, but, yeah, I had a lot of mistakes today that I didn’t do the whole week.”

But he played great”, he continued. “He played very well from the baseline and he returned  very well. Obviously, his serve. But as I said, I did too many unforced errors and I kind of lost the match myself. I had a pretty good tactic and a game plan, which, you know, if you just miss, it doesn’t matter. I mean, it was not about that. It was more about me not finding a rhythm. That was about it.”

 

 

 

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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