Rafael Nadal Praises ‘Great Guy’ Gasquet For 500th Win On The Tour - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal Praises ‘Great Guy’ Gasquet For 500th Win On The Tour

The 10-time French Open champion takes a trip down memory lane as he reflects on his rivalry with the world No.34.

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World No.1 Rafael Nadal has paid tribute to Richard Gasquet after the Frenchman reached a milestone in his career at the Monte Carlo Masters.

 

On Thursday the world No.34 defeated Mischa Zverev 6-2, 7-5, to get his 500th tour win. Coincidentally, his first ever tour win occurred at the same venue back in 2002 when he defeated Franco Squillari at the age of 15. Gasquet is the first player from his country to win 500 matches on the ATP tour and only the eighth active player to do so.

“I’m happy I did it here rather than in Budapest.” Said Gasquet. “ There are very few players who have achieved this. I don’t know exactly how many.”
“I certainly am among the worst of players, among the players who achieved this (winning 500 matches). But I’m happy I did it in Monte-Carlo 16 years after my first victory.”

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The achievements of the 31-year-old has earned him praise from Nadal. Following his win over Karen Khachanov, the Spaniard said that Gasquet deserved the honour. Born just 15 days apart, the two first played against each other on the professional tour back in 2003 at a Challenger tournament in France.

“It is a great news for him. Especially because he’s a great, great person, great guy. Humble.” Said Nadal. “He’s one of the players that you want on the tour. He’s an easy person. He’s a great player.”

Nadal has a one-sided 15-0 lead over Gasquet in their head-to-head. Nevertheless, he admits that Gasquet was a better junior player than him. During his teenage years, the Frenchman won the boys’ title at both the French Open and US Open in 2002. During that same year he made his grand slam debut at Roland Garros at the age of 15. Nadal was 17 before he made his debut in a major.

“He’s a great player. We grow up together. Different countries.” Reflected Nadal. “He was better than me. We didn’t have the chance to play very often when we were kids because he was better than me, so he was not playing in the same age (group) as me. He was playing with the older guys.”

More than a decade on from their junior years, Nadal continues to be impressed by his rival. Gasquet has 14 ATP titles to his name and has been ranked as high as seventh in the world. Despite his young promise, he is yet to reach the final of a major. Reaching the last four of a grand slam on three previous occasions.

“He’s a classic player. I like the way he plays. Well done for him. I wish him all the best.” Concluded Nadal.

On Friday Gasquet will be bidding to reach his first Masters 1000 semi-final since 2012 when he takes on Alexander Zverev. Meanwhile, Nadal will lock horns with Dominic Thiem.

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Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek end the season with a win over Rain Klaasen and Michael Venus

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Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek beat Jonas Bjorkman Group winners Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London ending their season with a win.

 

Klaasen and Venus got the first break of the match in the fifth game, but they were broken back in the eighth game, as they failed to serve out for the first set.

Dodig and Polasek earned a chance to close out the first set in the 10th game. Klaasen and Venus fended off two set points to force a tie-break. Klaasen and Venus took a 4-3 lead, but Dodig and Polasek reeled off four points to seal the tie-break 7-4.

Dodig and Polasek earned an early break at the start of the second set and held on their serve to claim the win.

“I think we had amazing season. We played 11 tournaments together and now we are here in London. To close the season with a win here is a great feeling. We are looking forward to next year”,said Dodig.

 “It’s awesome to win here. The atmosphere throughout the week has been great. It’s been an unbelievable journey. I am really happy we can finish the season with a win here. There is no better feeling”, said Polasek.  

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Matteo Berrettini Scores Historic Win Before Exit From ATP Finals

The 23-year-old ends his breakthrough season on the ATP Tour with another milestone in his career.

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LONDON: Matteo Berrettini has become the first Italian man in history to win a match at the ATP Finals after defeating Dominic Thiem on Thursday afternoon.

 

The world No.8 managed to dismantle the game of his rival, who was far from his best at times, with the help of his blistering serve to seal the 7-6(3), 6-3, victory. Ending Thiem’s streak of four consecutive wins over top 10 players, including Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer earlier this week. In total Berrettini hit 30 winners to 21 unforced errors and converted both of his break point opportunities.

“I’ve always had great fights against him. I was able to stay mentally focused, especially in the first set when I lost my serve because I didn’t play a great game.” Berrettini said afterward.
“I’m really happy with my performance because I am not feeling great physically.” He added.

The downside to the round-robin format of the event is that some matches end up being irrelevant with this being one of them. Regardless of the outcome, Thiem has already qualified for the semi-finals and Berrettini is on his way out. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Italian was playing for pride at The O2 Arena.

A close start to the match saw neither playing managing to gain any momentum during the first eight games. Then inconsistencies in Thiem’s game started to haunt him. Berrettini’s ability to hit the ball deep into the court forced his rival to make a series of errors as he broke for a 5-4 lead. However, it was his turn to stumble behind his serve as Thiem broke back to level with relative ease.

Despite neither player capitalizing on their advantages, the tiebreaker was a one-sided encounter. Three Thiem unforced errors, as well as a winning Berrettini slice, saw him go behind 0-4 in the blink of an eye. Creating enough of a margin for Berrettini to seal the first set with the help of a 134 mph ace.

Thiem clearly looked flat on the court compared to two days ago when he downed Djokovic, however, nothing should be taken away from Berrettini. Who kept focus and stuck to his game plan throughout the match. A backhand passing shot, followed by a crosscourt winner enabled him to break once again midway through the second set. Easing towards victory after just 76 minutes play, Berrettini closed the match out with a delicate drop shot.

“I’m really proud of myself, but also for my team, my family and my friends. It’s been an unbelievable season.” He reflected on his year.
“I didn’t expect at the beginning of the season to be here (in London). I hope to come back next year, but now I just want to say thanks to those guys (his team). Without them, it couldn’t be possible.”
“I’m happy to finish with a win.“

Despite the loss, Thiem will finish at the top of the Bjorg Born Group. He will play the runner-up of the other group in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Whilst Berrettini’s ATP season is over, he can’t rest yet. Next week he will be in Madrid playing for his country in the Davis Cup along with many other of his fellow players.

“There is one more event. I have to rest a little bit and then I think I deserve a holiday.” He declared.

Berrettini ends 2019 with 43 wins on the ATP Tour in what is a career best. He started the year ranked 54th in the world and didn’t make his top 10 debut until last month.

Italian men in the ATP Finals

-C. Barazzutti in 1978 – 0 wins and 3 loses
-A. Panatta in 1975 – 0 wins and 3 losses
-M. Barrettini in 2019 – 1 win and 2 losses

 

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 5 Preview: Will It Be Djokovic Or Federer In The Semis?

It’s the 49th installment of Federer against Djokovic, with the winner moving onto the semifinals, and the loser being eliminated from the tournament.

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The advancement scenarios for today are that simple, as Dominic Thiem has already guaranteed his place in the semis with tremendous back-to-back wins over both Djokovic and Federer.  For Djokovic, there are also year-end No.1 ranking implications, as he now needs to win this event to keep his hopes alive. And while Matteo Berrettini cannot advance to the semis after going 0-2 thus far, he’ll play to become the first Italian man to ever win a match at the ATP Finals.

 

Dominic Thiem (3) vs. Matteo Berrettini (8)

This will be their third meeting within the past five weeks.  Berrettini prevailed in the Shanghai quarterfinals to reach his first Masters 1,000 semi, while Thiem was victorious at home in Vienna on his way to that title.  Their only other previous encounter was last year at Roland Garros, where Dominic won in four. What a week it’s already been for Thiem, but he has a lot of work still ahead of him.  And perhaps he is due for a letdown after two sensational wins, especially with his qualification for the semifinals already secured. However, Dominic should feel supremely confident coming off his results earlier this week.  And I’m sure his team will warn him of the danger in allowing his level to drop today, even with the result having no impact on his advancement. On the other side of the net, Berrettini has absolutely nothing to lose. Matteo can play freely, and knows he owns a recent win over Thiem.  Still, based on his form this week, Dominic should be favored to go 3-0 in the Bjorn Borg Group round robin play.

Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Roger Federer (3)

Four months ago in this same city, Djokovic saved two championship points and went on to defeat Federer in the first-ever 12-all fifth set tiebreak at Wimbledon to win his 16th Major singles title.  It was a heartbreaking loss for Federer, who was just one point away from his record-extending 21st Major.  Instead, he’s now just four Majors ahead of Djokovic, and only one ahead of Nadal after Rafa’s US Open victory.  Overall Djokovic leads this prolific rivalry 26-22. Novak has claimed their last five meetings, dating back to the championship match at this event four years ago.  But notably, Roger’s last win was just a few days prior, during the round robin stage of this tournament in 2015. On hard courts, Djokovic leads their head-to-head 19-17.  At the ATP Finals, Novak leads 3-2. Djokovic looked extremely agitated at times on Tuesday, seemingly surprised by how vehemently the crowd was rooting for Thiem. But Djokovic will know the London audience to be fully behind Roger today, so I don’t expect that to throw him.  Federer will certainly be eager to avenge the Wimbledon defeat from earlier this year, though overcoming Djokovic on this surface is no easy task. I anticipate another tight contest today between these two all-time greats, but give the slight edge to Novak to prevent Roger from advancing to the semifinals for just the second time in 17 appearances at the ATP Finals.

A breakdown of the Djokovic-Federer rivalry

By tournament

Grand Slams: Djokovic leads 10-6
ATP Finals: Djokovic leads 3-2
Masters 1000: Djokovic leads 11-9
ATP 500 events: Federer leads 4-2
Davis Cup: Federer leads 1-0

By year

YEAR

DJOKOVIC

FEDERER

2006

0

2

2007

1

3

2008

1

2

2009

3

2

2010

1

4

2011

4

1

2012

3

2

2013

2

0

2014

3

3

2015

5

3

2016

1

0

2017

0

0

2018

2

0

2019

1

0

 TOTAL

26

22

 

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