11th Time lucky As Kevin Anderson Roars Into First Masters Semi-Final In Madrid - UBITENNIS
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11th Time lucky As Kevin Anderson Roars Into First Masters Semi-Final In Madrid

Kevin Anderson has achieved a brand new milestone is his career at the age of 31!

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Kevin Anderson (zimbio.com)

MADRID: Kevin Anderson has broken new ground on the tour following his 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-3, win over Dusan Lajovic at the Madrid Open.

 

Despite being the favourite going into the match, the South African sixth seed has never progressed to the last four of a Masters 1000 event. Falling in the quarter-finals on ten previous occasions. He managed to break his jinx against Lajovic, who knocked out Juan Martin del Potro on Thursday. Hitting a total of 35 winners against 29 unforced errors.

“I think I did a good job because I didn’t really think of it too much. I had lots of reason to think about it. (missing the semifinals in) Indian Wells and Miami, not that long ago.” Anderson said about reaching the last four in Madrid.
“I knew the opportunity existed today. I thought first step was putting myself in that position. I was able to do that. Going out there today, I just really focused on what I needed to do. Thinking too much about previous results is not going to do me too much good, outside of the fact that, sure, there was motivation to get through.

Capitalizing on Madrid’s high altitude, Anderson managed to keep within contention throughout the match with the help of some blistering serving. Aided by a total of 15 aces. During the first set, the South African grabbed his first break after a Lajovic forehand slammed into a net to move him to a 4-2 lead. Despite securing a lead, Anderson lost the advantage immediately after an error-stricken service game cost him. Despite the setback, the sixth seed regained control in the tiebreaker against a frustrated Lajovic. Who disputed some of the calls made by the officials. Anderson then moved to four set points with the help of a forehand cross-court shot, before converting his second thanks to an error from his rival.

Lajovic’s resurgence started midway through the middle set. Once again a lackluster Anderson service game cost him dearly as a double fault gifted his opponent the break. This time round the South African was unable to find a way to fight back against some spirited play from his opponent. Enabling the world No.95 to take the proceedings into a decider with the help of back-to-back mistakes from Anderson.

Dodging the shock upset, the 31-year-old managed to regain his composure to close out the milestone win. Breaking to love in the decider on his way to the finish line. The win was then eventually sealed on the 132nd minute of the match when Lajovic failed to get a return back over the net.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing on the clay. Obviously the movement’s a little bit tougher. But I think a lot of the surface actually suits my game nicely. The ball usually kicks up a little bit more. I think it helps my serve, gives me a little bit more time from the baseline.” The world No.8 explained.

Describing his preparations heading into the clay court swing as ‘good,’ Anderson insisted that he has trained no different to playing on any other surface.  So far, only one of his 16 ATP finals has been contested on the dirt. That was back in 2013 when he lost in the final of Grand Prix Hassan to II to Tommy Robredo.

“For the most part I worked really hard on many aspects of my game: trying to impose myself more, have more trust in my game.” Said Anderson.
“I’ve worked really hard on the mental side of my game. Whether it was on the hard courts so far this year or coming onto the clay, I feel like it’s been a constant theme for me.”

In the semifinals, the US Open runner-up will take on either Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem. In the head-to-head, Anderson trails Nadal 0-5, but leads Thiem 6-0.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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