As Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Withdraws, Other French Players Struggle Ahead Of Roland Garros - UBITENNIS
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As Jo-Wilfried Tsonga Withdraws, Other French Players Struggle Ahead Of Roland Garros

Things are not going so smoothly for some of France’s best players ahead of their home grand slam tournament.

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (zimbio.com)

It has been far from perfect week for French tennis as a trio of their players continue to cope with their own issues going into the second grand slam of the season.

 

The French Open will get underway a week on Monday. It will be the first time since 2008 where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be absent from the draw. On Monday the 33-year-old confirmed that he will miss the event as he continues to recover from knee surgery. Tsonga hasn’t played a match on the tour since the Montpellier Open in February.

“Despite all our best efforts to be fit in time I am afraid to say unhappily I’m ruled out of Roland Garros,” the two-time French Open semifinalist wrote on Twitter on Monday.
“I worked really hard to try and be fit in time, but it wasn’t enough.”

Tsonga torn his meniscus earlier this year, which required surgery in April. His absence from the French major means that he is set to drop of of the world’s top 40 for the first time since 2007. It will be only the third time he has missed the French Open since making his grand slam debut back in 2005.

“I’m obviously very disappointed, but I still want to come to (ATP) Lyon as an ambassador and to Roland Garros as a spectator.” He stated.

Concerns for Gasquet, Monfils

As Tsonga watches from the sidelines, some of his Davis Cup team mates are also dealing with their own problems going into the tournament. Richard Gasquet is currently coping with a hip injury. Yesterday he told French website L’Equipe that he was bothered by pain in his hip throughout the first round of the Italian Open. Where he lost 6-4, 6-4, to Benoit Paire.

“Benoît played a great match but the court was slippery and I did not manage to ignore mentally.” He said. “I never had that kind of (hip) pain. I will try to rest.”

Despite the setback, Gasquet is confident that he will still be able to play in the upcoming tournament, which will be his 54th appearance in a grand slam main draw. His best run at the French Open occurred in 2016 when he reached the quarter-finals.

“I do not think there is a big risk for Roland-Garros, because I still have time. It’s not death, it’s not a huge pain, I’ve had a lot more serious, but it may be better for me to finish this tournament (Rome). For Roland, I think that should be fine.” Gasquet evaluated.

Gael Monfils is currently free of any major injury, but admits that his confidence has been hit. Since starting his campaign on the European clay, the 31-year-old has only managed to win one out of four matches on the tour. His latest loss was to Fabio Fognini in Rome, who scored his 300th win on the tour.

“My level of play is not satisfactory. It is not easy. I am not in the ranking that I would like to have, I have not developed the game I would like.” Le Figaro quoted him as saying. “I continue to train to believe in myself. Physically, I’ve recovered, (but) there is still a little stress because I want to do well.”

Monfils will be hoping for a confidence boost next week when he plays at the Lyon Open.

In the history of the French Open, the last Frenchman to win the title was Yannick Noah back in 1983. Henri Leconte was the last men’s finalist back in 1988.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas extends his winning streak with straight-set win over Pablo Carreno Busta in Minsk

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Last week’s Marseille champion and 2019 Dubai finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 after 1 hour and 34 minutes to reach the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Touurnament.

 

Tsitsipas earned the first break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Carreno Busta won three consecutive games with a break-back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. The opening set went on serve without breaks to set up a tie-break. Tsitsipas cruised through to 7-1 to win the tie-break.

Tsitsipas broke three times in the first, fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-1.

The Greek player has extended his winning streak to 10 consecutive wins and has a record of 8-4 in his 12 matches this year.

“I am happy that I got two-set victories for a very long time. I am not spending extra hours out on the court, which for sure is going to help me”, said Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas sets up a second round match against Alexander Bublik, who fended off three of his four break points in his 6-2 7-5 win over Hubert Hurkacz. Tsitispas beat Hurkacz 7-5 6-3 last week in the Marseille semifinal last week.

“Bublik is a tricky player. He does unexpected things on the court. I just need to be there, do my job the way I am doing it so far”, said Tsitsipas.

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Benoit Paire saves four match points to beat Marin Cilic in Dubai

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Eighth seed Benoit Paire saved four match points to beat Marin Cilic 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-1) at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships taking a re-match for the tie-break loss in the fifth set at last January’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

 

Cilic saved two break points before breaking serve in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead. The Croatian player saved a break point at deuce before holding serve in the third game for 3-0. Cilic broke serve from 0-40 down to break serve at deuce in the final game of the opening set.

Paire broke serve in the first game of the second set to open a 2-0 lead. Cilic broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players traded breaks in the eighth and ninth games. Cilic won the final three games with a break to win the first set 7-5.

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the decisive set. Cilic saved break points in the fifth and eleventh games. Paire saved two break points to hold serve at deuce. Paire reeled off six consecutive points from 1-1 to win the tie-break 7-1.

“I am really happy about the win. It was not easy today. I was not feeling really good on court. I have been a little bit sick for two, three days. I am really happy to win today and to fight until the end”, said Paire.

 Daniel Evans rallied from one set and one break down to edge Fabio Fognini 3-6 6-4 7-5 after 2 hours and 38 minutes. Fognini went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Evans pulled one break back in the fifth game, but Fognini held his next service games and wrap up the first set 6-3.

Fognini saved two break points before breaking serve at 15 to take a 3-1 lead. Evans broke back at deuce in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Evans converted his second break back in the 10th game to wrap up the second set 6-4.

Fognini started the third set with a break at deuce to take a 1-0 lead. Evans broke straight back in another deuce game to draw level to 1-1. Fognini earned another break at 15 to take a 3-2 lead. Evans broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Evans wrapped up the third set with a break in a marathon 12th game on his sixth match point.

Paire set up an all-French match against Richard Gasquet, who beat Marton Fucsovics 6-4 7-5.

Another Frenchman Pierre Hugues Herbert defeated Delray Beach finalist Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5 6-2 in 78 minutes.

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Queen’s Organizers Optimistic Over Andy Murray’s Return As Two Top 10 Players Join Entry List

The first four names set to play in the ATP 500 event has been announced.

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The director of the Fever-Tree Championships has said he is ‘hopeful’ that Andy Murray will play in the tournament later this year after he was included in the first group of names on the official entry list.

 

The three-time grand slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since the Davis Cup last November due to a pelvic injury. Murray has already delayed his return to the tour on numerous occasions as he continues his rehabilitation process. It is the latest setback for the injury-stricken 32-year-old, who also underwent career saving hip resurfacing surgery last year.

“Andy is our greatest champion. We know Andy is still working his way back to fitness, but we also know that he wants to play, so fingers crossed that he will be able to.” Stephen Farrow said in a press release on Tuesday.

Murray, who is currently ranked 130th in the world, is the most decorated player in the history of the Queen’s event. He has won the trophy five times between 2009-2016 and has won 30 out of 37 matches played there. Last year he also won the doubles title alongside Feliciano Lopez in what was his comeback tournament following his hip surgery.

Tuesday’s announcement of Murray playing at The Queen’s Club comes as no surprise. He has a lifetime contract to play there for the rest of his career unless he is ill or injured. Similar to what Roger Federer has with the Halle event, which takes place during the same week as Queen’s.

Other names to play in London this year include ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals last year. The Greek is yet to contest an ATP final on the grass, but did win the Wimbledon boys’ doubles title back in 2016.

“London will always be a special place for me after winning the ATP Finals last year and I am looking forward to coming back in June.” Said Tsitsipas. “The crowd at the O2 touched my heart in a very special way and I am excited to play at Queen’s again this June. It is a big tournament and important to play in the lead up to Wimbledon.”

World No.5 Daniil Medvedev is another top name set to play in what will be his fourth appearance at Queen’s. In 2019 he produced his best ever run at the tournament by reaching the semi-finals before falling in three sets to France’s Gilles Simon.

“The last 6 months have been incredible for me, a real breakthrough, and now I want to try to do the same on grass.” The US Open finalist stated. “The Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club is a great event with perfect grass courts, and I am looking forward to playing there ahead of Wimbledon.”

Completing the quartet of confirmed names is 38-year-old two-time champion Lopez, who won the singles title last year, as well as the doubles with Murray. He is one of only two Spanish men to have ever won the event in the Open Era. There other was Rafael Nadal back in 2008.

“I thought when I won the title in 2017 that it was the best moment of my career. I was wrong. It was last year! Winning singles and doubles was something incredible, more than I could ever have dreamed when Stephen (Farrow) gave me the wild card.” Lopez reflected.
“That final day is one that I will never forget, Queen’s is always going to be one of the most special places of my career, and I am already looking forward to coming back to the Fever-Tree Championships in June to defend my title.”

The ATP 500 event will get underway on June 15th.

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