Juan Martin Del Potro Backs Djokovic To Return To His Best - UBITENNIS
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Juan Martin Del Potro Backs Djokovic To Return To His Best

The former US Open champion explains why he believes Djokovic will once again rise back to the top of men’s tennis.

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MADRID: If there is a player on the tour that knows what Novak Djokovic is going through it is Juan Martin del Potro.

 

Just two years ago the Argentine was contemplating walking away from the sport due to injury. At the age of 29 he has already had to endure four surgeries on both of his wrists. Resulting in him only being able to play seven tournaments between 2014-2015. Despite the heartbreak, the Argentine has now risen back into the world’s top 10 and recently won his maiden Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells.

Del Potro’s resurgence is one that Djokovic can inspire to. The former world No.1 heads into the Madrid Open with a win-loss record of 5-5 this season. For Djokovic it was elbow surgery that sidelined him from the court and his return has been far from smooth. Illistrated by a recent straight sets loss to Martin Klizan in Barcelona.

“It’s not easy. It’s not something nice to suffer.” Del Potro commented about his opponents woes. “It’s not nice to see that you’re falling down in the rankings, that you’re not feeling as good as you’re used to feeling, because he’s (Djokovic) always been really fit.”

Despite the recent setback for the Serbian, Del Potro is confident that he can return to his best. Djokovic’s career record is one of the best in the Open Era. To date he has won 68 ATP titles (including 12 grand slams) and spent a total of 223 weeks as world No.1. He is also the first man to ever reach $100 million in prize money back in 2016.

“I think there are few players that can come back from injuries and be so good, be up in the rankings where they deserve to be. I think that Djokovic is one of those players.” said Del Potro.
“There are not many more players that are capable of coming back from injury. I think that’s what’s going to happen.”

According to the Argentine, a potential revival of his team mate would be a huge boost to the world of tennis. Djokovic’s appeal includes a social media following of 7.14 million on Facebook and 8.6 million Twitter followers. In 2017 he was ranked 68th in Forbes’ ‘100 celebrity’. A list featuring the highest paid entertainers in the world.

“I think it will not only be good for him but it will be good for the tennis world so that we can see again another great player, so we can see him fighting up there for Grand Slams, fighting for the No.1 with all the top players. We have great players. That will make the tennis even more entertaining.”

Djokovic, who has only won back-to-back matches in two out of five tournaments this year, will take on Kei Nishikori in his first match at Madrid on Monday. He is currently ranked 12th in the world.

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Matteo Berrettini reaches the final on his debut at the Queen’s

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Top seed Matteo Berrettini beat Alex De Minaur 6-4 6-4 after 84 minutes to reach the final in his debut at the Queen’s Club in London. 

 

Berrettini has not dropped a set yet at this tournament and beat British players Andy Murray and Daniel Evans earlier this week. 

Berrettini won 89% of his first service points and hit 8 aces. The Italian top ten player broke serve in the third game with a backhand down the line to take a 2-1 lead and did not face any break points in his next service games to win the first set 6-4. 

Berrettini earned three break points in the fifth game of the second set, but De Minaur held serve from 0-40 to take a 3-2 lead. Berrettini saved a break point to draw level to 3-3 before breaking serve to take a 5-4 lead in the ninth game, when De Minaur hit his slice into the net. Berrettini served out the win on his second match point to become the first Italian player to reach the final at the Queens. 

“Making the final was the goal of the week, and now I have one more step. It is a great achievement, especially for the history of this tournament. I am really happy because to beat Alex today, I had to play my best tennis. The mentality is that I always think I can win my service games. I know that I have a big weapon with my serve and first shot. If I sleep too well, it means something is off is off ahead of the final. I have to be nervous and tight a little bit, otherwise the adrenaline does not kick in and it is tougher to play”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini set up a final against Cameron Norrie, who beat Denis Shapovalov 7-5 6-3 in 94 minutes. Norrie won 76% of his first service points and came back from one set down to become the first British player to reach the final at the Queen’s. 

Shapovalov earned an early break to take a 2-0 lead. Norrie broke back to draw level to 3-3. The British player earned his second break with a backhand passing shot in the 12th game to claim the first set 7-5. 

Norrie did not convert a break point at 3-2, after Shapovalov had treatment on an injury. The British player broke serve in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead and served out the second set in the second game to secure his spot in the final. Norrie has reached his third final this year after fiinishing runner-up to Albert Ramos Vinolas at the Estoril Open and to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Lyon. 

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Samsonova Reaches Final in Berlin after Stunning Azarenka

The Russian qualifier beats the Belarusian in straight sets. She will face the fifth seed, Belinda Bencic.

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Liudmila Samsonova in Berlin in 2021 (Credit: @TennisChanneli on Twitter)

Liudmila Samsonova continued her dream run at the Bett1 Open in Berlin, this time beating the world number 16 Victoria Azarenka quite comfortably with a score of 6-4, 6-2 in only an hour and six minutes on Steffi Graff Stadion. “It’s all incredible for me, so new and I am happy and it’s unbelievable for me”.

 

The world number 106 had the better start to the match, earning the first two breakpoints of the match and getting an early 2-0 lead before the Minsk, Belarus native had two chances to go back on serve – the Russian, however, saved both and held serve.

It stayed on serve until 5-3m when the world number 106 had two set points on her opponents serve, but Azarenka would save both and the Russian would serve out the first set.

The second set was a mirror image of the first one, with the 22-year-old getting two more breakpoints and breaking to take an early 1-0 lead which she would later manage to turn into a double break.

At 4-0, the Russian had a chance to break again setting up a breakpoint with a powerful forehand winner, but the Belarusian would save both with two big serves.

At 5-2, Samsonova served out the match to book her spot in Sundays final where she will face the number five seed Belinda Bencic, who earlier in the day booked her spot in the final by beating Alize Cornet in straight sets.

In her post-match press conference, Samsonova gave her thoughts on Sunday’s match against another tough opponent in Bencic.

“I’m sure it’s going to be another tough match because she plays very good on this surface and she’s a good player, so I will try to do my best and focus on my game and we will see.”

This will be the first time Belinda Bencic and Liudmila Samsonova will meet in a WTA match.

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Andrey Rublev reaches his first grass court final in Halle

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Andrey Rublev hit 24 winners in his 6-1 3-6 6-3 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili in 1 hour and 51 minutes to reach his first grass court final at the NOVENTI Open in Halle. 

 

Rublev raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first set with two breaks in the second and fourth games after 19 minutes. Basilashvili broke serve in the fifth game of the second set after a forehand error from Rublev to win the second set 6-3. 

Rublev earned a break in the sixth game of the third set, when Basilashvili mis-timed a backhand. Basilashvili rallied from 0-40 at 3-5 to save three break points. Rublev served out the third set 6-3 on his first match point. 

Rublev will try to improve his 4-1 record in his ATP 500 level finals. The Russian player rise to third position in the ATP Race to Turin. He has extended his match record at ATP 500 tournaments since the ATP Tour resumed from the Covid-19 suspension. He has claimed his past four ATP Tour 500 level finals in Hamburg, St. Petersburg, Vienna in 2020 and Rotterdam in 2021. “It’s my first final on grass and in Halle. I think I can play on every surface and I will try my best again tomorrow. I had good opporunities to break Basilashvili in the second set, some quite easy forehands and I stressed a little showing my emotions. I then came back and stayed calm until the last game, but I won”, said Rublev.

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