Alexander Zverev Saves Match Point, Reaches French Open Round 4 - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev Saves Match Point, Reaches French Open Round 4

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World No. 3 Alexander Zverev survived another five-set battle, saving a match point against Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia in what was a topsy-turvy third round encounter on Court Philippe Chatrier in Paris on Friday. The German prodigy indeed have to thank his stars as he looked to be going out before making a miraculous escape, eventually triumphing 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 to reach round four of the French Open in three hours and 54 minutes.

Bidding to get his first win over a top 50 player at a Grand Slam, Zverev muscled his way through the opening set with a combination of power and delicate drop shots. Bullying World No. 29 Dzumhur around the court, the second seed capitalized on his opponent’s mistakes at crucial moments. His first break occurred in the third game when Dzumhur produced a double fault to move him ahead to 2-1. Zverev went on to extend the lead to a double break following another error from the Bosnian. Then after 29 minutes of play, Zverev clinched set number one thanks to a Dzumhur shot drifting beyond the baseline.

Zverev started the second set in the same vein as he secured an early break once again. Zverev continued to out-hit and out-think Dzumhur at almost every juncture. He moved up a gear in the ensuing game to back up his break and take firm control of the proceeding in the contest.

However, suddenly the German’s consistency went for a toss as he failed to prevent Damir from mounting a comeback in the match. The Bosnian broke back in the sixth game to even out the scores at 3-3. Dzumhur’s hot streak continued in the subsequent games as well as twice he caught his rival at the net before hitting a winner down the line to break again in the 8th game. Dzumhur won his fifth game in a row to level the match at one set apiece. Zverev fell away after looking the more dominant player at the beginning of the encounter.

Zverev steadied the ship at the start of the third as he quickly got himself on the board. He couldn’t sustain his momentum for a longer duration, though, as he lost his serve in the third game. But, then Dzumhur helped him by producing an erratic game, committing a string of unforced errors to hand the break right back. However, the relief Zverev felt at that stage was short lived as Dzumhur got the all important break of serve in the ninth game before showing his superior net skills to volley his way to a two sets to one lead in the next game.

The quality of tennis went up a couple of notches in the fourth set as neither player was willing to give an inch to the other. It was Dzumhur who raised the bar of his game first as he smashed a sensational crosscourt winner way beyond Zverev to earn a massive break for a 3-2 advantage. But, Zverev wasn’t willing to go out without a fight as he upped the ante and drew a flurry of errors out of a tense Dzumhur to level the scores at 4 games all.

Thereafter Zverev continued to live dangerously. He fell triple break point down, but somehow managed to save all three including one of them with the assistance of a sublime drop shot before holding to his serve for 5-4. His adventurous shot-making, however, couldn’t save him from dropping his serve in the 11th game. Dzumhur served for the match in the 12th game, but nerves got the better of him as he was easily broken Zverev. At 6-6, set No. 4 moved into a tiebreaker.

The tiebreak was a complete disaster for Dzumhur as he completely went off the boil. Zverev on the other hand was hitting his spots well, surging to a 5-1 lead in no time whatsoever. Minutes later, Zverev took the match into a decider with a straight forward 7-3 victory in the tiebreak.

Dzumhur’s poor run continued in the fifth set as he immediately lost his serve in the opening game. In fact, nobody seemed to get going on serve as both players continued to trade breaks. Zverev could see the finish line at 4-3 when he served to take a 5-3 lead, but lost his concentration, handing the break back to Dzumhur for 4-4.

In the tenth game Zverev was forced to dig incredibly deep to stay alive. He saved a match point after surviving several deuce points before hanging on to his serve. The crucial service hold turned out to be the most pivotal moment of the match as he sprang forward and broke Dzumhur’s serve in the next game. The break gave Zverev the opportunity to serve for the match, which he duly did as he went on to accomplish another come from behind victory.

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Novak Djokovic Confirmed For Olympics But Del Potro Pulls Out After Medical Advice

The Serbian will be bidding to win gold in Tokyo later this year for the first time in his career.

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This year’s Olympic tennis tournament has been given a boost after officials confirmed world No.1 Novak Djokovic will be playing at the Games.

 

The 19-time Grand Slam champion had been contemplating whether to play at the event or not amid ongoing COVID-19 conditions. Djokovic previously said he would reconsider travelling to Tokyo if fans weren’t allowed to attend. Since that comment, organisers have given the green light for up to 10,000 domestic fans to attend Olympic venues. Although foreign fans are banned from attending this year due to the pandemic.

Amid questions over Djokovic’s participation, the Serbian Tennis Federation has told Sportski Zurnal that he has pledged to play. It will be the fourth time the 34-year-old has represented his country in the Olympics. So far in his career, Djokovic has only won one medal which was bronze back in 2008. He also finished fourth in 2012.

“Novak has confirmed his desire to participate in the Olympic Games and we have already sent a list with his name on it to the Olympic Committee of Serbia. It will be forwarded from there,” the Tennis federation told Sportski Zurnal.

As it currently stands Djokovic is on course to achieve the calendar ‘golden slam.’ A rare achievement where a player wins all four Grand Slam titles, as well as the Olympics, within the same year. In singles competition the only person to have ever achieved this was Stefi Graf back in 1988.

“Everything is possible, and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam,” Djokovic said after winning the French Open
“But, you know, I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon. This year we have only two weeks between the first round of Wimbledon and the finals here, which is not ideal because you go from really two completely different surfaces, trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“So obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days’ time. I don’t have an issue to say that I’m going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course, I am.”

Del Potro’s comeback delayed again

There is less positive news for Juan Martin del Potro, who was the player who beat Djokovic to win a bronze medal back in 2012. The Argentine hasn’t played a competitive match on the Tour since June 2019 due to a troublesome knee injury. Back in March the former US Open champion said playing at the Olympics again was motivating him during his rehabilitation.

However, since then progress has been slower than what Del Potro would have liked. As a result, he has been advised not to play in the event and continue his recovery.

Delpo won’t be able to play the Olympics Games. The knee rehab is going well according to the doctor’s plan but he suggested Juan Martin to go on with his rehab process and training, and skip Tokyo 2020,” a statement from Del Potro’s communication team reads.

Since 2010, the former world No.3 and two-time Olympic medallist has undergone eight surgeries.One on his right wrist, three on his left wrist and four on his knee. He has won a total of 22 ATP titles so far in his career.

The Olympic Tennis event will start on July 24th at the Ariake Coliseum.

RELATED STORY: Why Are So Many Tennis Players Skipping The Olympics?

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Vasek Pospisil dispatches James Ward in Eastbourne

Vasek Pospisil is into the second round at Eastbourne.

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Vasek Pospisil (@TennisCanada - Twitter)

The Canadian won his first match on grass of the year beating the local favourite James Ward.

 

Vasek Pospisil is through to the second round of the Viking International ATP 250 in Eastbourne after beating the Brit James Ward in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 13 minutes on court number two.

“It was a good match, I played pretty well, I thought I served well and he is a tough opponent on grass because he has a tough first serve but I was pretty sharp and played well when I needed to and happy to get the win”.

It was the Canadian who had the first chance to break at 1-1 and he got the early break and that one break was good enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second set was much of the same and actually was identical to the first with the world number 66 getting the break to take a 2-1 lead but faced a breakpoint when consolidating the break.

Again that one break was enough for him to serve out the match and book his spot in the next round. This is Pospisil’s first win since the month and after the match, he spoke about how the last couple of months have been for him.

“It was good I just took a break from the tour just to refresh the mind and the body and I hadn’t seen my family in nine months so it was a good reset and I felt I needed a break to kinda be excited about touring and the covid conditions and now I’m back and I am happy to be back and I am playing well so it was a nice break.”

Pospisil will now face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the next round after the Spaniard beat the Swede Mikael Ymer in straight sets 7-5, 6-1.

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Daniil Medvedev Searching For Confidence Boost Ahead Of Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says he is not the same player as he was two years ago when he last played Wimbledon.

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When it comes to playing on the grass this year Daniil Medvedev admits that the biggest issue for him might concern the mental side of the sport as opposed to the physical side.

 

The world No.2 kicked-off his grass swing last week in Halle where he was stunned in the first round by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the Tour in 2020, that was the first time the Russian had played a match on the surface in almost two years. Short on matches, Medvedev is back in action this week in Mallorca after taking a wildcard into the tournament.

“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev told atptour.com. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”

Since he last played at Wimbledon, Medvedev surged on the ATP Tour by winning six titles with all of them being on a hardcourt. Furthermore, he also reached the final of the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. He is the first player outside of the Big Four to be ranked in the world’s top two since July 2005.

Despite his previous success on the grass, Medvedev admits he remains wary about playing on the surface and the conditions he may face.

“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” he said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”

In Mallorca Medvedev has a bye in the first round. His opening match will be against either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or France’s Corentin Moutet.

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