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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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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