Grigor Dimitrov Ready To Renew ‘Special relationship’ With The Grass At Queen’s - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov Ready To Renew ‘Special relationship’ With The Grass At Queen’s

The 27-year-old will will be gunning for glory in London this week.

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Grigor Dimitrov (zimbio.com)

LONDON: Some defeats have a silver lining and for Grigor Dimitrov at the French Open it was that the grass swing was soon approaching.

 

Earlier this month the world No.6 bowed out of the third round at Roland Garros in straight sets. Losing to Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco. It is the eighth year in a row that the Bulgarian has failed to reach the fourth round of the tournament. The only consolation was his overall performance on the clay this year.

“This clay court season hadn’t got the way I wanted it to. At the same time I felt that I have improved on a couple of things.” Dimitrov told reporters at Queen’s on Sunday.
“I tried to be as positive as I could after finishing the French Open.” He added.

Seeking to return back to winning ways, the 27-year-old is targeting a second title at the Fever-Tree Championships in London. The venue is one that brings happy memories for Dimitrov. This year will be his tenth appearance at The Queen’s Club, where he won his first and so far only title on the grass back in 2014.

“I felt I had a great transition from surfaces (clay to grass), which is very nice. It also feels very good for the body.” He explained. “I feel that I can slide a little bit and the service is improving a lot. All these improvements mean a lot to me.”

Happily naming himself as a title contended at the ATP 500 event, Dimitrov is aware of the obstacles that could stand in his way. All of the top eight players are ranked in the world’s top 20. Furthermore, former grand slam champions Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are unseeded in the draw. Should all go to plan, Dimitrov could face Djokovic in the second round as the Serbian aims to return back to his best.

“Queen’s have been a tremendous success over the years for me, so of course I’m going to expect a lot from myself.” Said Dimitrov, who has won 15 out of 23 matches played at the tournament.
“Every round matters a lot. It is just simple as that. I think obviously it’s going to be a tough battle either way.
“Obviously some of the players that are unseeded has had a great success (at the tournament) over the years, but at the same time it’s time to play. Time to step up the game.”

Ironically the potentially tough start to the tournament may be a blessing in disguise. Reflecting on the contenders for this year’s title, Dimitrov believes a triumph in London could play a pivotal role in taking his career to the next level.

“A lot of things in life are about timing. Maybe this is the time that in order for me to get to that next step I need to go through those kind of players to succeed.

A special relationship

Almost four years have passed since his memorable run to the Wimbledon semi-finals. Since then Dimitrov has been ranked as high as third in the world and won the 2017 ATP World Tour Finals. Becoming the first Bulgarian in history to do so. Nevertheless, his love for the green surface has remained unchanged.

“I guess I have a special relationship with the grass.  It’s always been a surface of mine that I always wanted to do well on and I know how limited our time (on the tour) is out there.” He said.
“Grass is very unpredictable and you always gotta be ready. It’s as simple as that. You gotta stay in the games, be more persistent when the other guy is serving. It’s up to you to seize that moment.”

Dimitrov will be hoping to seize the moment on Tuesday when he starts his campaign at Queen’s. His first opponent will be world No.28 Damir Dzumhur.

“It’s entirely up to me to make the right decisions on the court. Follow my instincts because sometimes that is all you need to do on the grass.” He concluded.

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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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Brandon Nakashima shocks John Isner to reach first ATP final in Los Cabos

Brandon Nakashima stunned John Isner to reach the final in Los Cabos.

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Brandon Nakashima (@AbiertoLosCabos - Twitter)

The American became the youngest American to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

 

Brandon Nakashima booked his spot in the final beating an out of sorts John Isner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes firing 12 aces and winning 82% points with his first serve.

“It’s always going to be tough playing against him, It’s always so hard to return his serve and try to get into the rallies with him but I tried to get back as many returns as I could and there was blocking or chipping the return or hitting over it and just try to mix it up a lot while getting different looks and I knew when I had the opportunities and when I got close in games I knew I had to take advantage of that as much as possible so luckily I was able to do it and of course taking care of my service games was important as well”.

For the first six games of the opening set, neither player had an issue holding serve but at 3-3, it was the San Diego native with the first chance to break but was denied by the world number 39’s big serve.

At 5-4, the world number 134 had two more chances to break and he got the crucial break and served out the first set.

Winning the first set seemed to invigorate the 19-year-old and he earned an early chance to break in the first game of the second set and broke to take a 1-0 lead. Once again that one break was enough to serve out the match and seal the victory.

After the match, Nakashima spoke about becoming the first American player to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

“It feels great and it’s a big accomplishment for me and of course all the Americans, we like to play in the US but it’s nice to see that I am playing well outside the US and luckily it’s not too far from my home here so I have been enjoying it here a lot both on and off the court and really looking forward to playing tomorrow again”.

Nakashima will face the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the final and can feel confident as the last time these two players met, the American beat him.

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