Marin Cilic Saves Match Point In Thriller To Deny Djokovic The Queen’s Title - UBITENNIS
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Marin Cilic Saves Match Point In Thriller To Deny Djokovic The Queen’s Title

The world No.6 survived a marathon encounter against a player he had only previously beaten once in 15 meetings.

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LONDON: Top seed Marin Cilic has won his first Queen’s title in six years after battling his way past Novak Djokovic 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3, in a three-hour marathon at The Fever-Tree Championships.

 

On the verge of defeat in the second set, the Croatian No.1 fended off some breathtaking tennis from his opponent. Who illustrated that he is closing in on returning back to his best on the tour. At first it was former world No.1 Djokovic, who was in the driving seat as he fended off six break points in the opening set. Only to have his heart broken as Cilic battled back emphatically to claim the title.  Hitting 61 winners to 39 unforced errors and producing a total of 18 aces.

“It was a special win for me because last year I had a match point and didn’t convert it. It was a tough match – no breaks for me until the final set.” Cilic told BBC Sport afterwards.
“Overall I had a great time here this week. I have waited six years to get my hands on this trophy! It is an amazing crowd and I will come back every single year.”

During what was one of the hottest days of the tournament, Djokovic fought his way through a pulsating 68-minute opening set. Both players illustrated tennis to justify why they are considered as two of the best players in the world. Cilic kept battling with the help of his electrifying serve and Djokovic moved effortlessly around the court to draw level. Drawing praise from the crowd.

Djokovic’s first test occurred in the seventh game where he saved five break points before moving ahead 4-3. Closing the game out with an ace followed by a huge roar. Five games later it was the turn of the Serbian to have break points in his favour. As Cilic serve to stay in contention at 5-6, Djokovic was convinced that he sealed  the set with a forehand down the line. Only to discover that it was out following a challenge  made to Hawk-eye by Cilic. Nevertheless, he triumphed two points later with the help of back-to-back errors from his opponent at the worst possible moment. A double fault followed by a backhand into the net.

Former US Open champion Cilic refused to back down. Coming through a 10-minute service game at the start of set number two. Much to the frustration of Djokovic. The chance for Djokovic to clinch the title occurred at 5-4 after a Cilic backhand into the net rewarded Djokovic a championship point. However, he was denied by the Croat, who produced a trio of blistering serves to draw level.

The comeback

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As Djokovic moved once again, to the verge of victory, it was Cilic’s turn to change the momentum around. Trailing 1-4 in the tiebreaker, he managed to draw back to level 4-4 with the help of a Djokovic double fault. Rising in belief, Cilic went on to break once again before winning the second set with a winner. Reviving his title hopes.

The dramatic turn in fortunes was one that stunned the crowd in London. Throughout the decider, both men battled their hardest, but it was eventually Djokovic who succumbed. A sensational Cilic passing shot elevated him to a chance to break for 4-3. Something he achieved with the help of a Djokovic backhand crashing into the next. The sole break was fatal to Djokovic’s dreams as the fast-serving Cilic closed the match out with a love game.

“I have to congratulate Marin on a fantastic week. He deserved to win and came up with some big shots. It’s a tough loss for me. But I have to see the positive because I haven’t’ played a final in almost a year.” Said Djokovic. “This came at the right time because Wimbledon is the most renowned and prestigious tournament in tennis. As for Queen’s I haven’t been here in eight years but now I know how it feels I will keep coming back here!”

The Croat has now won his 18th ATP title and his first since last year’s Istanbul Open. He exits the tournament with just over 400,000 euros as well as 500 ranking points.

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Tour Suspension Will Benefit Novak Djokovic More Than Nadal And Federer, Claims Woodbridge

The former world No.1 doubles player explains why he thinks Djokovic will benefit more than his rivals.

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Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge believes the current suspension of tennis could have a silver lining for Novak Djokovic and his bid to claim the greatest of all time honour.

 

On Wednesday it was confirmed that all professional tennis tournaments have been suspended until at least July due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision came shortly after Wimbledon was forced to axe their event for the first time since 1945. Prior to the suspension, Djokovic started 2020 unbeaten by winning 18 matches in a row. During that period he guided Serbia to the ATP Cup title, won a record eighth Australian Open title and triumphed at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Now with the tour being brought to a halt, some are speculating as to what the implications could be on the prestigious Big Three. A trio featuring Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Between them they have won 52 out of the last 60 grand slam tournaments.

Woodbridge believes Djokovic is in the best situation because of his age. At the age of 32 he is younger than both Nadal (33) and Federer (38). Although neither of those players are planning to retire from the sport just yet.

“Because of the uncertainty, it makes it hard to see how the three can dominate when they come back because of the age of Roger and Rafa,” Woodbridge told Yahoo Sport Australia.
“It also puts more pressure on Rafa and it changes all of those storylines that were on the table for 2020.
“For Novak, it may come at a good time in his career to actually rejuvenate him again, give him another big burst.
“So if anything, this period helps him the most.”

The biggest question mark surrounds Federer, who recently underwent knee surgery and will turn 39 in August. However, the Swiss Maestro has recently confirmed that he intends to play the 2021 season after pledging to return to the court in Halle. One of the grass-court tournaments that has been cancelled this year.

“We experience difficult times, however, we will arise from it strengthened. Already today I am glad and excited about my return to Halle next year.” He said.

Although Woodbridge believes the suspension will hinder Federer’s dream of extending his record-breaking grand slam tally of 20 titles. He last won a major at the 2018 Australian Open. However, since then Federer has only reached a grand slam final in one out of seven attempts.

“The less match play that you get in this period at that age, it’s so much harder to come back and recover once you start again.” Woodbridge explained.
“So I really think that post-2020 will be a new era of people trying to create records because it’ll have really have broken up a great period in tennis.
“It has stopped the potential, I think, of Federer winning one or two more.
“It becomes very highly unlikely for him.”

Djokovic heads the world rankings with a 370-point lead over second place Nadal. Federer is currently in fourth position behind Dominic Thiem.

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Dominic Thiem Denies Allegation He ‘Misled’ Former Coach

A war of words has broken out between the world No.3 and his former long-time mentor Gunther Bresnik.

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Dominic Thiem - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

Dominic Thiem has stated that he has no intention to publicly disclose the reason as to why he stopped working with his former coach despite recently coming under fire from him.

 

The three-time grand slam finalist has been criticised by Gunther Bresnik, who claims he was ‘misled’ by the world No.3. Bresnik was a key figure in Thiem’s team until last year. Coaching the Austrian throughout his junior and professional career for a 15-year period. He was replaced last April by former Olympic champion Nicolas Massu.

It is unclear as to what was the decisive factor behind the split of a partnership that at one staged looked solid. Thiem met Bresnik at the age of eight when his father applied to work at his academy in Vienna. Under his guidance, he won 11 out of his 15 ATP titles so far in his career.

“Becomes clearer to me with time how things went. It doesn’t make it more aesthetic. There are things I totally don’t understand: honesty, loyalty, values…there was not much left.” Journalist Jannik Schneider quoted Bresnik as saying.
“I have no big problem with it besides the fact that I was misled. You can’t do that to someone that you owe everything. His dad would be a club coach and Dominic a futures player without me.”

The comment has triggered a response from Thiem, who has blasted Bresnik’s suggestion that he wouldn’t have been able to reach the top of the sport without his help. In a statement issued to the Austrian Press Agency (APA), the 26-year-old questioned if his former coach has developed ‘delusions of grandeur.’ A term loosely used to describe a person who believes they are greater than they actually are.

“When he complains about a lack of respect, and says that I owe it all to him, and seriously suggests that I would have been a futures player without him, I have to ask whether he has developed delusions of grandeur.” Said Thiem.

As to the root of the fallout between the two, Thiem is refusing to speak publicly about what happened. Although he denied that Bresnik has been misled in any way.

“I did not part ways with him without a reason,” he stated. “Bresnik knows the reasons and at this time I won’t make them public.”

Since pairing up with Massu, Thiem has enjoyed further success of the tour. During the early stages of their collaboration he won his first Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells last year. Since then, he has gone on to claim another four ATP titles and was runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January.

Thiem is the first player from his country to break into the world’s top three since Thomas Muster back in 1997.

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Grigor Dimitrov – ‘Tennis Is A Microscopic Thing In The World Right Now’

The world No.19 speaks out about how he is coping during the tour suspension.

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Former grand slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov has become the latest player to urge the governing bodies of tennis to make a united decision regarding when play will resume again.

 

The ATP and WTA Tours are currently suspended until June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it is likely that the suspension will be extended further with rumours that Wimbledon will be cancelled for the first time since the second world war later this week. Dimitrov’s last tournament was at the Acapulco Open in Mexico, where he reached the semi-finals before losing in straight sets to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

“Tennis is a microscopic thing in the world right now. The ATP supervisors I’ve talked to in recent days have a variety of theories, but for the time being, we can really only guess if we’re being honest.” Tenniskafe quoted Dimitrov as saying during an interview with bTV.
“The tournaments are cancelled, but we have a big luxury in tennis – there is always next week. Yes, it is very difficult right now, you have seen the Olympics cancelled. The only thing that is at the forefront is to go through this situation we are in, and then start rebuilding. “

The world No.19 is currently residing in California during the lockdown. Describing the situation where he is as ‘more casual’ compared to other parts of the world. California is where the Indian Wells tennis tournament was set to take place earlier this month before it was cancelled.

“In my opinion all federations and players, no matter what rank they are, must come together and make a general decision. Because it’s really not easy at the moment to talk to everyone about points, tournaments, competitions … But now other things are really more important – to be safe, to be healthy and to go through this thing.” He said.

During the suspension, the 28-year-old is keeping himself busy in other ways. Recently he has signed up for an online course with Harvard Business School. Becoming the latest of a series of players to do so. He also manages to keep in touch with his fellow rivals on the tour thanks to the world of social media.

“One of the first players I wrote to was Fabio (Fognini) because he was in Italy. Everyone is on Instagram, we know everyone what they do every minute.”

When the restrictions related to the pandemic comes to an end, Dimitrov has vowed to return back to Europe as he outlines the first thing he would do.

“I just want to go back to Europe. Whether it will be in Bulgaria or in Monaco – I do not know. I certainly want to go home, gather all my relatives and just spend time together. I’ve been in the US for over a month now. As things currently look, there will certainly be another two months. Hopefully it will be faster, but I just want to go home and be with my loved ones.” He concluded.

In the fight against Covid-19 in his home country, Dimitrov has made a donation to a hospital in Haskovo. The city where he was born.

Dimitrov has started the 2020 season with a win-loss record of 7-5. Besides his run to the semifinals in Acapulco, he also reached the second round at the Australian Open and Rotterdam. He has been ranked as high as third in the world.

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