By The Numbers: Novak Djokovic Seeks First Title Of 2018 Against Cilic In Queen’s - UBITENNIS
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By The Numbers: Novak Djokovic Seeks First Title Of 2018 Against Cilic In Queen’s

The figures behind today’s final at The Queen’s Club.

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Novak Djokovic (zimbio.com)

LONDON: Sunday will see former world No.1 Novak Djokovic lock horns with top seed Marin Cilic in the final of the Fever-Tree Championships.

Djokovic, who will be playing in his first final at the tournament since 2008, has a one-sided winning record against the Croat. Dropping just five sets against him in their 15 previous meetings. He progressed to the final of the tournament without dropping a set. Scoring wins over John Millman, Grigor Dimitrov, Adrian Mannarino and Jeremy Chardy. The run continues Djokovic’s upward surge on the tour. Prior to Queen’s, he reached the semifinals of the Italian Masters and the quarter-finals of the French Open. Elevating his win-loss record for the year to 18-8.

“It’s quite different playing him on grass. We have played at Wimbledon, but he’s a different player, I think.” Djokovic said about facing Cilic.
“In last couple of years he’s been in the form of his life and reaching his highest ranking in his career. Reaching the finals of Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
“He’s probably been playing the best that he’s ever played. Grass court suits him very well. Big serve. Just big game overall.”

Former US Open champion Cilic is looking to spoil Djokovic’s party. Currently ranked three places below his career high at sixth in the world, his route to the final has been more challenging. Battling past Fernando Verdasco, Gilles Muller, Sam Querrey and Nick Kyrgios. Muller was the only one of those players to get a set off him. It is his second consecutive final at Queen’s and his third consecutive on the grass overall.

“I think on grass he has been returning great throughout the week, and that’s one of his biggest weapons.” Cilic commented about Djokovic. “Obviously of course it depends all on him and how he feels on the court, if he feels that he’s at 100% physically, because of the elbow, things like that.
“But what he’s showing and what I’m seeing from the sidelines, he’s playing better and better, which is great to see.”

With a lot at stake for both players, here are some key numbers ahead of their final at The Queen’s Club.

Cilic

1 – The Croat has taken on the former world No.1 on 15 previous occasions, but was only successful once. That occurred when the two last clashed at the 2016 Paris Masters. He is 0-2 on the grass against Djokovic. Losing in five sets at the 2014 Wimbledon championships followed by straight sets at the same tournament a year later.

2 – Cilic is gunning for his second title at The Queen’s Club and his first since 2012. This year is his fourth appearance in the final of the tournament. He was also runner-up to Andy Murray in 2013 and Feliciano Lopez in 2017.

2 – It is the second final of the season for the 29-year-old. His first was at the Australian Open when he lost to Roger Federer. Should Cilic win, it would be his first trophy on the tour since the 2017 Istanbul Open.

45 – Cilic has won 45 out of 46 service games throughout this year’s tournament at Queen’s. He has won 90% of first service and 64% of second service points. A slight improvement on Djokovic’s 86% and 63%.

Djokovic

11 – Djokovic will play in his first tour final since starting his comeback from an elbow injury in January. The last time he contested a tour final was when he defeated Gael Monfils at the Eastbourne International almost 11 months ago.

36 – The world No.22 has been just as impressive as Cilic on his serve. In total he has won 36 out of 37 service games this week. Has has also achieved a higher first serve in percentage than his rival with 68% (135/200). Cilic’s is 65% (161/248).

99 – Djokovic will play in his 99th tour final and his seventh on the grass. In the Open Era only two players have contested more finals that Djokovic on the ATP World Tour. Rafael Nadal has featured in 115 and Roger Federer in 149.

801 – Number of tour wins Djokovic has. Earlier in the tournament he became only the 10th man in the Open Era to score 800 wins on the tour. Another victory today would move him ahead of Stefan Edberg to ninth on the all-time list of most matches won.

How the two have performed so far this week

Source – atpworldtour.com

The Queen’s final is scheduled to get underway at 14:30 GMT on Sunday.

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Andy Murray Makes Retirement Hint After 500th Hard Court Win In Dubai

Andy Murray won his 500th hard court match in Dubai, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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Andy Murray further hinted at retirement after securing a 500th hard court win of his career in Dubai.

The former world number one picked up his second win of the year with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov.

In typical Andy Murray fashion, the Brit came back from a set down to defeat the out-of-sorts Canadian as he progressed to the second round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVj537F-wQ

The win means Murray now has 500 career wins on a hard court and that is an achievement the world number 67 is proud of, “It’s not bad,” Murray told the ATP website as he sits fifth on the all-time list of hard court wins.

“Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

However those post-match comments weren’t the most shocking ones as Murray once again hinted at retirement this season.

The Brit has made subtle remarks that this year may be his last one but Murray’s comments today suggests that he may have already made his decision, “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” Murray was quoted by ESPN as saying.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh.”

If the end is near for Murray than the Brit will look to end his career on a high for the next few months.

Before thinking about retirement Murray will look to go further in Dubai when he takes on either Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the second round.

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Perspective And Fatigue: The Two Sides Of Iga Swiatek’s Dubai Defeat

Iga Swiatek spoke about perspective and fatigue after her semi-final exit in Dubai.

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Iga Swiatek showed two sides to her defeat in Dubai as the world number one surprisingly failed to win the title despite being the favourite in the semi-finals.

Heading into her semi-final in Dubai, Swiatek was heavy favourite to win her second consecutive WTA title after claiming the title in Doha the week before.

However Swiatek was unsuccessful in her bid to reach the final as she lost to Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 6-4.

It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for Swiatek who missed a golden opportunity to establish even more dominance ahead of Indian Wells.

As all champions do Swiatek offered perspective to her defeat as she looks ahead to the rest of the season, “I mean, I’m angry but on the other hand, there aren’t many players that actually survive these kinds of tournaments so I just kind of have to let it go and accept it,” Swiatek was quoted by Tennis Majors.

There was not only perspective offered but also fatigue as expectations and pressure can force simple mistakes from the best players in the world.

The world number one acknowledged Kalinskaya’s performance but did admit her own performance contributed to the defeat, “Today I would say, I mean she [Kalinskaya] played well and for sure she deserves to be in the final, but I feel like it was more about me and my level,” Swiatek told Tennis Majors.

“I wanted to be focused on myself and I wasn’t really able to implement any tactics that I had. Usually, when I tell myself what to do, I can improve my game but today I was so out of power and tired that I just couldn’t. Day by day, it was a little bit worse.”

Swiatek will hope to re-energize herself ahead of the sunshine double in America.

Last year Swiatek lost to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals at Indian Wells before withdrawing from Miami.

The Pole will look to improve last year’s performance when she plays Indian Wells, which starts on the 6th of March.

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‘Speechless’ Mensik Reaches Maiden ATP Final In Doha

Jakub Mensik is into his first ATP final in Doha.

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Jakub Mensik admitted he was left speechless after reaching his first ATP final in Doha.

The 18 year-old continued his remarkable week with a 6-4 1-6 6-3 semi-final victory over Gael Monfils.

The Czech Republican produced clinical tennis as he beat the 2018 champion to reach his maiden ATP final.

After the match Mensik admitted he was left ‘speechless’ and spoke about the influence Monfils had on his career, “It is amazing. Hopefully not the last one [final]. Incredible week so far,” Mensik told the ATP website.

“Today again with Gael, he played unbelievable. I know it is tough to play against him, especially with his good movement. For me every point I have to play my best game.

“I have to say this performance was one of the best in my entire life. I am so glad I reached this level in the semis, so hopefully tomorrow I play like this. An amazing feeling with my first ATP final. I am speechless.

“I told him when I was young I watched him a lot on the TV. One of the biggest showman on court. He is a great guy, so hopefully in the future we will meet once again. The rallies were so fun with him.”

Mensik has so far beaten three former champions this week as he also defeated Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev this week.

Now Mensik will aim to win his first ATP title as he takes on Karen Khachanov in Saturday’s final.

Should Mensik win the title he could climb to 75 in the world as he started the week at 116 in the world.

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