The “Who Will Face Roger” Non-Semifinal In Halle - UBITENNIS
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The “Who Will Face Roger” Non-Semifinal In Halle

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Borna Coric (zimbio.com)

By Mark Winters

 

Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain confronted Borna Coric of Croatia in the second semi-final on Saturday at the Gerry Weber Open. Bautista Agut, the No. 4 seed, had a 21-10 career record on grass, along with one title on the surface at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2014. The unseeded Coric was 2-7 playing on the lawns. The two had faced off six times (three contests on clay and the same number on hard court) and Bautista Agut had a 4-2 lead in the series.

Both were looking for a place in the record book. A player from Spain or Croatia had never reached the final at the ATP 500 event taking place at Halle Westfalen, Germany. Carlos Moya, the only other Spaniard to make a semi-final showing, lost in 1999 to Nicklas Kulti of Sweden, 6-3, 6-4 (Nicolas Kiefer of Germany defeated Kulti, 6-3, 6-4 in the final). In 2015, Ivo Karlovic became the only Croatian to earn a spot in the semi-finals and he was “Tie-Broken” by Roger Federer, 7-6, 7-6. Federer went on to down Andreas Seppi of Italy, 7-6, 6-4 for the singles title.

Thanks to the time dictates of television football (aka soccer) coverage, the first semi-final between Federer and Denis Kudla of the US began at 11:30 a.m. earlier than the usual start-time in Halle. (Last year, the first semi-final started at 1:15 p.m.) The second 2018 semi-final kicked-off at 2:09 p.m. (in 2017, play began at 4:00 p.m.) and ended dramatically in a meager twenty-three minutes.

The score was 2-2, (both players having held serve) and Bautista Agut was serving in the fifth game of the first set. In a baseline exchange, he ran to his left and hit a backhand then, while trying to return to the center of the court, he slipped behind the baseline while attempting to move back to his right. He went down, and initially grabbed his right hip then rolled on his side to grasp his left hip. He took a medical timeout and was treated off-court. He returned to finish serving and held then walked to the net and told Coric he couldn’t continue. The official (but, in reality “unofficial” because in truth no information was provided) reason for his retirement was an injury to his left hip.

Only twenty-six points had been played and Bautista Agut was ahead by four (15-11). He had two opportunities to break serve, but Coric saved both, and he also served two more aces than his opponent – 4-2 was the statistical tally.

Following the almost “non-victory” victory, Coric admitted, “Today, I was a little bit lucky. I’m sorry for Roberto, but I can rest a little bit now, which is good.”

The 21- year-old who was born in Zagreb, Croatia, but lives in Dubai, United Arab Republic has appeared in three tour finals. He was the Marrakech champion (on terre battue) in 2017 defeating Phillip Kohlschreiber of Germany 5-7, 7-6, 7-5. A year earlier, he was a 6-3, 7-5 finalist at Chennai (on hard court) to Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland. Federico Delbonis of Argentina defeated him 6-2, 6-4 at Marrakech in 2016.

Tomorrow, the 21-year-old takes on the Gerry Weber Open “legend” Roger Federer. The 36-year-old has defeated Coric in both of their meetings. The first was in Dubai, in 2015, and the score was 6-2, 6-1. This spring their BNP Paribas Master 1000 confrontation, at Indian Wells was more of a test for Federer. The defending champion, who will be looking for his record setting tenth Gerry Weber Open title on Sunday, scored a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory in the Southern California desert.

“I think our last match (Indian Wells), I played almost perfect,” Coric said. “I think it was a great match. I was really playing well, and at the end, I was maybe a little bit unlucky, but he showed why he is No. 1 in the World. I don’t think I need to change anything. I must play on that level which is not going to be easy for sure. I think that was my best match of the season, and I’m going to try to play on the same level again.”

And, of course, Roger Federer will be…Roger Federer.

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Janko Tipsarevic continues his come-back with a straight set win over Peter Gojowczyk in Geneva

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Wild card Janko Tipsarevic beat last year’s finalist Peter Gojowczyk 7-5 7-5 after 1 hour and 43 minutes at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open in Geneva

 

Gojowczyk fended off three break points at 2-2 in the first set and broke serve in the eighth game to open up a 5-3 lead. Tipsarevic reeled off 16 of the next 20 points to close out the opening set 7-5.

Tipsarevic bounced back from 1-4 down by winning six of the final seven games to score his fourth win at ATP level since the 2017 US Open.

Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien overcame Andreas Seppi 6-1 3-6 6-4 after 1 hour and 52 minutes. Dellien converted four of his six break points and got a crucial break at 5-4 in the third set.

Radu Albot battled past Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-3) after 1 hour and 54 minutes to score his 17th win this season. Albot fended off a set point in the 10th game converting his sixth break back chance. Sonego earned another set point at 6-5 in the tie-break, but he dropped the next three points to lose the first set. The second set went on serve with no breaks of serve until the tie-break. Albot clinched the tie-break 7-3.

Nicolas Jarry beat Matthew Ebden 6-2 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 2 minutes. The Chilean player fought back 1-4 down to win the second set tie-break 7-4.

Another Chilean player Taro Daniel edged past Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-4 3-6 6-3 after 1 hour and 56 minutes to secure his spot in the second round where he will face this year’s Munich and Houston champion Christian Garin.

Denis Kudla came back from losing the set to beat Jordan Thompson 5-7 6-2 6-4. Kudla got five breaks and saved 8 of the 11 break points he faced. The US player got the decisive break to take a 4-3 lead in the third set.

 

 

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Richard Gasquet saves two match points to beat his compatriot Maxime Janvier in Lyon

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet saved 19 of the 22 break points and 2 match points to battle past his compatriot Maxime Janvier 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) in an all-French first round after 2 hours and 44 minutes at the Open Parc Auvergne Rhone Alpes in Lyon.

 

Gasquet converted his third break point in the first game of the opening set. Janvier broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gasquet saved two break points in the 10th game and three more chances in the 12th game. Janvier sealed the tie-break on his third set point to win the tie-break 7-5.

Gasquet broke twice in the sixth and eighth game to win the second set 6-2 forcing the match to the third set. Gasquet broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. Janvier broke back in the ninth game and held his service game to draw level to 5-5. Both players traded breaks in the next two games setting up a second tie-break. Gasquet sealed the tie-break 7-2 on the first of his four match points.

Gasquet underwent groin surgery last January and played just three matches in 2019.

“It was very tough. He is a great player. He is very powerful. He played well, he served good. It was very tough for me, but I tried my best. It’s only my fourth match in 2019, so it’s tough for me, but I will try to recover as soon as I can. I tried my best and it’s great for me to win”, said Gasquet.

Taylor Fritz beat Jiri Vesely 7-5 7-6 (7-3) after 1 hour and 38 minutes without facing any break points.

Pierre Hugues Herbert dropped just five of his first service points in his 6-2 7-5 win over Jeremy Chardy.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert cruised past Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-1 6-3 setting up a second round match against Felix Auger Aliassime. Humbert broke a four match losing streak to reach the second round. In his previous tournaments he reached the semifinal in Marseille, but he lost in the first round at Indian Wells and Miami, Marrakesh and Munich.

“I am very happy as it’s been a while since I played this well on clay. I know I can do it”, said Humbert.

French wild card Tristan Lamassime edged Italian teenager Jannik Sinner 6- 7-6 (7-5).

Canadian qualifer Steven Diez was leading over Bernard Tomic 6-4 4-1 when the Australian player withdrew from the match due to illness.

 

 

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Andy Murray ‘Kind Of On Track’ For Recovery And Potential Return To Tennis

The brother of the former world No.1 has spoken out about Murray’s chances of returning back to the tour.

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Andy Murray (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray is focused on his rehab with no indication yet of when will return back to the tour, according to his brother Jamie.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a match since his first round loss to Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open in January. Murray has been blighted by hip problems over the past two years and admitted he could be forced to retire from the sport. Earlier this year, he underwent hip resurfacing surgery in his latest attempt to prolong his career. A procedure which involves inserting a metal rod into the joint.

Murray has kept out of the limelight in recent weeks, but has been spotted hitting balls on the court once again. Giving an update on his brother’s recovery, Jamie said he is hopeful Murray will return to the tour. Jamie spoke with reporters on Sunday during an exhibition event to test the new roof on Court One at Wimbledon, which will be used for the first time this year.

“I hope so. I’m pretty sure he wants to be able to do that again at some point.” World No.7 doubles player Jamie told reporters.
“He’s doing his rehab, I think he’s kind of on track with his recovery for where he is in terms of the timing of it right now, and I think his goal is just rehab, get his hip as strong as possible so that when he does get the chance to get back out on court and train properly, he’s best positioned to really find out what is going to be possible for him.”

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Elaborating further, Jamie said the two-time Wimbledon winner is ‘pain-free’ and happier. Although he is yet to properly test his hip on the court in terms of movement. Since the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, Murray has only been able to play in eight tournaments.

“He’s hitting a few tennis balls. He’s not like tanking it around the court or anything like that movement-wise, but that is what he is building up to and I don’t know exactly when that will happen.” He said.
“He’s doing fine, pain-free and a lot happier. So we’ll have to just wait and see. It’s just difficult to know what is going to be possible.”

Murray does currently have a wild card to play in the Fever-Tree Championships, which will start on June 16th. However, he will notify the tournament closer to the time if he will be ready in time to participate. The 32-year-old has a contract to play at The Queen’s Club for the rest of his career, unless injured or ill.

It has been speculated that Murray could return at Wimbledon to play in the doubles alongside his brother for the first time. However, Jamie has now played down the chances of that happening.

“For me, these are the peak years in my career and if I go to play Wimbledon with someone who hasn’t hit a tennis ball in eight months, I’m kind of giving up one of those years, so that’s a big decision for me to take.” He explained.
“Circumstances might dictate otherwise, but I want to give myself the best chance of winning the tournament. Normally I would have a good chance with Andy, but probably right now he’s not in his peak moment.”

So far in his career, Murray has won 45 ATP titles and has spent 41 consecutive weeks as world No.1.

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