John Isner Knocks Off Raonic To Reach First Major Semifinal - UBITENNIS
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John Isner Knocks Off Raonic To Reach First Major Semifinal

The American came through in four sets in a match replete with aces and quick points.

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John Isner moved into the semifinals at Wimbledon for the first time with by defeating Milos Raonic 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday in a match with 56 combined aces and no break points in the first two sets.

Raonic, in fact, had more aces — 31 to 25 — and winners — 59 to 55 — in defeat, but Isner converted three break points and held all 21 of his service games while facing just one break opportunity himself.

The match turned, unsurprisingly, in a tiebreak. Raonic had set point at 5-6 in the second set decider, forcing the ninth seeded American to make several lunging efforts at the net, including one overhead that forced the 6-foot-10 Isner to jump and extend his racket as far as he could. He saved the set point, won the set to level the match at a set apiece shortly thereafter, and gained noticeable momentum in going on to win.

In a slight departure from the expected course, Isner needed no tiebreaks to win the final two sets. He built leads in several Raonic service games in the third set, earning the match’s first break point at 2-2 after an hour and 45 minutes of play. He forced it by forcing Raonic to hit a tricky half-volley wide, then used a powerful backhand return to jump ahead.

The American, however, found himself in late trouble, staring down break point at 5-4. Raonic nearly went ahead 15-40 but hit a passing shot just wide; after an Isner double fault at 30-30, the American deposited a first serve just inside the sideline to see off the threat. He converted his second set point with an ace up the middle nearly as powerful.

In full control, Isner continued his exceptional play, aided by a recurring Raonic leg injury that hampered his movement in the final set. The defending champion in Miami went ahead 0-30 in the opening game, then had two break points at 2-2. A superb baseline backhand — one of many surprisingly strong darts on Isner’s weaker side — forced another awkward volley from Raonic that he could not handle.

Up a break, Isner cruised on serve and came near another break at 2-4. He closed out the match at first asking with a perfectly placed passing shot after drawing Raonic into the net, breaking for a third time to go past the quarterfinal round at a grand slam for the first time.

Isner, with 95 consecutive service holds, is the only player remaining who has not yet dropped his serve. Raonic took the first set on Wednesday without doing so, firing a forehand pass early in the tiebreak and adding an insurance mini-break later. He then seemed primed to win another set in such fashion after Isner double faulted away an edge in the second set tiebreak, but he recovered to earn a surprise semifinal meeting with Kevin Anderson in a match set to feature an encore of massive serving.

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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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