Kevin Anderson Prevails In The Longest Wimbledon Semi-Final Of All Time - UBITENNIS
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Kevin Anderson Prevails In The Longest Wimbledon Semi-Final Of All Time

The South African eighth seed overcame John Isner 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-7 (9), 6-4, 26-24, in a record-breaking clash at The All England Club.

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Kevin Anderson (zimbio.com)

A match that was supposed to be the “poorer” semifinal, a shooting contest between two 2-meter-plus tall players, turned out to be one of the Wimbledon classics that will be remembered for the years to come. Six hours, 36 minutes of play, 99 games, 569 points, a fifth set that broke more records that can probably remembered, delivered Kevin Anderson to his second Major final in ten months. Backing up the most important win of his career (in the quarterfinals against Federer) in spectacular fashion.

 

Anderson’s’s surprising returns and his superior balance between the strength of his two baseline shots made the difference in the end, together with his fitness that was crucial in that never-ending fifth set.

It was certainly Isner who left starting blocks more swiftly, as he came out all guns blazing, hitting forehand winners at 100 mph and keeping the average speed of his second serve close to 120 mph. The first break points for him arrived quickly in the third game, which lasted 22 points and over 12 minutes, but two forehand unforced errors for the baseline and a not-impossible backhand volley that landed just wide denied him the early advantage in the first set. While six points gone against the serve in the following seven games seemed to be the prologue to an inevitable tie-break, Isner had to face his first break point of the match (and only the eighth in the tournament) after Anderson managed to find two very deep returns on his second serves, but he canceled it with a 129 mph second serve.

The tie-break eventually arrived: Isner took an early 3-1 lead with an inside-out forehand winner, but Anderson promptly equalized the minibreak with a cross court forehand passing shot. On the final straight, Anderson was able to capitalize on Isner’s weakness when he is attacked on his left-hand side, and the set ended with two baseline unforced error by the American.

The 63-minute first set showed that Isner has a better serve and a more powerful forehand that can rival with the best in the game; on the other side Anderson can move better and is more balanced on the two sides during rallies. When Isner is attacked on his backhand and has to play a running passing shot more often than not he resorts to a defensive lob with a one-hand.

In the second set Anderson gave the impression he could edge away: he was the only one to get to “40” on his opponent’s serve (twice) and he also had a break point at 4-4 (erased by Isner with a forehand volley), but more importantly he was returning a lot more serves than his opponent. However, in the second “inevitable” tie-break of the match John Isner produced his best two returns in the set to sprint to a 5-0 lead that allowed him to equalize at one set all.

We had to wait almost two hours and a half to see the first break of the match: it was Anderson who took the first stab to the “service rule” advancing to 5-3 in the third set ending the game with a backhand screamer down the line after an excellent return game. Nonetheless, it was all for nothing, as when he stepped on to serve for the set, the South African got tight, made two unforced errors and eventually got broken back by Isner who quickly rose to the occasion. The following tie-break, the third of the afternoon, was a 15-minute affair jam-packed of great tennis and chances for both players: thundering serves, of course, but also blistering returns, soft volleys and impossible passing shots. Two set-points for each player brought the score to 9-9, after Anderson crucially served his second double fault of the match at 8-7, squandering his real chance to take a 2 sets to 1 lead. Isner closed the set 11-9 when he returned deep on Anderson’s second serve to force a forehand error by Anderson.

A phenomenal sequence of returns by the South African gave him an early break for 3-2 in the fourth set, but like it had happened just a short while earlier, he was not able to consolidate the advantage, this time not through fault of his own, but mainly due to some very good passes by Isner. Nonetheless, Anderson kept increasing the pressure with his returns and realized an 11-2 streak that got him to 5-4 40-0 and eventually closed the set at his fourth set point to bring the match to a decider.

The two almighty serves took control of the fifth set from the get-go: for the first ten games the returner could barely win one point per game, the first break point arrived at 7-7 for Anderson, but Isner wiped it clean with a 127-mph ace. The American appeared by far the more tired of the two contenders, but he was serving first, so his break points would be match-points. Unfortunately for him break points never came, and as the set would transition from tennis into legend, Anderson would look more and more the only one on court with some energies left. Isner never got to “40” on Anderson’s serve in the final set, and only three times (out of 25) he managed to win two points. He was ‘clutch’ enough to pull off three aces on the four break points he had to save along the way, but he could never be a threat during his return games. The absurdity of a 2 hours, 55 minutes fifth set became even more absurd when, at 24-24, Anderson fell to the ground after his return, just to get himself back up, play a lefthanded forehand and then win that point, for the jubilation of the crowd that was witnessing history being made in the falling lights of the evening.

“I don’t know what to say right now – said Kevin Anderson to the BBC just seconds after stepping off the court, while Isner was still signing autographs – I mean, just playing like that in those sort of conditions is really tough on both of us. At the end you feel like this is a draw between the two of us, but somebody has to win. John is such a great guy. I really feel for him because if I’ve been on the opposite side, I don’t know I would take that, laying for so long and coming up short”.

Now he has to think about the final on Sunday, and how to recover after this kind of marathon: “It’s tough. I really don’t know. I will just try to do the same protocols – Anderson said – I hope this is a sign for Grand Slams to change this format for five sets. […] I really hope we can look at this and address this because at the end you don’t even feel that great out there”. In fact, at the moment the US Open is the only Major adopting the tie-break in all sets, while Wimbledon, the Australian Open and Roland Garros do maintain the “two-game advantage” format in the final set.

 

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Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo

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World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 

 

Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina. 

Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown. 

Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.

“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit. 

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Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo

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Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117  Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

 

Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2. 

Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. 

Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. 

Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point. 

Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance. 

“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi. 

Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open. 

The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006. 

“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit. 

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Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia

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ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital. 

 

The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October). 

“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi. 

During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.

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