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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Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev reach the second round in Hamburg

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Dominic Thiem beat 2016 finalist Pablo Cuevas 6-3 7-6 (7-3) after 1 hour and 40 minutes in the first round of the Hamburg European Open to score his 24th win of the season and the 250th win of his career.

 

Thiem beat Cuevas for the fifth time in his seventh head-to-head clash against Cuevas and for the third time this year after his previous wins in Buenos Aires and at Roland Garros.

Thiem broke serve in the second game of the opening set after a lucky net cord return and hit a service winner in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-3. Both players traded breaks at the start of the start of the second set. Cuevas fended off a break point chance in the fifth game. Both players stayed neck and neck in the next game setting up a second set.

Thiem earned a mini-break at 2-1 after two mini-breaks from Cuevas. The Austrian player got a double mini-break with a backhand down the line winner on the ninth point. He closed out the match with a service winner on the next point.

“I wish that the grass court season would have been longer. I love this surface, but it was only one match unfortunately. I hope that I can do it better next year. I am back on clay for two weeks and the last two weeks of the year, so I will try to enjoy the mas much as possible”, said Thiem.

Last year’s ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev made a winning start to his campaign in his home tournament with a 6-4 6-2 victory over last week’s Bastad winner Nicolas Jarry in 71 minutes. Zverev converted four of his six break point chances and saved four of the five chances he faced. Zverev broke serve in the third game to build up a 5-2 lead, when Jarry netted a backhand.

Zverev did not convert three set points, as he was serving for the set. He dropped five consecutive points before serving out the set at 5-4. Both players went on serve in the first four games before Zverev broke at 15 in the fifth game, when Jarry netted a backhand. The German player held serve at love before earning a break to build up a 5-2 after a forehand error from Jarry. The Chilean player earned two break points in the eighth game, as Zverev was serving for the win. Zverev saved them before sealing the second set 6-2 with an ace.

Nikoloz Basilashvili beat Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien 6-4 6-3 after 67 minutes. This year’s Monte-Carlo champion Fabio Fognini came back from one set down to beat Julian Lenz 6-4 6-4 setting up a match against Rudolf Molleker. Former Hamburg finalist Richard Gasquet beat Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal 6-2 7-6 (7-3) setting up a match against his compatriot Jeremy Chardy. Federico Delbonis saved three match points to beat Marco Cecchinato 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rudolf Molleker knocks out two-time champion Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg

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German 18-year-old Next Gen player Rudolf Molleker knocked out 2014 and 2017 Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes at the Hamburg European Open.

 

Molleker beat Mayer in 2017 in the Hamburg qualifying round, but Mayer got a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser and went on to win the title.

Molleker fended off all three break points in two consecutive games of the first set, before saving two set points in the tie-break. He sealed the second set with a single break.

The German teenager saved two break points in the seventh game with two service games with two service winners and one more chance in the ninth game to set up a tie-break. Mayer took the lead twice at 6-5 and 8-7, but Molleker saved both chances with two winners and sealed the tie-break on the 18th point after a double fault from Mayer.

Molleker earned an early break at the start of the second set and held his service games in the next games before sealing the win with a service winner at 5-4 to secure his spot in the round of 16.

Marton Fucsovics cruised past Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-0 dropping just 16 points on serve. Fucsovics got an early break in the fourth game to clinch the opening set 6-3. The Hungarian player broke three times in a one-sided second set and sealed the win with a service winner.

Andrey Rublev, who lost in the second round at Wimbledon and Umag, edged this year’s Munich and Houston champion Christian Garin 6-4 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 39 minutes to score his second win over the Chilean player this year. Rublev broke three times to seal the opening set 6-4. The Russian player got the break back at 4-5 in the second set to set up a tie-break, which he sealed 7-5.

Jeremy Chardy came back from losing the first set to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3 after 2 hours and 34 minutes. Paire fended off a set point at 4-5 in the opening set to clinch the tie-break 7-4. Paire got a late break in the second set, but Chardy won two games at 5-5 to force the match to the third set. Chardy went up a double break to seal the third set 6-3.

Martin Klizan converted all five break points to cruise past Daniel Altmaier 6-2 6-2.

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Nicolas Jarry Breaks New Ground To Win The Swedish Open

The 23-year-old has become the latest player to win their first ATP title in 2019.

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Nicolas Jarry (@FOXSport_Chile - Twitter)

Chilean fifth seed Nicolas Jarry has won his first ATP title at the Swedish Open after prevailing in straight sets on Sunday.

 

The world No.64 held his nerve to edge his way past Argentina’s Juan Inacio Londero 7-6(3), 6-4. Playing in only his third ATP final, Jarry dropped serve once as he blasted 10 aces and won 76% of the points behind his first serve. Becoming the first person his country to win the tournament since Luis Ayala back in 1960.

“I’m very happy to be able to have this (the title). I know it is not very easy to get the first one in anything that you do. I’m really happy.” Jarry said during the trophy presentation.
“I want to say thank you to my team. I have a big team back home and we are very united. This is for all of them and all of my family who has been there since I was born.”

Jarry achieved his career milestone without dropping a set during the entire tournament. Earlier in the week he also scored wins over Jeremy Chardy and Frederico Delbonis. Londero was the only seeded player he faced in Sweden this year. Overall, he was broken eight times in six matches played.

The 23-year-old isn’t the first member of his family to win a title on the men’s tour. His grandfather is Jaime Fillol, who is a former top 20 player that reached the quarter-finals of the 1975 US Open. During his career, Fillol claimed eight trophies and was the former president of the ATP.

“He is one of the best Chilean tennis players. He taught me the sport since I was little,” Jarry told atptour.com earlier this week. “He took me to great tournaments. I remember Wimbledon when I was 12 and I remember going to the US Open a couple of times. There used to be an ATP [tournament] in Santiago, so I was always involved in the tennis.”

The new Swedish Open champion is the second player from Chile to win a title in 2019. Christian Garin claimed his maiden title back in April at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston. He then went on to win the Munich Open, which is also a clay-court event.

Jarry exits Sweden with 250 ranking points and €90,390 in prize money earnings. He will next travel to Germany to play in the Hamburg Open.

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