Novak Djokovic Outlasts Nemesis Nadal In Epic To Reach Wimbledon Final - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Outlasts Nemesis Nadal In Epic To Reach Wimbledon Final

The Serbian will take on Kevin Anderson in the final.

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Former world No.1 Novak Djokovic has reached his first grand slam final since 2016 after battling past Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(9), 6-3, 10-8, after a two-day roller-coaster clash at The All England Club.

The meeting between the two was postponed on Friday night after Djokovic valiantly rallied his way to a two-sets-to-one lead. Unfortunately for the Serbian, he couldn’t continue his momentum as the 11pm Wimbledon curfew halted proceedings. Giving both players a chance to reflect upon their performance overnight.

“When you finish at 11pm and you have to come back to the practice court at 1030am. The adrenaline is really high, but it is not easy to relax. “ Djokovic said during his post-match interview.
“At the end of the day, I’m just so glad to overcome this challenge.”

14 hours after the last ball was hit in the match, the battle resumed on Centre Court. Resulting in the delay of the women’s Wimbledon final. A decision that has angered some in the sport. Nevertheless, the high calibre of exchanges between the two continued in what was their 52nd tour meeting. The was little to tell between the two with Djokovic winning just four points more than Nadal in the entire match (195-191). Coincidentally, both produced 73 winners to 42 unforced errors. Although Djokovic lead the ace count with 23 to nine.

“It’s hard to pick the words. I’m just going through things such as flashbacks over the past 15 months and everything I have been through to get here to the finals.” Said Djokovic, who missed six months of 2017 due to an elbow injury.
“It is one of the longest matches I’ve ever played. I’m just overwhelmed.”

At the start of the fourth set, Nadal saved two break points to battle through a 16-minute opening service game during what was a set of cat and mouse chase. The Spaniard then stormed to a 3-0 lead with the help of his sublime aggressive play. Only for a determined Djokovic to draw back and level 3-3. Nadal continued to apply pressure on his opponent and once again got rewarded for it. A low shot trigger a Djokovic forehand slamming into the net to gift another break to the second seed and the chance to serve the set out. A task that was far from simple. Nadal recovered from a 0-40 deficit by winning five points in a row. Forcing the match into a decider with the help of an ace.

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With a minimum prize money pay-check of £1.125 million at stake for the winner, there was little disparity between Nadal and Djokovic during the closing stages. Paving the way for a marathon 18-game final set that will go down as one of the most memorable in the history of their 52-match rivalry.  In total the 111-point set featured 14 aces and 42 winners.

Ultimately, it was a single falter that would prove instrumental in the outcome of the encounter. That was the case for Nadal more than five hours into the match. Serving behind 8-9, a slip on the grass enabled Djokovic return the ball in to work his way to three match points. His place in the final was then sealed after a Nadal forehand drifted out. Prompting Djokovic to look up at the air in delight.

“It (the match) was really special. I think it could have gone either way. It was very clear that few things separated the two players. I didn’t know if I was going to win until the last shot. I believed it, but I knew that he was very close.” Djokovic reflected.
“These are the kind of matches you live for. You work for.“ He later added.

A win away from his 13th grand slam title, Djokovic will next take on Kevin Anderson.  On Friday the South African prevailed over John Isner after six hours and 35 minutes of play. Making it the second longest match in Wimbledon history.

“Hopefully we can both play.” Djokovic joked about the upcoming final. “It has been a roller-coaster ride for him in the last couple rounds. He has had a day off, which means a lot. I wish I could have one.
“I’m in the finals of Wimbledon. It is an incredible achievement for me after what I have been through. I’m just trying to digest it for and then look ahead.”

Djokovic has now won 250 matches in grand slams. He leads Anderson 5-1 in their head-to-head and has won both of their previous meetings at Wimbledon.

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Fabio Fognini beats Guido Pella in straight sets to reach the fourth round in Melbourne

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Fabio Fognini beat Guido Pella 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-3 to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. The Italian star converted five of his six break points to close out the match after 2 hours and nine minutes.

 

Fognini saved two break points in the first set with a forehand and a backhand and held his serve. The Italian star did not convert a break point in a long seventh game. Both players went on serve to set up a tie-break. Fognini did not drop a single point to cruise through to a 7-0 win.

In the second set Fognini earned a crucial break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. He held his serve on the second deuce after saving a break point. The 2019 Monte-Carlo champion sealed the second set with another break with a forehand return winner.

Fognini earned a break lead in the fourth game of the decisive set. Pella broke straight back in the fifth game. Both traded breaks again in the sixth and seventh games. Fognini broke for the third time and converted his second match point with a serve up the T.

He is also the 12th player to come back from two sets down at all four Grand Slam tournaments.

With his five-set victories over Reilly Opelka and Jordan Thompson in the first two matches Fognini made history on Wednesday when the “Come-back king” became the first player to win back-to-back Australian Open matches in final set tie-breaks.

“I am so happy to be in the fourth round again in Australia. Now it’s time to recover. I played a really solid game against a really tough opponent. I am happy with the performance”, said Fognini.

Fognini set up a fourth round match against 2018 Australian Open quarter finalist Tennys Sandgren, who beat Sam Querrey 6-4 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 52 minutes. Sandgren fended off nine break points and converted just 2 of his 14 break point chances. Two years ago Sandgen beat Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem en route to reaching his first quarter final at a Grand Slam event.

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Marin Cilic prevails over Roberto Bautista Agut in five-set thriller in Melbourne

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Marin Cilic overcame Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-0 5-7 6-3 after 4 hours and 10 minutes to score his first top 10 win since the 2018 US Open, when he beat David Goffin.

 

Cilic fought back from losing the first set at the tie-break, but he bounced back in the second set by breaking serve in the ninth game, when Bautista Agut made a forehand error. Cilic held on his serve to win the second set 6-4 to draw level to 1-1.

Cilic cruised through to a bagel win in the third set. The Croatian player got an early break in the fourth set to open up a 3-1 lead. Bautista Agut broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Cilic did not convert a break point chance at 5-5. Bautista Agut earned the break at 6-5 to force the match to the fifth set.

Cilic broke serve in the opening game of the fifth set with a forehand winner, but he did not convert a break point at 4-2. He broke for the seventh time in the match in Bautista Agut’s next service game to clinch a thrilling win, as Bautista Agut fired a backhand into the net.

Cilic took a re-match against the Spanish player, who won their previous head-to-head clash at the 2019 Australian Open in five sets.

“I had an incredible patch. It was a surreal level. Every ball I was hitting was going in. It was coming off my raquet incredibly well. I knew Roberto would always fight and he pushed me all the way in the fourth set”, said Cilic.

 

 

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Karen Khachanov edges Mikael Ymer in marathon match in Melbourne

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Karen Khachanov battled past Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 4 hours and 14 minutes.

 

Ymer broke serve twice in the second and fourth games of the fourth set to open up a 4-1 lead. Khachanov broke back in the seventh game, but Ymer broke for the third time to take the fourth set 6-3.

Khachanov broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2, but he was broken back in the next game.

Khachanov was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the fifth set before trailing 6-8 in the decisive match tie-break. Khachanov came back by winning four consecutive points to clinch a thrilling win.

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin beat Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 2 hours and 4 minutes setting up a third round match against Danil Medvedev. Popyrin broke twice in each of the first and third sets and saved all four break point chances.

Taylor Fritz came back from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-2. Anderson was leading by two sets and 4-2 in the third set, but Fritz broke back before winning the third set at the tie-break. Fritz cruised through the fourth and fifth sets. Fritz will face Dominic Thiem in the third round.

“That was huge for me. He played a really tough five setter just the other day and then obviously coming back. Going back to back five setters is going to be tougher for him than usual. I felt fresh, so I just told myself that I have to keep running”,said Fritz.

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