Erratic Roger Federer Crashes Out Of US Open - UBITENNIS
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Erratic Roger Federer Crashes Out Of US Open

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Former World No. 1 and five-time champion Roger Federer crashed out of the US Open, losing 6-3, 5-7, 6-7, 6-7 to John Millman of Australia in the fourth round of the tournament on Tuesday. Throughout the match, Federer, who was making unusual choices in his stroke-play, appeared to be having some sort of issue with his health, but what eventually proved to be his undoing was the 76 unforced errors he committed in the match.  

 

Federer had a little bit of trouble in his opening service game as he faced a break point, but three successive fine serves got the 37-year-old through to a service hold. The 2nd seed then broke to love to take an early 2-0 lead before motoring through to a comfortable hold for 3-0. The Swiss had a chance for a double break in the 4th game, but Millman somehow managed to hang on to his serve to get on the scoreboard.

And even though the Australian’s level of play rose from there on, it was the maestro, who eventually took the first set 6-3 in 33 minutes with the assistance of three aces, 15 scintillating winners and by winning an incredible 87% points behind his first serve.

At the start of the second set, Federer produced perhaps the worst service hold of his career. He just couldn’t find a first serve, hitting an awful two out of 22, but still found a way to keep the set on serve in game No. 2. The Basel native then had two break points in the next game to take a firm grip on the proceedings inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium, but failed to capitalize as Millman surged ahead to a 2-1 lead.

However, Millman couldn’t sustain his high level of play for long, as Federer continued to put pressure on his serve with his aggressive stroke-making from the baseline. The Swiss got the crucial break after another marathon game before consolidating it, with Federer closing out with a powerful overhead winner at the net.

But the set wasn’t over then and there as Millman broke back in the 10th game, denying Federer the chance to take a two set to love lead in the contest. The set took another dramatic turn as the Aussie broke Federer once again in the 12th game to put the match on an even keel at a set apiece. The great man’s struggles with his first serve continued as he simply couldn’t find any sort of timing and rhythm on his first delivery.

Millman continued from where he left of in the second set as he started the third set with a good hold. On the contrary, Federer’s troubles with his first serve remained as he continued to labor through his service holds. Yet, Federer was able to up the tempo when he needed to as he somehow survived the Millman onslaught to take it to a tie-breaker.

As you have heard many times, fortune generally favors the brave and it was Millman, who was brave enough to take the game to Federer as he came back from a mini-break and a set point down to claim set No. 3. By just about squeezing his way in the breaker, Millman took a decisive two set to one lead in the match.

With both players playing a little conservatively at the beginning of the fourth set, somebody needed to step-up or go off the boil and that is exactly what happened to Millman. Suddenly the breakthrough that Federer needed came in the sixth game and it came following a couple of unforced errors from Millman as Roger secured the break to gain momentum and a 4-2 lead. But, Millman broke back immediately in the next game before quickly leveling it at 4-4 by holding on to his serve with the utmost ease.

The steely resolve of Millman, eventually took the set into a tiebreak. And in the tiebreaker, Federer’s serve completely went off as he served back-to-back double faults, something which nobody had seen from Federer in a long, long time. In fact, Federer made six consecutive uncharacteristic errors to offer Millman five match points. And, Millman did indeed achieve the biggest win of his career when Federer committed another error, sending a forehand long to end the match in three hours and thirty four minutes.

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Denis Shapovalov Handles Opelka To Reach Australian Open Fourth Round

The Canadian managed to get past his 6ft 11 American opponent in a match that lasted over three hours.

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Denis Shapovalov - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Denis Shapovalov is into the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating 23rd seed Reilly Opelka 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes on Margeret Court Arena.

 

The Canadian hit 39 winners and served 10 aces while limiting Opelka to just 17 aces. In contrast the American finished the match with a costly 46 unforced errors as Shapovalov booked his spot in the second week of the tournament.

” I think I did a really good job against Reilly (Opelka) today and I took a lot of my chances and managed to get a read on his serve,” said the world No.14.

Both players were doing a good job early on when it came to holding serve and at 3-3 it was the Toronto native who had three chances to break. On his third opportunity broke serve with his trademark backhand winner.

However, that break didn’t last long for Shapovalov as he struggled to consolidate the break and ultimately gave the break right back with a poor service game and it was back on serve at 4-4.

The first was decided by a tiebreaker and Shapovalov got the crucial break to take a 3-1 lead in the breaker which was enough for him to take the first set.

The second frame was much like the first with both players holding serve until 3-3 when Opelka broke serve. He was able to consolidate and serve out the set to level the match.

The third set stayed on serve until 3-2 and the momentum swung back in the Canadians favor. He got the break of serve this time using his forehand to great effect and served out the third to take a two sets to one lead.

Just like the third set the fourth set had no breaks until 3-2 when again the number 14 seed broke Opelka serve again and that break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match and the win.

After the match in his post-match interview, he was asked how he was able to limit his opponent to just 17 aces in the match.

” It’s never easy against Reilly (Opelka) but I am happy I was able to pull through and make it to the next round”. He said.

Shapovalov will face the number three seed Alexander Zverev in the round of 16.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon

For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (Manuela Davies/USTA)

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.

 

The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.

The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.

It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.

The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.

The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.

The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.

For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.

Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.

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‘Best Feeling I’ve Ever Had’ – Underdog Christopher O’Connell Stuns Schwartzman At Australian Open

Prior to this week the 27-year-old had never won a main draw match at Melbourne Park or beaten a top 20 player.

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World No.175 Christopher O’Connell has pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open by knocking out 13th seed Diego Schwartzman.

 

The 27-year-old wild card had only ever won one match in the main draw of a Grand Slam prior to this year but illustrated the talent that he has with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, win over Schwartzman. A player who is currently ranked 162 places above him in the rankings. Against the Argentine he fired a total of 44 winners and won 75% of his first service points on route to claiming his first win over a top 20 player.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had on a tennis court. I’ve been playing tennis since I was four. To have moments like this it’s a dream come true.” O’Connell said during his press conference.

Despite the straightforward score, the match itself was a marathon. The opener alone lasted for almost 90 minutes with the underdog saving three set points whilst down 4-5 before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Then in the following two sets he broke Schwartzman three times in total.

“I knew how crucial that first set was. It was really warming up out there. It was really a battle back and forth. It was crucial to get that first set, especially in the heat,” he said.

A late bloomer on the men’s Tour, the Australian started to make a breakthrough last year by reaching his first quarter-final at the Atlanta Open where he defeated Jannik Sinner. During that year he also reached the final of a French Challenger event before withdrawing due to injury and reached the second round of the US Open.

O’Connell, who has been ranked as high as 111th in the world, credits his coach for helping him reach new milestones in the sport. He is mentored by former player Marinko Matosevic who reached a ranking high of 39th back in 2013 and made more than $2M in prize money during his playing career.

“The process didn’t start yesterday. It’s been happening all of last year,” he stated.
“I’ve been working with Marinko. He’s just really confident with how I want to play tennis now. It’s the first time I’ve really had a one-on-one coach literally every day with me.’
“Marinko was such a great player. All his knowledge of the game, he’s just putting it onto me.”

Next up for O’Connell will be the in-form Maxime Cressy who lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Melbourne Summer Set just over a week ago. The American defeated Czech qualifier Tomáš Macháč 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), in his second round match.

“I knew I had good results in me. It’s just being consistent. I felt today was a consistent match from me,” he reflected.
“But the biggest thing for me is just staying healthy, not having these injuries where I miss two months of tournaments. I nearly missed five or six months last year. I can’t be doing that.’
“The belief is always there, but I just got to make sure my body’s healthy this year. I want to play a full year.”

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