Team Europe Takes Commanding 7-1 Lead at Laver Cup - UBITENNIS
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Team Europe Takes Commanding 7-1 Lead at Laver Cup

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-Chicago, Illinois

 

Team Europe has taken a commanding 7-1 lead after the day session matches at the Laver Cup in Chicago. In front of another packed house at the United Center, Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer came away victorious. Zverev coming from a set down to defeat John Isner 3-6, 7-6, 10-7 while Federer easily dispatched Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2 in just 65 minutes.

Team Europe has now won five of the six matches so far at the event and guarantees themselves a lead heading into Sunday’s final day no matter what happens in the two remaining matches this evening. Each of Saturday’s wins was worth two points. The winning team needs 13 to capture the Laver Cup trophy.

Zverev started off slowly going down 3-0 in the first set with Isner playing some knockout tennis. The 6’11 American hit 15 winners including eight aces.

Zverev turned around his play in the second set keeping the ball in the court and forcing a tiebreak. In the breaker, the 6’6 German saved a match point with a huge backhand winner which drew a great reaction from Zverev and his European teammates. Another backhand winner locked up the tiebreak as well.

In the match tiebreak Zverev got ahead 4-0 and 5-2 but Isner fought back to make it interesting with help from his big serve. On match point it was another Zverev backhand winner which sailed past the approaching Isner. The youngest member of the European team dropping to his knees in celebration.

In the second match of the day, Federer played some of his best tennis of the year against Kyrgios on Saturday. His beautiful one-handed backhand was on target throughout, he served reasonably well and he broke his opponent three times. Kyrgios was left dumb-founded and frustrated on several occasions as Federer’s winners were just catching the lines.

There was an entertaining moment in the second set, hard to believe in a match involving Kyrgios. Down a set and 3-1, a Kyrgios serve appear to be called “out” but was quickly changed to “in” with Federer barely getting his racquet on the ball. The chair umpire said they should replay the point which irked both the Australian and Team captain John McEnroe. Both players had their turn criticizing the umpire with the on court microphones picking up the commentary. Kyrgios called the umpire “delusional”, McEnroe in an angry voice yelled “No chance was he going to get that return back” and waved his arms in disgust. Kyrgios went on to lose the game and the match. As Kyrgios said to the press afterwards, the call didn’t impact the match as he was getting beaten quite badly.

“I had a good training week,” said Federer. ” I have been now in the States for almost two months, so I didn’t fight with jet lag, you know, like maybe some of the other guys on my team. I think that all helped. And then I think I had a clear game plan and just had the feeling like I was making a lot of returns against Nick. And from the baseline I was calm, composed, knew when to attack, when to wait. I was moving my feet very well.”

@Sportshorn

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Johanna Konta Speaks About Charity Work Ahead Of Second Half Of Season

Johanna Konta talks about her work with charity as she looks to end the season strong.

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Johanna Konta (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Johanna Konta has spoken about her charity work as she prepares for the final grand slam of the season. 

 

It has been an encouraging 2019 so far for the Brit after reaching the finals in Rabat and Madrid as well as reaching the last four at Roland Garros.

Although that was met with disappointment and criticism at Wimbledon after her quarter-final exit to Barbora Strycova, Konta is looking to continue the momentum in the American summer.

However for now, the world number 15 is taking her mind off tennis to focus on her charity work and in particular tackling homelessness.

Recently Konta visited the prime minister on the subject and spoke to the WTA Website about why she feels passionately about homelessness, “Homelessness has always been a big thing that’s close to my heart, that I want to help,” Konta said.

“I met a young lady called Kenny, who has come through Centre Point and it’s through them that she’s got her shift here with The Clink.”

The Brit is an ambassador for the charity CentrePoint, who support young homeless people in London since 1969 as homelessness has been a big problem in the UK.

The Clink provided catering for the event an 10 Downing Street, which was about bringing young people who are at risk of violence and helping them talk to businesses and role models to see how they can not take to crime.

On her visit, Konta explained why it was a dream come true to go to 10 Downing Street, “I feel like you’re walking through history, especially as you walk up the stairs and you see all the Prime Ministers through time. It’s inspiring and I feel very lucky.”

Next for Konta is the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which starts on the 5th of August as she prepares for the final grand slam of the year at the US Open.

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Wimbledon Day 13 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Final

In a championship match with significant GOAT implications, Roger Federer plays for a record-extending 21st Major, as Djokovic defends his title and vies for his 16th.

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Roger Federer (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

In 25 days, Roger Federer will turn 38 years of age. Remarkably, here he is in his 31st Major final, and his 12th at The All England Club. His most recent Slam final came 18 months ago in Australia, where he defeated Marin Cilic in five sets. Playing the French Open last month for the first time since 2015, and advancing to the semi-finals on his worst surface, provided Roger with considerable confidence. After falling to Rafael Nadal in Paris, he avenged that loss here on Friday in a thrilling semi-final. But in order to win his ninth Wimbledon, he’ll need to do something he’s never done before: defeat both Nadal and Djokovic at the same Grand Slam event.

One year ago, Novak Djokovic arrived at SW19 ranked outside the top 20. After holding all four Majors at once, he hadn’t claimed another in over two years. But a semi-final victory over Nadal would propel Djokovic to win three consecutive Slams. He’s now the definitive world No.1, and looks to pull within four Major titles of Federer, and within two of Nadal.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Roger Federer (2)

This is their third time playing in the gentlemen’s singles final. In 2014, Djokovic pulled out the win in five sets, a turning point in Novak’s career having lost his last five Major Finals outside of Australia. A year later, Djokovic prevailed in four. Overall Novak has the slight edge in their head-to-head 25-22, and has taken eight of their last 10 meetings. At Majors, Djokovic leads 9-6, and hasn’t lost to Federer at a Slam in seven years, which was their first Wimbledon matchup in the 2012 semi-finals.

Both men needed three sets and about three hours to win their semi-finals, though Federer’s match against Nadal was the tighter and more draining affair. For Roger, coming back less than 48 hours later to play the other GOAT contender, who is also nearly six years younger than Federer, is a huge ask. But if Roger plays with the same energy he did on Friday, he has a shot. He’ll need to serve even better than in the semi-finals, as he faces the best returner in the game.

The crowd could play a critical role here. They’ll undoubtedly be raucously behind Roger, and we saw on Friday against Roberto Bautista Agut how bothered Novak can get by crowds cheering for his opponent. He receives it as disrespect, though he often seems to thrive on it. But Novak would be wise to not outwardly mock the Centre Court audience today, as it will only increase their enthusiasm for Federer. On paper, Djokovic is a solid favourite. There’s no real weakness in his game, and the best-of-five format plays to his advantage, especially if this goes the distance.

However, we saw on Friday the magic Roger is still capable of on Centre Court. He’ll know this may be one of his last chances to win a Major, though will that inspire him or unsettle him? We saw Serena Williams tighten up under similar circumstances yesterday. While I don’t think this will be a blowout like the ladies’ championship match, Djokovic will be too much for Federer to overcome in the end. Novak will be joining Simona Halep at the champions ball on Sunday evening.

Other notable matches on Day 13:

In the ladies’ doubles final re-scheduled for today due to the length of the gentlemen’s doubles final, singles standouts Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova (3) vs. Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu (4), who upset the defending champion in the semi-finals.  Singles semi-finalist Strycova would become the new doubles No.1 with a win today.

In the mixed doubles final, which has unfortunately been bumped to No.1 Court, French Open champions Ivan Dodig and Latisha Chan (8) vs. 42-year-old Roberto Lindstedt and Jelena Ostapenko, who is a former junior champion here, and was a singles semifinalist a year ago.

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Wimbledon Day 12 Preview: The Ladies’ Final

Serena Williams goes for a record-tying 24th Major, while Simona Halep tries to solidify her Hall of Fame resume with her second.

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Serena Williams (@SI_Tennis - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

A year ago at The All England Club, Serena played in her first Major final in 18 months, in just her fourth tournament after a life-threatening child birth. She was outplayed on that day by Angelique Kerber. Two months later in New York, she again reached the final. But in highly controversial fashion, she went down in defeat again to Naomi Osaka.

As usual, Serena did not play for the rest of 2018. And she spent the first six months of this season battling injuries, only playing 12 matches ahead of this fortnight. But as she has so many times, Serena has rounded into form as Wimbledon progressed. This is the moment of redemption she’s been waiting for since last September’s US Open, where she feels she was treated unjustly.

Despite cutting her 2018 season short due to a back injury, Halep ended the year as the world No.1 for the second consecutive time. And after Darren Cahill stepped down as her coach in the offseason, she went without a title for the first six months of this year, and dropped to No.7 in the rankings.

Now on her worst surface, she’s into her fifth Major final. Simona only dropped one set on the way to this championship match, and has spoken of how she finally feels fully comfortable on the grass.

Simona Halep (7) vs. Serena Williams (11)

Serena has owned Halep throughout their careers. Their head-to-head is 9-1 in Serena’s favour, with Simona’s only victory coming in the round robin phase of the 2014 WTA finals on an indoor hard court. It’s worth noting that just a few days later, Serena avenged that loss in the final, dropping just three games. Their only match on grass was their first, here at Wimbledon in 2011. Serena took that in three sets over a young and undeveloped Halep.

Their most recent meeting was six months ago in the fourth round of the Australian Open, which Serena also won in three. As with so many of her matches, if Serena plays her best, it’s hard to imagine her losing. Her movement, which was so hampered at Roland Garros due to her knee, has improved as this fortnight has progressed.

But Halep won’t be overwhelmed by this moment or this opponent, and has the consistency and movement to push Serena, especially if the GOAT gets tight. Simona will desperately need to get in a high percentage of first serves, as Serena will crush her soft second ones. While the nerves will certainly be present for Serena, I think her determination will defeat her nerves in the end, as she will Halep.

Other notable matches on Day 12:

In the gentlemen’s doubles final, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (2), easily the best doubles team in the world this year, vs. the French team of 37-year-old Nicolas Mahut and 35-year-old Edouard Roger-Vasselin (11).

In the ladies’ doubles final, singles standouts Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova (3) vs. Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu (4), who upset the defending champion in the semi-finals.  Singles semi-finalist Strycova would become the new doubles No.1 with a win today.

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