(VIDEO) Day Seven At The US Open: Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams Survive Tests - UBITENNIS
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(VIDEO) Day Seven At The US Open: Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams Survive Tests

Steve Flink from The Tennis Channel joins Ubitennis to look back at Sunday’s action at Flushing Meadows.

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The seventh day of the US Open saw two key contenders for this year’s title battle through their roller coaster fourth round matches.

 

Reigning champion Rafael Nadal fought his way past a spirited Nikoloz Basilashvili, who won over fans with some fierce hitting. Nevertheless, the top seed recovered from losing the third set to win 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-4. Setting up a clash with Dominic Thiem, who defeated Kevin Anderson in his fourth round match. Meanwhile, John Isner outlasted Milos Raonic in five sets and Juan Martin del Potro experienced little difficulty against an injury-hit Borna Coric.

Serena Williams also encountered a blip in her clash with Kaia Kanepi. The 23-time grand slam champion got off to a blistering start before being tamed by her Estonian rival. Despite Kanepi’s best efforts, Williams prevailed 6-0, 4-6, 6-3, to set up a showdown with Karolina Pliskova. Defending champion Sloane Stephens and Anastasija Sevastova also booked their place in the last eight.

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‘Devastated’ British No.3 Katie Boulter Withdraws From Wimbledon

There is bad news for home fans at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

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Katie Boulter (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

One of Britain’s top female players has said they are ‘absolutely devastated’ to withdraw from the Wimbledon Championships after failing to recover in time from injury.

 

Katie Boulter confirmed on Sunday that she has decided to withdraw from the grand slam following medical advice. The world No.127 hasn’t played a match since the Fed Cup back in April due to a back injury. Pulling out of French Open, where she still received a payment of £20,000, as well as a series of grass-court events.

‘As you are all aware, I’ve recently been recovering from a back injury that I suffered during Great Britain’s Fed Cup victory back in April,’ Boulter said in a statement published on social media.
‘The road to recovery has had its ups and downs; at various points along the way I’ve been very close to getting back on court and competing, but unfortunately I’m not quite ready in time for Wimbledon, and on the advice of my medical team, I’ve made the decision to give my recovery a couple more weeks.”

Boulter has been ranked as high as 82nd in the world and claimed two ITF titles in 2018. However, she is yet to achieve such success so far this season. Failing to win back-to-back main draw matches at six consecutive tournaments prior to her back injury.

‘I am absolutely devastated to be missing my home Grand Slam and the opportunity to play in front of our incredible fans but sadly I won’t be 100% fit.’ Boulter explained.
‘Wimbledon is the most special tournament of the year for me and I can’t wait to get back on the grass courts next year. I’d like to thank everyone for their support over the past few months; it’s only motivated me to come back stronger.’

The 22-year-old made her main draw grand slam debut in Wimbledon back in 2017 where she lost in the first round to Christina McHale. 12 months later she won her first ever grand slam match at the All England Club when she defeated Aleksandra Krunic.

The Wimbledon Championships will get underway a week on Monday.

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Tomorrow’s Noventi Open Final

It’s David Goffin versus Roger Federer in the final in Halle.

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David Goffin (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

By Cheryl Jones

Italian, Matteo Berrettini’s lucky streak on grass this season has finally come to an end at the Noventi Open in the first semi-final match today. Belgian, David Goffin came away with a well-deserved win, 7-6, 6-3. He will face Roger Federer tomorrow in the final. (Federer defeated Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 6-3 in the second semi-final.)

 

The scribe who writes the tournament winner on that familiar (at least to Federer) trophy likely has his tools at the ready, to quickly inscribe tomorrow’s winner’s name on the little brass plate. It could be the same old story, with Federer coming out on top. He has done it nine times before and the court may seem as if it’s a favourite playground. Tomorrow will reveal the end of this year’s tale that could likely see a “happily ever after” ending for Federer. He is turning 38 in a bit over a month and he seems to be a bit like that famous Energizer bunny that just keeps on ticking.

Berrettini managed to hold his serve in all fifty of his service games during his pursuit of the title in Stuttgart earlier this month. Even though the streak of service games had faltered during this past week in Halle, he faced Goffin today. It looked as if his string could begin again. The first set ended with a string of winning service games. But, Goffin followed suit and held his serve as well. Berrettini eventually lost the set in a nine-minute Tie-Break but moved into the second set with high hopes for a comeback that did not happen.

It was the eighth game of that second set when Goffin finally broke the Italian and even though Berrettini seemed a bit rattled, he carried on. The two players were evenly matched, trading games and holding their serves. There were a few exciting exchanges, but the back and forth verged on monotonous in its teeter-totter-like trade-offs.

After Berrettini was broken, the wind seemed to leave his sails and he must have felt that he was in the Doldrums – merely drifting, searching for a breeze to fill his sails once again. After a late in the match point that didn’t go his way, he sat on the court even though I didn’t see him fall. He rose with an edgy bit of energy followed by what seemed like an angry exchange with of all people – himself. He tossed his hat onto the offending court and retrieved it. The hat made its way back on his head, ala Lleyton Hewitt, with the rear-facing bill. From that point forward, he wasn’t in the game, at least mentally and Goffin defeated him 7-6, 6-3.

I came to a conclusion after that match that tennis players have a fairly universal “tell” when they are uptight during a match. It’s the ball bounce before a service. Novak Djokovic has a heightened case of the bouncing ailment. When he is really up tight, he often bounces the ball seven times, then stops and begins the bounce again so that the total is thirteen. Rafael Nadal has an erratic bouncing technique. He often exceeds twenty bounces before he introduces his serve. Both he and Djokovic have been called for time violations because of this seemingly innocuous habit that eats up the 25-second clock that is initiated by the umpire to ensure a match is conducted in a timely fashion. Berrettini didn’t surpass either of those two, but he did begin to add to his usual three or four bounces in both the first and second set. It was easy to see that he was uptight, even before the Belgian broke his serve in the second set. (It often seems that the most dangerous opponent is in one’s own head.)

After the match, Goffin said he was feeling great. He has a steady game that doesn’t seem to rise and fall with the score. Today he observed, “I’m playing well, more aggressive. I’m hitting the ball really well. So, it’s a great feeling this week to be in the final; my first final on grass in a 500.” And then he went on to say just how happy he was several more times. He seems like a steady guy. Not much is apt to raise his blood pressure. He is just a mellow fellow. Tomorrow, however, that may change, but I doubt it.

His best friend on the tour is Herbert. Federer’s victory over his friend was decisive. His own play today didn’t seem decisive, but more like a steady stream of answers to Berrettini’s offerings. He spoke of the weak backhand that the Italian displayed, and he also mentioned something that I noticed but didn’t ask about. Even though Goffin had some issues with his knee early on in the tournament it was apparent that Berrettini was favouring his right knee on many occasions. Goffin said, “I had to make him move and then come back to his backhand. The key was to stay focused because he was aggressive and try to counter him and make him run.”

When asked about his own knee, he claimed he had winced a few times, but then he had broken the Italian’s serve. With that, it was enough to carry on until he achieved what he set out to do. It was the win that was the reward for all of that hard work.

He spoke philosophically about the final. Even though Federer has a 7-1 win record over the Belgian, he said, “It is always special to play against Roger. You just try to play your best tennis and risk everything.” He should prepare for a risky day tomorrow. They will demonstrate their bundle of skills and their inimitable personalities will carry them through. The week of tennis will finish with a flourish no matter which of them wind up with their name on that massive trophy.

 

 

 

 

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Marathon Man Gilles Simon Outlasts Weary Medvedev In Epic To Reach Queen’s Final

The Frenchman has come out on top during what was a dramatic encounter in London on Saturday.

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LONDON: French underdog Gilles Simon has secured a place in his first ATP grass-court final for six years after downing a wilting Daniil Medvedev in a three-set epic.

 

Simon, who is a former Wimbledon quarter-finalist, valiantly came back from the brink to knock out the fourth seed 6-7(4), 6-4,6-3, in what was a marathon encounter at The Queen’s Club. Featuring gut-busting rallies lasting 30 shots and more, as well as some injury drama concerning Medvedev.

It was a really, really good performance today with the fatigue from the match yesterday, a lot of tension, and I found a good rhythm. I was hitting the ball well. I had good ball control on both sides.” Simon said during his press conference.
“It was pretty intense, but I found a good rhythm and I was able to hold it until the end, even if it was, like, really, really difficult. But, yeah, that was enough.”

The 34-year-old Frenchman appeared to be unaffected by the events that took place on the previous day. Taking on compatriot Nicolas Mahut, Simon engaged in the longest match to take place at the tournament since the ATP starting keeping records back in 19991. Battling it out on the court for three hours and 21 minutes.

On Saturday little separated the two players throughout their encounter at The Queen’s Club. In the first set, an early exchange of breaks saw the momentum switch between the two. Simon’s use of slice frustrated his Russian rival, who relied on his speedy serve to get him out of some difficult situations.

Eventually, Medvedev secured the breakthrough he was looking for during the early stages of the tiebreak. A four-point winning streak, which was aided by a duo of Simon mistakes, elevated him to a 4-0 lead. Weathering the storm, the margin was enough to gift him the opening set, which he closed out with the help of a forehand down the line.

Despite being in the lead, victory was far from certain during what was a tiring encounter. The inability to get away from Simon infuriated Medvedev, who displayed moments of frustration and stern glares towards his team watching from the sidelines.

The comeback

Two games away from exiting this year’s championships, Simon hit back at the most crucial moment. Leading the second frame 5-4, he once again dismantled the Medvedev serve to suddenly revive his chances of the win and force the proceedings into a decider.

As the momentum changed, more drama erupted towards the business end of the semi-final as Medvedev appeared to be in discomfort. Throughout the match, he was seen putting ice on his shoulder during changeovers. However, it was the back that was the most problematic. Forcing him to bend over sharply and even at one stage collapsing onto the ground. Prompting a worried look from his team.

You have this tendency to stop every time you play a good shot and you hope, oh, okay, it was enough, he cannot do it anymore.” The world No.38 explained when asked how he kept his focused.
“So you just have to focus on what you are doing and not watch on the other side.”

Medvedev’s misfortunes failed to have any impact on Simon’s concentration as he rallied towards victory. Leading 4-3, a cross-court winner from the Frenchman rewarded him another two break points for the chance to serve the match out. Something that was handed to him after a double fault from Medvedev. It would also be another Medvedev error which secured him the victory after the Russian hit the ball beyond the baseline.

Simon in the first Frenchman to reach the final at Queen’s since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga back in 2011. Should he win the title, he would become the first from his country to do so in the Open Era.

“It’s a difficult tournament to win. You see the names from the past champions. You realize how hard it is and the quality of the players who were able to win this tournament.” Simon concluded.

 

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