ATP Finals Day 6 Preview: Can Novak Djokovic Make It Three Wins Out Of Three? - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals Day 6 Preview: Can Novak Djokovic Make It Three Wins Out Of Three?

It’s the final day of round-robin play at the ATP Finals, with three players fighting for the remaining birth in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic at the 2018 ATP World Tour Finals in London (image via twitter.com/atpworldtour)

Novak Djokovic embarks upon his final round-robin match at The O2 Arena with the luxury of already qualifying for the semi-finals. The world No.1 will be looking to continue his flawless run when he takes on Marin Cilic on Friday evening. Cilic secured only his second ever win at the tournament two days ago after downing John Isner in three sets.

 

Elsewhere, Isner faces Alexander Zverev in a battle for the second qualifying spot in the group, which Cilic also has a shot at if he defeats Djokovic. Isner has a losing head-to-head record against his German rival (1-4), but they are square so far this season at 1-1.

The winner of the Guga Kuerten Group will play Kevin Anderson in Saturday’s semi-finals. Meanwhile, the runner-up will take on Roger Federer.

Advancement Scenarios for Thursday:

  • Novak Djokovic has already qualified for the semifinal round on Saturday.
  • Sascha Zverev advances with a win, or if he loses in three sets to Isner AND Djokovic defeats Cilic.
  • Marin Cilic not only needs to win, but also needs Isner to defeat Zverev.
  • John Isner needs to win in straight sets, and even then needs Djokovic to win as well.

source – atpworldtour.com

Sascha Zverev vs. John Isner


The biggest win of Isner’s career came at the expense of Zverev. That was earlier this year in the final of the Miami Masters. But that remains John’s only victory over Sascha. The 21-year-old German got revenge just a few weeks later on clay in Madrid, and holds a 4-1 record overall against the American on the ATP tour. And that doesn’t include their most recent meeting at the Laver Cup, which saw Zverev save a match point to prevail. Sascha has now twice defeated John on an indoor hard court. Neither man has played their best tennis this week, or in recent months for that matter. But Isner’s form this week has been particularly worrying, as the big man has seen his serve broken three times in each of his previous two matches. And considering John is only 5-5 during this fall’s indoor hard court season, I like Zverev’s chances to win today and qualify for the semifinals.

Novak Djokovic vs. Marin Cilic

image via twitter.com/atpworldtour

These two played a significant match in London just five months ago. In the Queen’s Club final this past June, Cilic saved a match point to come from behind and defeat Djokovic. Novak however has twice beaten Marin since that time: at the Cincinnati Masters, and just two weeks ago at the Paris Masters. All three of their 2018 meetings have gone the distance, so Cilic has been pushing the new world No.1 throughout the year. In their careers, Cilic only possesses two victories over Djokovic in 18 previous encounters, with his only other win coming at the Paris Masters in 2016. Novak actually won their first 14 matches, and they’ve now split their last four. Djokovic should be able to play extremely freely in this match, knowing he’ll be in Saturday’s semifinals regardless of the outcome. Cilic’s advancement will depend upon his performance on Friday, as well as that of the match from earlier in the day. Novak is now 33-11 lifetime at the ATP Finals, while Cilic only holds two victories out of eleven matches at the O2. Djokovic will be a heavy favorite to remain undefeated heading into the semifinal round.

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Kei Nishikori Confirms Safety Amid Hurricane Ian, Sets Out End of Year Plans

Kei Nishikori is set to return to tennis in November.

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Kei Nishikori (@WSOpen - Twitter)

Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori has confirmed that he and his family are safe as Hurricane Ian continues to cause destruction in America.

 

Nishikori lives and is based in Florida, where Hurricane Ian is doing most of its destruction at the moment.

So far at least two million people are without power with a handful of people losing their life due to the hurricane.

Some of Nishikori’s fans were concerned about his safety but the former top ten player confirmed that he and his family are safe, “Hi everyone, just a quick note to say my family and I are safe,” Nishikori confirmed on social media.

“Thank you for all the messages. It was a scary day and hope things will be back to normal as soon as possible. My thoughts are with all the people facing the results of the storm. I hope everyone stays safe.”

It’s pleasing to hear Nishikori is safe as the storm continues to cause destruction on many people’s livelihoods in the US.

Speaking of Nishikori, the Japanese star has been fairly muted on the court with him not playing a single event this season.

Injuries have been the story of Nishikori’s career and it looks as if that trend has continued in 2022.

However Nishikori could be expected to make his return to the tour in November on the Challenger tour.

That’s because Nishikori has been confirmed to compete in the Calgary and Drummondville challenger events.

The two events take place between the 6th and the 20th of November with Nishikori looking to gain some match time ahead of next year’s Australian Open.

Tournament directors Alain Calle and Danny Da Costa had this to say on Nishikori’s participation, “We’re thrilled to have Kei at our tournaments,” they jointly said in a press release.

“He’s been one of the most prolific players on the Tour since the start of his career, and even though he’s coming back from a major injury, he remains a very talented player. We’re looking forward to seeing him play again in Canada, and there’s no doubt our fans will be, too.”

The events will be Nishikori’s first since Indian Wells in 2021 where he lost to Dan Evans in the second round.

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Novak Djokovic Praises ‘Passionate’ Tel-Aviv Crowd Ahead Of Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic is into the quarter-finals in Tel-Aviv and will play Vasek Pospisil on Friday.

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Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic spoke about the crowd in Tel-Aviv ahead of his last eight showdown with Vasek Pospisil.

 

The Wimbledon champion progressed to the quarter-finals in Tel-Aviv with a dominant display over Pablo Andujar.

Djokovic dropped only three games as he returned to imperious form as he looks to boost his ranking over the coming weeks.

Speaking after the match Djokovic spoke about the ‘passionate’ crowd in Tel-Aviv and how it boosted his performance, “Fantastic atmosphere here tonight, thank you very much,” Djokovic said in his on-court atmosphere.

“I like the court, it’s very intimate and it’s very loud. The crowd here is very passionate about the sport, about tennis and I’m really, really happy to be here and to perform here in front of you, so thank you for your support.”

Djokovic’s last appearance in Tel-Aviv came as a teenager in 2006 when he played a Davis Cup tie.

Now 16 years later, Djokovic is relishing the occasion playing in Israel again as he looks to make up significant ground on the world’s top ranked players.

Djokovic will now play good friend Vasek Pospisil in the last eight with the Serb leading the head-to-head 5-0.

Here are the other quarter-finals that will take place on Friday in Tel-Aviv:

Arthur Rinderknech v Roman Safiullin

Constant Lestienne v Maxime Cressy

Liam Broady v Marin Cilic

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Iga Swiatek Annoyed By Scheduling Dilemma Ahead Of Season Finale

Iga Swiatek has admitted it’s unlikely that she will play the Billie Jean King Cup Finals after a scheduling dilemma.

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(@thenet_m - Twitter)

World number one Iga Swiatek admits she is annoyed by facing a scheduling dilemma ahead of the end of the season.

 

Swiatek has dominated the 2022 season having won two Grand Slam titles and five other titles this season.

This means she has qualified for the WTA Finals which will take place on the 31st of October in Texas.

However Swiatek is now becoming the victim of her own success as she now faces a dilemma over whether to represent Poland at the Billie Jean King Finals.

The BJK Cup Finals, take place the week after in Glasgow where Poland will face the Czech Republic and the USA in their Group.

Speaking to Polish media Swiatek admitted she is unsure whether she will compete in Scotland and criticised the WTA for their lack of organization over the events, “I am dissatisfied, although I know that arranging everything is complicated,” Swiatek was quoted by Give Me Sport Women as saying.

Certainly, the fact that the WTA and ITF federations in a sense did not cooperate to facilitate our task is irritating to me. I will definitely take steps to let them know about my dissatisfaction.

“I don’t understand the scheduling. I’m not gonna lie that I’m happy about the fact that if I go deep in [the] Finals, I will have to not only play tired but also jetlagged the next day. So I can’t confirm whether I’ll represent Poland or not. I’m sorry.”

Swiatek’s father, Tomasz, backed up his daughter’s criticism and wishes for more communication between the WTA and players in the future, “It’s an extremely unfortunate deal,” he said.

“And yet we have a very difficult group for that in the BJK Cup. The dates of both events are missed. There is a clash between the ITF (organisers of the BJK Cup) and the WTA (organisers of the WTA Finals). Instead of taking care of the development of women’s tennis, they cannot communicate.”

So far both Swiatek and Ons Jabeur have qualified for the WTA Finals with Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula expected to join them.

Caroline Garcia, Aryna Sabalenka, Daria Kasatkina and Simona hold the other four spots with just weeks left of the season.

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