ATP Finals Day 7 Preview: Will It Be A Dream Showdown Between Djokovic And Federer? - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals Day 7 Preview: Will It Be A Dream Showdown Between Djokovic And Federer?

The top four seeds have advanced out of the round robin stage, and will fight for the trophy this weekend in a single elimination format.

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Saturday’s semifinals feature two of the greatest players of all-time, who have dominated this tournament for a decade and a half. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have combined to win this event 11 of the last 15 years. Standing in their way of playing for another championship on Sunday are two men who have advanced to the semifinals of the ATP Finals for the first time. One is a 32-year-old veteran in his first year qualifying for this event. The other is a 21-year-old who is likely playing in his first of many championship weekends at this event.

Roger Federer vs. Sascha Zverev

Alexander Zverev (photo by Alberto Pezzali)

Federer and Zverev have an intriguing history. Federer took their first match, on clay at the 2016 Rome Masters. A month later, Zverev pulled off the upset in the Halle semifinals on grass. A year later at the same event, Roger prevailed in a final that lasted less than an hour. Just weeks later, Sascha won in the final of the Rogers Cup on a hard court. And one year ago at this event, Federer was victorious in a three-set round robin match. Since they’ve alternated wins thus far, perhaps it’s Zverev’s turn to win today.

“It’s going to be a very difficult match. I mean, him (Federer) on this surface, an indoor court, he’s an unbelievable player.” Said Zverev. “I’ve Played him a few times in all different conditions, all different surfaces.”

While Federer got off to a very slow start this week, he has upped his level with each match, as he has gotten more comfortable with the playing surface at the O2. Now into his fifteenth semifinal at this tournament, Roger is 10-4 at this stage. But I’m more curious to see how Zverev performs on Saturday. He’s yet to breakthrough to the latter stages at a Major, yet this is a huge opportunity to advance his career at the biggest non-Major tournament of the year.

“I’m happy I gave myself the opportunity. I’m happy that I’m raising my level of play throughout this week. This is what I hope to do.” Federer commented about his run to the last four.

The crowd will likely play a considerable role, as London loves Federer and will be extremely vocal in supporting him as we’ve seen all week. How will Sascha respond to the crowd, the significance of the match, and his opponent? Well he showed a lack of resilience on Wednesday, as he completely went away after dropping the first set to Djokovic. And as Gigi Salmon pointed out on ATP Tennis Radio, Zverev has looked pretty spent this week at the end of a long season. I suspect Zverev will be motivated on Saturday, and he’ll keep the scoreline close, but I still like Federer’s chances to advance to his 11th final.

Novak Djokovic vs. Kevin Anderson

Novak Djokovic (photo by Alberto Pezzali)

As far as official ATP matches are concerned, Djokovic is 7-1 against Anderson, with the South African’s only victory coming the first time they played over 10 years ago in Miami. However, Anderson did get the best of Djokovic at the Laver Cup this past September, in a match decided by a 10-point final set tiebreak. Djokovic has defeated Anderson three times in London, though all three matches took place at the All England Club. Of course Novak easily dispatched of Anderson in this year’s Wimbledon final, following Kevin’s near-seven-hour semifinal with John Isner. Their best previous meeting was at SW19 in 2015, when Djokovic came back from two sets down to defeat Anderson in five. Most recently, Novak won in straight sets last month in Shanghai. If you count the Laver Cup, this is their fourth meeting in 2018.

“He has played some big tennis throughout this year. It’s definitely his best season.” The current US Open champion said of Anderson. “The last couple of years he has been playing his best tennis. He continued doing that throughout the tournament.
He’s serving well, playing well and being aggressive. I know what to expect.”

Djokovic is the only man to go undefeated in this week’s round robin play. He’s yet to drop a set, and has truly been at the top of his game with first-rate returns and unrivaled movement around the court. Novak is averaging just above five unforced errors per set thus far at this tournament, with a total of only four double faults in six sets played. During one stretch of Friday’s match against Marin Cilic, Djokovic won 31 straight points on serve, as highlighted by Steph Trudel on Twitter. Bottom line: Novak is giving his opponents nothing to work with. While Kevin Anderson played well in his first two round robin matches, he was thoroughly outplayed by Federer on Thursday night. The slow-bouncing hard court at the O2 will only allow Djokovic extra time to handle Anderson’s power. And considering Novak is 5-1 in the semifinal round of this event, this should be smooth sailing for Djokovic to reach his seventh championship match at the ATP Finals.

 

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‘Speechless’ Mensik Reaches Maiden ATP Final In Doha

Jakub Mensik is into his first ATP final in Doha.

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Jakub Mensik admitted he was left speechless after reaching his first ATP final in Doha.

The 18 year-old continued his remarkable week with a 6-4 1-6 6-3 semi-final victory over Gael Monfils.

The Czech Republican produced clinical tennis as he beat the 2018 champion to reach his maiden ATP final.

After the match Mensik admitted he was left ‘speechless’ and spoke about the influence Monfils had on his career, “It is amazing. Hopefully not the last one [final]. Incredible week so far,” Mensik told the ATP website.

“Today again with Gael, he played unbelievable. I know it is tough to play against him, especially with his good movement. For me every point I have to play my best game.

“I have to say this performance was one of the best in my entire life. I am so glad I reached this level in the semis, so hopefully tomorrow I play like this. An amazing feeling with my first ATP final. I am speechless.

“I told him when I was young I watched him a lot on the TV. One of the biggest showman on court. He is a great guy, so hopefully in the future we will meet once again. The rallies were so fun with him.”

Mensik has so far beaten three former champions this week as he also defeated Andy Murray and Andrey Rublev this week.

Now Mensik will aim to win his first ATP title as he takes on Karen Khachanov in Saturday’s final.

Should Mensik win the title he could climb to 75 in the world as he started the week at 116 in the world.

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Acapulco Faces Safety Issues Ahead Of ATP 500 Tournament

Acapulco faces safety and infrastructure issues before the ATP 500 tournament next week.

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Acapulco has faced safety concerns ahead of the tournament as players have been advised to stay in the tournament hotels or tennis venues.

As exclusively revealed by James Gray of the i newspaper, Acapulco is facing security and infrastructure concerns ahead of the tournament.

ATP players have reportedly been told in an email to stay confined to the tournament hotels and the tennis venue as crime rates have increased in the city.

Organisers in Mexico have reassured people that players will be able to train safely with the following statement, “The Arena GNP, venue for the Mexican Open of Tennis, and the host hotel are currently operational to carry out the tournament,” the tournament organisers told the i newspaper.

“Since Tuesday, we have been receiving players in Acapulco, and they have already had the opportunity to train at the venue.”

However there are still infrastructural problems including lack of flights to Acapulco as well as other safety concerns which have been affected by Hurricane Otis.

Despite the problems the ATP seem confident that the event will be safe and secure ahead of the ATP 500 event, “It is not uncommon for players to receive security advisories from ATP as a precautionary measure across more than 250 Tour and Challenger Tour events each season,” A spokesperson told the i newspaper.

“The advisory sent for Acapulco factors in the additional complexity of Hurricane Otis’ disruption. There have been major efforts and investment to restore the Acapulco venue in recent months.”

The ATP 500 event in Acapulco will take place next week with Alex De Minaur being the defending champion.

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Ons Jabeur’s Latest Withdrawal Raises Doubts Over Season Ambitions

Ons Jabeur will be hoping to re-energize herself ahead of a big few months in her career.

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Ons Jabeur’s latest withdrawal in Dubai has raised doubts over how successful the Tunisian can be this season.

Despite having high hopes for revitalizing her season in Dubai, Ons Jabeur has had another setback in 2024.

The Tunisian was forced to withdraw from one of her favourite tournaments of the year in Dubai due to a knee injury.

This withdrawal came days after Jabeur said she was ready for the challenge in Dubai and was excited to compete in front of a passionate crowd in Dubai.

In a statement Jabeur explained her injury and why she was unable to compete in Dubai this week, “After consultation of my doctors and team we have decided that I will have to withdraw from Dubai this week and go for more medical treatments,” Jabeur was quoted by tennishead as saying.

“Looking forward to reconnect with all on the courts for the US swing. Thank you for your continuous support.”

This latest setback isn’t a coincidence though as Jabeur has struggled with injuries ever since her Wimbledon final.

The mental and physical toll that the last eight months have taken of Jabeur are starting to show.

There doesn’t seem to be a plan in place as Jabeur has been open about her mental health struggles since that comprehensive defeat to Marketa Vondrousova at Wimbledon.

That’s a potential problem for Jabeur going forwards as it continues to get tougher for the world number six to find motivation going forwards.

A long break away from tennis may be beneficial for Jabeur as it feels like this summer may be the Tunisian’s last opportunity at Grand Slam glory.

An innovative and new approach may be required for Jabeur as her physical and mental stamina continues to fade with every week.

However will Jabeur manage reinvent herself before it’s too late? Only time will tell and SW19 may be the final destination in that bid.

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