ATP Finals Day 8 Preview: Will Alexander Zverev Deny Novak Djokovic The Title? - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals Day 8 Preview: Will Alexander Zverev Deny Novak Djokovic The Title?

Novak Djokovic plays for his record-tying sixth championship at the ATP Finals, but a 21-year-old phenom stands in his way.

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Six months ago, Novak Djokovic even qualifying for the ATP Finals seemed nearly unfathomable.  In mid-May, he arrived in Rome with a 6-6 record on the year, having not won a Major in two years.  But in the second half of 2018, Djokovic has played some of the best tennis of his career, especially this week in London.  Since Wimbledon, he’s 35-2, with two Majors and two Masters 1,000 titles. He comes into this final having not dropped a set this week, and as per Ravi Ubha on Twitter, is vying to become the first man to win this event without losing a set since Ivan Lendl in 1986.  Regardless of the result today, Djokovic will end the year as world No.1 for the fifth time. A win today would give him an over 2,000-point lead over world No.2, Rafael Nadal, heading into 2019.

 

His opponent on Sunday is playing for the biggest title of his career.  Sascha Zverev has won nine titles in his young career, including three Masters 1,000 events.  Zverev though is yet to get to the latter stages of a Major, with only one Major quarterfinal appearance, and an ordinary 22-14 record at Grand Slam events.  A win today would be a significant next step in his career advancement. Unlike Djokovic, he’s not played his best in the past few months. Sascha’s last title came in July, and this is his first final since that time.  He advanced out of the round robin stage this week despite some instances of lackluster play, but really upped his game to take out Roger Federer in Saturday’s semifinals. He’ll need to raise his level even higher to stay with Novak on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic vs. Sascha Zverev


These two met just four days ago in round-robin play, a match which Djokovic won comfortably, dropping just five games.  Novak has all won all his matches this week without being threatened, dominating all comers. The best returner in the world is yet to have his serve broken in this tournament.  As highlighted by Enrico Maria Riva on Twitter, Djokovic has lost only 19 points this week on his first serve. And in even more terrifying news for Zverev fans, Novak has lost only 13 points on his second serve, and five of those were double faults.  If Djokovic continues to serve like that on Sunday, it’s hard to imagine Zverev having a chance.

Sascha himself served extremely well on Saturday against Federer, winning 88% of first serve points, and 64% of second serve points.  And he was really ripping his groundstrokes, moving Roger back in the court. Utilizing his power will be crucial for Zverev against Djokovic, as will getting off to a strong start.  After dropping the first set to Novak four night ago, it appeared at times he was not giving his best effort in the second. I’m confident Sascha will not do the same in the biggest final of his career today, but a victory over Djokovic when Novak is playing like this is an extremely tall order.  In a week where only one of fourteen singles matches have gone to three sets, let’s hope Zverev can at least make this an interesting and prolonged final. However, a Zverev win on Sunday would be quite a shock. Djokovic will be a heavy favorite to tie Federer with his sixth ATP Finals trophy.

 

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Nicolas Jarry Aims To Follow In Family Footsteps After Reaching Bastad Final

Nicolas Jarry looks to join his grandfather in winning an ATP title as he reaches the Bastad final.

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Nicolas Jarry (@FOXSport_Chile - Twitter)

Nicolas Jarry will look to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps tomorrow when he takes on Juan Ignacio Londero in the Bastad final. 

 

The Chilean was in fine form today as he beat another Chilean in Federico Delbonis in the semi-finals today, 6-3 6-2 in 64 minutes.

It is Jarry’s third ATP final and his second of the season following his final in Geneva, where he wasted two championship points to lose to Alexander Zverev.

Should the 23 year-old be triumphant on Sunday, he will join his grandfather as an ATP titlist after Jaime Fillol Sr. won six tour titles and finished a high of number 14 in the rankings in 1974.

Next up for Jarry is Cordoba champion Juan Ignacio Londero, who cruised past 2016 Swedish Open champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets.

The 6-3 6-4 victory included the Argentinian winning 73% of his first service points as he dominated the Spaniard in the 1 hour and 21 minute win.

It will be the second final of the season for Londero, who has enjoyed thriving on the clay in 2019 which has helped him reach a career high ranking of 58 in the world in June.

A good sign for Londero, was that en route to winning his lone title in 2019 in Cordoba, he beat Jarry in their only previous ATP World Tour meeting.

Both men will look to cap off an excellent week tomorrow as the final is scheduled for 2pm local time.

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Alexander Bublik Praises Mentality Change Ahead Of Newport Semi-Finals

Alexander Bublik is on the rise after changing his mentality as he looks to win his first ATP title in Newport this weekend.

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Alexander Bublik (@TennisHalloFame - Twitter)

Alexander Bublik praises his change in his mental approach to tennis after reaching the semi-finals in Newport. 

 

The 22 year-old from Kazakhstan is arguably having one of the best seasons of his career, having reached a career high ranking of 82 in 2019.

Having won three challenger events in Budapest, Pau and Monterrey, Bublik is full of confidence and is currently trying to transition that form on the ATP tour.

In an interview with the ATP website, Bublik has praised a change in mentality for the improvement in form, “When I was a kid I got in mental troubles a lot because I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to win this match. I want to win this tournament’,” Bublik said to atptour.com.

“Then last year when I broke my ankle is when I realised it’s fine… I’ve got to work hard to make it here, to make more and more, so that’s why I’m working hard every day trying to succeed.”

There is no doubting that Bublik has the talent as he has a unique style, which includes tweeners and during his quarter-final match with Tennys Sandgren in Newport, hit four aces in a game which concluded with an underarm ace.

However the world number 83 has said that he entertains himself first and aims to stand out from the crowd, “I entertain myself first. That’s the most important thing for me,” Bublik explained.

“Always be a leader, not a follower, You just have to be your own leader, make your own decisions,” Bublik said when speaking about one of his tattoos.

Well Bublik’s fate is certainly in his own hands when he faces Marcel Granollers for a spot in his first ever ATP final on Saturday.

The other semi-final will see top seed John Isner take on 4th seed Ugo Humbert as the Frenchman looks to take advantage of an under-par American.

In both of his matches, Isner has needed a third set to overcome both Kamil Majchrzak and Matthew Ebden as he looks to win a 3rd title at the Hall Of Fame Open.

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Bernard Tomic Sent Warning About Behaviour As Wimbledon Appeal Rejected

Bernard Tomic’s appeal was rejected after being fined all of his prize money for his first round defeat to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at Wimbledon.

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Bernard Tomic (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Bernard Tomic has been sent a stinging warning about his behaviour after his Wimbledon appeal was rejected. 

 

The Australian lost his first round match at Wimbledon to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in 58 minutes a couple of weeks ago in another lacklustre effort.

Although in previous years he may have escaped punishment, this time the grand slam board decided to deduct all his prize money as a result of his straight sets defeat.

This sent a clear message to the tennis world as they want to cut out lack of effort and give places in grand slams to competitors that will try their best.

Of course, Tomic wasn’t exactly pleased with the ruling and decided to appeal against the ruling which stated that he did not play to “required professional standards.”

However the appeal didn’t only get rejected, it got slammed down by board director Bill Babcock in a stinging letter to the controversial Australian.

In the letter Babcock referred to Tomic’s past history in lack of effort during matches, “A review of your historical record of misconduct at grand slams, never mind elsewhere, provides little justification for an adjustment,” Babcock said.

“In your case, Bernard, I am sure you would agree there is no historical evidence to give comfort to the theory that you can reform your behaviour.

“Admittedly, I am sceptical that you can achieve this reform of grand slam on-court behaviour, Many others, no doubt, would be even more than just sceptical. Good luck and I hope to be pleasantly surprised in the future by your successful reform.”

In the letter, Babcock added that if Tomic escapes a sanction in his next eight grand slam events, then he will be refunded 25 percent of his prize money.

Despite this outcome, Tomic plans on appealing this latest inquest further as he currently prepares for the ATP 250 event in Atlanta next week, “I don’t care about this 25 per cent, I care about the right thing for players in the future,” Tomic told the New York Times.

In a separate case, Anna Tatishvili was refunded all of her prize money after appealing successfully after her fine for not meeting professional standards at Roland Garros.

The American lost 6-0 6-1 in her first round match to Maria Sakkari in only her third tournament back since 2017.

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