Boris Becker Hails Alexander Zverev As ‘The Next Big Thing’ In Tennis - UBITENNIS
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Boris Becker Hails Alexander Zverev As ‘The Next Big Thing’ In Tennis

Becker is the latest person to name the German as the future star of tennis following his success at The O2 Arena in London.

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Alexander Zverev’s triumph at the ATP Finals has proven that he has the ability to become a superstar of the sport, according to former world No.1 Boris Becker.

 

Zverev recently scored back-to-back wins over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to win the season-ending championships at the age of 21. Becoming the youngest player to do so since Djokovic back in 2008. The triumph is the biggest title of his career and brings his overall title collection on the tour to 10.

“It’s quite astonishing, winning this title, beating two such players back-to-back, Roger and Novak, in semifinals and finals. Means so much. I’m incredibly happy and incredibly proud of this moment right now.” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.

Zverev’s win at the ATP Finals has drawn praise from Becker, who won the same tournament on three occasions. During an interview with BBC Sport, Becker said the world No.5 has the ability to become ‘a new superstar’ in the sport. Zverev is the only player outside of the big four to have won three or more titles at Masters level.

“For years we have been saying tennis needs new faces and strong new players – and he’s proved he is the best of the next generation,” Becker told the BBC.
“Beating Novak Djokovic in the final was a big upset and a big victory for Sascha (Zverev). It was the big match which we were all waiting for from him.
“Yes… he’s beaten Djokovic and Federer before, but to beat them back-to-back in one of the biggest tournaments in the world tells him, most importantly, but also the world, that he is going to be the next big thing.”

According to data provided by the ATP, Zverev has a higher winning percentage compared to Federer and won more titles than Andy Murray when they were his age. However, Nadal was the most successful of the group when he was the same age as Zverev. Winning 23 titles and achieving a ranking best of second in the world.

Titles Masters titles Highest rank W-L record Winning %
Alexander Zverev 10 3 3 175-89 66.3%
Novak Djokovic 11 4 3 185-68 73.1%
Rafael Nadal 23 9 2 254-66 79.4%
Andy Murray 8 2 4 155-65 70.4%
Roger Federer 6 1 4 178-97 64.7%

Note: figures based on player’s performances on the tour until the age of 21 years and 212 days.

Becker isn’t the only person predicting big things for Zverev in the future. Djokovic has said he believes he will be a threat at all future grand slam tournaments. The German has been yet to progress beyond the quarter-finals at the majors. The world No.1 also said that he would like to see Zverev one day beat his title tally.

“There’s a lot of similarities in terms of the trajectory of professional tennis, in our careers. Hopefully, he can surpass me. I sincerely wish him that.” Said Djokovic.

Despite the hype surrounding Zverev, he has pledged to keep grounded heading into the new season. Which he will kick-off in Perth at the Hopman Cup. The tournament begins on December 30th.

“Oh, Jesus. Oh my God. God. I mean I won one of those, he won five,” he said in response to Djokovic’s comment.
“He’s won, I don’t know what, 148 more titles than me, so let’s not go there for now.
“I hope I can be great, but let’s chill out for a little bit.”

Zverev ends 2018 with four titles won on the tour. Besides the ATP Finals, he also won trophies in Munich, Madrid and Washington.

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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013

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Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.

 

 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.

 

 

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Danil Medvedev cruises past Jan-Lennard Struff to set up an all Russian quarter final against Andrey Rublev

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Ninth seed Danil Medvedev cruised past Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-1 in 66 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

 

Medvedev committed just 12 unforced errors and won 18 of Struff’s 25 second serve points.

 Medvedev broke twice in the second and eighth games to win the first set 6-2. The young Russian player got two consecutive breaks in the second and fourth games to race out to a 4-0 lead and held his service game at deuce after saving a break point in the fifth game. Struff held his serve to get his first game on the scoreboard, but Medvedev sealed the win on his first match point. The Russian player has improved his head-to-head record to 3-0 againt Struff.

Medvedev has won 11 of his past 13 matches during the North American hard-court season. He has a solid 41-16 record this season. He finished runner in two consecutive finals to Nick Kyrgios at Washington and to Rafael Nadal in Montreal.  In the quarter final the Russian star will face his compatriot Andrey Rublev, who upset Roger Federer 6-3 6-4.

Recent Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 6-2 in just under an hour setting up a quarter final against Richard Gasquet, who beat Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka beat Australian player Alex De Minaur 7-5 6-4 in 83 minutes with one break in each set. Nishioka rallied from 4-6 down in the tie-break of the first set to edge Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (8-6) 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes.

“It was a great match and I got better as it went on. I am feeling sharp. I am feeling great now and I am looking forward to the quarter finals of a Masters 1000. I have nothing to lose”, said Goffin.

 

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Roger Federer Crashes Out Of Cincinnati Masters

The seven-time champion has suffered a blow to his preparations for the US Open.

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World No.3 Roger Federer has been knocked out of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati after falling in straight sets to Russia’s Andrey Rublev.

 

The 20-time grand slam champion struggled to find his range as he was overwhelmed by his fearless opponent during the 6-3, 6-4, loss. Despite the huge disparity in experience between the two, 21-year-old Rublev managed to dominate the majority of rallies with the help of some heavy hitting. Producing 17 winners to six unforced errors, compared to Federer’s tally of 19 and 20.

“I respect him a lot, I respect all the top players a lot, but today when I was going to court I was going there to win.” Rublev said during an interview with Amazon Prime.
“I was not going (to the match) to enjoy. I was going to fight, try to win and do my best.”

Rublev’s shock win saw the underdog outdo the Swiss maestro in almost every area of the match. Winning the most first serves (85% to 63%), second serves (57% to 63) and a bigger majority of points at the net (5/6 to 7/19). Breaking him twice in the opening set and once in the second. The Russian, who is 70th in the world, is the lowest ranked player to defeat Federer on the tour since Thanassi Kokkinakis at the 2018 Miami Open.

The loss leaves a mark on Federer’s impressive record in Cincinnati, which he has won a record seven times. It is the first time he has failed to reach the quarter-final stage since losing to Ivo Karlovic in the third round back in 2008.

“He was playing well. I was maybe struggling especially on the offensive, because overall I didn’t think I was feeling the ball badly.” Federer reflected during his press conference. “It’s just, you know, sort of fast-court conditions and when you sometimes then can’t rely on that serve to go or on the one-two punch, which I didn’t think was excellent today from my side, you need an opponent that maybe lets you get by some tougher moments, but he didn’t do that.”
“He was super clean. Defense, offense, serving well. Didn’t give me anything. He was everywhere. So it was tough for me, but excellent match by him. I was impressed.”

Rublev now has a meeting with compatriot Daniil Medvedev in what will be his first quarter-final at Masters level. Medvedev has reached the final of tournaments in Washington and at the Rogers Cup since Wimbledon. He is yet to drop a set this week and brushed aside Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-1, in his third round match.

“It’s going to be an interesting match for Russia.” Rublev previewed. “It will be a tough match for me because the way he plays. Nobody likes to play him.”
“I lost to him in a Challenger a few years ago, so it’s going to be interesting tomorrow.” He added.

The latest victory is only Rublev’s second over a top five player in his career. His first was against Dominic Thiem at the German Open last month.

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