Everything You Need To Know About Novak Djokovic’s Clash With Zverev At The ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Everything You Need To Know About Novak Djokovic’s Clash With Zverev At The ATP Finals

Ubitennis’ ultimate guide to finals day at the 2018 ATP Finals in London.

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After 14 matches played at the season-ending finale, two players will lock horns for the chance to secure victory at the season-ending championships in London.

 

Novak Djokovic takes on Alexander Zverev in what will be their fourth meeting on the tour. The world No.1 has won 35 out of 37 matches since the start of the Wimbledon Championships and is 14-0 against top 10 opposition. Meanwhile, Zverev will be playing in his first final since the Washington Open and is targeting his first ever win over a world No.1 player.

Here is everything to know about Sunday’s clash.

The Head-to-head

For the 18th time in the history of the ATP Finals, two players will play each other in the final after squaring off in the round-robin stages. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 2-1, winning both of their meetings in 2018. Zverev’s only victory occurred on the clay at the 2017 Italian Open, where he won his maiden Masters title.

The two players are yet to play a match that has gone the full distance.

2018 ATP Finals Round-robin – Djokovic wins 6-4, 6-3

2018 Shanghai Masters – Djokovic wins 6-2, 6-1

2017 Italian Open – Zverev wins 6-4, 6-1

How have they performed so far this week?

Djokovic leads his rival in seven out of the 10 key areas concerning their performance in the first four matches played at The O2 Arena this week. Zverev’s strongest area has been his ace count, which is 42 compared to Djokovic’s 16. Even more interesting is that his break point conversion rate is higher at 50% (5/10), compared to 39% (12/31) for the top seed.

Summary of the first four matches

source – atpworldtour.com

What have they said about playing against each other?

Both men have been complementary to each other heading into the clash. Djokovic has described Zverev as an ‘established player’ that deserves to be among the world’s elite. The German is the first and so far the only member of the current Next Gen contingent to have featured in the season finale.

“I’m expecting quite a different matchup for us than what it was in the group stage. Even though the win in the group stage against him a few days ago can definitely serve as kind of maybe a mental advantage a little bit coming into the match.” He said.
“But Sascha, even though he’s a leader of the new generation, still kind of considered a young player, he’s an established player. He’s shown some great skill on the court the last couple of years. He’s shown why he deserves to be in the mix of the top players in the world.”

Since winning the Wimbledon title, the Serbian has only lost twice. Coincidentally they were to other rising stars on the tour. In Canada, he fell to Stefanos Tsitsipas before losing to Karen Khachanov in Paris.

“Novak right now is the best player in the world. It’s very tough to beat him. He’s barely lost a match in the last six months. He’s playing amazing tennis. You have to play your best game to even have a chance. I hope I’ll be able to do that.” Said Zverev.

Experience Vs Youth

At the age of 31, Djokovic could become the oldest champion in the history of the event. Surpassing the previous record of 30 years and three months that is held by Roger Federer. It is the seventh time the Serbian has contested the final of the year-end championships.

In contrast, 21-year-old Zverev is the youngest finalist since Juan Martin del Potro back in 2009. The Next Gen star is the only player in history, other than the Big Four, to have three or more Masters 1000 titles. He could become the youngest champion since 2008 when Djokovic triumphed at the same age.

Federer’s record under threat

Djokovic, who is yet to drop a set in the entire tournament, has the chance of becoming only the second player in history to win the ATP Finals for the sixth time. The world No.1 has previously triumphed in 2008, before dominating the event between 2012-2015.

At present, Djokovic is tied with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with most titles won at the event (5). He is also the only player to have ever won the event four years in a row.

Serbia Vs Germany

Zverev is the first player from his country to reach the championships match since Boris Becker back in 1996. Only two German players have previously won the title. Becker (1988, 1992 and 1995) and Michael Stitch (1993).

As for Djokovic, he is one of only two Serbian players to have ever contested the tournament (since the break-up of Yugoslavia). The other is Janko Tipsarevic (2011 and 2012).

What will they win?

In the final alone, the victor will be handed $1,280,000 in prize money and 500 ranking points. However, due to the fact Djokovic is yet to lose a match, his overall reward will be higher than Zverev’s.

  • A Djokovic win = $2,712,000 in prize money plus 1500 ranking points
  • A Zverev win = $2,509,000 in prize money plus 1300 ranking points

Regardless of who wins, it will have no impact on the overall ranking of both players.

The final will get underway on Sunday at 18:00 GMT.

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Beatriz Haddad Maia Provisionally Suspended After Testing Positive For SARMS

Top 100 player Beatriz Haddad Maia has been provisionally suspended after being caught under the ITF Anti-Doping Programme.

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Beatriz Haddad Maia (@TennisChannel - Twitter)

World number 99 Beatriz Haddad Maia has been provisionally suspended by the ITF for testing positive for the drug SARMS. 

 

The incident in question involves the WTA 125k event in Bol, Croatia where the Brazilian’s urine sample was found to contain two types of the SARM drug.

Currently ranked 99, Haddad Maia lost in the opening round to Sara Sorriibes Tormo at the event in Croatia and with immediate effect has been suspended.

In their statement the ITF said that the 23 year-old had been suspended under article 8.1.3(c) of the Anti-Doping Programme.

“Ms. Haddad Maia, a 23-year-old player from Brazil, provided a urine sample on 4 June 2019 in association with her participation in the WTA Croatia Bol Open held in Bol, Croatia from 3 June to 9 June,” the ITF said in the statement on Tuesday afternoon.

“That sample was sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain SARM S-22 and SARM LGD-4033 metabolite. SARM S-22 and SARM LGD-4033 are Non-Specified substances, which are prohibited under category S1 of the 2019 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents), and therefore are also prohibited under the Programme. Positive tests for Non-Specified Substances carry a mandatory Provisional Suspension.”

It is understood that Haddad Maia will appeal her case and is now the third Brazilian to be caught under the Anti-Doping programme after Thomaz Bellucci and Joao Souza.

Recently Haddad Maia had beaten former world number one Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon before losing to Harriet Dart in the next round.

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Jack Sock Feeling Refreshed Ahead Of Tennis Return In Atlanta

Jack Sock is feeling ready to go ahead of his return to Tennis in Atlanta on Tuesday evening.

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Jack Sock (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Jack Sock is feeling refreshed and raring to go as he looks to make his return to Tennis this week in Atlanta. 

 

After missing six months of action due to two torn ligaments in his thumb, Jack Sock is ready to make his return this week in Atlanta.

Although the injury was frustrating, Sock sees it as a blessing in disguise as he finished 2018 with a 8-22 record in singles, “It’s very unfortunate to get injured obviously, but I think it was potentially the biggest blessing in disguise for my career,” Sock told atptour.com.

“So to be able to take those months and get a new mentality, enjoy playing the sport again and get excited about playing and come back out, I’ll be ready to fire.” 

Even though Sock is making his return to action this week in singles and doubles, the American admits that it will take a while for the thumb to loosen up, “It’s still a little stiff,” Sock said.

“I was hoping to maybe start a little bit earlier than this and maybe have played a couple tournaments leading into the US Open Series, but you don’t realise how much you need your thumb in daily life and in tennis and how I hold it, the forehand was the last thing I was able to do.”

Now the two-time doubles grand slam champion is feeling refreshed and is looking forward to the challenge of being the underdog, “Overall I feel very refreshed. I’m excited to play again, which I haven’t been able to say that in a long time,” he explained.

“I’m definitely excited to get out there and compete again. I’m just going to go play tennis for the first time in a while. I’m just going to go be happy on the court and enjoy playing and I’ll be the underdog now, which will be nice.

“I’ll be the ranking underdog and be able to go out and play free and have a smile on my face. If I win, amazing. If I don’t win, I’m out there playing again. It’s not going to bother me.”

The 26 year-old is now 180 in the world in singles as he looks to reclaim some of the form that got him to the ATP World Tour Finals in 2017 and 2018 in doubles.

It will be a testing first round for Sock as he plays talented Serbian and Antalya finalist Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round at 7pm local time on Tuesday evening.

 

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Rudolf Molleker knocks out two-time champion Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg

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German 18-year-old Next Gen player Rudolf Molleker knocked out 2014 and 2017 Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes at the Hamburg European Open.

 

Molleker beat Mayer in 2017 in the Hamburg qualifying round, but Mayer got a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser and went on to win the title.

Molleker fended off all three break points in two consecutive games of the first set, before saving two set points in the tie-break. He sealed the second set with a single break.

The German teenager saved two break points in the seventh game with two service games with two service winners and one more chance in the ninth game to set up a tie-break. Mayer took the lead twice at 6-5 and 8-7, but Molleker saved both chances with two winners and sealed the tie-break on the 18th point after a double fault from Mayer.

Molleker earned an early break at the start of the second set and held his service games in the next games before sealing the win with a service winner at 5-4 to secure his spot in the round of 16.

Marton Fucsovics cruised past Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-0 dropping just 16 points on serve. Fucsovics got an early break in the fourth game to clinch the opening set 6-3. The Hungarian player broke three times in a one-sided second set and sealed the win with a service winner.

Andrey Rublev, who lost in the second round at Wimbledon and Umag, edged this year’s Munich and Houston champion Christian Garin 6-4 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 39 minutes to score his second win over the Chilean player this year. Rublev broke three times to seal the opening set 6-4. The Russian player got the break back at 4-5 in the second set to set up a tie-break, which he sealed 7-5.

Jeremy Chardy came back from losing the first set to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3 after 2 hours and 34 minutes. Paire fended off a set point at 4-5 in the opening set to clinch the tie-break 7-4. Paire got a late break in the second set, but Chardy won two games at 5-5 to force the match to the third set. Chardy went up a double break to seal the third set 6-3.

Martin Klizan converted all five break points to cruise past Daniel Altmaier 6-2 6-2.

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