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Roger Federer Shows Better Sportsmanship Than His Fans

Federer and Zverev played the best match of the ATP Finals. The Swiss fell short at the end, while the German didn’t deserve the booing from the crowd. Djokovic will be the favorite “with caution” in today’s championship match.

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LONDON – After 12 fairly ugly and boring matches in the group stages at this year’s ATP Finals, the first semifinal deservedly won by Sasha Zverev against Roger Federer offered plenty of entertainment, unlike the second semifinal dominated by Novak Djokovic over Kevin Anderson. Since losing the Queen’s final to Marin Cilic in June, Djokovic raised his level and jumped to world No. 1 once again, capturing 35 of the last 37 matches he played.

 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Novak is now unbeatable since a bad day at the office can happen to anybody. It is also complicated to beat the same player twice in the same week. In 18 occasions, the championship match was contested by two players that had previously faced each other in the group stages, and 50% of the times the player that lost in the round-robin ended up winning the final.

Nevertheless, Djokovic is the overwhelming favorite in Sunday’s final. He defeated Zverev 64 61 three days ago in their round-robin match and dominated his younger rival 62 61 in Shanghai about a month ago. On Wednesday the big serving German was able to stay with Novak until the score was 4-4 in the first set. He also had two break-points to go up 5-4 and serve for the set but he fell apart after squandering those two opportunities – one by missing an easy lob with Djokovic in the wrong position at the net.  

Ivan Lendl, who started working with Zverev earlier this year, was furious about Sasha’s lackluster performance in the second set, so I do believe that the German will at least try to compete at his best throughout the entire championship match instead of throwing in the towel mid-match. If Zverev has a good serving day, we are certainly in for a competitive match, despite Djokovic’s outstanding return game.

Djokovic was all over Anderson’s serve in yesterday’s semifinal, breaking the South African early in each set and taking absolute control of the match. The Serb has also been serving impeccably this week, hitting all the spots and never dropping serve in four matches.

Zverev showed an incredibly high level of tennis against Roger Federer and prevailed over the Swiss maestro in the first semifinal of the day. Sasha was surprisingly more aggressive than Roger, who at 37 years of age seems to be a step slower than in the past. Therefore, it was crucial for Roger to put pressure on his opponent, but the German didn’t allow him to control the patterns of play.

Roger played a horrendous service game at the end of the first set and went on to squander a break advantage at the start of the second. Federer was able to break back and force a tie-breaker, during which we witnessed the most controversial moment of the match. With Federer leading 4-3, Zverev stopped mid-rally after a ball slipped from a ballboy’s hand and into his line of vision. When the point was replayed — as the rules allow for when a ballkid drops a ball — Zverev served his seventh ace of the match. The crowd thought that Zverev was given an unfair advantage by the chair umpire and they started booing against the German.

Roger talked about the incident in his post-match press conference: “As soon as the ballboy and line judge confirmed what happened, the obvious choice was to replay the point. I am not questioning Sasha’s sportsmanship. He actually showed some courage to stop the rally, because the umpire could have said something like: ‘Sorry, you are in the middle of a rally, I didn’t see anything, you lose the point.’ That’s why I wanted to clarify the situation with the chair umpire, who made his decision after talking to the ballkid and line judge. I am not quite sure what the rule is in this case.”

The boos and heckling from the crowd were absolutely unfair and disrespectful. Zverev outplayed Federer during the entire match and deserved to win. I believe that most of the spectators didn’t quite understand what happened and why Zverev stopped that rally.

Zverev – who is not of the nicest guys on tour and often seems quite arrogant – this time showed his softer side and apologized to the crowd in his post-match interview, understanding that most of them were there to support Federer.

At 21 years of age, Zverev is the youngest finalist at the year-end championships since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009. Novak Djokovic is looking to win title number six that would equal Roger Federer’s record.

(Article translation provided by T&L Global – Translation & Language Solutions – www.t-lglobal.com )

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Carlos Alcaraz Faces Rune Test In Astana

Carlos Alcaraz leads a stacked field in Astana next week.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz returns to the ATP tour next week in Astana next week where he faces Danish talent Holger Rune.

 

The world number one plays his first ATP tournament since winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and becoming the youngest world number one in history.

Having qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, Alcaraz will now look to build momentum over the coming weeks for the event in Turin.

First up for Alcaraz is the ATP 500 event in Astana next week where the Spaniard faces a tough opening round in the form of Danish talent Holger Rune.

The Dane reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros earlier this year but had struggled for form since then.

However Rune has reached the semi-finals in Sofia this week and is hitting form at the right time so this will be a big test for Alcaraz.

Should Alcaraz get through that test than a potential second round meeting with Stan Wawrinka could be on the cards with the Swiss wildcard facing Adrian Mannarino in his opening match.

Andrey Rublev is the player that could face Alcaraz in the last eight with the eighth seed facing a qualifier in his opening round match.

Rublev is one of a number of players who are chasing the remaining spots at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Also in the top half of the draw is Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz with Tsitsipas facing Mikhail Kukushkin.

While Hurkacz faces Francisco Cerundolo and a potential second round match against home favourite Alexander Bublik could await in round two.

In the bottom half of the draw, Novak Djokovic will continue his search for a surge up the rankings against Cristian Garin.

Djokovic’s potential quarter-final is Jannik Sinner who begins against tricky serve and volleyer Oscar Otte.

Daniil Medvedev is also taking part in a stacked field in Astana as he faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his opening round match.

In the bottom quarter there is also an intriguing opening round match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Here is the full draw with play starting on Monday:

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All-Estonian Match In Tallinn Headlines WTA Semi-Finals

Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi will battle for a spot in the Tallinn final.

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Anett Kontaveit (@usopen - Twitter)

An all-Estonian match between Anett Kontaveit and Kaia Kanepi in Tallinn headlines semi-finals day on the WTA side.

 

Estonian tennis history will be made on Saturday as Kaia Kanepi and Anett Kontaveit will take on each other in their home country in the semi-finals of Tallinn.

The atmosphere in Estonia has been electric all week and it will be even louder with a guaranteed Estonian making the final.

Despite a miserable season so far, Kontaveit thrives on the indoor hard courts and will enter Saturday’s semi-final as favourite.

However Kanepi is known for causing shocks and the world number 32 will fancy her chances when the two players meet at roughly 16:00 BST.

Speaking after her quarter-final win over Karolina Muchova, Kanepi told the press that she isn’t tired and admitted Kontaveit is favourite, “I don’t feel tired at the moment. I usually don’t feel it after a match,” Kanepi told err.ee.

“It was very even. In the end I tried to play with a lot of guts and, I succeeded, that’s why I won. For me it’s just like any other match. She’s ten years younger than me, there’s not really any question. Anett has a better record and she’s ahead of me in the rankings.”

This afternoon’s meeting will be the first of their career with a place in the final against Barbora Krejcikova or Belinda Bencic on the line.

Sakkari Aims For First Final For Seven Months

Meanwhile in Parma, Maria Sakkari will look to reach her first final since Indian Wells as she takes on Danka Kovinic in the last four.

Sakkari is the heavy favourite for the title as she looks to build up some confidence heading into the end of the season.

The other semi-final in Parma will see Ana Bogdan take on Mayar Sherif.

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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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