Zverev Defeats Isner to Advance to Semi-Finals of ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Zverev Defeats Isner to Advance to Semi-Finals of ATP Finals

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London, England

The youngest player in the eight man field at the ATP Finals in London is into the Final Four. Alexander Zverev fired 18 aces to defeat John Isner 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in the he their final Round-Robin singles matches of the tournament.

The 21-year old Zverev with two wins and just two sets lost advanced into the Semi-Finals out of the Guga Kuerten Group. Marin Cilic, who will play his final Round-Robin match on Friday night can not catch Zverev even if he defeats Novak Djokovic tonight as he has already lost three sets. Isner has been eliminated losing all three contests.

Zverev was firing on all cylinders in the match hitting 25 winners and making just 10 unforced errors. He out-aced his American opponent by eight, something you don’t see very often. He also won 75-percent of his points on first serve and he lost just one of 11 points at the net in the match.

“I don’t think anybody matches up well against John, to be honest,” said Zverev. ” It’s always one or two points that decide the match. We have had so many tight matches. This is only the second time that has gone to two sets.”

The two players went back and forth in the opening set, both players nearly untouchable on serve. Through the first ten games of the match each player combined for 13 aces and lost just a total of 11 points on serve.

Isner’s best chance to make something happen came at 6-5 when he hit a huge crosscourt forehand for a winner setting up set point. But then Zverev’s ninth ace of the match followed by two more big serves sent the first set into a tiebreak.

At 5-5 Isner tried to sneak into the net after returning a Zverev second serve but the young German came up with a forehand shot that the big 6’10 American could not handle. Shortly thereafter, Isner then fired a forehand into the net and the set belonged to Zverev.

In the second, the 6’6 Zverev continued his hot serving. On two separate occasions he fired three straight aces to capture service games. He got the only break of the set when he was up 4-3. A shank forehand from the 33-year old and then a good second serve return low to Isner’s backhand side gave him a chance to close out the match. Moments later he did. The match ending on an Isner backhand return which sailed long.

Zverev finished second in Group B behind Novak Djokovic. He will face Roger Federer in the first of Saturday’s Semi-Finals at 2pm local time.

“It’s obviously great getting to the semifinals,” said Zverev. “But the tournament isn’t over. I am in the semifinals. There’s only good opponents left. There’s only the best in the world. I’m playing Roger tomorrow, which is going to be a very difficult but hopefully very nice match. We’ll see how far I can go.”

As for Isner’s take on the match: “I think he was pretty dialed in on his serve, which was of course very important. A lot of times with me it comes down to a few points here or there. I had the one breakpoint, and he aced me. That’s a credit to him. That’s why he’s ranked what he’s ranked, 4 or 5 in the world. He was better.

@Sportshorn

 

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Roland Garros 2024: Iga Swiatek Outmuscles Jeanjean To Start Hat-Trick Bid

Iga Swiatek has begun her Roland Garros title defence in dominant fashion.

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Ubitennis/Francesca Micheli

Iga Swiatek began her Roland Garros campaign with a dominant 6-1 6-2 victory over French qualifier Leolia Jeanjean.

The world number one was in no mood to mess about in Paris as she bids for a third consecutive Roland Garros title.

Swiatek was dominant from the first ball as she refused to let Jeanjean settle into her game, controlling the tempo of the match from the baseline.

All three break points were converted in the opening set as Swiatek raced to a 28 minute opening set.

In the second set, Swiatek received her first test as Jeanjean began the set fearlessly as she broke the Pole in the opening game.

However as expected that didn’t faze the world number one who cruised through to the second round, breaking on three occasions to seal an impressive opening round victory.

After the match Swiatek said it’s too early to call her the ‘queen of clay’ but is very proud of her achievements, “This last tournament gave me a lot and I managed to play tennis is any conditions and under any circumstances,” Swiatek explained in her on-court interview.

“Every tournament is different and the next chapter. I think it’s too early [to be called Queen of clay]. I’m really proud of my achievements and this has always been my favourite surface. I will be watching Rafa’s match. I’m just at the beginning but I will try to take some lessons from him on being a good person and a good player.”

Next for Swiatek is a blockbuster second round match against Naomi Osaka with their head-to-head being 1-1 although the pair have never met on clay.

Also on day two there was a 6-3 6-2 win for Ons Jabeur over Sachia Vickery while Jasmine Paolini and Marketa Vondrousova also advanced into the second round on a rain-hit day in Paris.

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Casper Ruud Downplays French Open Chances After ‘Best start’ To Season

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Casper Ruud says he doesn’t rank himself among the favourites for French Open glory despite a successful clay swing.

The Norwegian comes into Paris with two titles under his belt after winning the Barcelona Open in April followed by the Geneva Open last week. He also reached the final in Monte Carlo, the semi-finals in Estoril and the fourth round in Madrid. Ruud is without a doubt a threat on the surface, especially at the French Open where he has finished runner-up the past two years. 

Although the world No.7 is keen to distance himself from any talk about being a title contender despite his credentials. This year’s men’s draw is being described by some as the most open in recent years with Novak Djokovic yet to find his top level consistently. Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner have both been troubled by injury issues.

This season has been the best start for me, the best kind of five months that I’ve ever had to begin the year,” Ruud told reporters on Sunday.
“Then Madrid and Rome were two disappointing results for me, and that’s also a little bit why I decided to go to Geneva. 
“I wanted to build up some momentum playing matches again. Obviously winning the tournament is a good feeling. It gives you confidence, but it feels like it’s anyone’s tournament and anyone’s game really. 
“If you look at it’s been several different winners on the clay this year, and in the three Masters 1000 alone there’s been three different winners.
“To me even though Novak hasn’t had the best year as he typically has or at the same level, I think he is still the favourite. He is the No. 1 seeded, and he has 24 slams under his belt, so if there’s anyone who knows when to find their peak and form, it’s probably him.”. 

As for his chances of claiming a maiden major title, Ruud says he doesn’t want to consider himself a favourite as it would put too much pressure on him to perform. He is the seventh seed in this year’s draw.

I wouldn’t put myself in the list (of title favourites) because I don’t want to kind of put pressure on myself, but I would put Novak up there definitely.” He said.
“It’s not a big if, but depending on how Carlos, Jannik, and Rafa feel, I feel like those three are also worth mentioning. If they are injury-free, I would consider them, well, four then. I would go with four guys. 
“It’s tough to kind of leave any of those out due to the fact that Rafa has won here 14 times and then Jannik and Carlos have been the sort of best of the younger generation in the past year or two. So I think that’s a good list of four.”

Ruud will begin his French Open campaign against Brazil’s Felipe Alves.

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Roland Garros 2024: Naomi Osaka Sees Swiatek Challenge As An ‘Honour’ After Rollercoaster Opening Round Win

Naomi Osaka is excited about the prospect of potentially facing Iga Swiatek in the second round.

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(@WTA_insider - Twitter)

Naomi Osaka is seeing her upcoming potential second round match with world number one Iga Swiatek as an ‘honour’ after winning her opening round match.

The multiple time Grand Slam champion is into the second round after a three set victory over Lucia Bronzetti.

It was a match that Osaka struggled to win but won it nevertheless and described the match as a rollercoaster after the match, “I think for me the match, it really was like a roller coaster,” Osaka said in her post-match press conference.

“I felt like I was extremely focused in the first set and maybe I let it go a little bit, and then I kind of came back in the third but then I let it go a little bit, and then I just got really tight from there.

“I’m really glad I was able to regroup and win and sit here today.”

Next for Osaka will be either world number one Iga Swiatek or Leolia Jeanjean in the second round.

However Osaka admitted she is a player that doesn’t really like to look at her draw and it wasn’t until everyone went quiet about Swiatek’s name that she knew who she could face, “Honestly, I didn’t really know, but then after, I was, like, why does everyone keep asking me about this draw?,” Osaka explained.

“Then I knew that I was in the top half, so I was, like, jokingly, I was, like, Well, it’s not like I’m playing Iga. Then everyone got quiet. So I was like, Oh.

“Honestly, I don’t feel like I tiptoe around it. It’s not stressful for me. I only ever know, like, my next opponent. I don’t like thinking too much in the future.

“I also feel like, in a way, it’s kind of like who am I to even think that I’m going to get there, there, there. So I just really try to focus on one match at a time, and everyone around me knows that I’m like that, so it’s not like they really talk about it or anything.”

Osaka and Swiatek have met on two previous occasions with the pair splitting the wins.

Playing Swiatek can be daunting but Osaka admitted it would be an ‘honour’ to play her and is keeping expectations low, “I’m honestly really excited. I watched her a lot when I was pregnant. And honestly, I think it’s an honor to play her in the French Open, because she’s won more than once here, for sure. I’m going to, it’s like a very big honor and challenge for me,” Osaka admitted.

“I definitely do feel like it’s a test to see where I’m at, but I wouldn’t say I have low expectations of myself. I’m a person that kind of thinks that I can win every match that I play. That’s kind of gotten me this far. I would never play a match thinking lowly of myself, no.

“So I’m kind of taking it as an experience. I don’t really have too many matches on Chatrier, because I’m going to assume we’re going to play there. So taking it as an experience and kind of knowing that I feel like I’m the underdog, and I think I thrive in those situations. So if I do play her, I’d be really excited to.”

The contest will take place on Wednesday, should Swiatek win her opening round match.

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