Novak Djokovic Thrashes Pouille To Reach Seventh Australian Open Final - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Thrashes Pouille To Reach Seventh Australian Open Final

The six-time champion produced an emphatic performance to set up a showdown against Rafael Nadal in Melbourne Park on Sunday.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic has fired a warning to upcoming opponent Rafael Nadal after crushing France’s Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

 

Djokovic, who is bidding to win the Melbourne major for a record seventh time, dominated proceedings from the onset against his nerve-stricken rival. Heading into the match, Djokovic was wary of the potential threat Pouille posed. The world No.31 scored back-to-back wins over Borna Coric and Milos Raonic to reach his maiden grand slam semi-final. However, the top seed proved too dominant in what was one of the most one-sided semi-final matches in grand slam history. Pouille’s serve failed to make an impact as his tentative second serve was punished by Djokovic, who broke him seven times in the match.

“It’s definitely one of the best matches I’ve ever had on this court (Rod Laver). Everything worked. The way I imagined if before the match and even more so. “ Djokovic said during his on-court interview.
“It was a tough one for Lucas, but he’s had a great tournament. I wish him all the best for the rest of the season.” He added.

Playing on the Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic required only 83 minutes to ease past his lacklustre opponent and seal a place in the final. The one-sided performance saw the Serbian hit 24 winners to just five unforced errors without facing a single break point.  The win is his 10th consecutive one in a grand slam semi-final.

“He definitely has the quality to be a top 10 player. It was his first grand slam semi-final, the occasion is different.” The 14-time grand slam champion said of his opponent. “There is more weight, more important during the match. I’m sure he’s going to get more matches like these in the later stages of grand slams.”

A year ago doubts were raised about Djokovic’s future in the sport. Coming back from a six-month absence due to an elbow injury, he experienced a lacklustre start to 2018. Then from July onwards, he dominated the tour by winning two grand slams and two Masters 1000 titles. A performance that has seen him rise to the top of the rankings. A turnaround that has been achieved with the help of coach Marian Vajda and his own belief.

“It was highly unlikely 12 months ago that I would be where I am today.” The 31-year-old admits. “I always had plenty of belief in myself and I think the self-belief is something that always prevails. There was always part of me that believed I could play this way. That was key.”

As a result of his one-sided encounter, Djokovic will take on Nadal for the chance to clinch his 15th grand slam title. Nadal defeated Next Gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Thursday. It will be the 53rd meeting between the two and the eighth in a grand slam final. Overall, Djokovic leads their head-to-head 27-25.

The last time the two clashed in the Melbourne final was back in 2012. On that Occasion Djokovic prevailed in a marathon encounter that lasted almost six hours.

“That was a once in a lifetime experience.” Djokovic recounted about the 2012 final. “Hopefully the outcome (this year) can be the same for me.”  

Should Djokovic win the Australian Open title, he would become the most successful male player of all-time in the tournament’s 114-year history with seven titles.

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Monte Carlo Breakthrough Leaves Andrey Rublev With Mixed Emotions

The world No.8 takes confidence from his latest run but admits it is ‘impossible’ to play at his very top level every week on the Tour.

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After achieving a career milestone at the Monte Carlo Masters, Andrey Rublev was sent crashing down to earth on Sunday.

 

The Russian tennis star broke new territory at the tournament by reaching his first ever Masters 1000 final at the age of 23. However, he was denied the title by Stefanos Tsitsipas who produced a clinical performance to seal victory in just 71 minutes. Ending Rublev’s run of winning seven finals in a row.

“I feel happy with the week, and I feel super sad with the final, that I couldn’t show my game,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“Of course, I’m happy with the week because I beat so many great players and I beat one of the best players in history. It’s a special week.”

Earlier in the tournament Rublev stunned the draw when he upset Rafael Nadal in three sets en route to the semi-finals. Making it the fourth time in his career he has scored a win over a player ranked No.3 in the world. He is also the first player in history to come back from a set down to defeat Nadal at the tournament.

Besides the king of clay, Rublev also dismissed Roberto Bautista Agut and Casper Ruud. He has now won 24 matches on the ATP Tour this season which is more than anybody else. However, he is reluctant to link all of his match play with his latest performance.

“I feel tired after all the matches that I play, exhausted. But this is not excuse. He was just better than me, and that’s it,” he stated.
“Not always everything goes your way. It happened today. I was completely exhausted. Stefanos, he showed great game. He was just better than me, and that’s it.”

Despite his recent success, Rublev is eager to not get too far ahead of himself heading into the French Open. A Grand Slam where he has only played in the main draw twice before, including last year where he reached the quarter-finals.

“I would like to play really good in Madrid and I would like to play really good in Rome. I would like to play all of the weeks good. But it’s impossible,” he explains.
“Some of the weeks for sure will be better, some will be worse and some will be amazing.’
“For the moment I’m playing really consistent. I’m really happy I’m playing my best season so far. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”

Rublev is set to return to action next week at the Barcelona Open where he will be the third seed.

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Former Australian Open Semi-Finalist Kyle Edmund Undergoes Surgery

It has been reported that the world No.69 may not be able to return to the Tour for ‘several more months.’

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British world No.69 Kyle Edmund is set to be sidelined from the Tour for some time after having surgery to treat a long-standing problem in Switzerland. 

 

The former British No.1 has confirmed he had a ‘small procedure’ on his knee after being hampered with issues in the area ever since 2018 when a scan revealed that he had fluid behind his left knee. Details of the surgery have not been disclosed by the person who conducted the operation was Dr Roland Biedert, according to BBC Sport. A specialist Orthopaedic surgeon who has also operated on Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin del Potro.

“I had a small procedure on my knee. I’m currently rehabbing. The recovery is going well and I hope to be back on court as soon as possible.” Edmund said.

Currently ranked 69th in the world, Edmund hasn’t played a competitive match since losing in the first round of qualifying at the Vienna Open last October due to his knee. 2020 saw mixed fortunes for the 26-year-old. After winning the New York Open during February of that year, he lost seven out of 10 matches played during the rest of the season. Including five defeats in a row.

No return date has been outlined by Edmund or his team following the surgery. However, British media have reported that he may be out for ‘several more months.’ Casting doubts over his chances of being ready in time for Wimbledon which starts on June 28th. He hasn’t been absent from a Wimbledon main draw since 2012.

Edmund has been ranked as high as 14th in the world with his best Grand Slam run being to the semi-finals of the 2018 Australian Open. Overall, he has won two ATP titles and has earned more than $5.7 in prize money. 

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Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’

The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.

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Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.

 

The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.

Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.

“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”

It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.

“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”

Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.

“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.

Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.

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