Stefanos Tsitsipas Knocks Out Roger Federer To Make Australian Open History - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas Knocks Out Roger Federer To Make Australian Open History

The next gen star has battled to the biggest win of his career in Melbourne.

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20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas has become the first Greek player in history to reach a grand slam quarter-final after stunning defending champion Roger Federer 6-7(11), 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-6(5), in a enthralling encounter at Melbourne Park.

 

The fourth round clash was a battle between a veteran of the sport and a rising star. Heading into their first tour meeting, Federer has won 99 more titles than his opponent, claim 334 more main draw wins in a grand slam and recorded 711 more victories on a hard court. The statistics pointed to a comprehensive Federer win, but in reality is was a dream performance by the underdog. The tenacity of Tsitsipas’ play proved too strong against Federer as he saved all 12 of the break points he face. Blasting 20 aces and 62 winners past him. Meanwhile, Federer showed glimpses of his brilliance, but came unstuck with his erratic forehand.

“There is nothing I can say to describe it right now. I am the happiest man on earth right now.” Tsitsipas said afterwards.
“From the very beginning, it is important to keep that mindset on the court. Go in, believe in yourself and believe in your capabilities. But you have your abilities as a player.”

From the onset there was drama in the match. 20-year-old Tsitsipas received two time violations during his opening service game for exceeding the 25-second time limit between points. Then later in the game, Federer took a swipe at umpire James Keothavong for rewarding a point to his Greek rival following a successful hawk-eye challenge. Saying he only made that decision because he had a ‘bad conscience’ about penalising Tsitsipas earlier.

“I was too slow I have to agree.” The world No.15 joked afterwards. “I don’t know, it felt weird. I felt like I was on time, but still received the time violations. I just wanted to take my time and sometimes the referee reminds you that you need to be on time.”

The dramatic start to the match paved way to what was a high quality opening set of tennis. Heading into the match Tsitsipas, who is 17 years younger than Federer, said he grew up watching and studying the game of the Swiss Maestro by watching YouTube videos of him. This was evident as Federer was forced to battle hard against his opponent, who showed little fear despite his inexperience of playing on the big courts of grand slams. A roller coaster 24-point tiebreaker saw Federer prevail after saving three set points. Nudging ahead 12-11 with the help of a clean forehand winner, he sealed the lead in somewhat unfortunate circumstances. Midway through a rally, a call of ‘out’ from the crowd in relation to a Tsitsipas shot. Although it is unclear if that interrupted the moment of the Greek player, he shortly after hit an unforced error to gift Federer the one-set lead.

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Frustratingly unable to pull away from his opponent, Federer was engaged in what was a game of cat and mouse. Eight chances to break Tsitsipas in set number two came and went as another tiebreaker loomed. Meanwhile, his inspired opponent continued to defy the odds. Hitting his way through the second set tiebreaker. Tsitsipas’ courageous play was rewarded after a deep forehand winner clinched him the second frame to level the match.

It wasn’t until almost three hours into the match that the first break occurred in what was a significant moment for Tsitsipas. Continuing to remain resilient behind his serve, the world No.15 proved too much for Federer. Trailing 5-6 in the third, the 20-time grand slam champion hit three consecutive forehand errors. Gifting the underdog the lead for the first time.

With the chance of creating Greek tennis history, Tsitsipas didn’t fault at the prospect. Like the entire match, it was just a couple of points that separated the two titans. At 5-5 in the four set tiebreaker, a out call rewarded Tsitsipas his first match point. Prompting an eruption of hysteria among the crowd. Victory was then sealed after a backhand from the 37-year-old crashed into the net. Prompting a look of disbelief on Tsitsipas’ face.

“Roger is a legend of our sport. I have so much respect for him. He has shown so much good tennis over the years. I have been analysing him six I was six. It was a dream come true to be on Rod Laver facing him. Winning too, I cannot describe it.” Said Tsitsipas.
“It’s important to have this aggressive mindset. Play in the moment, have first serves in and press from the very beginning. I didn’t lose my patience. That was the key to save those break points. Overall, I showed a great fighting spirit and determination.” He added.

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut will be the next opponent for Tsitsipas. The 30-year-old upset 2018 finalist Marin Cilic 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Achieving the best grand slam run of his career. Agut is yet to lose a match this season after winning the Qatar Open prior to the Melbourne major.

As a result of his loss, Federer will drop outside of the world’s top five on Monday. The first time he has done so since March 2017.

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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal Criticized Over Playing A Charity Match

The duo have turned some heads due to the timing of their exhibition with two key ATP 500 events.

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The current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal are due to play a charity match tomorrow in Kazakhstan.

 

The commitment of playing in Kazakhstan means the star duo are missing tournaments in Vienna and Basel, which could be seen as a priority to play over an off the calender match. The two players have got permission from ATP CEO Chris Kermode, however, some other people are not happy about this. Edwin Weindorfer, who is the director of the Vienna Open, is one of them.

I do not think it’s good that there are exhibitions ongoing during ATP events. Players are ATP members. There is an off-season after the ATP Finals and anybody can play during that time,” Weindorfer said as reported by Express.

In reality ATP players cannot play any exhibition matches during weeks of ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, ATP 500 tournaments, ATP Finals, and should they violate these rules, they would be subjected to penalties. These are described under the player Major Offence Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game, unless they get a special permission allowing them to do so as stated. The rulebook states “A player has the right to petition the president or his designee for an exemption to these requirements unless otherwise specified above,” which both players have done in this case, and now they’re clear to play.

There was approval from ATP CEO Chris Kermode because, per rules, during ATP tournaments, an exhibition match cannot be held. So we need to respect that.” Weindorfer added.

The Vienna Open director isn’t the only one person to speak out about the topic. Thomas Muster, who is a former world No.1 and French Open Champion, has had his say too.

The tournament [Vienna] will always share the top stars with Basel. Of course, Federer plays there and Nadal and Djokovic only play where and when they want. But despite some cancellations, it is again a top field.” He said.

It’s worthy noting that playing either Vienna or Basel could have kept Djokovic as world No.1 for a longer time. He is set to lose the leading rank to the Nadal on November 4 regardless of their results at the Paris Masters.

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Basel 2019 Preview: Roger Federer Targets Record As Rivals Looks To Qualify For ATP Finals

Federer is on a quest for a 10th title in Basel and could play an all-Swiss quarter-final against countryman Stan Wawrinka later this week.

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This year in Basel the competition is at its top, with two spots yet to be reserved in the race to the ATP Nitto Finals.

 

Roger Federer, who could make a 13th final in Basel this year, will commence his campaign against qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in the first quarter. In the second round the 20-time grand slam champion could play either Radu Albot or Dusan Lajovic, whom he has a clean head-to-head profile against.

Meanwhile European Open finalist, who just lost to comeback kid Andy Murray in Antwerp, Stan Wawrinka is facing the Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas in the first round. Should he take off with a win, he would face either Frances Tiafoe or Daniel Evans before he could set a clash with last year’s Basel champion in quarter-finals.

Generally it could be theoretically an easy contest for Federer, who has a H2H profile of 23 wins to three loses against Wawrinka with 17 of them on hard-courts. However Wawrinka is in good form after making his second final of the year last week after Rotterdam in February.

The second quarter sees one player who has guaranteed his debut at the ATP Nitto Finals. Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas regained some of his good tennis during the Asian Swing where he ousted the World No.1 Novak Djokovic in Shanghai to reserve a place at the ATP Nitto Finals. Tsitsipas is taking on Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round. Only one meeting has taken place between the two on the ATP Tour in Barcelona last year with the Greek winning it. Then he could play either qualifier Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis or Pablo Andujar in the second round.

However, there is another player in this quarter, who is still trying to make it to the ATP Nitto Finals. Fabio Fognini had a disappointment last week when he lost in his first match in Stockholm after making the quarter-finals in Shanghai before losing to Daniil Medvedev. The Italian is starting against  Alexei Popyrin then he could face either Laslo Djere or Filip Krajinovic, who made it the final in Stockholm before losing to Shapovalov. Fognini is in the 11th position in the race to London, going after countryman Matteo Berrettini, 8th position, with a gap of 290 points.

Should a quarter-final between Tsitsipas and Fognini occur, the Greek leads in their previous confrontations 2-0.

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut is in the third quarter. He has been in bad form these past couple months, but is only 40 points behind Berrettini in the race to London. Should the Spaniard want to make his debut at the O2 Arena this year, he has to be pretty much on form as he opens against Marius Copil. Who showed a very good form in Antwerp last week and possess a big serve that could be an obstacle to a lot of players. The winner of that match will face either the Frenchman Richard Gasquet or Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero in the second round.

Still in the third quarter, another player is in the run for a spot at the ATP Nitto Finals with 90 points behind the Italian Matteo Berrettini. It’s David Goffin, who is taking off in Basel against former US Open champion Marin Cilic in what could be a thrilling match, but the Croatian isn’t in good form recently. Goffin would face either the big serving Reilly Opelka or Chile’s Cristian Garin in the second round, should he get past Cilic.

Second seed Alexander Zverev takes on Taylor Fritz in the opening round in what could be a tricky match in the fourth quarter. Zverev, who has had a very tough season this year and recorded his first top-10 win just days ago in Shanghai against Federer, has gained in momentum  significantly after his participation in Laver Cup a few weeks ago. He is now in the 7th position in the race to the O2 Arena after reaching the final in Shanghai, which he lost to Medvedev in straight sets. He has either Alex De Minaur or Hugo Dellien in the second round with possibly Benoit Paire or Germany’s Struff in the quarter-final.

The Frenchman Benoit Paire is opening against the wild card holder Henri Laaksonen, should he cruise to the second round, he would face either Jan-Lennard Struff or Miomir Kecmanovic.

Full draw

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Stefanos Tsitsipas On Why His US Open Early Exit Was ‘The Best Thing To Ever Happen’

The Greek No.1 sees a silver lining to one of his latest losses on the tour.

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Losing in the first round of a grand slam isn’t something players are normally happy to talk about. However, for Stefanos Tsitsipas he doesn’t think he would be where he is now if he didn’t suffer an early loss at this year’s US Open.

 

The Greek player was seeded ninth in the draw at Flushing Meadows. He fell at the first hurdle to Russia’s Anrey Rublev in four sets, who went on to reach the fourth round of the major. Tsitsipas has endured a mixture of results in the grand slams this season. In January he scored his first major breakthrough by defeating Roger Federer on route to the semi-finals of the Australian Open. However, his runs in the majors has got worse as the season progressed. Losing in the fourth round of the French Open, followed by the first round at Wimbledon. Ironically Tsitsipas believes believes it is his US Open misfortunes that has had the biggest impact on him.

”It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” Tsitsipas told atptour.com. “I stayed in New York for six or seven days after and it gave me time to discover new things. It was important for me to enjoy and realise what I needed in my life.
”It was my decision to live life how I wanted to, not how others wanted me to. There was a time last summer when I doubted myself, [thought] that I wasn’t interesting as a person. I wanted to be someone else, but now I understand that it’s awesome to be myself.”

During the Asian swing the 21-year-old won seven out of nine matches played (excluding retirements). Reaching the final of the China Open and the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters. It was the first time he has reached the last four at two consecutive tournaments since May (Madrid and Rome).

Tsitsipas is hoping to continue his surge in form this week at the Swiss Indoors in Basel. He will be seeded third in the draw behind nine-time champion Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev. The world No.7 is yet to win an ATP 500 tournament. Something he hopes to change over the coming days.

“I’m currently in the best state of my life,” he declared. “It doesn’t have to do with results or playing good tennis or bad tennis. I’ve been feeling very happy and very well. I’ve been enjoying life more in general and that reflects in my game. It makes me happy and makes me want to live better.”

Already qualified for the ATP Finals, Tsitsipas is hoping to end what has been a roller coaster season on a high. He has achieved a win-loss record of 49-22 so far this year (including Davis Cup), but has also lost his opening match at eight tournaments.

“I think it’s normal to have ups and downs and I learned a lot this year.” He told reporters on Sunday during a press conference. “I’m looking forward to playing in Basel, Paris and London and hope to go as far as possible.”

In Basel, Tsitsipas will open up his campaign on Tuesday against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Viñolas. A player he beat in straight sets during last year’s Barcelona Open.

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