Miami Open Day 14 Preview: Roger Federer To Lock Horns With Fast-Serving Isner For Title - UBITENNIS
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Miami Open Day 14 Preview: Roger Federer To Lock Horns With Fast-Serving Isner For Title

Federer gives title No.101 another try, while Isner looks to defend his Miami title.

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Roger Federer (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

A month ago in Dubai, Federer lifted his 100th winner’s trophy above his head. Two weeks ago in Indian Wells, he was just a few games away from No.101, but was outplayed in the end of that final by Dominic Thiem. Now in a tournament where he’s looked sharper with every passing round, he’ll face an opponent most players don’t enjoy playing against.

 

2018 was the best year of John Isner’s career. While he started last year by only winning two of his first eight matches, everything changed in Miami one year ago. That was the biggest title of his career, a run that included victories over three of the top five seeds. Later in the year, he advanced to his second Major semifinal, where he went down in defeat in the longest semifinal of all-time. This year he slowly built momentum on the North American hard courts, and advanced to this final without dropping a set.

“I have backed up other tournaments before after winning them the previous year, but nothing of this magnitude.” Isner said about reaching the final. “To be back in the finals is a good accomplishment for me.”

Roger Federer (4) vs. John Isner (7)

7-6, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6. Those are the scores of Isner’s matches in this tournament. He’s played nine tiebreakers, and prevailed in each one of them. We’ll likely see more tiebreakers on Sunday. In their seven previous matches, they’ve played eight tiebreaks, with Roger winning five of them. As Chris Fowler of ESPN highlighted, Isner has never broken Federer’s serve on a hard court.

“I’m just finding myself pretty calm in those situations.” The reigning Miami Open champion commented about his success in tiebreakers. “Maybe it’s a little bit mental. I’m definitely playing my best tennis when I have been in that situation this week, there is no doubt.”

Federer is 5-2 overall against Isner. John did win the last time they played on tour, at the 2015 Paris Indoors. Isner’s other victory came in a Davis Cup match on clay in Switzerland. This is their fourth meeting on an American hard court, and Isner is yet to defeat Federer in the US. Those stats do not count their actual last meeting, at last September’s team event, the Laver Cup. That was also played on a US hard court, with Federer saving match points and pulling out the win in a 10-point tiebreak. While the Laver Cup is not an officially-recognized event, the result is certainly legitimate, as both players were obviously giving their all.

“I know what to expect – that he will not miss many serves. He’s got an amazing serve. One of the best in the game, forever. It’s really hard to play against him,” Federer said during his on-court interview with ESPN on Friday.

Of course this match will likely come down to just a few pivotal points where a break or a minibreak is up for grabs, and that gives Isner a legitimate chance. Federer will feel less pressure to hold his serve than Isner knowing his previous inability to break Roger. That being said, Federer has struggled to convert break points in a few recent cases, most notably against Tsitsipas in Australia and Thiem in Indian Wells. If that trend continues here, that’s big trouble for Roger in a match where break points will be so limited. All things considered, I give Federer the slight edge to win his fourth Miami Open title.

Six facts to know about the final

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  1. This is the oldest combined final in the history of the men’s tournament. Federer is 37-years-old and Isner is 33.
  2. Federer has a 15-1 win-loss record against American players in the final of tournaments. His only loss was to Andre Agassi at the 2002 Miami Open.
  3. Isner has already won nine tiebreaks in the tournament so far in what is a career-best for him.
  4. Federer could become the first player on the ATP Tour to win a second title in 2019. The first 19 tournaments have all been won by different players.
  5. Isner is bidding to become the fourth person in history to defend a title in Miami. Following in the footsteps of Pete Sampras, Novak Djokovic, Agassi and Federer.
  6. Federer will be playing in his 50th Masters 1000 final and will be bidding to claim his 28th title. Regardless of the outcome, he will remain third on the all-time list for most trophies won at that level. Rafael Nadal leads with 33 titles, followed by Djokovic with 32.

The full head-to-head record (Federer leads 5-2)

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Further 23 Players In Hard Quarantine After More Positive Tests On Charter Flight

More players head into hard quarantine ahead of the first grand slam of the year.

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(@emirates - Twitter)

A further 23 players have been told that they are being placed into hard quarantine after another positive COVID-19 test on a charter flight from Abu Dhabi.

 

Players were notified this evening in Australia that there was a positive test on the Abu Dhabi charter flight. Although it looks it wasn’t a player who tested positive it now means 23 more players will now go into hard quarantine.

This follows the news of 24 players going into hard quarantine after two positive tests from a charter flight from Los Angeles.

It is understood from several journalists that among those who are now being placed into hard quarantine from the Abu Dhabi flight are Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari, Bianca Andreescu, Angelique Kerber, Marta Kostyuk, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ons Jabeur.

Although there are only 47 players in hard quarantine so far, there is a fear that this number could rise with more COVID test results still waiting to come back.

Before the charter flights, Andy Murray, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Madison Keys and Amanda Anisimova were denied entry into Australia via the chartered flights due to positive COVID results.

The first set of tournaments in Australia are set to begin on the 31st of January with the Australian Open due to begin on the 8th of February.

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Madison Keys latest player to test positive for Coronavirus

Madison Keys ruled out of the Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19.

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Madison Keys (@SporArena - Twitter)

The American tested positive for the first time and will miss the first grand slam of the year.

Madison Keys has officially tested positive for the coronavirus. She announced the news on social media and says she will, unfortunately, miss the Australian Open.

 

Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I, unfortunately, tested positive for Covid-19 before I was suppose to fly to Australia. I’m very disappointed to not be able to play in the coming weeks after training hard in the off-season and knowing Tennis Australia and the tours did so much to make these events happen.

I am self isolating at home and will continue to follow all the necessary health precautions. I look forward to be back on tour next month.

“Thank you for all your support.

Stay Healthy and safe.

Madison

Keys is the latest player to have tested positive after Andy Murray revealed he had a positive test while Tennys Sandgren had tested positive but was given the green light to travel.

Two players in men’s qualifying in Doha tested positive and were immediatly removed from the draw. Apparently if you test positive for the first time you are not allowed to travel but if you already tested positive and show no symptoms there is a chance you will continue to test positive before the effects go away.

Players are traveling this week to Australia and will be mandated to follow the 14 day quarantine with the exception of training five hours a day. The Australian Open begins on February 8th.

While most players will be quarantining in Melbourne both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have confirmed they will do their quarantine in Adelaide.

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ANALYSIS: Daniil Medvedev’s Run At The ATP Finals – Win Against Nadal Was The Turning point

Using two types of graphs, UbiTennis takes a closer look at the five matches won by Daniil Medvedev at the 2020 ATP Finals.

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Let’s analyse the five matches won at the ATP Finals by Daniil Medvedev, using the graphical representations provided by Federico Bertelli. We have renamed the graphs as “The ride”, recalling the famous Wagnerian composition. The first series of graphs is made up of decision trees and illustrates the trend of Medvedev’s and his opponents behind their respective serves, from the first round robin match to the final won against Dominic Thiem.

 

These are the details of his debut match against Zverev. The graph is easy to read: on the right (in blue) the times he held his serve are represented, while the time he broke his opponent are on the left (in red). The thicker the segment that connects two scores, the more frequently that ‘path’ of play has been covered.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/39qVQVmRFll9YWeGxM_Dl-qEBE7Z2iwMHIfrEa6v5WwIKELuSfGEYrmgVQkDzPhlhsEthmsawLr4Cx-hi-NC15wcu85Yjt_unBZPfFJWpWoyoW5JS1Xbzxf63e2tZnzu0Z_RDCg
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/72lIM46LmWsHKBUr3Rhw7oYq4Lto4obP0mA7E_kQH9bVB58TMEhC1Onixq0M8tZch1ZG4v8Hmf_Ntxss48abHouM1wqaPgRaQSeAcsSbJCZAY1Tea-lYVQzeStc61ayblLIasXM

Medvedev’s solidity holding serve is undeniable, because he performed best in deuce receiver and deuce server situations. It can also be observed how the Russian got broken just once in his first three matches, against Zverev at 30-40, while against Nadal he was particularly in trouble with his own serve, as the Spaniard was the only one who broke him several times, taking advantage of some favourable scoring situations such as 0-40, 15-40 and deuce receiver.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/e0lb0_yVnzwb24LWS-xN7qdhxz4DqiNqCBEolubVLln3Qv_7Na99-mCi4WU_k9UrBT4T4H2OqcnxnlYEcO8TX4LtwMA3nkLW94JK6hnnEEshOXFd9_HNZ6seBhP56_deatR2Rig
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/IPBeJdkVLRtQewleS-MxR7QHtzpehhO8wIslpXwlGLisR7KrzSbMng2lAUoAdjIMj2EWBPWhA838l2AJX27anuWFex_oIUSFdMHfoQWDlpW8DoLUx209sVr8cg7qdfvOdfJojX8

However, against Thiem, although Medvedev found himself tangled in a decider, the trend reverts back to that of the round matches: the only chance that Thiem had to snatch the serve was on the deuce receiver. He had no other chance from 40-40. 

https://www.ubitennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Medvedev-finals.jpg

The graphical analysis, corroborated by the thickness of the oblique blue lines, also shows the growing solidity of the Russian from match to match, winning the opening two points in his service games. This is a sign of a growing confidence in his game as the Russian advanced towards the final stages of the tournament, e.g. the semi-final and the final.

As for the situations in which Medvedev was particularly proficient on his opponent’s serve, the deuce receiver stands out, a circumstance that was present in all five matches, followed by the 30-40 – he broke on this situation against Zverev and Schwartzman.

AN OVERVIEW

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/vjDrxErqtjvDOnK9dhmExHj5OiMeiNHupX3ffY3sKFBPPQ39Yb7Gipu39P5_XYAlGoBbgeILp7kDrYKrQBoaVRJHSzD731_9doLJ2GVFq4xafnYhzlBeyORsZ4HY5UB88OHV3ao

The second series of graphs on Medvedev’s Valkyrian ride consists of radar graphs illustrating the classic statistics shown at the end of each match, which are equivalent to the following percentages – starting from the top and going clockwise: percentage of first serves in play, percentage of points won with his first and second serve, break points saved and converted, points won on the return against first and second serve, total points won, total points won on the return and on serve. What you see above is the diagram of Medvedev’s debut match: it is easy to see that he did better than Zverev in all statistics except for the percentage of first serves in play.

From the analysis of the first three matches of the group stage, even though the yellow area is predominant in almost all the statistical percentages, it’s clear that Medvedev was more effective in saving break points than his opponents (more than 80 percent against Zverev and 100 percent against Djokovic and Schwartzman), as well as in converting them. Against Schwartzman, he was actually bettered in the percentage of points won with the second service and in points won on the return against the opponent’s second serve.

https://www.ubitennis.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bbb.jpg

However, in the next two matches the percentage profiles of break balls saved and converted change because Nadal’s and Thiem’s numbers are higher than the Medvedev’s. So, ultimately, it means that Medvedev conceded fewer break points and managed to convert those that his opponents offered him during the match. 

That shows a great solidity.

If the general statistical profile of the Medvedev’s match against Thiem is similar to that of the matches won against Djokovic and Zverev, and in some ways to the one against Schwartzman as well, the statistics outline against Nadal is totally abnormal and should be considered as an outlier. The percentage of points won returning Nadal’s second serve and on his own second serve were the crucial ones. We will analyse this aspect in another article that will deal with Medvedev’s positioning on the return.

In conclusion, from the analysis of the statistical profiles, it appears that the semi-final bout against Nadal was the toughest obstacle that Medvedev had to overcome in his ride to success in a tournament in which he turned out more than anyone to be able (perhaps naturally) to give the match the desired direction, even when the numbers were not completely by his side.

Article by Andrea Canella; translated by Alice Nagni; edited by Tommaso Villa

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