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

Embed from Getty Images

  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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Kiki Bertens Believes In Stability And Trust Ahead Of 2020 Season

Kiki Bertens looks for stability in hope of grand slam success in 2020.

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Kiki Bertens (@rogerscup - Twitter)

Kiki Bertens believes stability and trust is the key to success ahead of the 2020 season despite a time of change for the Dutchwoman. 

 

A time of change is approaching for Kiki Bertens as she recently just got married to her physical trainer Remko De Rijke.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5iU5w9hTgf/

It’s not only off the court, change is approaching for the former Wimbledon quarter-finalist as her and coach Raemon Sluiter parted ways during the off-season.

After the split it would have been easy for Bertens to make a radical change to her coaching team but that is not her style as she has promoted Elise Tamaela to a main coaching role.

Even through a time of change, Bertens believes stability is crucial to success, “It takes me a while to be able to trust someone,” she admitted to Dutch website De Telegraaf. 

“And I don’t want to spend that time on something like that. We’re going to continue in the same way for next year. The results were not as expected in the Grand Slams but I had other good weeks. It’s really not that I felt different playing in the Slams than in other weeks in which I could win titles.”

Although the formula to winning a grand slam has yet to be solved, the world number nine has achieved great consistency having won 55 matches in 2019, which also included the biggest title of her career in Madrid.

A new era await for Bertens with her new coach and plenty of praise was given to Elise Tamaela ahead of the new season, “For me the most important thing is that that person knows a lot about tennis. I have to be able to fully trust her,” Bertens said.

“To be able to laugh with that person, eat with her. I prefer to keep the equipment to the minimum possible and be able to feel comfortable in terms of confidence. Sometimes more people in the team only bring more opinions. And that style is not mine.”

This simplistic formula has worked for Bertens in the past and as the 2020 season approaches, she’s not looking to change it.

However will inexperience lead to the same results at grand slams, with the level of the Women’s game rising, Bertens may find that breaking the boundaries of stability is needed.

The former world number four will start her march towards more glory in Brisbane on the 6th of January.

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Caroline Wozniacki Announces Retirement After Australian Open

Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open in January.

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Caroline Wozniacki (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Caroline Wozniacki has announced that she will retire from tennis after the Australian Open as a new chapter in her life approaches. 

 

The Dane won 30 WTA singles titles in her career and spent 71 weeks as world number one although a grand slam had haunted her for most of her career.

However that changed in 2018 after an epic win over Simona Halep sealed a dream come true as she won her first grand slam at the Australian Open.

Since winning her maiden slam though, it has been an uphill struggle on the court for Wozniacki as she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Some days the former world number one and on some days, it is a constant battle for her to even wake up in the morning.

Now with other priorities taking over having been married to former NBA player David Lee since June and already studying Business at Harvard, Wozniacki today took the decision to retire from tennis after the Australian Open.

https://twitter.com/MPTenisPodcast/status/1202972268831367168

In a statement on Instagram, Woznaicki told her followers that she had accomplished everything she wanted to and looks forward to the future, “I’ve accomplished everything I could ever dream of on the court,” she said.

“I’ve always told myself, when the time comes, that there are things away from tennis that I want to do more, then it’s time to be done. In recent months, I’ve realized that there is a lot more in life that I’d like to accomplish off the court.

“Getting married to David was one of those goals and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (project upcoming) are all passions of mine moving forward.

“This has nothing to do with my health and this isn’t a goodbye, I look forward to sharing my exciting journey ahead with all of you!

“Finally, I want to thank with all my heart, the fans, my friends, my sponsors, my team, especially my father as my coach, my husband, and my family for decades of support! Without all of you I could have never have done this!”

Although this retirement may have been coming, not many people would have predicted it would come at the scene of her grand slam breakthrough.

Now in the last stretch of her career, the Dane will want to finish on a high as she looks to celebrate a career that has lasted nearly 15 years.

 

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Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep and Venus Williams are the stand-out names in Adelaide

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Four top 10 players Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens and former Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber will grab the headlines at the Adelaide International from 12 to 18 January 2020.

 

A total of seven Grand Slam champions and five former world number one players will take part in the Adelaide WTA tourament.

This year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty leads a star-studded line-up, which includes 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and seven other members of the top 20.

The Main Draw also features Sofia Kenin, Alison Riske, Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins, World Number 30 Quang Wang. World Number 12 and this Rome WTA Premier finalist Johanna Konta will play her first tournament since the US Open following a knee injury.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams has been announced as the Top 20 wildcard.

“It is always exciting to play at a new tournament in front of new fans. I have had so many memorable times times in Australia over the years and I am looking forward to discovering Adelaide and all it has to offer”, said Venus Williams.

The men’s line-up includes 2019 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, Alex De Minaur, Lucas Pouille and Andrey Rublev.

“The full list of players is a real who’s who of tennis, from Australia’s favourite Ashleigh Barty to the iconic Venus Williams, right through to the young talent of Alex De Minaur and the experienced campaigner Novak Djokovic in the men’s field”, said South Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway.

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