On a day where the rain wrecked havoc, Roger Federer kept his momentum going with a straightforward 6-4, 6-0, win over Kevin Anderson.
The 20-time grand slam champion took to the court much later than expected due to mother nature, but experienced little difficulty throughout his quarter-final match. Taking on Anderson, who recently missed nine weeks of the tour due to an elbow injury, Federer broke his opponent five times as he claimed 80% of his first service points. Avenging his loss to the South African at last year’s Wimbledon Championships.
“I played a really solid first set and got a good read on his serve,” said Federer.
“It was tough because I know he keeps going and if you get passive you need to come up with a good passing shot.
“Maybe I got a bit lucky at the end, but I am just pleased to get through.”
Federer has progressed to the semi-finals of a Masters tournament for the 65th time in his career. Awaiting him will be rising star Denis Shapovalov, who was born six months after Federer scored his first win on the ATP Tour at the 1998 Grand Prix de Tennis de Toulouse. Shapovalov battled back from a set down to defeat Frances Tiafoe 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2. Reaching the last four of a Masters event for only the third time in his career.
The upcoming match will be the clash of the generations. Federer is 18 years older than Shapovalov and have played in 68 more grand slam tournaments. Despite the disparity, the seemingly ageless world No.5 is relishing the challenge.
“It doesn’t feel that different to when I played Rafa when he was super young, or anybody. Any teenager you play, once I think you’re 23, feels different to playing anybody else, because you know they come out there and they might not know all the plays down to the T yet, but they don’t have to, because they just free-swing sometimes, and that makes it particularly dangerous.” Federer explained during his post-match press conference.
Whilst the two are yet to lock horns on the court, Federer is already fully aware of the Canadian’s potential. The two have previously practised together with Shapovalov leaving a good impression on the former world No.1.
“I think he warmed me up for a match in Toronto,” he recounted. “He might have been 16, 17, and similar to today, he was just hitting big. I was, like, ‘Wow, it’s unbelievable. How old is he? How good is he gonna get?’”
“He was very impressive. Same with the serve. He has that beautiful swinger going. It just felt like he belonged there.”
The Federer effect
Shapovalov is currently ranked 23rd in the world, but he is set to crack the top 20 next week following his run in Miami. The 19-year-old is yet to win an ATP title, but he is the second youngest top 100 player after compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime. Auger-Aliassime will play John Isner in the other Miami semi-final.
“In terms of playing Roger, it’s definitely a matchup I have been looking forward to, I think, my whole life” Shapovalov said. “It’s going to be a dream come true to play him in such a big event over here, and the stakes are so high, semifinal match of a Masters 1000 against your idol. It’s just a dream come true.”
Growing up, Shapovalov said the 37-year-old was one of the players that he would mould his tennis after. Citing the one-handed backhand of the Swiss player as one of his biggest inspirations.
“I was always looking at his backhand, the way he hits it. I always tried to kind of copy him. Really just build my game and play like he does.” The world No.23 explained.
“Aggressive, coming in. He was always not afraid to kind of go for his shots and close the point at the net. I feel like that, just watching him do that so much kind of built my personality on the court, and I try to do the same.”
Federer isn’t the only one who inspired the rising star. Shapovalov also said he used to study Novak Djokovic’s return game and Rafael Nadal’s ‘fighting spirit.’
“I feel like those three guys have helped me learn so much in the game. It’s three great guys to kind of look up to when you’re young.” He concluded.
Federer will play Shapovalov in Miami on Friday.
Rafael Nadal Apologizes To Opponent After Wimbledon Win
The Spaniard admits he made a mistake.
Rafael Nadal said he was ‘wrong’ to call his opponent to the net during the third set of their third round match at Wimbledon.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion booked his place in the last 16 of the tournament by defeating Lorenzo Sonego 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Nadal, who hasn’t won Wimbledon for more than a decade, was out in full flow as he raced to a two-set and 4-2 lead. At that point, Sonego managed to get the roof to be closed due to poor lighting.
After speaking to the umpire, Nadal called his opponent to the net for a discussion over what is believed to be about the noise he was making during the match. After losing his 4-2 advantage, Nadal battled back by breaking once again to secure victory.
“Well, first of all, I have to say that I was wrong. Probably I should not call him on the net. So I apologize for that. My mistake in that. No problem. I recognise that,” said Nadal.
“Then after that, all the stuff during the match that I don’t want to comment (on), because is something that I spoke with him in the locker room and it stays there. Only thing I can say is I saw him personally. I apologise for that.
“My intention was never to bother him at all. Just to tell one thing that was bothering me that I think he was doing in that moment, but that’s it.
“I think there is some code between players. Yeah, we had some issues there. But that’s it.”
The two shared a lengthy exchange at the net after the conclusion of the match and there were no hard feelings between either player.
Controversy aside, Nadal has hailed what he believed is his best performance at The All England Club yet. Against Soego, he won 73% of his service points and hit 24 winners.
“It was my best match, without a doubt, since the tournament started,” said Nadal. “I have made improvements and I’m very happy.’
“I’ve made I think a lot of things much better than the previous days, the determination, the way that I manage to play more aggressively and going to the net plenty of times.”
Nadal will play Dutch world number 25 Botic van de Zandschulp in the last 16.
“Every Match Is A War” – Carlos Alcaraz Excels With Best Performance Yet At Wimbledon
The world No.7 reacts to his latest win ahead of a showdown with a fellow rising star of the sport.
Carlos Alcaraz believes he is quickly finding his footing on the grass after storming into the fourth round of Wimbledon on Friday.
Alcaraz, who is playing in only his second grass-court tournament as a pro player, blasted his way past Germany’s Oscar Otte 6-3, 6-1, 6-2, in exactly 100 minutes. The Spaniard dropped only 14 points behind his serve as he hit a total of 37 winners against eight unforced errors.
“I played unbelievable. This was my best performance so far. So I’m really happy with the level, and I will try to keep this level into the next round.” Alcaraz said afterwards.
The 19-year-old has been a revelation on the Tour this season which has already seen him crack the world’s top 10 and win two Masters 1000 titles. He currently holds the record for the youngest player to ever win an ATP 500 event, as well as being the youngest to score back-to-back wins over Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament.
In one way Alcaraz’s rapid rise in the sport is illustrated by his current campaign at Wimbledon. In the first round he found it tough going throughout his five-set win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Learning from that experience, his form improved in the second round against Tallon Griekspoor (who he defeated in straight sets) and even more so against Otte.
“Every match is a war. Every match you can play unbelievable or you can play your worst match,” he explains. “Obviously Monday was my first match on grass (this year). It was really tough. Struff played unbelievable.’
“After four, five days the training, the matches, you learn how to play more on grass, how to move more on grass.”
“Now I feel more comfortable playing on grass, and I feel better on grass right now.”
Alcaraz’s next ‘war’ will be another rising star of the Tour – Jannik Sinner. A player who is less than two years older than him. They locked horns last year at the Paris Masters where the Spaniard prevailed in two close sets. Alcaraz also won their meeting at a Challenger event in Alicante back in 2019.
With a place in a Grand Slam quarter-final at stake, it is expected to be a tough battle. Although a challenge is something Alcaraz thrives on.
“Playing against Jannik is always tough. I like to play these kinds of matches, these kinds of challenges.” He said.
“On grass you have to play aggressive, you have to go to the net, you have to try to play more aggressively than the opponent. That’s my idea that I try in every match, to not let the opponent dominate the match.” He added.
The upcoming showdown will be Alcaraz’s sixth Tour-level match on grass which is only two less than that of Sinner.
Novak Djokovic Shrugs Off Threat Of Covid-19 Outbreak At Wimbledon
The world No.3 explains why he is not ‘overconcenred’ about COVID-19 at the Grand Slam.
Novak Djokovic says the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak at Wimbledon is one that doesn’t concern him too much after a trio of top-20 players withdrew.
Earlier this week Marin Cilic, Matteo Berrettini and Roberto Bautista Agut all withdrew from the tournament after testing positive for the virus. Unlike the strict protocols that were in place last year, The All England Club has based its policy on local health advice. Where it is recommended that a person takes action if they have symptoms of the virus but they are not required to do so.
With fewer testing measures in place at Wimbledon, there is a high possibility that there are people working on site carrying COVID-19 without realizing it. However, the threat to players is one that reigning champion Djokovic is not too concerned about.
“I did visit the city (London) a few times before the tournament started but I’m not overconcerned about anything. I’m just trying to stay healthy, focused and play the tournament.” Djokovic said following his third round win.
“I’m not thinking about whether or not I’m going to catch COVID. But being cautious is something that is a necessity I think for everyone, and particularly because we have been through what we’ve been through in the last two years.”
Djokovic is one of the few top players who didn’t have a vaccination against covid. Resulting in him having a high-profile legal dispute with Australian authorities which resulted in his deportation and him missing the Australian Open. The tennis star later explained that he didn’t want to be vaccinated as he is cautious about what will be injected into his body. Even though the vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization.
However, nemesis Rafael Nadal said on Thursday that he is taking extra precautions due to the threat. To common knowledge, there is no rule in place preventing a player who tests positive for Covid from playing in the Grand Slam.
“I am not doing many things. Just staying here (at Wimbledon) and staying in the house, not going out at all anymore. That’s part of this challenging world that we are facing in the last couple of years.” Nadal said.
“I am not saying that we are not doing things the proper way because at some point we need to open everything again, we need to be free, have a normal life.”
According to the National Office of Statistics (ONS) it is estimated that 1 in 30 people currently have the virus in the UK in the week ending June 24th.
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