Dominic Thiem Plays Down French Open Chances Following Barcelona Triumph - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Plays Down French Open Chances Following Barcelona Triumph

The world No.5 is keeping grounded about his chances at the upcoming grand slam.

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DFominic Thiem (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Newly crowned Barcelona Open champion Dominic Thiem has said the prospect of him challenging for the Roland Garros title is ‘far away’ as he gains momentum on the tour.

At the Spanish tournament, Thiem achieved a series of milestones. Becoming the first ever player to defeat Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals or final of the tournament and only the second Austrian to win the title after Thomas Muster. Overall, he has defeated Nadal four times on the clay. Something that has only ever been achieved by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, who has managed to score seven victories in total.

Securing his ninth clay-court title with a 6-4, 6-0, win over Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final, some are labelling Thiem as the next king of clay. The 25-year-old is one of the favourites to clinch the French Open title, which has been won a record 11 times by his rival Nadal.

“Paris is still pretty far away, I’m happy with my clay form right now, this is actually my biggest clay title – this one here,” said Thiem.
“It makes me happy to have won it, Paris is not really in my head.”

The world No.5 already has a solid record at the French Open. Reaching the semi-finals or better every year since 2016 and finishing runner-up in 2018. Overall, he has won 18 out of 23 matches played there.

Barcelona is the second tournament Thiem has won this season. Last Month he defeated Roger Federer to win the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. His first ever Masters 1000 title.

Despite his successes on the tour, Thiem still believed Nadal remains the favourite to win the French Open title. The Spaniard is continuing to find his form following a series of injury setbacks in recent months. The most recent being a knee injury that forced him out of Indian Wells. As a consequence, this season is the first time since 2004 where Nadal enters the fifth month of the year without at least one title on the clay.

“I’ve not changed my opinion that Rafa is always the biggest favourite for any clay title,” Thiem said.
“But I love Roland Garros, I’ve played well there for the past three years.
“I hope this can continue. But I’m thinking next of Madrid.”

The next test for both players will be at next week’s Madrid Masters. 12 months ago Thiem reached the final of the tournament before losing to Alexander Zverev. It is the only Masters tournament where he has managed to reach back-to-back finals at.

“I go to Madrid playing well and in a good mood,” he stated. “But the special thing about tennis is that I will start from zero there. All the guys will be strong.
“I need to train well and get used to the conditions. In the matches I must be there from the first point, it can go very quickly in tennis.”

In this week’s ATP rankings, Thiem remains in fifth place. One place adrift from his career high.

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Roland Garros 2024: Rafael Nadal Faces Alexander Zverev In Blockbuster Opening Round

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev will meet at Roland Garros in the first round with Andy Murray taking on Stan Wawrinka in the opening round.

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Rafael Nadal has been drawn against Rome champion Alexander Zverev in the opening round of Roland Garros.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion will most likely be making his last appearance at the event where he has such a great history at.

It’s been a mixed clay court season for Nadal who built gradual momentum in Madrid but suffered an early exit in Rome to Hubert Hurkacz.

Now the Spaniard has been drawn to take on the champion of Rome, Alexander Zverev, in the opening round.

The match is a repeat of the 2022 semi-final where Zverev broke his ankle losing almost a year of his career.

This contest headlines the second quarter of the draw which also features Karen Khachanov, Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev.

In the other quarter of the top half of the draw, defending champion Novak Djokovic will begin his Roland Garros campaign against Pierre-Hughes Herbert.

There is also a potential third round clash with either Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti for Djokovic, who is currently in Geneva gaining extra match practice ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

The Serb could have a repeat of last year’s final in the quarter-finals with Casper Ruud as the Norwegian begins his campaign against Jakub Mensik.

In the bottom half of the draw Jannik Sinner plays his first tournament since suffering a hip injury in Rome as he takes on Christopher Eubanks in the opening round.

Sinner could face Cameron Norrie in the third round with the Brit taking on Pavel Kotov in his opening round before playing the winner of the battle of the Grand Slam champions between Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Murray and Wawrinka will clash for the fourth time at Roland Garros with Wawrinka leading their head-to-head 2-1 in Paris.

This section also includes in-form players such as Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Tabilo and Rome finalist Nicolas Jarry.

Finally Carlos Alcaraz will begin his Roland Garros campaign against a qualifier before potentially playing Jack Draper in the second round.

Another exciting clash awaits Alcaraz in the third round in the form of Sebastian Korda with Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas being potential quarter-final opponents.

This is the full draw with Roland Garros beginning on Sunday.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Return To Top Four After Winning Italian Open

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Alexander Zverev has clinched his first Masters title since 2021 after downing Nicolas Jarry in straight sets at the Italian Open.

The world No.5 surged to a 6-4,7-5, victory at the Faro Italico to become the 10th player in the Open Era to win the Rome trophy on multiple occasions. He also won the tournament in 2017. Zverev’s latest win was aided by an impressive service display from the 27-year-old who also hit 15 winners against eight unforced errors. He is now 22-1 against players ranked outside the top five at the tournament with his only loss being to Matteo Berrettini five years ago.

“It means a lot. Winning my first (Masters) title and winning my first after my injury in Rome. Rome is a very special place for me,” the new champion said afterwards. 
“I said at the beginning of the week if Rome is the place of firsts for me I’m extremely happy about it. It’s a very special week.” 

Playing in his first Masters 1000 final since 2022, Zverev produced a serving masterclass throughout the opening set with the German winning 20 out of 21 points. In contrast, Jarry experienced more difficult but valiantly fought back with the Chilean saving two straight break points at 4-4. Eventually, the third seed sealed the opener two games later with the help of some costly shots coming from across the court. A deep shot towards the baseline was unsuccessfully returned by Jarry, handing Zverev a set point which he converted.

Continuing to pile the pressure on in the second set, Zverev had a double chance to break for a 3-1 lead but failed to capitalise on that opportunity. The opportunities continued to come and go. Back-to-back double faults from Jarry at 4-5 handed Zverev two championship points but once again he failed to take advantage. Eventually, he sealed victory two games later with the help of a forehand shot that Jarry returned out. Prompting Zverev to raise his hands in delight before later paying tribute to his rival. 

“He’s playing huge. You can see that by the opponents he beat and how he beat them,” he said of Jarry. 
“I told him if he continues playing like that he is going to have many more chances. I’m happy to be the winner.”

As a result of his Rome triumph, Zverev has secured a top-four seeding for the French Open. On Monday he will rise in the PIF ATP rankings to No.4 which will be his highest position since August 2022. During that same year, he sustained a serious ankle injury which sidelined him for months. 

“The focus is on Paris, that’s for sure. but let me enjoy this one for a day or so and then I will have my full focus on Paris,” said Zverev.

Zverev has now won six Masters 1000 titles which places him in joint-ninth on the all-time list along with Daniil Medvedev. 

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Novak Djokovic Accepts Geneva Wildcard Ahead Of Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva as he looks to improve his form ahead of Roland Garros.

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Novak Djokovic has shockingly accepted a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 event in Geneva.

The world number one hasn’t had the best season so far having yet to reach a final at any of his events this season.

There was hope for Djokovic that his fortunes would change on clay and the Serb started his clay court season by reaching the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo before losing to Casper Ruud.

However Djokovic’s clay court hopes were dashed in Rome as he lost in the third round to in-form Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

This has meant that Djokovic risks being undercooked for the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland Garros.

Therefore the Serb has had no option but to take a wildcard into next week’s ATP 250 in Geneva.

Djokovic will join Casper Ruud, Andy Murray, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz in next week’s event.

Next week’s appearance will be the first appearance in Geneva in Djokovic who will be the top seed in Switzerland.

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