Dominic Thiem Topples Weary Medvedev To Clinch Barcelona Title - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Topples Weary Medvedev To Clinch Barcelona Title

The world No.5 is only the second player on the ATP Tour this year to win a second title after Roger Federer.

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Dominic Thiem - Madrid 2018 (foto @Gianni Ciaccia)

Dominic Thiem has ended his country’s 23-year wait for a champion at the Barcelona Open after defeating a lacklustre Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-0, in the final.

 

The 25-year-old overcame a early blip to dominate proceedings at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899 against his weary rival. Medvedev took an injury time out during the clash and his form deteriorated as the final progressed. Nevertheless, French Open finalist Thiem stuck to his game plan as he fired 15 winners and capitalized on 27 unforced errors from his rival. Rewarding him his ninth clay-court title and 13th overall on the ATP Tour.

“To win this tournament is such an honour for me because it’s one of the best of the year.” Thiem said during the trophy presentation. “I really love coming here (to Barcelona). Only the best players in the history of tennis have won here. Rafa 11 times and Thomas Muster twice, which is very special for me.”
“I like to thank my team. Every tournament win is a huge team effort and I would like to thank everybody who is here.” He added.

Following on from his win over Rafael Nadal, Thiem was very much the favourite heading into the final. However, Medvedev is a player not to underestimate. Not only has the world No.14 won more matches than any other player on the ATP Tour this season. He has already defeated Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Kei Nishikori on the clay this season.

Thiem soon found out the threat the Russian posed after a tentative start saw him fall behind 0-3. It wasn’t until 21 minutes into the match the Austrian managed to get onto a scoreboard during a game that changed the momentum of their encounter. Thiem’s use of slice to reduce the intensity of his opponents shot-making, along with some world-class dropshots, enabled him to fight back with interest as he went on a five-game winning streak to move ahead 5-3. Much to the annoyance of Medvedev, who took a medical time out late in the opening set to receive treatment on his right shoulder. Despite the brief break in proceedings, Thiem maintained his focus with the help of a deep forehand shot to clinch the 6-4 lead after 52 minutes of play.

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Extending his stronghold, Thiem broke immediately at the start of the second frame thanks to a nightmare service game from across the court. The wear and tear from playing so many matches in recent time began to took its too on Medvedev as the Russian began to leak errors. Resulting in Thiem breaking three times in a row for a chance to serve for the title. A task he achieved with ease with the help of a forehand volley at the net to claim the title.

“I tried my best, but Dominic was too good today.” Said Medvedev. “At one point during the second set to win one point was a big achievement for me.’
“Congratulations to you and your team. I think you’re having a good start to the year and all the best for the rest of the season.”

Thiem is the second Austrian to win the tournament since it was first played in 1953. Following in the footsteps of two-time champion Muster, who last triumphed back in 1996. He has now claimed 68 victories since the start of 2018, which is the joint-second most match wins on the tour.

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Doubles Player Dream French Open Debut Ended By Instagram Message

Portugal’s Francisco Cabral said he found out he will not be playing in Paris through social media.

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Francisco Cabral - Image via https://twitter.com/EstorilOpen/

Playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam is the pinnacle of many players’ careers but one player missed out on that opportunity due to an unfortunate situation. 

 

Portugal’s Francisco Cabral was set to play in the men’s doubles tournament for the first time at this week’s French Open. The world No.72 is currently at a career-high after winning his maiden Tour title in Estoril last month with compatriot Nuno Borges. In Paris, he entered into the draw alongside Denmark’s Holger Rune. 

However, shortly before he was set to make his Grand Slam debut Rune pulled out at the last minute. Leaving Cabral unable to look for another partner in such a short time. Rune’s withdrawal from the doubles was based on medical advice after he hurt his ankle during his second round clash against Henri Laaksonen. The Dane tripped over the court cover at the back of the court but fortunately wasn’t seriously injured and managed to continue playing. 

“Right now I feel a huge sadness because it’s a dream to play in a Grand Slam tournament. I’ve been here since Saturday training, waiting, watching games, experiencing a new world because it was my first Grand Slam and it’s another dimension and I was really, really looking forward to being able to play,” Cabral told Raquetc. “And having waited until 15 minutes before game time to know that I wasn’t going to play after all, it cost me a lot, but I did everything I could.”

Caral went on to criticize the behavior of Rune who informed him that he would not be playing in the doubles event via a message sent on Instagram. It is unclear why the two never spoke face-to-face. 

“He only told me that he had sprained his foot, that he was at the doctor’s, and that he had told him not to play the doubles. I’m sad about his attitude because he didn’t even say this to my face, he just sent me a message on Instagram. I don’t think it went well, but as I said, I couldn’t have done anything differently, so I’ll just wait for the next opportunity.” He said. 

25-year-old Cabral is targeting Wimbledon as the event where he will play his first main draw match. 

Meanwhile, Rune will continue his singles campaign at Roland Garros on Saturday when he plays Hugo Gaston in the third round. The former world No.1 junior has shot up the rankings this season to a high of 40th. 

Cabral and Rune has been replaced in the draw by Sander Arends and Szymon Walków. 

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French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur

The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.

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Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.

 

The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.

During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.

“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”

De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.

“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“

Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.

Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.

Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”

As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal

The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.

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Novak Djokovic (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.

 

Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.

“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.

Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.

“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.

Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.

He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.

Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”

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