Dimitrov Upsets Cilic in French Open Second Round - UBITENNIS
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Dimitrov Upsets Cilic in French Open Second Round

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-Paris, France

It had been a long time coming but Grigor Dimitrov finally put together a quality match against a top ranked opponent and he picked a good time to do so. Dimitrov, who has been struggling mightily of late rallied from two sets to one down to take out the No. 11 seed Marin Cilic 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 in four hours and 24 minutes on the brand new Court Simonne Mathieu.

Dimitrov has been struggling so much recently he had to go through qualifying at last weeks event in Geneva just to get into the main draw. He then lost in the first round. However, so far at the French Open he has picked up a pair of wins, both in five sets to match the best result of his career at the years second Grand Slam. Dimitrov also reached the third round on three previous occasions including in 2018.

Cilic drew first blood in the opening set after a Dimitrov double fault gave the Croatian a 5-3 lead. But the 30-year old was unable to serve out the set handed the break back in the following game. The players went to a tiebreak and after another double fault from the Bulgarian, it gave Cilic a 4-3 lead, a lead he maintained winning the next three points to take the tiebreak.

Dimitrov got the advantage in the tenth game of the second set. Cilic attempted a drop shot on set point but Dimitrov found the open court converting just his second break in ten opportunities winning it 6-4.

The only break of the third came on a sloppy game from Dimitrov who double faulted twice and fired a backhand into the net giving Cilic a 4-3 lead. He held his next two service games and went up two sets to one. Despite being down in the match, Dimitrov’s numbers were still better than his opponents. He had three more winners, won four more points and had a better first serve percentage.

In the fourth set neither player could get a break of serve including a long third game which needed five deuces. Another tiebreak was needed and it was Dimitrov who got off to a good start with a pair of drop shot winners. He also got some luck as a net chord which looked to be heading out spun back into the middle of the court giving him a 5-1 lead. An ace, one of 15 overall, sent the match to a decider.

The 2017 ATP Finals winner capitalized early in the fifth breaking Cilic in the first game after he hit a forehand into the net. The point of the match came two games later as Dimitrov read a Cilic overhand perfectly getting in position for the return then racing up to the net to get a drop shot returning it with a perfect angle and then following that up with a volley into the open court. The packed stadium got on their feet thanks to the help of Dimitrov raising his arms in the air.

The Bulgarian got a second break to go up 5-2 in the final set after the tenth double fault from Cilic. Dimitrov began whincing in the next game, his previously injured shoulder looked to be bothering him after playing his tenth set over three days. After several uncomfortable whinces, he ended up giving away one of the breaks away which he had earned.

Luckily though for him Cilic was beginning to struggle as well. A weak forehand into the net followed by a backhand errors gave the match to Dimitrov.

“Best of five, on clay, you can be down by two sets and a break and something can just happen,” said the World No. 46. “I have always felt that every time I competed on clay, you are always going to get, like, a little chance. I felt early on in the match I had way too many opportunities. I knew my numbers were bad. I knew I was playing sort of a better tennis, but I could never get those break points and, I mean, I had to stay in the match. That was that, for me.”

“He played an unbelievable tiebreak to win the fourth  and, you know, just kept the pressure up,” said Cilic. “And, you know, I felt I just dropped a little bit in that fifth set, missed few balls that I was not missing in that first part of the match, you know, which can happen after four hours of play. But, you know, credit to him. He was playing really well. And I think what he did well was serving well when he was in the trouble.”

Dmitrov finished with 60 winners, 15 of them aces, won 18 of 22 points at the net and had a 63-percent first serve percentage. He’s now spent seven hours and 26 minutes on court over his first two matches. He will now face the No. 24 seed Stan Wawrinka in the third round. Wawrinka took out two-time clay court winner in 2019 Christian Garin in straight sets.

“Every win that I have now, I appreciate it,” said Dimitrov.  “I don’t really think of who I’m playing against. I just want to have those wins. I mean, I have pretty much played against everybody out there. It was a very, very important match to me, without a doubt, though….I feel great, and I’m very, so to speak, focused and excited for what’s ahead.”

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Stefanos Tsitsipas extends his winning streak with straight-set win over Pablo Carreno Busta in Minsk

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Last week’s Marseille champion and 2019 Dubai finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 after 1 hour and 34 minutes to reach the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Touurnament.

 

Tsitsipas earned the first break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Carreno Busta won three consecutive games with a break-back in the fifth game to draw level to 3-3. The opening set went on serve without breaks to set up a tie-break. Tsitsipas cruised through to 7-1 to win the tie-break.

Tsitsipas broke three times in the first, fifth and seventh games to win the second set 6-1.

The Greek player has extended his winning streak to 10 consecutive wins and has a record of 8-4 in his 12 matches this year.

“I am happy that I got two-set victories for a very long time. I am not spending extra hours out on the court, which for sure is going to help me”, said Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas sets up a second round match against Alexander Bublik, who fended off three of his four break points in his 6-2 7-5 win over Hubert Hurkacz. Tsitispas beat Hurkacz 7-5 6-3 last week in the Marseille semifinal last week.

“Bublik is a tricky player. He does unexpected things on the court. I just need to be there, do my job the way I am doing it so far”, said Tsitsipas.

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Benoit Paire saves four match points to beat Marin Cilic in Dubai

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Eighth seed Benoit Paire saved four match points to beat Marin Cilic 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-1) at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships taking a re-match for the tie-break loss in the fifth set at last January’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

 

Cilic saved two break points before breaking serve in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead. The Croatian player saved a break point at deuce before holding serve in the third game for 3-0. Cilic broke serve from 0-40 down to break serve at deuce in the final game of the opening set.

Paire broke serve in the first game of the second set to open a 2-0 lead. Cilic broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players traded breaks in the eighth and ninth games. Cilic won the final three games with a break to win the first set 7-5.

Both players traded breaks in the second and third games of the decisive set. Cilic saved break points in the fifth and eleventh games. Paire saved two break points to hold serve at deuce. Paire reeled off six consecutive points from 1-1 to win the tie-break 7-1.

“I am really happy about the win. It was not easy today. I was not feeling really good on court. I have been a little bit sick for two, three days. I am really happy to win today and to fight until the end”, said Paire.

 Daniel Evans rallied from one set and one break down to edge Fabio Fognini 3-6 6-4 7-5 after 2 hours and 38 minutes. Fognini went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Evans pulled one break back in the fifth game, but Fognini held his next service games and wrap up the first set 6-3.

Fognini saved two break points before breaking serve at 15 to take a 3-1 lead. Evans broke back at deuce in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Evans converted his second break back in the 10th game to wrap up the second set 6-4.

Fognini started the third set with a break at deuce to take a 1-0 lead. Evans broke straight back in another deuce game to draw level to 1-1. Fognini earned another break at 15 to take a 3-2 lead. Evans broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Evans wrapped up the third set with a break in a marathon 12th game on his sixth match point.

Paire set up an all-French match against Richard Gasquet, who beat Marton Fucsovics 6-4 7-5.

Another Frenchman Pierre Hugues Herbert defeated Delray Beach finalist Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5 6-2 in 78 minutes.

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Queen’s Organizers Optimistic Over Andy Murray’s Return As Two Top 10 Players Join Entry List

The first four names set to play in the ATP 500 event has been announced.

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The director of the Fever-Tree Championships has said he is ‘hopeful’ that Andy Murray will play in the tournament later this year after he was included in the first group of names on the official entry list.

 

The three-time grand slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since the Davis Cup last November due to a pelvic injury. Murray has already delayed his return to the tour on numerous occasions as he continues his rehabilitation process. It is the latest setback for the injury-stricken 32-year-old, who also underwent career saving hip resurfacing surgery last year.

“Andy is our greatest champion. We know Andy is still working his way back to fitness, but we also know that he wants to play, so fingers crossed that he will be able to.” Stephen Farrow said in a press release on Tuesday.

Murray, who is currently ranked 130th in the world, is the most decorated player in the history of the Queen’s event. He has won the trophy five times between 2009-2016 and has won 30 out of 37 matches played there. Last year he also won the doubles title alongside Feliciano Lopez in what was his comeback tournament following his hip surgery.

Tuesday’s announcement of Murray playing at The Queen’s Club comes as no surprise. He has a lifetime contract to play there for the rest of his career unless he is ill or injured. Similar to what Roger Federer has with the Halle event, which takes place during the same week as Queen’s.

Other names to play in London this year include ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, who lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals last year. The Greek is yet to contest an ATP final on the grass, but did win the Wimbledon boys’ doubles title back in 2016.

“London will always be a special place for me after winning the ATP Finals last year and I am looking forward to coming back in June.” Said Tsitsipas. “The crowd at the O2 touched my heart in a very special way and I am excited to play at Queen’s again this June. It is a big tournament and important to play in the lead up to Wimbledon.”

World No.5 Daniil Medvedev is another top name set to play in what will be his fourth appearance at Queen’s. In 2019 he produced his best ever run at the tournament by reaching the semi-finals before falling in three sets to France’s Gilles Simon.

“The last 6 months have been incredible for me, a real breakthrough, and now I want to try to do the same on grass.” The US Open finalist stated. “The Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club is a great event with perfect grass courts, and I am looking forward to playing there ahead of Wimbledon.”

Completing the quartet of confirmed names is 38-year-old two-time champion Lopez, who won the singles title last year, as well as the doubles with Murray. He is one of only two Spanish men to have ever won the event in the Open Era. There other was Rafael Nadal back in 2008.

“I thought when I won the title in 2017 that it was the best moment of my career. I was wrong. It was last year! Winning singles and doubles was something incredible, more than I could ever have dreamed when Stephen (Farrow) gave me the wild card.” Lopez reflected.
“That final day is one that I will never forget, Queen’s is always going to be one of the most special places of my career, and I am already looking forward to coming back to the Fever-Tree Championships in June to defend my title.”

The ATP 500 event will get underway on June 15th.

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