Dominic Thiem Topples Frustrated Federer In Madrid Classic - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Topples Frustrated Federer In Madrid Classic

Once again the 20-time grand slam champion has been denied a win by the Austrian.

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Dominic Thiem (photo by Roberto Dell Olivo)

MADRID: Dominic Thiem has maintained his winning record over 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer by outlasting the Swiss Maestro 3-6, 7-6(11), 6-4, at the Madrid Open.

 

The 131-minute marathon saw the world No.5 battle back from a set down and save two match points before securing the memorable win. There was little to tell between the two throughout with Thiem just winning two more points in the match. He hit 31 winners to 27 unforced errors. An almost identical tally to Federer’s 33 and 27.

“Today was so close. I was really lucky because I saved match points.” Said Thiem.
“Roger was playing unbelievably on the clay. I’m really happy (with the win).”

On the eve of their clash, Thiem commented that Federer was being underestimated on the clay this week. The Austrian belongs to a prestigious group. Among active players, he is one of only three to have a winning record against the Swiss No.1 after playing him five or more times. Joining Novak Djokovic (25-22) and Rafael Nadal (23-15).

“He’s so special. He is maybe the best player in the history of tennis. He has something different.” Thiem said of his rival. “It is very tough to play against him. It is a beauty how he plays the game and every point against him is a big challenge.”

Playing only his third clay-court match on the tour since June 2016, the 37-year-old got off to a clinical start. Breaking Thiem in his opening service game to the delight of his army of fans in the crowd. From then on the first set was a foregone conclusion thanks to a clinical service display from Federer, who dropped only three points in four service games.

Inveitbally Federer would not have it his own way against somebody of Thiem’s caliber. Who he has previously lost to on grass, hard courts and the clay. The first real test took place six games into the second set. A tentative couple of shots saw him face three break points. However, Federer thwarted the threat by winning five straight points to draw level at 3-3.

With neither player refusing to buckle, it was a dramatic 24-point tiebreak in the second set that would turn the match around in Thiem’s favor. The 25-year-old was forced to fend off two match points as he failed to convert five of his own set points. Sending the Madrid crowd into a frenzy. With both players now playing at their top level, it would be Thiem who would come out on top. A stunning forehand passing shot, followed by a smash at the net on the following point secured him the second set. Improving his all-time record in tie-breaks to 3-0 when playing Federer.

“I was more lucky today (in the tiebreaker). Of course, I tried to play point-by-point, played good in my service games during the second set and tried to build on that.”

With a place in the semi-finals of a Masters 1000 event at stake, the clash resembled a boxing match. Thiem was the first to land a punch in the decider. His blistering shot-making allowed him to dictate the rallies and force Federer to make errors. A combination that aided him to a 3-1 lead in the decider. However, Federer fought back with interest against his opponent to draw level at 4-4. Capitalizing on a backhand mistake from his rival on the break point. Still, Thiem would not be denied as he went on to break once more for a chance to serve the match out. A challenge he passed with the help of Federer backhand drifting long on match point.

“It’s been a good week. Frustrating, clearly. Losing match points is the worst, so that’s how I feel. But nevertheless, if I take a step back, it’s all good.” A frustrated Federer said.
“I feel very good about my game. I thought I had some good matches here, you know, especially last two.” He added.

As Federer ponders if he will play in Rome next week, Thiem will play top seed Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Thiem now leads Federer 4-2 in their head-to-head.

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Alexander Zverev edged past Hugo Dellien to reach the semifinal in Geneva

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World number 5 and 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev battled past Bolivian player Hugo Dellien 7-5 3-6 6-3 to reach the semifinal at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open. Zverev is still seeking his first title of the year.

 

Dellien earned the first break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Zverev converted his fourth break-back chance in the fifth game and held his serve to draw level to 3-3. Zverev saved a set point at 3-5 at 3-5, while Dellien was serving at 40-30.

Dellien needed one break in the fourth game to win the second set 6-3. Zverev held serve in the third game at the seventh deuce after seven deuces to take a 2-1 lead. The German player got the decisive break in the fourth game and held his serve at love to build up a 4-1 lead. Zverev never looked back to win the third set 6-3.

“I played very aggressive in the important moments. I was very aggressive also in break points down, This is finally something I was looking for in the last few weeks. I think today I showed it”, said Zverev.

Radu Albot came back from 2-4 down to beat Damir Dzumhur 6-3 7-5. Albot went up a double break in the third and fifth games to open up a 4-1 lead. Dzumhur pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4, but Albot broke for the third time on her third break point chance to win the first set 6-3.

Dzumhur went up an early break in the first game of the second set. Albot broke back in the eight game to draw level to 4-4 and sealed the win with his second break in the 10th game.

Albot will take on Nicolas Jarry, who dropped just four of his first service points to defeat Taro Daniel 6-1 7-5.

 

 

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Nikoloz Basilashvili sets up Lyon semifinal against Felix Auger Aliassime

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Four-time ATP Tour finalist Nikoloz Basilashvili secured his spot in the semifinal where he will face Felix Auger Aliassime in Lyon

 

Basilashvili came back from an early break down to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-4 in the quarter final of the Parc Auvergne Rhone Alpes Lyon.

Tsonga got an early break in the second game to take a 2-0 lead, but Basilashvili recovered from the early start by breaking serve twice in the third and seventh games to take a 4-3 lead. The Georgian player held his final two service games at 30 to close out the opening set 6-4.

Basilashvili needed only a break in the third game of the second set to clinch the second set 6-4 to reach his first semifinal since winning the China Open in 2018.

Basilashvili set up a semifinal clash against this year’s Rio de Janeiro finalist and Miami Open champion Felix Auger Aliassime, who edged Steve Johnson 6-4 2-6 6-4. Auger Aliassime got a break of serve in the third game to clinch the opening set 6-4. Johnson bounced back by breaking twice in the second and eighth game to claim the second set 6-2. Auger Aliassime went up a double break in the third and fifth games to build up a 5-2 lead, but Johnson pulled one break back in the eighth game, when the 18-year-old player was serving for the match. Auger Aliassime served out for the match 6-4 in the 10th game.

Benoit Paire battled past Denis Shapovalov 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Paire broke serve twice in the fifth and ninth games to seal the opening set 6-3. Shapovalov claimed his only break in the fifth game to win the second set 6-4. Paire saved a total of three break points in the first and third games. Both players held on their service games en route to the tie-break. Paire reeled off the final three points from 4-4 to claim the tie-break 7-4.

Taylor Fritz fought back from one set down to beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-4 after two hours and five minutes. Bautista Agut fended off one set point at 5-6 to take the tie-break of the opening set. Fritz fought back to open up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game to claim the second set 6-4. The US player earned the decisive break in he ninth game to secure his spot in his first semifinal since the 2018 Chengdu Open.

 

 

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Tomas Berdych to Miss French Open For The First Time Since 2003

It will be the third grand slam the former top 10 player has missed within the past 12 months.

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Tomas Berdych (photo by chryslène caillaud)

Former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych will not play any clay court tournaments in 2019 after withdrawing from the upcoming French Open.

 

The 33-year-old has been absent from the tour since his first round loss to Feliciano Lopez in Indian Wells. Berdych has been hampered by issues within his back in recent weeks. He has been hoping to be fit in time for Roland Garros, but made a decision to withdraw from the event on Wednesday.

“I am not 100% ready to play the way I want and need to be competitive on the courts I love so much,” Berdych wrote on social media.
“I came to Paris and I had to take a tough decision and want another few days to fully recover and be ready for the grass season.”
“I love this tournament so much but I have to make sure not to further injure myself,” he added.

The Czech had played at the tournament every year since making his debut back in 2004. However, the French Open is his worst performing grand slam in terms of wins. So far in his career, Berdych has won 25 out of 40 matches played at the French Open. His stand out performance occurred in 2010 when he reached the semi-finals before losing to Sweden’s Robin Soderling.

It is not the first time back issues have forced Berdych out of action. In 2017 he was advised by doctors to end his season early due to persistent ‘back pain.’ He was also forced to skip both Wimbledon and the US Open due to the same problem.

Berdych, who last won a title at the 2016 Shenzhen Open, has played six tournaments so far this year. His best result occurred in January with a run to the final of the Qatar Open. He also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and was a semi-finalist in Montpellier.

As a result of his absence, Berdych is currently ranked 100th in the world rankings. He will be replaced in the French Open draw by a lucky loser.

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