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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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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