After Madrid Triumph, Novak Djokovic Talks French Open Chances - UBITENNIS
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After Madrid Triumph, Novak Djokovic Talks French Open Chances

The world No.1 looks ahead to the next grand slam.

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novak Djokovic (photo by Roberto Dell Olivo)

MADRID: Novak Djokovic’s bid to conquer the French open for only the second time in his career is gaining momentum, but there are also calls for caution at the same time.

 

The world No.1 rallied to his 74th ATP title at the Caja Magica without dropping a single set all week. In the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Serbian was in a different class compared to his weary opponent. Who was suffering from the aftereffects of his late-night semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal the day prior. The victory was Djokovic’s first on the clay since 2016.

“My goal was to start off well to try to make a break as soon as possible, which was the case right away, and I felt I was always ahead in the game.” Said Djokovic. “I felt I was dictating the play and played my best tennis so far this week.”
“This gives me a lot of confidence prior to Rome and, of course, Roland Garros where I definitely want to play my best.” He added.

Amid the triumph, comes greater expectation. In a couple of weeks time, Djokovic will be bidding to win a fourth consecutive grand slam title at the French Open. The only major he is yet to win multiple trophies at.

In the race for the title, one of Djokovic’s biggest threats comes in the form of Nadal. Who has won the major a record 11 times. The Spaniard is yet to win a title this season but displayed glimmers of his best tennis during his Madrid campaign. However, consistency continues to be an issue.

“He’s always an ultimate challenge on clay, especially in Paris. He has lost like two times in his entire career.” The world No.1 said of Nadal. “That says enough about his quality and the kind of a challenge that he is in Paris.”

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20-year-old Tsitsipas is more level-headed when it comes to picking a favorite for Roland Garros. The Greek player points out that Madrid is not like any other tournaments. The city is located 667 meters above sea level. Meaning the ball travels quicker than it does at other European events on Dirt.

“I think Novak is in pretty good form right now.” Said Tsitsipas.
“The conditions here are so different. There’s the altitude. I think Federer said it in his previous interviews, tennis at sea-level is going to be different in the next couple of weeks, nothing compared to this tournament.”

Taking those words into consideration, it can be argued that Madrid is an inaccurate indicator of who may prevail in the upcoming grand slam. However, six out of the last 11 champions in Madrid has gone on to win the French Open within the same year since 2008. The year the surface moved from hard to clay.

Djokovic himself is also under no illusion when it comes to the challenges he faces in the change of conditions. Admitting that he needs to put in ‘quality hours’ in order to peak on the clay elsewhere. Both mentally and emotionally.

“I think because of the difference in conditions I’m going to have to obviously try to get as many quality hours on the court training and also competing because it’s going to be different.” He said
“Probably the rallies will be longer and it’s going to require more of physical and emotional endurance and resilience, but I’m ready for it.”

The French Open was where Djokovic recorded his first main draw win in a grand slam back in 2005. Defeating Robby Ginepri in the first round. Overall, he has won 63 out of 76 matches, which is an 83% winning rate.

Prior to this week, the last time Djokovic won the Madrid Open was in 2016. The same year he won the French Open.

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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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