Novak Djokovic Reflects On His 2019 Season So Far After Latest Madrid Win - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Reflects On His 2019 Season So Far After Latest Madrid Win

The world No.1 gives his verdict on the year so far.



Novak Djokovic (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

MADRID: Despite being the highest ranked player in the world, Novak Djokovic will be the first to admit that he is far from perfect.


This year have already seen the Serbian basked in glory at the Australian Open, as well as reach peak frustration during the sunshine double that followed. Overall, he is 15-4 prior to this week after playing in five tournaments. Out of those five, Indian Wells was the only place where he failed to achieve back-to-back wins.

“Most of the events I played I reached I think finals at least and after Australian Open I had a long break,” Djokovic said during his press conference. “Monte-Carlo was definitely better than Indian Wells and Miami. In Indian Wells and Miami, I didn’t feel my best, I didn’t play my best.”

Early losses are not usually associated with somebody of Djokovic’s caliber in general. A player who currently has 73 ATP titles to his name and has finished the year as world No.1 on five different occasions. Nevertheless, he sees the positives to those losses.

“It’s all a learning curve especially when you are losing in early rounds and matches that you are supposed to win against players you are supposed to win,” Djokovic explained.
“Of course, it does feel disappointing especially because I was on such a roll for so long. But I have to move on.”

Those defeats seem minor when you look at the larger picture. Djokovic was once sidelined from the tour for six months with an elbow injury. Shortly after his return, he underwent another medical procedure before staging a triumphant comeback. Reclaiming his No.1 spot last November and winning the past three grand slam tournaments. Should he prevail again in Roland Garros, he would hold all the grand slam titles at once. Something he has already achieved before.

“It’s not the first time in my career that I’m kind of experiencing those ups and downs. I tried to keep it as stable as possible not to have too big of an extreme kind of swings. But everyone plays their best when they are playing against the top players.”

It has been so far, so good for Djokovic this week at the Madrid Open. On Thursday he progressed to the quarter-finals after dismissing Jeremy Chardy in straight sets. Reaching the last-eight of a Masters event for the 79th time in his career.

Like for every other player, Madrid is preparation for the ultimate challenge on the clay – the French Open. A tournament where he has an 83% success rate with 63 wins to 13 loses. His first and so far only title won in Paris was back in 2016

“I know what to do and the good thing about tennis is you always have an opportunity within a week or two weeks, to rectify certain things that you felt like were not working and then, obviously, I’m building slowly,” Djokovic said about his preparation for the upcoming major.
“Roland Garros, on clay is where I want to peak. But of course, I would love to try to get as far as in this tournament and also in Rome next week as possible.“

Djokovic’s next challenge in Madrid comes in the form of Marin Cilic. He currently leads their head-to-head 17-2.


Svetlana Kuznetsova upsets Ashleigh Barty in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career



Russian wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova edged top seed this year’s Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty 6-2 6-4 in the semifinal of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati to reach the 42nd final of her career.


Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who is now ranked world number 153, scored her third win against top 10 players this week  after beating former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova.

Barty missed her chance to regain world number 1 spot from Naomi Osaka, who was forced to retire from her quarter final.

Barty earned the first break of the match in the second game of the opening set, when Kuznetsova netted a backhand. Kuznetsova broke back in the third game with a smash winner and earned another break at 2-2 when Barty netted a backhand. Kuznetsova hit a return winner to build up a 5-2 lead. Barty asked a medical time-out to treat he right leg. Kuznetsova held serve at 15 to close out the opening set after 30 minutes.

Kuznetsova went up a break in the first game of the second set. Barty won just three points on return in the second set. Kuznetsova closed out the second set with three winners in the 10th game.

“I am really happy. I am not really an analyzing person, but on my intuition, I am doing so much better, not repeating so many of my mistakes, just playing smarter and wiser now. It’s been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off. Honestly, I was not missing at all the travelling and all the stress when you play tournaments, but now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. It definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things outside tennis”, said Kuznetsova.


Kuznetsova set up a final against Madison Keys, who beat Sofia Kenin in straight sets. The Russian 34-year-old veteran player has qualified for her first final since last year, when she beat Donna Vekic in Washington.


“Madison is extremely tough. When she is on fire, it is really hard to play against her. It’s going to be a difficult match-up”, said Kuznetsova.  

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David Goffin reaches his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati



David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 on an overcast afternoon to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career and his 13th title match at ATP Tour level at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. Goffin has dropped just one set en route to the final.


Goffin is returning to his best form this summer under the guidance of former Swedish player Thomas Johansson. He reached the final in Halle and his first quarter final at Wimbledon. He received a walkover after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw from the match due to food poisoning.

The Belgian player started the match with two consecutive holds before breaking at love to open up a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line.

Goffin held his next service games to seal the opening set 6-3. Gasquet earned an early break to open  2-0 lead, but Goffin won five of the next six games with two breaks. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up served out the win at love in the 10th game after 1 hour and 16 minutes, as Gasquet sent his backhand long.

Goffin reached the semifinal in Cincinnati last year, but he was forced to retire due to an arm injury.

“I am very happy. It’s a tournament I like and I have played the best tennis in the past few years. I am really happy to reach my first Masters 1000 final here. It’s a great moment for me.”



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Richard Gasquet reaches his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Miami 2013



Frenchman Richard Gasquet edged past this year’s Wimbledon semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 after 2 hours and 12 minutes to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2013 Miami Open.


 Gasquet missed six months of action after undergoing groin surgery last January.

The French player set up a semfinal against David Goffin, who reached the semifinal after his Japanese opponent Yoshihito Nishioka withdrew from the match due to illness.

The first set went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Bautista Agut hit a backhand wide at 1-2. Gasquet sealed the tie-break when Bautista Agut hit a forehand long.

Bautista Agut earned two breaks of serve in the second set and sealed it, when Gasquet made his third double fault on set point.

Gasquet broke serve with a volley in the third game of the decisive set. The French player went up a double break to race out to 4-1 lead. He saved two break points to hold his serve at deuce before serving out the third set on his first match point.

“I know how tough it was to come back. I know the moments I had at the start of the year, so I just wanted to enjoy, to fight. It is not easy to come back after six months out, but I am here. I am in semis tomorrow”,said Gasquet.



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