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.

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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.

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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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