Reigning Champion Alexander Zverev Ends Ferrer’s Career In Madrid - UBITENNIS
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Reigning Champion Alexander Zverev Ends Ferrer’s Career In Madrid

May 8th, 2019 marked the end of an era for one of Spain’s most well-known player’s.

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MADRID: In his first match at the Madrid Open, Alexander Zverev has closed the doors on David Ferrer’s glittering career, which has spanned almost two decades on the ATP Tour.

 

The late-night clash at the Caja Magica proved to be the perfect farewell for the Spaniard. A packed arena cheered on the 37-year-old with continuous outbursts of ‘Ferru’ echoing throughout venue. A true testament of how much Ferrer’s career has meant to his home country. Nevertheless, Zverev refused to lose to the veteran for the second time this season after Acapulco. Overcoming a tentative start marred by frustration to prevail 6-4,6-1.

Usually, the focus is upon the winner of the match. More particularly in Zverev’s case following his difficulties on the tour in recent months. However, the German respectfully stayed backstage as Ferrer soaked up the atmosphere of playing a competitive tennis match for the final time.

“With everything, it is so emotional. I just wanted to say thank you to a lot of people who have been really helpful since the beginning of my career.” Ferrer said during a special on-court ceremony.
“Thanks to the tournament for letting me play my last match here. For all the love you have given me. Also the same goes for Feliciano Lopez, I’m really going to miss you. You’re a great friend.”

It was a Ferrer backhand drifting out that ended his career. Shortly after, a standing ovation began with the crowd, including Zverev, paying tribute to their home player. On what was an emotional evening, one of Ferrer’s final act as a player saw him place his headband on the court. Signaling an end to his career. 17 years after he made his debut on the ATP Tour.

To all of my tennis colleagues. Thank you for your love and respect. I’m going to miss you all.” He said. 

Ferrer’s career saw him finish seven seasons ranked inside the top 10 and stay in the top 50 for 13 consecutive years. He has managed to play in 50 grand slam main draws in a row and 63 overall. In total, he has contested 52 ATP finals and has won 27 titles.

“To my team, thanks for all of your human qualities, your help. It’s been a pleasure. It’s the most special moment of my life right now and you have always been by my side. You always gave me that love and support that was needed.” He said.
“To my coach. He’s not my coach, he’s the best person I’ve ever met. He use to travel with me when I was 16, he’s always been there in the good and bad moments. And he’s like the second father of my children. You have always been there and I will be there for you too. You’re part of my family.”

As he bid farewell to the tour, Ferrer saved his most striking tribute to last. That was to his fans watching in person and elsewhere around the world.

“To all of you (fans) I gave everything in this sport. I couldn’t give more. I won 27 titles and the Davis Cup(s). I could never win Madrid. I would have loved to have won more. The trophies are material, what I really wanted is the love from the people. That is what really meant to me.”

Ferrer’s career at-a-glance

1. He has finished seven seasons ranked inside the top 10 (2007, 2010-2015)
2. Spent more than 13 years continuously ranked in the top 50 (7/2/05 – 22/7/18)
3. Has played in 52 ATP finals, winning 27 titles.
4. Achieved 20 or more victories in 15 straight seasons (2003-2017)
5. Played in 50 consecutive grand slam main draws before missing the 2015 Wimbledon Championships due to injury. Overall, he has played in the main draw of 63 grand slams.

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Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo secure their semifinal spot in the ATP Finals in London

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Former ATP Finals runners-up Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo battled past Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 10-7 after 1 hour and 44 minutes to finish the Group Jonas Bjorkman with a 2-1 round robin record.

 

Kubot and Melo came back from an early break down and fended off four set points before Ram and Salisbury converted their fifth chance to win the opening set 6-4.

Kubot and Melo fended off a break point in the seventh game with a great serve, before they converted their first break point in the 10th game.

Kubot and Melo won five consecutive points in the Match Tie-Break to open up a 6-2 lead. The Polish and Brazilian players converted their fourth match point to secure their spot in the semifinal.

 

 

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Matteo Berrettini Scores Historic Win Before Exit From ATP Finals

The 23-year-old ends his breakthrough season on the ATP Tour with another milestone in his career.

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LONDON: Matteo Berrettini has become the first Italian man in history to win a match at the ATP Finals after defeating Dominic Thiem on Thursday afternoon.

 

The world No.8 managed to dismantle the game of his rival, who was far from his best at times, with the help of his blistering serve to seal the 7-6(3), 6-3, victory. Ending Thiem’s streak of four consecutive wins over top 10 players, including Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer earlier this week. In total Berrettini hit 30 winners to 21 unforced errors and converted both of his break point opportunities.

“I’ve always had great fights against him. I was able to stay mentally focused, especially in the first set when I lost my serve because I didn’t play a great game.” Berrettini said afterward.
“I’m really happy with my performance because I am not feeling great physically.” He added.

The downside to the round-robin format of the event is that some matches end up being irrelevant with this being one of them. Regardless of the outcome, Thiem has already qualified for the semi-finals and Berrettini is on his way out. Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Italian was playing for pride at The O2 Arena.

A close start to the match saw neither playing managing to gain any momentum during the first eight games. Then inconsistencies in Thiem’s game started to haunt him. Berrettini’s ability to hit the ball deep into the court forced his rival to make a series of errors as he broke for a 5-4 lead. However, it was his turn to stumble behind his serve as Thiem broke back to level with relative ease.

Despite neither player capitalizing on their advantages, the tiebreaker was a one-sided encounter. Three Thiem unforced errors, as well as a winning Berrettini slice, saw him go behind 0-4 in the blink of an eye. Creating enough of a margin for Berrettini to seal the first set with the help of a 134 mph ace.

Thiem clearly looked flat on the court compared to two days ago when he downed Djokovic, however, nothing should be taken away from Berrettini. Who kept focus and stuck to his game plan throughout the match. A backhand passing shot, followed by a crosscourt winner enabled him to break once again midway through the second set. Easing towards victory after just 76 minutes play, Berrettini closed the match out with a delicate drop shot.

“I’m really proud of myself, but also for my team, my family and my friends. It’s been an unbelievable season.” He reflected on his year.
“I didn’t expect at the beginning of the season to be here (in London). I hope to come back next year, but now I just want to say thanks to those guys (his team). Without them, it couldn’t be possible.”
“I’m happy to finish with a win.“

Despite the loss, Thiem will finish at the top of the Bjorg Born Group. He will play the runner-up of the other group in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Whilst Berrettini’s ATP season is over, he can’t rest yet. Next week he will be in Madrid playing for his country in the Davis Cup along with many other of his fellow players.

“There is one more event. I have to rest a little bit and then I think I deserve a holiday.” He declared.

Berrettini ends 2019 with 43 wins on the ATP Tour in what is a career best. He started the year ranked 54th in the world and didn’t make his top 10 debut until last month.

Italian men in the ATP Finals

-C. Barazzutti in 1978 – 0 wins and 3 loses
-A. Panatta in 1975 – 0 wins and 3 losses
-M. Barrettini in 2019 – 1 win and 2 losses

 

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 5 Preview: Will It Be Djokovic Or Federer In The Semis?

It’s the 49th installment of Federer against Djokovic, with the winner moving onto the semifinals, and the loser being eliminated from the tournament.

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The advancement scenarios for today are that simple, as Dominic Thiem has already guaranteed his place in the semis with tremendous back-to-back wins over both Djokovic and Federer.  For Djokovic, there are also year-end No.1 ranking implications, as he now needs to win this event to keep his hopes alive. And while Matteo Berrettini cannot advance to the semis after going 0-2 thus far, he’ll play to become the first Italian man to ever win a match at the ATP Finals.

 

Dominic Thiem (3) vs. Matteo Berrettini (8)

This will be their third meeting within the past five weeks.  Berrettini prevailed in the Shanghai quarterfinals to reach his first Masters 1,000 semi, while Thiem was victorious at home in Vienna on his way to that title.  Their only other previous encounter was last year at Roland Garros, where Dominic won in four. What a week it’s already been for Thiem, but he has a lot of work still ahead of him.  And perhaps he is due for a letdown after two sensational wins, especially with his qualification for the semifinals already secured. However, Dominic should feel supremely confident coming off his results earlier this week.  And I’m sure his team will warn him of the danger in allowing his level to drop today, even with the result having no impact on his advancement. On the other side of the net, Berrettini has absolutely nothing to lose. Matteo can play freely, and knows he owns a recent win over Thiem.  Still, based on his form this week, Dominic should be favored to go 3-0 in the Bjorn Borg Group round robin play.

Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Roger Federer (3)

Four months ago in this same city, Djokovic saved two championship points and went on to defeat Federer in the first-ever 12-all fifth set tiebreak at Wimbledon to win his 16th Major singles title.  It was a heartbreaking loss for Federer, who was just one point away from his record-extending 21st Major.  Instead, he’s now just four Majors ahead of Djokovic, and only one ahead of Nadal after Rafa’s US Open victory.  Overall Djokovic leads this prolific rivalry 26-22. Novak has claimed their last five meetings, dating back to the championship match at this event four years ago.  But notably, Roger’s last win was just a few days prior, during the round robin stage of this tournament in 2015. On hard courts, Djokovic leads their head-to-head 19-17.  At the ATP Finals, Novak leads 3-2. Djokovic looked extremely agitated at times on Tuesday, seemingly surprised by how vehemently the crowd was rooting for Thiem. But Djokovic will know the London audience to be fully behind Roger today, so I don’t expect that to throw him.  Federer will certainly be eager to avenge the Wimbledon defeat from earlier this year, though overcoming Djokovic on this surface is no easy task. I anticipate another tight contest today between these two all-time greats, but give the slight edge to Novak to prevent Roger from advancing to the semifinals for just the second time in 17 appearances at the ATP Finals.

A breakdown of the Djokovic-Federer rivalry

By tournament

Grand Slams: Djokovic leads 10-6
ATP Finals: Djokovic leads 3-2
Masters 1000: Djokovic leads 11-9
ATP 500 events: Federer leads 4-2
Davis Cup: Federer leads 1-0

By year

YEAR

DJOKOVIC

FEDERER

2006

0

2

2007

1

3

2008

1

2

2009

3

2

2010

1

4

2011

4

1

2012

3

2

2013

2

0

2014

3

3

2015

5

3

2016

1

0

2017

0

0

2018

2

0

2019

1

0

 TOTAL

26

22

 

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