LONDON: It was a case of experience prevailing over youth at the Fever-Tree Championships on semi-finals day as Feliciano Lopez outlasted Next Gen star Felix Auger-Aliassime in three sets.
The 37-year-old Spaniard withstood some fierce play from his opponent, which featured 25 aces, to clinch the 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4, win in what was a clash of the generations. Not since 1977 has there been a final or semi-final match contested on the ATP Tour with a bigger age difference than the one that took place at Queen’s. Lopez is 18 years and nine months older than his opponent.
Nevertheless, age proved irrelevant in the 136-minute clash as the world No.113 held his nerve against the Canadian. Hitting 15 aces, 35 winners and saving all eight of the break points he faced.
“It’s a great win for me, Felix is a tough opponent. He served unbelievably during the whole match. I managed to return better as the match went on.” A delighted Lopez said during his on-court interview with the BBC.
“I’m so happy, I can’t believe I’m in the final here again. It’s crazy how we old guys can still perform well.”
With both players illustrating their potential on the court, the proceedings of their clash headed into a decider. Lopez, who won the tournament back in 2017, was the first to draw blood. Capitalizing on a lackluster service game by Auger-Aliassime, he broke to love on route to a 3-2 lead. Immediately his rival threatened to break back in the next game, but he managed to tame that threat posed with the help of a forehand shank from across the court. Closing in on 24th win at the Queen’s Club, four match points came and went thanks to some impressive resilience from Auger-Aliassime. It was on the fifth attempt when Lopez prevailed after hitting a delicate drop shot at the net.
“I feel very lucky to still be competitive at this stage of my career. I would never have imagined I could reach the final of Queen’s at 37 years old.” He said afterward.
Lopez’s win has denied his opponent the chance to break into the world’s top 20 on Monday. Nevertheless, the Canadian is already the youngest player to crack the top 25 since Lleyton Hewitt back in 1999. Auger-Aliassime also missed out on the chance to become the youngest Queen’s finalist since Boris Becker back in 1985.
France’s Gilles Simon will be Lopez’s opponent in the final. The Spaniard leads their head-to-head 5-2 and won their three most recent meetings since 2017. Two of those took place on the grass.
“I have a tough record against Feliciano, especially on grass. I lost the final against him in Eastbourne already.” Said Simon. “He’s a difficult player to beat on grass. He keeps the ball low. He has this huge serve that is giving him a lot of free points. And then he’s moving really well and covering well the court.’
“So it’s gonna be a physical match, also. And I hope I will be ready for that.”
Lopez is also playing in the doubles draw with Andy Murray. Their quarter-final match will follow later today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal
The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.
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.”
Daniil Medvedev Hails Latest French Open Win As His Best Yet
‘Hurt More Than My Injury’ – Alize Cornet’s Potential Last French Open Marred By Crowd Booing
Iga Swiatek Passes On chance To Attend Champions League Final To Focus On French Open Bid
Carlos Alcaraz Sweeps Away Korda At French Open
Roland Garros Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Goes for her 31st Consecutive Victory
Simona Halep Unsurprised By Mass Exit Of Top Seeds At Madrid Open
‘Time To Accept The Situation And Fight’ – Rafael Nadal Targets French Open Despite Foot Concern
Carlos Alcaraz showcases the changing landscape of men’s tennis
Daria Kasatkina Praises New Racket After Discovering Form Ahead Of Roland Garros
Alexander Zverev Hoping For Long Collaboration With New Coach Bruguera
US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic’s loss had more to do with fatigue than pressure”
US Open, Steve Flink on the Murray-Tsitsipas Controversy
(VIDEO) Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin Del Potro Gathering Momentum In Comeback Bids
Steve Flink On Wimbledon: “Bautista Agut would be a tough semifinal test for Djokovic”
Wimbledon, Flink: “Djokovic Will Beat Zverev in the Final”
ATP1 day ago
Doubles Player Dream French Open Debut Ended By Instagram Message
Focus2 days ago
EXCLUSIVE: The Reality Of Life As A Tennis Journalist Living In War-Torn Ukraine
Hot Topics3 days ago
ATP Structure Has Failed Players Multiple Times, Says World No.1 Djokovic
Latest news2 days ago
Simona Halep Suffers Rare Panic Attack During French Open Loss
Latest news3 days ago
‘Great Things Are Going To Happen’ – Maria Sakkari Finds Silver Lining In Shock French Open Loss
Focus3 days ago
Rafael Nadal Eases His Way To 300th Grand Slam Win At French Open
Focus2 days ago
Diego Schwartzman survives in five but Taylor Fritz and Fabio Fognini out
Focus3 days ago
Carlos Alcaraz Praises Mental and Physical Strength After Epic Win At Roland Garros