Gutsy Feliciano Lopez Turns Around Turbulent Season By Winning Second Queen’s Title - UBITENNIS
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Gutsy Feliciano Lopez Turns Around Turbulent Season By Winning Second Queen’s Title

The 37-year-old tour veteran has won his first ATP title since 2017.

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LONDON: Feliciano Lopez’s dream week at the Fever-Tree Championships has concluded with a fairytale ending after the wild card prevailed in a marathon battle to claim the title on Sunday.

 

The 37-year-old Spaniard required a tiring two hours and 49 minutes to overcome Gilles Simon, who played the longest match in the tournament’s history since records began earlier in the week. The dramatic encounter saw numerous changes of momentums as both players engaged in some gut-busting rallies from both the baseline and at the net. In the match of fine margins, Lopez eventually prevailed 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-6(2). Saving six out of the seven break points he faced and triggering a large outburst of cheers from the crowd at Queen’s.

“I don’t know how I did that.” The world No.113 said during his on-court interview.
“The whole match was very exciting. I took the early set but then he got better and better. It was tough for me to find a way to win points.
“He was coming up with unbelievable shots and I was a bit desperate.
“I thought the best moment of my career was when I held this trophy in 2017 but it’s not. It’s right now.”

After playing three matches on the court yesterday, it initially appeared as if Lopez would cruise toward his second trophy at the tournament after 2017. During the opening set, the wild card rallied to a double break advantage with little difficulty. Grabbing the first break with the help of two consecutive Simon errors, before sealing his second with the help of a volley at the net. Taking advantage of some mixed play that was coming from across the court, he closed the opener with a 137 MPH serve.

Despite taking the lead, history shows that winning the title at Queen’s is never easy. Prior to this year, seven out of the past eight champions have done so after dropping the opening set. At one stage it appeared as if Simon could follow that trend after fighting his way through the second frame. After exchanging breaks between the two players, the Frenchman managed to turn his fortunes around in the tiebreak. Returning a Lopez serve deep towards the baseline and forcing the error from the Spaniard to revive his title dreams.

With all to play for, a dramatic decider took place. The first four games saw both players face and save break points valiantly. Electrifying the packed 9000-capacity crowd in London. With neither player budging, it was only fitting that another tiebreaker would decide who would win the trophy. It was a duo of errors that cost Simon. A double fault placed him behind 2-4, before a forehand volley into the net on the following point that guided Lopez to glory.

“It was long today. It was long every day. It was tough for Feli and he has another final to play in a few minutes.” Simon said moments after the final.
“It’s tough right now after such an amazing effort to try and stay in this match and come back.
“It’s such an honour and pleasure to play here and have the chance to win the final.”I don’t know how long I can stay on tour. Feli is still fit and he’s a bit older than me so I hope I’ll have the chance to come back again.”

Prior to this week, Lopez had only won three matches on the ATP Tour this season. He is the first wild card to win Queen’s since Pete Sampras back in 1999.

There will be no time for the new champion to rest. He will return to the court alongside Andy Murray in a bid to add the doubles trophy to his collection. Something that was also last achieved by Sampras.

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Thomas Musters Hints At Conflict With Thiem After Sudden Axe From Team

The unexpected move by Thiem has left more questions than answers.

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Australian tennis legend Thomas Muster has seemingly suggested that a difference in opinion was behind his sudden departure from Dominic Thiem’s team after just two weeks.

 

On Saturday the world No.5 unexpectedly confirmed that the former French Open champion has left his team. Exactly 18 days after Thiem said during a press conference at the ATP Cup that the two have arranged a ‘working relationship.’ The announcement followed Thiem’s four-set win over Taylor Fritz in the third round of the Australian Open.

“We ended our working relationship,” He told Austrian reporters in Melbourne. “It did not fit. It’s easy like that. It is just about work. We get along well personally, and we said in the beginning, if anything is not all right we will tell each other.”

Questions are left remaining about what the exact reason for the two to go their separate ways. Especially given their short period spent working together. Both have been coy on the subject, but Muster has shed some light during an interview with Eurosport.

Speaking with fellow former world No.1 Becker, Muster said he was initially expecting to be working with Thiem for a two-year period. Adding to the mystery, the 52-year-old fuelled further speculation when he gave a cryptic insight about the two-time French Open finalist. Who had previously said that his career was to emulate and surpass Muster’s career achievements.

“To be honest, I have seen myself in this role for the next two years.” He told Becker.
“Why he chose differently…l I know why, but I don’t want to say the details.’
“It’s like this. There are houses which look nice from the outside, wonderfully from the outside, but you rarely know who lives inside.”

Speaking about Thiem’s performance on the court, Muster believes there are still areas of his game that requires further improvement. Last year the 26-year-old won five titles on the ATP Tour, including his first at Masters level. Something that was only matched by Novak Djokovic.

“He’s a fine guy and likes to learn a lot,” he told Eurosport.
“But he has also got some shortcomings, he has to work on if he wants to be at the top. He has improved a lot, but he to catch up in the technical, physical and foremost in the mental area.”

Muster isn’t the only former professional with a view that Thiem needs to improve. Mats Wilander recently called on the tennis star to improve his attitude on the court.

Thiem will play fifth seed Gael Monfils in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday.

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Injury-Stricken Juan Martin Del Potro Suffers New Blow And An Uncertain Future

There is more bad news for fans of the former world No.3 and his hopes of a return to tennis.

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Hopes of Juan Martin del Potro returning to the tour in the coming weeks have ended after it was announced that he will undergo further surgery on Monday.

 

The former US Open champion hasn’t played a competitive match since June after fracturing his right kneecap at the Fever-Tree Championships in London. The same one he also hurt towards the end of the 2018 season. Shortly after his mishap the Argentine underwent surgery in Barcelona in an attempt to fix the issue and have been undergoing rehabilitation ever since.

Unfortunately for the former top-five player, the surgery hasn’t been a success with him continuing to have pain in the region. In an official press release published on Sunday, it was confirmed that the issue is affecting the Argentine in everyday tasks such as walking up a flight of stairs. As a consequence, Del Potro will have yet another operation on his knee in Miami.

“We want to update you that after long weeks of inter consultations in Argentina, Europe and the United States, most doctors have come to the conclusion that a new intervention in the right knee of Juan Martin del Potro is necessary.” A statement reads.
“After analyzing the options, Delpo trusted Dr. Lee Kaplan to perform the surgery scheduled for Monday, January 27th in Miami.”
“We hope that this is the definitive solution to eliminate the pain that not only has prevented Delpo from playing tennis, but also making it difficult for him to perform daily activities.”

Speculation over the future intentions of the 31-year-old started earlier this week when he withdrew from the Delray Beach Open. The tournament were where he was set to make his comeback next month.

During his rehabilitation, Del Potro has sought various treatments. Including types of diets, training and trips to specialists. All of which failed to deliver the desired outcome and forced him to undergo surgery.

“Thank you for your patience and for understanding that these past weeks we have taken our time before communicating his next steps. The situation is never easy when it comes to the physique of an athlete and, more importantly, the health of a person.” Team del Potro said.

The latest revelation has cast concerns over Del Potro’s future career. Who at one stage said he was unsure if he would be able to continue playing due to his knee injury (prior to his first surgery). It is the latest setback for the injury-stricken player who have also been forced to undergo four wrist surgeries.

So far in his career, Del Potro has won 22 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world last year.

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Milos Raonic reaches the Australian Open quarter finals for the fifth time in his career

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Milos Raonic beat Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3 7-5 to advance to the quarter final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career and for the second consecutive year. The Canadian player has advanced to the quarter final for the tenth time in his career at Grand Slam level.

 

Raonic saved an early break point with a big serve and hit a backhand down the line to force an error to break in the 10th game closing out the first set 6-4.

The former Wimbldon finalist and eight-time ATP Tour champion hit a backhand return winner in the second game to open up a 2-0 lead in the second set.

Cilic brought up two set points on Raonic’s serve in the 10th game of the third set, but Raonic fended them off with three serves. Raonic got a break in the 11th game at 15 and sealed the win on his first match point with an ace.

“It feels pretty good. I have got to say. I can’t complain about it and I am just happy with how things are going. I am happy I have another chance to play in two days here and it’s been an exciting tournament for me so far, but hopefully there are more exciting things ahead. I did a lot of things really well, and I had the idea of how I wanted to play. I was happy I could execute and live up to that”, said Milos Raonic in the post-match interview.

 

 

 

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