Halle Tournament Director Pays Tribute To 'Irreplaceable’ Roger Federer - UBITENNIS
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Halle Tournament Director Pays Tribute To ‘Irreplaceable’ Roger Federer

Ralf Weber explains how he plans to maintain the tournament’s high attendance after the former world No.1 retires.

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Roger Federer’s presence at next week’s Noventi Open in Halle is one tournament organisers are both celebrating and relishing.

 

The 20-time grand slam champion is set to play in the tournament for the 17th time in his career. Federer, who has won the title a record nine times, last missed the tournament back in 2011 due to a groin injury. In 2010 he signed a contract to play in Halle each year for the rest of his career. Two years after signing the contract, he had a street named in his honour in the region.

There is no doubt the Swiss Maestro is a star attraction for the tournament, which is run by director Ralf Weber. Although at the age of 37, Weber knows that Federer’s presence will only continue for a few years at best.

“There will be no successor who can replace him one on one,” he told newspaper Westfalen Blatt.
“You do not have to fool yourself. What Roger Federer has done and still achieves is above all else.
“Everyone will have a hard time saying ‘I’m stepping into those footsteps now’.

Preparing for life without the world No.3, Weber is hoping to prevent any potential decline in interest with the help of the rising stars of the game and local talent. Germany currently has four players ranked in the top 100 on the ATP Tour, however, Alexander Zverev in the only one under the age of 25. Florian Mayer was the last home player to win the title back in 2016.

“So, looking at the whole tournament, we have to make sure that we – as this year – have a great mix of world stars, German pros and players of the so-called Next Generation, the stars of tomorrow.” Weber explained.
“Our viewers want to see attractive tennis. We want to offer that to them.”

So far in his career, Federer has achieved an overall win-loss record of 63-7 at the event. Reaching the semi-final stage 14 consecutive times. He has never lost before the quarter-final in Halle since his debut back in 2000.

“It seems almost natural to us that a world star like Roger Federer plays here in Halle every year,” Weber reflected.
“But many 500 tournaments will never get the chance that they will ever be seen there at all.
“That we can present Roger Federer in Halle is something very special.”

Last year 115,000 people visited the tournament in what was an attendance record for Halle. This year’s edition has a total financial commitment of 2.1 million euros. Besides Federer, Dominic Thiem, Zverev and Kei Nishikori are all set to take part.

The Noventi Open will get underway on Monday.

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

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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

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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

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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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