Karen Khachanov Conquers Del Potro To Reach First Grand Slam Quarter-Final - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

Karen Khachanov Conquers Del Potro To Reach First Grand Slam Quarter-Final

Karen Khachanov beat Juan Martin Del Potro for the first time in four meetings to progress to his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

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Karen Khachanov (@BNPPARIBASOPEN on Twitter)

Karen Khachanov advanced to his first Grand Slam quarter-final with a 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-3 win over Juan Martin Del Potro at the French Open.

 

Despite his youth, the Russian, 23, had already played the Argentine on three previous occasions (including at the 2018 Australian Open) and he lost them all.

This time the signs pointed to a different outcome and those omens proved to be correct. Khachanov has improved with each match at Roland Garros and raised his level significantly for this encounter. Meanwhile, Del Potro is not fully fit as he is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in October.

“I would say it’s my best result,” the Russian said in his on-court interview. “I’m through to my first Grand Slam quarter-final. The atmosphere was really good.”

Khachanov storms ahead

The first set was very tight. Both players served well, and this meant there were very few opportunities to break.

When chances did arise for Del Potro in games five and eleven, Khachanov unleashed a succession of powerful strikes to snuff them out.

This proved crucial because, when the Russian earned a break point of his own in game twelve, he took it to grab the opening set 7-5.

Buoyed by this triumph, Khachanov played superbly in the second set. He completely dominated on serve and won 92% of points behind his first serve and 67% behind his second.

He also broke Del Potro to love in game two and, because he served so well, this was enough to enable him to wrap up the set 6-3 in just 38 minutes.

Del Potro makes Khachanov work for his win

However, the Argentine quickly put to bed any suggestions the match might be over soon. He raised his level significantly to power a couple of big winners past Khachanov and break in the second game.

The Russian dug in and broke back to level the set at 2-2. But Del Potro soon re-established his two game lead by unleashing some more huge groundstrokes to break again in game six.

The World No.9 faced break points in games seven and nine, but he was in no mood to allow Khachanov back into the set, so he fought them off and closed out the set 6-3.

After the third set, the Russian knew he needed to respond to prevent the match going the distance. He saved two break points in the opening game and then attacked Del Potro’s serve to great effect to secure an early break.

He almost broke again in game four, but the Argentine just about held on to keep himself in the match.

Khachanov put Del Potro’s serve under intense pressure again in game six, but once again the World No.9 held on. After two more holds of serve took the score to 5-3, the Russian had a chance to serve for the match.

The Argentine made him work for it by unleashing a huge forehand winner at 15-all. But the World No.11 was undaunted. He hit a forehand winner to make it 30-all, drew an error to earn a match point and then clinched victory with an ace.

Grand Slam

Andy Murray’s Hunt For A Wimbledon Doubles Partner Sparks Interest From Women’s Elite

The chance to play alongside the former world No.1 at SW19 has attracted a lot of interest from past and present players from the WTA Tour.

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Sir Andy Murray of Great Britain is pictured during day four of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

LONDON: Andy Murray’s recent difficulty in finding a mixed doubles partner for the upcoming Wimbledon Championships has prompted a series of WTA players to offer their services.

 

The three-time grand slam champion returned to competitive tennis on Thursday at The Fever-Tree Championships. Winning his first round doubles match alongside Feliciano Lopez. After the victory, the former world No.1 confirmed that he will be playing with Pierre-Hughes Herbert at the All England Club and he is also interested in contesting the mixed doubles.

“I’ve asked singles players who had already committed to playing doubles, and they didn’t want to commit to playing in three events, which I completely understand because it’s a lot. If you have ambitions to go far in the singles, you maybe don’t want to commit to playing all three.” He said.

One of those players Murray approached was French Open champion Ash Barty, who declined his offer. The Australian is currently in the race for world No.1 and is seen as one of the favorites to claim the ladies singles title in three weeks time.

“I’m sure I will find another great partner, providing I feel good enough to play the men’s and mixed doubles. That said, I need to wait and see how I’m feeling first.” Murray wrote in a piece for the BBC.

Fortunately for Murray, the offers to play alongside him has started flying in on social media. Kirsten Flikens, who is a top 30 doubles player, was one of the first to come forward. The Belgian teamed up with Murray before at the 2006 Wimbledon championships as well as the now-defunct International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

Barbora Strycova has already won two doubles titles on the WTA Tour this season with Hsieh Su-Wei. On Instagram, the Czech expressed her willingness to work alongside the Brit.

“I heard rumors that you got rejected a couple of times when finding a partner for mixed doubles in Wimbledon. I swear I wouldn’t do the same mistake as that.” Strycova wrote.

Elsewhere on social media, there was a couple of other light-hearted offers made.

https://twitter.com/BillieJeanKing/status/1141872812841472001

https://twitter.com/CoCoVandey/status/1141860447936585728

https://twitter.com/caseydellacqua/status/1141861486538547200

It is safe to say that Murray can easily find a partner for Wimbledon, which will get underway a week on Monday. The only question is who will it be?

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Grand Slam

Marcos Baghdatis And Iga Swiatek Among Initial Wimbledon Wildcards

Marcos Baghdatis and Iga Swiatek have received a wildcard for Wimbledon as the third grand slam of the year approaches.

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Marcos Baghdatis (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Marcos Baghdatis and defending Juniors champion Iga Swiatek are among the initial wildcards for Wimbledon. 

 

The initial wildcards for Wimbledon have been announced this morning with former Wimbledon semi-finalist Marcos Baghdatis among the Men’s wildcards.

Having not played since May and not appeared on the main tour since February, Baghdatis is a surprise choice for a wildcard spot given the options.

Players such as Nicolas Mahut, Feliciano Lopez and Dustin Brown were seen as candidates for a main draw wildcard but it seems that at the moment that spot has been given to the Cypriot.

Joining Baghdatis as main draw wildcards on the men’s side is the British trio of James Ward, Jay Clarke and NCAA champion Paul Jubb.

Meanwhile on the women’s side, last year’s Women’s junior champion Iga Swiatek has been given a wildcard after her incredible rise.

Since winning the Juniors title last year, Swiatek has reached her maiden WTA final, risen to number 65 in the world and reached the fourth round at Roland Garros.

Joining Swiatek, as the British wildcards are Harriet Dart, Heather Watson and Katie Swan as there are four more spots to be announced.

As more wildcards are yet to be announced, the likes of Feliciano Lopez, Dustin Brown and Katie Boulter could still receive a main draw wildcard.

Meanwhile in the doubles event Lleyton Hewitt has once again received a doubles wildcard despite ‘retiring.’ The 2002 singles champion will team up with compatriot Jordan Thompson.

Here are the wildcards below, with the singles draws taking place a week on Friday:

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ATP

Greg Rusedski Tips Tsitsipas To Become The Next Federer

The Greek sensation has been backed to rise to the top of the world rankings.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (photo by chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski has praised Next Gen star Stefano Tsitsipas by saying he has characteristics similar to that of Roger Federer.

 

The former world No.4 believes the greek has what it takes to conquer the men’s tour. So far this season Tsitsipas has played in four ATP finals, winning titles in Marseille and Estoril. In total, he has won 32 matches on the tour this year. The joint-highest alongside Rafael Nadal. At the age of 20, he is already the first man from his country to reach the semi-final of a grand slam and crack the top 10.

“He’s so much better as a player than he was a year ago and he’s getting better,” Rusedski told Amazon Prime.
“His transitioning game coming forward, playing doubles so much more this year. I think he will be a Wimbledon champion as well as a world number one. He’s that good.”

Continuing his tribute to the world No.6, the Brit believes he plays similar to some of the stars of the game. Tsitsipas is currently 10-15 against top 10 opposition in his career and has defeated every member of the Big Three at least once. The most recent being against Nadal at the Madrid Open.

“He reminds me of a young Roger Federer. A guy who’s got that full package.” Rusedski analyzed.
“He looks a little bit like Bjorn Borg the way he walks around the court but what I like, he’s a complete player and he has this mental fortitude where he believes he belongs.”

Tsitsipas is the top seed at this week’s Fever-Tree Championships in London. He will be hoping for a strong run ahead of the Wimbledon championships, which he reached the fourth round at last year. Looking ahead to the grand slam, he is optimistic about the prospect of ending the dominance of Nadal and Co. It has been 16 years since a player outside of the Big Four (counting Andy Murray) has won Wimbledon.

“I want to be honest. I would love to see something different this year,’ he said.
‘Hopefully, it can be me, but I think it’s good for the sport to have a bit of variety, something different. It’s boring to see all these guys winning all the time. Djokovic is the reigning champion.”

Tsitsipas will play Kye Edmund in his first match at Queen’s.

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