Marathon Man Gilles Simon Outlasts Weary Medvedev In Epic To Reach Queen’s Final - UBITENNIS
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Marathon Man Gilles Simon Outlasts Weary Medvedev In Epic To Reach Queen’s Final

The Frenchman has come out on top during what was a dramatic encounter in London on Saturday.

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LONDON: French underdog Gilles Simon has secured a place in his first ATP grass-court final for six years after downing a wilting Daniil Medvedev in a three-set epic.

 

Simon, who is a former Wimbledon quarter-finalist, valiantly came back from the brink to knock out the fourth seed 6-7(4), 6-4,6-3, in what was a marathon encounter at The Queen’s Club. Featuring gut-busting rallies lasting 30 shots and more, as well as some injury drama concerning Medvedev.

It was a really, really good performance today with the fatigue from the match yesterday, a lot of tension, and I found a good rhythm. I was hitting the ball well. I had good ball control on both sides.” Simon said during his press conference.
“It was pretty intense, but I found a good rhythm and I was able to hold it until the end, even if it was, like, really, really difficult. But, yeah, that was enough.”

The 34-year-old Frenchman appeared to be unaffected by the events that took place on the previous day. Taking on compatriot Nicolas Mahut, Simon engaged in the longest match to take place at the tournament since the ATP starting keeping records back in 19991. Battling it out on the court for three hours and 21 minutes.

On Saturday little separated the two players throughout their encounter at The Queen’s Club. In the first set, an early exchange of breaks saw the momentum switch between the two. Simon’s use of slice frustrated his Russian rival, who relied on his speedy serve to get him out of some difficult situations.

Eventually, Medvedev secured the breakthrough he was looking for during the early stages of the tiebreak. A four-point winning streak, which was aided by a duo of Simon mistakes, elevated him to a 4-0 lead. Weathering the storm, the margin was enough to gift him the opening set, which he closed out with the help of a forehand down the line.

Despite being in the lead, victory was far from certain during what was a tiring encounter. The inability to get away from Simon infuriated Medvedev, who displayed moments of frustration and stern glares towards his team watching from the sidelines.

The comeback

Two games away from exiting this year’s championships, Simon hit back at the most crucial moment. Leading the second frame 5-4, he once again dismantled the Medvedev serve to suddenly revive his chances of the win and force the proceedings into a decider.

As the momentum changed, more drama erupted towards the business end of the semi-final as Medvedev appeared to be in discomfort. Throughout the match, he was seen putting ice on his shoulder during changeovers. However, it was the back that was the most problematic. Forcing him to bend over sharply and even at one stage collapsing onto the ground. Prompting a worried look from his team.

You have this tendency to stop every time you play a good shot and you hope, oh, okay, it was enough, he cannot do it anymore.” The world No.38 explained when asked how he kept his focused.
“So you just have to focus on what you are doing and not watch on the other side.”

Medvedev’s misfortunes failed to have any impact on Simon’s concentration as he rallied towards victory. Leading 4-3, a cross-court winner from the Frenchman rewarded him another two break points for the chance to serve the match out. Something that was handed to him after a double fault from Medvedev. It would also be another Medvedev error which secured him the victory after the Russian hit the ball beyond the baseline.

Simon in the first Frenchman to reach the final at Queen’s since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga back in 2011. Should he win the title, he would become the first from his country to do so in the Open Era.

“It’s a difficult tournament to win. You see the names from the past champions. You realize how hard it is and the quality of the players who were able to win this tournament.” Simon concluded.

 

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat Italian Next Gen star Jannick Sinner in St. Petersburg

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat 18-year-old Italian Next Gen rising star Jannick Sinner 6-3 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 40 minutes. Kukushkin fended off nine of the eleven break points he faced.

 

Sinner, who turned 18 last month and received a wild-card to take part at the next November’s ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan, did not convert three break points in the first game, but Kukushkin saved them to hold his first game.

Kukushkin, who won his only title in St.Petersburg in 2010, was the first to break serve in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Sinner earned three break points but Kukushkin fended them off. Sinner saved a break point in the eighth game but Kukushkin served out the opening set on his first set point.

Kukushkin went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead, Sinner converted his second break-back point to draw level to 2-2. Kukushkin got a break lead for the second time but Sinner rallied from the break down for the second time to draw level to 4-4. Sinner earned set point at 5-4 to force a decider, but Kukushkin saved it to draw level to 5-5. Kukushkin got a mini-break in the tie-break to win the tie-break 7-4.

Adrian Mannarino, who won his first ATP Tour title in s’Hertogenbosch, beat Stefano Travaglia 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes. Travaglia held his first two service games at love and broke serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Mannarino converted his first break-back point for 3-4. Both players held their serve to draw level to 5-5. Travaglia saved a break point, but he made two double faults to drop his serve in the 11th game for 5-6. Mannarino served out the first set on his first point.

Travaglia saved a break point at the start of the second set, but Mannarino converted his second chance.

Travaglia earned two break-back points in the second game but did Mannarino saved them to open up a 2-0 lead. Mannarino went up a 3-0 lead. The Frenchman saved a break point in the sixth game to race out to a 5-1 lead and sealed the win on his first match point.

 

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‘Looks Like He Should Be Suspended’ – Pat Rafter Questions ATP’s Management Of Nick Kyrgios

The former world No.1 is the latest person to speak out about the controversial player.

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Nick Kyrgios, Steve Johnson, 2019 US Open
Photo Credit: Andrew Ong/USTA

Two-time US Open champion Pat Rafter has cast shade on the governing body of men’s tennis over their management of Nick Kyrgios’ behaviour on the tour.

 

The Australian world No.27 had been facing a potential suspension by the ATP over a series of controversies. However, he has received no ban as of yet. During the Cincinnati Masters he was fined $113,000 for eight violations committed during his match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov. Ranging from unsportsmanlike conduct to walking off the court without permission.

A couple weeks later during the US Open Kyrgios accused the ATP of being ‘corrupt’ before clarifying his statement 24 hours later. Arguing that there are double standards in the game when it comes to some players.

Now the subject of an investigation, 46-year-old Rafter has questioned why Kyrgios has not been suspended from the tour yet.

“I don’t understand why it hasn’t happened,” Rafter said during the launch of the ATP Cup.
“There is obviously something else going on behind the scenes. I don’t know.
“On paper it looks like he should be suspended, to me.”

On the other hand, some would argue that banning the 24-year-old would be counterproductive. Despite his antics, Kyrgios has managed to become a household name in the sport. He also has the talent to challenge the best players in the world. In the past, he has defeated Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Although Rafter believes there is a fine line.

“That’s the other thing. He draws a crowd,” Rafter said.
“But at what stage do you say the crowd is more important? Or are you trying to uphold a certain standard or protocol for players to adhere to.”

Previously tennis legend Rod Laver was reportedly another person to speak in favour of handing Kyrgios another suspension. His first took place at the end of 2016. During an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Laver was quoted as saying ‘whatever they have done hasn’t worked so far, so maybe a suspension is the only answer.’

Whilst it looked as if the tennis legend backed punishing Kyrgios, he has since taken a different tone. In a recent interview with a Swiss newspaper, Laver said he was misquoted when talking about Kyrgios.

“I did not say that, I was misquoted by the Sydney Morning Herald.” He told Aargauer Zeitung.
“This was then misunderstood by others and went around without anyone talking to me to verify that statement. It’s true what I said to FOX Sports: I said Nick should not be banned.”

Kyrgios will return to action on Friday where he is taking part in the Laver Cup.

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ATP Cup Draw Places Andy Murray On Collision Course With Federer

Details of where Murray, Federer, Djokovic and Nadal will play their first matches of 2020 have been announced.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray has been placed in the same group as Swiss rival Roger Federer for the revamped ATP Cup which will get underway in January.

 

The draw for the team event was formally made on Monday at the Sydney Opera House with former players Lleyton Hewitt, Pat Rafter and John Newcombe among those attending. A total of 24 countries will take part in the competition across three different Australian cities. Unlike the traditional Davis Cup, $15 million in prize money and up to 750 ranking points will be up for grabs.

“It’s great for tennis,” Newcombe said at the draw.
“What a showcase, to be able to showcase the best players in the world representing their country.”

It will be in Sydney where Murray will lock horns with the world No.3. Both have been drawn in Group C along with Belgium, who will be headed by David Goffin. Another team will be added to the group in the future. Murray is on the comeback from a second hip operation and is currently ranked outside the top 400. The upcoming event could be his first chance to play Federer since 2015.

Novak Djokovic will start his campaign in Brisbane. Making it the first time he has played an ATP event in the city since 2009. Paired with Dusan Lajovic, the duo has been placed alongside South Africa and France in Group A. The other group playing in Brisbane will feature both Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Two players who at times do not see eye-to-eye on the tour. They have been placed in Group F along with Canada and host nation Australia.

In Perth Rafael Nadal will be headlining the field and hoping to lead Spain to glory. The US Open champion will face early opposition from both Japan and Georgia. Nadal hasn’t won a title of any kind in the country since his triumph 10 years ago at the Australian Open.

The groups

Brisbane Perth Sydney
Group A Group F Group B Group D Group C Group E
Serbia Germany Spain Russia Switzerland Austria
France Greece Japan Italy Belgium Croatia
South Africa Canada Georgia USA Great Britain Argentina
TBD Australia TBD TBD TBD TBD

At present every member of the world’s top 10 has committed to playing in the event. The ATP Cup is the first team event to be placed on the ATP Calendar since the World Team Cup, which ended in 2012. In the new event, the top eight teams from the group stages will qualify for the quarter-final stage in Sydney. Each tie will feature two singles matches and one doubles.

The return of the competition has shaken up the tennis schedule in Australia. Both the Brisbane International and Sydney International have become women-only events. Meanwhile, the once prestigious Hopman Cup has come to an end after more than 20 years.

The ATP Cup will take place between January 3rd-12th.

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