Novak Djokovic: Ousted By Thiem And Furious With Mother Nature At French Open - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic: Ousted By Thiem And Furious With Mother Nature At French Open

Djokovic’s French Open dream has ended in a nightmare.

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Novak Djokovic (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

There will be no fairytale ending for Novak Djokovic this year after he bowed out of the French Open in disappointment, anger and frustration.

 

The world No.1 headed into his semi-final clash with Dominic Thiem on a 26-match winning streak in grand slam tournaments. Should he had won again in Roland Garros, he would be the champion of all four majors at the same time. An impressive milestone he achieved back in 2016. Instead, he bowed out 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5 to his Austrian rival during what was a dramatic two-day encounter.

Initially taking to the courts on Friday, both players had to contend with the blustery conditions. Djokovic was not afraid to express his unhappiness with the weather as he exchanged words with the umpire. Even at one stage having a discussion with the tournament referee during the opening set. The wind gusts were up to 55 mph.

“There are no rules. What I was explained yesterday on the court in the first set when I asked the supervisor, he came on the court and he said as long as there are no flying objects coming to the court, we’re good.” Djokovic told reporters following their match.
“I didn’t know that umbrella is not a flying object, which flew in the first game of the match, but that’s their decision. I guess they know tennis better.”

Eventually proceedings were controversially cancelled on the Friday due to forecasts of more poor weather to come. However, with more than three hours left of daylight at the time of the announcement, some hit out at that decision. Former world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo said “we have hit rock bottom” and Jim Courier made a swipe at the Serbian.

“Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer [who contested the first semi-final] came ready to accept the conditions and so did Dominic Thiem. But Novak came ready to not like them. The happiest person right now would be Novak on his way back home.”

Resuming his match on Saturday, a fiery Djokovic was still far from happy. After receiving time violation for exceeding the designated 25-second rule between points, he received another penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Paving way for a tense discussion between him and umpire Jaume Campistol.

You’ve played tennis, right. So you know how it is in this situation. 5-6, long point, the crowd still clapping. You know how it is, right. OK, great.” He said to Campistol.
“Well done man. Well done. You made yourself a name. You made yourself recognizable. You will get all the credit after this.”

The understandable frustration and anger from Djokovic continued into his post-match press conference. He lead the decided 5-3 and saw two match points come and go thanks to some gutsy play from his opponent.

“When you’re playing in hurricane kind of conditions, it’s hard to perform your best,” Djokovic explained.
“It’s really just kind of surviving in these kind of conditions and trying to hold your serve and play one ball more than your opponent in the court.
“That’s what it felt like playing yesterday. I don’t want to point out some reasons or find excuses for this loss. I mean, he took it, he won it, and well done to him.”

During what was one of his most dramatic matches for a while, it could be argued that the top seed mentality lapsed against Thiem. A theory he disputes.

“I don’t think I have done too much wrong, to be honest, in the entire tournament.” Djokovic concluded.
“This match was always going to be tough because Dominic is a fantastic player on clay, in general, but especially on clay.
“It’s just unfortunate these kind of matches, one or two points decide a winner.”

Djokovic’s first and only title at the French Open occurred back in 2016.

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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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