Noventi Open Mid-Week Numbers - UBITENNIS
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Noventi Open Mid-Week Numbers

Numbers do an interesting job of telling the day’s story at the Noventi Open.

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Borna Coric (@ddsportschannel - Twitter)

By Mark Winters

 

Wednesday, at what was once the Gerry Weber Open, but twelve days ago became the Noventi Open, was warm – sultry says it better. This is not typical for Halle,  Germany’s weather in June. The collection of second round contests, on the day’s match card, were also sultry, but not in the way an attractive woman can be. In truth, they were seductive from a numbers standpoint.

In today’s world many references to numbers bring about a – figures don’t always tell the truth – exclamation. Ordinarily, this may be the case, but tennis is different. Data, actually, opens many discovery doors.

For example, the age range of the participants in today’s four matches ran from 33 (Sergiy Stakhovsky the Ukrainian qualifier) to defending champion Borna Coric of Croatia, who is 22. There was a clot of late 20s performers – David Goffin of Belgium and Pierre-Hugues Hebert of France are both 28; and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany and Radu Albot of Moldova are both 29. Then there were the “Almosts”.  Two players were almost the oldest and almost the youngest – Joao Sousa a qualifier from Portugal is 30 and Karen Khachanov of Russia is 23.

Adding to the counting coincidences, Struff and Khachanov, along with Coric and Sousa, were meeting for the first time in their ATP careers. Consistency continued its run with Goffin being 2-0 against Albot in career play, and Herbert enjoying the same advantage over Stakhovsky.

For each of these players, it would probably be quite safe to say that grass is not their favored surface. Looking at Halle’s win-loss records going into play today, they seem to bear this out – sort of… Since he is making his tournament debut and having won his first match, Albot’s record was a perfect 1-0. Of those who are in the “veterans” category, Coric, at 7-2, was the best. Khachanov, a semifinalist in 2017, was second at 6-2. Goffin at 3-2 and Herbert with 2-1 on his tournament score card, brought up the tail end of the positive grades. Sousa tops the “down but not out” list at 2-4, and Struff, who earned his first tournament victory on Tuesday, is 1-6 in the count game.

ATP ranking (at the beginning of the tournament on June 17th) and tournament seeding are another “count them” qualifier. Khachanov ranked No. 9, is seeded No. 3. Coric, who is right behind him positioned at No. 14, is seeded No. 4. All the rest are unseeded. In by the numbers order, Goffin is No. 33; Struff, No. 35; Albot, No. 41; and Hebert, No. 43. The qualifiers – Sousa and Stakhovsky – are No. 71 and No. 123 – respectively.

The final entry in the numbers of the day saga is a “win one, lose one, win in conscience but lose in the end” item. Stakhovsky was leading 5-1 with Herbert serving at 40-0 . He hit what seemed to be an ace (the ball touched the line and brought up chalk), but it was called a fault. The Frenchman approached the chair umpire and asked for an overrule, but the official informed him that he didn’t have any more challenges. Unable to “officially” contest the call he asked Stakhovsky what he thought. The Ukrainian said the ball was good, but to give Hebert the point, he, Stakhovsky, had to challenge the call. He did and the replay proved the “fault call” was not correct. Herbert had, indeed, hit an ace to win the game.

So Stakhovsky challenged himself; lost the point; gave Herbert the game; but won the first set, serving it out, 6-2. Unfortunately, the “good guy” move result didn’t carry the day. Herbert recovered from the 0-1 deficit to win the next two sets, 7-6, 6-4.

All of this proves that at the Noventi Open, after 26 years under the Gerry Weber banner, the first year sponsor, Noventi will enjoy some very good numbers.

 

 

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Janko Tipsarevic retires from tennis

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Janko Tipsarevic has announced that he will retire from professional tennis at the age of 35 next November. The Belgrade native enjoyed his best seasons in 2011, when he qualified for the ATP Finals, and in 2012, when he reached the quarter final at the US Open for the second consecutive year. In 2012 he reached the quarter final or better in 14 tournaments, including the semifinal at Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Toronto.

 

He reached his best ranking of world number 8 in April 2012 after qualifying for the quarter final in Miami. He won four titles in his career and reached the fourth round at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Australian Open.

He returned to action at the Australian Open last January after a long absence of 16 months following two harmstring surgeries. The Serbian player lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the first round at the Australian Open. Later this year he reached the quarter final in Houston.

Tipsarevic is planning after the Davis Cup finals in Madrid next November.

“It has been a great 16 years. After a lot of sour searching and thinking what is important to me in this stage of my life and what does make make me happy, I have decided to retire from professional tennis. My last competition will be the Davis Cup in Madrid. In the following years my focus will be my family, franchising our Tennis Academy and International coaching for several weeks per year. Thank you for your ongoing support”, announced Tipsarevic via social media.

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Intriguing Team-Ups Lure Eyes Doubles’ Way. Will They Stay For The Problems, Too?

Will the recent surge in high-profile double partnerships have any impact on the long term future of the discipline?

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Cincinnati Open, Western and Southern Open, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez
Photo Credit: ATP Tour Twitter

In one of his press conferences at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Andy Murray said he would not be playing the US Open. His announcement came a day or so after his initial declaration that he would be playing only the two doubles events in the final Major of the season. A few things came out of Murray’s remarks. The first and the obvious was that the former world no. 1 was ready to give it his all (yet again) to play singles. The second, the understated aspect, was that doubles while seeming easy vis-à-vis singles required just as much focus, if not more. Then, there was a third.

 

In tennis’ continuity though, the relevance of the doubles game is not a recent epiphany. However, the last few tournaments of the 2019 season that featured some eclectic partnerships – Stefanos Tsitispas and Nick Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez, the Pliskova twins, Andy and Jamie Murray, and so on – has made doubles slightly more prominent than singles.

Singles has become monotonous with the same set of players making it to the final rounds. On the other hand, doubles has brought in more verve to the existing status quo of the Tour, with each player’s individuality adding to the dynamics of the team. After his first outing as Kyrgios’ doubles partner at the Citi Open in Washington in July, Tsitsipas pointed this out.

“It’s the joy of being with a person who thinks differently and reacts differently. I would characterise him (Kyrgios) as someone who likes to amuse. I’m very serious and concentrated when I play, but he just has the style of speaking all the time. It’s good sometimes to have a change,” the Greek had said.

These changes – as seen with Murray’s recent decision – may not extend for a longer period. The culmination of these short-term team-ups does – and should – not mean the end of the road of doubles piquing attention, per se. At the same time, these transitory partnerships also reroute the discussion back to the financial side of the doubles game.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Jamie Murray – a doubles specialist – shared how conducive it had become for players to take up doubles as the sole means of a tennis career these days, as compared to in the past.

“Because the money is always increasing in tennis, it is a much more viable option to go down the doubles route a lot earlier than previous generations. Before, people would play singles and then when their ranking dropped, they played an extra few years of doubles. Now it is a genuine option to start off much younger and have a career in doubles,” the 33-year-old said.

Despite Murray’s upbeat attitude, these increases have not exactly trickled towards doubles, especially at the Slams including the upcoming edition of the US Open. For 2019, the USTA showed-off yet another hike in the prize-money coffer. The men’s and women’s singles champions will be awarded $3.8 million. In comparison, the men’s and women’s doubles teams winning the respective title will get $740,000. This sum gets further diluted for the mixed-doubles’ titlists who will get $160,000 as a team.

This is the third and final takeaway that emerged from Murray’s US Open call. For several of these singles players, intermittent doubles play is an option. For those who play only doubles, that is the only option they have. The doubles game requires similar effort – travel, expenses and fitness – the costs continue to outweigh the benefits. These momentary team formations are a gauge revealing the disparity of tennis’ two sides, visible yet obliviated beyond tokenism.

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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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