Roger Federer Downs Wawrinka In Four Set Epic To Reach Roland Garros Semi-Finals - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Downs Wawrinka In Four Set Epic To Reach Roland Garros Semi-Finals

Roger Federer reached his first Roland Garros Semi-Final for seven years with a four set win over Stan Wawrinka.

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Roger Federer (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

Roger Federer defeated Stan Wawrinka 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(5) 6-4 to reach the Roland Garros Semi-Finals.

In a battle of the former champions, Federer downed Wawrinka in four epic sets to reach the last four in Paris and end his compatriot’s renaissance.

The win means it’s Federer’s first Roland Garros semi-final since 2012, where he will restore his rivalry with Rafael Nadal.

As the 11-time champion downed Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-1 6-3 in convincing fashion to set up another meeting in the Fedal rivalry.

In their 26th meeting of their career, it was Federer who made the brightest start on return as he looked to break his compatriot early on.

However there was a reason why Wawrinka came through a five hour battle to reach the quarter-finals and showed it with some clutch serving to save four break points in the opening set.

In particular the serve down the middle helped the 2015 champion to get out of trouble and stay in the set as Federer continued to ease through his service games.

With the 24th seed not being as effective on serve, a first set tiebreak loomed after Federer proved too passive on break points.

In the end though a poor backhand from the 34 year-old allowed Federer to seize control in a crucial moment as two accurate sealed the tiebreak 7-4.

Despite the set lead, break points continued to haunt the 20 time grand slam champion as he wasted three more at the start of the second set.

That often means that when your opponent gets an opportunity of his own, he often takes it and this was exactly the case.

A first opportunity and the first break of the match went to Wawrinka in the third game with a loopy forehand cross-court winner.

Frustration started to set in for Federer, who couldn’t offer any real offence on return as Wawrinka remained better on the big points.

A tough hold at the end sealed the set for Wawrinka as the 2009 champion lost his first set of Roland Garros with the match level at one set all.

After failing to convert an eighth break point, Federer was starting to lose the baseline duels with more aggression needed from him.

As a result Wawrinka started to feel more comfortable from the back of the court and broke on his second break point after a missed backhand volley from Federer.

One thing we know about the world number three though is he never stops finding solutions and some slow returns caused Wawrinka problems.

Uncharacteristic errors on the forehand saw Wawrinka hand Federer the break as it was ninth time lucky for the 37 year-old.

The next few games proved to be the most important part of the match as Wawrinka was forced to save two set points with some bold serving and a stunning backhand down the line.

https://twitter.com/Eurosport_UK/status/1135918938112397314

Both men played their best tennis of the match as a third set tiebreak approached. Just like the first tiebreak it was Federer, who had the edge with some ridiculous net play.

After a mini-fightback from 5-1 down, Wawrinka couldn’t add the finishing touches as a wide serve to the Stan’s backhand sealed a 2 sets to 1 lead for the former world number one.

Both players looked to dictate the fourth set as Federer continued to waste break points on big moments which saw Wawrinka remain bold on serve.

After Federer held for 3-3 play was suspended for an hour as thunderstorm was brewing in Paris which saw frustration and laughter from both men.

https://twitter.com/Eurosport_UK/status/1135936099447181313

In the restart Federer started with nerves and passive play but eventually converted one of the many break points that eluded him to break for the second time.

A nervy hold of serve at the end saw the former champion into his first Roland Garros semi-final since 2012 as Wawrinka’s renaissance ends.

Next up for Federer is another meeting with 11 time champion Rafael Nadal.

 

 

 

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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