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.
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.
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.
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells
The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…
Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.
It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.
Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.
” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.
Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.
In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.
Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status
The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.
The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.
However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.
“I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.
Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.
Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.
“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.
The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.
“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”
Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.
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