Struff Finally Scores A Win At Halle - UBITENNIS
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Struff Finally Scores A Win At Halle

The seventh time was a charm for Jan-Lennard Struff. He came out on top in Halle today.

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Jan-Lennard Struff (@ATP_Tour - Twitter)

By Cheryl Jones

 

Jan-Lennard Struff did something he has never done before. No, he didn’t swim the English Channel or climb Mt. Everest, both of which he likely will never do. He pulled out a win in the first match on Center Court in Halle early this afternoon.

The twenty-nine year old German player had not managed to win in Halle in the previous six times he has competed here. Evidently, seven is now his lucky number. He defeated Laslo Djere of Serbia 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and eight minutes. His ranking has climbed in recent months and he has topped out in the ATP rankings at 35 after having a reasonably successful year – at least so far. Earlier this month he reached the fourth round for the first time ever at Roland Garros. Unfortunately, in that round, he met Novak Djokovic and the number one player hastened Struff’s journey home to the German countryside.

Even before his successes in Paris, he made a great showing at Indian Wells when he defeated his countryman, the German wunderkind, Alexander Zverev in the third round. The next round saw him losing to Milos Raonic. To quote Frank Sinatra, “It’s been a very good year”. Struff seems to agree, as he was beaming at his after-match interview.

It felt like someone had turned up the heat in Halle today. The weather has become like summer, even though it is still a few days away. Even though the match began just a bit after noon, it was more than just warm. The sun also was casting eerie shadows on parts of the court, making it difficult to get a clear view of what was happening with the bouncing yellow balls. That seemed contrary to what Struff said, “I had no problem in the sun. Maybe he (his opponent) had trouble focusing, but I didn’t.” It certainly didn’t appear to be an issue for either one of them.

It really seemed like it was PDQ tennis, as the first set lasted 35 minutes and the second 33 minutes. That all can be averages to about three minutes per game – very quick, indeed.

Struff proceeded to praise his training staff, saying “It’s hard work we do with the team that is paying off a bit now. We have been working very well for the last few years and now it is finally bringing some fruit. There are very many aspects. It is not all at once, but it is a process that is now going in the right direction.” It seemed to be working quite well from my observation point high in the stands.

Djere looked sluggish, even with what seems to be a fairly slow court. Struff offered an explanation for the slowness. He said that the courts that aren’t covered seemed faster and he thought it might be that they had more chance for the sun to evaporate the moisture trapped in the sod. But that is neither here nor there. Struff won today, and he will be facing a very tough opponent next time out – Russian, Karen Khachanov.

Khachanov is ranked just inside the top ten at 9. He turned 23 about a month ago and he’s a big lad, at 6’6” tall. Despite his youth, Khachanov was married in 2016 and he and his wife are expecting their first child in September. Struff will have to call in all his assets to pull off a win against the Russian. His victory today should buoy his spirits, and hopefully ramp up his game. Time will tell.

The Noventi Open is a new name for the tournament that is by now old hat for Halle. It remains to be seen if it’s merely a change of the guard or that the guard will change. Time will provide the answer to that question, too.

Tomorrow is another day, and all concerned are asking for sunshine. But a few raindrops have never been a problem in Halle since the roof was installed twenty-five years ago. Just a minute or two if it rains and the court is back to business as usual.

 

 

 

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga becomes the first player to win four titles in Metz

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came back from one set down to beat Slovena’s Aljaz Bedene 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 after becoming the first player to win four titles at the Moselle Open in Metz.

 

Tsonga becomes the ninth French winner in the past eleven editions of the Metz ATP 250 tournament. Since Gael Monfils’s triumph in 2009 David Goffin and Peter Gojowczyk are the only non French players to win the Moselle Open.

Tsonga, who made his come-back from a seven-month lay-off due to a left knee injury at last year’s edition of the Metz tournament, held each of his 17 service games and dropped just four first serve points.

The first set went on serve without break points en route to the tie-break. Bedene opened up a 4-0 lead en route to winning the tie-break 7-4 after 57 minutes.

Tsonga saved the only break point of the second set which came down to the tie-break. Tsonga won the tie-break 7-4 to force the match to the decider.

Tsonga claimed the first break in the second game of the third set to race out to a 3-0 lead. Bedene saved two break points in the fourth game and one more chance in the sixth game but he he held his serve at deuce. Tsonga never looked back in his service games and closed out the match on his first championships point with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Tsonga has won 10 of his 18 trophies on French soil.

“Mentally I was very strong. I served really well when I needed to. The match was not easy at all. Aljaz was playing really well and it was a long match. I am definitely happy to win here again. It was a very difficult match. I stayed calm, focused on doing the basics well and waited for the right moment to change the rallies. ”,said Tsonga.

 Bedene beat two seeded players Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire to reach his first final since Buenos Aires last February.

“I only dropped serve twice this week, so that is probably the best serving week of my career. I had chances today, I had a set, 4-3 and a break point. He served well and I picked the wrong side, but it was close and it could have gone either way. I am disappointed. I wanted to win, but I am also happy with the week”, said Bedene.

 

 

 

 

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In-Form Daniil Medvedev Conquers St Petersburg

The world No.4 produced a dominant display to clinch his first ever ATP trophy on home soil.

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Rapidly rising star Daniil Medvedev produced an emphatic display to become the first Russian man to win the St Petersburg Open since 2004.

 

The world No.4 brushed aside Croatia’s Borna Coric 6-3, 6-1, to clinch his third ATP trophy of 2019. Medvedev was in clinical form against Coric from the onset as he dropped only eight points behind his serve and broke four times in total. The only negative to Medvedev’s performance was his unforced error count of 21, which was more than twice the number of winners he produced (nine).

“I’m really happy, my style is more to hide my emotions, but it was hard not to scream with joy,” Medvedev said during his on-court interview.
“I am really very happy, and thank you very much for your (the crowd) support, today was a full house.’
“I won’t list all the people to whom I would like to devote this victory to because even if my tennis is where I am now (in fourth place in the world), all this would have been impossible without many people.”

Sunday’s victory continues what is a remarkable run for the 23-year-old, who has reached the final of five consecutive tournaments on the ATP Tour. During the Summer Medvedev clinched his maiden Masters title in Cincinnati and then finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the US Open. He has now recorded 54 wins this season. More than any other player on the tour so far this year.

Medvedev’s surge in form is one that has impressed Coric, who was playing this week for the first time since withdrawing from the last grand slam of the season due to a back issue. St Petersburg was the first final Coric has contested since October 2018.

“Naturally, he picked up the keys to my game. He was better in absolutely everything and did everything much better than me.” Coric analyzed during his press conference.
“I tried everything I could, all the tactics and everything I could think of. Nothing more to say here. He had the answers to all my questions. He played just incredible.”

Medvedev has now won 24 out of his last 27 matches played and claimed 56 out of 68 sets played. He is the fourth Russian to win the St Petersburg title and first since Mikhail Youzhny back in 2004.

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Injury Forces Rafael Nadal Out Of Laver Cup

There is bad news for fans of the king of clay.

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Rafael Nadal at the 2019 US Open (photo Twitter @USOpen)

The final day of the 2019 Laver Cup has been dealt a blow after Rafael Nadal withdrew from his schedule matches due to a wrist injury.

 

Nadal was set to take on Nick Kyrgios in the singles and then pair up with Roger Federer in the doubles. However, he has decided to pull out of the event following a consultation with the tournament doctor. The world No.2 featured in the competition on Saturday and won his match against Milos Raonic in two tight sets. Shortly after, he returned to the court to play alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas. The duo lost to Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock.

“Following consultation with the Laver Cup competition doctor Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from his matches today due to a wrist injury.” A official statement reads.

In recent days there has been concern over Nadal’s current health. On Friday he was spotted training with strapping on his wrist. Then in an interview on the same day with Mark Petchy he admitted that his body was ‘a little bit run down’ following his triumph at the US Open.

“After New York, the body always feels down a little bit.” Nadal explained.
“Some issues can happen but here I am. I’m trying hard to be ready for when the team need me.
“Let’s see. All of the matches are very difficult.
“If I am not at 100 per cent, there is another player. But I am confident I can help.”

There is little detail about the severity of the injury or if it could have any impact on Nadal’s schedule for the coming weeks. He is in with a shot of ending the season as world No.1 with no points to defend on the tour until January. The next tournament in his schedule is the China Open, which will get underway on September 30th.

As a result of Nadal’s injury, he has been replaced by Dominic Thiem in the singles. French Open runner-up Thiem will take on Australia’s Nick Kyrgios. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas steps in to play alongside Federer in the doubles.

Heading into the final day of the Laver Cup, Europe leads 7-5. They are yet to lose a tie in the history of the event which is in its third year.

 

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