By Cheryl Jones
David Goffin of Belgium vanquished the last German player in the Noventi Open late this afternoon in Halle. Alexander Zverev gave it his all, but it just wasn’t enough. The match lasted two hours and sixteen minutes. A Tie-Break decided it all in the third set 3-6, 6-1, 7-6. Actually, Goffin isn’t a surprising winner, but Zverev, known as “Sascha”, isn’t usually a loser. The partisan crowd was disappointed by their countryman’s loss but gave Goffin a well-deserved show of appreciation after the final ball was struck.
Zverev’s after-match interview contained what I would term a group of staccato answers. The responses seemed to be terse. There were many very pointed questions. German journalists asked specifically about his attitude and the negative bent of those questions seemed to elicit defensive, almost verging on avoidance, answers. I asked the only question in English when I inquired about his momentum. I suggested that he may have lost some of his impetus due to a medical emergency that took nearly ten minutes to resolve. The two competitors waited anxiously for play to resume and initially, he seemed okay, but, I wasn’t so sure. He responded with no excuses but said, ”No, because after that I won three games in a row or four I think. So, no it had nothing to do with it.”
He lost the second set 6-1, so I don’t quite see it his way. He seemed tired and looked anxious to have the interview end. The answers to the journalists’ queries very quickly went downhill when he was asked point blank about the rapid descent and the eventual loss of the second set. He said, “Yes, I started to serve badly and also didn’t play good in the rallies. Things can go fast against a player like him if that is the case.”
The third set was a real battle. His play seemed to be gaining momentum once again, but alas, it was for naught. He spoke about his loss and it was clear to see he was disappointed, but he actually seemed to take on a bit of maturity, when he said, “I lost 7-6 in the third. Of course, I believed in it, was ahead with a break. As I said, he played a very good match, and I found that he returned unbelievably, as you say. That’s why, yes, he deserves it today.”
Earlier this week, Zverev fell and injured his knee. It seemed fine in his match against Steve Johnson, yesterday. He was moving quite well, and he didn’t move about the court trying to avoid any further damage. He was asked about the injury but downplayed the effect of it on his play and said that he felt he was just about back to normal. A few days off at home, where he said he hasn’t been in eight weeks should cure any residual discomfort that might have lingered just under the surface. He will move on to Wimbledon with a little R and R, and all should be right in his world.
All is well in Halle this evening. The Swiss maestro, Roger Federer defeated Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the day ending endeavour. He will face Frenchman, Pierre-Hugues Herbert who moved on to the semi-finals after a default from Borna Coric who had what was evidently a back injury.
Even though Hebert is twenty-eight years old, he has never lost to Federer. Actually, there is a very simple reason for that. He has never faced Federer in the eight years he has played professional tennis. For thirty-eight year old Federer, it will be an interesting encounter. He has faced almost everyone in the professional tennis game. It will be a match worth watching, simply for the uniqueness of their meeting.
The other semi-final match will have Goffin facing Matteo Berrettini, an Italian who has shown great promise of late. Tomorrow promises to be a day of exceptionally great tennis in Halle.
The premier Noventi Open has entered the home stretch, and if tomorrow’s matches provide what they seem to forecast, the roar of the crowd will be heard throughout the German countryside. Bravo to Noventi for taking a big step to sponsor the tournament that has held the heart of the people of Halle for over a quarter of a century.
Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open
Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.
He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.
Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.
Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.
“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.
Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka
Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.
Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.
Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.
In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.
Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.
“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.
Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
Stan Wawrinka edges Danil Medvedev in a five-set thriller to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open
Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka reached the quarter final at the Australian Open for the fifth time in his career with a 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win over fourth seed and 2019 US Open finalist Danil Medvedev after 3 hours and 25 minutes. Wawrinka qualified for the last eight for the first time since 2017.
Wawrinka earned his first break in the fourth game, when Medvedev sent his backhand long. Wawrinka did not convert two more break points in the sixth game before breaking for the second time at love to close out the opening set 6-2 after 32 minutes. Wawrinka won 85% of his first serve points and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors in the opening set.
Medvedev broke in the third game of the second set to open up a 3-1 lead, when Wawrinka netted his forehand. The Russian player clinched the second set with three service winners at 5-2 to level the score.
Medvedev broke serve in the seventh game of the third set after a backhand error from Wawrinka and closed out the set with a service winner in the 10th game.
Wawrinka wasted a break point in the fourth game of the fourth set. Both players traded service holds en route to the tie-break. Wawrinka earned an immediate mini-break to open up a 3-0 lead in the tie-break. The former Australian Open champion hit a half-volley winner to cruise to a 5-2 lead and converted his first set point, when Medvedev netted a backhand in the ninth point.
Wawrinka broke Medvedev at 15 in the first game of the fifth set and saved three break points at 2-1. Wawrinka went up a double break in the seventh game and forced an error from Medvedev to wrap up the match, as he was serving for the win in the eighth game.
Wawrinka set up a quarter final against Alexander Zverev, who beat Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4. Zverev beat Wawrinka twice in their two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
“That was an amazing match and an amazing atmosphere. It was really tough to play against Danil. It was really tough to play against Danil. I had to raise my level in the fourth and fifth sets. The level was super high and the atmosphere is something special here in Australia. I am finding solutions. I was losing a bit of confidence in the second and third sets, and was fighting against myself to play my game. I had to fight, stay positive and I am happy with the result”,said Wawrinka.
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