Surprises Abound In Halle Today - UBITENNIS
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Surprises Abound In Halle Today

Belgian David Goffin moves impressively on to the semi-finals in Halle.




David Goffin (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

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.






‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances

John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.




One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.


Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.

Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.

“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”

This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.

During a recent interview with, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.

“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.

De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.

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Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome




Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion. 


The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome. 

Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve. 

Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0. 

Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand.  Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman. 

Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4. 

Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner. 

Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes. 

Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide. 

Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.

Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final. 

“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic. 

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Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman

Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.




It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.


The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.

“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.

44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.

“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”

The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.

It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.

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