WIMBLEDON: Novak Djokovic is a win away from his fifth Wimbledon title after fighting his way past Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. 6-2, in their semi-final clash on Friday.
The world No.1 was issued with a stern test on route to his 25th grand slam final. The third highest amount of all-time. Bautiata Agut’s ability to match his pace was something that drew outbursts of anger from Djokovic during what was a at times thrilling encounter at The All England Club. In total Djokovic hit 42 winners to 29 unforced errors and more importantly saved four out of the five break points he faced.
“I had to dig deep. Of course, it was the semi-finals (of a grand slam) and Roberto was playing in his first. Regardless of that, he was not overwhelmed by the stadium or occasion. He played really well.” Djokovic told BBC TV.
“During the first set, he was probably still managing his nerves and making some uncharacteristic unforced errors. Then at the start of the second, he established himself and started to play better.’
“I’m glad it went my way.”
Whilst he is yet to crack the top 10, Bautista Agut had been a player of nightmares for Djokovic in 2019. Suffering two losses to the Spaniard in Doha and Miami. Nevertheless, on the green grass at Wimbledon, the world No.1 was eager to get his revenge as he got off to a rapid start. Dismantling Bautista Agut’s opening service game on route to a 3-0 lead. Laying down the mark early on, the top seed continued to boss his rival around the court, who was allowed to only display glimmers of his true talent. Cruising to a 5-2 lead, Djokovic clinched the opener on his first set point. Returning a 119 mph Bautista Agut serve that fazed the Spaniard as he ended up hitting a forehand shank.
Despite the dream start, Djokovic was by no means out of danger. At the start of the second set, Bautista Agut started to regain his footing with the help of a break in his favor. Prompting huge roar around the center court from the crowd, who were seeking a competitive clash. Reminiscent of their three previous grand slam meetings, the world no.22 went on to take a set off the top seed. Doing so with a forehand shot the brushed the top on the next before landing on the other side. Prompting disbelief on Djokovic’s face as more cheers erupted. The key aspect of the comeback was Bautista Agut’s ability to win 93% of his first service points.
With his back against the wall, the mood of the 15-time grand slam champion was one of frustration. Bemused by the fact he was unable to come up with a solution to tame the threat he faced. Fighting hard, Djokovic eventually restored order in his favor. Engaging in marathon baseline exchanges, a smash at the net enabled him to break for a 4-2 lead in the third. Prompting him to let out an almighty roar and fist pump towards his encourage watching as he rallied towards the two-set lead.
Edging towards a place in his sixth Wimbledon final, Djokovic continued to wear down his rival. His next breakthrough occurred three games into the fourth set when a backhand from the 23rd seed drifted long. Gifting Djokovic another break as he strolled to a game away from victory. It would be on his fifth match point when he prevailed after hitting a serve down the middle which Bautista Agut returned into the net.
“This has been the dream tournament for me ever since I was a child.” The four-time champion reflected. “So to be in the final is a dream come true. Regardless of the history and the many grand slam finals I have played, Wimbledon is something different.”
Djokovic will play either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in the final. Making it the 22nd time he has taken one of those players in the final stage of a major tournament.
“I’m a fan of that match-up. Federer and Nadal are one of the most epic rivalries of all time. It will be good to see them play.” He concluded.
Djokovic has now won 12 out of 13 grand slam semi-finals playing during his career. His only loss was to Dominic Thiem at the French Open earlier this year.
Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo
World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo.
Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina.
Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown.
Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead.
Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2.
Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4.
Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.
“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit.
Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo
Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117 Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2.
Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5.
Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2.
Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets.
Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco.
Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point.
Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games.
Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance.
“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi.
Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open.
The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai.
Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006.
“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit.
Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia
ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital.
The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October).
“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi.
During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.
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