Wimbledon Day 11 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Semi-Finals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 11 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Semi-Finals

It will be the 40th chapter in the sport’s most celebrated rivalry.

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (@SI_Tennis - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

For the first time in 11 years, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play on the lawns of The All England Club. Federer is 11-1 at this stage of The Championships, while Nadal is 5-1, with his only loss coming last year at the hands of Novak Djokovic.

The world No.1 and defending champion will compete in the other semi-final, against a 31-year-old veteran making his Major semi-final debut. While that sounds like a mismatch, Roberto Bautista Agut is 2-0 against Djokovic this year. It should be a most compelling gentlemen’s semi-finals day at Wimbledon.

Roger Federer (2) vs. Rafael Nadal (3)

This will be their fourth appointment on Centre Court at Wimbledon. They previously met three consecutive years in finals. In 2006, Federer prevailed in four sets. In 2007, Nadal pushed Roger to five sets, but Federer persevered to win his fifth straight title. And in 2008, they played what many refer to as the greatest match of all-time, in which the King of Clay dethroned the King of Grass 9-7 in the fifth. Overall Nadal leads this rivalry 24-15, with a 10-3 edge at Slams. Their head-to-head had been rather one-sided for some time, before Federer turned it around in their momentous five-set final at the 2017 Australian Open. That was one of five victories in a row for Roger over Rafa.  Their most recent meeting was in this same round of the most recent Major, when Nadal easily dispatched of Federer in straight sets on a terribly windy day in Paris.

Of course the grass will boost Federer’s chances, as will the lack of wind. The forecast calls for relatively cool temperatures, and no chance of rain later in the afternoon when this match is scheduled to begin. That means Rafa’s ball won’t bounce quite as high as it would in the heat, just as Roger’s ball won’t have quite as much speed. It also means the roof will not come into play, which would be a big advantage for Federer, who is the better indoor player.  Both men have been in excellent form during this fortnight, and are yet to be truly challenged.

In a rivalry that’s contained several significant turning points, this feels like it could be another. Taking three sets from Nadal on any surface is a tall task, as he remains the sport’s most tenacious competitor. And Rafa has shown no signs of the knee troubles that have plagued him throughout his career. The longer the match goes, the odds of a Nadal victory increase. As fit as Federer is, he’s just a few weeks shy of 38-years-old. And the slightly slower court speeds at SW19 this year will play to Rafa’s favour. It’s a tough match to call, but I’ll go with Nadal to reach his first Wimbledon final since 2011.

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Roberto Bautista Agut (23)

In the first week of 2019, Bautista Agut upset Djokovic in a stellar match, coming back from a set down to win 6-4 in the third. Two months later in Miami, Roberto repeated that feat, prevailing again despite dropping the first set to the world No.1. But in the biggest match of his career, can the Spaniard again topple the 15-time Major champion on the world’s most prestigious tennis court, and in the best-of-five format?

As impressive as Bautista Agut has been at this tournament, that seems highly unlikely. Djokovic has become more dominant with each passing round. He dismantled David Goffin on Wednesday, who frankly didn’t play all that poorly, yet only managed to take six games. Novak has become a master as taking his level up a notch at the Majors.  When Djokovic is at his best, there’s not much Roberto can do to subdue him. I would be shocked if we did not see Novak in his sixth Wimbledon final come Sunday.

Other notable matches on Day 11:

In the ladies’ doubles semi-finals, the top four seeds will face off on No.1 Court.

First, defending champions Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova (2) vs. Nuremberg champs Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu (4).

Then, French Open champions Timea Babos and Kiki Mladenovic (1), who have not lost a match as a team since March, vs. Su-Wei Hsieh and Barboa Strycova (3), who are on an eight-match winning streak dating back to their Birmingham title the week before Wimbledon

Grand Slam

$100,000 For Winning A Match: US Open Reveals Historic Prize Money Pool

The record-breaking prize money break down for the 2019 tournament has been revealed.

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The upcoming US Open will have the biggest prize money pool in the history of grand slam tennis after officials confirmed an eight percent increase in compensation compared to 2018.

 

A total of more than $57 million will be made available at the major, which is played at Flushing Meadows in New York. The men’s and women ‘s singles champion will each take home $3,850,000. An increase of $50,000 compared to last year. Runners-up will each receive $1,900,000.

Even more substantial is the money available for those participating in the early rounds. Players who lose in the second round will be rewarded with $100,000 in prize money. To put that into perspective, the champion of this week’s Hall Of Fame Championships in Newport will earn $100,600. The Newport event is categorised as an ATP 250 event.

Besides the player payouts, the US Open has also confirmed that they will provide half a million to both the ATP and WTA. The money will be used for the transition program for players, which helps those entering into retirement. Including providing pensions to players.

“The US Open prides itself on offering the best tennis players in the world the richest total prize money in our sport,” USTA Chairman of the Board and President Patrick Galbraith said in a statement. “We strive to be innovative, and feel that our new contribution of $500,000 to both the ATP’s pension plan and the WTA Tour’s transition programs for players will go a long way toward the long-term financial well-being of all of our sport’s athletes.”

The qualifying draw will also receive a boost with a year-on-year increase of 20 percent. Bringing the total amount of money available to a record $3.5 million. Meanwhile, the winners of the men’s and women’s doubles trophy will receive $740,000. More than $200,000 less than what singles players receive for reaching the semi-finals.

The US Open will get underway on August 26th. Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are the reigning champions.

Prize money break down

ROUND

2019 PRIZE MONEY

2018 PRIZE MONEY

INCREASE

Round 1

$58,000

$54,000

+$4000

Round 2

$100,000

$93,000

+$7000

Round 3

$163,000

$156,000

+$7000

Round 4

$280,000

$266,000

+$14,000

Quarter-finals

$500,000

$475,000

+$25,000

Semi-Finals

$960,000

$925,000

+$35,000

Runner-up

$1,900,000

$1,850,000

+$50,000

Champion

$3,850,000

$3,800,000

+$50,000

2019 DOUBLES PRIZE MONEY

(each team):
Winner: $740,000
Runner-Up: $370,000
Semifinalist: $175,000
Quarterfinalist: $91,000
Round of 16: $50,000
Round of 32: $30,000
Round of 64: $17,000

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Grand Slam

US Open Set To Bypass Age Eligibility Policy To Hand Cori Gauff Wildcard

The New York Grand Slam has confirmed that they will likely bend the rules in order for the teenage star to play in the main draw.

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Cori Gauff was the talk of Wimbledon and now the US Open have said they are willing to make an exception to their own policy in order for the teenager to play in the main draw of their tournament.

 

The 15-year-old American stunned the women’s tour with her run at the All England Club. Becoming the youngest player in the Open Era to successfully come through three rounds of qualifying. Then in the main draw Gauff knocked-out five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round. She also scored wins over Polona Hercog and Magdalena Rabrikova to reach the fourth round. Becoming the youngest player to reach the second week of a major since Jennifer Capriati at the 1991 Wimbledon championships. Gauff’s run was eventually ended by Simona Halep, who went on to win the title.

Now ranked 141st in the world, the rising star is currently limited to how many tournaments she can play in accordance with the WTA’s age-eligibility rule. A policy put in place to prevent early burnout for players. It is a rule that is also followed by the United States Tennis Association, who runs the US Open.

At present Gauff isn’t eligible for any more wild cards in 2019 after already using her three allotted ones. Doing so in the Miami Open, French Open qualifiers and Wimbledon qualifiers. Chris Widmaier, who is the director of communications for the USTA, has told The New York Post that he expects Gauff to receive a pass for the upcoming grand slam. Confirming that it is likely that she will be given a special exemption from the policy.

“We would expect to see Coco in the main draw of the US Open,’’ said Widmaier. “She certainly won the hearts of tennis fans in our country with her Wimbledon performance. It’s not every day an athlete of her age becomes water-cooler talk.‘’

The WTA has also said that they will not stand in the way of the USTA if they wish to bend the rules. Under the Rule Gauff is allowed to play a maximum of 10 tournaments between her 15th and 16th birthdays. Plus one of the two year-end tournaments if she qualifies and the Fed Cup.

“The US Open, as a Grand Slam, reserves the right to not align with the Age Eligibility Rule and offer a player a Wild Card in excess of her limit per the Age Eligibility Rule,’’ a WTA spokesperson told the NY Post.

A series of players have urged the WTA to make changes to their policy regarding young players in light of Gauff’s rapid rise. One of the most notable is Roger Federer, who is the co-founder of the Team8 management company that represents Gauff.

“I understand the rule completely that they want the young players not to play too much,” he said. “I’ve told the WTA they should loosen up the rules. I loved seeing [Martina] Hingis doing what she did at a young age.”

It is unclear if the WTA will be making any changes in the near future.

The US Open will get underway on August 26th.

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ATP

Novak Djokovic Conquers Federer In Wimbledon Classic To Win 16th Major Title

The world No.1 extends his winning head-to-head record against the Swiss player to 26-22 as he defends his title at the grass-court major.

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WIMBLEDON: Novak Djokovic has clinched his fifth Wimbledon title after maneuvering his way past Swiss nemesis Roger Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(7-3), in a pulsating five-set classic. 

 

 

Djokovic, who has now won four out of the past five grand slam tournaments, overcame some patchy play to prevail at The All England Club. Saving two championship points he faced during a marathon final set. He claims his 16th grand slam title in what is the third highest tally in the history of men’s tennis. The thrilling clash saw Djokovic withstand 25 Federer aces as he hit 54 winners to 52 unforced errors.

“I think this was one of the most exciting and thrilling finals I have ever been a part of.” Said Djokovic.
“The top two or three in my career against one of the greatest players of all time who I respect a lot.”
“Unfortunately in these circumstances one of us had to lose.”

Taking to the court for their 48th clash on the tour, there was little to distinguish between the two tennis titans early on. Federer’s elegant movement around the court was matched by Djokovic’s sublime defensive skills. 12 games went by with only one break point opportunity occurring. That took place during the fourth game when Federer saw his chance come and go due to a loose error from the Swiss maestro.

Federer’s inability to convert went on to haunt him during the opener. A Series of mini breaks during the first tiebreak saw continuous changes of momentum. A four-point streak for Djokovic saw him fight back from behind to nudge ahead 5-3. Holding his nerve, the top seed clinched the first set after almost an hour at the expense of another mistake from across the court.

After the tense start came a dramatic lapse in Djokovic’s form and intensity on the court. The fierce fighting spirit of the Serbian banished in the second frame. Paving was for Federer to seal a double break with ease on route to a 4-0 lead. The nightmare set, in which he only won 12 points, stunned the crowd as Djokovic then double-faulted to enable his rival to draw level in the match.

After the puzzling display, Djokovic managed to regain his footing in the match. Much to the relief of coach Marian Vajda and his team watching in the crowd. Weathering the storm, he saved a set point on the route to triumphing in the second tiebreak. Ironically during the tiebreak, it was Federer’s turn to fall apart. Four errors from the eight-time champion guided Djokovic to a 4-1 advantage. Enough of a margin for him to go on and retain his lead.

Still, it was not enough to halt Federer, who electrified the crowd by dismantling the Djokovic serve twice in another resurgence during the fourth set. Making the top seed once again visibly frustrated on the court as he made mistake after mistake. Despite reclaiming one of those breaks, the damage was already done as a Federer serve and volley took the final into a decider.

In the history of Wimbledon, only one man has ever managed to defeat Djokovic in five sets. That was Mario Ancic back in 2006. Bidding to continue that record, the decider turned out to be one of the most dramatic in the history of grand slam tennis. Lasting just over two hours.

Crowd favorite Federer position himself to be within striking distance of the title after serving for the match at 8-7 (40-15). However, he failed to shake off Djokovic who came roaring back to draw back level. With little to separate the two tennis icons, it was only fitting that another tiebreaker would decide their fate. A Federer forehand shot landing out rewarded the world No.1 the 2-1 advantage as he moved to championship points of his own. Then at his first chance of prevailing, Djokovic claimed victory with the help of a Federer shank. Bringing an end to one of the most memorable clashes in the 48-match history between the two.

“I will try to forget,” Federer said after his loss.
“It was a great match. It was long, I had my chances, so did he. We played some great tennis.”

Whilst a disappointed Federer waits another year to see if he can match Martina Navratilova and win a ninth Wimbledon title, his rival Djokovic has paid tribute to him.

“We both had chances. It’s quite unreal to be two match points down and come back. It is strange to play a tiebreaker in the final set at 12-12.” Djokovic reflected.
“Roger said he hopes that he can give people inspiration to play at 37 and I am one of them. He inspires me.”

Djokovic in the fourth man in the open Era to win a fifth Wimbledon title. He exits the tournament with 2000 rankings point to boost his world No.1 ranking, as well as £2,350,000 in prize money.

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