Wimbledon Day 9 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Wimbledon Day 9 Preview: The Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals

Can anyone stop “The Big 3” from making the semi-finals?

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Roger Federer (@WilsonTennis - Twitter)

By Matthew Marolf

 

Based on how Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic played on Monday, that seems unlikely. As Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated highlighted, they combined to only face one break point in the fourth round, one which Federer saved.  But all three will face stiffer competition on Wednesday, in three opponents with experience at this stage, as well as the capability of making these quarterfinals anything but straightforward.  And the fourth quarterfinal of the day features a matchup that surely no one had pencilled in at the start of the tournament, between two tour veterans vying for their first Major semi-final.

Roger Federer (2) vs. Kei Nishikori (8)

A year ago in this round of The Championships, Federer was up two sets and held a match point, before Kevin Anderson came roaring back to upset the eight-time champion. Could Roger stall again in this same round?  Federer holds a 7-3 advantage over Nishikori, though Kei claimed their last meeting, on an indoor hard court at the ATP Finals last November. Roger won their only match on grass, five years ago in Halle.

This is only their second encounter at a Major, with the first being Federer’s five set win on his way to the 2017 Australian Open title. Normally when Kei gets to this point of a Major, he’s completely wiped out, as he’s prone to five set battles in earlier rounds. But for the first time in a long time, Nishikori should be fully fresh for this quarterfinal, having only dropped one set on his way here. And I’m sure he’s enjoying the slightly slower court speeds and higher bounces at Wimbledon this year, which will play to his advantage against the fast-court loving Federer.

As sharp as Roger has played during this fortnight, I think Kei has a real shot at upsetting the all-time great on his favourite court. And if Nishikori can make this an extended affair, he has the best deciding set record in the Open Era, and is 23-6 in five set matches. The near-38-year-old Federer will need to avoid a fifth set in order to advance to his 13th semi-final at Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. David Goffin (21)

Novak Djokovic (@Wimbledon – Twitter)

Djokovic is 5-1 against Goffin, though David took their last match, on the clay of Monte Carlo in 2017. It had been a rough 18 months for Goffin as he fought to regain his confidence after suffering a few freak injuries, but he’s finally playing some great tennis again. He took a set off Nadal at Roland Garros, then made the final in Halle, and is now into his first Wimbledon quarterfinal.

As taxing an opponent as he can be, Djokovic does everything just a bit better than Goffin. Novak would need to be a bit off his game for David to prevail. And judging by how comfortably Djokovic has advanced through the first four rounds, that’s not looking likely.

Rafael Nadal (3) vs. Sam Querrey

On paper, this looks like a blowout. It’s the 18-time Major champion against an unseeded player who missed much of 2019 with an abdominal injury. But Querrey is fully comfortable on the grass of The All England Club, and has a power game that can take control of the match away from Nadal. Despite having not played in nearly three months, Sam reached the final in Eastbourne the week before this tournament.

And this is now the third time in four years he’s advanced to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. In 2016, he upset Novak Djokovic in the third round. And in 2017, he took out a hobbled Andy Murray on Centre Court, so Sam has plenty of experience in knocking out top names at SW19. Nadal though will benefit from having already faced two players with a similar style to that of Querrey’s, in Nick Kyrgios and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. While I can see Querrey testing Nadal on this day, Rafa remains the favourite to reach his second consecutive Wimbledon semi-final.

Roberto Bautista Agut (23) vs. Guido Pella (26)

Bautista Agut is into his second Major quarterfinal, with his first coming six months in Australia. But unlike that massive effort in which he survived three five-setters to get this far, he’s the only gentlemen’s quarterfinalist to not yet drop a set. Meanwhile coming into this tournament, Pella had never been beyond the third round at a Slam, and had not even advanced that far until just a year ago. The 29-year-old from Argentina was known as a clay court specialist, and owned a losing record on both grass and hard courts in his career.

Yet Guido upset two former Wimbledon finalists back-to-back to get here, in Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic. But after a near-four hour, 8-6 in the fifth victory over the Canadian late in the day on Monday, what will Guido have left less than 48 hours later? Roberto has won both their previous meetings, most recently just a few months ago on the clay of Munich. With this faster surface favouring the atypical hitting of the Spaniard, who excels on faster courts, Bautista Agut will likely be the one playing in his first Major semi-final come Friday.

Other notable matches on Day 9:

In the third round of mixed doubles on No.2 Court, Andy Murray and Serena Williams, who have deemed themselves as “Team Murrena,” vs. the top seeds, Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar.

In the quarterfinals of ladies’ doubles on No.2 Court, four top singles stars will face off.  It will be Su-Wei Hsieh and singles semifinalist Barbora Strycova (3) vs. Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka.

In the quarterfinals of gentlemen’s doubles on No.3 Court, Raven Klassen and Michael Venus (3) vs. Henri Kontinen and John Peers, who survived Wimbledon’s first ever final set tiebreak by a score of 13-12 in the fifth just yesterday.

ATP

Roger Federer Can Win Australian Open, Says Laver

The 81-year-old speaks out about the world No.3.

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Roger Federer (@usopen on Twitter)

Tennis legend Rod Laver has back world No.3 Roger Federer to add to his record-breaking grand slam tally in the future.

 

The 38-year-old currently holds the record for most major singles won by a man at 20. However, both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are closing in on that tally. Djokovic is currently on 16 and Nadal in one adrift on 19 following his latest triumph at the US Open. Meanwhile, Federer has only featured in the final in one out of the last six grand slam tournaments. Doing so at Wimbledon in July where he failed to convert two championship points against Djokovic. His last major title took place at the 2017 Australian Open.

Despite the recent lack of major silverware for the Swiss Maestro, Australian great Laver believes he can still challenge for the biggest titles in the sport. Saying that it is possible that Federer could continue playing until the age of 40.

“He seems to be fine and that’s what counts. If you love the game as much as you do, that’s fine.” He commented on Federer’s longevity in the sport.
“I also give Roger a very good chance of winning the Australian Open again in Melbourne in January.”

Laver admits that it is possible that the two other members of the Big Three could end their careers with more titles than Federer. Nadal is five years younger than him and Djokovic is six. However, he believes there is one thing that separates him from the others.

“Nadal, Djokovic and Federer are all big champions. But Roger surpasses tennis, the world of sport, and sports in general in a way that no one in history has done before him. He is the most recognized athlete in the world and a figurehead for this great game.

The first encounter between Laver and Federer took place 13 years ago in Melbourne at the Australian Open. Since then, the two have formed a bond with Laver saying they ‘clicked’ straight away.

The biggest example of the friendship between the two is perhaps best illustrated by the Laver Cup. An annual team tournament where Europe takes on the rest of the world. Similar to that of Golf’s Ryder Cup. Named in honour of the tennis great, Federer is one of the co-founders of the event. Which has since been granted a place within the ATP Calendar. Although no ranking points are on offer.

This year’s edition will be held in Switzerland for the first time. Critics have been quick to point out the disparity between the two teams. Europe consists of all players ranked inside the top 20 compared to one from the world team. However, Laver dismissed the significance.

“I do not think so. The team World has excelled in both Laver Cups in doubles and also celebrated one or two big victories in singles. I expect it to be exciting.” He said.

The three-day 2019 Laver Cup will get underway in Geneva on Friday.

List of players participating

 Team Europe
Captain:  Björn Borg
Vice-captain:  Thomas Enqvist
Player Rank
 Rafael Nadal 2
 Roger Federer 3
 Dominic Thiem 5
 Alexander Zverev 6
 Stefanos Tsitsipas 7
 Fabio Fognini 11
 Team World
Captain:  John McEnroe
Vice-captain:  Patrick McEnroe
Player Rank
 John Isner 20
 Milos Raonic 24
 Nick Kyrgios 27
 Taylor Fritz 30
 Denis Shapovalov 33
 Jack Sock 208

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Daniil Medvedev Gave Rafa Fans The Scare Of A Lifetime

Charleston Post and Courier columnist James Beck reflects on the US Open men’s final and what the future might have in store.

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NEW YORK — Rafa, you gave your followers quite a scare.

 

No. 19 looked like it was in the books when you got the first break point of the ninth game of the third set. But it wasn’t, and the second break point flew by as well.

Oh well, it was just 5-4, Daniil Medvedev. There was still time to close out the match in three sets. But after deadlocking the set at 5-5, you won only one point in the last two games of the set.

IT MIGHT BE A LONG NIGHT

Settle back, Rafa Nadal fans. It might be a long night.

The men’s final of Sunday’s U.S. Open was going the distance, even though Nadal served with double game points in the decisive 10th game of the fourth set, but still lost the set.

Nadal even served for the match with a 5-2 lead in the fifth set. He lost that one on a time violation first-serve penalty leading to a double fault to end the game.

Was it time to get worried about Rafa getting No. 19 this night? Was this going to be a Serena-like  case of bad fortune for Nadal? Of course, Serena Williams one day earlier had failed again for an all-time tying No. 24 Grand Slam title.

It could have happened to Nadal, too. Anything could have, judging from the way his tall and amazingly agile and quick Russian opponent was playing.

MIGHTY SERVE ENDED A HISTORIC FINAL

Nadal looked like he had a lock on No. 19 again before wasting two match points with Medvedev serving the ninth game of the fifth set.

Rafa even had to fight off a break point in the 10th game before ending the nearly five-hour marathon with a perfectly place serve down the middle.

He went flat on his back in disbelief, and Medvedev went around the net. The two embraced.

It, indeed, was one of the most memorable moments in the history of Grand Slam tennis.

Finally, a 7-5, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory that pushed Nadal’s Grand Slam championship total to within one of Roger Federer’s all-time record.

AN AMAZING PERFORMANCE BY BOTH PLAYERS

This was simply an amazing match that left a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium, mostly of Nadal supporters, drained. It was that riveting.

This had to be one of the greatest U.S. Open finals ever.

Medvedev put on an unthinkable display of grit and talent, a sheer desire to win. Medvedev and Nadal  were like acrobats at times as they moved around the court to pull off amazing tennis stunts. Anything was possible because of the two players’ athletic abilities.

Nadal is definitely for real. But if his 23-year-old Russian opponent is for real, as he certainly appeared Sunday night, the Australian Open isn’t going to be a picnic for Federer, Nadal or the injured Novak Djokovic, or anyone else.

And then there’s the French Open where Rafa will be heavily favored to get No. 20 if he fails in Melbourne. Of course, if Rafa plays the way he did in the first two sets on Sunday, he may notch No. 20 Down Under.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? WHY NOT A DRAW?

What happens if both Nadal and Federer are tied for the all-time lead with 20 Grand Slam titles each?

If they’re deadlocked in another year or two, it might be time for a permanent dual timeout for both players. As sad as such a day would be, it would be a day to celebrate. Co-record holders wouldn’t be a bad way to go since retirement is inevitable for these two great players.

Although Federer demonstrated at Wimbledon and Nadal showed Sunday night, they can still rival the best tennis has to offer, but the rest of the men’s tennis game isn’t going to take a break waiting for these two greats to retire. Medvedev and his likes will continue to close the gap until there isn’t one.

PRESSURE WILL CONTINUE TO BUILD

As a result of what happened in Sunday’s U.S. Open final, the days ahead will add even more pressure for both Nadal and Federer each time a Grand Slam rolls around.

Federer already has felt that pressure, both here and at Wimbledon, as he tried to widen his lead over Nadal and Djokovic. Even Nadal seemed to feel some of the same pressure Sunday night while trying to close out Medvedev.

After defeating Federer in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic called Federer “one of the greatest ever” in his acceptance comments after the match. Federer frowned, but Djokovic was right.

Djokovic knows, because he’s not out of the all-time race just yet.

It would be nice if Federer and Nadal could/or would retire at the same time, and join Rod Laver as the greatest men’s tennis players ever. But just not quite yet.

 

James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his Post and Courier columns at 

http://www.postandcourier.com/search/?l=25&sd=desc&s=start_time&f=html&t=article%2Cvideo%2Cyoutube%2Ccollection&app=editorial&q=james+beck&nsa=eedition

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US Open A Ratings Hit In North America

Both the men’s and women’s finals managed to attract some record TV viewing figures.

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Bianca Andreescu’s win over Serena Williams in the final of the US Open was the most watched women’s final on ESPN of all time, according to official figures.

 

The Canadian 19-year-old rallied to a 6-3, 7-5, win over the former world No.1 to claim her first grand slam title. Her triumphed attracted an overnight rating of 2.7 million on ESPN. A 13% increase on last year (2.4) when Naomi Osaka defeated Williams. At its peak, which was towards the end of the second set, the rating was as high as 3.9. ESPN has also confirmed that the 2019 women’s final was their joint-highest US Open rating of all time.

Across the border, Andreescu’s win also made history in her home country of Canada. An average audience of 3.4 million watched her match on TSN and RDS with a peak of 5.3 million. Making in the networks most watched tennis match in history. It is also the most-watched broadcast since the Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA Championships. TSN has also noted that Andreescu’s run has helped them achieve a 69% rise in views compared to 2018 to 10.7 million people watching the grand slam at some point. Meanwhile, their digital platforms have achieved a 145% year-on-year rise with 13 million impressions on TSN’s social media platforms.

There was also success for the networks with the men’s final. Rafael Nadal edged out Daniil Medvedev in a dramatic five-set encounter. The Spaniard was leading by two sets, before his opponent drew back to draw level. Forcing a tense decider. Their encounter was ESPN’s most popular men’s US Open final since 2015 and a 33% increase on 12 months ago. It attracted an overnight rating of 2.0. The 2015 clash between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer scored a 2.4 rating.

The strong broadcast numbers coincide with what has been a record year for the New York major. A record 737,872 fans attended the event over two weeks with the Arthur Ashe Stadium managing to have 23 out of 24 sell out sessions. The number doesn’t include the ‘Fan Week’ that took place before the start of the main draw. 115,355 people attended that to bring the overall figure to 853,227.

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