Tweeners, Meltdown and Sportsmanship: Kyrgios Ousts Tsitsipas In Washington Epic - UBITENNIS
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Tweeners, Meltdown and Sportsmanship: Kyrgios Ousts Tsitsipas In Washington Epic

The semi-final clash at the Citi Open between Kyrgios and Tsitsipas was one filled with plenty of drama.

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Nick Kyrgios - Washington 2019 (via Twitter, @ATP_Tour)

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios has proclaimed that the Citi Open is ‘one of the best tournament weeks of his life’ after reaching the final in dramatic fashion.

 

The World No.52 required more than two hours to knock out top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7), in Washington during what was a roller coaster encounter. In a match of fine margins, there was little to distinguish between the two. In fact they both won 91 points in the match, as well as 83% of their first serves and 48% of their second. In the deciding tiebreaker, Kyrgios had to save a match point before prevailing. Not that the figures mean anything to Kyrgios, who describes himself as an ‘anti-stats guy.’

“This week has been awesome. It’s probably one of the best tournament weeks of my life. I’ve really enjoyed myself. D.C. has been a lot of fun.Crowds have been awesome.” The 24-year-old said during his press conference.
“I’m just doing the right things. I’m having the same routine every day. I’m trying to improve on a lot of little habits, and it’s paying off. Five days in a row competing, I’m pretty happy with myself.”

In what was a typical Kyrgios match, drama was inevitable. Leading the semi-final with a set and a break advantage, Tsitsipas broke back. Triggering the start of a decline in Kyrgios’ on-court mood as some members of the crowd started to turn against him. At one point he was heard saying ‘Why should I try. If you’re not going to respect me, why should I try for you? It’s very simple.’ The former top 20 player also received code violations. Something that he is more than familiar with.

Despite the blip, Kyrgios regained control of his focus and continued to battle hard on the court. Hitting a series of impressive shots such as tweeners that other players wouldn’t even consider doing in their matches.

“It was spiraling out of control at one point. I’ve been in that position a lot, and it’s gone even worse. I’ve been defaulted before. I haven’t competed in the third set. So I’m pretty happy with myself the way I tried to drag it back from a dark place and managed to hold on the first couple service games in the third set and just competed. I just left it all out there and gave myself a chance to win the match, and honestly, it could have gone either way.”

During the decider, the two-time grand slam quarter-finalist was praised for his sportsmanship. Tsitsipas’ shoe laces had broken and he didn’t have a replacement pair ready. Noticing what happened, Kyrgios jumped into action by jogging to the Greek’s camp in the crowd and picking up a spare pair of shoes to have to his compatriot. It isn’t the first time this week Tsitsipas has experienced a shoe malfunction and even Kyrgios had a jibe at the shoe brand by saying “Adidas sucks.”

“Nick in my opinion is underrated and I guess the rivalry between me and him looks bright, and I’m pretty sure we’re going to face each other plenty of times in the future.” Said Tsitsipas, who will break into the world’s top five on Monday.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1157810871567077376

Closing the match out, Kyrgios closed proceedings with the help of one fan for the second match in a row. Leading 8-7 in the final tiebreak, he approached one member of the crowd and asked where should he serve. Following their advice, Kyrgios served out wide before producing a forehand winner to seal victory.

The former top 20 player has been accused throughout his career of not making enough of an effort during his career. Something he openly admits to. However, Kyrgios believes he is a player who many can relate to on some level.

“I was a very overweight kid. Got told by coaches, teachers that I wasn’t going to be very good at what I chose to do, which was tennis, and I think people can just relate to people telling you you can’t do anything, and I feel like I’m proving a lot of people wrong.” He said.
“I’ve beaten every single one of the best tennis players in the world doing it my way, and I’m never going to stop doing that, and I think people can draw inspiration from that.’
“I think you don’t listen to anyone, you just back yourself and believe in yourself, and that’s all that matters.”

Booking a place in his ninth ATP Final, Kyrgios will take on Russia’s Daniil Medvedev. Who defeated Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk in straight sets. He has already beaten the Russian on the tour this season. Doing so in three sets at the Italian Open in May.

The Citi Open final will take place on Sunday.

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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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