Alex De Minaur secures his spot in the semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan - UBITENNIS
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Alex De Minaur secures his spot in the semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan

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World number 18 and top seed Alex De Minaur cruised past Casper Ruud 4-1 4-0 4-2 to secure his spot in the semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals at the Allianz Cloud in Milan.

 

The Sydney native player has reached the semifinals undefeated for the second consecutive edition of the Next Gen Finals in Milan. The Aussie has scored the seventh win of his career in Milan breaking the record of match victories at this event held by 2017 finalist Andrey Rublev.

Ruud won the opening game of the match, but De Minaur reeled off nine consecutive games with breaks in the third and fifth games of the first set and in the second and fourth games of the second set.

Ruud saved two break points in the fourth game of the third set, but De Minaur broke serve in the sixth game with a backhand winner on the match point to close out the third set 4-2.

De Minaur won three titles in his home city Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai and finished runner-up to Roger Federer in Basel.

“I knew from playing Casper before that he would dictate any short ball without a purpose. The game plan was to play on my own terms, play aggressively, play different styles of tennis. The goal I had was to take any half-chance, go up and back myself at the net. I am gladi t worked out today. I am looking forward to the semifinals”, said De Minaur.

De Minaur has enjoyed the format of the Milan tournament so far.

“The conditions make it a bit tougher in the sense that things can change direction really quickly, so I feel like you have got to be constantly focused. That’s something that helps me in a way, to stay in the moment. A lot of work has been done for me to achieve that, but it’s a work in progress and I am happy to be through to the semifinals”, reflected De Minaur.

De Minaur thinks that there are some rules of this innovative format that he would like to take into other ATP Tour events next year.

“There are a lot of different things that obviously I really like. The Hawk-Eye live, you know, I think you don’t take away any sort of problem on the court. You believe Hawk-Eye. So it’s called out, it’s out. If it’s a close call, they show you the replay. No more troubles. You don’t have bad calls. If you don’t challenge and you should have challenged, then you realize you end up losing the point. But obviously sort of the instant replay. That helps a lot, as well. If you don’t challenge and you should have challenged, then you end up losing the point. But obviously sort of the instant replay, that helps a lot, as well. There is a couple of things that I do like here.”. 

The Next Gen Finals have been a chance to know the other players better and have new friends on the circuit.

“I don’t think I have ever had much to do with Jannik Sinner. After this week, I have been able to hit with him, and things like this that otherwise probably don’t happen in other tournaments. There is a lot of a lot more going on, a lot more players. But here it’s just eight of us. We are bound to get to know each other a bit better, so I enjoy that aspect for sure”, said De Minaur.

 

 

 

 

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Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus secure their spot in the semifinal in the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London

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Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus beat Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-3 6-4 in the evening’s double match securing their spot in the semifinal with a record of 2-0 in the Group Jonas Bjorkman.

 

Klaasen earned an early break with a forehand volley to open up a 3-1 lead. Venus and Klaasen dropped just four points on serve and did not face a break point. Venus held serve at 5-3 to close out the opening set 6-3 after 32 minutes.

Both teams held serve until the ninth game, when Venus got the first break at 4-4 with a half-volley winner, when Melo was serving on a deciding point. Kubot and Melo fended off two match points in the next game to force a deciding point and got their first break point of the match.

Venus sealed the win after 71 minutes with a big serve on their third match point in the 10th game. Klaasen and Venus won 86 % of their serve points.

US players Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury scored their first win in the Group Jonas Bjorkman at the Nitto ATP Finals, when they beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 3-6 6-3 10-6 in the Match Tie-Break. The US team improved their ranking to 1-1.

Dodig and Polasek earned the first break in the fourth game of the opening set to open up a 3-1 lead. They saved four consecutive break points in the ninth game, when they were serving for the first set at 5-3. Dodig and Polasek sealed the first set with a service winner after 33 minutes.

Ram and Salisbury did not convert break points in the most crucial moments of the first set. Ram and Salisbury earned their only break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and did not face a single break point to win the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the third set.

Ram and Salisbury opened up a 3-0 lead with an early mini-break in the Match tie-break. Dodig and Polasek rallied to draw level to 5-5. Ram and Salisbury sealed the win on the first match point, when Polasek hit a backhand volley into the net at 9-6.

Dodig and Polasek, who won two titles in Cincinnati and Beijing, lost to Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 10-5 in the Match Tie-Break in last Saturday’s first match.

 

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 3 Preview: A Must-Win Match Beckons For Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic plays Dominic Thiem for a commanding lead in the Bjorn Born Group, while Roger Federer faces Matteo Berrettini to stay out of last place.

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Djokovic completely dominated Berrettini on Sunday, allowing the debuting Italian just three games.  Matteo will likely need a win today to have any reasonable chance to advance to the semifinals. If advancement comes down to a tiebreak, he currently has no sets won and an extremely low percentage of games won.  With Federer’s 7-5, 7-5 loss to Thiem on Sunday, his situation is slightly less dire than Berrettini’s. But a loss today would make’s Roger’s likelihood of advancing extremely slim, especially with a match against Djokovic looming on Thursday.

 

Roger Federer (3) vs. Matteo Berrettini (8)

Their only previous meeting was four months ago in this same city.  On Manic Monday at Wimbledon, Federer crushed Berrettini 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just 74 minutes.  Matteo was open about how disappointing his performance was that day, as he was overwhelmed by playing the 20-time Major champion on Centre Court.  However, it’s worth noting Berrettini had played a dramatic five-set match just 48 hours prior where he saved match points to come back and defeat Diego Schwartzman.  Matteo should be much fresher for the rematch today, but will he again be overwhelmed by the occasion? The beating he sustained at the hands of Djokovic two days ago will not inspire much confidence.  And he’s facing a man who has only once failed to advance to the semifinals of this event in 16 career appearances. It would be quite surprising if Federer failed to prevail today.

Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Dominic Thiem (5)

The last time these two men faced off was in the semifinals of this year’s Roland Garros.  That match began on an absurdly-windy Friday in Paris, conditions Thiem handled much better than Djokovic.  Their match would take two days to complete, with Dominic taking it 7-5 in the fifth, ending Novak’s campaign to win his fourth consecutive Major.  Overall however Djokovic leads their head-to-head 6-3. Novak is 3-0 on hard courts, though they haven’t played on this surface since this event three years ago, when Djokovic won in three.  Thiem was impressive in taking it to Federer on Sunday, and Dominic’s hard court skills have drastically improved over the past two seasons. But on an indoor hard court, Djokovic remains a considerable favorite to be the only undefeated player in the Bjorn Borg Group by the end of play Tuesday.

 

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‘I Wasn’t Good Enough’ – Rafael Nadal Reacts To ATP Finals Loss

The Spaniard speaks out about his current form and if he plans to continue playing in London.

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LONDON: Rafael Nadal believes his losing start to this year’s ATP Finals was partly down to a lack of practice in recent weeks due to a series of injury issues.

 

The world No.1 enters the event without finishing a tournament since winning the US Open after suffering from issues with his left hand and abdomen. A familiar scenario for the Spaniard who has qualified for the ATP Finals 15 times, but has only been able to play in eight of them. In his opening match against the reigning champion, Alexander Zverev, he was unable to find a way to break down his opponent’s serve as he leaked a series of costly errors.

“Honestly, Sascha played well and I played bad,” Nadal said during his press conference.
“We can find reasons or excuses, but at the end of the day, what matters is that I need to play much better in the next two days after tomorrow. That’s the only thing.”
“We (my team) knew that it was going to be tough at the beginning because of the period of time since my injury until today is very short, but we are here trying, and that’s it.”

Indoor events have never been Nadal’s strong point. Incredibly on the surface, he has only managed to clinch the title in one out of 28 tournaments played. Doing so at the 2005 Madrid Masters. At the ATP Finals, he has reached the final twice in 2010 and 2013.

Nevertheless, there is a silver lining for the Spaniard. Whilst his form isn’t where he would like it to be, physically there are no blips yet. Meaning that he intends to continue fighting in the tournament.

“I have no complaint about my physical condition. No pain in my abdominals. That’s the only positive thing, honestly. That’s all,” said Nadal.
“I’m happy with the way my abdominal held, and hopefully I can continue like this because it’s true that I was not able to do a lot of practice and make a lot of effort on that part of the body since last Saturday.”

The optimism expressed by the 19-time grand slam champion is also one that comes with a caution. When asked if he will be able to play seven or more matches over the next two weeks due to his participation in the Davis Cup, there was a brief silence. Then he replied to the journalist ‘I can’t give you an answer.’

It is up in the air as to how Nadal will fair over the week or if he will even complete all of his round-robin matches due to his troublesome body. However, there is one guarantee. He is ready to fight to the very end.

“I’m staying positive. I’m staying competitive, something that I was not today. That’s the thing that I am more disappointed because knowing that I will not be at my 100% in terms of feelings, in terms of movement, in terms of confidence or hitting the ball, I needed my best competitive spirit this afternoon, and I was not there in that way.”

As a onseuqence of the loss, the 33-year-old has opened the door further for rival Novak Djokovic to snatch the year-end No.1 spot. Although should he go on to win the title, he would claim the sport regardless of how the Serbian performs.

Nadal is down, but he isn’t out yet. Awaiting him next will be a clash with Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday. A player who he leads 2-0 in their head-to-head with both of those wins occuring in 2019.

Nadal’s recent record at the ATP Finals

2018 First to qualify Withdrew on November 5 (ankle)
2017 First to qualify Withdrew after first match against David Goffin (knee)
2016 Points accumulated to qualify Wrist injury ended season on October 20
2015 Fifth to qualify Semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic
2014 Second to qualify Withdrew on October 24 (appendix surgery)
2013 First to qualify Final loss to Novak Djokovic
2012 One of a trio of first qualifiers Withdrew on October 25 (knee )
2011 Second to qualify Two group match losses
2010 First to qualify Lost to Federer in the final
2009 Second to qualify Three group match losses

Source: Sky Sports UK

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