ATP Finals 2019 Day 4 Preview: Medvedev Seeks Revenge Against Nadal - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals 2019 Day 4 Preview: Medvedev Seeks Revenge Against Nadal

After a day of upsets in the Andre Agassi Group on Monday, will the surprises continue today?

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sascha Zverev were both 0-5 respectively against Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal, yet both were victorious in the opening round.  Tsitsipas and Zverev will now compete to take the lead in the group, while Nadal and Medvedev compete the keep their advancement hopes alive. And for Rafa, the year-end No.1 ranking is also up for grabs between himself and Novak Djokovic.

 

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Daniil Medvedev (4)

This is a rematch from the epic US Open final two months ago.  On that day in New York, Nadal was up two sets and a break, seemingly cruising to his 19th Major singles title.  But Medvedev would fight his way back to even the match, eventually succumbing to Rafa in a five-set, five-hour thriller.  Since that final, Nadal has battled multiple injuries, and has not completed any event he’s entered. Meanwhile the US Open was one of six straight consecutive finals for Medvedev, yet he’s now 0-2 over the past month.  Both Nadal and Medvedev admitted they were not at their best on Monday. Rafa is obviously not back to 100% after the abdominal injury he suffered in Paris less than two weeks ago. Jim Courier on Tennis Channel in the US said he’s never seen Nadal hit his forehand worse than he did on Monday.  And after taking some time off after his six straight finals, Medvedev has been struggling to rediscover his form, and said he’s been playing poorly in practice. Their only other previous match was also this summer, when Rafa dominated Daniil in the Rogers Cup final, dropping only three games. But judging by Rafa’s level against Zverev on Monday, I like Medvedev’s chances on an indoor hard court to secure his first win over Nadal.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) vs. Sascha Zverev (7)

This will be their fifth career meeting, with all of them occurring within the past 18 months.  Zverev claimed their first matchup last summer in Washington, but Tsitsipas has taken the last three, including most recently just last month in Beijing.  Their rivalry turned in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup last August, when Stefanos saved two match points in the second set tiebreak to come back and upset Sascha in three.  Tsitsipas has now won six of their last seven sets contested. While Zverev has been a better player since the Laver Cup in September, and served very well against Nadal on Monday, Sascha is still not quite at the level he reached a year ago when he won this event.  And Tsitsipas has been the much more confident competitor of the two throughout this year. Based on their head-to-head history and recent form, Tsitsipas should be favored to remain undefeated in the Andre Agassi Group. 

 

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.

 

He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.

Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.

Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.

“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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