Dominic Thiem First Through To ATP Finals Semis After Epic Win Over Djokovic - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem First Through To ATP Finals Semis After Epic Win Over Djokovic

For the second time in his career, Thiem has battled back from a set down to upset the former world No.1.

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LONDON: Dominic Thiem has become the first Austrian player in history to reach the semi-final stage at the ATP Finals after fighting back against world No.2 Novak Djokovic in a classic encounter.

 

In what was an enthralling nighttime clash, the world No.4 produced some of his best play to recover from a set down to prevail 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4), over the second seed after more than two-and-a-half hours of pulsating play. A turnaround from three years ago in the same tournament when it was Djokovic who won after losing the opening tiebreaker. This time around Thiem prevailed with the help of 50 winners. 32 of those coming from his forehand side.

“This was one of the most special matches. It is what I have practiced all of my life for.” Thiem said during his on-court interview. “It’s a really big one (win) in front of an amazing atmosphere against a real legend of our game. So I couldn’t be happier. Also, I qualified for the semifinals which is the best.”

Thiem has been a player of nightmares for the world No.2 in recent months. Despite trailing their head-to-head (3-6), the Austrian had won three out of their four most recent meetings. Including a clash at a windy French Open back in June. Once again Djokovic struggled to tame his rival during what was a rollercoaster opener at The O2 Arena

It was the six-time champion who struck first after breaking for a 3-1 lead. However, that advantage swiftly disappeared due to an emphatic response from Thiem in the following game as he fought back to draw level. The cat and mouse chase between the two continued as both players refused to buckle as they each won their mini battles on the court. Paving way for a tiebreak.

In an encounter of fine margins, it would be one single shot that proved fatal to Thiem. At 5-5 in the tiebreaker, a forehand sailed long to hand his Serbian nemesis set point. An opportunity Djokovic seized with the help of a 123 mph serve to end what was 65 minutes of pulsating play from the two. Handing him his ninth consecutive tiebreak win on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon.

The comeback

Dominc Thiem (Aut)

Despite the blunder, Thiem continued to antagonize Djokovic in the match. Breaking straight away in the second set en route to a 3-0 advantage. Much to the bemusement of the 16-time grand slam champion, who made numerous glares of frustration towards his camp. There was no let-up in the Thiem comeback as he rallied to level the match a set apiece.

The fightback continued to draw admiration from the London crowd. In the decider, it was another blistering forehand from Thiem that broke the Djokovic serve right away. As cries of anger continued to erupt from the five-time champion, the exchanges of breaks continued. Thiem’s first chance of serving the match out at 6-5 ended in disaster after he hit an array of errors. Nevertheless, he refused to go away. Fighting back from a 1-4 deficit in the decisive tiebreaker to stun Djokovic. Prompting the 26-year-old to drop to the floor out of sheer jubilation and exhaustion.

“I was in the zone from the first point on. Even when I served for the match, 6-5 in the third set, I was playing obviously the best returner in the game.” Assessed Thiem. “I didn’t worry too much and I was focusing on the tiebreak. Coming back from 1-4 was also a little bit of luck but in general, it was unbelievable. A match I would never forget.” He added.

Djokovic now faces a showdown against Roger Federer if he wishes to reach the last four of the tournament. The last time he failed to progress beyond the round-robin stages was back in 2011. Excluding the 2016 edition, he missed due to injury. Visibly disappointed with the outcome of his match afterward, he still paid tribute to his rival.

“He was unbelievable, and in some stages, it was just incredible that he was just literally smacking the ball as hard as he can and he was going in.” He said of Thiem.
“This today was unbelievable. But whether he can keep that up every match, if he does, chapeau There is not much you can say. For sure, he’s playing great tennis.”

As a result of the latest match, Italy’s Matteo Berrettini cannot progress beyond the round-robin stage and will finish bottom in the group.

Standings after two matches

MATCHES SETS GAMES
[1] THIEM W W 4-1 33-16
[2] DJOKOVIC W L 3-2 28-22
[3] FEDERER L W 2-2 23-23
[4] BERRETTINI L L 0-4 12-25

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REPORT: Former Spanish Tennis Star In Talks To Coach Alexander Zverev

A former world No.3 could be returning to the Tour later this year in a new position.

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Tennis sensation Alexander Zverev could soon be mentored by somebody whose career he ended last year at the Madrid Open.

 

Spanish newspaper Marca have reported that the world No.7 is set to enter in a 15-day trial with former French Open finalist David Ferrer where the two will get to know each other better. Ferrer has reportedly travelled to Monte Carlo to start working alongside Germany’s top player. Should everything go well, the two could start a formal partnership in September ahead of the European clay-court swing of the Tour, which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both men are already fairly familiar with each other after facing off nine times on the ATP Tour, including three times last year. Zverev was the last player Ferrer played against at the Madrid Open before officially retiring from the sport at the age of 37.

“He’s the most respectful guy for me on Tour, and one of the most loved people on the Tour as well,” Zverev told reporters in the Spanish capital following their match.

Whilst never winning a Grand Slam, Ferrer achieved numerous accolades throughout his career. Including spending 4914 consecutive days in the world’s top 50, winning 27 ATP titles and achieving a ranking high of No.3 back in 2013. Overall, he has played 1011 matches on the ATP Tour (including Grand Slams) which is more than John McEnroe.

Should Ferrer receive the green light, Zverev will be the first high-profile player he will be responsible for. The Spaniard had previously hinted at his desire to enter coaching with his long time objective being to captain the Spanish Davis Cup team. He is also currently serving as the tournament director of the Barcelona Open.

“I would be very proud to be able to be (Davis Cup captain),” Ferrer told Marca in April 2019. “I also understand that this is very far away and there are players who are ahead. First, I have to train as a professional in teaching (coaching).”

Neither Ferrer or Zverev has publicly commented on the report. At present Zverev is coached on the Tour by his father who guided him to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

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Father Of Dominic Thiem Condemns Criticism Of Novak Djokovic’s Role In Adria Tour Fiasco

Wolfgang Thiem has come to the defence of the world No.1 before suggesting that COVID-19 cases among players at charity events are worth it.

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The father of world No.3 Dominic Thiem has said it is ‘too cheap’ to blame Novak Djokovic over the outbreak of COVID-19 at the controversial Adria Tour.

 

Wolfgang Thiem lent his support behind the 17-time Grand Slam champion during an interview with Austrian newspaper Die Presses on Friday. The Adria Tour, which was founded by Djokovic, was cancelled following an outbreak of the virus during the Zadar leg of the event in Croatia with Grigor Dimitrov being the first player to confirm a positive test. Shortly after, Djokovic and Borna Coric also tested positive as well as some coaching staff. Viktor Troicki also contracted COVID-19, but only played the first leg of the Tour in Belgrade.

Throughout the Belgrade and Zadar events organisers were criticised for a lack of social distancing being applied. Players were seen playing basketball matches, attending nightclubs and interacting with the public. Although all of those actions were in line with local government rules.

“I do not approve of what happened on the Adria Tour, but condemning Djokovic and saying he screwed it up is too cheap for me,” Wolfgang commented.
“Of course the dance at the disco was not optimal, but Djokovic basically did nothing wrong. They just got a little sloppy, they were euphoric,” he continued.

Djokovic, who has been at the centre of the criticism, is yet to publicly speak about the incident. On Friday it was confirmed that both him and his wife Jelena have now tested negative for the virus. 10 days after they were first diagnosed.

As for Thiem, his father said the Austrian tennis star will be donating his money from the event to charity. Although he did not say how much that would be or which cause it would go towards. It comes just days after Djokovic donated 40,000 euros to the Serbian town of Novi Pazar, who has been hit hard by the pandemic.

Speaking about the outbreak of COVID-19 among players, Wolfgang has suggested that it is worth it if it meant raising money for charity.

“I prefer that there be a few more cases of coronavirus and be able to raise a few thousand euros for a childhood cancer clinic,” he explained.

Since the Adria Tour, Thiem has played at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) in France. He has undergone five COVID-19 tests in recent days with all of them testing negative for the virus. The 26-year-old withdrew from the UTS on Wednesday to focus on the upcoming Thiem 7 event in Kitzbuhel which will start on July 7th.

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‘Coronabros Stay In Your Basement’ – John Isner Plays Down Concerns Over COVID-19 Threat

The world No.21 believes players have to ‘learn and adapt’ to the virus.

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America’s top tennis player have said the world ‘can’t come to a complete standstill’ due to the Coronavirus pandemic as he hit back at criticism concerning an upcoming exhibition tournament he is participating in.

 

John Isner weighed in on the debate following a comment from freelance writer Ben Rothenberg whom on Twitter voiced concerns that Atlanta and West Virginia is staging tennis events with crowds despite a rise in cases. The world No.21 is set to play in the DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta, which will feature the eight top male players in the country. Officials plan to allow 450 people to attend the event on each day, which is estimated to be around 30% of the stadium’s maximum capacity.

“Ben, your concerns are valid, but, as someone who covers our sport for a living it would be nice if you would be supportive of WTT and Atlanta with their efforts to put on safe events instead of posting spooky headlines like this one that are factually incorrect,” Isner said making reference to an article Rothenberg posted.

Other Twitter users have also questioned the decision to allow fans to attend the event. Georgia, which is the state Atlanta is in, officially reported 2946 daily cases of the virus on July 1st. The highest amount within 24 hours since the pandemic began. Furthermore, Reuters News Agency reports that there was a record rise of more than 47,000 cases on Tuesday in America.

Nevertheless, Isner has dismissed calls for the event to be held behind closed doors or even cancelled. Branding his online critics as ‘coronabros’ before saying he wants to go on and live his life.

“You coronabros can stay in your basement all you want. I choose to live my life and play/promote the sport I love in a safe manner,” he said.

Unsurprisingly Isner has now been accused of downplaying the severity of the virus, which has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide. Including 130,000 in his home country alone. Challenged by one Twitter user who said she lost a family member due to the virus, Isner replied:-

“I’m incredibly sorry to hear that. I, in no way, was downplaying the effect of the virus, but I understand that perception can be reality.”

It is not fully understood by what he means with the phrase ‘perception is a reality’. Although he did like one tweet which said ‘the virus is much less lethal than the first models predicted. It’s now close to the flu.’ Although some medical experts have a differnt view on the perspective. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has recently said the virus is “very different” from other outbreaks such as Ebola and HIV.

“We may not have a vaccine for a while and the world can’t come to a complete standstill. The reality is, we are going to have to learn and adapt to this virus in the safest manner possible,” he says.

The DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta will take place this weekend.

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