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The 2019 ATP Tour Review

Ubitennis.net reviews a great ATP season highlighted by Rafael Nadal’s Roland Garros and US Open titles, Novak Djokovic’s win over Roger Federer in an epic Wimbledon final, Daniil Medvedev’s great hard-court season, Stefanos Tsitsipas’ breakthrough into the top 10 and the rise of Italian players Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner.

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Rafael Nadal (image via Kosmos Tennis)
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The Comeback of the year: Andy Murray

 

 

At the start of 2019 double Olympic champion Andy Murray announced during an emotional press conference that he could possibly retire from professional tennis due to a serious hip injury. However, on the 28th of January he underwent his second hip surgery and missed five months of the tour in a bid to prolong his career.

The player from Dunblane made his come-back during June at Queens in London, where he won the doubles title with his teammate Feliciano Lopez. The duo beat Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the final. Adding the win to Murray’s five singles trophies previously won at the tournament.

Following Queen’s, he lost to Richard Gasquet in the first round in his first singles tournament of the 2019 season. The Scotsman earned his first ATP singles win of his comeback year in Zhuhai against Tennys Sandgren before losing to Australian Next Gen star Alex De Minaur in the second round.

Murray beat Berrettini in the first round of the China Open in Beijing before losing to eventual champion Dominic Thiem in the quarter final. It would be in Antwerp where the three-time grand slam champion made a breakthrough. Making his way to the final, he stunned Stan Wawrinka to win his first singles title in more than two years.

The Rising star of the Year: Jannik Sinner

Jannik Sinner started the year ranked world number 553 and reached his career high as world number 78. The Italian 18-year-old player won three ATP Challenger titles in Bergamo, Lexington and Ortisei. Although his most significant triumph took place in November when he won the Next Gen Finals in Milan as a wildcard. Defeating De Minaur in the final.

He became the youngest ATP Tour semi-finalist since Borna Coric at the 2013 Swiss Indoors. At the Rome Internazionali d’Italia Sinner saved one match point against Steve Johnson in ATP Masters 1000 debut as a wildcard before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round. Sinner lost to Stan Wawrinka in the first round in his debut Grand Slam tournament at the US Open.

The Match of the Year: Djokovic beat Federer 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12

Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer for the third time in a Wimbledon final after his previous two triumphs in 2017 and 2018. Djokovic defended his title to win the Wimbledon tournament for the fifth time in his career by beating Federer in an epic final that lasted four hours and fifty-seven minutes, the longest final in Wimbledon history. Djokovic fended off two championship points at 8-7 40-15 in the fifth set en route to winning the Wimbledon title. It was the first time a fifth set tie-break was played in the men’s singles at Wimbledon at 12-12. Djokovic enjoyed another great season in which he won five titles (Australian Open, Madrid, Wimbledon, Tokyo and Paris Bercy).

Federer took the re-match by beating Djokovic 6-4 6-3 later this year at the London O2 Arena during the Bjorn Borg round-robin match at the Nitto ATP Finals.

The best doubles teams

Cabal and Farah:

Colombia’s long-time partners Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah became the second all-South American team to finish year-end world number 2 in the ATP Doubles Team Ranking since Chile’s Hans Gildemeister and Ecuador’s André Gomez achieved this feat. Cabal and Farah won their second consecutive title at the Rome Internazionali d’Italia and two Grand Slam trophies at Wimbledon and at the US Open.

Herbert and Mahut

The French doubles team formed by Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut completed their career Grand Slam by winning the Australian Open without dropping a set from the quarter finals on. They became the eighth men’s doubles team to complete the Career Grand Slam. They then did not play together until Cincinnati, as Herbert chose to focus on singles tournament. They resumed playing together In Cincinnati, but they lost in the second round and in the first round at the US Open. In the final three tournaments of the 2019 season the French team reached the semifinal in Vienna before winning two consecutive titles at Paris Bercy and at the ATP Finals in London.

The team of the year: Spain

Spain lifted its sixth Davis Cup title at the Caja Magica in Madrid by winning all eight singles and doubles matches.

Spain beat Canada 2-0 in the Davis Cup final at the Caja Magica in Madrid thanks to the singles wins of Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut. Nadal led Spain to its sixth Davis Cup title by winning all eight singles and doubles matches. The Spanish legend extended his winning streak in Davis Cup singles matches to 29 without dropping a set or losing a game on serve.

“It was an amazing week. I could not be happier. It has been an unforgettable moment here in this great stadium. Our team spirit prevailed. We fought hard”, said Nadal after the Davis Cup final.

Bautista Agut beat Felix Auger Aliassime in the final just a few days after the death of his father.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gilles Simon and Felix Auger Aliassime reach the the semifinal in Marseille

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Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Vasek Pospisil 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 17 minutes to reach the semifinal at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Both players stayed neck and neck until 5-5, before Tsitsipas earned his first break, when Pospisil hit a backhand long. The Greek star wrapped up the first set with an ace after 45 minutes.

Tsitsipas claimed his second break at 3-3 with a backhand return and reeled off 10 consecutive points to seal the second set 6-3.

Tsitsipas fired 8 aces and won 26 of his 30 first service points.

“It was not easy. I knew I would have to fight and be dynamic. He plays a very aggressive brand of tennis, so every point has to be treated respectfully. I played with passion and patience, and my fighting spirit, when I am in the right zone. It means good things can happen”, said Tsitsipas.

Gilles Simon cruised through to an upset 6-4 6-0 win over Danil Medvedev to advance to the semifinal. Simon converted five of his six break point chances and lost his serve only once.

The French veteran will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Egor Gerasimov 7-5 6-2. The young Canadian star broke serve four times and and won 83 % of his first serve points.

Gerasimov earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead, but Auger Aliassime came back by winning two consecutive games to win the opening set 7-5. Auger Aliassime converted his fourth break point in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and sealed the second set with another break in the eighth game.

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Alexander Bublik reaches his third career semifinal with win over Denis Shapovalov in Marseille

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Alexander Bublik reached the third ATP Tour semifinal of his career after beating Canadian Canadian Next Gen player Denis Shapovalov 7-5 4-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 18 minutes at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.

 

Bublik fended off a total of four break points in the first set, including three chances from 0-40, got the break in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5, when Shapovalov hit a forehand volley wide at 30-40 after 45 minutes.

Both players traded breaks at the start of the second set. Bublik did not convert three break points at 3-2, when he hit a forehand into the net on his first break point chance. Shapovalov broke serve in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead with a drop shot and wrapped up the second set with his third ace.

Bublik opened up a 2-0 lead with a break in the second game of the third set. Shapovalov broke straight back in the third game. Bublik got another break lead in the eighth lead at 15, when Shapovalov hit a forehand wide. Bublik sealed the win with a hold at love.

“He is a great player and serve. It was our first match, but I have known him for a very long time. I was happy to break in the first set, then in the second set he was better, and I had my chances in the third and I held on. So I am very happy”,said Bublik.

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Milos Raonic, Steve Johnson, Frances Tiafoe and Ugo Humbert reach the quarter final in Delray Beach

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Milos Raonic hit 11 aces and saved the three break points he faced to beat German Cedrik Marcel Stebe 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 36 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Delray Beach, an ATP Tour 250 tournament.

 

Raonic earned a break in each set. Stebe earned a break point in the ninth game with a forehand down the line, but Raonic saved it with a forehand. Raonic faced two more break points in the 11th game, but Raonic saved them with service winners. Raonic earned a break with a forehand down the line winner in the 12th game to close out the first set 7-5. Raonicwon four consecutive points on return to earn a break and closed out the match 6-3 with a hold of serve.

“I got lucky through that first set and then I tried to be a bit more aggressive, create more things and that put a bit more pressure on him. It opened up the match for me a bit more”, said Raonic.

Raonic set up a quarter final against Steve Johnson, who edged past his compatriot Jack Sock 6-4 5-7 6-1 after 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach his first quarter final at ATP Tour level in six months. Johnson came back from losing the second set by racing out to a 5-0 lead.

“This is just one of those tournaments where you feel comfortable coming back every year. It’s great to see Sock back. I thought he played a really good second set and I just got bit of a momentum in the third set”, said Johnson.

French Next Gen player Ugo Humbert edged Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 7-6 (8-6) after 1 hour and 42 minutes to reach his third quarter final in 2020. Humbert fended off eight of the ten break points he faced and earned three breaks to win the last four games of the first set from 2-4 down. Humbert broke Kecmanovic, as the Serbian player was serving for the second set at 6-5. The Frenchman saved a set point and came back from 5-6 down by winning the final three points of the tie-break to clinch the win after 1 hour and 43 minutes. Humbert has improved his win-loss record this year to 8-3.

“It’s always tough to play against Miomir, because he is a great player. He always plays at a high level. I lost to him last week and I was a little bit stressed before the match, so I am very happy to get the win today. You have to enjoy the victory because it’s not easy every week. Winning in Auckland gave me a lot of confidence. I beat some great players, but I have to continue my improvement every day”,said Humbert.

Humbert will face US player Frances Tiafoe, who battled past Tommy Paul 7-5 7-6 (7-4). Both players stayed neck and neck in the first set until the 11th game when Tiafoe earned a break with a return winner. He served out the set 7-5 with a service winner in the 12th game.

Paul earned a break in the sixth game, but he dropped his serve, while he serving for the set at 5-3. Tiafoe closed out the match with a backhand crosscourt winner at 6-4 in the tie-break.

“It’s never easy playing a good friend. It’s awkward, but I thought it was a pretty good match overall. My forehand was definitely on, so that helped. I am starting to play good tennis again and just competing hard in every match”,said Tiafoe.  

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