Roger Federer Survives Injury Scare, Seven Match Points In Epic To Reach Australian Open Semis - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Survives Injury Scare, Seven Match Points In Epic To Reach Australian Open Semis

The world No.3 staged a huge comeback to revive his title hopes at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

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20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer was on the brink of exiting the Australian Open no fewer than seven times before staging an epic comeback in a five-set thriller against Tennys Sandgren.

 

The 38-year-old Swiss Maestro was from from his best form on the Rod Laver Arena and appeared at times to be struggling with an injury of some sort. Yet he was still able to come out on top to win 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-3, against the giant killing world No.100. Who knocked out seeds Matteo Berrettini and Fabio Fognini earlier in the tournament.

“You gotta get lucky sometimes I tell you that because with those seven match points you’re not in control.” Federer said during his on court interview.
“I was just hoping that he was not going to smash the ball on that one point. Keep the ball in play, maybe miss one or two.’
“I think he played his match and I got incredibly lucky today.”

In what was a far from normal encounter in Melbourne, there was stages where it looked as if the former world No.1 was totally out of contention. Moving gingerly around the court and unable to find a way to dispose his rival, who was playing tennis at a level well above his ranking. Throughout the three-and-a-half hour clash, Federer was only able to break twice. Doing so in the first and fifth set. The roller-coaster performance saw him hit 44 winners to 56 unforced errors.

Alarm bells for the Federer camp started to ring during the third set. In a rare occurrence, the 38-year-old got into an argument with the umpire after receiving a code violation. A line official heard him swearing and reported it to the umpire. According to an ESPN commentator it was “an R-rated German word”.

“If you heard it so clearly why didn’t you call it,” a frustrated Federer said to umpire Marijana Veljovic. “Is she 100 per cent sure. She is from Switzerland right?
“She is sure but you’re not sure and she is the same distance. Give me a break.”

Following the dispute proceedings were halted after Federer left the court to take a medical time-out. Making it clear that the 20-time grand slam champion was suffering from some sort or problem. The main issues concerned the right side of his open stance as he looked tentative hitting certain shots.

“I’ve played a lot of tennis throughout my life and sometimes you feel a little bit funny. I started to feel my groin and then my leg started to tighten up.” The world No.3 later explained.
“I really don’t like calling a trainer because it is a sign of weakness.’
“In the end, I was like ‘whatever’ I was going to go off and have some extra treatment on the leg. People know I’m probably not 100%.”
“It wasn’t bad enough where I thought it was going to get worse.” He added.

Dispute the issue, Federer continued to fight on the court until the end. Refusing to retire from a tennis match for the first time in his career. It looked as if it would not be enough against a very in-form Sandgren who illustrated some of his best tennis. Remaining mentally strong and sticking to his game plan, Sandgren rallied to a game away from one of the biggest wins of his career.

However, it was not to be for the American. Leading 5-4 in the fourth frame, a tense Sandgren had three match points against the Federer serve, but failed to convert all of them. Reviving hopes of a comeback by the Swiss player. With all to play for the third seed found a fresh burst of energy as he continued to fight by saving a further four match points in the tiebreaker. Prompting a huge roar from the crowd. After being on the verge of going out, Federer managed to force proceedings into a decider after a shot from his opponent drifted out.

Avoiding a shock exit from Melbourne, Federer continued to gain momentum heading into the decider. Much to the annoyance of his frustrated rival. Weathering the storm, the critical break occurred six games into the fifth frame. Hitting a shot deep to the baseline, an error from Sandgren granted Federer the break for a 4-2 lead. From then, he cruised towards the finish line of what was a difficult and testing match. Serving for a place in the final, Federer prevailed on his first match point opportunity with the help of a serve down the middle of the court which Sandgren couldn’t return over the net.

“As the match went on I started to feel better again. All the pressure went away and I just tried to play. I got a little lucky to get the break (in the fifth set) and I served really well for most of the match towards the end.” He reflected,
“I don’t deserve this one (to win) but I’m very very happy.”

It is the first time Federer has won two five-set matches in the same grand slam tournament since the 2017 US Open. He is the oldest player to reach the last four in Melbourne since Ken Rosewall back in 1977 and the oldest to do so at any grand slam tournament since Jimmy Connors back in 1991.

Awaiting Federer next will be either defending champion Novak Djokovic or Canada’s Milos Raonic.

“I got nothing to do the next day and then I play at night (on Thursday). You do feel better in a couple of days and you never know again. I’m lucky to be here and I might as well make the most of it.” He concluded.

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Mikael Ymer overcomes Richard Gasquet to advance to the second round in Marseille

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Swedish 21-year-old Next Gen player Mikael Ymer edged past Richard Gasquet 6-3 3-6 7-5 after 2 hours and 22 minutes to reach the second round at the Open 13 in Marseille.

 

Ymer fended off 7 of the 10  break points he faced and broke serve in the third match point in a marathon third game setting up a second round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Ymer raced out to a 4-0 lead with two consecutive breaks. Gasquet pulled back one break in the seventh game to close the gap to 2-5, but Ymer served out the first set in the ninth game with an ace.

Ymer saved three break points in the sixth game, but Gasquet earned the break on his third chance in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3.

Ymer got an early break in the second game of the third set to open up a 3-0 lead. Gasquet broke back in the ninth game and held serve to draw level to 5-5. Ymer converted his third break point at deuce to seal the third set 7-5 in the 12th game.

Benoit Paire beat Gregoire Barrere 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the all-French match. Paire earned his only break of the match in the third game of the opening set. He saved two break points in the fourth game of the second set. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break, where Paire cruised through to a 7-1 win.

Ilya Ivashka overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-1 3-6 6-4. Ivashka broke twice in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. Popyrin earned one break in the fourth game to clinch the second set 6-3. Popyrin got an early break at deuce in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Ivashka broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Both players went on serve until the 10th game when Ivashka sealed the win with a break.

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Alexander Zverev Going In The Right Direction, Says Becker

The German tennis legend gives his verdict on Zverev’s current form following his grand slam breakthrough.

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Former world No.1 Boris Becker believes Alexander Zverev’s recent run at the Australian Open was confirmation that he belongs at the top of men’s tennis.

 

Last month the 22-year-old achieved his best ever grand slam performance by reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne Park before losing to Dominic Thiem. At the tournament he scored wins over Andrey Rublev, who won two consecutive titles prior to the event, and former champion Stan Wawrinka. Zverev has been tipped as a future world No.1 in recent years and remains the only active player outside of the Big Four to have won three or more Masters trophies. Although he has previously struggled to shine in the biggest events of the sport.

“Alexander Zverev has made a great step forward with his first participation in a grand slam semi-final.” Becker told reporters in Berlin on Sunday. “Although he had difficult weeks before, for which there were reasons.”

At the start of the year it looked as if the world No.7 was in trouble. At the ATP Cup he lost all three of his matches played. A performance Becker blames on his off-season training. During November and December Zverev played a series of exhibition matches with Roger Federer across South America and China.

“He didn’t train enough during the winter break and came to Brisbane unprepared.” He said.
“We exchanged some serious words off the court and he took them to heart.’
“Of course I’m happy he had such success. This is also a confirmation for him that he belongs at the top of the world (in tennis).”
“But the competitors never sleep, that’s a never ending story. He has to confirm this again and again.”

So far in his career, Zverev has won 11 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as third in the world. His biggest triumph occurred towards the end of 2018 when he won the ATP Finals in London.

Reflecting on his Melbourne run last month, Zverev believes he managed to achieve the milestone thanks to a new approach he took to the event. Instead of looking at the whole tournament, he narrowed his focus to match-by-match.

“I went here in a different way. I went match by match. Didn’t look very far. I just knew I had opponents in front of me. I had to play well to beat them. That was it.” He said last month. “Whenever I won, I’d sit down in the locker room and somebody told me who I’m playing next.’
“I went step by step, match by match. Usually I [haven’t done] that in Grand Slams.”

Zverev will return to action next week at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. A tournament where he finished runner-up 12 months ago. Becker believes his compatriot could do some damage on the hard courts over the coming weeks with two prestigious North American events taking place next month in Indian Wells and Miami.

“The next tournaments are on hard courts in America. He will play there as well. There he can take a lot of points.” Becker concluded.

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New York Open Sunday Recap: Kyle Edmund Wins His Second Career ATP Title

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Kyle Edmund raising the trophy at the New York Open (newyorkopen.com)

And in an exclusive interview with UbiTennis, runner-up Andreas Seppi of Italy reveals he is pulling out of Delray Beach next week due to an injury suffered in the final.

 

In Sunday’s championship match, neither player faced a break point until 6-5 in the first set.  In that twelfth game, Seppi struggled to make first serves, with Edmund hitting winners off both sides to break and secure the first set 7-5.

Kyle would break again to open the second, as Seppi played another loose game with neutral ball errors and a double fault. Up a set and a break, Edmund began to swing freely. Despite that, Seppi was able to survive a barrage of Edmund groundstroke winners to save multiple break points at 0-3. Edmund would then hold at love to make it 4-1, when Seppi left the court for a medical timeout. When Andreas returned, Edmund broke again by outlasting Seppi in the longest rally of the match. Kyle then closed out the match 7-5, 6-1 to win the second ATP title of his career.

When I spoke with Andreas after the match, he told me he felt something in his left hamstring as he was running for a drop shot in the fifth game of the second set.  Seppi shared he will be skipping the Delray Beach event next week due to the injury, and will head home a week earlier than expected to rest and await the arrival of his first child.

“I just felt like I could really never put him under pressure today,” Seppi told me, when asked about how difficult it was to get into Edmund’s service games.

Edmund had a great serving day, striking 11 aces and facing no break points.  He won 94% of first serve points in the match (31/33), against a player in Seppi who had won 36% of his return games this week prior to today’s final.  I asked Kyle about how crucial his serving was in Sunday’s victory.

“When I got my first serve in I lost a couple points on it, so it really worked well for me. When you get that first strike in- I mean that big first serve in- when I can get on my forehand, that’s where I want to be, and I was winning a lot of points like that this week,” said Edmund.

Kyle also spoke about how important this title is to him.

“When you’re young and training, or playing tennis, these are the sort of things you imagine: wanting to win professional titles,” said Edmund.

In the doubles final, Dominic Inglot and Aisam-ul-Haq-Qureshi won their first title as a team, defeating Reilly Opelka and Steve Johnson 7-6(5), 7-6(6). Inglot and Qureshi initially served for the championship at 5-4 in the second, yet failed to close out the match. In the eventual second set tiebreak, Johnson narrowly missed a forehand down the line at 6-6. On the next point, an unreturned Inglot serve ended the American team’s quest for a title on home soil. Inglot and Qureshi were also finalists last week in Montpellier.

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