Dominic Thiem Prevails In ‘Toughest Straight-Sets’ Win Of Career To Book US Open Title Showdown With Zverev - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Prevails In ‘Toughest Straight-Sets’ Win Of Career To Book US Open Title Showdown With Zverev

After disposing of Daniil Medvedev, the world No.3 looks ahead to his title match in New York.

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Second seed Dominic Thiem is a match away from winning his maiden Grand Slam title after battling his way past Daniil Medvedev at the US Open on Friday evening.

 

The world No.3 held his nerve to see off the Russian 6-2, 7-6(7), 7-6(5), and move into the final of a major for the fourth time in his career. Thiem withstood 12 aces fired by Medvedev and even produced fewer winners than him (22-29) but managed to capitalize on his rivals costly unforced error count of 44. Despite the straightforward score, Thiem was tested throughout and had to come back from a break down in the last two sets played before prevailing in the tiebreakers.

“Exactly what happened was what I was expecting, he’s one of very few guys who is super close to the big three in terms of playing first of all on a very high level, then second of all holding this level for however long the match takes. That’s what he did.” Thiem said of Medvedev afterwards.
“Sets two and three were very high level. We could have both won it probably. He was even slightly the better player until he served for the (second) set,”
he added.

Heading into the match Medvedev hadn’t lost a set in the entire tournament and crushed Thiem 6-3, 6-1, in their previous meeting at the 2019 Rogers Cup in Canada. The Austrian says he managed to turn his fortunes around with the help of a game plan that saw him use a variety of shots. The two are known for their baseline hitting but Thiem played 29 shots at the net and won 22 of them.

“I think if I play like his rhythm, I have no chance because he just doesn’t miss when I play with his rhythm,” he said.
“So I tried to destroy that a little bit with a lot of slices and also with high balls with a lot of spin. That was what was the plan.’
“This was a great match on a very high level. It was probably the toughest straight-set win I ever had. I mean, could have been easily one, two sets down.”

It is the second consecutive Grand Slam where Thiem has reached a final after the Australian Open in January. On that occasion he led the match by two sets at one point before losing in five.

Zverev awaits

Standing in Thiem’s way of his first US Open trophy is Alexander Zverev who staged a marathon comeback in his semi-final match. The German looked to be on his way out before fighting back against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta to prevail 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. Making him the sixth player in the Open Era to have come back from two sets down in a US Open semi-final.

The 27-year-old does have the upper hand when it comes to his rivalry with Zverev after winning seven out of their nine previous meetings on the Tour. Furthermore, he has won their three most recent matches which also include the Australian Open this year.

“I know what Sascha is capable of. The last match we had in Australia, we were both really, really good. It was such a close match,” he reflected.
“From the moment Novak (Djokovic) was out of the tournament, it was clear that there’s going to be a new Grand Slam champion. From that moment on, that was also out of my mind. I was just focusing on the remaining guys left in the draw.’
“Now it’s Sascha remaining, the last one, my opponent in the finals. I will fully focus on him and just go into that match like in all the other matches I was going in so far in this tournament.’
“He’s a hell of a player. One of the greatest ones in recent years. Won all titles besides a major.“

Undoubtedly the upcoming match will be Thiem’s biggest opportunity yet to win a major title. In his three previous finals, he has lost to Rafael Nadal at the French Open twice and Djokovic in the Australian Open. Two men who hold the records for winning the most titles of all time at those tournaments.

“I’m super happy that I gave myself another chance to be in the finals, pretty quick after Australia. Going to be a great one against a very good friend and a great rival,” he concluded.

The clash between Thiem and Zverev will be the youngest Grand Slam final since the 2012 Australian Open.

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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