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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‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances

John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.

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One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.

 

Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.

Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.

“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”

This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.

During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.

“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.

De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.

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Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome

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Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion. 

 

The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome. 

Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve. 

Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0. 

Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand.  Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman. 

Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4. 

Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner. 

Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes. 

Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide. 

Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.

Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final. 

“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic. 

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Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman

Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.

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It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.

 

The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.

“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.

44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.

“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”

The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.

It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.

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