Stan Wawrinka Crushes Below-Par Murray In French Open Showdown - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Stan Wawrinka Crushes Below-Par Murray In French Open Showdown

The clash of the former Grand Slam champions turned out to be a one-man show.

Published

on

Stan Wawrinka’s much talked about first round clash with Andy Murray failed to live up to expectations as the former French Open champion powered his way to a comprehensive victory.

The 16th seed was rarely troubled throughout his dominating 6-1, 6-3, 6-2, victory on the Philippe-Chatrier Court, which was played without the roof unlike earlier matches. Wawrinka’s largely one-sided performance saw him break his lacklustre opponent six times as he hit 42 winners to 27 unforced errors. Avenging his loss to Murray in the final of the European Open last year and narrowing his head-to-head deficit to 9-12.

“It was obviously an extremely tough draw. Even if I played very well it would have been no guarantees that I win that match,” Murray said afterwards.
“I also didn’t play well. I served like under 40% first serves in the court, which that’s just not good enough, really, against anyone, and especially someone as good as Stan. You want to be serving in the 60%, that sort of region. You won’t see many players serve under 40% the rest of the tournament. That’s just not good enough.”

Sunday’s encounter was the first time the two have locked horns with each other in Paris since the 2017 semi-finals where Wawrinka prevailed. Since that meeting, both players have experienced a roller coaster journey with each having their own injury setbacks. Especially for Murray, who has undergone two hip operations and hadn’t played a competitive match on the clay for three years.

35 minutes was all that it took Wawrinka to clinch the opening set with 23 of those occurring over the first three games. In cold and damp conditions both players struggled at times but the world No.17 had the ability to hit through some slow balls and punish Murray for not hitting deep enough into the court. Despite dominating the opener Wawrinka only managed to get 33% of his first serves in.

Extending his stronghold by breaking midway through the second frame Wawrinka continued to tame Murray. The Brit showed little emotion on the court and at times unusually looked to be contempt with how the match was going. There were glimmers of world class shots from the former world No.1 but they were too inconsistent to turn around his fortunes. Meanwhile, Wawrinka continued to thrive in the conditions as he clinched a two-set lead with a forehand winner.

Closing in on victory, he continued to frustrate his opponent early on in the third set. After breaking a tentative Murray once again, he then came back from a 0-40 deficit in the following to open up a 2-0 lead. From then on the outcome of the match was a foregone conclusion as Wawrinka sealed victory with the help of an ace down the centre of the court six games later.

“For sure I wasn’t expecting that. I know Andy so well, we known each other so well for many, many years, had some amazing matches together,” Wawrinka commented on his latest victory.
“We practiced the first day I arrive here, and it was a tough practice .So I was expecting a tough match. I was really focused with a champion like Andy, even if the scoreboard is one-sided like today, you have to keep focus.
“You never know what can happen. I’m really happy with what I have done on the court. Great to be back, great to feel that way, and looking forward for the next match.”

Wawrinka will play Germany’s Dominik Koepfer in the second round who recently reached the quarter-finals of the Italian Open before losing to Novak Djokovic.

I saw him play last week. So I expect he’s in full confidence. He won a lot of matches against some top guys. So it’s going to be interesting match,” Wawrinka previewed.
“I never played or practice with him, so it’s gonna be a completely different match. Hopefully I can keep playing well.”

ATP

Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

Published

on

Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

Published

on

Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

Published

on

Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

Continue Reading

Trending