Stan Wawrinka Crushes Below-Par Murray In French Open Showdown - UBITENNIS
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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.

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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.”

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Doubles Player Dream French Open Debut Ended By Instagram Message

Portugal’s Francisco Cabral said he found out he will not be playing in Paris through social media.

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Francisco Cabral - Image via https://twitter.com/EstorilOpen/

Playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam is the pinnacle of many players’ careers but one player missed out on that opportunity due to an unfortunate situation. 

 

Portugal’s Francisco Cabral was set to play in the men’s doubles tournament for the first time at this week’s French Open. The world No.72 is currently at a career-high after winning his maiden Tour title in Estoril last month with compatriot Nuno Borges. In Paris, he entered into the draw alongside Denmark’s Holger Rune. 

However, shortly before he was set to make his Grand Slam debut Rune pulled out at the last minute. Leaving Cabral unable to look for another partner in such a short time. Rune’s withdrawal from the doubles was based on medical advice after he hurt his ankle during his second round clash against Henri Laaksonen. The Dane tripped over the court cover at the back of the court but fortunately wasn’t seriously injured and managed to continue playing. 

“Right now I feel a huge sadness because it’s a dream to play in a Grand Slam tournament. I’ve been here since Saturday training, waiting, watching games, experiencing a new world because it was my first Grand Slam and it’s another dimension and I was really, really looking forward to being able to play,” Cabral told Raquetc. “And having waited until 15 minutes before game time to know that I wasn’t going to play after all, it cost me a lot, but I did everything I could.”

Caral went on to criticize the behavior of Rune who informed him that he would not be playing in the doubles event via a message sent on Instagram. It is unclear why the two never spoke face-to-face. 

“He only told me that he had sprained his foot, that he was at the doctor’s, and that he had told him not to play the doubles. I’m sad about his attitude because he didn’t even say this to my face, he just sent me a message on Instagram. I don’t think it went well, but as I said, I couldn’t have done anything differently, so I’ll just wait for the next opportunity.” He said. 

25-year-old Cabral is targeting Wimbledon as the event where he will play his first main draw match. 

Meanwhile, Rune will continue his singles campaign at Roland Garros on Saturday when he plays Hugo Gaston in the third round. The former world No.1 junior has shot up the rankings this season to a high of 40th. 

Cabral and Rune has been replaced in the draw by Sander Arends and Szymon Walków. 

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French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur

The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.

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Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.

 

The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.

During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.

“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”

De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.

“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“

Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.

Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.

Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”

As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal

The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.

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Novak Djokovic (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.

 

Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.

“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.

Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.

“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.

Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.

He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.

Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”

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