Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Cristian Garin to set up final against Andrey Rublev in Hamburg - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Cristian Garin to set up final against Andrey Rublev in Hamburg

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Last year’s Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Cristian Garin 7-5 3-6 6-4 after 2 hours and 15 minutes in Hamburg. Tsitsipas converted three of four break points. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 22-8 this year. The Greek star is in third position for most victories this year behind Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev.  Tsitipas will face Andrey Rublev in Sunday’s final. They are tied at 1-1 in their previous head-to-head matches. Tsitsipas beat Rublev at the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Rublev edged Tsitsipas in fours sets at the 2019 US Open. 

Tsitsipas will play his third final in 2020 after winning his second consecutive title in Marseille and finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in Dubai. 

Garin claimed two consecutive clay titles in Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro and is in second place on the clay wins. 

Tsitsipas saved the first break point of the match with his powerful serve at 2-2 before breaking serve in the fifth game. Tsitsipas consolidated the break with a hold of serve to open up a 5-2 lead. Garin won three consecutive games with a break of serve in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. Tsitsipas earned two set points after three errors from Garin and converted his first break point chance with a backhand passing shot to close out the first set 7-5. 

Garin earned a break point at 1-1 and converted his chance with a forehand return winner. The Chilean player sealed the second set with a double break in the ninth game with a crosscourt backhand. 

Tsitsipas earned his only break of the third set in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead after double faults from Garin and converted his first match point with a forehand volley. 

“It was nerve-wracking. During the match there were lots of nerves. The match was very close and towards the end I showed great responsibility and took advantage of my strength. The last point in the middle of the third set was crucial and I think putting a lot of dedication and hard work in every single game, trying to stay mentally there helped. I just wanted to give my best performance and my best tennis ”, said Tsitsipas. 

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André Agassi is glad that he did not have to play against the Big 3

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André Agassi talked about the Big 3 rivarly between Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer during his interview during a session at the 18th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. 

 

Agassi played against Pete Sampras during the golden era of US tennis. Sampras held a record for most Grand Slams in men’s tennis with 14 titles. This record has been surpassed by Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in the following era. 

Nadal recently won the 13th Roland Garros and 20th Grand Slam of his career, tying Federer’s record. Djokovic is currently third with his 17 Major titles after his eighth triumph at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Agassi won eight career Grand Slam titles (four at the Australian Open in 1995, 2000, 2001 and 2003, one at Roland Garros in 1999, one at Wimbledon in 1992 and two at the US Open in 1994 and 1999). 

Agassi admitted that he was glad that he did not have to compete against the Big 3. 

“I wake up every day very grateful that the peak of my career wasn’t during this generation. Because if that was the case, I would be on here talking about how I almost won this and almost that. We have three guys that are arguably the greatest of all time. They are all playing at the same time, which is remarkable. They have really done what the sport hasn’t seen and they will continue for a little bit longer”, said Agassi. 

Agassi played against Nadal and Federer in his finals on Tour. Nadal beat Agassi at the Canadian Open in 2005 and Wimbledon 2006 and won five out of his six sets againt the US player. Federer met Agassi 11 times and led their head-to-head series 8-3. Agassi beat Federer at the 2001 US Open and in the final of the 2002 Miami Open. Federer beat Agassi in their past eight clashes including the final of the Masters Cup in Houston in 2003 and the US Open final in 2005.  

Agassi was asked to make a choice between the greatest. The former US legend said there were points of each of them. “You can make an argument for Djokovic, too, who can play on any surface and be the favourite to win, which is a remarkable thing to say during this generation, but overall tennis is the winner. It is great for me to watch it and appreciate it and when it ends, we are all going to miss it”, said Djokovic. 

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Kei Nishikori Issues Fitness Update Ahead Of New Season

After a difficult season where he could only win two matches, the world No.41 is hoping to get back on track next year.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori says he is eager to start competing against the best in the world again after what has been a troublesome season.

 

The 30-year-old has only been able to play four tournaments this year due to a combination of injury, the pandemic and illness. Nishikori underwent surgery on his shoulder in October 2019 which subsequently resulted in him missing the start of this season. Then he was forced to pull out of his planned return at the US Open after testing positive for COVID-19. Eventually he returned to action in Kitzbuhel during September but had to close his season early a few weeks later after injuring his shoulder at the French Open.

“We had a few tournaments (due to the pandemic) and my season came to an end when I was beginning to get my feel back,” Kyodo news quoted Nishikori as saying on Friday. “I really can’t wait for next year.”

Overall, Nishikori won just two out of six matches played on the Tour in 2020. Scoring wins over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Rome and Britain’s Dan Evans at Roland Garros. The highest ranked player he faced was No.22 Christian Garin, who he lost 6-0, 6-3, to in Hamburg.

Despite his setbacks, the Japanese player insists that he is now back on track and his shoulder is at ‘a decent level.

“(My shoulder) has recovered to a decent level. It’ll be definitely okay for next year,” Nishikori said. “I’ll prepare (for the Olympics) assuming that they will take place.”
“I couldn’t face top-10 ranked players this season. I want to compete at that level again as soon as I can.”

One of Nishikori’s goals for next year will be the Olympic Games which are taking place in Tokyo for the first time since 1964. The Games have to be postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nishikori is the only player from his country to have won an Olympic medal during the Open Era after winning bronze in 2016.

I think it’s hard for athletes and the public to think about the Olympics right now. I just want to prepare well,he said in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nishikori has been ranked as high fourth in the world but is currently in 41st position. So far in his career he has won 12 ATP titles and earned more than $24 million in prize money.

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Paolo Bertolucci believes that Novak Djokovic will finish his career with more Grand Slam titles than Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

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Former Italian player and Davis Cup winner Paolo Bertolucci thinks that Novak Djokovic has a very good chance to end his career with more Grand Slam titles than Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. 

 

Nadal won his 13th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros beating Djokovic in the final joining Federer at the top of the list of most Major titles with 20 trophies. Djokovic claimed his 17th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in Melbourne and is third on the list of the most successful players in Grand Slam history. 

At the Australian Open Djokovic has become the third player in history to win eight titles at a Grand Slam tournament after Nadal (13 titles at Roland Garros) and Roger Federer (8 titles at Wimbledon). 

The Serbian legend won two more titles in Dubai and at the Western and Southern Open and was undefeated this season before the US Open, but he defaulted at the US Open when he hit a lineswoman with the ball. 

Djokovic bounced back to win the Rome Masters 1000 titles beating Diego Schwartzman in the final. The Serbian player lost the Roland Garros final against Rafael Nadal in straight sets. 

Novak Djokovic has secured six year-end number number 1 honours passing Pete Sampras for most weeks as World Number 1 in September 2020. He trails only Federer’s record of 310 weeks at the top of the ranking. 

Nole claimed six out of his eight Grand Slam titles between Wimbledon 2014 and Roland Garros 2016 and became the first player with four consecutive Grand Slam titles since Rod Laver in 1969  (Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open in 2015 and Australian Open 2016). 

The World Number 1 player was not able to win any of the next eight Grand Slam titles because he was suffering from an elbow injury, but he bounced back by winning the 2018 Wimbledon title. He has won five of the past Grand Slam titles (Wimbledon 2018, US Open 2018, Australian Open 2019, Wimbledon 2019 and Australian Open 2020). 

Bertolucci believes that Djokovic will be able to close the gap on Nadal and Federer by winning more Grand Slam titles. Djokovic is physically equipped to overtake Nadal and Federer in the Slam race. The former Italian player is not ruling a three-men battle for supremacy before their careers are over. 

“Novak will win more Grand Slam titles than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, even after that US Open. He is the youngest and freshest among those three stars, with a nice chance of moving in front in a couple of years. On the other hand, I would not be surprised if they all finish on the same number of Grand Slam titles”, said Bertolucci. 

Bertolucci believes that Federer has still a chance to win another Grand Slam title. The Swiss Maestro came very close to winning his 21st Major trophy at Wimbledon in 2019, when he lost an epic five-set final against Djokovic. The Swiss Maestro reached the semifinal at this year’s Australian Open before undergoing knee surgery, but he is training for the 2021 Australian Open. 

“It’s very difficult, because it’s been four years, but it’s also true for others it would be twice as much difficult. He will have a chance too, but we have to see at what level he will be able to express himself, how he will return after the operations”, said Bertolucci. 

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