Men’s Semi-Finals Day At The French Open: 10 Facts You Need To Know - UBITENNIS
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Men’s Semi-Finals Day At The French Open: 10 Facts You Need To Know

Four men will battle it out for a place in Sunday’s final at the clay court major in Paris.

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This year’s French Open semi-finals will see two multiple Grand Slam champions lock horns with opponents who are bidding to play in a major final for the first time.

12-time champion Rafael Nadal will be the first to take to Court Philippe-Chatrier as he plays Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman. A player who he has a commanding 9-1 head-to-head record against but he did lose to him last month. Following that match, world No.1 Novak Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in what will be their sixth meeting on the Tour. Tsitsipas is the only player under the age of 25 to have reached the last four of the tournament.

Ahead of the upcoming showdown, here are 10 things to know about the four semi-finalists.

  1. Schwartzman could become only the third player in history to beat Nadal on the clay multiple times within the same season. The Argentine has already got the better of the world No.2 at the Italian Open when he prevailed in straight sets. Only Novak Djokovic and Fabio Fognini have previously achieved this milestone during the 2015 season.
  2. It is the sixth time Nadal has reached a French Open semi-final without dropping a set after 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2017. Overall, he has spent just 10 hours and four minutes on the court so far this year. Although this is just 28 minutes shorter than Djokovic who dropped a set in his quarter-final match against Pablo Carreno Busta.
  3. 22-year-old Tsitsipas is bidding to become the youngest player to reach a Grand Slam final for more than 10 years. Juan Martin del Potro won the US Open back in 2009 at the age of 20. As for the French Open, Tsitsipas would become the youngest men’s finalist since Nadal back in 2008.
  4. Djokovic has won nine out of his last 10 matches against top 10 players at Grand Slam tournaments. The only person to have beaten him within this period was Dominic Thiem at the French Open 12 months ago. Furthermore, he is on a seven-match winning streak against top 10 opposition overall.
  5. Nadal has never been beaten in any of his 12 previous semi-final appearances at Roland Garros. Between 2017-2019 he won all of his semi-final encounters in straight sets after beating Thiem two years in a row followed by Roger Federer in 2019.
  6. Schwartzman is bidding to become only the fourth Argentinian man in history to reach a French Open final and the first since 2005. Following in the footsteps of Guillermo Vilas, Gastón Gaudio and Mariano Puerta.
  7. Tsitsipas has only defeated a world No.1 player once before in six attempts. However, his victory was over Djokovic at the Shanghai Masters last year.
  8. Should Nadal reach another final he would become the third oldest player in the Open Era to do so at the age of 34 years 130 days. The oldest to do so was Andres Gimeno in 1972 at the age of 34 years and 306 days.
  9. Djokovic has recorded 72 wins at the French Open which is the second highest in history after Nadal. However, the tournament still remains his worst slam in terms of titles won (1) and finals made (4).
  10. Whoever wins in the match between Nadal and Schwartzman will record their 21st win of the season and move to 5th on the list for more Tour wins. Although both players are still far off Djokovic who has already recorded 36.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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