ATP Finals Day 5 Preview: Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas Fight to Advance - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals Day 5 Preview: Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas Fight to Advance

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Stefanos Tsitsipas looks to advance to the semifinals for the second consecutive year (Ella Ling/ATP Tour)

The winner will join Dominic Thiem as the two players from Group London to qualify for Saturday’s semifinals.

 

Nadal narrowly lost an incredible encounter with Thiem on Tuesday, tying Rafa with Tsitsipas at a record of 1-1.  Stefanos scarcely survived a third set tiebreak two days ago against Andrey Rublev, who double faulted while holding a match point.  Both men will surely be a bit physically and emotionally drained as they walk onto court today.  Thursday’s other singles match is a dead rubber, as Thiem has already advanced with a 2-0 record, and Rublev has already been eliminated with an 0-2 record.

Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (6)

Nadal has dominated their head-to-head 5-1, with Tsitsipas’ only victory coming at last year’s Madrid Masters on clay.  Their best match was also their most recent, which took place a year ago at this event.  In a near three-hour battle, Nadal prevailed 7-5 in the third.  The difference on that day was Stefanos’ inability to break Rafa’s serve, failing to even earn a break point in the match.  Nadal won an excellent 85% of first serve points.  But two days ago against Thiem, Rafa only served at 60% on his first serve, winning 69% of those points.  It will be crucial for Nadal to increase those percentages today.  Thus far this week, Rafa has been the better player.  Tsitsipas undoubtedly is feeling pressure to back up his championship run from 12 months ago.  In a matchup that has strongly favored Nadal, he should win today and advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2015.

Dominic Thiem (3) vs. Andrey Rublev (7)

A year ago, Thiem came into the fifth day of this tournament with a 2-0 record, having already qualified for the semifinals with consecutive victories over Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.  And in his final round-robin match, he lost in straight sets to ATP Finals debutante Matteo Berrettini, who had already been eliminated from semifinal contention.  Today, Dominic is in the same exact scenario, against an 0-2 tournament newbie in Andrey Rublev.  While this match will have no impact on which players advance, it could effect Thiem’s confidence going into this weekend.  Having come so close to winning this event last year, Dominic will surely be keen to avoid the same pitfall as last year, and aim to go undefeated in round-robin play.  And of course, Rublev will want to avoid an 0-3 run in his debut.  These two ball-sluggers have split their four previous meetings, with Andrey claiming the last two.  That includes a straight set victory just a few weeks ago in Vienna.  But I still like Thiem’s chances to prevail.  Compared to a year ago, the newly-minted Major champion is a more experienced and mature player, and I don’t think he’ll allow the same letdown to occur today.  Plus, Rublev must be a bit shaken by double faulting on match point just 48 hours ago.

Doubles Matches on Day 5:

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2) vs. Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies (3).  The winning team will advance to the semifinals, while the losing team will be eliminated from the tournament.

Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic (5) vs. Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo (8).  Koolhof and Mektic have already qualified for the semifinals, while Kubot and Melo are 0-2 and ineligible for advancement.

Full order of play is here.

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beats Hubert Hurkacz to reach the quarter final in Montpellier

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina came back from 1-3 in the opening set and converted four of the ten break points to claim a 7-5 6-2 win over Hubert Hurkacz in 1 hour and 34 minutes at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. 

 

Hurkacz went up a break in the fourth game at deuce to take a 3-1 lead. Davidovich Fokina broke back in the fifth game at 15 and held serve to draw level to 3-3. Hurkacz saved a break point in the seventh game to hold serve after two deuces. Davidovich Fokina converted his second break point in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Hurkacz saved three break points in the third game of the second set, but Davidovich Fokina broke twice in the fifth and seventh games at deuce to win the final four games from 2-2 securing his spot in the quarter final. 

The 21-year-old Spanish player set up a quarter final against Egor Gerasimov, who knocked out Aljaz Bedene 6-4 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 51 minutes. Bedene converted his second break point at deuce in the first game. Gerasimov broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gerasimov closed out the first set 6-4 with a break on his opportunity in the 10th game.

Bedene went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Gerasimov broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Gerasimov earned five match points at 6-1 in the tie-break. Bedene saved the first three chances, but Gerasimov closed out the tie-break 7-4 on his fourth opportunity. 

Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Gregoire Barrère 6-0 6-3. The Spanish player built up a 6-0 2-0 lead with four consecutive breaks. Barrère came back by winning three consecutive games to take a 3-2 lead with a break in the fourth game. Bautista Agut reeled off four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-3 

Dennis Novak came back from 3-5 down by winning the final four games in the second set to beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 35 minutes. Novak set up a quarter final clash against German Peter Gojowczyk, who came back from one set down to beat Juri Vesely 6-7 (3-7) 7-4 (7-4) 6-3 after 2 hours and 28 minutes. Gojowczyk hit 17 aces and won 86 % of his first service points. Gojowczyk saved four break points in the ninth game. Vesely earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-brek 7-3. The second set went on serve en route to the the tie-break. Gojowczyk earned one mini-break to win the tie-break 7-4. The German player converted his only break point in the second game to seal the third set 6-3.

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John Isner not happy with the cut in prize money for Miami Masters

John Isner took to Twitter to raise some issues about the ATP and latest state of affairs in Tennis.

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John Isner (@usta - Twitter)

The American took to social media to vent his frustration saying it doesn’t make sense.

 

John Isner took to twitter today after hearing the news that the Miami Open will be cutting its prize money down with the singles champion only taking $300,110 with a first round loser only winning $10,000 in prize money.

Isner and many other players on tour believe the tournament should be forced to due an audit to truly reveal what their finances are and to see if they are hiding anything.

“How about a true audit to see how much tourneys are actually hurting and then a money formula after the event to reconcile?”

“Amazing we still don’t have this in a lot of our big events. How does that make any sense?” 

He also tweeted about the promoters saying the system the ATP uses is broken.

The American also spoke of the unfairness in the cuts the players are taking in comparison to the actual events.

“So players should take a 60% cut and 80% champions cut while ATP executives keep full salaries, benefits, and expense accounts? Make that make sense. Seems just a little bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?”.

Isner finally believes the players should benefit from the tournament not just in the short term but over a long tenure.

““Tennis is plagued by conflict and lack of transparency”

The tournament is scheduled for March 23rd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the tournament has confirmed they won’t be doing a quarantine like the Australian Open.

The players will need to provide a negative PCR test to board a flight to the US and once they land they will be tested once again and isolate until a negative result is shown.

The players will only be allowed at the hotel and the venue and any player who doesn’t respect the rules will be subject to penalties and be withdrawn from the tournament.

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Novak Djokovic’s Father Accuses Serbian Media Of Promoting ‘Ugly News’ Started By English Journalists

Srdjan Djokovic has defended his son by making a series of claims and describes him as a godlike figure to many.

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The father Novak Djokovic has hit out at the media in both his home country and the western world for not giving enough respect towards his son over the past decade.

 

Srdjan Djokovic has spoken out about the treatment of the 18-time Grand Slam winner less than a week after he triumphed at the Australian Open. On Sunday Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to win the tournament for an historic ninth time in his career. On the same day as the triumph it was confirmed that he played the tournament whilst suffering from a tear in the abdominal area.

Despite Djokovic’s recent success, Srdjan believes the world’s media doesn’t praise the achievements of his son enough and focuses too much on the negative side. In the past the tennis star has been under fire over the Adria Tour which he co-founded and the formation of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) aimed at supporting his peers on the Tour.

“The agony has been going on for 10 years and they have extended it for another year, instead of surrendering nicely and realising Novak is the best in the world and let it go. Novak is incomparable,” Srdjan told Kurir.rs.

Continuing to express his frustration further, Srdjan has accused Serbian journalists of not ‘glorying and celebrating’ Djokovic. Alleging that his country’s media are promoting what he describes as ‘ugly news’ which originated from England.

“There’s always something wrong. And you journalists in Serbia, ask yourself when you will have such a miracle as Novak. Why don’t you glorify and celebrate him, through his character and work – look at this, you journalists need to ask yourself, you are actually generating public opinion and that is what is required of you,” he said.
“But all the evils and upside down are on the front pages and successes are put aside. I guess something will change, you know if I let someone tell me, come on, do this, do that … Why are you transmitting that ugly news stated by journalists from England, why are you transmitting it in our media, let them do what they want and we do what we want.”

Besides the media, Djokovic’s father also claims that ‘every normal person in the world’ loves the world No.1 who he describes as a ‘deity.’ A word used to describe god or goddess. He attributes the support from Chinese fans as to why Djokovic has enjoyed success in the country. He has won a total of 11 ATP titles in China.

Srdjan also took aim at the lack of recognition the 33-year-old receives for his charitable actions through his own foundation and his support of his peers.

“He is not only fighting for himself and his interests, but for other tennis players who can barely make ends meet,” he stated.
“We record something about all of Novak’s nice manners during his entire career, how he says goodbye to the opponent, how he is towards the host, how he extends his hand and kisses the opponent when he loses. Which athlete does that?
“Rarely has anyone ever received an award for fair play, and you know how many such awards Federer has – about fifteen.”

Recently journalist Milomir Marić has claimed the Western World wants to prevent Djokovic from becoming the best tennis player in the world. Although it is unclear as to what evidence he has used to make this statement. However, Srdjan believes it is only a matter of time before his son becomes the GOAT.

“They will not stop because they must understand that Novak is finally the best tennis player of all time and they will have to accept that because it is a fact and he comes from Serbia,” he concluded.

The men’s all-time Grand Slam title tally is currently jointly held by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer who have 20 each. Next month Djokovic will break Federer’s record for the most weeks spent as world No.1 on the ATP Tour.

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