Novak Djokovic shows great respect for Diego Schwartzman ahead of his first match at the ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic shows great respect for Diego Schwartzman ahead of his first match at the ATP Finals

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Novak Djokovic will be bidding to win the sixth ATP Finals title at the O2 Arena in London after beating Nikolay Davydenko in 2008, Roger Federer in 2012, 2014 and 2015) and Rafael Nadal (2013) in his previous title matches at the end-of-year event. Djokovic has a record of 36 wins and 14 defeats in all his appearances at the ATP Finals. 

 

The Belgrade native has won four titles this year at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome and has scored 39 match wins to just three loses during this 2020 season disrupted by the pandemic. He clinched his record-tying sixth year-end number 1 finish in the ATP Ranking. He passed Pete Sampras for second most weeks as World number 1 last September. He extended his record with the 8th career title at the Australian Open becoming the third male player in history to win eight titles at a Grand Slam event. In Melbourne he earned his 900th career win in the Australian Open first round against Jan Lennard Struff.

“Coming into the tournament knowing I already clinched the year-end number 1 releases some of the pressure definitely, but at the same time it doesn’t change what I hope to achieve in this tournament and why I am here. I really want to win every single match that I get to play an dtry to get my hands on the trophy and want this trophy as anyone here. I am really hoping that I can end this season in the best possible way and the success that I previously here in the past ten years helps me feel more comfortable about myself on the court”. 

Djokovic will start his campaign in the O2 Arena on Monday against Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who reached the final at the Rome Masters 1000 and the semifinal at Roland Garros. The round-robin Group Tokyo 1970 also features Danil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev. Djokovic is 5-0 in his head-to-head matches against Schwartzman. 

“Diego never played on this court but that probably is kind of releasing him from any pressure that he has to do well. He is in great form this year. It’s been the best season of his life, he deserves to be part of this tournament. I have lots of respect for him. He is a fierce competitor and one of the quickest players on the Tour”. 

Djokovic leads 3-2 against Zverev and 4-2 against Medvedev. At the recent Paris Bercy tourament Medevev beat Zverev in the final to clinch his third Masters 1000 title. 

“Zverev and Medvedev are probably in the best form of anyone at this tournament indoors. They have won two tournaments in a row and played in the finals in the finals in Paris. Those guys are very tall and have big serves and lots of weapons from the back of the court, solid backhands and forehands also. They are both complete players and they have similar styles. You have to be at your best to win against those guys the way they are playing indoors”, said Djokovic. 

Djokovic is grateful to have the chance to play at the O2 Arena for the last time before the tournament moves to Turin in 2021 despite the lack of spectators due to the restrictions caused by the covid-19 pandemic. Players have already been accustomed to play behind closed doors“It will be strange to give a farewell to the O2 Arena without fans, but nevertheless we are grateful and lucky to have a chance to play this tournament here”, admitted Djokovic. 

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Filip Krajinovic edges Stefano Travaglia to reach the second round at the Serbian Open in Belgrade

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Filip Krajinovic battled past Stefano Travaglia 7-5 5-7 6-3 to advance to the second round at the Serbian Open in Belgrade. Travaglia saved three break points in the sixth and eighth games of the first set, but Krajinovic converted his third break point in the 12th game to claim the first set 7-5. 

 

Krajinovic earned a break in the sixth game on his second chance in the second set to build up a 7-5 4-2 lead. Travaglia broke back in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. The Italian player saved a match point on his serve before breaking serve in the 11th game to claim the second set 7-5. 

Travaglia broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead and earned a break point in the fifth game, but Krajinovic saved it with a passing shot. Krajinovic won four consecutive games from 2-3 to take the second set 6-3. 

John Millman converted four of his seventeen break points to beat Danilo Petrovic 7-5 6-4 after 1 hour and 51 minutes. Petrovic broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Millman converted his sixth break-back point in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Millman closed out the first set 7-5 with a break in the 12th game. Millman went up a break in the second game to take a 2-0 lead. Petrovic broke straight back in the third game. Millman sealed the second set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game. 

The Australian player will face either Pablo Cuevas or Emil Ruusuvuori. Marco Cecchinato eased past Viktor Troicki 6-1 6-4 with three breaks. Nikola Milojevic cruised past Federico Coria 6-4 6-0.

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Kei Nishikori survives scare to beat Guido Pella at the Barcelona Open

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Two-time Barcelona champion Kei Nishikori came back from one set down to beat Guido Pella 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 after 2 hours and 39 minutes at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell at the Conde de Godò. 

 

Pella converted his fifth break point in the fifth game to win the first set 6-4. The Argentine player built up a 6-4 4-2 lead i. Nishikori broke back in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Pella got his fourth break point opportunity in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead. Nishikori was forced to break serve to stay in the match in the 12th game.

In the tie-break Pella went up a mini-break to take a 3-0 lead. Nishikori came back by winning five consecutive five points to take a 5-3 lead with two mini-breaks. Pella pulled back the mini-break for 4-5, but Nishikori won the final two points to take a 7-4 lead. 

Nishikori went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Pella pulled back one break back in the sixth game, but Nishikori earned his third break to claim the third set 6-2. 

“He had the match today at 6-5, serving for the match. He was much better in the first and second sets and 3-0 up in the tie-break. I don’t know how I fought through. In the third set, I was playing much better. I was making so many unforced errors in the first and second sets. Maybe he got a little bit tired and I was playing strong in the third set. I want to take that to the next round. The way I fought today and the way I played in the third set was good”, said Nishikori. 

Nishikori will take on Christian Garin, who won his only previous head-to-head match against his Japanese rival 6-0 6-3. 

Egor Gerasimov converted four of his five break points in his 7-5 6-1 win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. 

Former Barcelona finalist Pablo Andujar broke six times to edge past Gilles Simon 6-1 3-6 6-3. Andujar set up a second round match against Roberyo Bautista Agut. 

Qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles came back from a set down to beat Andrey Kuznetsov

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Stefanos Tsitsipas follows in the footsteps of his mother Julia Salnikova in Monte-Carlo

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Stefanos Tsitsipas won the first Masters 1000 title and the sixth overall trophy of his career in Monte-Carlo without dropping a set, ending a streak of defeats in his past three finals. The Greek player has made a perfect start to the clay-season, which will lead up to Roland Garros, where he is aiming to win his first Grand Slam title. 

 

“Whatever had to happen happened. I stepped up my game, brought up this good game, good tennis. I didn’t see any reason for me to leave from here without the trophy. I felt like I deserved it. I have put so much effort and so much concentration into it. Definitely something that I deserve. More opportunities like this is going to show up and come up in the future, so I need to be ready to show my consistency and prevail with that”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas moved above Rublev to the top of the ATP Race to Turin. The Greek star leads 4-3 in his head-to-head matches against Rublev. He avenged the recent defeat against his Russian rival in last month’s ABN AMRO World Tennis Championships semifinals in Rotterdam. Tsitsipas also beat Rublev in straight sets in last year’s Roland Garros quarter finals. 

“That is great. It’s just the beginning. We still have plenty of tennis to be played. It’s great to be in the lead. I am not trying to think of it too much, because, again, many tournaments in front of me, ahead of me. I am going to try to recalibrate, refocus. Attention is now in Barcelona. My body is feeling good, which is good sign. I am really pumped to go for some more points in the next couple of weeks”. 

Tsitsipas dropped just nine games across four sets to edge past Dan Evans and Andrey Rublev. He became only the third active player to win the first Masters 1000 title without dropping a set after Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov. 

Tsitsipas followed into the footsteps of his mother Julia Salnikova, who won a junior title in Monte-Carlo in 1981. Stefanos grew up in a family with a sporting heritage. His grandfather Sergei Salnikov, who won the Olympic gold medal in football in Melbourne 1956 in the same Australian Open, where Stefanos reached the Australian Open semifinal in 2019 and 2021. 

“To share this is incredible. The first time I walked in that club, the Monte-Carlo Country Club, with my mom, I think that was when I was six years old. She showed me her name up there. I remember seeing it for the first time. I was stunned. That is really cool. How cool is that. “I did not think about it in the beginning of the tournament, but it came to my mind when I was playing the semifinals. I was thinking that it would be really cool to be in this together, like mother like son. That’s where the whole purpose came from. I feel like there was an enormous amount of willingness to want to do more in order to be there with my mother. There are two people I would like to dedicate this title to. My coach bak in Greece, who I mentioned in the trophy ceremony, and also my mom, because she pushed me to aim for that”, said Tsitsipas.

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