Serbia Comes Back To Beat Canada On Day One Of ATP Cup - UBITENNIS
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Serbia Comes Back To Beat Canada On Day One Of ATP Cup

A convincing performance from Milos Raonic failed to stop defending champions Serbia.

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image via https://twitter.com/atptour/

Defending champion Serbia kicked-off their title defence at the ATP Cup with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Canada in Melbourne Park. The tense encounter saw world No.1 Novak Djokovic play a vital role in his teams victory.

 

Raonic breezes by Lajovic

For someone who was stuck in hard quarantine for 14 days you really honestly couldn’t tell because Milos Raonic had no issues at all in his first match of 2021 as he eased to a 6-3, 6-4, win.

He got off to a great start with his massive serve and big forehand while Dusan Lajovic was doing everything he could to stay in the set and hold his serve. The first breakpoint didn’t occur until the seventh game when at 4-3 the Canadian forced the Serb to hit one of his many unforced errors.

Raonic would break as Lajovic would send another ball into the net to take a 5-3 lead and would serve out the first set to take it 6-3.

Into the second set the beginning was pretty similar to the first with both players doing a good job of holding serve. The Thornhill, Ontario native earned two early break points at 1-1 but Lajovic did an even better job saving them.

Raonic would earn an third thanks in large part to his backhand but once again the Serb was hanging on and would eventually hold serve. The Canadian had three more chances to break at 3-3 but was stymied but the number two Serb.

He earned a fourth opportunity when Lajovic sent another ball into the net and would finally get the break when the Serb made a second consecutive error.

Raonic served out the match to take it in 1 hour and 19 minutes to put the defending champs on the brink.

“I think I was sharp. I was there in a lot of return games. I kept putting pressure. I missed a few breakpoint opportunities but I kept sticking around and took care of my serve, which is always important,” Raonic said afterwards.

Djokovic survives Shapovalov

Next up on court were a clash of the the national number ones between Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov with the world No.1 prevailing 7-5, 7-5.

The first set could not have been a tighter affair with both players going at it and it was looking like it was going to be a great match. There wasn’t a single breakpoint until 5-6 with Shapovalov serving to stay in the set and Djokovic managed to have two looks at a set point.

The Canadian would save the first one with a big ace out wide but on the second opportunity, the Belgrade native capitalized forcing the error from the world No.12 to take the first set 7-5.

The second set was much like the first meaning a great battle with Shapovalov looking to send the match into a deciding third set while Djokovic was looking to seal the victory and send the tie into a deciding doubles match.

The Nassau, Bahamas resident was under pressure early from the Serb facing early breakpoints but won a great point with a long rally which the world number one finally lost when he sent a ball wide.

It stayed on serve until 6-5 with the Canadian serving to stay in the match and once again made some untimely unforced errors and gave the world number one a match point.

He would finish the match with a brilliant down the line winner as Shapovalov was attacking the net to take the match and set up a deciding doubles showdown.

“It’s not a doubt that the level’s there. Obviously it wasn’t good enough today.”

Shapovalov

Serbia wins the deciding doubles

In the deciding doubles match it was Milos Raonic joining forces with Denis Shapovalov for Canada taking on the doubles pairing from Serbia of Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic.

Both teams did a good job holding serve and there was no break point until late in the set at 5-5 when the world number one came up with a great winner to set up three break points.

Canada would save the first one but on the second Shapovalov would send a ball into the net to give the break to Serbia for a chance to serve out the first set at 6-5.

Krajinovic did just that doing a great job with his serve and Serbia would take the first set 7-5. Unfortunately during the break Serbia called for the trainer and Krajinovic took a medical timeout to have the trainer work on his back.

The second set was even tighter than the first with Canada looking to force a match tiebreaker while Serbia was looking to close it out. The first breakpoint of the second set came at 3-3 when Djokovic came up with a great forehand winner.

Canada did a good job saving both and both teams managed to hold serve and the second set would be decided by a tiebreaker. The breaker was a total roller-coaster with both teams battling hard.

Serbia won the first three points then Canada would storm back and win the next three putting the breaker back on serve at 3-3. Canada gave up the crucial break at 4-4 when Raonic missed an easy volley and Serbia would serve it out to take the breaker 7-4.

“Filip Krajinovic was the key. The way he played today is phenomenal. He came out very solid returning. He found his serve, great rhythm. Just played some really key shots in the second set when we needed it the most,” said Djokovic.

Both teams will now face Germany with Canada getting the first crack while Serbia will face them later in the week. Only the group winner will advance to the semi finals.

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Daniil Medvedev Can Improve Further After US Open Win, Says Coach

Gilles Cervara has overseen the rise of the world No.2 since 2017 and he believes there is still more to come.

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The 2021 Men's Singles Champion, Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

The team of Daniil Medvedev are already looking into ways the Russian can improve his game less than a week after he won the US Open, according to his coach Gilles Cervara.

 

On Sunday the 25-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his first-ever Grand Slam title and become the first Russian man to win a major since Marat Safin in 2005. Impressively Medvedev only dropped one set in the tournament which was against Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.

Guiding Medvedev to glory in New York was his coach Cervara who has been working with him since 2017. The Frenchman was recognized for his work with Medvedev back in 2019 when he was named ATP coach of the Year. Speaking to Tennis Majors earlier this week, Cervara believes part of the success they have had is due to the desire to continuously improve.

“It’s huge to have won the US Open. But Daniil, me and the whole team, we are always focused on performance,” he said. “It’s a way of life, of thinking, which means that I will always be drawn to the idea of doing better, and therefore of winning the next tournament. To make this possible, I have to set up workouts to be even stronger and respond to more situations, to win even more.”

It is hard to question the approach taken by Cervara when you look at Medvedev’s results on the hardcourts. According to the ATP, the world No.2 has won 147 matches and 12 titles on the surface since 2018 which is more than any other player. The next best player is Djokovic with 115 wins and 10 titles.

Medvedev could end the year as world No.1 but it will be far from easy. He is currently more than 1300 points behind Djokovic in the standings. If he wants to overtake him he will need to win or reach the finals of key events in Indian Wells, Paris and the ATP Finals. Although it is hard to project an exact route as it is unclear as to what tournaments will be played.

“I tell myself that it involves work and improving many things on a daily basis. The team has already started to think: yes, he wins a Grand Slam, but we can see a lot of things to improve,” Cervara commented. “These things represent the concrete aspects to be deployed with a view to a potential future great result. To be number one and win other majors, you have to achieve concrete things, at work, every day.”

Just because Medvedev has won a Grand Slam doesn’t automatically mean that he will go on to dominate the Tour. 12 months ago at the US Open, it was Dominic Thiem who triumphed at the tournament. However, the Austrian admitted that he struggled over the following months after achieving one of his career goals. Thiem didn’t play in this year’s US Open due to a wrist injury.

“I don’t think that will happen to him, but if we want to use what has happened for others, then yes it is a point of attention. It’s too early to know. If that happens, we will look for solutions,” Medvedev’s mentor commented.

One of the most unique aspects of Medvedev’s game is how far he stands behind the baseline during points. In one research article conducted by UbiTennis on the 2020 ATP Finals, the average player stood 1.9 meters behind the baseline. However, Medvedev’s return position was between 4.51 and 5.51 meters. Interestingly the analysis found that the further he stood behind the more he won.

Cervara admits that initially he tried to stop Medvedev from standing so far behind the baseline but the Russian refused to do so. His initial fear was that the tennis player was opening himself up to too many angles which his opponent could use. However, he soon came to realise that this wouldn’t be the case.

“I tried to get him to return closer to the line, but he refused,” he said. “He felt that as he got closer to the line, things just stopped happening for him. I think I had the intelligence to listen to him and put myself in his shoes, not to deconstruct something that is advantageous for him thanks to his size, his eye and his playing intentions. And the stats tell us that it pays a lot.”

Medvedev is set to return to action in just over a week at the Laver Cup. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 44-9.

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Top Seed Tennys Sandgren Defaulted From Match Two Games In At Challenger Event

The tennis player was on court for less than 20 minutes before the incident happened.

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Tennys Sandgren’s appearance at the Atlantic Tire Championships Challenger event in Cary was a very brief one after he was disqualified from his first round match for hitting a lines official with a ball.

 

The world No.103 was taking on Christopher Eubanks in the first round on Tuesday and got off to a promising start by breaking in the first game before working his way to a 40-30 lead in the second. However, Sandgren then landed himself in hot water after hitting a tennis ball which struck one of the court officials. At the time the American was frustrated after hitting a forehand error.

The bizarre incident wasn’t caught on camera by the tournament livestream but Sandgren gave his version of events shortly after. He said a ball thrown to him by a ball kid hit him in the genitals and after that he slapped a wayward ball towards the fence. However, that wayward ball ended up hitting the ‘tushy’ of a court official.

https://twitter.com/TennysSandgren/status/1437933892456140809

Immediately after the incident, the tournament supervisor was called to the court by the umpire. Following a brief discussion on the court, Sandgren was then disqualified from the match for an action which he later took full responsibility for.

“Just to be clear, this was all totally my fault,” he wrote on Twitter.

It is not the first time a player has been disqualified for hitting a ball which then struck an official. The most famous incident took place at last year’s US Open when Novak Djokovic was disqualified from his fourth round match after hitting a ball which hit the lineswoman in the throat. In another incident, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified from one of his Davis Cup matches after unintentionally firing a ball into the umpire’s eye.

Sandgren, who is a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, has experienced a disappointing 2021 season so far. The American is yet to win back-to-back matches at a tournament and has only recorded a total of eight wins overall. Since January he has fallen more than 50 places in the ATP rankings.

Full video (go to the 19-minuite mark)

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Daniil Medvedev Marks US Open Milestone With FIFA-Inspired ‘Dead Fish’ Celebration

In his own words, the new champion produced an ‘L2 + Left’ celebration after defeating Novak Djokovic in New York on Sunday.

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Daniil Medvedev reacts to winning the Men's Singles championship match at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

Daniil Medvedev’s reaction to winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open wasn’t random. In fact, he has been thinking about his FIFA-inspired celebration since Wimbledon.

 

On Sunday the world No.2 defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become only the third Russian man in history to win a major title. The triumph caused heartbreak for his opponent who was on the verge of achieving the elusive Calendar Slam which last happened on the men’s Tour back in 1968. Leading 6-4, 6-4, 5-4, Medvedev sealed victory after a Djokovic return slammed into the net. Prompting him to literally drop to the ground in a somewhat unusual way.

“Only the legends will understand, what I did after the match was a L2 + Left,” he said during the trophy presentation.

The reference was to the game FIFA with L2 + Left being the code for what is called by some as the brick fall celebration or what Medvedev describes as ‘dead fish.’ When a player would just drop to the ground on his side after scoring a goal.

“When I was running through [the draw at] Wimbledon… I was really confident about my game. I think it was one night, you know, you cannot fall asleep. Five, 10 minutes you have crazy thoughts, like every other person,” he said.
“I was like, OK, if I’m going to win Wimbledon, imagine I win it against Novak or whatever. To not celebrate is going to be too boring, because I do it all the time. I need to do something, but I want to make it special.”

Medvedev’s planned celebration was no secret with him openly speaking with others in the locker room leading up to the US Open. No names of who he spoke to were mentioned by the Russian who says his peers described the idea as ‘legendary.’

“I like to play FIFA. I like to play PlayStation. It’s called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you’re going to do this. You’re going to score a goal, you’re up 5-0, you do this one,” he continued.
“Yeah, I talked to the guys in the locker [room], they’re young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, ‘That’s legendary’. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that’s legendary. That’s how I wanted to make it… It’s not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself.”

It certainly was legendary from Medvedev.

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