Stefanos Tsitsipas Ousts Kokkinakis In Australian Open Epic - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas Ousts Kokkinakis In Australian Open Epic

The world No.6 battled on court for more than four hours against a player who has only played three Tour matches in 18 months.




Stefanos Tsitsipas (image via

Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame a huge second round scare against Thanasi Kokkinakis to seal a place in the last 32 of the Australian Open.


The Greek tennis star had to come from behind to edge out the injury-stricken world No.No.267 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-1,6-7(5), 6-4, during what was a marathon clash at Melbourne Park. Tsitsipas, who dropped just four games during his opening match against Gilles Simon, found the going significantly tougher in his latest encounter. Nevertheless, he managed to prevail with the help of 78 winners against 46 errors and managed to break the Australian’s serve five times.

The encounter was only the third competitive match Kokkinakis has played since the 2019 US Open. Since then, the 24-year-old has been sidelined by both injury and the pandemic. He has been blighted by injury throughout his career but has been ranked as high as 69th in the world back in 2015.

“Thanassi is a great competitor and a great fighter. It was very difficult facing him today. He’s a talent who has huge potential. I am pretty sure he knows it himself. He just needs to take advantage of it and make the best of his career,” Tsitsipas said during his on-court interview.
“He’s a great server, has all the weapons from the baseline. It was quite a difficult match.”

Tsitsipas’ biggest weapon against Kokkinakis was his serve as he remained unbroken throughout the match. Winning 86% of his first service points. Kokkinakis was also impressive behind serve but his occasional blips enabled the world No.6 to capitalise at times as he broke once in the second set followed by three more times in the third.

Trying to establish a stronghold in the match was a far from easy task for Tsitsipas who was unable to get a look at his opponents serve throughout the majority of the fourth set. Nudging ahead to a 5-4 lead and one game away from victory he elevated his intensity during a marathon Kokkinakis service game but still it wasn’t enough. Tsitsipas’ first match point occurred after a forehand from across the court landed out, however, he was unable to convert as they drew level once again.

Kokkinakis’ resistance eventually frazzled the mind of Tsitsipas who hit a duo of unforced errors during the second tiebreak to hand the Australian a 5-1 lead. Although he did recover to draw level again, the home favourite continued to play some inspired tennis. A serve out wide rewarded the underdog with a set point to force the clash into a decider which he converted after hitting a backhand down the line winner.

The titanic tussle continued into the decider with neither player being prepared to back down. Once again Kokkinakis delighted home fans by coming through another marathon service game which saw him save two break points to move ahead 2-1. However, two games later he was not as fortunate after hitting two consecutive errors to hand Tsitsipas a crucial break. Prompting him to drop his head in disappointment.

Back in the lead once again, Tsitsipas carefully manoeuvred his way to the finish line against a player who last played a five-set match at the 2017 US Open. Continuing to weather the storm he worked his way to match point opportunity number two more than an hour after his first after hitting a serve out wide which Kokkinakis returned into the net. Victory was then sealed with the help of another well placed Tsitsipas serve down the centre of the court which triggered another error.

I just want to go for an ice bath right now that is all I’m thinking,” the Greek proclaimed after playing for 272 minutes.

Tsitsipas will return to the court in two days to play Mikael Ymer in the third round. The Greek has been billed as one of the future stars of the sport to take over when the reign of the Big Three comes to an end.

“I think we are a great generation of players. There is so much variety and diversity among us so I think we are expected to see some good tennis in the next couple of years and it’s going to make it really interesting,” he said.
“I think it is going to be something more interesting than the top three right now.”

Coincidentally Ymer was a practice partner for Tsitsipas heading into the Grand Slam.


Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.




Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 


The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup




The lineup for Day 3 (

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 


Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.

Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.

Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.

Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.

The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday




The lineup for Day 2 (

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 


Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.

Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.

Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.

Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.

Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.

The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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