Alexander Zverev Fights Back In Thriller To Win Madrid Open - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev Fights Back In Thriller To Win Madrid Open

The German battled valiantly to record his third consecutive win over a top 10 player in Madrid and clinch the title for the second time in his career.

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Fifth seed Alexander Zverev battled back from two games away from defeat to oust Matteo Berrettini in a marathon clash to win the Madrid Open.

 

The US Open finalist was pushed to his limits both mentally and physically en route to a 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-3, win over the world No.10 after more than two-and-a-half hours of play. Making it the first time in his career he has won a title on the ATP Tour after dropping the opening set. He now leads Berrettini 3-1 in their head-to-head. In their latest encounter the German hit five aces and 16 winners en route to his 15th ATP trophy and fourth in a Masters event.

It (feels) great, especially after losing in the final of the last three Masters events (I played). This is definitely special and I just want to enjoy this one,” Zverev said during his on-court interview.
“I think his (Berrettini’s) game style showed it all. I hadn’t played anybody this week who can serve 235(KM/H) kick-serve on the clay. It definitely was a different match. I am extremely happy right now.” He added.

The opening set was a roller-coaster 70-minute tussle between the two players with constant changes of momentum occurring throughout. Berrettini, who was playing in his first Masters 1000 final at the age of 25, withstood a 10-minute opening serving game before going on to draw first blood. Tied at 3-3, the Italian capitalised on some lacklustre hitting from Zverev to break for a 4-3 lead. However, his advantage was short lived with the world No.6 breaking back immediately in the following game. The lack of disparity between the two resulted in an opening tiebreak which was just as dramatic.

Berrettini’s plan of using his heavy slice to draw errors from Zverev did wonders for him early on in the tiebreaker as he unexpectedly raced to a 5-0 lead. However, there would be another twist to the match. Some costly mistakes brought his opponent back into contention as his lead rapidly disappeared. Two set points came and went as a result of Berrettini’s unforced errors which was partly triggered by Zverev’s fierce defensive play. The 2018 Madrid champion then had a set point of his own at 8-7 but failed to capitalise. Eventually, it would be a Zverev double fault at 8-8 that proved decisive. Enabling Berrettini to seal the 7-6 lead on the following point with the help of a serve out wide.

Historically winning the opener has proven critical to the outcome of a match in the final of a Masters 1000 tournament on the clay. In fact, the past 17 Masters finals on the surface have gone the way of the player who clinched the first set.

However, Zverev continued his perseverance and pounced at the best possible time during the second frame. As Berrettini nudged to two games from victory, he fell victim to his own nerves. At 4-4 a series of loose shots guided Zverev to break for a chance to serve out the set and forced proceedings into a decider. A task he passed with flying colours with the help of a nifty pick-up near the net which forced an error from across the court on set point.

With a Masters title at stake, Zverev continued his comeback with the help of some more fierce defensive play. Locked at 2-2 in the decider, two more costly Berrettini unforced errors enabled him to break and lead the match once again. Prompting an almighty roar from Zverev. In pole position he rallied towards the finish line against his rapidly tiring opponent. On his second match point Zverev prevailed after a Berrettini backhand drifted wide.

“I want to congratulate Matteo on an amazing week. I think you deserve this title just as much as I did,” the new champion said to his rival.
“I know this moment is not the greatest. I’ve been there. Trust me, I felt one hundred times worse after the US Open final.’
“When you win a title like this it will feel even better and special. I’m sure you will. Next week is Rome and if you’re playing like you’re playing here (in Madrid), I’ll be cheering for you as well.”

It is only the second time in his career that the 24-year-old has managed to defeat three top 10 players within a tournament. He also beat Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem earlier in the week.

There will be little time for celebration with the main draw of the Italian Open already underway. Zverev has a bye in the first round.

“It is difficult but Rome is also an event which I like and enjoy. I hope I can perform the same way as I did here (in Madrid). We will see how it goes,” he concluded.

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Daniil Medvedev Searching For Confidence Boost Ahead Of Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says he is not the same player as he was two years ago when he last played Wimbledon.

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When it comes to playing on the grass this year Daniil Medvedev admits that the biggest issue for him might concern the mental side of the sport as opposed to the physical side.

 

The world No.2 kicked-off his grass swing last week in Halle where he was stunned in the first round by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the Tour in 2020, that was the first time the Russian had played a match on the surface in almost two years. Short on matches, Medvedev is back in action this week in Mallorca after taking a wildcard into the tournament.

“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev told atptour.com. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”

Since he last played at Wimbledon, Medvedev surged on the ATP Tour by winning six titles with all of them being on a hardcourt. Furthermore, he also reached the final of the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. He is the first player outside of the Big Four to be ranked in the world’s top two since July 2005.

Despite his previous success on the grass, Medvedev admits he remains wary about playing on the surface and the conditions he may face.

“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” he said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”

In Mallorca Medvedev has a bye in the first round. His opening match will be against either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or France’s Corentin Moutet.

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Unseeded Ugo Humbert Becomes First Player In Over A Decade To Win Halle On Debut

The 22-year-old fired nine aces and 29 winners to claim his first ATP 500 title.

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image via https://twitter.com/ATPHalle

France’s Ugo Humbert has clinched his maiden ATP title on the grass after defeating Andrey Rublev in straight sets at the Noventi Open in Halle.

 

Humbert remained unbroken throughout his 6-3, 7-6(4), win over the Russian fourth seed who has won more matches on the ATP Tour than any other player since the start of 2020 (74). The Frenchman was particularly impressive behind serve where he won 83% of his first service points and 55% on his second. It is the first time he has beaten Rublev on the Tour after losing to him on two previous occasions in 2019 (Monte Carlo) and 2020 (St. Petersburg).

“It’s incredible,” said Humbert. “The best victory of my career. I’m very proud because it wasn’t easy, I was a little but tired today but I tried to stay focused on each point. It’s very nice.”

The triumph concludes what has been a marathon week in Halle for the 22-year-old. En route to the final he had to come through four three-set matches where he scored wins over Sam Querrey, Alexander Zverev, Sebastian Korda and Felix-Auger Aliassime. Becoming only the second player in Halle’s 28-year history to have reached the final by playing only three-set matches.

Meanwhile, runner-up Rublev paid tribute to his opponent following their clash. The world No.7 is now 1-2 in finals played so far this season after winning Rotterdam before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Monte Carlo. To put that into perspective, in 2020 he won all six finals he played in.

“I have often told my coach that you play in an incredible way,” he said. “You have everything to be a very great player. So keep working, doing everything you do. You play very well, you have incredible shots. I wish you a great career.”

Humbert, who won two ATP titles last year in Auckland and Antwerp, is the first player to win Halle on the debut since 2010. On that occasion Lleyton Hewitt prevailed over Roger Federer in the final. He is now projected to rise to a ranking high of 25 on Monday when the ATP standings are officially updated.

The Frenchman will be hoping that he can continue his winning streak heading to Wimbledon where he reached the fourth round back in 2019. His best ever result in a Grand Slam to date.

https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/1406612207086059528

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David Goffin Out Of Wimbledon Following Halle Accident

It has been reported that the unfortunate injury he suffered is ‘more serious’ than a sprain.

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David Goffin has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after suffering an ankle injury during the Noventi Open earlier this week.

 

The former top 10 player was taking on Corentin Moutet in Halle where he slipped on the grass and subsequently hurt his right ankle. Forcing the Belgian to retire from the match at the start of the third set. Providing an update on Goffin’s health, agent Martin Roux said he is unsure how long he will be absent from the Tour for.

“Yes, David has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon following his ankle injury in Halle. For the moment we do not know more about the exact duration of unavailability, ” Roux told lesoir.be. “He is of course disappointed to miss a Grand Slam tournament, especially since he had recovered well on grass before his injury. “

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Elaborating further, Roux confirmed Goffin’s injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprain and tests are ongoing to assess the extent of the damage which has been caused to the ankle. It is not the first time he has suffered a freak accident on the court. During the 2018 Rotterdam Open he hurt his eye after a tennis ball rebounded into his face, forcing him to pull out of Marseille and Indian Wells that year.

“David told me that it was more serious than a minor sprain, after exams in Belgium.”Roux added. “The ankle has not yet deflated (stopped swelling). David realizes that ice and bandages won’t be enough to play. The ligaments must be affected in one way or another. The idea is to do new exams at the end of the week in order to then have a healing protocol, especially since after Wimbledon the Olympic Games will arrive quickly. These are now his next goals. “

The 30-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 14-13 so far in 2021 and won his fifth ATP title in Montpellier. He has also reached the semi-finals in Antalya and quarter-finals in Monte Carlo. However, recently Goffin has struggled on the Tour with Halle being the fifth tournament in a row where he has failed to win back-to-back matches.

Goffin is currently ranked 13th in the world.

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