Novak Djokovic Overcomes Musetti Scare At The French Open - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Overcomes Musetti Scare At The French Open

In what was a match of two halves, the world No.1 was made to work hard early on before cruising to the finish line.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic battled back from two sets down to defeat an ailing Lorenzo Musetti in what was a roller-coaster match to book a place in the quarter-finals of the French Open.

 

The 18-time Grand Slam champion looked to be in danger of suffering his earliest exit from the tournament since 2009 before fighting back to win 6-7(7), 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0 RET. Early on Djokovic had to contend with some emphatic play from the 19-year-old rising star. However, as the match progressed he found his footing as his rival started to rapidly physically suffer on court. So much so that a devastated Musetti was forced to retire during the closing stages of the match.

“I actually felt more nervous when I was starting the match than when I was two sets down,” Djokovic said during his press conference. “To be honest, I even liked the fact that I lost first couple of sets. I just played under certain kind of tension and wasn’t able to go through my shots, too many unforced errors and just not playing and not feeling great in the first couple of sets.’
“Towards the end of the third, beginning of the fourth, I saw that he’s struggling physically. Obviously that gave me even more motivation to try to apply more pressure on him and kind of finish him off. That was the case.”

The 18-time Grand Slam champion looked to be in danger of suffering his earliest exit from the tournament since 2009 before fighting back to win 6-7(7), 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0 RET. Early on Djokovic had to contend with some emphatic play from the 19-year-old rising star. However, as the match progressed he found his footing as his rival started to rapidly physically suffer on court. So much so that a devastated Musetti was forced to retire during the closing stages of the match.  Djokovic served 11 aces and hit 53 winners in a match that lasted three hours and 29 minutes on Philippe Chatrier.

The first three games were pretty tight with both players doing a good job holding serve and at 2-1 it was the Belgrade native with the first three chances of the match to break and he broke to take an early lead. However, Musetti responded in the very next game by breaking right back and the match resumed normal service until 6-6.

During the opening tiebreak Djokovic raced out to 4-1 lead but the Italian was staying in it and managed to win the next three points. Then at 8-7 with a massive cross court forehand winner the underdog would take the breaker and the first set.

Almost identical to the first set the match stayed on serve until 2-1 but this time it was Musetti who broke to take a 3-1 lead but again was broken right back the very next game. At 3-2 the Italian had another chance but the Serb did a good job saving the breakpoint and holding serve once again the set would be decided by a tiebreaker.

The Italian dominated the breaker from start to finish racing out to a 4-0 lead and would put himself up two sets to none against the world number one.

However, the match totally changed after the first two sets and it seemed like Musetti had taken his foot off the gas. The youngster appeared fatigued and out of it. After holding the opening service game Djokovic earned a breakpoint and broke to take a 2-0 lead. At 4-1 he earned two more chances to break and broke to take a commanding 5-1 lead and served out the third set in 23 minutes.

The world No.1 kept the momentum going into the fourth. He raced to 6-0 bagel in just 17 minutes.

Before the beginning of the decider Musetti called the trainer and took a medical timeout off court but it was more of the same from a determined Djokovic who sensed he was close to the finish line. He earned two breakpoints in the opening game and broke to once again take an early 1-0 lead and after holding serve once again earned two more breakpoints and broke to go up a double break once more at 3-0.

After Djokovic held serve again to make it 4-0 the Italian decided to retire and the comeback was complete.

“I like to play young guys in best-of-five because I feel even if they are leading a set or two sets to Love, as it was the case today, I still like my chances because I feel I’m physically fit and I know how to wear my opponent down,” Djokovic explains.
“I’ve won most of the five-setters I have played in this tournament and in my career, so I think that experience helps.’
“It’s unfortunate for him (Musetti) to finish the match the with retirement. He was obviously struggling physically from probably the beginning of the fourth.”


Djokovic will now face another Italian in Matteo Berrettini who advanced when Roger Federer pulled out of the tournament. Itf is the 49th time of his career he has reached the last eight of a major. 

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal

The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.

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Novak Djokovic (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.

 

Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.

“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.

Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.

“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.

Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.

He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.

Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”

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Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months

The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.

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Borna Coric - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.

 

The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.

It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”

Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.

“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.

Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.

In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.

Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.

Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Wins First Ever Roland Garros Match In Five Sets

Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his first ever victory at Roland Garros.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (@MatchPointCAN - Twitter)

The Canadian found himself down two sets to none but fought back to pull off the comeback in a thrilling five set victory.

 

Felix Auger Aliassime is into the second round of the French Open for the first time in his career after battling back to beat the Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas in five sets 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in three hours and 14 minutes.

The Montreal native finished the match serving 14 aces and hitting 52 winners in a match that featured a lot of long rallies from behind the baseline.

“It was a dream for me to play here, it was an honor and my first time on Phillipe Chatrier and my first win at Roland Garros and I had to work hard to get it and credit my opponent he played very well today.”

The Peruvian started the match by breaking the number nine seed right out of the gate and at 3-1 managed to turn that break into a double break as he served out the first set with ease.

The first two games of the second went on serve but again the world number 122 seemed to play better as the Canadian looked stunned, searching for answers.

The Lima native once again took an early lead to take a 3-1 lead and again that seemed like enough for the Peruvian as he served out the second set and was one set away from an improbable upset.

The third set is where the Canadian started to turn things around and his groundstrokes seemed to have more precision. At 2-1 it was the Montreal native who got the first break of serve.

After consolidating the break the world number nine was hungry for more and turned that break into a double break and it looked like the match was turning in his favour.

The Canadian served out the third set to send it to a fourth looking to send it to a decider.

The Montreal native rode the momentum from winning the third into the fourth set where after holding the opening service game got the early break once again taking a 2-0 lead.

At 5-3 with the Peruvian looking to stay in the set, Auger Aliassime managed to get another break to win the set and send the match to a fifth set.

The fifth set stayed on serve until 4-3 when the Canadian had four chances to break and at the fourth time of asking he was able to break and serve out the match to complete the comeback.

After the match in his on court interview he was asked about the adjustments he made in the third set to turn the match around and pull off the win.

“I tried to give myself some more space and a little more time, my opponent at the beginning was playing very quick, aggressive, and flat so I tried a couple things and I also served better and after that it was easier.”

The Canadian will next face either Aslan Karatsev or Camilo Ugo Carabelli in the next round.

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