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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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.

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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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