‘I have The Game To Beat Him’ - Shapovalov Fires Warning To Djokovic Ahead Of Wimbledon Clash - UBITENNIS
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‘I have The Game To Beat Him’ – Shapovalov Fires Warning To Djokovic Ahead Of Wimbledon Clash

Can the 22-year-old spring a massive upset at The All England Club on Friday?

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) reacts while playing against Andy Murray (GBR) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 5 Friday 02/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Previous losses on the Tour has done little to dent Denis Shapovalov’s belief that he has what it takes to spring a huge shock at the Wimbledon Championships when he faces Novak Djokovic.

 

Shapovalov has become only the third Canadian man in history to reach the last four of the tournament after outlasting Karen Khachanov in five sets. It is also the first time in his career he has reached the semi-final of a Grand Slam. Awaiting him next is five-time champion Djopkovic who he is yet to defeat after losing all six of their previous encounters on the Tour.

The upcoming clash is a tall order for the 22-year-old who has also beaten Roberto Bautista Agut and Andy Murray earlier in the tournament. However, relishing the support he has received at The All England Club so far Shapovalov believes anything is possible.

“The last couple times that we’ve played, it’s been really, really tight,” he commented on his head-to-head with Djokovic. “I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling great physically and tennis-wise.’
“Obviously he’s been playing really well. It’s definitely a tough battle ahead of me. When you walk out on that match, the score is 0-0. It’s a tennis match. Anything can happen. I’m going to fight for every point and believe in myself. I do believe that I have the game to beat him and the game to win that match.”

On paper the world No.12 doesn’t have the strongest of records when it comes to playing top 10 opposition after winning just seven out of those 27 meetings. He is 0-3 so far this season. Djokovic was the first player he faced in 2021 at the ATP Cup where he was edged out 7-5, 7-5. Shapovalov also lost to Alexander Zverev at the same tournament followed by Rafael Nadal in Rome a couple months later.

Hoping to snap his losing streak against the top players, Shapovalov is eager to prove a point. He is coached on the Tour by his mother Tessa Shapovalova, as well as former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Mikhail Youzhny.

“It’s definitely a big challenge, for sure. Obviously he’s been playing super well this season and the last couple years. He loves the surface,” said Shapovalov.
“It’s definitely a super difficult match ahead of me.’
“I believe in my game. I think I’ve been playing really, really good tennis. To beat these players with the way I’ve been playing, it’s not easy to do. So I have full belief in myself and in my game that I’m able to win on Friday.”

Following his win over Marton Fucsovics, Djokovic said his semi-final test is poised to be the ‘biggest test’ yet for him as he paid tribute to the development of Shapovalov’s game in recent times. The world No.1 will be playing in the last four of a major for the 41st time in his career.

It seems like he’s maturing, which is also something that is normal, it’s logical. You would expect that from a player like him that has really an all-around game. Huge serve, lefty, which is always tricky to play against someone who is left-handed on the quick surfaces,” Djokovic commented.
“He’s comfortable coming into the net. I think his movement has improved. Due to better movement, he’s probably making less errors, which was probably the part of his game that was always troubling him.”

The head-to-head

YearEventSurfaceRNDWinnerResult
2021ATP Cup
Australia
Outdoor HardRRNovak Djokovic75 75
2020ATP Cup
Australia
Outdoor HardQFNovak Djokovic46 61 764
2019ATP Masters 1000 Paris
France
Indoor HardFNovak Djokovic63 64
2019ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai
China
Outdoor HardR32Novak Djokovic63 63
2019ATP Masters 1000 Rome
Italy
Outdoor ClayR32Novak Djokovic61 63
2019Australian Open
Australia
Outdoor HardR32Novak Djokovic63 64 46 60
source: atptour.com

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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