Novak Djokovic Dismisses ‘Bad Guy’ Label In Historic Quest At Wimbledon - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Dismisses ‘Bad Guy’ Label In Historic Quest At Wimbledon

The defending champion spoke out about his goals, coping with difficult conditions and playing Shapovalov following his latest win.

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Novak Djokovic (SRB) playing against Marton Fucsovics (HUN) in the quarter-final of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 9 Wednesday 07/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Joe Toth

Novak Djokovic has said he is out to make his own history as he shrugged off his rivalry with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal following his latest win at Wimbledon.

 

The world No.1 is through to his 10th semi-final at the All England Club after disposing of Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics in straight sets. Once again Djokovic has rewritten the record books in the sport. This time it was the fact he had recorded his 100th Tour win on the grass. An achievement which has only been made by two other active players (Andy Murray and Roger Federer).

Although Djokovic’s ultimate goal is clinching the Wimbledon trophy on Sunday for the sixth time in his career. Should he do so, he would move level with both Nadal and Federer for most major titles won by a male player. Questioned about chasing history following his latest win, the Serbian was curiously asked by one journalist how it felt to be the ‘bad guy’ going after after his two rivals.

“I don’t consider myself a bad guy,” he replied.
“I’m not chasing anybody. I’m making my own path, my own journey and my own history. I’m privileged to be part of the history of this sport that I love.’
“I know about a lot of stats (concerning his career). I don’t know about all of them. But they do motivate me even more to play my best tennis at the events that count the most in our sport.”

En route to the semi-finals Djokovic has dropped only one set in five matches played which was against Jack Draper in the first round. Ironically, a tougher test for him has been the British weather.

“It was very windy, I think one of the windiest days I ever had here in Wimbledon. I don’t recall it being so windy. Particularly in the last couple days, it hasn’t calmed down, the wind,” he said.

Elaborating further, he explains how the conditions have affected him both before and during matches. Wimbledon’s two premier courts do have roofs but they are only used when it is raining or in extreme circumstances. Organisers state that as an outdoor event they want to minimise the use of the roof.

“It’s the rhythm, it’s the tempo of your groundstrokes, the toss for the serve. Obviously everything is disrupted in a way in terms of how you’ve been probably warming up and feeling on the different court the same day,” he explained. “Once you step out on the Centre Court, it’s obviously a different feeling. But I felt like the last couple matches, it has been pretty windy, particularly today.”

Next up for Djokovic in his quest for major title No.20 is a clash with Canada’s Denis Shapovalov who he describes as his ‘biggest test’ yet. Shapovalov defeated Karen Khachanov in five sets. He leads their head-to-head 6-0 and has only ever lost two sets against him on the Tour.

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 said of Shapovalov.
“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.”

Djokovic will play his semi-final match on Friday.

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Vasek Pospisil survives scare at Citi Open

The Canadian battled back from a set down in what was a tricky opening encounter.

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Vasek Pospisil was pushed to limits by qualifier Emilio Gomez in his opening match at the Citi Open.

The Canadian required three sets to beat the Ecuadorian qualifier 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and 11 minutes of play. He hit a total of 10 aces en route to the second round.

 

” It’s always good to get through a tough one and I felt dialed in during the second set,” said Pospisil. “I was a little bit distracted during the first set but I am glad to get match play and getting the win is important so I am happy I got it done”.

The first three games of the opener went on serve and at 2-1 the Canadian had three chances to take an early break but the world number 165 saved all three and held serve. At 3-3, Pospisil played a poor service game and Gomez took full advantage by breaking him at love. That one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the first set.

The Canadian was determined to stay alive in the second and broke the Ecuadorian early to take a 2-0 lead and managed to turn it into a double break for a commanding 4-0 lead. Gomez got one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the world number 61 would serve out the second set to force a decider.

The third set started with three breaks of serve but it was the Canadian that was finally able to hold serve and consolidate a break. That break was enough for him to serve out the match and complete the comeback.

Pospisil will next face the young American Sebastien Korda in the third round who is the 12th seed this week in the American capital.

” It’s going to be a tough one because he is playing some great tennis this year and he is an up and comer and a great player,” he said of Korda. “I will have to play really well to win that one because he is a dangerous player so I will have to serve well and return well”.

Other results

It was a busy day one at the Citi Open being held at Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC with some thrilling matches. Kei Nishikori beat Sam Querrey in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 and Marcus Giron pulled a three-set comeback against Ilya Marchenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.

In the battle of the Belorussians, Ilya Ivashka beat Egor Gerasimov in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. Meanwhile, Jenson Brooksby avenged a loss to the South African Kevin Anderson by beating him in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

Andreas Seppi needed three sets to dispatch Yasutka Uchiyama of Japan 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, Ricardas Berankis beat the American qualifier Mitchell Kreuger in straight sets 7-6, 6-2, and Daniel Elahi Galan beat another American Tommy Paul in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

Finally, in the last match of the day an American favourite, Jack Sock advanced to round two after his Japanese opponent Yoshito Nishioka was forced to retire due to injury during their match.

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John Isner Wins 16th ATP Title In Atlanta

The 6ft 10 American got revenge on his American opponent for the loss he suffered last week in Los Cabos.

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John Isner has continued his love affair with the Atlanta Open by ousting Brandon Nakashima to win the tournament for a record sixth time.

 

The sixth seed beat the American teenager 7-6, 7-5 in one hour and 57 minutes. Firing a total of 21 aces and winning 81% of his first-serve points en route to the victory.

“I think if you count the last two weeks playing singles and doubles I played 12 matches in about 10 or 11 days so I have played a lot which is exactly what I need,” Isner said following his win. “Hopefully I can take this and go forward and build some momentum for tournaments ahead.’
This tournament has meant everything to my career it’s amazing”. He added.

The first set was extremely tight and neither player gave an inch in their respective service games. The opener was decided by a tiebreaker which Isner is accustomed to. Whilst the first set was tight, the tiebreaker was an even tighter affair Isner squeezing out a 10-8 win to take the first set 7-6.

Again the second set was competitive and again neither player got an edge on their return game. It was only at 5-4 that the Dallas, Texas native found himself at triple match point but the world number 115 saved all three.

Nakashima would save a fourth before holding serve and at 6-5, the world number 35 earned a fifth match point. That’s where he closed out the match and sealed the win and the title.

After the match, Isner was asked about his history of playing numerous tiebreakers throughout his career.

” I play a lot of those and it’s a situation I am comfortable in since I have been on tour forever,” he explained. “Honestly I think today (Sunday) I was just a little bit luckier and that’s what It really came down to. It’s amazing to be out here again playing on a Sunday and it was awesome”.

Isner confirmed that he will not be making the trip to Washington, DC for the Citi Open and instead he will take a week off after playing back-to-back tournaments in Los Cabos and Atlanta. He is next scheduled to be in Toronto for the National Bank Open.

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Casper Ruud Set For Career-High Ranking After Clay Court Hat-Trick

The young Norweigan player is closing in on his top-10 debut following his surge in success on the Tour.

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As some of his peers battle it out in Tokyo at the Olympic Games, Norway’s Casper Ruud has become a dominant force on the European clay.

 

The 22-year-old battled his way to a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win over Pedro Martinez in the final of Kitzbuhel on Saturday to claim his 12th win in a row on the Tour. It is the third consecutive week where Ruud has won a title after also triumphing at the Nordea Open and Swiss Open Gstaad. The surge in success has made him the first man to have won three ATP titles within as many weeks since Andy Murray did so back in 2011.

“I am shaking all over my body. It feels amazing,” Ruud told atptour.com. “I was very nervous at the end, I knew what I was playing for. Three in a row is something special. What a day to play the final, rain on and off all day.
“I’m just very excited and happy that these three weeks are over, and that I won all of them.”

All three tournaments Ruud has won are ATP 250 events but only once did he play a top 50 player. That was Benoit Paire whom he defeated 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, in the quarter-finals at Gstaad. In Kitzbuhel, he defeated Mario Vilella Martínez (No.167), Mikael Ymer (No.99), Arthur Rinderknech (No.91), and Martinez (No.97).

During his clash with Martinez, the match was interrupted by the rain and it didn’t end until 11:30 PM local time.

“It was tough… we know that the weather was a bit shaky so I was prepared [for the delay],” Ruud said. “It was a bit long there in the end. We came back, only played three games, and then we had to stop again. It was a bit annoying, but we had to keep the focus and try your best. It’s the same for the opponent.”

Ruud has now won four ATP titles this season after also triumphing at the Geneva Open back in May. Since the start of the 2020 season, he has won 45 matches on the clay and has defeated three top 10 players – Stefanos Tsitsipas, Diego Schwartzman and Matteo Berrettini.

The Norweigan is now set to rise to a career-ranking high of 12th when the standings are updated on Monday. He will also go up to eighth place in the ATP Race to Turin.

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