Auger Aliassime Downs Norrie to reach semis in Rotterdam - UBITENNIS
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Auger Aliassime Downs Norrie to reach semis in Rotterdam

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas are into the semi-finals in Rotterdam.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (@abnamrowtt - Twitter)

The Canadian managed to beat the Brit in straight sets to reach the final four of the tournament.

Felix Auger Aliassime is into the semifinals of the ABN-AMRO World Tennis Tournament being hosted at the Ahoy in Rotterdam after beating the Brit Cameron Norrie in straight sets 7-5, 7-6 in two hours and seven minutes.

The Canadian hit 46 winners and 13 aces while winning 86% of his first-serve points.

“It’s always a tough match with Cameron, he’s where he is at for a reason and he is very difficult to play and he makes you work for a lot of points and he makes you suffer physically and it was tough as expected but I responded well, I served well when I needed to and I finished strong.”

The Montreal native held the opening service game and earned an early chance to break in the second game but the Brit was able to save it and hold serve as well.

It stayed on serve until 4-3 when the Canadian earned another breakpoint but this time was able to convert and gave himself a chance to serve for the first set.

The world number 13 fought back the very next game breaking Auger Aliassime to love after the Canadian served a double fault on triple breakpoint in a poor service game and the set was back on serve.

At 6-5, the Canadian earned two set points and clinched the first set on the following point to take a 1-0 set lead.

The first two games of the second set went on serve and it was the Brit who earned another three chances to break serve and got his first break sealed with a stunning forehand winner to take a 2-1 lead.

Norrie saved two breakpoints on route to consolidate the break and saved two more at 3-2 but at 4-3, the world number nine was finally able to break right back, and just like that the set was back on serve.

The set stayed on serve until 6-5 when the Montreal native earned two match points but the Brit saved both and the set was decided by a tiebreaker.

In that breaker, Auger Aliassime got the first break using his big forehand to jump out to a 2-0 lead but lost the next two points before winning the next two and taking a 4-2 lead.

At 6-2, the Canadian had four more match points but Norrie saved two before the world number nine served out the match and the win.

Auger Aliassime will now face the defending champion Andrey Rublev after the Russian was able to beat Marton Fucsovics in the rematch of last year’s final 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 14 minutes.

The Montreal native gave his thoughts about the matchup in his post-match press conference.

“Andrey has been one of the best players in the world for the last few years so it would be a tough matchup and I never beat him before.”

They have officially met twice on tour with the Russian winning both times once in Umag on clay and Adelaide in Australia on a hard court.

Tsitsipas Handles De Minaur

Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the day booked his spot in the semis after beating the Aussie Alex De Minaur in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 31 minutes serving three aces and winning 82% of his first-serve points.

“It was a great battle out there, proud of my athletic strength and proud of the way I was able to close games especially the ones that demanded a lot of me and I am happy with the game and the work.”

The first set was a tightly contested battle and at 2-2 the Greek had six chances to break and it took until the sixth opportunity when the Aussie served a double fault to gift the break.

That break of serve was enough for the number one seed in the tournament to serve out the first set.

Winning the first set gave Tsitsipas all the momentum he needed and he used it at the beginning of the second set breaking De Minaur in the opening game and holding serve to take a 2-0 lead.

The following game he broke the Aussie again for the double break lead but De Minaur broke right back the following game but that one break was enough for the world number four to serve out the match.

In his post-game press conference, he gave his thoughts on his next opponent Jiri Lehecka who managed to beat the Italian Lorenzo Musetti in three sets 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 in two hours, and 10 minutes to reach his first-ever ATP semi-final.

“He has nothing to be afraid of and he just enjoys his tennis and plays the best he can and for me to treat him like a normal opponent and he hasn’t been on tour long and I am ready for the battle.”

Rublev is looking to become the sixth player in tournament history to win the tournament in back-to-back years and would join a list that includes Arthur Ashe, Stefan Edberg, Nicolas Escude, Robin Soderling, and Gael Monfils.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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