Day 2 of the Acapulco Open last night may not have been as exciting as the opening night, but we at least saw the newly crowned Australian Open champion and his final adversary, in action.
The 21-time Grand Slam winner played some mesmerising tennis, particularly in the second set as he blew American Denis Kudla off the court with some fine shot making skills.
His drop shot was on point and so was his serve, with a few stylish aces.
The way he powered through 6-3, 6-2, to face another American, Stefan Kozlov, makes it likely, that match will have a similar outcome.
In this kind of form; confident, focused, and, motivated, Rafa Nadal will be a threat for anyone, and in particular Daniil Medvedev, who is chasing down the world number one ranking.
If Medvedev is victorious in Acapulco, he will be world number one, regardless of what Novak Djokovic does in Dubai.
In the last 17 years, the monopoly of the top four; Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, have occupied top spot, but now a new name might make tennis history.
Medvedev was up against Frenchman Benoit Paire, a tricky opponent with his serve and volley, a tactic the world number two can struggle with.
The world number two took the opening set 6-3 and looked in trouble at 4-2 down in the second but mistakes from Paire, combined with some clutch tennis from Medvedev, saw him seal four games on the trot to get off to a winning start.
Medvedev 6-3, 6-4, goes on to face Spain’s Pablo Andújar, who came through comfortably against Mexican wildcard Alex Hernandez, 6-0, 6-1.
A combination of results in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami mean Medvedev could be destined to be the new world number one in weeks, and I spoke to him after his match.
I asked Daniil how he looks after his body so well, after seeing friends and rivals on the ATP Tour, all succumb to injuries of late.
He told me that planning his calendar carefully with his team has helped him a lot. In particular, after the five-set epic in Australia against Nadal, he decided to pull out of Rotterdam to rest.
“You have to do your calendar good. Which is not easy. I can only talk for myself. It’s tough to talk for others, like I don’t know what happened to Matteo today,” he said.
“It’s an everyday experience with your team, and every day, learn and work. And we knew that we were going to have this situation. More my team than me, prepare me at the top physical shape,” he added.
“After the Australian Open, I had to pull out from Rotterdam. I played five hours and I went back to Europe on the Tuesday.
“Maybe if I would have played Rotterdam I could have got injured. So, we decided to skip this tournament. But you can never control everything.”
Later on in the night, another star name Stefanos Tsitsipas scraped through as he needed two tie-breaks 7-6, (9-7), 7-6 (7-4) to see off Serbian Laslo Djere.
There were, however, unfortunate injuries. Firstly, to Matteo Berrettini who took the opening set 6-4 against American Tommy Paul and looked to be cruising into the next round.
At 5-1 down in the second, the Italian forfeited the match with what was later known to be an abdominal issue.
Secondly, Australia’s John Millman was forced to pull out of his match against America’s Marcos Giron at 7-6 (7-3) and 2-0 down after a ball bounced into his eye.
Britain’s Cameron Norrie, fresh from winning his third ATP title at the weekend in Delray Beach, overcame German Daniel Altmaier, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
America’s J.J Wolf beat Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-2. While, Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka also came from a set down to beat Spain’s Feliciano Lopez,2-6, 6-0, 6-4.
Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup
Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day
After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.
Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”
American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.
“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”
After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:
“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”
The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:
“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”
Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”
Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.
Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.
T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2
ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more
After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10
By Roberto Ferri
“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”
Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.
Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.
A few comments:
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.
Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.
Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.
Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively at the 2022 US Open, drop 4 positions.
One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.
ATP NITTO FINALS
From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.
Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.
Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.
The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.
Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.
ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS
The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.
The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.
Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.
Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.
We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.
The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.
Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
Love him, or hate him. But respect him.
No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.
Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.
Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.
DJOKOVIC WENT ONE STEP FURTHER
Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.
It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.
Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.
A FOURTH AND 24TH TITLE, AND A 24 TRIBUTE
At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.
The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.
Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.
Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.
THREE POINTS MAY HAVE BEEN DECISIVE
Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.
Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.
The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.
James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.
Karen Khachanov beats Yoshihito Nishioka to claim his first title since 2018
Carlos Alcaraz Set For China Debut With Eyes Set On Reclaiming No.1 Spot From Djokovic
South Korean No.1 Kwon Faces Disciplinary Action After Asian Games Meltdown
Alexander Zverev beats Roman Safiulin to to claim his second title of the year in Chengdu
Daria Kasatkina beats Marta Kostyuk to advance to the second round in Tokyo
‘Bulls**t’ – Expert Involved In Simona Halep’s Anti-Doping Case Blasts Four-Year Ban
Maria Sakkari ‘Scared’ Of Anti-Doping Testing Measures After Halep Ban
Gutsy Novak Djokovic Prevails In Grueling Battle With Medvedev To Win US Open
Holger Rune ‘Disappointed’ With US Open Scheduling But Blames Shock Exit On Something Else
Alexander Bublik Under Fire Over ‘Disabled’ Comment During US Open Match
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Sets Rublev Quarter-Final Clash
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Plenty Of Surprises Could Occur In This Year’s Wimbledon Women’s Draw
Latest news3 days ago
Lorenzo Musetti, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov reach the semifinals in Chengdu
Focus2 days ago
Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe
Hot Topics1 day ago
Elena Rybakina’s Coach Blasts The WTA After Player Withdraws From Tokyo
Hot Topics2 days ago
Maria Sakkari Determined To Silence Her Critics
Latest news2 days ago
Ludmila Samsonova beats Tatjana Maria to reach the second round in Tokyo
Latest news2 days ago
Karen Khachanov beats Sebastian Korda in Zhuhai to reach his first final of the season
Latest news2 days ago
Alexander Zverev beats Grigor Dimitrov to reach the final at the Chengdu Open
Latest news1 day ago
Eight of the top 10 players in the line-up in Beijing