Monte Carlo Masters talking points (Part Two): David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov back to form - UBITENNIS
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Monte Carlo Masters talking points (Part Two): David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov back to form

Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin have rediscovered their form in Monaco.



Grigor Dimitrov (@usopen - Twitter)

James Spencer (Twitter – @jspencer28)

In my previous article, I cited the shock loss for world number one Novak Djokovic, and the return of Swiss star Stan Wawrinka, as my first two major talking points from this week’s Monte Carlo Masters.

I now conclude my piece with some other interesting subplots.

3.  David Goffin a man reborn

Belgium’s David Goffin was one of the standout players of the ATP Tour just a few years ago.

He reached the final of the 2017 ATP Tour Finals with an impressive semi-final win over Roger Federer, before falling to Grigor Dimitrov.

This led to a high of world number seven.

However, injuries have taken a toll on the Belgian, like Wawrinka.

The good news is the 31-year-old appears to be really fit again and undergoing a renaissance, as he triumphed in Marrakesh last week.

Victory at Grand Prix Hassan II marked just his sixth ATP Tour title.

Goffin strung together five consecutive wins against the likes of Bosnian Damir Džumhur, veteran Pablo Andújar, Spaniard Roberto Carballés Baena, Argentine Federico Coria, and Slovakian Alex Molcan in the final.

The Liège native backed this up with some good performances this week in Monte Carlo, as he beat Czech Jiri Lehecka, and most notably, Britain’s Dan Evans, in straight sets.

Goffin eventually fell in the quarters to the impressive Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, to which there is no shame in that.

But a promising run on clay, the Belgian’s strongest surface, is certainly likely as Goffin looks to gate-crash the top 30 in the next few weeks.

4.  Grigor Dimitrov showing top-10 potential again

Dimitrov has been extremely inconsistent this season. After a poor first round exit in Acapulco, he has managed to pull off some stellar performances elsewhere.

The former world number three, managed to make the quarter-finals of Indian Wells, but was then bundled out at the first hurdle at the Miami Open.

This week in Monte Carlo, the Bulgarian has upset the odds to reach the semi-finals, with a stunning round of 16 win against current world number seven, Casper Rudd.

This was even backed up with an eye-catching quarter-final victory over Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz.

Now Dimitrov stands on the cusp of another Masters 1000 final, if he can get past the inexperienced Davidovich Fokina, who is in a whole new territory, for the first time in his career.

Meanwhile, the man once dubbed ‘Baby Fed’ as a teenager, muchto his annoyance, must surely fancy his chances of winning in the principality, and getting his career well and truly back on track.

5.  2019 stars yesterday’s men

If 2017 ATP heroes Dimitrov and Goffin continue to make strides back to the pinnacle of tennis, the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters stars faded away more or less immediately, this week.

That year’s runner-up, Dušan Lajović, showed his expertise on clay that season, but will be majorly disappointed at going down to Dimitrov in the round of 32, after taking the opening set.

Although, the Bulgarian is in impressive form, to be fair.

Meanwhile, the champion of three years ago, Fabio Fognini, continues to illustrate the inconsistency that has dogged his entire career.

The Italian, a shadow of the player that won a maiden Masters 1000 trophy, 36 months ago, capitulated to last year’s defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-0, being slammed with a bagel set without winning a single game.

Both Fognini and Lajović will aim to bounce back next week at the Serbia Open in Belgrade.


Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket



The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.


Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.


Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.


Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open



Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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