Holger Rune dismantles Gaston’s clockwork At French Open - UBITENNIS
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Holger Rune dismantles Gaston’s clockwork At French Open

In his first appearance in the main draw of Roland Garros, the former boy’s singles champion has stormed into the second week.

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Holger Rune (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

The French crowd was relishing a groovy Saturday on the Philippe Chatrier cheering one of their most creative and loved players, Hugo Gaston, up against one of the rising stars of the Tour, 19-year-old Holgar Rune from Denmark. 

But the first encounter between the two players never turned into a fierce contest, for in a one-way match Rune overwhelmed Gaston in every aspect of the game and won comfortably with a periodic score, 6-3 6-3 6-3.

He constantly outplayed him from the baseline with his superior power. Not only did he muzzle the Frenchman’s most celebrated weapon, the dropshot, but he also stole it. Key to all was his position on court, in the nearabouts of the baseline so as to run round short-falling balls to drill inside-in and inside-out forehands, run down dropshots, and snatch all chances for aggression. 

I was very focused on playing aggressive and I’m very happy with my level today. he makes you run a lot and is super talented. The sound of the ball was very good and I tried to hit as hard as I could. My plan was to play aggressive because you know how it is when Hugo has the time. Rune said during his on-court interview with Alex Corretja.  

The match got off to a nervy start with players swapping a break. Rune risked losing service a second time when he conceded two break points in the third game, but he came back to hold. In the following game he worked his way into three break points and converted the third with an inside out forehand. His lead was extended to 4-1 lead by a dropshot.

He was bullying with his forehand and nimbly running round it. After earning another break he could have sealed a 6-1 but lost serve after a crafty crosscourt forehand passing shot by Gaston, one of his few magic touches in the set. However, end was just delayed and Rune closed it off 6-3.

In the second set Gaston sought greater anticipation, hitting faster returns and moving forward more frequently.

Rune’s accuracy was not affected by such changes of pace and he just went on dictating with his forehand and stealing drop shots with his backhand. 

He took an early break in the third game. Always moving well, landing his shots deep.

When in the fifth game Gaston set a few stylish points of his own, enticing his opponent to the net and lobbing him, Rune immediately responded by giving him a taste of his own medicine.

Gaston never really managed to establish a substantial pace in the rallies. Confident not to be caught off guard, Rune always kept his feet on the line, ready to seize the slightest chance to attack.

In the ninth game, after winning a rally in which Gaston had deployed his broadest array of tricks, Rune grabbed a second break and took the second set 6-3.

Gaston started the third set hitting with more power, then with more loft. He rose to break point but Rune was unperturbed and resorted to his usual inside out forehand to save and move on.

In the second game Gaston toyed with Rune in the first two points on serve, then Rune moved a further gear up, and snatched serve and held his own scoring an 8 point winning streak. 

Gaston played his last card to unravel Rune’s gameplay by slicing the ball off both wings, but it was like firing blanks. 

Serving for the match 5-1 up, Rune chose to barge into the net, too rashly. Gaston recovered one break, when Rune dumped a forehand into the net. The crowd cheered and carried their player through a positive service game.

But serving a second time for the match Rune didn’t tighten up and reached match points. Gaston saved the first with a winning return. But on the second his dropshot failed to climb over the net.  

“It was a very complicated match. I’m really disappointed. I would have liked to do better,” Gaston admitted. “I had a hard time moving, too. I should have won several points in a row so I could get going. But apart from that first game, I didn’t play the way I wanted to.” 

In the fourth round Rune will be taking on Stefanos Tsitsipas. A match to look forward to.

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

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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

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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.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

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.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ 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.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

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 Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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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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