Marin Cilic Plays A Perfect Match To Knock Out An Unrecognisable Medvedev At French Open - UBITENNIS
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Marin Cilic Plays A Perfect Match To Knock Out An Unrecognisable Medvedev At French Open

After suffering three previous Tour losses to his Russian rival, Cilic got his revenge by producing one of his most clinical performances in recent times.

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Marin Cilic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In the Monday’s night session the clock seemed to have been wound back to the time when Marin  Cilic who in 2014 won nine sets in a row and conquered the US Open, brushing aside Berdych, Federer and Nishikori in the three final stages. 

 

The 33-year-old Croatian dominated former number Daniil Medvedev  from the first point and never let him off the leash, sealing an emphatic win, 6-2 6-3 6-2.  It must be said that Medvedev was often the ghost of himself, and of the player who just two days ago steamrolled Kecmanovic, but Cilic’s performance was flawless in all aspects. He served consistently, mixing up power and placement. He was always moving in immediately to put pressure, particularly with his forehand and keeping the rallies short. His footwork, astounding for such a tall guy, and not the youngest, set up the perfect timing for flowing jests. He constantly caught his opponent off guard with dropshots, taking advantage of Medvedev’s positioning, metres behind the baseline.

It was an absolutely fantastic match from the first point to the last. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the night session, I played incredible tennis, one of the best (matches) of my career from start to finish,” a delighted Cilic said afterwards.       

Coming into this match Cilic had been enjoying a positive year and a likely comeback into the top 20 as well as seeking further glory in Majors. At the Australian Open he had defeated top 10 player, Andrey Rublev, before going down to Aliassime in the fourth round. 

Though he had never won in his previous four encounters against Daniil Medvedev, many will remember their last match in the third round at Wimbledon 2021, when he led by two sets before deflating in the distance. 

“Against the guys like Daniil you have to be able to sustain such a level. If you give him a chance he’s going to be back and it’s going to be another match. I was very focused to keep going, and I’m pleased with that.” He said. 

From the first game Cilic started with excellent serving and enterprising aggression. Targeting shorter points and variations: two dropshots and changes of direction to unsettle Medvedev.

In turn, Medvedev was more willing to lengthen the rallies and elicit errors, aware that Cilic is less of a danger on the stretch.

The match was still quite close in the first four games when suddenly Medvedev blacked out and lost four consecutive games and the set, 6-2.  

The first five games of the second set followed serve, but Cilic was scoring more points by keeping up his pressure gameplan.

Cilic earned a break point in the sixth game, on which a tentative dropshot by Medvedev allowed him to unleash a comfortable crosscourt forehand and barge on.

Serving for the set at 5-3 Cilic struck two decisive inside-out forehands, and then an inside-out dropshot, then a first serve to open up the court. Medvedev sprayed a forehand long and wide and found himself two sets down in one hour and 3 minutes.

The script may have reminded them of their last encounter at Wimbledon. But Medvedev seemed drained of physical or mental energy, unable to change stance.  He gifted break points in the first game of the third set and on the second one hit a backhand wide. And was trailing once more.

A further streak of unforced errors followed, worsened by sluggish moving, so atypical of the Russian, and in a blink Cilic was ahead 4-0.   

In the fifth game Medvedev started hurrying franticly and crossly through points as he often does, when falling prey to frustration. He held serve, though, at least upping his score. 

Cilic was untouchable when he served for the match at 5-2 and maintained his cool, pressuring without overdoing.  Medvedev kept lunging, too castled behind the baseline to have any chance to overturn the rallies and the result. 

A first service nicely sliced out wide opened up the court for the usual forehand and match point. And a crosscourt backhand secured a most significant win. 

Cilic was delighted to have reaped such a reward for his commitment to tennis.

Everything is working well, my serve, my return, my movement. I’m trying to use every day the best I can and the time I spend on the court is most valuable to me. When you are really persistent, really consistent with your training, good things can come.” He said. 

Cilic will play Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals. 

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Wimbledon: Quarter-Finalist Cristian Garin loves The Event But Not So much The Surface

The South American reacts to reaching his first major quarter-final.

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Cristian Garin (CHI) - Credit: AELTC/Ben Solomon

Just over a week ago, Cristian Gain admitted that he was ‘upset’ when he saw his draw for Wimbledon this year. 

 

The world No.43 was set to take on the formidable Matteo Berrettini in the first round who has won two grass-court titles in a row in recent weeks. However, the Italian was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. Instead, his opponent was the much lower-ranked Elias Ymer from Sweden who he defeated in straight sets. Since then, Garin hasn’t looked back.

On Monday at The All England Club, he staged an audacious comeback to defeat Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6(10-6). Not only did Garin bounce back from two sets down, he also saved two match points in the process. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last eight of the tournament since Fernando Gonzalez in 2005 and only the fourth in history to do so. 

“It is something very special for me. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament. Every time that I play this tournament is something special I feel,” said Garin.
“To be in the quarterfinals is a dream. I will try to enjoy it. I will try to give my best in the next round.”

Ironically Garin comes from a country where there are no grass courts. This year is his fifth appearance at Wimbledon and it was at the event where he made his Grand Slam debut back in 2017. However, like many other South Americans, clay is still his preferred surface.

“I said Wimbledon is my favorite tournament, not my favorite surface,” he jokes. 
“I think the grass is very fun for me. I have to change a little bit the way that I play. I think here on this surface you have to be aggressive.

Garin is one of only five ATP players from Chile currently ranked in the world’s top 500. Since April he has been coached by Pepe Vendrell who previously worked as a mentor to Roberto Bautista Agut and served as Spain’s captain in the ATP Cup. 

The next test for Garin will be a showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who defeated Brandon Nakashima in his fourth round match.

“He is for me one of the guys that I like to watch. He’s very good for tennis,” he said of Kyrgios.
“In these rounds, you play the best. For me, Nick is obviously one of the best on grass.”

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Last Brit Standing Cameron Norrie Urges Fans ‘To Get Behind Him’ At Wimbledon

The Brit says he is feeling more comfortable on the Tour.

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Cameron Norrie (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Cameron Norrie had the pressure of being the British No.1 at Wimbledon this year and now even more eyes will be on him following his milestone win. 

 

The world No.12 defeated Tommy Paul 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, in his fourth round match on Sunday to reach the last eight of a major for the first time at the age of 26. In doing so he remains the only home player left in the singles draw of either men’s or women’s draws. Heather Watson lost her last 16 match earlier in the day to Jule Niemeier 6-2, 6-4.

“To play the way I did and to handle the occasion, I felt really comfortable the way I was hitting the ball this morning. Definitely more comfortable than my other matches.” Said Norrie.
“It was good to get through that one in the fashion that I did. I was up the whole match, which definitely helped.”

Norrie’s run is the best by a British man at The All England Club since Andy Murray back in 2017. He is coached on the Tour by Facundo Lugones who first got acquainted with him at college in America. The two were teammates with Lugones being a senior and Norrie a freshman. Last year he achieved a win-loss record of 52-25 and won the biggest title of his career in Indian Wells.

A solid top 20 player on the Tour, Norrie’s popularity back home is steadily increasing. Even more so in recent days due to Wimbledon. Now he is the last Brit standing there is added pressure but he is taking it all in his stride.

“I’m the last one standing. But I think it’s even more reason for everyone to get behind me,” he said. “Even the atmosphere was great today and definitely helped me get over the line there. Especially on that last game, I was obviously pretty nervous. I was serving for my first quarterfinal of a slam. I wanted to get it done there. They definitely helped me a lot.”

Norrie will be hoping the crowd will out in full force for his upcoming clash with former top 10 player David Goffin who defeated Francis Tiafoe in five sets. Goffin has reached the quarter-finals of a major on three previous occasions, including Wimbledon three years ago.

“He’s a very experienced player. He really likes the grass. He’s played a lot of big matches. It’s going to be tough,” Norrie previewed.
“He’s a great competitor, a really good athlete. He’s got a very complete game. He must be playing very well, so it’s going to be a tricky one.’
“One thing for sure, I know that I’m going to get into a lot of rallies with him. He’s not going to come and serve me off the court, which is good. It’s going to be another physical match, which is great for me.”
“I’m looking forward to competing. It’s going to be another huge challenge.”

The only time Norrie played Goffin was last year in Barcelona when Goffin was forced to retire from their match in the second set. 

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Roger Federer Hopes To Play One Last Wimbledon As Icons Mark Center Court Anniversary

The Swiss Maestro said it is ‘great to be back’ after attending a special centenary event alongside other greats of the sport.

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Image via https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/

On the 100th anniversary of Center Court, a special celebration took place on Sunday that saw the return of Roger Federer.

Past and present champions congregated on the premier court during a special 30-minute presentation with a couple of notable absences. Nine-time winner Martina Navratilova and Pete Sampras were absent. Each walking on one by one, the biggest cheer occurred when it was Federer’s turn to take to the stage.

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a professional match since his quarter-final loss at SW19 12 months ago due to knee surgery. He has already outlined his plans to return to action later this season at the Laver Cup and Swiss indoors. Speaking on court, Federer said he hopes to play at Wimbledon again as he unexpectedly hints at retiring in the near future. 

 

“I’ve been lucky to play a lot of matches here. Different type of role, but it’s great to be here. This court has given me my biggest moments,” said Federer.
“I hope I can come back one more time.”
“I’ve missed it here. I knew walking out here last year, it was going to be a tough year ahead. I maybe didn’t think it was going to take this long to come back – the knee has been rough on me.
“It’s been a good year regardless of tennis. We’re happy at home. I didn’t know if I should make the trip but I’m happy standing here right now.”


Federer is the only man in history to have ever won the Wimbledon title eight times and was undefeated between 2003-2007. 

One player closing in on that record is Novak Djokovic who is seeking to win his seventh title this year. Speaking about Center Court, the Serbian said the venue has a special place in his heart that dates back to his childhood.

“This court has been truly special from my childhood and the first image of tennis I’ve seen when I was four or five-years-old I saw Pete Sampras winning his first Wimbledon,” said Djokovic.
“This is where dreams come true and I was blessed in 2011, probably the highlight of my career, to win the tournament and so when I step out on this court I relive these memories. Truly an honor.”

As for the female champions of the tournament, Venus Williams, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber and Margaret Court were all in attendance. So was Billie Jean King who is the co-founder of the WTA Tour and has won all three Wimbledon events on multiple occasions (singles – 6, doubles – 10, and mixed doubles – 4). 

“I played my very first match at Wimbledon as a 17-year-old. We started late so I had two days on this court. It was magical and wonderful and I knew I belonged here,” said King.
“I love history and I love the fact we have so many people here. Martina [Navratilova] could not be with us and she won nine women’s singles so I’d just like to say I’m sorry she can’t be here.”

In 1922 Center court was officially opened for the first time after taking just nine months to construct. At the time it was the largest-ever reinforced concrete structure. The addition of a roof didn’t occur until 2009.

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