Novak Djokovic Topples Tsitsipas To Win Record 38th Masters Title In Rome - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Topples Tsitsipas To Win Record 38th Masters Title In Rome

The world No.1 says his latest triumph ‘couldn’t be a better time of the year’ with the French Open swiftly approaching.

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Novak Djokovic overcame a second set blip to seal his sixth Italian Open title after ousting an at times erratic Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

The world No.1 enjoyed a dream start before later getting tested during his 6-0, 7-6(5),win over the 23-year-old in what was their ninth Tour meeting. After storming through the opener, Djokovic was forced to battle back from 2-5 down in the second set. Overall, he produced 24 winners against 14 unforced errors to extend his head-to-head record against Tsitsipas to 7-2.

“I can say that I pleasantly surprised myself even though I had a clear game plan and strategy coming into the match,” Djokovic told TennisTV when asked about his start to the final. “I knew what was expected from the other side so I knew what I had to do. I did play a perfect set, no doubt about it.’
“After that it was a little bit tough at the beginning of the second. At this level one or two points can turn a match around and he was back in the game. 1-4 and 30-40 to him (Tsitsipas), the match could have easily gone into the third set but I somehow managed to find the right shots at the right time.” He added.

Taking to the court to play in his 12th Rome final, Djokovic dictated proceedings from the onset by producing clinical tennis against Tsitsipas who struggled to find his rhythm on the court. The top seed first drew blood in the opening game when a forehand from his rival slammed into the net which rewarded him a break. Two games later Djokovic extended his lead further to 3-0 at the expense of more Tsitsipas mistakes. This time it was a double fault followed by a backhand going wide.

Djokovic’s relentless play frustrated Tsitsipas who appeared lost. A remarkable contrast to their previous meeting at last year’s French Open where the Serbian had to battle back from two sets down. In cruise control, he closed out the 30-minute opening set with a smash at the net to become the first player to bagel Tsitsipas since Rafael Nadal did so at the 2019 Australian Open.

Cheered on by the crowd who were hoping for a battle between two of the Tour’s best players, Tsitsipas finally ended his losing streak by holding at the start of the second set. Prompting chants of ‘Tsitsipas’ to erupt at the Foro Italico. The Greek capitalized on the support as Djokovic faltered with a forehand mistake to gift him a break for 3-1 and revive his title hopes. One notable difference between the sets was the change of his tactics by hitting more to the Djokovic backhand.

After positioning himself on the verge of forcing a decider, Tsitsipas was unable to seize the opportunity. Working his way to a 5-2 lead, a tentative service game saw him produce a failed drop shot followed by a backhand unforced error to hand his nemesis the break back. Who eventually battled back to level 5-5.

With a historic 38th Masters 1000 title at stake, Djokovic held his nerve to prevail in a roller-coaster second set tiebreaker. After getting the mini break for a 3-2 lead when a Tsitsipas backhand crashed into the net, he lost his advantage 5 points later when one of his shots touched the net and landed out. Nevertheless, Djokovic nudged his way to championship point with a serve down the line was returned out by Tsitsipas. The title was then sealed when his rival hit a backhand that drifted wide.

“I have been building my form over the last couple of weeks and like the previous years I knew that my best on the clay is usually coming around Rome time,” said Djokovic. “It couldn’t be a better time of year coming into Roland Garros with a (Masters) title in this wonderful tournament.”

Djokovic’s latest win is his 232nd over a top 10 player which is an Open Era record for the ATP Tour. Besides claiming his 87th Tour title, he has become the oldest player ever to have won the Italian Open. Beating the previous benchmark set by Nadal 12 months ago.

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Novak Djokovic Survives Almighty Sinner Scare to Reach Wimbledon Semis

The dramatic encounter featured a fight back, multiple breaks of serve and even an injury scare.

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Reigning champion Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to keep his hopes of winning a seventh Wimbledon title alive after ousting Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller.

 


Djokovic, who only dropped six games against Sinner in their previous Tour meeting, was forced to battle back from two sets down to prevail 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in a roller-coaster encounter on Center Court. The triumph marks Djokovic’s 84th win at the tournament which is the joint-second highest tally in history alongside Jimmy Connors. Only Roger Federer has won more.

“Huge congratulations to Jannik today for a big fight. I’m sure that there are going to be a lot of opportunities for him on the big stage. He’s mature for his age and is already an established top 15 player over the last few years,” said Djokovic.
“He was unfortunate today but he has plenty of time.”

Taking on one of the most promising future prospects of men’s tennis, Djokovic’s latest encounter was a match of two halves. Initially, he appeared as if he would suffer a shock loss to world No.13 before he managed to conjure up an emphatic comeback. Breaking Sinner’s spirit who was bidding to become only the third Italian man to reach a Wimbledon semi-final in history.

“We had two different matches. He was the better player for two sets. (Then) I went out for a toilet break, had a little pep talk (with myself) in the mirror,” the 20-time major winner revealed.
“Sometimes in these circumstances where not much is happening positively for you on the court in terms of tennis. These things are necessary – a little break and pep talk to try to recuperate.’
“I was fortunate to start well in the third set by breaking his serve and that gave me the confidence boost. I saw a bit of doubt in his game and my experience of these kinds of matches helped me.”

The first set was a roller-coaster encounter between the two tennis titans on Center Court. Reigning champion Djokovic started out guns blazing by winning seven points in a row before Sinner got onto the scoreboard after prevailing in a 17-shot rally. The top seed looked to be in full control until a double fault on break point enabled his rival to bounce back. Continuing to play some inspired tennis with blistering shot-making, a cross-court winner enabled the Italian to break once again and this time had the chance to serve the opener out. A task he passed with flying colors.

Continuing to take his game to Djokovic, Sinner appeared unfazed about trying to become the youngest men’s semi-finalist at SW19 since 2007. Producing powerful hitting from the baseline, the 20-year-old extended his lead two games into the second frame. A stunning backhand volley followed by a Djokovic error elevated him to a 2-1 advantage. Spurred on by the crowd, the unprecedented onslaught continued with the help of some costly errors from the Serbian. He sealed the double break with the help of a successful Hawk-Eye challenge before securing a two-set lead in his favor with the help of a 122mph service.

Facing a swift exit, Djokovic once again illustrated the fighting spirit that he is renowned for. Capitalizing on a blip in form from Sinner, he cruised through the third set to resurrect his chances. 

Steaming rolling his way into a decider, Djokovic continued his dominance during the fourth frame by winning four straight games. However, closing that set out was full of drama. First, Sinner suffered an injury scare after going over his ankle before continuing. Then Djokovic fended off a break point and squandered two set points before closing it out. 

A stunning sliding passing shot in the decider set Djokovic up with a chance to break and move to a game away from victory. Something he did with the help of a Sinner error which the Italian instantly regretted by putting both his hands on his head. After that mishit, Djokovic ended the clash with a love service game. 

“I’ve been blessed to play professional tennis for 20 years but nevertheless I go through those doubtful moments like everybody else. The inner fight is always the biggest fight. Once you win the fight the external circumstance is more likely to go in your favor. I knew I could turn this match around. I have done that a few times in grand slams.” Djokovic concluded.


 

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Why Rafael Nadal Faces His Biggest Test Yet

Tennis Hall of Famer Steve Flink joins UbiTennis to reflect on the highs and lows of day 8 of Wimbledon.

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Will the upcoming quarter-final be Rafael Nadal’s hardest match yet? How will Nick Kyrgios’ shoulder recover?

 

The second Monday at Wimbledon was one full of intrigue in the men’s draw. Whilst on the women’s side, Simona Halep was in impressive form against Paula Badosa but tennis commentator Flink explains why he thinks her upcoming clash with Amanda Anisimova will be tougher.

Alongside Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta, Flink also looks at Jannik Sinner’s chances of causing a huge upset against reigning champion Novak Djokovic. 

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WIMBLEDON: Rafael Nadal Coy Over New Injury Speculation

After the foot problems in Paris, there is a strong possibility the Spaniard could be experiencing another injury issue.

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image via twitter.com/atp

There are fresh concerns surrounding Rafael Nadal after he declined to go into the reason why he was wearing abdominal taping during his fourth round match at Wimbledon. 

 

The 22-time Grand Slam winner was seen wearing some kind of protection in the abdominal area after changing his t-shirt during one of the breaks. In recent weeks Nadal has been dealing with physical issues due to a long-term foot condition he has. At the French Open he revealed that he had to undergo injections in order for him to continue playing en route to winning the tournament for a 14th time.

Playing 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp, Nadal battled his way to a 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(6), win. Speaking to reporters after his latest win at The All England Club, the Spaniard sidestepped a question about a potential abdominal problem he could be experiencing. 

“I am a little bit tired of talking about my body. It’s not that I don’t want to answer your question, but at the same time sometimes I am tired of myself, all the issues that I am having. I prefer to not talk about that now,” he replied.
“I am in the middle of the tournament and I have to keep going. All respect for the rest of the opponents. I am just trying my best every single day. For the moment I am healthy enough to keep going and fight for the things that I want.”

Continuing to stay coy about his form and health, Nadal offered an alternative perspective when asked if he was nearing his best level once again. He has dropped just two sets in four matches played so far at Wimbledon which is his first grass-court event since 2019. 

“It’s always the same here. It’s not about how close I am to the level or not. I don’t know that. I can’t predict what can happen.” He said.
“But the positive thing is the first two matches haven’t been good. Then two days ago I played at a high level for the first time. And today most of the matches, again, at a very positive level.”

The straight sets scoreline failed to tell the true story of Nadal’s roller-coaster win on Center Court. Taking on Zandschulp, a player who burst onto the main scene last year by reaching the US Open quarter-finals as a qualifier, the 22-time major champion engaged in a match of two halves. Nadal looked on the verge of an easy victory after breaking once in the first set, twice in the second and storming to a 5-2 in the third. However, the Dutchman refused to go down without a fight by displaying his best tennis of the match to draw level. 

Now engaged in his first real test, Nadal was under intense pressure to close it out in three. If he didn’t there would have been an inevitable delay for the roof to come on due to poor light. If that occurred, there would be less than two hours of play left before the 11pm curfew began.

Nevertheless, Nadal didn’t need the roof as he squeezed through the tiebreaker. After squandering three consecutive match points, he prevailed on his fourth with the help of a lob that triggered Zandschulp to smash the ball out. 

Nadal is through to his 47th major quarter-final and is only the third man in the Open Era to do so at Wimbledon after celebrating his 36th birthday. In total, he has won 309 main draw matches at Grand Slam tournaments.

In the last eight, the Spaniard has a shot of revenge when he takes on Taylor Fritz who ended his 20-match winning streak earlier this year in Indian Wells. During that match, Nadal had a rib injury and he had beaten the American earlier that month in Mexico. 

“That last match (in Indian Wells) was zero because I had a stress fracture on my rib, and it was difficult to learn many things because the pain was terrible playing that match.” He said. 

As for Fritz, he believes their upcoming clash will be at a higher standard given the form both players are currently in. Fritz is currently on a eight-match winning streak after recently claiming the Eastbourne Open title. 

“It’s going to be a lot different match obviously. Indian Wells was kind of crazy with both of us being extremely beaten up before the final. This time I think we’ll get healthier versions of both of us, we’ll see.” Fritz previewed.

The question for nadal, is how healthy is the current version of him really is? Only time will tell. 

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