Teenager Holger Rune Stuns Tsitsipas On French Open Debut - UBITENNIS
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Teenager Holger Rune Stuns Tsitsipas On French Open Debut

Three years after winning the boys’ title at Roland Garros, Rune has recorded the biggest win of his career so far in Paris.

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Holger Rune has become the first Danish man in the Open Era to reach the quarter-finals of the French Open after knocking out last year’s finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.

 

19-year-old Rune, who is making only his third appearance in the main draw of a major, capitalizes on some lacklustre shot-making from his opponent to prevail 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, and record his second win over a top 10 player in his career.  A stunning achievement for a player who had never won a Grand Slam main draw match until this this event.

“I have an unbelievable feeling right now. I was so nervous at the end but the crowd was amazing for me during the whole match and the whole tournament,” Rune said during his on-court interview.

The teenager is the first male player from his country to reach the last eight of a major since Jan Leschly did so at the 1967 US Championships. Against Tsitsipas, the rising star hit a total of 43 winners against 31 unforced errors. He also broke the world No.4 five times in the match.

“I knew that if I was going to go away from my tactics against a player such as Tsitsipas I was going to lose for sure. So I told myself to keep moving and playing in the tough moments. It worked out so well at the end which has given me a huge confidence boost.” Rune commented.

Taking to the court Tsitsipas found himself instantly locked in a battle with the Dane. A rollercoaster-opener saw both players have their chances with various changes in momentum. The Greek was the first to strike as he worked his way to a 3-1 lead before being pegged back by a relentless Rune. With little disparity between the two, just a couple points provide critical to the outcome of the opener. Tied at 5-5, Rune broke for the first time with the help of a blistering forehand cross-court winner. Granting the teenager a chance to serve the set out. Twice Rune failed to convert a set point before he sealed the lead with a tentative smash at the net.

It is not the first time Tsitsipas has dropped a set at the tournament after having done so in his first two matches. He finally turned his fortunes around towards the end of the second set. The high intensity Rune had demonstrated vanished as the world No.40 hit two questionable drop shots followed by a duo of backhand unforced errors. Gifting Tsitsipas an easy break for 5-3 as he closed out the second frame by winning eight points in a row.

However, Tsitsipas’ revival was short-lived. Six games into the third set an error-stricken service game saw him hit a duo of double faults, as well as a forehand error, to hand the advantage back to Rune who moved ahead to a 4-2 lead. Meanwhile, Rune continued to weather the storm as he sealed the two-set lead by winning a 20-shot rally that concluded with yet another Tsitsipas mistake, this time it was from the backhand side.

Closing in on the surprise victory against his visibly emotionless opponent, Rune powered his way to a double break in the fourth frame to move to a game away from a place in the next round. Serving for the biggest win of his career, nerves started to take their toll as he lost nine points in a row. Despite the blip, he triumph on his first match point opportunity when a Tsitsipas shot landed beyond the baseline.

“It was a tactic to try to play as aggressively as possible because when Stefanos gets the shorter balls he attacks every ball and it’s really tough. So I had to play aggressive, take time away from him and I really liked playing the drop shots,” said Rune.

In the quarter-finals Rune will play Casper Ruud in what will be an all-Scandinavian battle. Something which has never occurred in the quarter-finals of the French Open men’s tournament in the Open Era. Ruud ousted Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, to continue what is his best-ever run in a Grand Slam.

Rune is the second teenager to reach the last eight of the French Open after Carlos Alcaraz. The last time two teenagers reached that stage of the tournament was back in 1994 when Hendrik Dreekmann and Andrei Medvedev did so.

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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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