A Glamorous Murray Back In A Semi-final On Grass After Six Years - UBITENNIS
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A Glamorous Murray Back In A Semi-final On Grass After Six Years

In Stuttgart Murray defeats Tsitsipas 7-6 6-3 and continues his run

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Andy Murray - Stuttgart 2022 (photo Twitter @atptour)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

Everybody remembers the last clash between Murray and Tsitsipas at the last US Open, with Murray leading by 2 sets to 1, before losing in five, and Tsitsipas’s famous toilet breaks. So close to victory nine months ago, now Murray is enjoying the form he was relishing and in the quarter-final of the Boss Open in Stuttgart he took advantage of the surface where he is definitely at ease and secured his first win, 7-6 6-3, against a top 5 since his comeback.  Tsitsipas is still trying to find the key to grass. And for one set he had found it: top-class serving, slicing his backhands while waiting for a chance to overturn the rally and start pounding forehands, always eager to come forward and exhibit his net skills. He elected to chip first serve returns and to frequently pounce on second serves. But after losing a very tight first set, and once his first serve let him down in the second set,  there was no match.

He played unbelievably well in the first set, Murray said. I felt I had very few chances when I was returning. When he was creating opportunities on my serve, I stayed strong. I played a really solid tiebreak. In the second set I served well. His serve dropped a little bit and once I was in the rallies, I felt like I was dictating the points. This surface really suits my game style. I’m able to use my strengths on this court.

The first set was dominated by serve. Tsitsipas conceded just one point in his first three service games.  

In the seventh game Murray was able to rally, and earned a break point, but Tsitsipas hit a winning serve and two aces to hold.

Murray in turn faced a set point while serving in the eleventh game and miraculously clinched the point by coming up with a half volley backhand passing shot hit on the very baseline.   

The tiebreak went hand in hand till the seventh point, when Murray returned a first service and his following backhand hit the top of the net and cheekily dropped over. Tsitsipas dashed forward in vain.

An ace and an excellent first serve did the job and Murray won the first set scoring fewer points than his opponent.

In the second set Murray played an outstanding sixth game where he hit a forehand winner down the line and two backhand passing shots to rip the Greeks’ serve.

I was kind of defending all the point. It was quite far behind the baseline but I saw his shot early, got across there, used a lot of the left hand to get the angle, That turned the match, Murray said.

He had two match points in the 8th game, which Tsitsipas saved with his last service fireworks, but Murray hit two forehand winners to close the match in his following service game.

He will face Nick Kyrgios in the semi-final in what will surely be a groovy match between two of the greatest grass artists on the tour.

The Australian edged past Marton Fucsovics, who was forced to withdraw in the second set. Kyrgios had won the first set at the tiebreak, when he eventually found some focus, after a loose start. I just felt like serving. I didn’t feel like running or anything. He explained. I know I can win most of my matches if I serve well, especially on grass, and make a couple of returns here and there.

He looks forward to taking on Andy Murray. Andy is one of the closest friends I have on tour. It’s good to see him back and competing at this level. He’s one of the greatest of all time. I’m excited. I know he’s going to be focused and I’m sure he knows what he expects, the unexpected, tomorrow. It’s going to be fun.

The second semi-final of the Stuttgart Boss Open will feature Oscar Otte, who didn’t even step out on court yesterday due to Benjamin Bonzi’s withdrawal, and Matteo Berrettini. The former Wimbledon runner-up defeated fellow countryman Lorenzo Sonego 6-3 4-6 6-4 and is on the way back to his best form, after missing from the tour for three months after his hand surgery.      

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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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