Casper Ruud Overcomes Rune To Reach His First Major Semi-Final At French Open - UBITENNIS
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Casper Ruud Overcomes Rune To Reach His First Major Semi-Final At French Open

Though often overwhelmed, the Norwegian withstands Rune’s sparkling brilliancy and prevailled 6-1 4-6 7-6(2) 6-3




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By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

Can we not say that the last night session of Roland Garros 2022 staging the 19-year old Dane Holger Rune up against the 23-year old Norwegian Casper Ruud evoked the perfect script for a last episode of a Netflix series: a duel for the throne between two Vikings, the younger and the older, the bolder and the wiser, the extrovert and the quiet guy; both brandishing metal-alloy swords forged in dungeons, watched over in the boxes by their ambitious mentors, a mother and a father, in a nightly arena lit by dragons spitting fire.


As it often happens, it was the most experienced who ended up prevailing over the budding champion, at least in this early confrontation on the grand stage of a Major. The consistency of Ruud’s forehand, and his determination to run miles so as to fire it from any position yielded that extra margin, which may have appeared slighter on court than on the score, 6-1 4-6 7-6(2) 6-3. Rune displayed a wonderous backhand down the line, already one of the crackers on the tour, and proved to be endowed with a rare unpredictability. He has the capability of overturning a point at any moment, even when stretched to the utmost, thanks to his talent for generating speed when striking a ball just after rebound, like a table tennis shot.      

The first set flew away, Rune was betrayed by nerves and emotions. He lost his first two service games and wasn’t hitting through his shots. Rune pocketed it 6-1 in 33 minutes.

“I started great but then Holger fought back and raised his level. It became a really tough match. He’s become much more dangerous, much more unpredictable. He plays fearless, he goes for big shots and makes a lot of them. He makes It challenging for you.” Said Ruud. 

In the second set Rune was close to falling behind again when he faced two break points in the third game. He saved the first with an excellent serve and the second one with a low drop volley. He kept that service but lost the following one. When Ruud was up 40-0 with three chances for a 4-2 lead the match seemed to be taking an irrevocable twist. But suddenly Rune was striking with power and Ruud was cornered, his shots no longer hurting and landing just after the  service line. The Dane broke back and began to deploy more and more his fearless and often unpredictable game, striking Ruud’s balls while still rising and taking the driver’s seat in the rally. At 5-4 one of his gorgeous backhands down the line earned him three break and set points. He grabbed the first and equalized the set count.

The third set was the closest. It went with serve for the first six games. Both players chose to position far behind the baseline to return, which often resulted in hitting too short and allowing the server to come in and reap points with his forehand.

The first break point was for Ruud, who changed pace and lift to entice an unforced error and then took the break for a 4-3 lead, moving out wide on return and hitting an inside-in spinning forehand, deep and unretrievable.

But Rune didn’t give up and responded immediately by setting up breakpoints in the next game after playing crosscourt forehands which caught Ruud off balance. Ruud netted a backhand down the line and the Dane bounced back into the set.

Rune was well anticipating with his backhand down the line every time Ruud’s shots landed too short. But in the eleventh game he committed three unforced errors and had to save a break point with a serve and volley to hold on. 

The set fairly strode on to a deciding tiebreak. Rune missed a fatal dropshot and conceded a minibreak at 3-2. Ruud won a straining rally to lead 5-2 and with a backhand down and on the line he secured 4 set points. And grabbed the set with his favourite inside-out forehand.

In the fourth set it was Rune who ran the greater risks. In the fourth game he faced two break points, but scored four winners in a row and dug himself out of a first dangerous hole.

Though still constantly seeking creative aggression Rune’s game was oozing errors. Ruud had three further break points at 4-3. Rune didn’t flinch and hit 4 winners off his forehand. But a missed dropshot volley let Ruud back in and the Norwegian, less spectacular but consistent, engraved the break into his scoreboard.

At 5-3, serving for the match he was impeccable, resisting pressure and cunningly waiting for his chance to take over rallies. He deserved three match points and on the second he carried on pounding inside-out forehands till he closed with an inside-in on the line to reach his first semi-final at Roland Garros and in a Major. He will take on Marin Cilic.

“These are the matches you dream about playing,” he said. “Marin has been great all week and it’s going to be another tough match.”


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.




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.




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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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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