Djokovic equals Sampras, edges closer to Federer and Nadal - UBITENNIS
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Djokovic equals Sampras, edges closer to Federer and Nadal

If Djokovic were to overtake Nadal and Federer without playing in Australia or in the US it would be hard to deny him the GOAT.



Novak Djokovic (@Wimbledon - Twitter)

His seventh triumph in the championships, the fourth in a row, stems from his class, but also from his greater mental solidity. He lost 6 sets, but he always dominated the final sets. it’s all about the points he will no longer have. It’s worth celebrating the resurrection of Kyrgios. But he won’t be able to count on the 1200 ATP points.


The best returner in history of tennis struggled against the best service on the tour. In fact he only succeeded in returning 42 of the 112 services (just 38%, counting both first and second serve) of Nick Kyrgios, who constantly served at a speed between 210 at 220 kph.

Nevertheless Novak Djokovic also in his eighth final on the Centre Court of Wimbledon – he has no longer lost there since 2013 when he was defeated by Andy Murray, first Brit to lift the Wimbledon crown after Fred Perry’s triplet (1936-1938) – was so solid in his service games (he just conceded one break, in the first set with his usual diesel start) that he triumphed in his fourth back to back Wimbledon and his 7th overall (2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022) just like his idol Pete Sampras who won here seven times.

Nole always recalls seeing for tennis, Sampras and Wimbledon the first time in 1992. He’s getting the year wrong though: actually that year the tournament was won by Andre Agassi who defeated Goran Ivanisevic in a five set thriller. Sampras won his first Wimbledon title in 1993.

Yet it is definitely true that Novak asked his parents, who were running a small resort in the snowy Serbian mountains, to buy him a racket, his first racket.

That kid has gone a long way. His majors are now 21, 7 more than Sampras, One more than Federer, one less than Nadal. But the latter will be able to play the US Open whereas he likely won’t be able to.

I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or giving an exemption. Goran and I still have not spoken about the schedule. We have to sit down and see what the news are. I’m not going after points here and there. I’ll focus on Majors, on the ATP Masters 1000 I can play. I may play Laver Cup. Davis Cup is coming as well. I love playing for my country. My manager has told me that as I have won a major, being ranked in the top 20 will be enough to be able to take part in the ATP Finals in Turin. Those are the big, let’s say, tournaments that I have right now in my mind.

Nole has lost his 2000 points he earned at Wimbledon 2021 – I’ll never cease to believe that the decision to remove the points from Wimbledon 2022 was a wrong move, since it undermines the credibility of the ATP rankings – and he’s also going to lose the 1200 points he collected in the US Open 2021 final which he lost to Medvedev. Lucky for him, his decision, one year ago, to play at the Olympic Games in Tokyo rather than at the Canadian Open and Cincinnati comes as a silver lining since he won’t be dropping the points he would have surely earned if he had played the two ATP Masters 1000 on the road to the US Open.

He will be seventh in the ATP Rankings this week and if he ends up not playing until after the US Open, he will have only 3570 points left, which may not be enough to grant him a place in the top 10.

 Djokovic out of the top 10 sounds incongruous, unreal. Wrong. They may say it is his fault due to the fact that he refused to get vaccinated, but it still sounds unconvincing.

But that’s that. in this moment what counts is that he has won another Wimbledon, that he is just one behind Nadal, and that he proved to be a notch above all the other players in the last sets of every match he played.

Throughout the tournament he lost more sets than usual: one against Kwon, Van Rijthoven, Norrie, Kyrgios, and two against Sinner. The Italian is the only player who can boast he clinched two sets, the first two. The only player who succeeded in coming back from two sets to one in a major against Djokovic and winning the match was Istomin at the Australian Open 2017. But that was Djokovic’s worst year, the year of his crisis, of the guru, and of his first split with Vajda…

In the final Kyrgios proved he could be even more dangerous because in the second set, after losing his service in the second game, if he had managed to convert one of the 4 break points he earned, three of which were consecutive when Djokovic was serving the set out at 5-3, the set would likely have been decided by a tiebreak, just like the fourth. And a tiebreak with Kyrgios is never a piece of cake.

The point is that Kyrgios fell short in the key moments of the match. In the one we just mentioned he came up with at least one dismaying unforced error, in the third set, at 4-4, he squandered a 40-0 lead, which he had built up with his 21st and 22nd ace, by allowing mistakes to pour in and double-faulting. He just started ranting against his team when he only had himself to blame.

He also had an outburst against a lady sitting in the first row, claiming she had disturbed him between the first and second serve (“She’s had about 700 drinks”), he received a warning for “audible obscenity” while he was blabbering against his team in his player box as well as arguing with the umpire, leaving young Prince George shocked. Even if Kyrgios is the tweener world champion – never before in a Major had we seen two in a row, a passing shot which caught Djokovic by surprise, and a lob which didn’t – he isn’t stronger than the Serbian in terms of mental solidity

In the long rallies, but for a few fireworks of his, it was Djokovic who held the upper hand and prevailed, also thanks to his formidable backhand dropshots which Kyrgios never really got to anticipate or run down, repeatedly tumbling into the net.

When Djokovic put up resistance Nick imploded. Full credit must be given to the Aussie who hung on more than was expected, never giving in, also in the fourth set, after botching up his 40-0 lead in the nineth game. He still lacks the mental resilience which is needed when winning points gets tougher. He immediately flies into a gale of abusive words.

He served 30 aces and only Roger Federer in 2014 and 2019 had served more than 20 aces (but over 5 sets) against the best returner in the world: on those occasions too Novak came out a winner.

Indeed it was the better player who won. Scoring points that get the audience   on their feet isn’t enough. Neither can pulling rabbits out of the hat do the whole job. Continuity, solidity, relentless and bombproof concentration – and Kyrgios really did fire cannonball serves (“At times it was frustrating not being able to hit returns…”), confidence to emerge unharmed from the trickiest situations. Nevertheless, the tennis world is hugely benefited by the resurrection of Kyrgios, a tennis player who has been bestowed with an immense talent, as well as – unfortunately, with a marked rudeness. After his breakthrough in 2014 he had disappeared from the radars and no longer seemed able to feature in the final stages of the major events. I’m delighted he’s back once more after 8 years. Kyrgios too would have enjoyed those 1200 points he can’t earn. Another ATP boomerang.

Theres no need for me to explain to Ubitennis readers why Novak Djokovic is such a phenomenon, an outstanding champion. And about his future…well, I’m convinced we are going to see him play in the ATP Finals in Turin because he’ll surely reap enough points to secure a position in the top 20.

I’m also convinced that, considering his extraordinary athletic condition and his focus on the slightest details in order to preserve it, his 21st major will not be the last. Is Nada going to win more? I don’t know. But from now on Rafa will have to be on the watch, and above all overcome his recurring physical issues.

Novak is only to be hindered by his stubbornness in refusing any vaccine which may come up. However it is certain that as far as the famous GOAT debate is concerned, if Nole were to succeed in winning more majors than Nadal without playing either in Australia or in the US, this year and next year, I feel that no one could deny his right to claim such acronym.


Miami Open Daily Preview: Alcaraz and Sinner Meet Again in the Semifinals



Carlos Alcaraz two weeks ago at Indian Wells (

Both ATP semifinals will be played on Friday, as well as the second WTA semifinal.


For the third consecutive big event in the United States (US Open, Indian Wells, Miami), Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner will collide.  At the US Open, they played an epic five-hour five-setter that went into the early hours of the morning.  At Indian Wells, they contested a high-quality semifinal.  Both of those matches went to Alcaraz.  Will he prevail again on Friday?

And are we on the verge of a rematch from the Indian Wells final between Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev?  Fellow Russian Karen Khachanov will be Medvedev’s opposition on Friday.  And in the remaining WTA singles semifinal, Petra Kvitova plays Sorana Cirstea for the right to face Elena Rybakina in Saturday’s championship match.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Friday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.

Daniil Medvedev (4) vs. Karen Khachanov (14) – 1:00pm on Stadium

Medvedev is now 27-3 this season, and has claimed 22 matches within the past seven weeks alone.  Daniil has easily advanced to this semifinal, averaging just over an hour on court across his three matches thus far.  He is vying for his fifth final in as many tournaments.

Khachanov is 13-5 on the year, and this is his third significant hard court semifinal since last summer.  At the US Open, he defeated both Pablo Carreno Busta and Nick Kyrgios in five sets to reach the semis.  At the Australian Open, he beat both Frances Tiafoe and Sebastian Korda to advance to this stage.  And this week, he took out both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Francisco Cerundolo, who was a Miami semifinalist a year ago.

Medvedev leads their head-to-head 3-1, which includes a straight-set victory at the beginning of this season in Adelaide.  And based on his current run on hard courts, I like Daniil to achieve his first final in Miami.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Jannik Sinner (10) – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium

Alcaraz is 18-1 in 2023, while Sinner is 20-4.  Neither has dropped a set this fortnight, so both are feeling fully fresh and quite confident heading into this blockbuster matchup.

Overall Carlitos is 3-2 against Jannik, and 3-0 on hard courts.  Sinner’s two victories have come on grass (Wimbledon) and clay (Umag).  Since holding a match point against Alcaraz in the fourth set of last summer’s US Open quarterfinal, and failing to convert, the Italian has lost four straight sets to the Spaniard.

Both men have made previous appearances in the Miami final, with Sinner losing to Hubert Hurkacz in 2021, and Alcaraz defeating Casper Ruud in 2022.  Carlitos needs to defend his title in order to maintain his No.1 ranking.  And considering how well he’s played since returning to the tour in February, I favor Alcaraz to eliminate Sinner again on Friday.

Other Notable Matches on Friday:

Petra Kvitova (15) vs. Sorana Cirstea – Kvitova has now advanced to the quarterfinals or better at the last three WTA 1000 tournaments held in the United States.  Cirstea has been playing some of the best tennis of her career since hiring Thomash Johansson as her coach.  Petra leads their head-to-head 6-4, which dates all the way back to 2008.  They met twice on hard courts in 2022, and split those two encounters.

Storm Hunter and Elise Mertens (6) vs. Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula (2) – This is a quarterfinal, and the winners will come back later in the day to face Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez in the semifinals.

Magda Linette and Bernarda Pera vs. Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend – This is a semifinal.  Prior to this event, Linette and Pera had not teamed up since last year’s Wimbledon.  This is only Fernandez and Townsend’s second tournament as a team.

Friday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Elena Rybakina Plays Jessica Pegula in the Semifinals



Elena Rybakina two weeks ago at Indian Wells (

Due to rain on Wednesday, only one WTA semifinal will be played on Thursday.


Elena Rybakina is just two wins away from completing the “Sunshine Double,” which is winning both Indian Wells and Miami.  But in Thursday’s WTA semifinal, American No.1 Jessica Pegula stands in her way.  The other semifinal is still to be determined, and will not be played until Friday, as Petra Kvitova and Ekaterina Alexandrova will contest their rain-delayed quarterfinal on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the ATP quarterfinals will be completed on Thursday.  Indian Wells finalist Daniil Medvedev faces American Chris Eubanks, who has been the breakout story of this tournament thus far.  Also, Karen Khachanov takes on Francisco Cerundolo, who is vying for his second consecutive semifinal in Miami.  And delayed from Wednesday night, Carlos Alcaraz battles Taylor Fritz in another ATP quarterfinal.

You can find a preview of the Alcaraz/Fritz and Kvitova/Alexandrova quarterfinals in yesterday’s daily preview here.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Thursday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.

Chris Eubanks (Q) vs. Daniil Medvedev (4) – 1:00pm on Stadium

Medvedev leads the ATP with 26 wins this season, as well as with three titles.  Daniil has not dropped a set to this stage, though he’s only played two matches thus far due to a walkover earlier this week.

Eubanks has already won six matches this fortnight after coming through qualifying.  And the 26-year-old achieved a career goal of breaking into the top 100 with this quarterfinal run.  Chris became emotional on-court after clinching that feat on Monday, and followed it up with another upset the next day, over Adrian Mannarino.  The American is projected to become ranked 85th in the world on Monday, but a win on Thursday would propel him into the top 60.

In their first career meeting, of course the self-proclaimed “hard court specialist” Medvedev is a strong favorite.  But I’m quite interested to see how Eubanks performs in the biggest match of his career.  During a rain delay on Monday, Frances Tiafoe provided Eubanks with some advice in the locker room, which Chris credited with helping him come back in the second-set tiebreak once play resumed.  He’s played more freely since that comeback, and Eubanks may feel as if he has nothing to lose on Thursday.

Elena Rybakina (10) vs. Jessica Pegula (3) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium

Rybakina is 20-4 this season, and is currently on a 10-match win streak.  If her 2,000 points from winning Wimbledon last summer counted, she’d currently be ranked third in the world.  Elena easily dispatched of Martina Trevisan in the last round.

Pegula is 19-5 on the year, and 10-3 in Miami.  This is her second consecutive semifinal at this event, and she’s the No.3 player in the world without Rybakina’s Wimbledon points counting.  She saved multiple match points to come back and defeat Anastasia Potapova during Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

Pegula is 2-0 against Rybakina, with both matches taking place on hard courts during 2022.  A year ago at this same tournament, Jess prevailed in straight sets.  And last fall in Guadalajara, Pegula outlasted Rybakina in a final-set tiebreak, another match in which the American saved multiple match points.  As confident as Elena currently is, with her big serve and groundstrokes dictating play, it’s hard not to favor the reigning Wimbledon champ.  But based on their recent history, as well as Pegula’s rising confidence after saving match points in the last round, I give Jess the slight edge in Thursday’s semifinals on home soil.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Francisco Cerundolo (25) vs. Karen Khachanov (14) – Cerundolo was in danger of falling out of the top 40 with an early loss in Miami, defending the best result of his career at this level, but has impressed by returning to the quarterfinals, defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime on the way.  Khachanov upset Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last round, and is looking to reach his first Masters semifinal since 2019.  Last summer in Canada, Karen defeated Francisco in three sets.

Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Miami Open Daily Preview: Indian Wells Champs Carlos Alcaraz and Taylor Fritz Collide



Carlos Alcaraz two Sundays ago at Indian Wells (

On Wednesday in Miami, 2023 Indian Wells champion Carlos Alcaraz faces 2022 champ Taylor Fritz for the first time.


Alcaraz is just three wins away from defending his Miami title, which he needs to do in order to remain World No.1.  Wednesday’s other ATP quarterfinal sees Indian Wells semifinalist Jannik Sinner take on Emil Ruusuvuori, who is the first Finnish quarterfinalist at a Masters 1000 tournament in a decade.

In the WTA singles draw, Aryna Sabalenka and Petra Kvitova are one round away from a big-hitting semifinal.  But first, they must get past Sorana Cirstea and Ekaterina Alexandrova, respectively.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play gets underway at 1:00pm local time.

Ekaterina Alexandrova (18) vs. Petra Kvitova (15) – Not Before 7:00pm on Stadium

Kvitova is 14-5 this season, and has now reached the quarterfinals of both Indian Wells and Miami this month.  Petra has also now advanced to the fourth round or better of this event for the fifth straight time, and has not dropped a set this fortnight.

Alexandrova had a losing record this year before arriving in Miami.  She defeated Belinda Bencic two rounds ago, and advanced in the last round after Bianca Andreescu’s upsetting ankle injury.  This is Ekaterina’s second WTA 1000 quarterfinal, after first achieving that feat last year in Madrid, when she advanced to the semifinals.

Their only previous encounter occurred three years ago at the Australian Open, when Kvitova comfortably prevailed 6-1, 6-2.  Ekaterina does not possess the same offensive weaponry of Petra, so on a hard court, the two-time Wimbledon champion is a considerable favorite to win again on Wednesday.

Carlos Alcaraz (1) vs. Taylor Fritz (9) – Not Before 8:30pm on Stadium

Alcaraz is 17-1 on the season, despite missing all of January due to injury.  His only loss came to Cam Norrie in the final of Rio, a match in which Carlitos reaggravated his leg injury.  He’s yet to drop a set during this tournament.

Fritz is 20-5 in 2023, and has now reached the quarterfinals or better at his last five events.  This is Taylor’s first quarterfinal in Miami, and his third consecutive quarterfinal as Masters 1000 events in North America.  Like Alcaraz, he’s also yet to lose a set in Miami, but he’s 1-4 in his last five Masters quarterfinals.

This is the first career meeting between the World No.1 and the American No.1.  Fritz certainly has the firepower to threaten Alcaraz on this day.  But based on Carlitos’ recent sharp form, the 19-year-old is the favorite to advance to the semifinals.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Sorana Cirstea vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Sabalenka is now a stellar 20-2 on the year, and has allowed her opponents this past week an average of just 2.5 games per set.  Cirstea is having an excellent March, having advanced to her second consecutive WTA 1000 quarterfinal, a stage she hadn’t reached since 2017.  This is another first-time career meeting.

Emil Ruusuvuori vs. Jannik Sinner (10) – Sinner is vying for his second consecutive Masters semifinal, and has not dropped a set thus far in Miami.  This is Ruuuvuori’s maiden Masters 1000 quarterfinal, at the only Masters event where he had ever previously advanced beyond the third round.  Jannik is 4-0 against Emil, with all of those wins in straight sets, except a match in Miami a year ago that went to a third-set tiebreak, and saw Sinner save three match points.

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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