Nick Kyrgios Does The Job At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Nick Kyrgios Does The Job At US Open

30 aces and 65 winners drive the Aussie to his 201st win on the tour



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By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

Kyrgios didn’t play his most spectacular tennis to reach third round of the US Open for the fifth time in his career, but played a consistent match his way, pacing through his service games, not always focused on returns, flashing his talent now and then, and moving up a notch in key stages. Every time Bonzi got close to threatening, or took over the stage with a winner, Kyrgios never lost his bearings and responded immediately. 


In turn Bonzi succeeded in counterpunching the Aussie’s power and rallied at the same lightening speed, often prevailing. But for a shaky start he served effectively, constantly pressuring and eager to move forward. Most of all he was quick to seize his chances when he was returning. Not many players can boast breaking Kyrgios twice. Only his forehand let him down a little too often. 

“His level was really, really good. I was really, like, fortunate to get through in four set. I felt like he was reading my serve, he was hitting so many returns. It was one of those matches where you kind of survive,” Kyrgios said after his tight four set victory 76 64 46 64.

Bonzi kicked off with an ace but three unforced errors followed and gave break point to Kyrgios who timely converted it with his flagship backhand down the line.

Yet it wasn’t just plain sailing for Kyrgios. In the fourth game, after a double fault, he was spurred to overhurry and gifted three break points. He saved two but then Bonzi charged the net and put away the volley to break back. 

From then on the first set flew away at lightening speed. Kyrgios rushed through his service games and rallies were like in a videogame at the ultimate level. Bonzi held his serve with less panache but solidly. 

The set could not but be decided by a tiebreak. 

Bonzi got a minibreak to lead 3-1. Kyrgios immediately ripped it back with a bullying passing shot, then shifted to a higher gear: an unretrievable kick second serve, a forehand passing shot down the line in Sampras style, a winning backhand return down the line, a deep forehand return followed by a foray into the net, a winning first serve to close it out 7-3. The whole set had lasted just 49 minutes. 

The storyline didn’t change in the second set until the tenth game. Bonzi appeared to be comfortably on the way to hold serve, when at 40-15 he stumbled over his first double fault of the match. Three unforced errors, the last off his forehand, gave Kyrgios the break and the set, 64. 

Bonzi did not lose heart and went on with his game plan in the third set. Such determination was rewarded in the ninth game when he returned a 134 mph first serve and rallied till he elicited an unforced error from Kyrgios. On break point the Australian followed his second serve to the net but butchered the volley. He spat in disgust toward his box. But Bonzi had the break and soon after clasped the set with Kyrgios hitting a home run return into the stands.

Bonzi was close to turning the whole match around, when he broke Kyrgios again in the third game of the fourth set annihilating him with an inside out backhand passing shot.

A year ago Kyrgios would have likely thrown away such a match, enraptured by fury. Instead today his reaction was vibrant. On Bonzi’s serve he climbed 0-30 with huge forehands, then Bonzi missed a volley and conceded two break points. He saved the first with a serve but then wasn’t able to tame a vicious sliced return and Kyrgios bounced back! Now he was really on fire, hitting one ace after another. But once more Bonzi still held on. In the ninth game he placed a millimetric lob, then a smashing backhand down the line to earn three more break points. Now it really was a gripping contest. 

Kyrgios saved the first with a dropshot, the second with a flipped crosscourt forehand, and the third with his 30th ace. He barged on with a winning first serve winner, then a dropshot that Bonzi wasn’t able to shovel back over the net. 

“I just tried to play the most unpredictable, low-percentage tennis,” Kyrgios explained.  “I know if I play any other way, I’m probably going to get broken. Why wouldn’t I just try? It got me out of jail, that was a massive momentum switch.”

After such a hold, the flow was unstoppable. Kyrgios soared to match point in the next game and sealed victory taking pace off the rally, then firing his favourite backhand down the line.

“I know that I’m capable of going to a slam final now and I really want to achieve. This year’s been amazing in so many different ways. For my tennis, I kind of wanted to almost reinvent myself, get back to the top of the game where I know I belong.”

He looks forward to taking on J.J. Wolf in the third round. “He’s got a massive game. I love the way he plays tennis. Serves big and plays big. I’m excited. A young gun. I love playing these young guys. I never thought I’d say that. I’ve been on tour now for 10 years and I’m calling people young.”

Nice words from a wise guy, that’s Kyrgios.

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The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter



By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.


We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

13Carreno BustaSpain2495

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?


Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match



Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.


2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.

Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.

Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.

Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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ATP Finals: Fritz Close But No… Final, Djokovic Advances

Novak Djokovic beats Taylor Fritz in two tie-breaks and is just one win away from his sixth title at Nitto ATP Finals



Novak Djokovic - 2022 Nitto ATP Finals Turin (photo Twitter @atptour)

[7] N. Djokovic b. [8] T. Fritz 7-6(5) 7-6(5)


Even when physically not at his best, Novak Djokovic can still count on his incredible ability to play the most effective tennis in the most important moment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the opponent misses an easy shot while attempting to close out the set, but the pressure Djokovic puts on whomever is on the other side of the net makes even the easiest shot look a little bit harder.

The former world no. 1 has put together a clinical display of efficiency during the first semifinal of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin edging Taylor Fritz by two points in the tie-breaker of each set to reach his eighth finals in the end-of-year Championship.

It was not the best Djokovic, and it was not the best match: lots of errors on both sides, and a huge opportunity for Fritz to take the match to the distance when he served at 5-4 in the second set and then missed an easy backhand sitter to go a set-point up at 40-30, blaming an idiot spectator who indeed shouted in the middle of the point, when he really should have been able to put away that point blindfolded.

Fritz did not start the match in the best possible way: 10 unforced errors during the first five games, a break conceded at love at 2-2 and Djokovic appeared destined for a relatively quiet afternoon. But it was not going to be that easy: errors started flowing also on the Serbian side, and Fritz was able to equalize at 3-3. A tie-break was then needed to decide the winner of the first set, and the deciding point was a laser forehand down the line by Djokovic who swept point and set at 6-5 and headed off to the toilet for a comfort break after taking a one-set advantage.

But the break did not do him much good: unforced errors kept coming from the baseline, and Fritz blitzed 2-0 up with a break. At 4-3, the American wowed the Italian crowd with a magical backhand stop-volley to recover a service game where he found himself down 0-30, but when it was time to serve out the set, he missed that easy backhand we described earlier to give Djokovic another chance to close out a match in two sets.

And another chance is the last thing Djokovic should be gifted, although on a day like today, with Christmas time upon us, gift trading became the thing of the match. Two great points at 4-4 in the tie-break warmed the 12,000-strong crowd at Pala Alpitour to what could have possibly been a great end of the set, but Djokovic first earned a match point to be played on his serve with a good action from the baseline closed by a volley and then squandered it all with a very unusual unforced error on a routine backhand. But on his second match point, just a minute later, Fritz badly missed an inside-out forehand putting an end to the match and gifting Djokovic a chance to win his sixth title at the Nitto ATP Finals, the first in Turin.

On Sunday he will face either Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev: he has never lost to Ruud in three previous matches (3-0) and the only time he did not beat Rublev (2-1) was last spring in Belgrade in the final of the tournament organized by his family.

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