ATP Finals Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Semifinal Saturday



Novak Djokovic on Friday in Turin (

On Saturday in Turin, the singles and doubles semifinals will take place.  After an exhausting, three-hour dead rubber against Daniil Medvedev on Friday, what will five-time champion Novak Djokovic have left for his semifinal against Taylor Fritz?  The other singles semi sees Casper Ruud face Andrey Rublev.


And the doubles semifinals feature three of the best four teams of 2022.

Each day, this preview will analyze the most intriguing matchup, while highlighting the other matches on the schedule.  Saturday’s play begins at 11:30am local time.

Novak Djokovic (7) vs. Taylor Fritz (8) – Not Before 2:00pm

Having already qualified for this semifinal, Djokovic played for three hours and 11 minutes on Friday afternoon, becoming the third man this past week to defeat Daniil Medvedev in a third-set tiebreak.  After the second set, Novak appeared completely spent, his body even shaking from depletion.  Yet he found a way to remain undefeated on the week.

By contrast, Fritz did not play on Friday, and will be the far fresher player on Saturday.  In his ATP Finals debut, Fritz is 2-1, with his only loss coming at the hands of Ruud.  He defeated a red-hot Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday to secure his place in this semifinal.

Djokovic has dominated their rivalry, with a record of 5-0.  Four of those wins were in straight sets, while the other was a bizarre affair at last year’s Australian Open.  Novak won the first two sets, but then suffered an abdominal injury, and lost the next two.  The fifth set was played without fans, as they were forced to vacate Rod Laver Arena due to the COVID curfew at the time, with Djokovic taking the fifth 6-2 in an empty stadium.

Despite his grueling battle with Medvedev on Friday, Djokovic remains the favorite to remain undefeated this week, as well as against Fritz.  While these fast-playing courts suit Taylor’s playing style, and Novak has lost in the semifinals of this event the last two years, Djokovic has been playing extremely well this fall, and will likely reach his eighth championship match at the ATP Finals.

Other Notable Matches on Saturday:

Casper Ruud (3) vs. Andrey Rublev (6) – Both players went 2-1 in round robin play this past week.  Rublev leads their head-to-head 4-1, having claimed their first four meetings, three of which were on clay.  But their most recent encounter, a year ago at this same event, went to Ruud in a final-set tiebreak.

Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2) vs. Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski (1) – Ram and Salisbury are 3-0 to this stage, while Koolhof and Skupski are 2-1.  These teams met three times this season, with Ram and Salisbury holding a 2-1 edge, which includes a victory in the final of the US Open.

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara (6) – Mektic and Pavic went 3-0 this week, while Glasspool and Heliovaara went 2-1.  These teams met three times this season, all on grass.  All three matches went the distance, but all three eventually went to Mektic and Pavic.

Saturday’s full Order of Play is here.


Seb Korda Wins First Match Since Injury At French Open



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After what has been a rollercoaster past few months, Sebastian Korda has returned to the winner’s circle at the French Open. 


The 22-year-old started the year set to become one of the sports rising stars after reaching the final of the Adelaide International and then the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. However, he was forced to retire from his match against Karen Khachanov at Melbourne Park due to a wrist injury that ended up sidelining him from the Tour for weeks.

 “I went two, three months without touching a racquet, basically,” the American said of his injury woes in Paris on Sunday. “I even still had a little bit of pain in Madrid, and then Rome was the first tournament where I kind of had nothing, which was a really big positive for me. Now I have zero pain in my wrist.” 

Finally pain-free, Korda clinched the first win of his comeback at the French Open on Sunday by defeating Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. The player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of the Australian Open. It was a solid performance from the world No.20 who hit 52 winners and had an average first serve speed of 173 km/h. 

During his recent hiatus, the American used the opportunity to build on his physical development with the help of Jez Green. A highly experienced fitness coach who has previously worked with Andy Murray, Emma Raducanu and Dominic Thiem. 

“It was a tough period for me but a blessing in disguise. I had three, four months to really build the body and set a base that will basically be with me for the rest of my career.” Korda said of his work with Green. “I think that was one of the things I needed most was to kind of get the body right. The tennis I always had. It was just kind of getting the body right and getting ready for these long best-of-five matches to make deep runs.” 

It was at the French Open where Korda had his first major breakthrough. In 2020, when the tournament was held during the autumn due to Covid-19, he reached the fourth round on his debut. 

Korda will play Austria’s Sebastian Ofner in the second round.

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‘A Breath Of Fresh Air’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas’ High Praise For French Open Rival Alcaraz



Carlos Alcaraz’s rapid rise in the sport has left an impression on many, including his recent training partner Stefanos Tsitsipas.


The two top 10 stars held a practice session together at Roland Garros a day before this year’s tournament began. Alcaraz leads Tsitsipas 4-0 in their head-to-head and has only ever dropped three sets against him on the Tour. Whilst they are rivals on the court, there is a lot of admiration between them. This was highlighted by Tsitsipas following his 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7) win over Jiri Vesely in the first round on Sunday. 

“I had a practice session with Carlitos the other day and did throw in a “thank you” just randomly, and I don’t know if he understood that or not. I owe a lot to Carlitos because he’s such a breath of fresh air, the fact that he’s on the tour.” Tsitsipas said during his press conference.
“The fact that he’s so competitive and he’s always with a smile on his face, and almost so much charisma to him and so much positive energy that he distributes. I think that’s contributed a lot to his growth as a tennis player and his consistency too. He seems to be enjoying having fun.”

Despite being four years older than the Spaniard, Tsitsipas admits he has been inspired by his rival to make certain changes to how he approaches the sport. Currently ranked fifth in the world, he is yet to win a trophy this season. Although he finished runner-up at the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic and at the Barcelona Open to Alcaraz. 

“Last year during preseason I was, like, I want to apply that more into my game. Players focus maybe more on technical stuff and stuff that doesn’t focus on these aspects of the game,” he explained.
”I kind of admire him for who he is. I have the capacity of being that person. I truly believe that. That is also the reason that I’m just much more joyful and happy when playing this sport, due to him.”

Besides his high regard for the Spaniard, part of Tsitsipas must be secretly hoping Alcaraz will suffer an early exit in Paris. He is in contention for claiming the No.1 position but can only do so if he wins the title and Alcaraz loses before the third round and Daniil Medvedev loses before the quarter-finals. 

However, to even have a chance of winning his maiden slam Tsitsipas admits he needs to improve his game after saying he was ‘very inconsistent’ throughout his clash with Vesely. He will next play either former champion Stan Wawrinka or Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the second round. 

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Dan Evans Stands By Criticism Of British Tennis After French Open Exit



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Dan Evans says his recent remarks about the state of British tennis were driven by his own experiences and the difficulties young players face in the sport. 


The world No.24 took a swipe at the current state of the sport in his own country by agreeing that Emma Raducanu’s win at the 2021 US Open ‘papered over the cracks’ of his national federation. Evans told reporters last week he believes not enough is being done to encourage young players to play junior tennis. A comment that was contested by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) who says they are ‘making long-term progress.’ Earlier this year, Evans also hit out at what he believes is a culture of players prioritising rest over match play in a swipe at women’s tennis.

Reiterating his stance at the French Open on Sunday, the world No.24 voiced concerns that the elitist nature of tennis is harming those wanting to play from a working-class background. Evans crashed out of the first round of Roland Garros to Thanasi Kokkinakis who won 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. He has now lost his opening match at the Grand Slam in four out of the last five years. 

“I want younger children, working-class kids to get the support they deserve, and that’s why I voice my opinions,” said Evans. 
“In any other sport when people voice their opinions about a system, it goes forward, but in tennis, because we’re so elitist in England, it doesn’t get put forward. I’m doing it for working-class people like I was.’
“That’s why I say the things because no one ever just comes from nowhere. They come through in Britain. It’s always, yeah, he was good when he was young. Ten times out of ten they’re from a very nice area most likely.’
“I don’t think there’s a chance for people from working-class backgrounds to get into the sport and get a chance if their parents don’t have money.”

Watching Evans’ match against Kokkinakis was LTA performance director Michael Borne, as well as Davis Cup captain Leon Smith. The tennis star has also previously had verbal exchanges with Smith regarding his omission from doubles matches in the past. 

Whilst an outspoken figure, the 33-year-old insists that there is no malice in his words. 

“I’m just asking for things to be a bit different, more people to have a chance to get funded. That’s why I do it.” He explains. 
“It’s not personal. Everyone takes it personally. It’s not personal at all. It’s just why I do it is for that reason, and that’s what I believe in, and I’m allowed to do that, I guess.”

Evans is one of only three British players – male or female – to have secured a spot in the main draw of the French Open this year in singles. The other two are Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper. 

So far this season, he has won just eight out of 23 matches played with his best run being to the semi-finals of tournaments in Marrakech and Barcelona. The hope for the Birmingham-born player is that he will be able to turn his fortunes around on the grass. 

“I’ve got my own battles to deal with right now on the court. I’ve got to get my game in a spot where I’m able to compete at this level. I’ve been very poor in the big tournaments this year.” He concluded. 

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