Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas Sets Khachanov Semi-Final - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas Sets Khachanov Semi-Final

Stefanos Tsitsipas is into his fourth Australian Open semi-final in five years.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Stefanos Tsitsipas is into his fourth Australian Open semi-final in five years after a 6-3 7-6(2) 6-4 victory over Jiri Lehecka.

 

Tsitsipas produced some really good tennis as he neutralised the power of Lehecka to seal a straight sets victory.

The Czech Republican produced a solid level but not enough to trouble the third seed.

Tsitsipas will play his fourth semi-final in five years against Karen Khachanov, who defeated Sebastian Korda earlier in the day.

The Greek made his intentions clear early into the contest as he secured a long break of serve and secured a 2-0 love lead with some brutal baseline hitting.

Tsitsipas continued the momentum into the rest of the set as he refused to let Lehecka settle into the match.

Lehecka, who had already knocked out Borna Coric, Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime, eventually found rhythm on serve and got on the board in the opening set.

However at that point it was too late as Tsitsipas continued to storm through his service games as he secured the opening set in 37 minutes.

In the second set, a much higher level was produced from Lehecka who cruised through his opening service game and was starting to grind out the big points.

Tsitsipas was forced into some bold shot-making in the fourth game as he was forced to save five break points as he held for 2-2.

A true test of Tsitsipas’ mentality was about to be shown as Lehecka had gained confidence from the baseline as well as finishing points at the net.

The world number 71 showed the type of tennis that took him to a first Grand Slam quarter-final as he took the match to Tsitsipas.

However the Greek upped his level of play as in the tiebreak he was dominated through the tiebreak as he stormed to a 4-0 lead.

Tsitsipas never really let go of the lead as more clean serving saw him close out the tiebreak 7-2 and take a two set lead.

The third set saw both players maintain a high level of consistency with neither player giving anything away.

Once again it was Tsitsipas’ serve who was tested first with the Czech Republican going for broke in the seventh game and being 0-40 up on the Greek’s serve.

However Tsitsipas was too strong on serve as he closed out the 4-3 lead. Then there was an incident where the world number four was close from being defaulted after being close to hitting a ball-kid.

In the end Tsitsipas kept his emotions and broke on his first opportunity to seal the win and a place in the last four.

Next for Tsitsipas will be Karen Khachanov and the Greek will look to make his first Australian Open final in four attempts.

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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more

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After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10

 

By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

PositionPlayerCountryPts+/-
1DjokovicSerbia117951
2AlcarazSpain8535-1
3MedvedevRussia7280
4RuneDenmark4710 
5TsitsipasGreece46152
6RublevRussia45152
7SinnerItaly4465-1
8FritzUSA39551
9RuudNorway3560-4
10ZverevGermany30302
11TiafoeUSA2690-1
12de MinaurAustralia26851
13PaulUSA26601
14Auger-AliassimeCanada23401
15KhachanovRussia2135-4
16HurkaczPoland20351
17NorrieGB1985-1
18MusettiItaly1925 
19SheltonUSA173528
20DimitrovBulgaria1735-1

A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.

ATP NITTO FINALS

From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.

RankPlayerCountryPts+/-
1DjokovicSerbia89451
2AlcarazSpagna8175-1
3MedvedevRussia6590 
4SinnerItalia4365 
5RublevRussia36401
6TsitsipasGrecia3570-1
7RuneDenmark3055 
8ZverevGermania3030 
9FritzUSA3010 
10RuudNorway2625 

Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.

ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS

The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
1AlcarazSpain817520032
2RuneDenmark305520034
3SheltonUSA1455200219
4MusettiItaly1300200218
5FilsFrance953200444
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
7StrickerSwitzerland576200290
8MichelsenUSA4922004117
9MedjedovicSerbia4852003121
10CazauxFrance4552002130
11CobolliItaly4052002132
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.

BEST RANKING

Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

PlayerPositionCountryProgress
Shelton19USA28
Jarry22Chile3
Baez28Argentina4
Fils44France4
Arnaldi47Italy14
Altmaier49Germany4
O’Connell53Australia16
Seyboth Wild76Brazil30
Gojo77Croatia28
Watanuki78Japan7
Mmoh81USA8
Hijkata83Australia27
Stricker90Switzerland38

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open

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Love him, or hate him. But respect him.

 

No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.

DJOKOVIC WENT ONE STEP FURTHER

Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.

A FOURTH AND 24TH TITLE, AND A 24 TRIBUTE

At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.

THREE POINTS MAY HAVE BEEN DECISIVE

Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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Alcaraz Fell Victim To Unbeatable Medvedev

Carlos Alcaraz was no match for Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semi-finals.

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A star had to fall. There was no other way.

 

This time, Carlos Alcaraz was the victim. Daniil Medvedev was unbeatable.

The 6-6 Russian was everywhere, playing almost perfect tennis in a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alcaraz.

So, one former champion went down while one advanced to Sunday’s final at the U.S. Open.

And then there was Novak Djokovic, another former champion headed for the title match.

U.S. OPEN WAS THE BIG WINNER FRIDAY

The U.S. Open couldn’t lose once Djokovic dominated young American Ben Shelton, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Djokovic appeared to be content with just winning while getting the preliminaries over with. He seemed to be a little miffed by Shelton’s cockiness. There were no hugs or embraces when the match ended. Just a handshake.

Shelton has huge potential, but it’s going to take some time before he’s ready to join the likes of Djokovic, Medvedev and Alcaraz. He’s a better athlete than he is tennis player.

Novak is ready to go for a record 24th Grand Slam title.

Believe it or not, Medvedev will be playing in his fifth Grand Slam final.

Sunday should be a great day in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with two former champs, Djokovic and Medvedev, going against each other.

CAN COCO HIT WITH SABALENKA

The women’s final will be interesting. Can Coco Gauff compete with Aryna Sabalenka?

Sabalenka looked helpless against Madison Keys’ big strokes and serves in the first set of their semifinal on Thursday.

Sabalenka couldn’t win even one game in that set. She looked helpless.

But she obviously felt all along that she could beat Keys anytime she wanted. Or why else would the powerful Sabalenka go for broke on almost every shot? And it almost cost her.

Amazingly, Sabalenka waited almost to the final moments to decide to play within her game and stop the wildness.

Once Sabalenka decided to settle down and play to win, Keys went just the opposite way, similarly to her one-sided loss to Sloane Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open final.

Keys appeared ready to win this time as she held a 6-0, 5-4 advantage over new world’s No. 1 Sabalenka, who seemed to be stumbling all over the court as she repeatedly hit wild shots in every direction.

Just like that, everything changed. Sabalenka started hitting winners everywhere as Keys reversed roles with Sabalenka. Not only did Sabalenka win the second set while dropping just one point in a tiebreaker, she stormed through a decisive 10-point third-set tiebreaker to win the match.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.

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