ANALYSIS Of Jannik Sinner Vs Daniil Medvedev: There Is Still Something Missing In Sinner's Serve - UBITENNIS
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ANALYSIS Of Jannik Sinner Vs Daniil Medvedev: There Is Still Something Missing In Sinner’s Serve

Given his recent success in Montpellier, Ubitennis takes a close look at Jannik Sinner’s match against Dnaiil Medvedev in the final of the Rotterdam Open last Sunday. The Italian was defeated by Medvedev who shift his gear up and knocked Sinner down.

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Jannik Sinner (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Federico Bertelli

Sunday’s match was a sort of maturity test for the Italian player, who was beaten but showed that he is on the right track. The problem, however, is that overthrowing a top 5 player who plays at his best, is still a tall order.

General overview: once again, we take this opportunity to present our own elaboration of the main dimensions of analysis regarding service and return:

1st_in – percentage of first serves in

1st_won – percentage of points won on first serves

2nd_won – percentage of points won on second serves

Bp_saved – percentage of break points saved

Bp_converted – percentage of break points converted

1st_ret_won – percentage of points won on return of opponent’s first serve

2nd_ret_won – percentage of points won on return of opponent’s second serve

Pt_won – percentage of total points won

Ret_won – percentage of points won on return Srv_won – percentage of points won on serve

The advantage of this visualization is that it allows us to immediately see the dominance of one player over the other for the various dimensions of analysis. What we see first and foremost is how much of the difference was made by Medvedev’s ability to increase the percentage of first serves in after the first set. At this level, a gap of more than 12% in first serves in is a considerable handicap, so hats off to Medvedev for shifting a couple of gears in his game. It is interesting to note that Jannik was able to match Medvedev’s performance on second serves; in fact, this is an extremely comforting data point considering the quality of the Russian player’s rallies and the fact that the match often played out in extended rallies. Of course, this is a big improvement for Sinner compared to last Sunday’s match against Cressy.

Service directions: based on the charting provided at the end of the article, we have graphically represented the serving choices of the two players:

The graphs can be read as follows: the blue arrows represent the directions of serves from the even court side (with the players serving from right to left). The yellow arrows represent the directions of serves from the odd court side (with the players serving from left to right). The thickness of the arrow visually indicates how much a certain direction was chosen over the other. The values are expressed in percentage, with the service area divided into 6 zones:

Services on the deuce side
    Wide serves
    Body serves
    T Serves 
Services on the advantage side
    Wide serves
    Body serves
    T Serves 

With reference to the choices on the first serve, we have fairly similar predictions, except for the distribution of the wide serve on the even side. In this case, Medvedev had a greater intent in seeking the open angle.

On the second serve, Sinner’s choice was mainly to go for a kick serve with a central bounce, with the aim of giving Medvedev few angles to respond with. On his part, the Russian favoured a greater search for the outer angles in his second serve. In terms of the efficiency of their choices, we can see that Sinner could have favoured the first serve going wide on the even side more, while in general, he had difficulty taking Medvedev out of position on the advantage side. In this situation, the Russian was very good at handling Sinner’s outer serves and starting long exchanges. On the other hand, Medvedev was able to construct advantageous situations on his first serve, often using variations of serves to the centre and to the wide side.

Return performance: Both players were extremely conservative, as they rarely tried to enter aggressively on the opponent’s second serve. In particular, when Medvedev served a second serve, Sinner was aggressive on only 12% of occasions and he won the point in all those instances. The problem for the Italian was that Medvedev’s second serves with less pace were really few, so the window of opportunity was rather slim. However, as the match progressed and with the increasing pressure imposed by the Moscow native, a solution could have been to try going for outright winners with more aggressive returns. This could be a key to Jannik’s future development, the ability to attack his opponent’s second serve. On the other hand, Medvedev always positioned himself calmly at the back of the court, grinding out points and minimizing Sinner’s chances to hit winning serves.

The graphic of the Russian’s position in response, both on the first and second serve, is particularly telling in this regard:

Sinner, on the other hand, had a more proactive approach, both on the first and second serve, but unfortunately, as we have seen, it did not translate into a greater ability to take control of the point from the return.

Length of rallies: it’s worth noting how this was a particularly intense match for indoor standards; compared to a match like last week’s between Cressy and Sinner, in which the prevalence of short rallies was clear, Sunday saw a completely different context:

The distribution is quite clear: Sinner was able to keep up with Medvedev in extended rallies, which is not at all obvious against a player of such tactical and physical skills as Medvedev. However, the Russian was able to demonstrate greater efficiency on his first serve, which allowed him to slam the door in Sinner’s face. Particularly emblematic was the sixth game of the second set, where Sinner found himself in the rare situation of having three consecutive break points, but Medvedev was able to produce a series of six consecutive first serves, which allowed him to dig himself out of the hole.

Conclusions: The big difference was made by Medvedev’s ability to elevate his quality on serve, a weapon that Sinner still does not possess at the same level. Or rather, Sinner’s serve works, but not yet at the level of the world tennis elite; and having the possibility to have a greater impact and close points more quickly in the long run can prove to be a determining factor, especially in Slam tournaments.

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Daniil Medvedev Targets French Open Breakthrough After Rome Disappointment

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Daniil Medvedev believes there will be more title contenders at the French Open than previous editions with the Russian hoping to be one of them. 

The world No.4 heads into the Grand Slam after what has been a mixed clay swing. Medvedev suffered a third round defeat in Monte Carlo before bouncing back in Madrid where he reached the quarter-finals before retiring from his match with a minor injury. Meanwhile, at this week’s Italian Open, his title defence came to an end in the fourth round on Tuesday when he fell 6-1, 6-4, to Tommy Paul. 

“Mentally I had to be much better,” Medvedev said of his latest performance.
“I started to calm myself down and focus on the match only at the end of the match, and it was too late. I had to do better. I was expecting myself to play better.’
“It’s disappointing, but that’s how sport is. You lose and you go for the next tournament, which is a pretty important one.” He added. 

28-year-old Medvedev recently stated that he is seeing improvements in his game when it comes to playing on the clay. A surface which he has struggled on during stages of his career. Out of the 38 ATP Finals he has contested, only two of those were on the clay. Barcelona in 2019 when he finished runner-up and Rome last year which he won. 

As for the French Open, he has lost in the first round on five out of seven appearances. But did reach the quarter-finals in 2021 and the last 16 the following year. So could 2024 be his year?

“Now it’s maybe a little bit more open than it was ever before,” he said of this year’s event. 
“Good for me, too, because usually in Roland Garros I don’t play that well. The more open it is, the better it is for me.”

All of the top three players on the men’s tour are currently experiencing problems. Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Italian Open and recently underwent a medical assessment after getting hit in the head by a bottle in a freak accident. Jannik Sinner is reportedly on the verge of withdrawing from the French Open due to a hip issue and Carlos Alcaraz has been hindered by a forearm injury in recent weeks. 

“I’m feeling much better on clay,” Medvedev commented. “What is tough for me on clay sometimes is getting used to conditions. Every court – in every tournament in the world – is a bit different.
“On hard courts it’s the same: every court is different. On hard courts I have this ability to kind of quite fast get used to it. On clay, I need more time.”

Medvedev aims to become only the second Russian man in history to win the French Open after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1996. The tournament will begin a week on Sunday. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Says Expanded Masters Events ‘Playing A Massive Role’ In Player Injuries

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Credit Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis

Stefanos Tsitsipas has slammed the decision to extend the length of Masters 1000 tournaments to two weeks by warning that more injuries could occur in the future as a result. 

This week’s Rome Masters is taking place without two out of the world’s top three players. Jannik Sinner pulled out of his home event due to a hip injury and Carlos Alcaraz has been troubled by a forearm issue in recent weeks. Other players missing from the draw include Tomas Machac (Illness), Ugo Humbert (Left Knee) and Stan Wawrinka (Right Wrist). 

The tournament is taking place immediately after the Madrid Open which is also a Masters event that has been expanded to a two-week format in recent years. Supporters of the move argue that a bigger draw provides lower-ranked players with more opportunities to play in these events whilst others will have a day off between matches. 

However, world No.8 Tsitsipas isn’t completely happy with the schedule which he openly criticised on Monday following his 6-2, 7-6(1), win over Cameron Norrie. The Greek has won 12 out of 14 matches played on clay so far this season. 

“It’s a type of thing that hurt the sport a little bit, to have these types of things happen to the highest of the players,” Tsitsipas commented on his rival’s injuries.
“Without them, the show is not kind of the same. You have obviously the guys behind them (in the rankings). These kinds of tournaments deserve names like this to be playing and have the opportunity to play in front of these big stadiums and crowds.
“I’ve spoken about the fact that the schedule has a big toll on our bodies. It starts from the mental side, and it follows to the physical side. The extension of the days in the Masters 1000s I think plays a massive role and contributes a lot to the fact that these players are getting injured.”

The ATP’s extended format is set to be applied to seven out of the nine Masters 1000 tournaments from 2025. The only two yet to make or plan for such changes are Monte Carlo and Paris. However, Tsitsipas has called for changes to be made to the schedule.

“It was perhaps already a lot the way it was before with the seven-day events. Adding more days to that, well, you got to be some type of superhero to be consistent back-to-back 10 days in each event getting to the very end of it.” He commented.
“It’s not a very easy thing to do. Some people need to try it first to get an understanding and how it is to pull that off. Then they should make decisions based on that.
“I think this is not going to be the first time we see these types of things (player injuries). If these types of things continue with the same schedule not being adjusted or customized to the needs of the players, we might see more of these things occur in the future.”

It is not the first time a player has raised concerns about the extended format. Alexander Zverev previously said that the schedule is a disadvantage for the top players. Meanwhile, on the women’s Tour Caroline Garcia has criticised the move to expand WTA 1000 tournaments whilst Maria Sakkari said achieving the Madrid-Rome double has become harder to do

On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev has spoken in favour of the new format and describes injuries on the Tour as ‘part of the sport.’ The former US Open believes the issue is related to the quick surface changes players face and not the duration of tournaments. 

Tsitsipas will play Alex de Minaur in the fourth round of the Italian Open on Tuesday. 

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Novak Djokovic To Undergo Medical Check After Rome Thrashing, Bottle Incident

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Novak Djokovic – ATP Roma 2024 (foto: Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis)

Novak Djokovic has indicated that he will speak to doctors following his lacklustre performance at the Italian Open where he crashed out in straight sets. 

The five-time champion was far from his best against Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo as he struggled to generate any rhythm in his tennis or a single break point opportunity. Djokovic’s below-par performance caught many off guard, including the tennis player himself who admitted afterwards that he was ‘completely off’ his game. 

Trying to find the reason behind his latest performance, the world No.1 isn’t ruling out the possibility that it might be linked to an incident that took place at the tournament two days ago. Following his win over France’s Corentin Moutet, Djokovic suffered a blow to his head after a fan accidentally dropped a metal bottle from the stands. Immediately afterwards, he experienced nausea, dizziness and bleeding for up to an hour but was checked by medical officials.

“I don’t know, to be honest. I have to check that.” Djokovic replied when asked if the incident affected his form on Sunday.
“Training was different. I was going for kind of easy training yesterday. I didn’t feel anything, but I also didn’t feel the same.
“Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance. Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago.
“It could be. I don’t know. I have to do medical checkups and see what’s going on. “

The tennis star said he managed to sleep fine after his head blow but did experience headaches. He looked to be in good spirits the day after it happened and even turned up to practice in Rome wearing a safety helmet.

Djokovic’s concerns come two weeks before the start of the French Open where he is seeking a record 25th Major title. He will undoubtedly be one of the contenders for glory but admits there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the coming days. 

“Everything needs to be better in order for me to have at least a chance to win it,” he said.
“The way I felt on the court today was just completely like a different player entered into my shoes. Just no rhythm, no tempo, and no balance whatsoever on any shot.
“It’s a bit concerning.”

The French Open will begin on Sunday 26th May. 

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