'Hard Court Specalist' Daniil Medvedev Wins First Clay Court Title Of Career In Rome - UBITENNIS
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‘Hard Court Specalist’ Daniil Medvedev Wins First Clay Court Title Of Career In Rome

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Just minutes after winning his maiden ATP title on the clay in Rome, Daniil Medvedev reiterated that his one love in tennis remains with the hardcourts. 

Despite previously admitting he has a rocky relationship with the dirt, the former world No.1 edged his way past Danish rising star Holger Rune 7-5, 7-5, to claim his 20th ATP trophy at the Italian Open and his sixth win over a top 10 player this year. As a result of his triumph, the Russian will rise to No.2 in the Pepperstone rankings on Monday which will be his highest position since August. 

“I think we both started a little bit nervous and we were both missing our basics. At the end of the (first) set, I managed to step it up just before he did,” Medvedev said during his on-court interview with TennisTV.
“Then in the second set, he (Rune) stepped it up straight away. That was a moment where I had to stop overthinking and start just playing better. Try to go to his level and then it was a top moment from then.”

There was little to separate the two players throughout a closely contested 48-minute opening set. In the fifth game, Medvedev encountered his first challenge by fending off two break points before holding. Nudging his way to a 6-5, lead the Russian rallied his way to a set point after a rally concluded with his opponent hitting a lob out. He then sealed the lead by punishing an average Rune drop shot with a forehand winner. Prompting the frustrated Dane to shout ‘so bad’ immediately before taking a toilet break. 

The cat-and-mouse chase continued into the second set with breaks of serve being exchanged between the two twice. Rune worked his way to a 5-4 lead which positioned in on the verge of forcing the final into a decider. However, he failed to seize his opportunity as Medvedev battled back to draw level as he continued to weather the storm. Medvedev then fended off another break point in the following game before closing in on victory against a rapidly tiring Rune. He prevailed on his second championship point after his rival blasted a forehand beyond the baseline. 

“I always want to believe in myself and I always try to do my best. I want to win the biggest tournaments in the world. At the same time, I didn’t believe much that I could win a Masters 1000 on the clay in my career because usually I hate it (the surface). I hated playing on it, I didn’t feel good on it and nothing was working,” a candidly speaking Medvedev reflected.
“Before this tournament in Madrid and Monte Carlo, I was kinda feeling not too bad. I didn’t have any big tantrums. The guys who beat me there played better than me.’
“Coming here (to Rome) I felt amazing all practice. I told my coach that I don’t know what was happening but I’m feeling amazing. Then I had to play the toughest opponents in the world to make it happen and I’m really happy that I managed to prove to myself and everybody that I am capable of doing it.”

Before this week, the 27-year-old had reached the final of 32 Tour events but only one of those was on the clay. He has spoken openly about his dislike for the surface and once referred to himself as a ‘hard-court specialist.’ So has Rome changed his view about playing on the clay in any way? 

“I don’t think I love it. I love hardcourts, it’s my only love in tennis. But I definitely love clay courts much more now,” he explained.

Medvedev is the sixth player to have won six or more different Masters 1000 events since the series was created back in 1990. He has now won 39 matches and five titles this season which is more than any other player on the ATP Tour. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

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

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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