Jannik Sinner Ousts Medvedev In Three-Hour Thriller To Win Vienna Open - UBITENNIS
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Jannik Sinner Ousts Medvedev In Three-Hour Thriller To Win Vienna Open

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Image via Vienna Open Twitter

Jannik Sinner has recorded his second victory over Daniil Medvedev this month to win the Erste Bank Open in Vienna for the first time in his career. 

Sinner, who was on a seven-match losing streak against the Russian before the start of October, battled to a marathon 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3, win over the former US Open champion in what was a clash of fine margins. Best illustrated by the fact he won 51% of the points played (128/250). Overall Sinner produced 34 aces and saved nine out of 13 break points he faced in what was one of the longest best-of-three finals to take place in 2023. 

“It took a lot of mental and physical stuff,” he said during his on-court interview. 
“I think we served very well in the first set. I managed somehow to get back when he was a break up. I felt that he was serving very good. In the second set, he was trying to get into the rally a little bit more. Then I tried to step up a little bit (in the third set).’
“To finish the match was a really mental thing but I’m happy about how I managed it today.” 

The cat-and-mouse chase began in the fourth game after a blistering forehand return from Medvedev rewarded him with a break point. He went on to seal a 3-1 lead by hitting a ball high that forced Sinner to make an unforced error in the following point. However, his advantage was short-lived with the Italian automatically responding by breaking back in love in the following game. Then in the closing stages of the opening set, Medvedev had a set point at 6-5 but failed to convert it. 

Sinner’s resilience eventually paid off during a heavy-hitting 16-point tiebreaker where he had to fight his way back from a 1-4 deficit after making a trio of unforced errors. He then saw a set point of his own come and go whilst leading 6-5 before later denying Medvedev his second chase to take the opener with an ace. In the end, he sealed the tiebreaker with the help of a forehand shot from the Russian crashing into the net. 

Before this week, Sinner had a 9-1 winning record in tour finals after clinching the opening set. Although his only defeat was to Medvedev in Rotterdam earlier this year. History looked to be repeating itself with the top seed finding his groove as he claimed four straight games en route to taking the match into a decider.

The rollercoaster continued with a gut-busting 20-minute Medvedev service game featuring 13 deuces that concluded with the world No.3 hitting a forehand wide to grant Sinner an early break for 3-1 in the third set before he dropped serve in the following game. Despite the blow, Sinner managed to break once again which finally gave him enough of a lead to seal victory. After more than three hours of pulsating play from both men in the Austrian capital, he closed the match out with a serve out wide that was returned out by Medvedev. 

“This is for sure in the top three, top five (matches of my career),” the new champion declared.
“Playing in finals is always special, especially against Daniil. I have lost to him so many times. The last time (when we played) I won which gave me confidence.’
“Today was different from the last time because I made a lot more serve and volleys (in Beijing). He was waiting more for my play and I had to adapt. I am very happy with how I handled this situation.”

The loss will be a bitter pill for Medvedev to swallow who was bidding to win the same tournament twice for the first time in his career. This weekend was his eighth ATP final on a hard court this year, making it the second time in his career he has reached this milestone. Since 2000, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the only other players to have achieved this feat in multiple seasons. 

“At one moment I thought that I could maybe get you but I didn’t manage to do it,” Medvedev said to Sinner. 
“Hopefully, we can play in more finals against each other this year. You’re playing great and finishing the year strong.”

Sinner has now won 56 ATP Tour-level matches this year which is the highest amount ever won by an Italian player within a single season. He has also become the first player from his country to win the Vienna event which was first held in 1974. 

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World No.32 Davidovich Fokina Replaces Long-Time Coach With Verdasco

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Fernando Verdasco was spotted earlier this week briefly watching Ons Jabeur play at the French Open but his focus this year is on another player.

The former top 10 player has landed a new coaching job after being hired by compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Somebody who he once played a Tour-level doubles match alongside back in 2020. Fokina has opted to stop working with Jorge Aguirre, who has been his mentor since he was a child.

The change comes after what has been a mixed start to the season for Fokina who has only managed to win back-to-back matches in two out of 11 tournaments played before the start of Roland Garros. His sole win over a top 20 player occurred at the start of 2024 when he beat Hubert Hurkacz at the United Cup.  

“I will be very brief. I have left it with Jorge (Aguirre) and I start with Verdasco, with whom I have had a good relationship for years. He has not officially retired, but I knew that he was training other players and it was time,” Fokina told reporters after beating Valentin Vacherot in the first round of the French Open.
“It was time to close a stage and start a new one. With his experience, Verdasco can help me a lot to face the games, to assume that pressure and tension of the competition.”

Verdasco has won seven ATP titles during his career and reached the semi-finals of the 2009 Australian Open. At this year’s Madrid Open, he briefly helped Jabeur whose main coach Issam Jellali was unable to attend the tournament. 

Fokina will next play Casper Ruud in Roland Garros.

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Roland Garros 2024: Casper Ruud Explains Geneva Decision, Martin Etcheverry Talks Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Two-time finalist Casper Ruud is into the second round with a straight sets win over Felipe Meligeni Alves.

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Casper Ruud has explained the decision behind playing in Geneva last week after he defeated Felipe Meligeni Alves 6-3 6-4 6-3.

The world number seven is into the second round after a straight sets win over the Brazilian qualifier.

Ruud has reached the final the past two occasions here having lost to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in those respective finals.

Now the Norwegian is targeting more success in Paris this year and spoke about his opening round performance after the match, “Yeah, I was honestly very happy. I think it was a good start,” Ruud stated in his press conference.

“I think Felipe is a dangerous player, and obviously I didn’t know him so well. So not easy to know what’s going to come out of his racquet. I think he was firing pretty good serves and forehands.

“Overall, I think it was a pretty high-quality match and happy to be through in straight sets. That’s just what I was kind of hoping and looking for. Yeah, I’m very happy to be through.”

Given Ruud’s history at Roland Garros, there would be no reason to suggest that the Norwegian would need to play his way into form.

However that’s exactly what he did in Geneva the week before Roland Garros as he won the title in Switzerland.

After his opening round match Ruud was asked about why he always plays in Geneva instead of practicing on-site in Paris, “No, I decide based on the fact that I enter the tournament, and with the purpose of going. But of course, if you do super well in Madrid and Rome and you play, let’s say, 10 matches or more within those two weeks or the two tournaments, maybe, depending on how your body feels, it’s kind of easier to skip it,” Ruud explained.

“But that wasn’t the case for me in Madrid and Rome. I played only four matches there. I lost early in Rome. If I didn’t play Geneva I would have had 17 or 18 days since I lost in Rome until starting in Roland Garros, which in my eyes, my feeling, is just a bit too much. For some players, they don’t think it’s too much. They don’t have a problem with it.

“But for me I like going into tournament kind of mode and feeling in the zone when you’re playing an official match. That’s why I like playing. It gives me kind of confidence and match feeling going into a Grand Slam, which is the Grand Slam that I personally feel like I have the most chances to do well in.”

Ruud will aim to continue his good run of form when he takes on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the second round.

Martin Etcheverry Speaks On Roland Garros And Djokovic Influence

Finally Tomas Martin Etcheverry defeated Arthur Cazaux in four sets to seal his place in the second round.

The Argentinian is a big Novak Djokovic fan and after the match spoke about his love for Roland Garros and has tipped Djokovic to win this year’s tournament, “I think it’s my favorite tournament since I was a child, and I always want to play here,” Martin Etcheverry explained.

“This is a moment of the year that I want to be here and try to play my best tennis because I want to get a good result here.

“Yeah, is he my idol, and he is the No. 1 of the world. I don’t know, like six years right now. Yeah, I always try to watch him, trying to improve the game. I always trying to saw him. Yeah, I think he’s going to be No. 1 a lot of time. I don’t know if they have a good year this year, but I think it’s Novak Djokovic. Maybe he can win this tournament.”

Martin Etcheverry will play another Frenchman in the form of Arthur Rinderknech in the second round with Ruud being the potential third round opponent.

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Grand Slam Quarter-Finalist Van De Zandschulp Pondering Retirement After French Open Exit

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image via https://x.com/Boticvdz/

Botic van de Zandschulp has revealed he is losing his passion for tennis and is considering retiring from the sport following his exit from the French Open on Monday.

The 29-year-old was knocked out of the tournament in straight sets by Fabio Fognini, who eased his way to a 6-1, 6-1, 7-5, victory. It is the second Grand Slam in a row where he has fallen at the first hurdle with the 2022 Wimbledon championships being the last major event where he won back-to-back matches.   

“I don’t look forward to competitions at all anymore,” Zandschulp told Dutch media.
“I have been asking myself more and more lately whether I want to continue.
“You have to do work that you enjoy. Everyone has a bad day every now and then. But if there are too many, then you have to ask yourself whether you want to continue.” 

Zandschulp has been the top-ranked player in his country with his most notable achievement being a run to the quarter-finals of the 2021 US Open. The former world No.22 is a two-time runner-up at the Munich Open but is yet to win an ATP Tour title. He has registered a total of six wins over top 10 players, including Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev. 

However, recent difficulties on the Tour have left the Dutchman questioning if he wants to continue playing.  

“I like the training. Those are great days. But when I get up in the morning, I no longer look forward to the matches at all.” He commented.

Zandschulp’s remarks could be a reaction to his frustrating loss to Fognini. However, he confirmed that he has been considering retiring for a long time. 

“It was the worst match I have played in my life,” he said. 
“Of course, it is now fresh after the match. That plays a role in my mind, but the thoughts of quitting have been there for a long time. It is not an easy life as a tennis player. You really live your life, play thirty weeks a year and travel from pillar to post.
“If you don’t play, someone else will pass you by (in the rankings). That’s why I now play extra tournaments instead of charging myself at home.”

Zandschulp is currently ranked 102nd in the world and is scheduled to play in the French Open doubles event on Tuesday.

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