Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Sinner To Clinch Record Seventh ATP Finals Title - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Sinner To Clinch Record Seventh ATP Finals Title

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Novak Djokovic has become the most decorated player in ATP finals history after storming past Jannik Sinner in the title match on Sunday.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion was in ruthless form throughout his 6-3, 6-3, win over the 22-year-old in what was a case of sweet revenge. Earlier in the week, he lost to Sinner in the round-robin stage. His latest performance saw him blast 20 winners and win 91% of his first service points.

Djokovic’s triumph has seen him break more records in the sport with the Serbian becoming the first player to have won the ATP Finals for a seventh time. He is the oldest man to have ever won the tournament and the only one to have captured the title across three separate decades. 

“It’s very special. This is one of the best seasons I have had in my life, no doubt. To crown it with a win against the hometown hero, Jannk, who has played amazing tennis this week is phenomenal.” Djokovic told TennisTV.

Less than 24 hours after his comprehensive win over Carlos Alcaraz, Djokovic was once again in clinical form from the start of his latest clash against Sinner. Impressively winning 12 out of his first 14 service points in the final. Djokovic broke Sinner in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead following three consecutive unforced errors from his rival. However, one of those mistakes (which gave the top seed his first break point) was actually in but the home favorite opted not to challenge that call. Continuing to dictate proceedings with the use of heavy shot-making and some sublime defensive play, Djokovic sealed the opener in just 38 minutes after a Sinner forehand error.

The 36-year-old continued his onslaught into the second frame which he began by winning 10 points in a row. Prompting Sinner, who continued to be cheered on by the crowd throughout, to at one stage look towards his camp for advice on what to do.  

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Admibally Sinner continued fighting on the court with the world No.4 holding his nerve to hold serve during a roller-coaster 16-minute service game to close the deficit to 3-4. However, that was still not enough to stop Djokovic who sealed victory on his first championship point following a double fault by his opponent.

I’m very proud of my performances over the last two days against Alcaraz and Sinner. They are probably the best two players in the world next to me and Medvedev at the moment,” said Djokovic.
“The way they have been playing, I had to step it up. I had to win the matches and not wait for them to hand me the victory. That’s what I did. I think I tactically played differently today than I did in the group stage against Jannik. Overall, it has been a phenomenal week.”

Among those watching Djokovic win were his two children, Stefan and Tara, who he embraced just moments after his match concluded.

“I always wanted to perform in front of them once they reached the age that they were aware of what is going on,” he explains.
“I’m so grateful to be the father of these two wonderful angels. They give me strength no doubt.”

The defeat will be a bitter pill for Sinner to swallow. He ends his season with 12 wins over top 10 players and 61 victories overall. The most that has ever been achieved by an Italian player in the Open Era on the ATP Tour. He is also the first player under the age of 23 to reach the final of the season-ending event without losing a match since Roger Federer in 2003. 

As for Djokovic, he has now won 50 matches at the ATP Finals so far in his career which is the second-highest in history after Federer (56).

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French Open Player Avoids Disqualification After Striking Fan With Ball

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Terence Atmane - photo by Ubitennis

Officials at the French Open opted not to default a player from his match after he hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan on the first day of the tournament. 

Terence Atmane, who received a wild card into this year’s draw, was involved in a tough five-set battle against Sebastian Ofner on Sunday evening. During the fourth set, Atmane found himself down 1-4, 30-30, when the incident unfolded. After hitting a shot that landed out, the Frenchman blasted a ball which unintentionally hit somebody in the crowd.

As a result of the incident, the match was halted for 15 minutes while the umpire and tournament referee addressed the situation, which included speaking to the person who got hit. Following the lengthy discussion, it was decided that Atmane would be issued with a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct but would not be disqualified. Prompting surprise from Ofner who went on to win the match 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2, 7-5.

“For me, it was a bit surprising, because if you do something like that on a small court, you have to be punished, you know?” The Associated Press quoted Ofner as saying after the match. “Because it’s not like you hit the ball normally. It was full power. The ball was so fast. Straight in the crowd. There were people disqualified for less.”

In the past players have been disqualified from a match for similar actions, including Novak Djokovic who was defaulted from his fourth round match at the 2020 US Open after hitting a lines judge with a ball. More recently, at last year’s French Open, doubles player Miyu Kato and her partner were defaulted after she accidentally but a ball girl. 

Ofner, who is currently ranked 45th in the world, says he was told that Atmane avoided a big punishment because the person the crowd was fine and ‘saw the ball coming.’ 

“The referee said, ‘Oh, yeah, I was talking with the lady. The lady said at the beginning it was hurting but now it’s fine, and everything was OK. She saw the ball coming. So it’s not enough for disqualification.’ I think if he would see how it was, maybe he would decide different,” he said. “A little bit more unlucky and it’s going directly in the face. And then something can happen (like) a broken nose or whatever.”

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) has so far made no public comment on the matter.

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French Open: Stan Wawrinka Beats Murray In Battle Of Former Grand Slam Champions

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Stan Wawrinka - Parigi 2022 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Stan Wawrinka produced a solid display to beat long-time rival Andy Murray in what could be the Brit’s final appearance at the French Open.

Wawrinka, who won the Paris title back in 2015, rallied his way to a 6-4, 6-4, 6-1, win over former world No.1 Murray in what was the second-oldest match-up to take place at the tournament this century. At the age of 39, Wawrinka has become the oldest player to win a match in Paris since his compatriot Roger Federer did so three years ago. The Swiss No.1 hit 35 winners past his opponent in what was their 23rd meeting on the ATP Tour. 

“My first words were respect for a great champion,” Wawrinka said about the exchange the two had at the net afterwards. 
“I love watching him (Murray) play and fighting against him. We have had a lot of good fights in the last 15 years. A lot of emotion when we played here (at Roland Garros).”

Coming into the tournament, there have been questions raised about the current form of both players. Wawrinka had only won three matches in his four previous tournaments played and is yet to score consecutive wins this year. Meanwhile, Murray’s start to the clay swing was marred by an ankle injury and he has only played three matches on the clay this season before Paris. 

However, it was Wawrinka who managed to come out on top with the use of some of his signature backhand winners. Throughout the first two sets, he won 75% of his first service points without dropping serve and broke Murray once in each of those. 

Then at the start of the third frame, he pounced once again with yet another backhand winner to break as a lacklustered Murray continued to produce costly errors. Paving the way for Wawrinka to storm to a largely one-sided victory. He earned his first match point with a winner down the line before closing the clash out with an almost identical shot. 

“I love to work a lot in front of a crowd like this,” Wawrinka explained. 
“I’ve shared a lot of emotion with this crowd and they gave me a lot of energy to fight.
“In my head, I am still a young guy, I am still a kid. I just want to live this moment in front of this crowd.”

Murray’s loss occurs in what could be his last-ever French Open appearance. In recent months he has spoken about ending his career in 2024 but it yet to make a formal announcement. Should this be the case, he ends his Roland Garros career with a win-loss record of 39-12. His best run was to the final in 2016. 

This year is Wawrinka’s 19th appearance at Roland Garros and he is one of only two players in the Open Era to have won 11 five-set matches at the Grand Slam. The other to do so is Gael Monfils. It is the second time he has beaten Murray in the first round of the tournament after 2020. 

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French Open: Jack Draper Serves Up Trouble and is Upset by Dutch Qualifier De Jong

Brit Draper loses his longest ever tennis match in only his second five-setter of his career.

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Jack Draper crashed out at the first hurdle at the French Open after a 7-5, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 3-6, 6-3 loss to world number 176 Jesper de Jong – a qualifier who had come through three rounds to reach the main draw – who next faces third seed Carlos Alcaraz. 

In a titanic tussle lasting over four hours, the British number two could not find any rhythm on his serve, getting just 50% of his first deliveries in while winning only 51% of his second serves – resulting in him being broken an alarming nine times over the five sets.

“My serve has been a problem this year,” said Draper after the match. “I’m trying to change it to make it better, and obviously I’ve made those changes in the last few weeks. So, it’s not comfortable, especially in a grand slam playing in a fifth set on a second serve. You know, the confidence isn’t there at the moment on my serve, and it’s a problem I’m going to have to work on with coaches and see where I can make it more consistent because, yeah, it’s really letting me down.”

Dutchman De Jong took the opening two sets and was heading for a surprising routine victory before Draper showed some admirable fight to win the third on a tie-breaker before taking control of the fourth to push the match into a decider after a one-hour rain delay.

Draper, still only 22 with huge potential, still has time to understand how to navigate the fluctuations of long five setters and will be disappointed with the outcome of the fifth when he threw in yet another double-fault at 30-40 down in the seventh game to hand his opponent the initiative.  “I battled my way back, started playing a decent level. There was a lot of ebbs and flows in the match. That’s five-set tennis. I’m kind of learning that the more I play,” he added. 

Elsewhere in other results, sixth seed Andrey Rublev dropped a set in a tough battle against Japan’s Taro Daniel and next faces Spain’s Pedro Martinez, while eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz survived going two sets to one down before coming through easily in five against Shintaro Mochizuki from Japan. 

Bulgaria’s 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov recorded a routine win against American Aleksandar Kovacevic and French veteran, and wildcard Richard Gasquet was arguably more impressive in his straight sets win over Borna Coric of Croatia and potentially plays second seed Jannik Sinner next. 

However, in perhaps the biggest upset of the day, French number one and 17th seed Ugo Humbert lost 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in a match close to three hours and in front of home fans on Suzanne-Lenglen stadium court. 

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