Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two - UBITENNIS
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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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Is This The Time Zverev Wins A Grand Slam Title?

Alexander Zverev could be ready to win his maiden Grand Slam title.

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(@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Alexander Zverev may finally be ready to win a Grand Slam title. Just maybe.

Carlos Alcaraz produces magic, while Zverev may actually be the strongest hitter in the men’s game right now.

Zverev appears to be as mobile around the court as almost anyone. And he can hit with anyone.

Then, there’s the serve. It was off a bit at the start against Casper Ruud in the French Open semifinals, but the serve took charge of the match to win the last three sets in a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

YES, ZVEREV KNOWS HE CAN WIN THE BIG ONE

Why shouldn’t Zverev think he can win this French Open? After all, the talented German actually owns a 5-4 edge in head-to-head meetings with the 21-year-old Alcaraz.

Zverev has been playing like a wild man recently. He usually serves like no one else with brutal power. And his ground strokes must look like missiles to his opponent, especially the backhand.

He’s more versatile than he looks. And now, like Alcaraz, Zverev has an arsenal of drop shots.

Of course, in the past, there have been times when Zverev couldn’t finish the job. This will be his second Grand Slam final, having lost in the 2020 U.S. Open final to Dominic Thiem.

THE TALL GUY MUST BE PRETTY GOOD ON CLAY

Zverev has reached four consecutive Roland Garros semifinals. So, even at 6-6 tall he must be a pretty good clay courter, even one capable of defeating Alcaraz? Yes.

Alcaraz didn’t pull the rabbit out of his hat against soon to-be No. 1-ranked Jannick Sinner until he was down two sets to one in Friday’s other semifinal.

And then Sinner suddenly went down rather quietly in clutch situations in his 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 loss to Alcaraz.

TWO LOBS CHANGED THE MATCH

Two consecutive points that Alcaraz won with almost magical lobs appeared to play a major role in the match. Ahead 30-0 in the 10th game of the fourth set and having lost only three points in the set on his serve, Sinner appeared to be ready to even the set at 5-5.

But Sinner misplayed the two Alcaraz lobs and lost both points to put the Spanish star in position to force a fifth set by winning the next two points.

Sinner wasn’t the same after that as he quickly faced a 4-1 deficit in the decisive set.

THE MAGICAL RACKET MAY STILL BELONG TO ALCARAZ

About the same time, Alcaraz seemed to have magic in his racket, repeatedly notching magical winners.

So, Alcaraz is knocking on the door of his third Grand Slam title, and in the process needing only the Australian Open to complete a career Grand Slam at a very young age.

The key might be whether the Spanish star has magic in his racket again.

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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