Federer, Nadal To Meet In French Open Semi-Final Blockbuster

Nadal and Federer (File photo)

 

Roger Federer set up a mouthwatering French Open semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal on Tuesday when he defeated Stan Wawrinka in four sets to become the oldest men’s Grand Slam semi-finalist in 28 years.

The 37-year-old Swiss beat his compatriot 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to reach his 43rd major semi-final and eighth at Roland Garros.

Defending champion Nadal, bidding for a 12th title at the French Open, blitzed a weary Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.

Federer trails his head-to-head record with Nadal 23-15 — despite winning their last five matches — and 13-2 on clay.

The Spaniard has a 5-0 stranglehold over Federer at Roland Garros with Nadal winning their most recent Paris clash in 2011 final.

“The complete dream would be to win the tournament,” said Federer. “Other players won’t agree. It will be difficult, but I believe it anyway.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion is the oldest man to make the semis at one of the big four tournaments since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open aged 39.

Wawrinka saved 16 of 18 break points in a thrilling encounter, but Federer quickly finished off the match after a rain delay to progress.

It is the third seed’s first appearance at the French Open since 2015 after taking time away from clay to focus on Wimbledon, but he has been in fine form in Paris and has only lost one set so far — as has Nadal.

Nadal, who turned 33 on Monday, is three behind Federer in the all-time list of Grand Slam singles titles heading into their 39th career clash.

It will be Federer’s first Roland Garros semi-final since a defeat by Novak Djokovic in 2012.

The 2009 French Open champion struck 53 winners on Tuesday, as Wawrinka’s 61 unforced errors proved costly.

In a dramatic opening set on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Federer saved four break points before taking it in a tie-break.

Wawrinka had saved 22 of 27 break points in his epic last-16 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas, including all eight in the deciding set, and he was at it again on Tuesday, making it seven from seven to move 3-1 in front in the second.

He suffered from a few jitters when serving to level the match, but took his fourth set point.

The topsy-turvy nature of the encounter continued in the third set, as Federer missed two set points before salvaging two break points himself after the players had earlier traded breaks.

Wawrinka held his nerve to force the quarter-final’s second tie-break, but Federer moved two sets to one in front on his fifth set point.

After the threat of thunderstorms and dark skies forced the players from the court with the fourth set level at 3-3, Federer returned refreshed 80 minutes later and sealed a 23rd victory over Wawrinka in their 26th meeting, despite needing three match points to get over the line.

– Nadal thrashes Nishikori –
Nadal took his record in Paris to 91 wins and just two defeats in a one-sided contest with Nishikori to reach his 31st Slam semi-final.

“It’s a great satisfaction to be in another semi-final, there are lots of emotions,” said Nadal.

“My level has been very good throughout the tournament and I am happy to be able to come back and play another day.”

Tuesday’s win was Nadal’s 11th in 13 meetings against Japanese seventh seed Nishikori who had played back-to-back five-setters to reach his third quarter-final at Roland Garros.

The 29-year-old Nishikori managed just nine winners in total in the first two sets.

As the skies darkened over the city, so did Nishikori’s mood as he slipped 4-1 down in the third.

Even the weather delay didn’t help as Nadal needed just another eight minutes to finish the job.

Johanna Konta became the first British woman in 36 years to reach the semi-finals by sweeping past seventh-seeded Sloane Stephens, last year’s runner-up, 6-1, 6-4 to set up a tie against Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova.

The 28-year-old Konta had not won a match at Roland Garros in any of her previous four visits.

But now she has emulated Jo Durie who was the last British woman to make the French Open semi-finals in 1983.

“I’ve always said that whenever I step out onto the court, I’m always going to have a chance. I’m always going to have a shot,” said Konta.

The 19-year-old Vondrousova battled past Croatian 31st Petra Martic 7-6 (7/1), 7-5.

“She had beaten me four times before but I think Roland Garros must be my lucky place,” said the Czech after securing victory on a fourth match point.

Djokovic Tightens Grip On Top Of Rankings, Federer Slides

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts after a point against Spain’s Rafael Nadal during the men’s singles final on day 14 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2019.
Peter PARKS / AFP

 

Novak Djokovic strengthened his grip at the top of the men’s ATP tennis ranking Monday following his destruction of Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.

An outclassed Nadal, beaten in straight sets in just over two hours, held on to the second spot in the rankings while Roger Federer slipped from third to six places.

Federer, the defending champion, was eliminated in the round of 16 by Greek giant-killer Stefanos Tsitsipas

Alexander Zverev replaces Federer in third position ahead of Juan Martin Del Potro, fourth, who missed the Australian Open.

Despite his early elimination in Melbourne, South African Kevin Anderson, a Wimbledon finalist last year, moved up a spot into fifth.

READ ALSO: Djokovic Wins Seventh Australian Open

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, meanwhile, rises two places to seventh after reaching the quarter-finals in Melbourne.

Tsitsipas, eliminated by Nadal in the semi-finals, jumped three places and is knocking on the door of the top 10 in 12th place.

Latest ATP ranking:

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 10,955 pts

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8,320

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6,475 (+1)

5. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) 5,060 (+1)

6. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 4,845 (+1)

6. Roger Federer (SUI) 4,600 (-3)

7. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 4,110 (+2)

8. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 3,960

9. John Isner (USA) 3,155 (+1)

10. Marin Cilic (CRO) 3,140 (-3)

11. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 2,880

12. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 2,805 (+3)

13. Borna Coric (CRO) 2,605 (-1)

14. Milos Raonic (CAN) 2,250 (+3)

15. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2,225 (-2)

16. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 2,000 (+3)

17. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 1,955 (+14)

18. Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 1,955 (+6)

19. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 1,870 (-1)

20. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 1,835 (-4)

AFP

Federer, Kerber Crash Out Of Australian Open As Nadal Powers On

Roger Federer (L) and Angelique Kerber could not make it to the quarters of the Australian Open. AFP Photos

 

Defending champion Roger Federer was stunned by fiery Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas who ended his bid for a record seventh Australian Open Sunday on a day of upsets that also saw second seed Angelique Kerber crash out.

The Swiss master caved in under the energy and pressure of a man 17 years his junior to tumble out 6-7 (11/13), 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) in the last 16 on Rod Laver Arena.

World number two Kerber was also sensationally bundled out by a woman playing the event for the first time, with American Danielle Collins humiliating the Wimbledon champion 6-0, 6-2 in under an hour.

The man Federer beat in last year’s final, sixth seed Marin Cilic, was also sent packing by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, who now plays Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals.

Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Shaparova was another to fall, but there was no such drama for a rampant Rafael Nadal who powered into the last eight with a straight sets win over Tomas Berdych.

Federer was gunning for a 21st Grand Slam title but had a battle on his hands from off against the 20-year-old, touted among the new generation of young stars as a future champion.

“I’m the happiest man on Earth right now, I cannot describe it,” said the 14th seed, who is the first Greek in history to reach the quarter-finals of a Slam.

“I’ve been idolising him (Federer) since the age of six. It was a dream come true for me just being on Rod Laver facing him. Winning at the end, I can’t describe it.”

The Swiss great was gracious in defeat, saying “I lost to a better player who was playing very well, who hung in there and stayed calm”.

Wimbledon winner and 2016 champion Kerber, the bookies’ favourite along with Serena Williams after defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was ousted early, was no match for Collins, ranked 35 in the world.

Collins is little known after playing much of her tennis in the US college system and was making her debut in the main draw at Melbourne Park. She had never won a Grand Slam match before this year.

“I may not have won a Grand Slam match before this but I tell you, it’s going to keep happening,” said the 25-year-old. “I better have many more of these.”

Chipping away

Men’s second seed Nadal, returning from foot surgery, barrelled past former world number four Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) as he stays on track for an 18th Grand Slam title.

“I always say the same when I am back for injury,” said the Spaniard. “I don’t expect negative or positive things. I just try to do my work every day and just be with (the) right attitude every single day.”

He will play world number 39 Frances Tiafoe for a place in the semi-finals after the young American celebrated his 21st birthday by grinding his way past Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (1/7), 7-5.

Hometown hero Ashleigh Barty also made the last eight after muscling past Sharapova and will next meet Petra Kvitova.

Sharapova claimed her biggest scalp since completing a drugs ban in 2017 when she rolled Wozniacki in round three and looked on track to carry the momentum forward.

The 30th seed won the first set but then fell to pieces, eventually succumbing 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

“I knew I had to keep chipping away — in a sense, trust the work we’ve done. I know that I can match it with the best,” said Barty, seeded 15.

Next up for the diminutive 22-year-old is Kvitova, who beat Barty in the final of the warm-up Sydney International this month.

The two-time Wimbledon champion beat 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 6-1 to match her best performance at a major since being slashed in a terrifying attack at her home in late 2016 that left her with lasting nerve damage in her fingers.

AFP

Tsitsipas Eyes Up Federer After Rollicking Victory

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates his victory against Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili during their men’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. Greg Wood / AFP

 

Fiery Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas was looking forward to a last-16 clash with Roger Federer after overcoming a mini-meltdown to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 at the Australian Open Friday.

“It will be amazing playing Roger on Rod Laver,” said Tsitsipas of the Swiss great.

The 14th seed, touted among the new generation of young stars as a future champion, came through the third round after being docked his first serve for exceeding the shot clock at a crucial moment while facing a break point in the third set.

The powerful Georgian Basilashvili seeded 19, took advantage on the second delivery to break back causing Tsitsipas to unload a verbal tirade in the direction of his coaching team in his player box.

French umpire Alexandre Robein clearly understood enough of Greek and English vernacular to slap the 20-year-old with a code violation for an audible obscenity.

But backed by a raucous Greek contingent in a rowdy atmosphere on Margaret Court Arena, he recovered his composure to win the set in a tense tiebreak.

He cruised through the fourth set to become the first Greek man to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam twice, after reaching the same stage at Wimbledon last year.

“It’s good to have such support and exciting to have an atmosphere like this,” said Tsitsipas.

“I feel like I’m playing at home, I never had so many Greek — and Aussie — people support me.”

AFP

Federer ‘Shocked’, Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Murray Retirement Bombshell

Andy Murray of Great Britain breaks down during a press conference in Melbourne on January 11, 2019, ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. William WEST / AFP

 

Roger Federer admitted Sunday he was shocked that tennis was to lose “legend” Andy Murray this year while long-time friend Novak Djokovic said the bombshell news had “hurt” him.

Both paid tribute to the former world number one on the eve of the year’s first Grand Slam with Federer adding that the Scot should be “incredibly proud” of what he had achieved.

Murray on Friday admitted that his chronic hip injury had not been eased by surgery a year ago.

He then choked back tears and broke down as he revealed that he hoped to end his storied career at Wimbledon, but the Australian Open beginning Monday could be his last event because the constant pain was so bad.

“I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we’re going to lose him at some point,” Federer told reporters.

“But we’re going to lose everybody at some point. It’s just now that it’s definite,” he added, acknowledging that the era of the “Big Four” — himself, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Murray was drawing inexorably to a close.

“Of course, it hits us top guys hard because we know Andy very well,” the world number three said of the three-time Grand Slam champion and double Olympic gold medal winner.

“He’s a good guy, Hall of Famer, legend. He won everything he wanted to win. Anybody would substitute their career with his. He’s a great guy.”

World number one Djokovic played Murray in a practice match three days ago and said it was obvious that there were serious problems.

“You didn’t need to be on the court to notice that he’s struggling, that he’s not moving as well as he normally does,” said Djokovic, 31, who is just a week younger than Murray.

“We’ve seen so many years of Andy Murray being one of the fittest guys on the tour, running around the court, getting always an extra ball back.

“I think to that extent, we are kind of similar. Our trajectory to the professional tennis world was pretty much similar,” added the Serb, who faces American Mitchell Krueger in the first round on Tuesday.

“His birthday is one week before mine. We’ve grown together playing junior events. We played lots of epic matches.

“Obviously to see him struggle so much and go through so much pain, it’s very sad and it hurts me as his longtime friend, colleague, rival.

“I will carry beautiful memories from the court and off the court. It’s just sad.”

Murray has won Wimbledon twice and Federer hoped the Scot could keep playing long enough to be able to say goodbye on his favourite famous grass courts.

“Of course, I hope that he can play a good Australian Open and he can keep playing beyond that, really finish the way he wants to at Wimbledon,” said 20-time Grand Slam champion, who begins his Australian Open title defence Monday against Denis Istomin.

“It’s a tough one, but one down the road he can look back on and be incredibly proud of everything he has achieved.”

Murray was the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years and will be remembered for battling his way to world number one in 2016 during a golden era for men’s tennis alongside Federer, Djokovic and Nadal.

Murray faces a first-round clash Monday against in-form Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded 22, who beat Djokovic on his way to winning the Qatar Open earlier this month.

AFP

Federer Beats Tiafoe, Looks Forward To Playing Serena

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a return against Frances Tiafoe of the US during their men’s singles match on day four of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth January 1, 2019.
TONY ASHBY / AFP

 

Roger Federer dispatched Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday in a match which served as an appetiser for the Swiss great’s first ever meeting on the court with Serena Williams.

Federer beat Tiafoe, 6-4, 6-1, to put Switzerland 1-0 up in their group tie against the United States in the Hopman Cup.

Tiafoe stayed with Federer until the 12th game of the first set when the Swiss broke to win the first set. From there Federer cruised to victory.

As he spoke on the court, Federer was already looking forward to the next match.

“What a thrill it is to play Serena here tonight,” he told the crowd in Perth.

Federer and compatriot Belinda Bencic are defending their title at the mixed teams event.

Williams and Bencic followed the men on court for the women’s singles.

Only the group winners advance to the final, so the closing doubles could ultimately decide the winner of a group that also contains Greece and Britain.

Even if Bencic wins, Williams and Federer planned to take the court for the mixed doubles. That would be the first time the two 37-year-olds have ever played each other.

The mixed doubles are contested in a short-set format with tiebreaks at 3-3 but that still means two matches in a day for the four players.

“I’ll stay on the bike and keep the engine on,” Federer said.

“I had a really late night last night on New Year’s Eve,” he said, adding after a pause: “No I’m joking.”

AFP

Djokovic Beats Federer To Reach Paris Masters Final

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning against Switzerland’s Roger Federer at the end of their men’s singles semi-final tennis match at The AccorHotels Arena in Paris, on November 3, 2018. Photo: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in a thrilling semi-final at the Paris Masters on Saturday to extend his winning run to 22 matches ahead of his return to world number one next week.

The Serb outlasted Federer in just over three hours to prevail 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 7-6 (7/3).

He will meet Russia’s Karen Khachanov in Sunday’s final as he looks to pull level with Rafael Nadal on 33 career Masters titles.

Djokovic, who will replace an injury-plagued Nadal at the top of the rankings on Monday, now leads Federer 25-22 overall and has not lost to the Swiss since 2015.

“Novak is obviously on a roll. You can feel it. At the end it came down to a few things here and there,” said Federer, who returned to play in Paris this week for the first time in three years.

“But overall I’m happy with my game. It’s better than last week in Basel. There I won the tournament and here I played in the semis and it needed somebody of Novak’s calibre to beat me.

“So that’s all right. And I’m looking forward to a rest now and a good preparation for London (ATP Finals).”

Djokovic will go in search of a fifth Paris trophy after denying Federer a shot at a historic 100th title, although the Wimbledon and US Open champion was pushed all the way by his 37-year-old rival.

Djokovic watched four break points, one of which Federer saved with a magnificent reflex volley, go by as he led 4-3 in the opening set, before saving a set point on his serve in the tie-break.

A Federer backhand drifted wide to hand Djokovic the lead, although two more break points passed the Serb by in the first game of the second set with the Swiss on the ropes.

The missed opportunity proved costly when Federer conjured up just a second break point of the contest at 6-5, converting in style as he gambled on Djokovic going cross-court before batting a winner down the line to force a decider.

Federer fended off two more break points to open the third set as Djokovic hit the deck when his ankle appeared to catch in the surface.

The Serb threw his racket down in frustration as Federer again escaped from 15-40 down to move 5-4 ahead, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s magic fizzled out as the final set headed to a tie-break.

Djokovic reeled off six successive points to bring up five match points, clinching victory at the third attempt when Federer picked out the net to end a tense concluding rally.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic (L) and Switzerland’s Roger Federer shake hands at the end of their match. Photo: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

Khachanov breaks new ground

Earlier, the 22-year-old Khachanov advanced to his first Masters final after beating Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1.

“I’m really happy to achieve this, to make it to the finals. But the tournament is not over. I mean, I’m looking forward to play finals tomorrow,” said the 18th-ranked Khachanov.

Going into the Paris Masters, Khachanov had won just three of his 19 matches against players in the Top 10 but it took him just 71 minutes to add the scalp of world number eight Thiem to those of John Isner (9) and Alexander Zverev (5) whom he beat earlier in the week.

The 1.98m Khachanov dominated from the baseline and attacked the Thiem service, breaking the Austrian in his final five service games of the match.

The Russian number two now has 15 match wins at this level this year, including a trip to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Khachanov has also won two ATP World Tour titles in 2018 with triumphs in Marseille and at the Kremlin Cup.

“I am very happy with the way I have been playing,” said the Russian who is assured of climbing at least to 12th in the ATP rankings when they are published on Monday.

AFP

Federer Stunned By 13th Seed Coric In Shanghai Semis

Switzerland’s Roger Federer hits a return against Croatia’s Borna Coric during their men’s singles semi-finals match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament on October 13, 2018.

 

Roger Federer was turfed out of the Shanghai Masters semi-finals on Saturday by 13th-seeded Borna Coric, the Croatian stunning the Swiss great 6-4, 6-4.

The 21-year-old Coric will face Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final after the Serb thrashed Alexander Zverev 6-2, 6-1, leapfrogging Federer to number two in the world rankings.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer has not been at his brilliant best all week, dropping sets in the two opening matches of his wobbly title defence.

The 37-year-old top seed was more like his old self on Friday, defeating eighth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).

But he made a slow start against Coric, ranked 19 in the world, getting broken in the first game in an error-strewn performance.

There was a subtle shake of the head when Federer similarly lost his serve at the start of the second set.

In contrast, Coric — who is into his first Masters 1000 final — was largely untroubled on his serve.

Federer won the Australian Open at the start of this year but has had a mediocre season by his sky-high standards.

He exited the US Open in the last 16 at the hands of unheralded Australian John Millman, ranked 55th, and only made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

Coric, who has only two career titles to his name, has now beaten Federer twice — the previous time was in the final at Halle this year.

Federer Hails ‘Super-Inspiring’ Nadal For Spain’s Flood Help

Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal (C) observes a minute of silence on October 11, 2018 with students and workers of the “Rafa Nadal Academy” in Manacor to honour the victims of the flash flood that affected the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca. JAIME REINA / AFP

 

Roger Federer hailed old rival Rafael Nadal as “super-inspiring” after the world number one joined in the clean-up operation after flash floods killed 12 people on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca.

Spanish tennis star Nadal, 32, was pictured wearing boots and white gloves, mopping up the floor of a warehouse on Wednesday on the island where he lives.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, currently sidelined through injury, has also offered to open up his sports centre and tennis academy to people made homeless by the floods.

“I know how important Majorca is to Rafa and I have been in touch with him to see if I can help with anything,” Federer said in a video message recorded in Shanghai where he is currently competing.

“I have seen him helping in the village where he comes from and to see that is super-inspiring. Rafa, you have our support.

“We are thinking of all the people in Majorca. We wish you strength in these difficult times and I hope to be back on Majorca soon.”

Fellow rival Novak Djokovic, also taking part in Shanghai, said he hoped Nadal’s efforts would inspire others.

“A big hug and friendly regards to Rafa and well-done amigo for helping out,” said the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion.

“I invite anyone to give their support in any way they can. Gracias.”

US Open Loss: ‘I Struggled To Breathe’, Says Federer

AFP

 

Roger Federer revealed he struggled to breathe during his shock 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to world number 55 John Millman at the US Open on Monday.

The 37-year-old five-time champion laboured to his earliest loss at the tournament in five years with his challenge sinking in the crushing humidity on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I just thought it was very hot tonight. Was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all,” said 20-time major winner Federer who was bidding to clinch the US Open for the first time in a decade.

“I just struggled in the conditions. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me.

“It’s uncomfortable. Clearly just kept on sweating more and more and more and more as the match goes on. You lose energy as it goes by.

“But John was able to deal with it better. He maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth, Brisbane!”

It was Federer’s first loss against a player outside the top 50 in 41 meetings at the US Open.

He finished with 77 unforced errors and 10 double faults but had a host of chances to take wrap up matters in straight sets, squandering set points in the second and third sets.

He had also been a break to the good at 4-2 in the fourth but the errors just kept piling up.

Monday’s result meant there would be no quarter-final showdown with old rival Novak Djokovic who will now face Millman instead on Wednesday.

“I knew I was in for a tough one. Maybe when you feel like that, as well, you start missing chances, and I had those,” said the Swiss.

“That was disappointing. I was just happy that the match was over.”

Federer believes the decision to build a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium contributed to his problems.

The roof was open Monday, but the space above the cavernous arena has been reduced by the wings which help support the structure.

“I do believe since the roof is on that there is no air circulation in the stadium. I think just that makes it a totally different US Open,” said the world number two.

“Plus conditions maybe were playing slower this year on top of it. You have soaking wet pants, soaking wet everything.

“It was just tough. I thought John played a great match in difficult conditions.”

Federer said he did not regret his decision to invite Millman to come and train with him after the Australian had suffered a first-round loss at Roland Garros.

The pair spent a few days on the court before the Wimbledon warm-up event at Stuttgart.

“I didn’t know he had a girlfriend in Stuttgart. Just Severin (Luthi — his coach) asked him. He was like, Yeah, absolutely, I’m ready to come. We had a great few days, a good time together.”

Federer said he admired Millman’s fighting spirit, forged from suffering a series of injuries in his career.

He has undergone two surgeries on his shoulder and one on his groin.

As a result of his injury toils, his ranking slumped to 1,101 in August 2014 but recovered to 71 just 12 months later.

After a groin operation, Millman was slipping again with his ranking at 235 in August last year.

“I love his intensity,” said Federer.

“He reminds me of David Ferrer and those other guys that I admire a lot when I see them, when I see how they train, the passion they have for the game.

“He’s got a positive demeanour about himself on and off the court.”

Federer, Serena Return In Cincinnati

Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Serena Williams take part in a press conference on the eve of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 01, 2018

 

Roger Federer will make a delayed start to the hardcourt season as the main draw of the Cincinnati Masters gets underway Monday with Serena Williams poised to return in the ATP-WTA event.

The last major tune-up prior to the August 28 start of the US Open gives men and women a final chance to polish their form before the final major of the season.

Former world number one Williams will be back on the court a fortnight after the worst loss of her career, with the 23-time Grand Slam champion playing unseeded, opening against Australian Daria Gavrilova.

The Wimbledon finalist continues to try and balance motherhood with a return to tennis almost a year after giving birth to her daughter.

Federer opted out of the Toronto stop on the ATP, preferring to concentrate his pre-Open energies on lifting an eighth Cincinnati title after taking the honours at four of the last six editions.

The event played at a venue on a motorway exit deep in the American flatlands will also serve as the re-entry point for Britain Andy Murray.

The Scot broke down in tears during a late-night, three-hour battle at the Washington ATP event but was unable to muster the strength to return the same day for a quarter-final.

Murray has been making a cautious return after his January hip surgery and refuses to push his luck.

“I need to be careful and to listen to my body as I come back from a long-term injury,” the 31-year-old said after withdrawing in the US capital.

The number 375 will begin against French 16th seed Lucas Pouille, Murray’s eighth match since returning in June.

Federer, top seed Rafael Nadal and the rest of the men’s top eight have byes into the second round.

Federer follows Nadal, with Toronto quarter-finalist Alexander Zverev on third ahead of Juan Martin del Potro, forced to pull out in Canada with a wrist problem.

Nadal, who come back from injury again this season, is pleased with how he is holding up on the cement which he has never favoured.

“I know I am playing well since I came back from the injury. I need to play well now on hard again – so let’s make that happen,” the US Open holder said.

Women’s number one Simona Halep, who lost the 2017 Cincinnati final to Garbine Muguruza takes the top seeding, ahead of Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki.

Muguruza is seeded seventh after failing to start matches in both California and Montreal due to injury. She comes onto the cement cold and will wait for an opponent in the second round.

US Open winner Sloane Stephens is seeded third, followed by Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber, a first-round loser in Canada.

Stephens made it to the weekend in Canada as her form falls into place.

“When you’re playing good matches in big tournaments, I don’t think it’s peaking too soon,” she said. “It’s just getting confidence and playing good tennis.”

AFP

Nadal Ousts Federer To Regain Top Spot

File: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP

 

Spain’s Rafael Nadal regained the top spot in the men’s ATP rankings from old rival Roger Federer on Monday after the latter’s surprise final loss on the grass in Halle.

Nadal had slipped down to number two despite his 11th French Open success after Federer, 36, took the Stuttgart Cup to bag the number one ranking for the sixth time in his career and bask in a record 310th week at the summit.

But his Halle loss to Borna Coric cost him not only a 99th career title but his pole position as Nadal moved back above him by 50 points as the countdown to Wimbledon nears its end.

Coric’s win lifted him 13 places meanwhile to a career-high 21st.

Queen’s Club champion Marin Cilic moved up a spot to fifth after his win over Novak Djokovic, who moves back into the top 20.

ATP rankings as of June 25:

1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8770 pts (+1)

2. Roger Federer (SUI) 8720 (-1)

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 5755

4. Juan Martín Del Potro (ARG) 5080

5. Marin Cilic (CRO) 5060 (+1)

6. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 4780 (-1)

7. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 3835

8. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 3635

9. David Goffin (BEL) 3110

10. John Isner (USA) 3070

11. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 2435

12. Pablo Carreno (ESP) 2145

13. Sam Querrey (USA) 2130

14. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2120 (+2)

15. Jack Sock (USA) 2110 (-1)

16. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2030 (-1)

17. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 1965 (+5)

18. Kyle Edmund (GBR) 1950 (-1)

19. Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 1855 (+2)

20. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 1835 (-2)