Tsitsipas Takes On Kyrgios In Wimbledon Blockbuster

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas wipes his face as he competes against Australia’s Jordan Thompson during their men’s singles tennis match on the fourth day of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 30, 2022. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE
– RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

 

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Nick Kyrgios in a blockbuster clash at Wimbledon on Saturday, with the winner likely to be the main obstacle in Rafael Nadal’s path to the final.

Fourth seed Tsitsipas is the only other top-10 player left in Nadal’s side of the draw, while fiery Australian Kyrgios is a match for anybody on his day.

Tsitsipas’s confidence is sky-high after he clinched his first grass-court title in Mallorca last week and he now has an 8-2 record on the surface this season.

The Greek player is facing a man he has beaten just once in four matches.

Kyrgios, who came out on top when the two players met in Halle last month, has been making waves at Wimbledon on and off the court.

His opening win over Britain’s Paul Jubb was marred by his admission that he spat in the direction of fans, whom he accused of being disrespectful, and he also took aim at officials.

The 27-year-old, who was fined $10,000 over Tuesday’s incidents, has also been in a testy mood in his post-match press conferences but he remains bullish.

“I just feel like I’m comfortable in my own skin,” the 40th-ranked player said after his straight-sets win over Filip Krajinovic.

“Some people love to just tear me down. It’s just not possible anymore.”

Tsitsipas, who reached the fourth round in 2018, said he was “thrilled” to be facing Kyrgios, who beat Nadal on his way to the quarter-finals in 2014.

“I respect him a lot, on the court, what he’s trying to do,” he said. “Although he has been a little controversial in the past, I think he’s playing good tennis.”

A win for Kyrgios on Saturday would give him a season-leading 10th victory on grass this summer.

Second seed Nadal, chasing a calendar Grand Slam, is aware he has not yet hit the heights at the All England Club after two scrappy performances so far.

“I didn’t play much on grass in three years,” the 22-time Grand Slam winner said following his four-set win against Ricardas Berankis.

“It gives me the chance to keep going, so very happy for that.

“I need to improve. The fourth set was much better…. I have to keep working, be humble, even when things are not going well.”

– Tan progresses –
Harmony Tan, who knocked Serena Williams out in the first round, demolished British wild card Katie Boulter 6-1, 6-1 in just 51 minutes to reach the fourth round.

The 24-year-old French player broke Boulter five times in a dominant display to disappoint the crowd on Court Two.

“I think I like grass,” said Tan, ranked 115th in the world. “I never play on this court but I like to play with slice and volley and everything with my game so I’m really happy.

“It was really emotional for the first round against Serena and after it was just playing match by match and today was really good tennis. I don’t know why but it depends on the day.”

Tan will next play either 11th-seeded Coco Gauff or Amanda Anisimova, the 20th seed.

World number one Iga Swiatek aims for a 38th straight win against unseeded Alize Cornet after she was taken to three sets by Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in the previous round.

The Polish top seed, asked if her winning streak gave her confidence, said it did not enter her mind while she was playing matches.

“I’m just trying to figure out what to do better and how to kind of come back,” she said. “So it doesn’t really matter for me.”

Fourth seed Paula Badosa takes on two-time former champion Petra Kvitova in one of the most eye-catching ties of round three.

Zverev And Tsitsipas Move Into Rome Quarter-Finals

 

 

Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas made it through to the quarter-finals of the Italian Open on Thursday, increasing the prospect of a last four clash between the pair.

World number three Zverev saw off Alex de Minaur 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in the early match on centre court at the Foro Italico to set-up a last-eight clash with either Cristian Garin or Maran Cilic.

The German was unruffled in his victory over Australian De Minaur as he looks to bounce back from being trounced by teenage phenomenon Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid final on Sunday.

 

Germany’s Alexander Zverev returns to Australia’s Alex De Minaur during their third round match at the ATP Rome Open tennis tournament on May 12, 2022 at Foro Italico in Rome. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

Zverev had complained about always playing late into the night in Spain and he has been allocated two morning matches in the Italian capital.

“I prefer to play at 11am (0900 GMT) rather than 1am (2300 GMT). I think every player would say that. Something in between would also be nice I think,” Zverev told reporters.

Tsitsipas meanwhile was forced to work harder for his 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 win over former Paris Masters winner Karen Khachanov.

Russian Khachanov, whose best results have come on hard court, deservedly took the first set against sluggish world number five Tsitsipas.

The Greek, who is a contender in Rome after winning this year’s Monte Carlo Masters, bounced back in the second set and once he broke in game two of set three Khachanov’s fate was sealed.

In the last eight Tsitsipas will take on either Filip Krajinovic or local hero Jannik Sinner, the only Italian left in the men’s tournament after he saw off countryman Fabio Fognini on Wednesday night.

 

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas returns to Russia’s Karen Khachanov during their third round match at the ATP Rome Open tennis tournament on May 12, 2022 at Foro Italico in Rome. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

 

“I think loosening up a little bit and trying to concentrate a bit more on that gave me the win today,” Tsitsipas said.

“It hasn’t been easy the last two matches but I can only take the good side.”

Djokovic Remains Number One Despite Australian Open Absence

In this file photo, Novak Djokovic of Serbia takes part in a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 13, 2022. Mike FREY / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal’s record-breaking 21st Grand Slam singles title in winning an epic Australian Open final frustrated Novak Djokovic’s hopes of being the first to do so, but the Serb remains world number one in the rankings released Monday.

The 34-year-old was unable to play in the first Grand Slam of the year after being deported from Australia over Covid-19 vaccination issues but he extended his record-breaking run as number one to 358 weeks.

Nadal’s beaten opponent in the Melbourne final, Daniil Medvedev, stays second but the Russian moves to within 1,000 points of Djokovic.

Djokovic will keep the points he earned from winning his ninth Australian Open title last year till February 21 as last year’s tournament was played at the later dates of February 8-21.

READ ALSO: Nadal ‘Doesn’t Care’ If He’s Best Ever After Record 21st Slam

Nadal remains fifth in the rankings despite his record-breaking title and the only movement in the top 10 sees Italy’s Matteo Berrettini — who lost to the Spaniard in the semi-finals in Australia — rise one place to sixth.

Spain’s Pablo Carreno and Taylor Fritz of the United States enter the top 20 in 17th and 20th respectively.

Rankings

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 11015 pts

2. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 10125

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 7780

4. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 7170

5. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 6875

6. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 5278 (+1)

7. Andrey Rublev (RUS) 4830 (-1)

8. Casper Ruud (NOR) 4065

9. Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 3923

10. Jannik Sinner (ITA) 3705

11. Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 3336

12. Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 2930 (+2)

13. Cameron Norrie (GBR) 2865 (-1)

14. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 2640 (-1)

15. Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 2633

16. Gaël Monfils (FRA) 2553 (+4)

17. Pablo Carreño (ESP) 2475 (+4)

18. Christian Garín (CHI) 2420 (+1)

19. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2385 (-1)

20. Taylor Fritz (USA) 2310 (+2)

Medvedev To Face Nadal In Australian Open Final

A file photo of Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.

 

Daniil Medvedev won a tempestuous Australian Open semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday and will now face Rafael Nadal, bidding to become the all-time men’s Grand Slam leader, in Sunday’s final.

World number two Medvedev beat fourth-ranked Tsitsipas 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Earlier, the 35-year-old Spanish great powered past the Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6.

Favourites Zverev, Tsitsipas Exit ATP Indian Wells Masters

Alexander Zverev of Germany returns a shot to Taylor Fritz during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on October 15, 2021, in Indian Wells, California. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev and French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas slumped to shock quarter-final exits in the ATP Indian Wells Masters, losing in three sets at the main stadium on Friday.

American Taylor Fritz survived two match points to come from behind and eliminate third-seeded Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) while second-seeded Tsitsipas was shown the door 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 shortly after by world number 36 Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The exits of Zverev and Tsitsipas means Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who is seeded 21st, is the top seed left in the final four.

The semi-finals are now set with 31st seeded Fritz facing Basilashvili and Norrie going up against 23rd seeded Grigor Dimitrov for a spot in Sunday’s championship match at the Tennis Garden in the California desert.

Germany’s Zverev jumped out to a big lead in the final set and appeared to be heading to victory before he started to struggle mightily on his second serve.

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“This one hurts because I knew that after Stefanos lost this morning, I was kind of the favourite to win this tournament,” said Zverev. “But my tennis wasn’t there.”

He blasted a 135 mph ace to get to match point but then immediately double-faulted and Fritz won the next point to take the game and cut the lead to 5-4.

Crowd favourite Fritz dominated the third-set tiebreaker clinching the match with a cross-court forehand winner.

“I put myself in a situation to get back into it and I did,” said Fritz, of San Diego. “I just kept fighting and went after my shots and kept playing my game.”

This was just the second loss for Zverev since losing in the fourth round at Wimbledon. Zverev is 20-2 over that stretch.

Tsitsipas also fell in three sets to the 29th seeded Basilashvili, who recorded one of his biggest career wins.

Georgia’s Basilashvili beat Tsitsipas for the first time in three career meetings and recorded his first win over a world number three player.

He defeated Roger Federer en route to the Doha title in March when the Swiss great was playing just his second match since a 13-month injury absence.

Leading up to Indian Wells, Basilashvili said he had been working on polishing his serve.

“I am not surprised. I have been playing good tennis for a long time especially in practices,” he said. “I just didn’t have the kind of first serve. It was missing. I had big minus in my serve.

“I improved my serve a lot lately. That’s why I’m in the semis now.”

Basilashvili had never won a round in Indian Wells until this year’s tournament.

High Energy

Tsitsipas, of Greece, blasted 10 aces but made two double faults and was undone by unforced errors in the two-hour, 10-minute match in the main stadium.

Basilashvili jumped out to early leads by breaking Tsitsipas in the opening games of the first and third sets. He won four of the final five games in the third and clinched the match when Tsitsipas blasted a backhand wide.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece plays a forehand before falling to the floor against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia during their quarterfinal match on Day 12 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on October 15, 2021, in Indian Wells, California. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP

 

“I was under stress. My energy level was going up and down but I am happy with the way it ended and I kept my energy level up,” said Basilashvili, the son of a Georgian national ballet dancer. “At the end, I was really tired but I was physically able to stay on the court.”

Besides saving a match point to beat Federer on the way to the title in Doha, Basilashvili also won his fifth career title in Munich in May.

After Friday’s win, Basilashvili said beating his hero Federer had been a springboard.

“My win against Roger meant a lot to me because he was my idol,” Basilashvili said. “Roger’s win was very important in my career. Beating Stefanos today was as well, a really, really important match.”

Teens Shock Defending Champ Osaka, No. 3 Tsitsipas At US Open

Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

 

Defending champion Naomi Osaka of Japan and Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas were both ousted from the US Open by 18-year-olds in epic stunners on Friday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka was shocked by Canadian left-hander Leylah Fernandez 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 after Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz upset French Open runner-up Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 0-6, 7-6 (7/5).

“Honestly the Alcaraz match gave me motivation and gave me the energy to do the same,” Fernandez said. “I saw his match and I saw the way he won and I’m like ‘I’m going to do that next now.'”

After the upset, defending champion Osaka announced she was taking a break from playing tennis.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during his Men’s Singles third round match on Day Five at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

“I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match,” Osaka said, wiping away tears. “I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”

Osaka, who had won her prior 16 Grand Slam matches, was foiled in a bid for her third US Open crown in four years and the first back-to-back title since Serena Williams in 2014.

Alcaraz is the youngest man in the US Open fourth round since 17-year-old American Michael Chang in 1989, and at any Slam since Ukraine’s Andrei Medvedev in the 1992 French Open.

“Incredible. Incredible feeling for me,” Alcaraz said. “This victory means a lot to me. It’s the best match of my career, the best win.

“To beat Stefanos Tsitsipas is a dream come true and to win here is even more special for me.”

Osaka had a major meltdown on court during the final moments of the second set after she was unable to hold serve for the victory.

“From the very beginning, right before the match, I knew I was able to win,” Fernandez said. “Thanks to New York fans. They helped me get the win.”

Osaka, who hadn’t played since Monday thanks to a second-round walkover, took the first set in 37 minutes on her sixth ace.

But she was broken in the 12th game of the second set, an errant forehand sending her to a tie-breaker.

That began a sequence of repeated racquet smashings as she was humbled in the tie-break to force a third set.

“I wanted to stay on court a little longer,” said Fernandez, who turns 19 on Monday. “One hour was just not enough for me.”

Fernandez then hit a forehand winner to break Osaka to start the third set.

Osaka saved two break points to hold in the third game and from there both held to the finish, which came after two hours and four minutes, sending Fernandez against German 16th seed Angelique Kerber in her first Grand Slam fourth round appearance.

“It’ll be a battle,” Fernandez said. “We’re just going to have fun. I’ll put on a show like I did tonight.”

Fernandez, the daughter of an Ecuadoran father and Filipino-Canadian mother, won her first WTA title in March at Monterrey. She had never beaten so high-ranked a rival as third-rated Osaka and the same was true for Alcaraz when he sent home the men’s world number three.

 

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez celebrates after winning her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

– ‘It’s kind of bitter’ –
Alcaraz became the youngest man to beat a top-three player at the US Open since the rankings began in 1973.

World number 55 Alcaraz next faces 141st-ranked German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, who ousted Swiss Henri Laaksonen 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

Alcaraz won his first ATP title at Umag in July, becoming the tour’s youngest champion since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in 2008 at Delray Beach.

The teen nicknamed “Next Nadal” was the crowd darling at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with roars erupting as he blasted 33 winners past Tsitsipas.

“Without this crowd, I haven’t the possibility to win the match,” Alcaraz said. “I was down at the beginning of the fourth set so thank you to the crowd for pushing me up in the fifth.”

Tsitsipas opened the final tie-break with an ace but Alcaraz jumped ahead 5-2 and 6-3 before finishing matters with a forehand winner after four hours and seven minutes of play. He collapsed on the court to celebrate.

“It’s one of those matches where you feel like you’re in control and it doesn’t go your way,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s kind of bitter.”

American Frances Tiafoe sprung an upset, ousting fifth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-1 in a late-night encounter.

Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev, the 2019 US Open and 2021 Australian Open runner-up, beat Spain’s 74th-ranked Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4, 6-3. He will next face British 24th seed Daniel Evans.

Women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus also advanced with ease, beating American Danielle Collins 6-3, 6-3.

Tsitsipas Becomes First Greek To Reach Grand Slam Final At French Open

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates after winning against Germany's Alexander Zverev during their men's singles semi-final tennis match on Day 13 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 11, 2021. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates after winning against Germany’s Alexander Zverev during their men’s singles semi-final tennis match on Day 13 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 11, 2021. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final on Friday when he defeated Germany’s Alexander Zverev in a bruising five-setter at the French Open.

Fifth-seeded Tsitsipas won 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 and will face either 13-time champion Rafael Nadal or world number one Novak Djokovic in the championship match.

However, the 22-year-old will have his work cut out on Sunday — he is 2-7 against Nadal and 2-5 playing Djokovic.

“All I can think of is my roots, a small place outside Athens where I dreamed to play on the big stage at the French Open,” said a tearful Tsitsipas on making his first final at the majors, secured on a fifth match point.

“It was nerve-wracking, so intense, I stayed alive. I went out there and fought. This win means a lot, it’s the most important one of my career so far.”

Tsitsipas took a 5-2 career lead over Zverev into the semi-final and he was the first to pounce with the only break of the opening set in the second game.

The rock-solid Greek didn’t give up a single break point although in an indication of the fine margins, Tsitsipas only hit one winner.

Zverev, bidding to become the first German man since Michael Stich in 1996 to reach the final in Paris, raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set.

However, Tsitsipas’ greater composure saw him rack up six consecutive games to move two sets ahead.

The Greek had come into the semi-final certainly sharper having seen off three seeded players to get this far.

Zverev had needed five sets to beat his 152nd-ranked compatriot Oscar Otte in the first round and hadn’t faced a player inside the top 45 before Friday.

But Zverev carved a break in the third game of the third set and this time backed it up despite a lengthy, foul-mouthed rant at the umpire over a disputed line call.

The 24-year-old German, now fired up, broke in the opening game of the fourth set and levelled the semi-final in the 10th game on the back of a brutal 27-shot rally.

Tsitsipas, playing in his third consecutive semi-final at the majors, crucially saved three break points in the first game of the decider.

He made the most of the escape, breaking the German for 3-1 and quickly securing the advantage for 4-1.

In a 10-minute eighth game, Zverev saved four match points, the second of which with a drop shot, the third with an ace.

However, Tsitsipas held his nerve and claimed victory after over three and a half hours on court with his eighth ace of the match.

Tsitsipas Upset Ends Nadal’s Record Title Bid At Australian Open

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas (R) shakes hands with Spain’s Rafael Nadal after their men’s singles quarter-final match on day ten of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 17, 2021. PHOTO: DAVID GRAY / AFP

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas ended Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam record bid in five gripping sets on Wednesday as home hopes were dashed when top-ranked Ashleigh Barty was knocked out in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Greece’s Tsitsipas looked down and out after losing the first two sets but after edging the third he was a different player, taking the upper hand over a subdued Nadal to win 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-5.

Tsitsipas, 22, stunned Roger Federer in the 2019 last 16 before being halted by Nadal in the semis, but he turned the tables to set up a last-four meeting with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.

READ ALSO: Champions League: Barcelona Suffer Shock Defeat To PSG

Underlining the scale of the upset, it was only the second time Nadal has lost a Grand Slam five-setter from two sets to love after his defeat to Fabio Fognini at the 2015 US Open.

“I don’t know what happened after the third set — I fly like a little bird, everything was working for me,” the fifth seed said.

“The emotions at the end were indescribable, they were something else.”

The defeat will sting for Nadal, who was drawing closer to a 21st major title and sole ownership of the all-time men’s record he currently shares with the injury-sidelined Federer.

Tsitsipas’s reward is a meeting on Friday with Medvedev, his third Grand Slam semi, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic or Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev waiting in Sunday’s final.

The classic encounter played out in front of 15,000 empty seats at Rod Laver Arena, with fake crowd noises added to the TV broadcast, on the last day of a snap, state-wide coronavirus lockdown.

Up to 7,477 fans — about half capacity — will be allowed at the centre court from Thursday after Victoria’s state government eased the restrictions.

However, fans will no longer be able to see Barty, the world number one whose dreams of ending Australia’s 43-year wait for a domestic winner were dashed by the unlikely figure of Karolina Muchova.

 

– ‘My head was spinning’ –

In hot conditions, Barty raced through the first set but Muchova dominated after a medical timeout for dizziness, winning 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final as the Australian crumbled.

“I was a bit lost on the court and my head was spinning so I took a break,” said Muchova, while Barty, a semi-finalist last year, called her latest near-miss “heartbreaking”.

But the top seed added: “Will it deter me, will it ruin the fact we’ve had a really successful start to our season? Absolutely not.”

Muchova will face Jennifer Brady in the last four after the 22nd seed beat her fellow American and close friend Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Brady’s achievement is notable, as she is the last woman standing among those who served a hard 14-day quarantine after arriving in Australia — unlike other players, who were allowed out of their hotels for five hours a day to train.

“I felt the pressure from her. She’s such an aggressive player,” said Brady, who also reached the semis at last year’s US Open.

“I was looking to push her back and get more on offense. I think I played a really good third set.”

Medvedev and Andrey Rublev were both unbeaten this year but their all-Russian quarter-final was disappointing.

Medvedev, older and higher-ranked, took control after a tight first set, winning 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 as his rival struggled in the intense afternoon heat.

“We had some unbelievable rallies and after the point it’s tough to breathe,” said Medvedev, the 25-year-old world number four.

“I think I’m one of the first players to make Andrey that tired on the court so I’m quite happy.”

Defending champion Djokovic plays Karatsev in Thursday’s men’s semi-final, while Muchova faces Brady and Serena Williams plays Naomi Osaka in the women’s last four.

AFP

Djokovic Beats Tsitsipas In Dubai To Win 79th Career Title

Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the victor’s trophy after winning the final of the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on February 29, 2020. KARIM SAHIB / AFP

 

 

Novak Djokovic captured his 79th career title on Saturday when he won the Dubai Championships for the fifth time, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

The world number one is now on an 18-0 winning run this season, and 21-0 overall since late 2019, as he ended an eight-match win streak for his Greek opponent, champion last weekend in Marseille.

Djokovic claimed his third trophy of 2020 after helping Serbia to the ATP Cup and winning an eighth Australian Open.

It is also the seventh time that the 32-year-old has won more than 20 matches on the trot.

Tsitsipas lost his second straight final in Dubai after going down to Roger Federer a year ago.

“It was close in both sets,” Djokovic said. “A few points decided it, I’ve had a great week.

“I’m most proud of my consistency this week, especially on shots from the baseline.”

The top seed produced a straightforward win in 79 minutes after a close-call semi-final where he saved three match points against Gael Monfils.

“I was just a point from going out, I might not have been here,” the winner said. “But it shows how quickly things can turn.

“I appreciate the moment, I’ve really played well in my matches this week. There were some ups and downs, but that’s normal.”

Djokovic broke for 5-3 in the opening set and served it out moments later.

The second set was slightly tighter, with the Serbian losing a break as Tsitsipas levelled at 3-all.

But Djokovic came through again with a break for 5-4 as his opponent hit the net.

A game later, Djokovic was lifting another trophy as he found the corner with a winner.

“Tsitsipas is a player for now, much more than for the future,” Djokovic said of his sixth-ranked opponent.

“He’s already been very successful. He’s more than just a great player, he’s very charismatic and brings a lot to the game.”

Djokovic added: “I’ve had a great start to the season, I love playing on hard courts. They’ve been my most successful surface so far.”

Djokovic will stay number one on the ATP rankings on Monday to start a 280th week atop the table.

He was playing the final in Dubai for a sixth time in 11 appearances. It was, however, his first final at the tournament since 2015 when he lost to Federer.

Coming into the championship match, the 21-year-old Greek had lost just one set this week.

Djokovic was also awarded a ‘golden visa’ by the Dubai government and has agreed to return to defend his title in 2021.

AFP

Tsitsipas Beats Thiem To Claim ATP Finals Title

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas poses with the winner's trophy after winning the men's singles final match on day eight of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 17, 2019.
Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas poses with the winner’s trophy after winning the men’s singles final match on day eight of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 17, 2019.

 

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas battled back from a set down against Dominic Thiem to win the ATP Finals title on Sunday, emphatically staking his claim as the leader of the next generation of aspiring global superstars.

The Greek 21-year-old, who won, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4)  is the youngest champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 and the fourth first-time champion at the season-ending event in as many years.

It is Tsitsipas’s third title of the season and comes a year after he was crowned champion at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

He has charmed the crowd at London’s O2 Arena all week and earned his place in the final with an impressive straight-sets win against six-time champion Roger Federer.

“I can’t sum up my emotions right now,” said Tsitsipas. “It’s amazing to be remembered as the 2019 champion. It is a dream come true and the best way to end this match.

“I did get nervous at some points in the match but I managed to forget about how I felt and I had momentum in the tie-break which was really tight.

“My fighting spirit and me constantly trying to push myself to do better got me there in the end.”

Defeat is a bitter disappointment for Thiem, who won five titles this year, including the Indian Wells Masters, and reached a second successive French Open final.

There was little to choose between sixth-seed Tsitsipas and Austria’s world number five Thiem in the first set as a total of five break points went begging.

Both players had impressed on serve during the tournament, with Tsitsipas’s figures especially striking — 44 service games won out of 47 leading into the final.

In an inevitable tie-break Tsitsipas saved a set point at 5/6 but Thiem clinched his second set point with a powerful serve that the Greek returned into the net.

Tsitsipas breaks

But Tsitsipas regrouped and within minutes Thiem, who beat his opponent in three sets in the Beijing final last month, was under pressure, spraying a forehand wide to concede first break of the match.

Tsitsipas held with ease and then produced a forehand down the line to break again, with Thiem threatening to unravel. Tsitsipas had won 12 out of 14 points in the set.

Thiem, who like Tsitsipas plays with a single-handed backhand, stemmed the tide but could make little impression on his opponent’s serve and lost the set 6-2.

Thiem was rocking again at the start of the deciding set. He saved two break points in the first game but looked increasingly shaky and was broken to trail 1-2.

The Greek was now well on top but out of nowhere Thiem was level at 3-3 after Tsitsipas put a backhand wide.

The Austrian was now playing with much more confidence, unleashing a series of blistering winners and edged ahead 5-4 after another service hold but the rest of the set went with serve.

In the deciding set tie-break Tsitsipas took a 4-2 lead but was pegged back to 4/4.

But on the next point Tsitsipas earned a mini-break, giving him the chance to serve out for the match and he made no mistake, closing out the biggest victory of his career.

Tsitsipas has competition among his peers as the new generation attempt to dislodge Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who have dominated the men’s game for the past 15 years.

World number four Daniil Medvedev won two Masters titles this year and reached the US Open final while Alexander Zverev was in London defending the title he won last year.

But Tsitsipas, who has beaten every member of the “Big Three” in 2019, will go into the new season with the belief he can take the next step towards the apex of the men’s game.

 

AFP

Nadal Sweats To Beat Tsitsipas

Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates victory against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas during their men’s singles round-robin match on day six of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 15, 2019. 
Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal recovered to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5 on Friday but faces an anxious wait to find out whether he will qualify for the last four at the ATP Finals.

The Spanish top seed is pinning his hopes on Daniil Medvedev beating defending champion Alexander Zverev in the evening match in Group Andre Agassi in London.

Nadal, who has already secured the year-end number one ranking, has never won the end-of-season tournament and had a miserable start at the O2 Arena, being outplayed by Germany’s Zverev.

But the 19-time Grand Slam champion produced an astonishing comeback to defeat Medvedev, the Russian fourth seed, on Wednesday and give himself a chance of qualifying from the round-robin phase.

READ ALSO: Federer Outclasses Djokovic To Reach ATP Finals Semis

Tsitsipas, 21, had already qualified for the semi-finals before Friday’s match after beating Medvedev and Zverev.

Serve dominated in the first set on Friday, with neither Nadal nor Tsitsipas facing a breakpoint as the match drifted inexorably towards a tie-break.

The Greek sixth seed came out on top, hammering an ace on his first match point to seal the set.

The second set followed a similar pattern until the fifth game when a Tsitsipas double-fault handed Nadal two break points — the first of the match.

The Spaniard could not capitalise but he upped the pressure in Tsitsipas’s next serve game and earned another breakpoint, which the Greek again survived.

But Nadal earned a fourth break point in Tsitsipas’s next service game and this time the Greek player slapped a regulation forehand wide and Nadal went on to level the match.

A pumped-up Nadal maintained his momentum in the early stages of the deciding set, putting consistent pressure on his opponent’s serve but he failed to convert a clutch of breakpoints.

Nadal earned two more breakpoints in the 11th game and this time made it count as Tsitsipas put a backhand wide and he served out to win the match.

Nadal’s efforts will count for nothing unless Medvedev beats Zverev in the later match at the O2 Arena. A win for the German would send Nadal home.

If Medvedev, who cannot progress, beats Zverev, Nadal would face a mouthwatering match against Roger Federer.

Six-time champion Federer, who was in Group Bjorn Borg, secured a spot in the semi-finals for the 16th time in his career on Thursday by beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets.

Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem also qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals.

AFP

Nine-Time Champion Federer Reaches 15th Swiss Indoors Final

Swiss Roger Federer serves a ball against German Peter Gojowczyk during the 1,500th match of his career at the opening day of the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament on October 21, 2019 in Basel. 
FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

 

Roger Federer extended his Swiss Indoors win streak to 23 matches as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to reach the final for the 15th time, racking up his 50th win of 2019.

The top seed will be playing for his 10th title at his home tournament when he faces Alex de Minaur in a first-time meeting after the Australian stopped Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/3).

Federer, 38, has now made the Basel final in his last 13 appearances and 15th overall.

His last defeat came in the 2013 final at the hands of Juan Martin del Potro.

For Federer, victory on Saturday was his second of the season over 21-year-old Tsitsipas who had stunned the 20-time major winner at the Australian Open in January.

Federer, who had a walkover in the quarter-finals due to the pre-match injury withdrawal of compatriot Stan Wawrinka, notched up two love games in the second set and advanced on his first match point.

“Having the crowd behind you really helps you believe in your game,” said Federer who had also defeated Tsitsipas in Dubai earlier this year.

“I had to play aggressive and take risks against Stefanos. There was a lot of running. But it’s always easier to play at home, I was energised.”

Federer will be in uncharted territory in the final with De Minaur, who has won trophies this season in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai.

“He’s one of the fastest players,” Federer said. “I’m very excited to be in the final again.

“I was not sure how it would go this week, so I’m really happy.”

The 28th-ranked De Minaur, who trains and lives in Spain, is the first Australian to reach the Basel final since Mark Philippoussis finished runner-up in 1997.

De Minaur, who measures up at 1.80m compared to Opelka’s towering 2.11m, set up his semi-final victory with a passing winner for four match points.

Opelka saved the first with an ace but was caught out on the second as his opponent sealed the win.

“Nothing can prepare you for that serve,” de Minaur said.

“Reilly’s an incredibly tough competitor who never gives up. I’m just happy to be in the final. I guessed right a few times and got lucky. I was just lucky to have gone the right direction, I was just hoping not be hit by any of those serves.”

AFP