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Preview: Djokovic v. Zverev, Thiem v. Khachanov In Roland Garros QFs

  • Posted: Jun 04, 2019

Preview: Djokovic v. Zverev, Thiem v. Khachanov In Roland Garros QFs

Quarter-final action continues on Wednesday

Novak Djokovic looks for his 26th consecutive Grand Slam win when he faces Alexander Zverev on Wednesday at Roland Garros. The other quarter-final of the day features Dominic Thiem against Karen Khachanov.

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Top seed Djokovic and fifth seed Zverev are even in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 2-2, but the German won their lone clay-court meeting in the 2017 Internazionali BNL d’Italia final. The Serbian won his 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Tsitsipas) and also finished runner-up finish in Rome (l. to Nadal).

Djokovic has yet to drop a set this fortnight and remains in strong contention to complete the “Nole Slam” for the second time by holding all four majors at once. The Serbian leads the six remaining players in service games won.

Serving Stats Of Remaining 2019 Roland Garros Contenders

Player Serve Games Won Break Points Faced
Novak Djokovic 50 of 52 (96%) 9
Roger Federer 75 of 79 (95%) 18
Rafael Nadal 63 of 68 (93%) 18
Dominic Thiem 68 of 76 (80%) 20
Karen Khachanov 55 of 64 (86%) 33
Alexander Zverev 63 of 80 (79%) 43

**Serving stats courtesy of SMT

After struggling for form since March, Zverev has turned his year around at the end of the clay-court swing. He won his first title of the season two weeks ago at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open (d. Jarry) and currently has an eight-match winning streak. Fitness could play a factor on Wednesday as Zverev has logged far more time (12 hours and five minutes) on court this fortnight than his opponent (six hours and 46 minutes).

However, Zverev will arrive fully healthy for his showdown against Djokovic, a stark contrast to the hamstring injury he had while facing Thiem in last year’s quarter-finals. The German is confident he has the tools to prevail if he’s playing his best.

“Obviously last year’s quarter-final was very unfortunate to me, very sad, ending with an injury,” said Zverev. “Hopefully this year will be different and it will be a great match. It’s going to be a tough battle against Novak, the World No. 1. It’s going to be interesting.”

Khachanov, seeded 10th, won his lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with Thiem in last year’s Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals. The Russian defeated Juan Martin del Potro on Monday to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final. After a challenging season that saw him arrive in Paris with a 10-12 record, Khachanov has found his form and produced a run that will ensure he makes his Top 10 debut in the ATP Rankings on Monday.

“I will try to do my best against [Thiem],” said Khachanov. “He’s reached at least the semi-finals [four] years in a row, so he’s for sure one of the top guys on clay. But I will try to fight and we’ll see.”

Fourth seed Thiem has rounded into form this fortnight. He needed four sets to prevail in each of his opening three rounds, but raised his level to record a convincing fourth-round victory against Gael Monfils. The Austrian is at 20-3 at the second major of the year since 2016 and remains a strong contender to lift his first Grand Slam title on Sunday. Thiem’s clay-court season also includes a title at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Medvedev).

Massu: ‘Thiem Works, Thinks And Seeks To Be No. 1’

More On #RG19

* The Big 3 On The Big Stage
* Djokovic, Chasing All Four Slams, Feels Extra Motivation
* The Future Of The One-Handed Backhand


Court Philippe-Chatrier start 2:00pm
WTA match
[1] Novak Djokovic vs [5] Alexander Zverev

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Court Suzanne-Lenglen start 2:00pm
WTA match
[4] Dominic Thiem vs Karen Khachanov

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Nadal On Facing Federer: 'We Shared The Most Important Moments'

  • Posted: Jun 04, 2019

Nadal On Facing Federer: ‘We Shared The Most Important Moments’

SF will be their first meeting at Roland Garros since 2011 final

Don’t get him wrong: Rafael Nadal is excited to again be facing Roger Federer at Roland Garros. The two will meet in the semi-finals on Friday in what will be their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting since 2017 Shanghai and their 39th matchup overall.

But what most excites the 11-time champion Nadal is that he’s back into the last four again in Paris. Nadal was ruthless on Tuesday, beating Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 to make his 12th semi-final in Paris.

And although it seems like a guarantee in hindsight, the Spaniard had his clay-court struggles before the season’s second Grand Slam major, not winning a title before the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome last month. Now, however, Nadal is back into the semi-finals and looking forward to facing his greatest rivals.

Being honest, personally, for me, the main thing is being in the semi-final. The way that I have been playing has been very positive. I have been playing well, very solid. Winning good matches against tough opponents like today. I am happy with that,” Nadal said.

Of course after having Roger in front in the semi-finals is an extra thing. We shared the most important moments of our careers together on court facing each other.

So it’s another episode of this, and I’m happy for that and excited. It will be special moment, and let’s try to be ready for it.”

You May Also Like: Nadal Sweeps Into 12th Roland Garros Semi-final

Federer and Nadal have met five times at Roland Garros, including the 2005 semi-final. Nadal is 5-0 and has dropped only four sets in those matches. They’ve competed in the final four times, including 2006, ’07, ’08 and ’11. On clay overall, the Spaniard has won 13 of their 15 matches.

Nadal, however, said every match against Federer is different and that he expects a new challenge in the semi-finals.

We always try things. Let’s see. Let’s see what’s going on. I really expect that he’s going to play aggressive, changing rhythms, going to the net. That’s my feeling, that he’s going to try to play that way, because he’s playing well and he has the tennis to make that happen,” Nadal said.

I have to be solid. I have to hit the ball enough strong to not allow him to do the things from good positions. I need to let him play from difficult positions, so from there he’s going to have fewer chances to go to the net or to play his aggressive game.

If I am able to play good tennis and play well with my forehand and backhand, I hope to put him in trouble. If not, I will be in trouble.”

The two have not met on clay since the 2013 Internazionali BNL d’Italia final, and not at Roland Garros since the 2011 title match. Since June 2011, Nadal has won five more Roland Garros titles. He’s now two wins away from his record-extending 12th title here. But first: Federer.

It’s is always a big match against him. The level of tennis that you need to play always is the highest. And I am playing well, but I need to play very well against him. So I hope to be ready to make that happen,” Nadal said. “What I will do is try to do my best, so that the victories I have won on this surface against him count for something. And he will do his utmost to make sure that his latest victories against me have their weight. And so we’ll see.”

Federer has won their past five matchups, including four in 2017, all of which took place on hard court.

It’s really a particular match. We all know it,” Nadal said. “But in the end, it’s just a tennis match. The best player will have the most chances of winning this match. It’s a match between the best players in the world, indeed. But then the player who will be the closest, will have the most chances, will win.”

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Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer welcome Andy Murray return

  • Posted: Jun 04, 2019

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have welcomed the prospect of Britain’s Andy Murray returning to top-level tennis, while admitting his Queen’s Club comeback has taken them by surprise.

Murray, 32, has not played since hip surgery following the Australian Open.

He described his doubles appearance alongside Spain’s Feliciano Lopez at the Fever-Tree Championships later this month as “the next step” in his return.

“It was a little surprising he announced that so quick,” said Nadal.

“I always thought that he will find a way to try to be back, because he’s still young and still very passionate about the game.

“It’s great news for, first, for him and for his team and family, and then for the tour by itself. I’m happy for it, and especially happy for him.”

  • Murray to make competitive return at Queen’s
  • ‘I feel no pressure to return’ – Murray
  • Murray playing without pain

Federer and Nadal were among a raft of players who appeared in a video shown on the big screens at Melbourne Park, congratulating Murray for his career in the wake of the Scot’s first-round defeat by Roberto Bautista Agut.

Despite initially saying that it might be his final appearance before retirement, Murray left open the possibility of a return to tennis in his on-court interview just before the video played out.

“We were more told that this could be it, so can you please make a message?” Federer recalled of his contribution to the video.

“But we were hoping that this message is not actually real.

“I saw him after his match against Bautista Agut and I was, like, ‘So, what’s up? Are you really retiring?’ He didn’t know.

“It’s number one for his health, and we want Andy to be healthy, more so than being a tennis player. But if he can play tennis on top of it, that’s a super bonus.

“I think all of us top guys would be thrilled to see him back on the tour.”

Murray had the hip resurfacing operation – which keeps more of the damaged bone than a hip replacement, smoothing the ball down and covering it with a metal cap – in London on 28 January.

Murray told the Times earlier this month that there is “very little chance” of him playing singles at Wimbledon in July, but said a successful doubles campaign could be the launchpad for a full return.

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Federer Puts Up 'Help Wanted' Sign In Paris Ahead Of Nadal Clash

  • Posted: Jun 04, 2019

Federer Puts Up ‘Help Wanted’ Sign In Paris Ahead Of Nadal Clash

Swiss says the road to clay glory goes through Nadal

If you’re left-handed, currently in Paris and can break a nasty serve wide to the ad court, you might just be who Roger Federer is looking for.

Deep into the second week of Roland Garros, options for lefty practice partners are somewhat limited. But Federer is in need of lefty practice partners during the next two days as he prepares for his blockbuster Friday semi-final against arch rival Rafael Nadal.

Looking forward to their 39th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, Federer said that playing Nadal at Roland Garros was a massive challenge despite his own excellent form that he will take into the match.

“With Rafa, particularly on clay, you have to be aware of his strengths, what he brings to the table. And on top of it, because he’s a left-hander, it just changes everything,” Federer said.

“I have two days, which I guess is a good thing. It’s better than one. It’s better than none. So from that standpoint, I get more left-handed practice, more serves and all that stuff.

“Because I guess I have played five guys now that are righties, so for me it’s a complete switch-around. Just the way the ball goes out of your strings with the different spins, it’s just different. So you have to get used to that quickly. Don’t have much time to waste.

“That’s why you have to be fearless to some extent to take on the spinny balls, the sliding balls, the kicking balls, and that’s what I will do on Friday.”

More From #RG19
* Great Escape: 10 Years On, Federer Reflects On Paris Comeback
* Why Federer Should Not Be Counted Out At #RG19
* Carrying On The One-Handed Backhand
* Roger & Rafa: Every Match Ever Played

Nadal and Federer have met just once on clay in the past eight years: in 2013 in Rome. And they have not met on clay since Federer switched to a larger racquet head, which offers more protection against Nadal’s signature crosscourt forehand, which historically has haunted Federer on the dirt.

Although Federer is a modest 2-13 against Nadal on clay – including 0-5 at Roland Garros – the Swiss said that he believes he has a chance to advance to the final. On the upside, the Swiss is on a five-match winning streak against Nadal, the longest run in his favour in their rivalry, which Nadal leads 23-15.

You May Also Like: Federer Battles Past Wawrinka, Sets Nadal SF Clash At Roland Garros

“Like against any player, there is always a chance. Otherwise nobody will be in the stadium to watch because everybody already knows the result in advance,” Federer said. “And I think sport does that to you, that every match needs to be played before it’s decided.

“And that’s exactly what everybody believes by facing Rafa. They know it’s going to be tough. But you just never know. He might have a problem. He might be sick. You never know. You might be playing great or for some reason he’s struggling. Maybe there’s incredible wind, rain, 10 rain delays. You just don’t know. That’s why you need to put yourself in that position.

“For me to get to Rafa is not simple. It took five matches here for me to win to get there. That’s why I’m very happy to play Rafa, because if you want to do or achieve something on the clay, inevitably, at some stage, you will go through Rafa, because he’s that strong and he will be there.

“I knew that when I signed up for the clay that hopefully that’s gonna happen. If I would have had a different mindset to avoid him, then I should not have played the clay. So I think by that mindset, I think it helped me to play so well so far this tournament.”

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'Definitely one of my best performances', says Konta

  • Posted: Jun 04, 2019
2019 French Open women’s semi-finals
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: Thursday, 6 June
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

British number one Johanna Konta says she produced one of the best performances of her career to reach the French Open semi-finals.

Konta outclassed American seventh seed Sloane Stephens, last year’s runner-up, 6-1 6-4 in the quarter-finals.

“I’m very proud of the level and consistency I played,” said the 26th seed.

Konta, 28, is the first British woman to reach the Roland Garros last four since Jo Durie in 1983.

On Thursday she will face Czech 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova, ranked 38th in the world, with the prospect of a first Grand Slam final awaiting the winner.

“I feel really happy to reach the semi-finals, that is my main feeling,” Konta added.

“I am really pleased with how I am training and working every day on something that I enjoy and that I believe in.

“I think that’s probably the most satisfying feeling out of this whole thing right now.”

  • Konta beats Stephens to reach semi-finals
  • Federer sets up semi-final with Nadal
  • Relive Konta’s impressive victory & Federer’s hard-fought win

Konta will compete in her third Grand Slam semi-final – on a third different surface – after runs to the same stage at the 2016 Australian Open and 2017 Wimbledon.

The Briton had never won a main-draw match at Roland Garros until this year’s tournament.

After beating German qualifier Antonia Lottner, American wildcard Lauren Davis and off-colour young Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova in the opening three rounds, Konta impressively dealt with Croatian 23rd seed Donna Vekic as she stepped up a class of opponent.

She had to increase her level even higher against 2017 US Open champion Stephens, producing a display which American great Chris Evert said would have beaten “anybody” in the women’s game and had left her “speechless”.

“It is hard to pinpoint what is the best performance, because you’re always dealing with different types of opponents or different types of conditions,” Konta said.

“Or even if you’re playing the same opponent, it’s still going to be a different match.

“But it’s definitely one of my best performances.

“I’ve experienced so many things in this fortnight that are very individual to this tournament and I’m enjoying it.”

Konta’s route to the semi-finals
Match Opponent Score
First round Antonia Lottner (Ger) 6-4 6-4
Second round Lauren Davis (US) 6-3 1-6 6-3
Third round Viktoria Kuzmova (Svk) 6-2 6-1
Fourth round Donna Vekic (Cro) 6-2 6-4
Quarter-finals Sloane Stephens (US) 6-1 6-4

‘There is not much you can do when someone plays like that’

Konta came under immediate pressure in the opening game of the match, seeing off a break point and a lengthy deuce to hold serve after eight minutes.

That proved pivotal as Konta swatted her lacklustre opponent aside from then on.

The Briton’s aggressive approach did the damage as she ended up hitting 25 winners and six aces on her way to taking 87% of first-serve points.

Konta won 18 consecutive service points from the start of the second set, dropping her only point with a double fault in the final game as she won in one hour and 11 minutes.

“I definitely thought I played well behind my serve more than anything,” Konta added.

“I kept a good variety in there, which I think made it also difficult for Sloane to find her rhythm in those games.”

Stephens, 26, won just 13 receiving points in the match as she struggled to cope with Konta’s power and precision.

“She served really well. There is not much you can do when someone is playing like that,” the American said.

Stephens also believes windy conditions during the match on Court Philippe Chatrier helped Konta.

“Clay is a neutraliser, but there wasn’t very much clay on the court today. So that was a little bit tough,” she added.

“She likes to play on hard court and grass, and the court was very fast today, and I think that kind of worked in her favour.”

From first-round loser to semi-finalist

Konta at the French Open
2015: Comes through qualifying but loses 7-6 4-6 6-2 in first round to Czech Denisa Allertova
2016: 20th seed loses 6-2 6-3 in first round to Germany’s Julia Gorges
2017: Seeded seventh, loses 1-6 7-6 6-4 in first round to Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei
2018: 22nd seed loses 6-4 6-3 in first round to Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva
2019: 26th seed wins five matches to reach semi-finals
  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

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Federer sets up French Open semi-final with Nadal

  • Posted: Jun 04, 2019
2019 French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 26 May-9 June
Coverage: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

Roger Federer set up a French Open semi-final against defending champion Rafael Nadal by overcoming fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka in four sets.

Shortly before Federer won, Nadal completed a 6-1 6-1 6-3 win over Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

But 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer endured an energy-sapping three hours and 17 minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen to win 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

“The complete dream would be to win the tournament,” said Federer, 37.

“But I’m very happy, number one, to be back in another semi-final of a Grand Slam. It hasn’t happened in the last year or so. I had some tough losses in fourth rounds or quarters.

“So from that standpoint, I exceeded my expectations here.”

  • Konta first British woman to make French semis since 1983
  • Nadal & Federer welcome Murray return

Both quarter-finals were interrupted by a thunderstorm in Paris.

Federer is playing at Roland Garros for the first time in four years, having missed the 2016 event with a back injury and skipped the past two clay-court swings to preserve his body.

He faced the toughest test of his clay comeback so far against Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, who had progressed beyond the second round of a Grand Slam for the first time since losing in the 2017 French Open final.

Federer, the third seed, dropped his first set of the tournament and only converted two of his 18 break points, although the second of those – in the ninth game of the fourth set – proved decisive.

“Stan has had some tough years with injuries,” added Federer, who is into the last four of the competition for the first time since 2012.

“I had to break his rhythm because he’s so powerful. I took some risks and they came off but I was pretty lucky at the end.”

‘Playing Roger will be a special moment’

Nadal, 33, is into his 12th semi-final at Roland Garros and has won the tournament on all of the 11 previous occasions he has reached this stage.

He cruised through in one hour and 51 minutes against Japanese seventh seed Nishikori, who had been taken to five sets in his previous two matches.

“The way that I have been playing is, being honest, very positive,” said Nadal. “I have been playing well, very solid.

“Having Roger in front in the semi-finals is an extra thing. We shared the most important moments of our careers together on court facing each other.

“So it is another episode of this, and I’m happy for that and excited. It will be a special moment.”

He will now meet Federer, who won his only title at Roland Garros a decade ago, for the 39th time on Friday, having won all of their previous five meetings at the tournament, including the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011 finals.

Nadal also boasts a 23-15 head-to-head record against the Swiss, but it is Federer who has been victorious in their past five matches.

  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • Alerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone

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