Tennis News

From around the world

Ram/Salisbury Save 4 MPs, Reach US Open SFs

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2021

Fourth seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury survived a major scare Tuesday at the US Open as they saved four match points before edging past Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell 7-6(7), 6-7(6), 7-6(10) to reach the semi-finals in New York for the second time.

The American-British team squandered a match point at 6/5 in the second-set tie-break, before saving four match points themselves at 4/6, 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10 in the final-set tie-break to advance after two hours and 58 minutes.

They will next play Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey after the Americans moved past sixth seeds Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau 6-2, 7-6(5) to reach their second semi-final as a team at Flushing Meadows, after enjoying a run to the last four in 2015.

Eighth seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek also advanced, upsetting 2015 champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-2, 6-3.

The Australian-Slovakian tandem are competing together for the fourth time, after first teaming in Washington at the start of the North American hard-court swing. Peers and Polasek did not face a break point against the third seeds, hitting 10 aces to advance.

They will meet seventh seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, upset second seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4.

Source link

Zverev's Shining Weapon: 'My Serve Is The Key'

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2021

As Alexander Zverev’s serve goes, so does his tennis, and strong serving over the past two months has helped the German to the best stretch of form in his career.

“My serve is kind of the key to my game. When it’s working, I’m playing great. When it’s not, I’m losing matches like I did at Wimbledon,” Zverev said. “I think it’s no secret that my serve is probably the most important shot in my game, and I’m happy with how it’s working. I hope I continue to get better throughout the next few matches and everything else.

“The matches are not going to get easier and I will need that to be my weapon.”

Could the 24-year-old’s serve help him win his first major title at the US Open? So far, so good.

No player remaining in the draw has won a higher percentage of service games than Zverev. The fourth seed has claimed 96 per cent of his service games (54/56) through four matches, dropping serve just twice.

2021 US Open Service Stats – Alexander Zverev

 Stat  Alexander Zverev
 1st-Serve Pts Won  82% (179/217)
 2nd-Serve Pts Won  60% (53/89)
 Break Pts Saved  75% (6/8)
 Service Gmaes Won  96% (54/56)

Only two players in the field of 128 lost their serve less than twice during their stay in New York and both players, Jiri Vesely and Evgeny Donskoy, lost in the first round. Zverev also ranks second among remaining players in first-serve points won (behind Lloyd Harris) and second in second-serve points won (behind Carlos Alcaraz).

The German’s toughest test yet came in the fourth round against Jannik Sinner. But Zverev triumphed in straight sets against the 13th seed, saving six of the seven break point he faced. Glaringly, 26 per cent of his second serves went unreturned compared to 13 per cent for Sinner.

“It’s not easy playing against him. [He] has confidence. He serves well,” Sinner said. “When someone is serving well, you can try a little bit [different things] in the return game.”

Zverev’s last loss came against Felix Auger-Aliassime at Wimbledon. In that match, he hit 20 double faults and won just 34 per cent of his second-serve points.

“In Tokyo, all of a sudden it clicked, because in Wimbledon I had a very bad serving match against Felix. That was the reason I lost,” Zverev said. “Since Tokyo, it’s been a lot better, but it can still be a lot better, as well.”

That is a scary thought for the remainder of the field, as Zverev has won 15 consecutive matches. During that stretch, the German has dropped just three sets.

Last year at Flushing Meadows, Zverev advanced to his first major final and came within two points of the trophy. But that run was almost in spite of his serve. In four of his seven matches, he hit at least 10 double faults, including 15 in the final against Dominic Thiem. En route to the quarter-finals, he faced 25 break points.

In his first four matches combined this year, he has hit 10 double faults and faced just eight break points.

“The serve is the shot I spend the most time on. It’s the shot I practise the most as well,” Zverev said. “I am someone that needs that repetition, and I feel like the hard work maybe [is starting to come] along.”

Zverev will hope that continues in the quarter-finals against Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.

Source link

Medvedev Downs Botic For US Open Semi-Final Berth

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2021

Second seed Daniil Medvedev further strengthened his title credentials Tuesday at the US Open, where he overcame qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 to reach his third consecutive semi-final in New York.

The Russian, who captured his 200th career win in the first-round victory against Richard Gasquet, had not dropped a set before today.

The World No. 2 played with confidence against van de Zandschulp, firing 36 winners and winning 83 per cent (54/65) of first-serve points as he raised his level in the fourth set to advance after two hours and 22 minutes.

“First two sets he was missing and I was controlling the game,” Medevedev said in his on-court interview. “But then he started missing less and hit with more power and played more aggressively. The break point he won he hit a forehand winner, so it became a lot tougher for me.

“I am happy with my game in the fourth set because on my first serve, I only lost two points and I always felt under pressure. Then at 6-5 he got a little bit tight, and I managed to do it without the tie-break, which is helpful.”

Chasing his first maiden title, Medvedev remains on course for a potential blockbuster final against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is aiming to capture the Grand Slam at the US Open. The 25-year-old will first have to overcome a tricky test against either 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the last four.

The Russian has a strong record at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. In 2019, Medvedev reached his maiden major final in New York, rallying from two sets down to force a fifth set against Rafael Nadal in the championship match before falling short. He also advanced to the semi-finals without dropping a set last year before losing to eventual champion Dominic Thiem.

“In 2019 was my first Slam breakthrough, so already New York is in my heart, especially with the final against Rafael [Nadal],” Medvedev said. “Then last year, I still reached the semi-finals, losing to Dominic [Thiem] who played amazingly. I just want to do a little bit better than the last two times and get over this last little step, which is the toughest one.”

Medvedev captured his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title in Toronto and enjoyed a run to the last four in Cincinnati before arriving at Flushing Meadows last week. The Russian, who has also lifted trophies in Marseille and Mallorca this year, now holds a 16-2 record since Wimbledon.

In their first ATP Head2Head meeting, Medvedev dictated against van de Zandschulp as he moved inside the baseline to hammer his flat groundstrokes. The Russian hit with great depth in the first set to take time away from van de Zandschulp, breaking three times as he sealed the opener on his fourth set point.

The Dutchman had spent more than 19 hours on court, including in the qualifying rounds, 12 more than Medvedev had, and this began to show in the second set. The qualifier won just 38 per cent (6/16) of first-serve points in the set as he appeared to be tiring.

However, the qualifier raised his intensity in the third set to gain a foothold in the match, as Medvedev started to misfire on his forehand. In a tight fourth set, Medvedev was made to work hard as van de Zandschulp continued to cover the court and use the drop shot to good effect to disrupt the Russian’s rhythm. After squandering a match point at 5-4 in the set, Medvedev finally clinched his victory as he broke in the 12th game to advance.

“Botic played so many tough matches and today he was able to still come back and in the fourth set, anything could have happened,” Medvedev added. “It was an amazing level from him and if he continues to play like this he is going to be Top 50 minimum.”

Van de Zandschulp enjoyed a breakthrough run at the US Open, capturing the biggest wins of his career against eighth seed Casper Ruud and 11th seed Diego Schwartzman en route to his first major quarter-final. The World No. 117 was the first Dutchman to reach the last eight at a Slam since Sjeng Schalken at Wimbledon in 2004.

Source link

Preview: Felix & Alcaraz Meet; Medvedev, Van De Zandschulp Eye US Open Semi-final Spots

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2021

Two of the most exciting #NextGenATP stars — Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime — begin what may be a fascinating ATP Head2Head rivalry of the future on Tuesday at the US Open, last on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It will be the youngest US Open quarter-final for 15 years, when 20-year-old Rafael Nadal faced 19-year-old Novak Djokovic at 2006 Roland Garros.

Alcaraz, the youngest US Open quarter-finalist in the Open Era (since April 1968), will be hoping to continue his breakthrough season with another fearless performance of power tennis against 12th seed Auger-Aliassime, the youngest man to reach back-to-back Grand Slam quarter-finals since Juan Martin del Potro in 2008-2009.

Two days after he upset third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to become the youngest man to defeat a Top 3 player at the US Open, 18-year-old Alcaraz secured back-to-back five-set victories for the first time in his career by beating Peter Gojowczyk 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 in the fourth round. The Spaniard has won 25 of his past 30 matches (at any level) and is the youngest man to reach the tournament’s quarter-finals since Thomaz Koch (18) in 1963.

“Carlos is a great player,” said Auger-Aliassime. “[A] great person also. He deserves to be in this position. He’s going to be [at the] top of the game, I think, for many years in the future… I think he’s playing good and he will keep playing well in this tournament, so I have to prepare myself for the best of him.”

Aliassime, who has struck 77 aces in four matches (the third most at the tournament, after Reilly Opelka’s 109 aces and Lloyd Harris’ 87 aces), continues to strengthen every aspect of his game under the guidance of coaches Frederic Fontang and Toni Nadal. The 22-year-old has beaten the ever-consistent Roberto Bautista Agut and Frances Tiafoe en route to the last eight at Flushing Meadows, and at No. 15 in the FedEx ATP Rankings attempts to take the next step: a place in his first major championship semi-finals.

Exclusive: Ferrero On Alcaraz’s Rise
Signed At 12, Alcaraz Investment Now Paying Rich Dividends

Photo: Andrew Ong/USTA

In another first-time meeting, World No. 2 and 2019 finalist Daniil Medvedev challenges Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp first on Arthur Ashe Stadium from 12 noon.

Medvedev has yet to drop a set in four matches at this year’s US Open, with victories over Richard Gasquet, Dominic Koepfer, Pablo Andujar and 24th seed Daniel Evans. The Russian has won 15 of his past 17 matches since Wimbledon, including his fourth ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto (d. Opelka).

Van de Zandschulp came into the US Open with just 11 tour-level matches under his belt; he’d never even visited the United States prior to a fortnight ago, but having come through qualifications and stand-out main draw wins over the likes of eighth seed Casper Ruud and 11th seed Diego Schwartzman, the Dutchman is riding on the crest of a wave. The World No. 117 is the first Dutch male to reached a major championship quarter-final since Sjeng Schalken at 2004 Wimbledon.

Coming To America: Botic’s Big-Time Debut 

“I saw [a] few matches of his before,” said Medvedev. “I remember he played Karen [Khachanov] in Melbourne, had match point against him. [I] saw him practice a few times. I know kind of how he plays. I know he can play well. I saw this today [Sunday], especially he chose very good tactics against Diego.

“I’m going to prepare with my coach [Gilles Cervara] tactically as much as I can after. Again, if I serve well, if I play well, I know that it’s not easy to play against me. He has some matches in his legs. I’m going to try to use it and try to win.”

Source link

Djokovic: I Had To ‘Find Holes’ In Brooksby’s Game

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2021

It is one feat to take a set off Novak Djokovic at a major. It takes a monumental step up to outlast the World No. 1 and carry that momentum to victory on a Grand Slam stage.

#NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby rode a blistering start and the energy from his home crowd to blitz the opening set of his first ATP Head2Head showdown with the Serbian in his first outing on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night. But as seven contenders previously this season discovered, a one-set advantage did not transfer to the upset as Djokovic found his groove 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

“He played a perfect first set. Everything he intended to do he executed it perfectly,” Djokovic said. “On my end, I was just trying to find a rhythm, trying to read his game, trying to understand where I can find holes in his game and start to attack and shift the momentum to my side.”

Djokovic began to turn the match in his favour midway through a torrid battle in the second set, a point of the match at which he admitted he needed to impose himself. It was a timely reminder of the physicality and mentality required to go the distance with the world’s best.

“I really wanted him to feel my presence on the court. I wanted the energy to shift on my side because he was a better player for a set and a half. He had the momentum,” Djokovic said. “I felt like that was the point where, OK, now I got him. He also was struggling a little bit physically at one point. I wanted to wear him down and it worked.”

Twenty-five matches down, the top seed stands three matches from the Grand Slam. A third straight major championship showdown against sixth seed Matteo Berrettini is his next hurdle in his 11th US Open quarter-final. Like Brooksby, in the Wimbledon final, Berrettini took the opening set only for the Serbian to reel him in.

Djokovic Digs Deep To Fend Off Brooksby At US Open 

“[He’s the] hammer of tennis. Next to [Juan Martin] del Potro, probably the hardest hitter of serve and forehand,” Djokovic said. “He’s got the lethal serve-plus-one game. He’s already established as a top player.

“Without a doubt, he played a… semi-final here a couple years ago, final in Wimbledon. That was a tough four-setter. If he serves well, which is his biggest weapon, he’s tough. He’s tough on any surface to play against.

“I’ve had some really close matches with him at [Roland Garros] and Wimbledon recently. We’re going to play the third Grand Slam in a row against each other. Hopefully the result will be the same as the previous two.”

Source link

Brooksby: ‘I Can Compete With Anybody’

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2021

#NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby had World No. 1 Novak Djokovic completely rattled for a set and a half on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open on Monday night. After four sets, gallant in defeat, the 20-year-old had more than proved his worth on the big stage and led the top seed to remark: “America has a bright future in tennis.”

Outside the Top 200 in the FedEx ATP Rankings less than four months ago, Brooksby left to a standing ovation with his head held high, confident he had exceeded all expectations on his first run to the second week of a Grand Slam. Despite the disappointment of the 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 fourth-round defeat, he knew he had made the most of every opportunity before a vocal home crowd.

“It’s definitely all positive things to take away. I learned my game. I’m feeling really confident in my game. I believe I can compete with anybody,” Brooksby said. “I knew it would be important to start strong, to impose my mindset and my strategy, my game out there. It’s definitely special.

“I always enjoy the matches and everything throughout the moment. Obviously you have to stay focused… Atmospheres like that are what you want to be in front of since you were a little kid, watching on TV when you were young, and now you’re living it. It is something I really appreciate and I’m grateful to be here now. [I’m] excited to keep [playing] in atmospheres like this for the future.”

Projected to rise to the cusp of the Top 40 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after the US Open, it has been a meteoric ascent. Brooksby only cracked the Top 100 earlier this month after he reached the final in Newport and the semi-finals in Washington, D.C.

The experience of taking it to the world’s best on the biggest Grand Slam stadium is invaluable as he looks to build on his breakout run. There was no rush to depart after his first taste of competition on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I did take time to look around a little bit, just appreciated being in an atmosphere like that with so many people cheering you on. Took a moment to still have it all in after,” he said. “You’re not going to win every match you play obviously, but you still have to enjoy it.

“I think [the belief] comes from definitely more training, but most importantly other match situations against other guys and… just the whole process of it. Leading up to it, I 100 per cent believed I could win against anybody. I thought I showed that with the level I could produce out there. Unfortunately, physically it got a little tougher.”

Source link

Soares Recalls Bout With Four Knives & '12 Hours Of Surviving'

  • Posted: Sep 07, 2021

Bruno Soares was excited to fly to Tokyo in July for his third Olympics. The Brazilian doubles star flew from Sao Paolo to Houston without incident. When Soares picked up his backpack in Houston for his four-and-a-half hour layover, he felt discomfort in his abdominal area and attributed it to gas. After eating breakfast, drinking coffee and relaxing, the 39-year-old boarded without feeling pain.

That is when a normal travel day turned into travel hell.

“They served food about 45 minutes in. As soon as I finished lunch, it was like someone came with four knives and just put them in my abs. It was out of nowhere. The pain went from being uncomfortable to being incredibly painful,” Soares told “Then it was just 12 hours of surviving. I threw up twice because of the pain. It was quite a tough flight.”

Upon arrival at the Olympic Village in Tokyo, Soares received treatment from doctors, who gave him painkillers and began treatment. The Belo Horizonte-native had appendicitis, which required surgery.

“It’s been an interesting past couple months to say the least. It was a tough thing for me. The timing couldn’t have been worse,” Soares said. “We know how big the Olympics are, but it’s even bigger when you have it once every four years. Not only that, but I missed the whole summer.

“I just appreciate that nothing worse happened. I got surgery there, everything went alright. That’s life, ups and downs. Not much to complain about.”


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bruno Soares (@brunosoares82)

After five days, Soares flew home to Brazil. But because of the surgery, he had to stay home for a month. The 34-time tour-level doubles titlist lost weight and muscle, and had to return to action “really slowly”.

“You recover from appendicitis,” Soares said. “But the rest of the body doesn’t really work, so you kind of have to take it easy and be smart with the comeback.”

Soares began hitting again two-and-a-half weeks before the start of the US Open. For the first week, he took it slowly to see how his body would react. That left him little time to prepare for the season’s final major alongside partner Jamie Murray. But on Monday, they battled past Dominik Koepfer and Emil Ruusuvuori in three sets to reach the quarter-finals.

“It’s been a crazy ride,” Soares said. “But to be honest I’m just happy to be back on court.”

Making the run even more special is having his six-year-old son in New York. Noha has walked up to his father after each match for a special handshake.

“It’s just amazing to have him around. I decided to have a boys’ trip only, so it’s just me, him and my coach, and it’s been amazing,” Soares said. “Honestly, the result is just the cherry on the cake on this trip. Whatever happens, it’s been a blast for me.

“I don’t know how long I’m going to be able to play. I want to play more. But to have him with me and experiencing everything, it’s been such a special feeling for me.”

Source link