Tennis News

From around the world

Murray Advances To Face Nakashima In Surbiton QFs

  • Posted: Jun 02, 2022

Murray Advances To Face Nakashima In Surbiton QFs

Briton advances in two tie-break sets

Andy Murray continued his strong start to the grass-court season on Thursday at the Surbiton Trophy, but was tested in the second round of the ATP Challenger Tour event by Dutch qualifier Gijs Brouwer.

Playing in southwest London in his native Great Britain, the former World No. 1 advanced to the quarter-finals with a 7-6(4), 7-6(3) win that lasted just under two hours.

Watch Match Replay Of Murray’s R2 Win

The 35-year-old Murray has not dropped a set in his first Surbiton appearance since 2004, having cruised past Jurij Rodionov, 6-2, 6-1, in the opening round on Monday. He will next face fifth seed Brandon Nakashima, who defeated fellow American Stefan Kozlov, 6-4, 6-3, on Thursday. It will the pair’s first professional meeting.

Murray is the top seed in Surbiton behind his Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 67. He returned to the Top 100 for the first time since mid-2018 in February and holds a 12-8 tour-level record on the 2022 season, including a run to the Sydney final in January and the third round at the Mutua Madrid Open in May.

The ATP Masters 1000 event in the Spanish capital was his most recent tournament prior to Surbiton. In Murray’s lone clay-court event of the season, he scored impressive wins against Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov before withdrawing due to illness prior to a clash against Novak Djokovic.

ATP WTA Live App

Source link

Arevalo/Rojer, Dodig/Krajicek Advance To Roland Garros Doubles Final

  • Posted: Jun 02, 2022

Arevalo/Rojer, Dodig/Krajicek Advance To Roland Garros Doubles Final

Both pairs are into their first major final as a team

Two gripping men’s doubles semi-finals were decided late in their final sets Thursday at Roland Garros, with 12th seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer and the unseeded duo of Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek advancing to Saturday’s title match with a pair of comeback victories.

With both semi-finals played on Court Simonne Mathieu, Arevalo/Rojer defeated 16th seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(10-8), before Dodig/Krajicek downed fourth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5.

ATP WTA Live App

The 40-year-old Rojer is now the oldest Roland Garros men’s doubles finalist in the Open Era. Arevalo, who was playing in his first men’s doubles Slam semi-final, is the first major men’s doubles finalist from Central America.

Their match against Bopanna/Middelkoop featured just two breaks of serve — one to decide each of the first two sets. Arevalo/Rojer never trailed in the 10-point tie-break and held leads of 7/3 and 9/6 before clinching their final place on their third match point.

“We started our partnership this year at the beginning of the year, and we have [been] building each other [up] as a team,” Rojer said in a post-match press conference. “We have a great team behind our backs, as well. The whole job that we have been doing is paying off. We are super happy to be in the final, but we know that [there is] still a lot of work to do.

“We are going to go fight on Saturday in the final.”

Their semi-final win improved the pair to 23-11 as a team, including a 10-match win streak in February that included titles in Dallas and Delray Beach and a final run in Acapulco. Rojer, who was competing in his ninth major semi-final, is through to his third final. He is undefeated in those title matches, winning the 2015 Wimbledon and 2017 US Open titles with Horia Tecau.

Dodig/Krajicek dropped serve twice in the opening set but were not broken again until a dramatic and eventful close to the final set. The Croatian-American team broke early in the third and had a pair of match points on return at 5-3.

They could not convert those chances, and then failed to serve out the match at the first time of asking at 5-4. But they claimed their third break chance of the ensuing game and made no mistake on their second chance at serving for a spot in the final.

The unseeded pair will bring a nine-match win streak into the championship match, dating back to their Lyon title run. The closest they came to defeat during that run was in the Roland Garros quarter-finals, when they saved five match points to defeat top seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. 3-6, 7-6(9), 7-6(12-10).

“We started playing very good in Lyon and we’re just getting better every day,” Krajicek said in press. “Hopefully we can stay on that path. Our game styles match very well and we get along great, so it’s been a great partnership.”

Dodig and Krajicek are 12-4 overall as a team, including 9-3 on the season. Dodig is a two-time Grand Slam champion (2015 Roland Garros with Marcelo Melo, 2021 Australian Open with Filip Polasek), while Krajicek is through to his first major final.

Source link

What Is Rafael Nadal's Head To Head Record Against Alexander Zverev?

  • Posted: Jun 02, 2022

What Is Rafael Nadal’s Head To Head Record Against Alexander Zverev?

Spaniard holds 4-1 edge in clay meetings

Who holds the edge in the Rafael Nadal vs. Alexander Zverev rivalry heading into their Roland Garros semi-final?

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev have played nine times at Tour level, with the Spaniard holding a 6-3 lead in their ATP Head2Head series.

The players will meet for the 10th time Friday in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

ATP WTA Live App

The Spaniard and German have not played in more than a year, when they clashed in back-to-back weeks at the ATP Masters 1000 clay-court events in Madrid (won by Zverev) and Rome (won by Nadal).

Nadal has won four of their five clay-court meetings and won their first five meetings on all surfaces between 2016 and 2018. Zverev won three straight matches between 2019 and his Madrid triumph in 2021.

View Nadal vs. Zverev ATP Head2Head breakdown

You May Also Like:

Nadal Downs Djokovic In Classic Roland Garros QF

Source link

Cilic: My Backyard Court, Sacrifice & Making Kids' Dreams Come True

  • Posted: Jun 02, 2022

Cilic: My Backyard Court, Sacrifice & Making Kids’ Dreams Come True

Marin Cilic writes a My Point essay about his unlikely path to professional tennis and why it has motivated him to make future generations’ dreams come true

Well, who’s going to work in the fields?

When my grandfather asked that of my father, who was 14, his fate was sealed: He was going to start his life in the tobacco fields. One of my father’s uncles, who was the director of a football club, had visited them in Medjugorje, a very small town in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He wanted to take my father to Croatia to pursue his education and let him play football, which was exciting, because he really loved playing the sport.

But my father had to stay home to support my grandparents in the fields and vineyards. My grandparents only knew how to make a living through difficult means, and they could not do it on their own. By the time my father had a vision beyond the fields — he eventually went into business — it was too late for him. Staying home early in life kept him from pursuing his childhood dreams. That was never going to be the path for me; my parents were determined that it was time to break that cycle.

Medjugorje has a population of less than 4,000, and it is known for Saint Mary appearances, not sporting success. The town’s first tennis court was built just a couple of years before I got into the sport, which became more popular with Goran Ivanisevic’s rise. My parents gave me a little push to get into tennis, especially because my uncle and cousin, who lived in Germany at the time, played. When I was seven, they visited our home, and that is when I started playing tennis. There were very few resources in the area, though, and the court I began on was uneven and in bad shape.

That is where my father’s love of construction came into play. He had never played tennis, only watched it on television. But while others in our area were building offices and spaces to rent out for corporations, he was instead imagining things my brothers and I could do with tennis. We had a massive backyard, and in 1996, when I was eight years old, my father decided to build a tennis court in it. My grandparents told my father that his idea was completely crazy. It really was insane.

<a href=''>Marin Cilic</a>
Photo Credit: Marin Cilic Foundation
But my father had a vision, and he wanted to give me the best opportunity to succeed in life. Before I knew it, big trucks started showing up to drop off clay. Underneath that was drainage, with sand and other materials. I still remember how we would need almost two hours to fully water the court during the summer because the water pipe connected to our garden hose wasn’t very big. We often spent more time watering the court than we did playing!

But I knew I was lucky just to have that court. Nobody from our area knew what it took to succeed in tennis. The few people who played did so for fun. Having the court was an opportunity in itself, as it fostered my love of tennis from the very beginning.

My family’s efforts made me quite responsible when I played. I took all my tasks very seriously. I was extremely diligent during practice and followed all instructions. I showed talent from a young age and practised with a coach in a nearby town 10 minutes away, but there were not many opportunities beyond that for me to grow as a player.

When I was 13, someone wrote an article about my dreams of making it to Wimbledon. But with the resources we had — as a family and as a town — it really was an impossible dream. There were not many players to practise with in Medjugorje besides my friend Ivan Dodig and his brother, Mladen. I had to make the biggest decision of my life when I was 14: stay home with my family and continue my education or move to Zagreb — the home of the Croatian federation’s training centre — to give myself the best chance of improving.

I knew it would be very tough to leave my family, which has always meant everything to me. But with their full support, I decided to make the move. There were quite a few difficult days. Luckily, Zagreb was close enough to home that I was able to visit home.

Every six to eight weeks, I jumped on the bus at 9 or 10 in the evening and arrived at 6 or 7 in the morning. I would sit there thinking about my dream of becoming a professional tennis player. It was quite unlikely, I have to say, but I was giving it my best shot.

I had to show up to every practice in Zagreb, and I never missed one. I took the opportunity very seriously and remained vigilant, even though it’s not so easy at that age, especially being away from home. I have to admit it was tough. No matter how great my Zagreb family was- I lived with my godfather and his wife- it was still a transition to a bigger city far away from the family and friends I grew up with. But I believe that part of the strength, extra calm and inner peace that I found came from my upbringing and my family’s support. I always had faith that God would guide me in the right direction.

I always try to think back to those beginnings, because sometimes we catch ourselves trying to look for more and more. I’ve found myself in situations when I wasn’t having fun on the court. When I first started playing, it was always for the joy of it. That is why through the highs and lows as a professional tennis player I remind myself to enjoy it.

<a href=''>Marin Cilic</a>
Photo Credit: Marin Cilic Foundation
At some point in your career, you start wondering if you’re ever going to win a big title or achieve your goals. But nothing is a given. Remember that newspaper article about my Wimbledon goals? My parents still have that at their home, and it’s a reminder of all the years of hard work it took to get this far. I reached my dream of playing at Wimbledon, played in the finals there and at the Australian Open, won the US Open, and have spent the better part of my life playing the game I fell in love with as a seven-year-old in my parent’s backyard.

It is incredible that I became a professional in the first place. I’ve fulfilled so many dreams I never thought I could make a reality, and I’ve long thought about how I could help others do the same. At first, I was not actually sure how. I always wanted to give back to the community and I always wanted to do more. But I knew it would be important to do so systematically.

I found the right recipe for that by reading Outliers: The Story Of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. The book is about what produces successful people, and Gladwell came to the conclusion that opportunity is what makes successful people successful, and I absolutely agree. If I didn’t have opportunities — if my parents didn’t build a tennis court in the backyard, if I never moved to Zagreb or if I did not meet one of my coaches at the right time — I probably would not have made it here.

<a href=''>Marin Cilic</a>
Photo Credit: Marin Cilic Foundation
That was the idea behind launching the Marin Cilic Foundation in 2016. We do everything in our power to help kids in need, whether through scholarships, motivational speeches or by providing proper guidance to point them in the right direction. There are many young talents throughout the world that come from developing areas or their families simply can’t support them. In the end that talent does not have the opportunity to shine. I hope for a world in which all children have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential.

We have two big ongoing projects at the foundation. One is building a playground in developing areas to support kids who do not have access to spaces for play, and the second is awarding scholarships to talented youth in sports, music, and STEM subjects. While I’ve been lucky enough to live my dream through sport, there are kids in many areas who struggle. Helping them gives me such positive feelings. When I am able to make them happy, I’m happy.

I know how these kids feel, because I was there. I remember sitting on that bus when I’d come home from Zagreb wondering if I would ever become a professional tennis player. I didn’t know what the future would bring and if my goals were possible. For all the kids asking the same questions today, I will do everything I can to help make their dreams a reality.

Learn more about the Marin Cilic Foundation

– as told to Andrew Eichenholz

Source link

Koolhof/Shibahara Top Vliegen/Eikeri For Roland Garros Mixed Doubles Title

  • Posted: Jun 02, 2022

Koolhof/Shibahara Top Vliegen/Eikeri For Roland Garros Mixed Doubles Title

Both pairs made their team debuts this fortnight

Wesley Koolhof and Ena Shibahara’s perfect partnership now includes the first Grand Slam title of their respective careers. Teaming for the first time this fortnight in the Roland Garros mixed doubles competition, the Dutch-Japanese pairing improved to 5-0 as a duo with a 7-6(5), 6-2 victory over Joran Vliegen and Ulrikke Eikeri in Thursday’s final.

The second seeds also knocked out two men’s doubles semi-finalist on their way to the title, beating Jean-Julien Rojer (and Alexa Guarachi) in the first round and Matwe Middelkoop (and Demi Schuurs) in the second round.

“Ena, thanks for saying yes to my request,” Koolhof said during the trophy ceremony. “Loved playing with you. Hopefully we can play some more in the future. You’re doing an amazing job, so keep it up.”

In a final contested by two teams making their debuts as duos, Koolhof and Shibahara broke serve first in both sets on Court Philippe Chatrier. But it was Vliegen and Eikeri who started strongest, creating three break points and holding to love before the first changeover.

Koolhof/Shibahara edged ahead with a break in the fourth game but could not serve out the set at 5-3. After Vliegen/Eikeri held twice at love to force a tie-break, the Belgian-Norwegian duo rode its momentum to a 5/2 tie-break lead. But the champions answered back by winning five straight points to pocket the opening set.

Set two was more straightforward, with Koolhof/Shibahara breaking in consecutive return games before the Japanese served out the match.

Koolhof’s title run continues a red-hot year for the 33-year-old. He formed a new partnership with Great Britain’s Neal Skupski this season, and the pair leads the ATP Tour in wins (35), finals (6) and titles (4) on the year. One of those four titles came at the Mutua Madrid Open in May, when Koolhof won his first ATP Masters 1000 title in his fifth final at that level.

The Dutchman ended the 2020 season at a career-high of No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings after reaching the US Open final and winning the Nitto ATP Finals title with Nikola Mektic. He is now ranked No. 11.

ATP WTA Live App


Source link