Tennis News

From around the world

Marathon Men Ebden/Purcell Win Fifth-Set TB For Wimbledon Title

  • Posted: Jul 09, 2022

Marathon Men Ebden/Purcell Win Fifth-Set TB For Wimbledon Title

Aussies claim their first Grand Slam title

Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell went the distance for the fifth time this fortnight to claim their maiden Grand Slam title in Saturday’s Wimbledon final. The Aussies, who saved eight match points across two matches in reaching the championship match, recovered an early break in the fifth set against Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in a thrilling 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(10-2) victory.

Pavic, who was playing exclusively with his dominant left hand due to a fractured right wrist, put forth a valiant effort alongside his fellow Croatian, but the second seeds fell just short in their bid to retain the Wimbledon title.

After receiving the runner-up trophy, Mektic gave full credit to the Australians.

“It is tough, really, 7-6 in the fifth,” he said. “I have to congratulate the guys for this title. They had an amazing tournament, they came back so many times. They defended some match points and here once again they came back from 2-1 [down] with their good level.”

The victory for Ebden/Purcell will be even sweeter after they were turned back in the Australian Open final in January at their home Grand Slam. On their title run, they won five five-set matches and two fifth-set tie-breaks, saving three match points in the opening round and another five in the semi-finals. Across six matches this fortnight, they twice battled back from two sets down; they fought back from at least one set down in four matches.

In Saturday’s title-deciding tie-break, a Purcell return winner clipped the line to open up a double mini-break lead at 5-2, and another made it 9-2 as the Aussies sprinted through the finish line. An Ebden ace — the team’s fifth of the match — sealed the deal after four hours, 11 minutes, leading the Australians to celebrate with a synchronized fall to the Centre Court turf.

While the Australians did not need to save a match point on Centre Court, they did save two break points on the Purcell serve at 4-4 in the fifth set. After some untimely unforced errors piled on the pressure, Purcell saved the first chance with a wicked backhand dipper and the second with a 130-mph serve, the fastest of the match. That escape prevented Pavic, who was not broken in the contest, from serving for the title.

Follow Wimbledon Live Scores, Draws & Schedule | Download ATP WTA Live App

Bidding to become the first repeat Wimbledon men’s doubles champions since 2008-09 (Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic), the Croatians were two games away with Mektic serving at 4-3 in the fifth. But Ebden/Purcell, who had started to lock in on return, broke Mektic for the second time in as many sets to restore parity.

After the opening two sets passed without a break of serve, one was enough to claim the third and fourth, with the Aussies roping three clean winners in a row en route to breaking for the set at 4-5 in the fourth. They finished with two breaks on seven opportunities, while the Croatians were two-of-nine on their break chances.

<a href=''>Mate Pavic</a>, <a href=''>Nikola Mektic</a>
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic carried a 13-match winning streak into the Wimbledon final. Photo Credit: Sebastien Bozon/AFP via Getty Images

Pavic revelaled after the match that he fractured his wrist on a fall in the first set of the semi-final, when he and Mektic saved a match point against 2019 Wimbledon champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

“It was tough to handle those two matches,” he said. “It was tough to play. Obviously we were close. It’s a bit frustrating [when] you’re not 100%,” he said before crediting Ebden/Purcell for their fighting spirit. 

“We gave our best and we gave it a fight, so I think we can be very proud of ourselves for those two matches.”

Added Mektic: “These last two matches were probably the most emotional, the best of my life, so I’m grateful.”

The Croatians saw a 13-match win-steak ended after they entered the final on the heels of triumphs at The Queen’s Club and Eastbourne. They were also on an 11-match run at The Championships as the defending champs.

Ebden/Purcell claimed their second tour-level title of the season after an April victory in Houston.

Source link

Stats Preview: Analysing Kyrgios' Perfect Serving Record Against Djokovic

  • Posted: Jul 09, 2022

Stats Preview: Analysing Kyrgios’ Perfect Serving Record Against Djokovic

Kyrgios has never dropped serve against Djokovic

Novak Djokovic enters the Wimbledon final as a three-time defending champion, second on the all-time wins list at The Championships with 85 match victories. But a triumph against Nick Kyrgios is not among them.

Though the pair have never met at Wimbledon, the Serbian is 0-2 in his ATP Head2Head against his final opponent. Djokovic did not claim a set — or a break of serve — in two 2017 encounters as Kyrgios was victorious in Acapulco and Indian Wells. The Aussie saved the only break point he faced across those two hard-court matches, nullifying the threat of one of the game’s all-time best returners with a combined 39 aces in four sets and a first-serve win rate above 80 per cent in each match.

Follow Wimbledon Live Scores, Draws & Schedule | Download ATP WTA Live App

Djokovic failed to live up to his career win rate of 34 per cent against first serves, posting success rates of 19 and 14 per cent in those two matches against the power of the Kyrgios delivery. The Aussie will hope to ride a similar serving performance to victory on Sunday.

“His motion for the serve is so fluid and just very quick,” Djokovic said of his next opponent after a four-set semi-final victory against Cameron Norrie. “He can hit any angle really. He tosses it forward so he can come in, serve and volley. He puts himself in a great position to be aggressive or to stay back. But he’s always one metre in front of the baseline.

“On grass I would assume it’s even tougher to read his serve and to return because he has so many free points. You could see that throughout this tournament, as well. He just puts additional pressure on your serve. He moves well. He’s got great hands. So [he’s a] very complete player.”

You May Also Like:

Preview: Can Kyrgios Stun Djokovic & Capture Maiden Major At Wimbledon?

Djokovic has been back to his best on return this fortnight, though he has yet to face an opponent of Kyrgios’ serving caliber. His 32 and 59 per cent win rates against first serve and second serves, respectively, comfortably outpace Kyrgios’ marks of 28 and 49 per cent.

That may come as no surprise for the Serbian. But a look at the serving statistics for both men provide more good news for Djokovic.

Despite hitting 50 aces to the Australian’s 120, the top seed has backed up his serve more effectively than his unseeded opponent. His win rates of 82 and 56 per cent on first and second serve compare favourably to Kyrgios’ 78 and 53 per cent.

Statistic  Djokovic Kyrgios
Aces / Double Faults 50 / 17 120 / 20
Unreturned Serves 34% 44%
1st-Serve Points Won 82% 78%
2nd-Serve Points Won 56% 53%
Return Points Won vs. 1st Serve 32% 28%
Return Points Won vs. 2nd Serve 59% 49%
Break Points Won 32/81 (40%) 19/48 (40%)
Break Points Saved 17/28 (61%) 28/34 (82%)
Winners (Forehand / Backhand) 72 / 30 90 / 32
Rally (0-4) W-L 449-347 (56%) 515-433 (54%)
Rally (5-8) W-L 141-109 (56%) 114-117 (49%)
Rally (9+) W-L 95-71 (57%) 35-38 (48%)

Behind his booming serve, Kyrgios will seek to keep the points short in Sunday’s final. The Australian has won just fewer than half of points in rallies longer than four balls, while Djokovic has been consistently strong in rallies of all lengths, winning at least 56 per cent of short, medium and long exchanges.

The Serbian will aim to drag his opponent into long rallies and long service games. Kyrgios has posted an impressive 82 per cent save rate on break points, but Djokovic will be confident of a better conversion rate on the chances he creates in the final. 

While Kyrgios saved eight of nine break points in his quarter-final win against Cristian Garin with clutch serving, such moments will carry more weight in a Grand Slam final — particularly with Djokovic across the net.

“I’ve never been here before,” Kyrgios said of reaching the title match. “That’s where Djokovic has the advantage from the get-go. He can draw from experience, he’s done it so many more times, he knows the emotions he’s going to be feeling. I don’t know that. I don’t know anything like that,” he said in his pre-final presser.

He also shared that he had “a shocking sleep” after learning that Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal put him into the final.

“I feel like I’m just a reckless ball of energy right now. I just want to go out on the practice court now and hit some tennis balls and just talk. I don’t know. I want it to come already. Yeah, I want the final to come already… I know that I have to kind of just calm down.”

As the unseeded underdog’s nerves settle, he will benefit from clarity of thought and confidence with regard to his game plan thanks to his fruitful history against Djokovic. But he’ll also know that his third meeting with the Serbian will be his toughest yet.

Source link

Preview: Can Kyrgios Stun Djokovic & Capture Maiden Major At Wimbledon?

  • Posted: Jul 09, 2022

Preview: Can Kyrgios Stun Djokovic & Capture Maiden Major At Wimbledon?

Serbian seeking seventh Wimbledon crown, Australian hunting first

After a pulsating two weeks, Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios will take to centre stage on Sunday in a mouthwatering clash in the Wimbledon final.

For Kyrgios the task at hand is great, with the Australian never been beyond the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam before this fortnight. In contrast, Djokovic will be competing in a record 32nd major final as he aims to capture his 21st Grand Slam crown.

However, Kyrgios is the game’s ultimate big-stage performer and with the weapons he possesses – a thunderous serve and powerful forehand – the 27-year-old will look to rise to the occasion and end his fairytale run with his first Grand Slam trophy.

“He plays lights-out every time he steps out onto the court,” Djokovic said when discussing Kyrgios. “Just [has] a lot of power in his serve and his game. So I’m sure he’s going to go for it. No doubt he’s going to be aggressive. I expect him to do that.

“He’s a big-match player. If you see his career, the best tennis he’s played is always against the top guys. That’s why we all respect him, because we know what he can come up with. It’s going to be [an] interesting match.”

Follow Wimbledon Live Scores, Draws & Schedule | Download ATP WTA Live App

Kyrgios arrived in London high in confidence, having reached consecutive semi-finals on grass in Stuttgart and Halle. The World No. 40 has successfully transitioned his performances to the lawns in London, overcoming Paul Jubb, Filip Krajinovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Brandon Nakashima and Cristian Garin, before Rafael Nadal withdrew from their semi-final due to injury.

Most Grass Wins (2022)

Player Win-Loss Record
Nick Kyrgios  12-2
Matteo Berrettini  9-0
Taylor Fritz  8-2
Daniil Medvedev  8-3
Stefanos Tsitsipas  8-3
Tim van Rijthoven  8-1

Prior to Wimbledon, the six-time tour-level titlist had not reached the quarter-finals at a major since the 2015 Australian Open. Many, including the Aussie, believed his chances to win a major had gone, making his run in London extra special.

“I just never thought that I would be [at this stage] at a Grand Slam. I thought that ship had sailed,” he said after his quarter-final win. “I didn’t go about things great earlier in my career and may have missed my window. I am really proud of the way I have come back out here.”

<a href=''>Nick Kyrgios</a>
Photo Credit: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Having put himself into a position to win the title, Kyrgios admitted on Friday that his nerves are building as he aims to show the world what he is capable of.

“I had a shocking sleep last night, though, to be honest. I probably got an hour’s sleep just with everything, like the excitement. I had so much anxiety, I was already feeling so nervous, and I don’t feel nervous usually,” Kyrgios said. “I just know there’s a lot of people that want me to do well and give my best. But I had a shocking sleep last night. Hopefully I can get some sleep tonight.”

Although he may be sleep-deprived, Kyrgios can take comfort and encouragement from his standout record against top seed Djokovic, with the Australian leading the Serbian 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head Series. Kyrgios has won all four sets the pair has played, never dropped serve and faced just one break point.

The 27-year-old, who defeated Rafael Nadal en route to the quarter-finals on debut at The Championships in 2014 and earned a win against Roger Federer in Madrid in 2015, will need to be firing on serve if he is going to breach the defences of Djokovic, who many views as the best returner to have played the sport.

The Australian, who is the lowest-ranked man to reach the Wimbledon final since World No. 48 Mark Philippoussis in 2003, has hammered 120 aces during the grass-court major, often hitting his spots on crucial points to dispatch opponents.

With history on the line, Djokovic will be ready for whatever Kyrgios throws at him when he walks onto Centre Court for his eighth final at The Championships.

The World No. 3 is chasing a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title and seventh overall, which would draw him level with American Pete Sampras and move him to within one of Federer (8).

<a href=''>Novak Djokovic</a>
Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Following his four-set win over Cameron Norrie in the semi-finals, Djokovic improved to 85-10 at SW19, moving clear of Jimmy Connors (84-18) and into second in the all-time wins list.

“I’m aware of what’s on the line. Every match, every Grand Slam that I get to play at this stage of my career, there is a lot on the line,” Djokovic said after defeating Norrie. “I don’t know how many Grand Slam opportunities to win the trophy I will still have, as I will have in a few days. So, of course, I’m approaching it with [a] positive attitude and self-belief and willingness to win. There’s no doubt about it.”

Most Grand Slam men’s singles final appearances (all-time)

Player No. Of Appearances
Novak Djokovic 32
Roger Federer 31
Rafael Nadal 30
Ivan Lendl 19
Pete Sampras 18
You May Also Like:

Djokovic Relishing Chance To Make More History

Sunday’s final will be Djokovic’s fifth Grand Slam championship match in a row playing against someone who has never won a major. Last season he defeated Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini in the first three finals of the year, before Medvedev gained revenge at the US Open to lift his maiden Grand Slam trophy.

Djokovic is expecting a tough battle against Kyrgios, but he is again ready to deal with the pressure he has become accustomed to.

“One thing for sure, there is going to be a lot of fireworks emotionally from both of us,” Djokovic said. “It is going to be his first Grand Slam final. He is very excited and he doesn’t have much to lose and he is always playing like that. He is playing so freely, one of the biggest serves in the game. Just a big game overall, a lot of power in his shots. We haven’t played for some time. I have never won a set off him. Hopefully it can be different this time.

“It is another final here at Wimbledon at a tournament I love so much. Hopefully the experience can work in my favour.”

Most consecutive Wimbledon men’s singles titles (Open Era)

Player  Consecutive Titles Won Years
Bjorn Borg 5


Roger Federer 5 2003-07
Pete Sampras 1997-2000 
Novak Djokovic  3 2018-2021

After a testing fortnight, Djokovic stands one match away from creating more history at The All England Lawn Tennis Club as he looks to close the gap on 22-time major champion Nadal. Will the Serbian maintain his imperious Wimbledon record and earn a 28th consecutive match win and seventh crown, or will Kyrgios rise to the occasion as he so often does and upset the 87-time tour-level titlist?

Did You Know?
A victory for Kyrgios would see him become the first male Grand Slam champion from Australia since Lleyton Hewitt won the Wimbledon title in 2002.

Source link