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Medvedev beats Nadal to set up Thiem title match at ATP Finals

Daniil Medvedev sent Rafael Nadal packing after a grueling slugfest at the ATP Finals in London on Saturday to set up a title match against Novak Djokovic’s conqueror Dominic Thiem. The Spanish world number two, who has never won the elite event in his illustrious career, faltered when serving for the match in the second […] The post Medvedev beats Nadal to set up Thiem title match at ATP Finals appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerNov 22nd, 2020

Thiem beats Federer at ATP Finals; Djokovic cruises

By Mattias Karen, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Dominic Thiem keeps getting the better of Roger Federer. Thiem beat Federer 7-5, 7-5 Sunday in their opening match at the ATP Finals for his fifth win in seven meetings with the Swiss great — and third straight this year. Thiem broke in the opening game of the match and again for a 6-5 lead in the first set after Federer had leveled at 2-2. The second set went with serve until Thiem broke at love for another 6-5 lead. Federer, a record six-time champion at the ATP Finals, then missed two break points in the next game before netting a backhand return on Thiem's second match point. Thiem also beat Federer at the Madrid Masters and in the Indian Wells final this year, but lost to him in the group stage at last year's ATP Finals. Novak Djokovic had a much easier start to the tournament, easing past Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 in their first round-robin match. But despite a near flawless performance, Djokovic still found a way to berate himself. Leading 4-0 in the second set against the Italian, Djokovic hit a backhand wide to concede a break to the Italian, and then angrily turned toward his player's box and shouted out his frustration. It was a clear sign that even at the end of another grueling season, Djokovic won't tolerate any dips in his game as he pursues a record-equaling sixth ATP Finals title. "There's no other reasonable explanation (to that reaction) than trying to play as perfect as possible," Djokovic said. "But I guess that's me, you know." It was certainly the same Djokovic that the O2 Arena crowd has become used to seeing. Although the second-ranked Serb — who won four straight titles at the year-end event in London between 2012 and 2015 — only needed to hit a total of 10 winners in the match as Berrettini's 28 unforced errors handed him an easy victory to start round-robin play. Berrettini's forehand was responsible for 18 of those errors, including two shots into the net to hand Djokovic the only two breaks of the first set. After giving up that lone break to make it 4-1 in the second, Djokovic broke right back and then clinched the victory with an easy forehand putaway at the net. "He missed a relatively easy forehand for him that gave me a break (in the first set)," Djokovic said. "And after that I started reading his serve better." Berrettini was making his debut at the event for the world's top eight players and had never faced Djokovic before. He also said he struggled a bit with the speed of the indoor hard court at the O2. "The ball is not jumping a lot, so it's tough to mix, especially my forehand," Berrettini said. "I think it's better when I have a little bit more time and the ball takes more spin. I think I started the match pretty good, but he was just better than me today." The other four-man group features Rafael Nadal, defending champion Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitispas and Daniil Medvedev. They begin play on Monday. Djokovic has a chance to overtake Nadal for the year-end No. 1 ranking with a strong showing in London. He trails the Spaniard by 640 ranking points, with a maximum of 1,500 points up for grabs......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 11th, 2019

‘Blew me off court’: Djokovic suffers heaviest loss to lucky loser Sonego in Vienna

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego during their quarter-final match of the ATP tennis tournament in Vienna, Austria, on October 30, 2020. (Photo by GEORG HOCHMUTH / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT Novak Djokovic suffered his heaviest ever defeat in a three-set match on Friday when he was knocked out of the Vienna ATP tournament by lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego, stalling his bid to wrap up the year-end world number one ranking for a sixth time. Italian Sonego, ranked 42 and who had intially lost in qualifying last weekend, is the first lucky loser ever to beat Djokovic. His 6-2, 6-1 quarterfinal stunner was 33-year-old Djokovic’s heaviest ever defeat. The only other time the Serb had won just three games was at the 2005 Australian Open at the hands of Marat Safin in a best-of-five set encounter. “He just blew me off the court, that’s all,” Djokovic told atptour.com.  “He was better in every segment of the game. It was a pretty bad match from my side, but amazing from his side.  “He definitely deserved this result,” added the Serb star who was playing his first tournament since his Roland Garros final defeat to Rafal Nadal three weeks ago. Friday’s defeat means Djokovic will have to wait a little longer before he completes the formality of equalling Pete Sampras’s all-time record of ending the season top of the rankings for a sixth time. “For sure it’s the best victory of my life. Novak is the best in the world. Today I played so, so good,” Sonego said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s amazing. I played the best match in my life. I’m so happy for this.” Sonego fired 26 winners past the Serb who lost for only the third time in 2020. Djokovic, a 17-time major champion, managed just seven winners against 25 unforced errors. Sonego goes on to face either Britain’s Dan Evans or Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria for a place in the final. Second seed and defending champion Dominic Thiem also lost Friday, going down 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to Russian world number eight Andrey Rublev. Rublev hit 30 winners past the US Open champion and goes on to face South Africa’s Kevin Anderson for a place in the final. “I came here with the mood that I have nothing to lose,” said Rublev who is chasing a fifth title of the year. “I had already a really great season. I came here with zero expectations, just wanting to do my best. To try to fight every match. At the end, I am here in the semi-finals.” Anderson made the semifinals by accounting for Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 7-6 (7/5). It was 2018 champion Anderson’s first top 10 win in two years......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

US Open 19: As usual, Djokovic, Nadal, Federer lead the way

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press Men to watch at the U.S. Open, where play begins Monday: ___ NOVAK DJOKOVIC Seeded: 1 Country: Serbia Age: 32 2019 Match Record: 38-7 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 75 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 16 — U.S. Open (3: 2011, 2015, 2018), Australian Open (7: 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019), French Open (1: 2016), Wimbledon (5: 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-Won Championship, 2017-Did Not Play, 2016-Runner-Up, 2015-W, 2014-Lost in Semifinals Aces: Has won 4 of past 5 major tournaments, 33 of past 34 Grand Slam matches. ... Reached at least semifinals in each of last 11 U.S. Open appearances. Topspin: At the moment, it's hard to pick against Djokovic, in general, but especially on his preferred hard courts — and when the stakes are greatest. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Sam Querrey in 2nd round, three-time major champ Stan Wawrinka in 4th round. ___ RAFAEL NADAL Seeded: 2 Country: Spain Age: 33 2019 Match Record: 41-6 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 83 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 18 — U.S. Open (3: 2010, 2013, 2017), Australian Open (1: 2009), French Open (12: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019), Wimbledon (2: 2008, 2010) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-SF, 2017-W, 2016-4th, 2015-3rd, 2014-DNP Aces: Closing in on 750 consecutive weeks ranked in the top 10; only Jimmy Connors (789) has more. Topspin: Chances of getting closer to Roger Federer in Grand Slam title chase depend on how body holds up. ... Retired from his semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro a year ago in New York. Matchup to Watch For: Plays John Millman, who beat Roger Federer in New York last year, in 1st round. ___ ROGER FEDERER Seeded: 3 Country: Switzerland Age: 38 2019 Match Record: 39-6 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 102 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 20 — U.S. Open (5: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), Australian Open (6: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018), French Open (1: 2009), Wimbledon (8: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-4th, 2017-QF, 2016-DNP, 2015-RU, 2014-SF Aces: 62-minute loss to Andrey Rublev this month was quickest tour exit since 2003 and left Federer with just 1 hard-court match victory on the tuneup circuit. ... Turned 38 on Aug. 8; no man that old has won a Slam title in the professional era. Topspin: Since 6 consecutive U.S. Open finals from 2004-09, has been back to the title match only once. But there's a lot less tread on his tires this time. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Lucas Pouille in 3rd round. ___ DOMINIC THIEM Seeded: 4 Country: Austria Age: 25 2019 Match Record: 31-12 2019 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 14 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, French Open (2018, 2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-QF, 2017-4th, 2016-4th, 2015-3rd, 2014-4th Aces: Has beaten No. 1-ranked player in each of past 3 seasons, including Djokovic in 2019. Topspin: As good on hard courts as clay, with only 1 major quarterfinal so far, but if the draw breaks his way, could return to Week 2. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Gael Monfils or Felix Auger-Aliassime in 4th round. ___ DANIIL MEDVEDEV Seeded: 5 Country: Russia Age: 23 2019 Match Record: 44-16 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 5 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: 4th, Australian Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-3rd, 2017-1st, 2016-DNP, 2015-DNP, 2014-DNP Aces: Leads tour in match wins, hard court wins (31-8), final appearances (6). ... Reached finals at past 3 tournaments, all on hard courts. Topspin: A lesser-known, younger player who could make a major quarterfinal for first time — as long as he's not too exhausted. Matchup to Watch For: Could play Fabio Fognini in 4th round. ___ STEFANOS TSITSIPAS Seeded: 8 Country: Greece Age: 21 2019 Match Record: 37-18 2019 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 3 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: SF, Australian Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-2nd, 2017-DNP, 2016-DNP, 2015-DNP, 2014-DNP Aces: Enters on 3-match losing streak. ... Already had defeated Djokovic, Nadal and Federer before turned 21, youngest player with a win against each member of the Big Three. Topspin: Still dealing with inconsistency but serving, volleying and court coverage are strong enough for a strong performance in his second U.S. Open. Matchup to Watch For: Plays Andrey Rublev in 1st round; could play Nick Kyrgios in 3rd round. ___ TAYLOR FRITZ Seeded: 26 Country: United States Age: 21 2019 Match Record: 26-21 2019 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 1 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: 3rd, U.S. Open (2018) and Australian Open (2019) Last 5 U.S. Opens: 2018-3rd, 2017-2nd, 2016-1st, 2015-DNP, 2014-DNP Aces: Lost to Dominic Thiem in New York the past two years. ... Cracked ATP top 25 in August, youngest American man that high since Andy Roddick in 2004. Topspin: If he keeps up his year-by-year progress at Flushing Meadows, due to make Week 2 Slam debut. Matchup to Watch For: Plays Feliciano Lopez in 1st round......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2019

Federer braced for another next-gen challenge in 2020

By Mattias Karen, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — After dominating the tennis world for so long, Roger Federer thinks the sport’s Big Three could face their toughest challenge yet from a new generation in 2020. Federer’s 2019 season ended with a semifinal loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday at the ATP Finals, having seen Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal eliminated in the group stage of the tournament this week. Tsitsipas, a 21-year-old Greek who is playing at the ATP Finals for the first time, is among a handful of up-and-coming talents looking to finally end the unprecedented era of dominance by that trio. Other youngsters at the season-ending tournament include defending champion Alexander Zverev at 22 and U.S. Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev at 23. However, it’s not the first time that the 38-year-old Federer has faced talk about a talented crop of youngsters, even though none of them have so far been able to break the Big Three’s iron grip on the sport. ”It's the same question every year at the end of the year,” Federer said about the new generation. “But does it feel like this year might be the best year yet? Possibly. … But then I look at the list of who finished World No. 1, who has been World No. 1 all these years, and it's just crazy that it's always one of us. But we are not getting any younger. So chances increase not because we are getting worse but because they are getting better.” Nadal clinched his fifth year-end No. 1 title this week, putting him level with both Federer and Djokovic. Since 2004, the only other person to finish the year atop the rankings was Andy Murray in 2016. In addition, the Big Three have won the last 12 Grand Slam titles between them. And until one of the youngsters ends that streak, any talk of a generation shift is premature. ”Definitely it's that next step they need,” Federer said. ”The only issue is that it seems like me, Novak, and Rafa are healthy, healthier than maybe in previous years, as well.” The third-ranked Federer ends the year with four ATP titles, but failed to add to his record haul of 20 Grand Slams when he lost an epic Wimbledon final to Djokovic, despite holding two match points in the fifth set. He also fell short of a record-extending seventh ATP Finals title after converting just one of 12 break points against Tsitsipas, losing 6-3, 6-4. As long as he stays healthy, though, Federer is confident he’s still good enough to compete for more majors next season. “I've got to keep on playing at the level like I have this year, and then I will create some chances,” he said. “Then when the matches come, it's not maybe as easy as it was maybe 10, 15 years ago where you're just going to play very good, day in, day out. … (Opportunities) were there today ... They were there in other moments as well this season, maybe Indian Wells or Wimbledon or whatever. That can change an entire season around, the confidence around, the flow of things. But I'm happy how I played this season, and I'm extremely excited for next season.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2019

Federer, Djokovic both lose in Shanghai quarterfinals

By Sandra Harwitt, Associated Press SHANGHAI (AP) — Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic went from perfectly unbeatable to unbelievably beaten in the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters. Federer and Djokovic had been a combined 13-0 in Shanghai with a spot in the semifinals on the line, but both lost Friday. Federer saved five match points in the second set and received a point penalty in the third in the 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-3 loss to fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev. Djokovic, the defending champion, lost to sixth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. "He deserved the victory," Djokovic said of the 21-year-old Tsitsipas. "He was the better player in the second and third sets. I started well in the first set, but I wasn't sharp enough." Djokovic had been 8-0 in quarterfinal matches at the Shanghai Masters, and won four titles. Federer had been 5-0. Federer received a code violation for hitting a ball into the stands, and then received a point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after flicking a ball into the air when trailing 3-0 in the third set. When asked about the point penalty after the match, Federer didn't want to go into any detail. "So you could write on Twitter, you mean?" Federer answered. "No, it would be nice to write something nice once also about the game. "Next question." The 22-year-old Zverev now leads Federer 4-3 in career meetings. "I mean, they're knocking on the door big time, the young guys," Federer said. "It's exciting. They're great. It's really open now, I think, for the finish of this tournament." Zverev will next play Matteo Berrettini, an 11th-seeded Italian who defeated fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem 7-6 (8), 6-4. Until Friday's match, Djokovic had won 24 straight sets in Asia, a run that included last year's Shanghai Masters and the title in Tokyo last week. Tsitsipas has now beaten Djokovic twice in three matches. The Greek player defeated Djokovic in their first meeting at the 2018 Toronto tournament and Djokovic won their match in Madrid this season. "It's the best comeback that I have ever had probably," Tsitsipas said of Friday's victory. Tsitsipas also earned a place at the year-end ATP Finals for the first time on Friday. But that was guaranteed when third-seeded Daniil Medvedev beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6 (4) in another quarterfinal match. Medvedev, who will face Tsitsipas in Saturday's semifinals, is one match away from reaching a sixth consecutive tournament final. He reached his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open, and then won titles in Cincinnati and St. Petersburg. Medvedev leads the tour with 57 match wins this season and is 40-1 on hard courts when winning the first set. The only time he lost a hard-court match after winning the first set was against Gael Monfils in Rotterdam. Prior to Friday's match, Fognini said Medvedev was one of the most dangerous players to face. "If some top players like Fabio can say this about me, shows that I'm on the good way, I'm playing good, and it's not easy to play against me," Medvedev said. "Surely, yeah, that's what I tried to show today on the match and it worked out.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 12th, 2019

Serena vs. Sharapova set for prime time on Day 1 of US Open

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova is, not surprisingly, getting primetime billing at the U.S. Open. The two tennis stars' 22nd career meeting — and first at Flushing Meadows — will be the opening act in Arthur Ashe Stadium for the night session on Monday as the year's last Grand Slam tournament gets started. "Of course I'm going to watch it. I know you all are going to watch it. I think everyone in New York is going to watch it," defending champion and No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka said Friday. "Yeah, I mean, for me, I'm not that surprised that that happened, because, like, at every Grand Slam, there is always some sort of drama. You know what I mean? Like a first round. Like, 'Oh, my God!'" The U.S. Tennis Association announced the show-court schedules for both Day 1 and Day 2. That includes 15-year-old Coco Gauff in action at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Tuesday. The first match in the main stadium Monday will be French Open champion Ash Barty against Zarina Diyas, followed by defending men's champion and No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic against Roberto Carballes Baena. Then at night, Williams-Sharapova will be followed by 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer against qualifier Sumit Nagal. Williams owns 23 major singles trophies, while Sharapova has five. Both have been ranked No. 1. They've met at every other major tournament at least once, including in a final at each, but never before at the U.S. Open. Williams has won 18 matches in a row against Sharapova, and leads their overall series 19-2. In Louis Armstrong Stadium on Monday, the day slate includes Williams' older sister, two-time U.S. Open champion Venus, 2016 runner-up Karolina Pliskova and No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev, while the night program features three-time major champ Stan Wawrinka and 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys. Tuesday's participants in Ashe include Osaka and two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem during the afternoon, with 18-time major title winner Rafael Nadal and 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens in action at night. In addition to Gauff's first-round match against Anastasia Potapova, Day 2 in Armstrong will include two-time major champion Simona Halep and Australian Open semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the afternoon, along with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and the combustible Nick Kyrgios against American Steve Johnson at night. ___ RULES RECAP In an effort to avoid the sort of confusion that reigned over last year's U.S. Open final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, the U.S. Tennis Association wants to make the sport's rules — and chair umpires' rulings — clearer to on-site spectators and TV viewers. So when a player is warned by an official about a code violation — getting coaching during a match, say, or destroying a racket — that will be displayed on the scoreboard. "It's not a constant marker there," U.S. Open chief umpire Jake Garner said Friday. "It's just when the violation occurs, it will show up on the board at the moment it's given." The USTA decided against allowing match officials speak to the media after a contest involving controversy or questions, but Garner or tournament referee Soeren Friemel — both are new appointees — might be made available. Two other rules tweaks this year: The excessive heat rule will allow for 10-minute breaks for all men's or women's matches, whether or not they already were in progress when the weather reached a point of being dangerous to players; women can now only have one bathroom or change-of-clothing break per three-set match, not two. ___ TOKYO'S TEAM? Host Japan might not get to field its dream mixed doubles team for tennis at the next year's Summer Olympics. That's because Kei Nishikori thinks playing with Naomi Osaka might just be too much tennis in Tokyo. The 2014 U.S. Open runner-up is planning to play singles and men's doubles at the 2020 Games and for now isn't thinking about adding mixed doubles to his plans. "Very hot, very humid, playing singles and two doubles — I don't know if I can," Nishikori said at Flushing Meadows on Friday. A Nishikori-Osaka duo not only would be expected to contend for a medal in Tokyo — it would be among the most popular pairings in Olympic tennis history. Osaka, who moved from Japan to the United States when she was 3, is the No. 1 ranked women's player and the reigning champion at both the U.S. Open and Australian Open. Nishikori, who also left Japan to live in the United States, is No. 7 in the current ATP rankings. At last year's U.S. Open, he and Osaka became the first Japanese male and female players to reach the semifinals of the same Grand Slam tournament. They're also friends who have played video games together. But what about Olympic tennis together? "I haven't thought too much yet, honestly," Nishikori said. "I don't know. I will talk to Naomi later." ___ AP Sports Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 24th, 2019

Barty upset in Cincy semifinals, misses top spot for US Open

By Joe Kay, Associated Press MASON, Ohio (AP) — Ashleigh Barty's chance to move back to No. 1 was only one victory away. At the end of an up-and-down week, she didn't have another comeback left. Barty lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Saturday, adding to the tournament's week of upsets and injuries. The women's bracket has a lot questions with New York just around the corner. No. 1 isn't one of them. Barty's seven-week run atop the field ended when Naomi Osaka edged ahead of her in the latest ranking. A victory Saturday would have moved Barty back ahead for the U.S. Open. Instead, she dropped the opening set for the third straight match and this time, there was no digging out. "A week that we battled through," Barty said. "I think at times I played some good stuff. At times, I played some pretty awful stuff." Which will it be for Barty at the Open? And will Osaka be in good enough shape to defend her title? Osaka dropped out of her semifinal match Friday with discomfort in her left knee that caused her worry. She still plans to play in New York, but it's unclear whether the knee will be a problem. And then there's Serena Williams, who retired in the finals at Toronto last Sunday because of back spasms. She also withdrew from Cincinnati before her first match, but stuck around to cheer sister Venus until her loss in the quarterfinals. For Barty, it was another instance of a slow start leaving her trying to dig out. This time, a resurgent Kuznetsova gave her no openings, knocking off a top-five player for the second time this week to reach her first final of the season. "Sveta was unreal today," Barty said. It's been awhile since her play has been described that way. The 153rd-ranked player is recovering from seven-month layoff because of a knee injury. Playing in her ninth event of the season, she got her game together, winning her first Premier-level semifinal since 2017 at Madrid. "Well, sometimes in life it's like this," Kuznetsova said. "It's like really small things change everything. Definitely it's different momentum I have now." She'll face Madison Keys , who beat Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-4 with the help of 14 aces. Keys ended her streak of failing to make it past the second round of her last three tournaments, reaching the final in Cincinnati for the first time. In the men's bracket, David Goffin reached his first Masters 1000 final by beating Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4 . Goffin also is on an upswing after falling to No. 33 in the ATP rankings on June 10, his lowest since September 2014. "Of course, it was a tough period there," Goffin said. "I was coming back from injuries. I had some trouble with my confidence. I couldn't find my rhythm, my game. So it's great now. I'm feeling great. I'm back at my best tennis." Defending champion Novak Djokovic was scheduled for an evening match against Daniil Medvedev. The men's bracket also took several notable hits throughout the week. Originally billed as a reunion of the Big Four — Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray together for the first time since January — it quickly lost its luster. Nadal dropped out after winning the Rogers Cup, citing fatigue. Murray played singles for the first time since hip surgery in January and lost his opening match. And Federer, the seven-time champion, failed to reach the weekend, losing in the quarterfinals......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 18th, 2019

Federer loses to Thiem in Madrid Open quarterfinals

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Roger Federer's return to clay lasted only three matches. A day after saving two match points at the Madrid Open, Federer squandered two match points himself in the quarterfinals against Dominic Thiem on Friday, losing 3-6, 7-6 (11), 6-4. It may have ended his first appearance at a clay-court tournament in three years, but Federer wasn't leaving the Spanish capital too disappointed with the outcome of his return. "I feel very good about my game. I thought I had some good matches here," Federer said. "I feel good on the clay right now. It's been a good week. Frustrating, clearly. Losing with match points is the worst, so that's how I feel. But nevertheless, if I take a step back, it's all good." Federer skipped the clay swing the past two years to remain fit for the rest of the season. He decided to return this year in preparation for his first French Open appearance since 2015. The fifth-seeded Thiem, runner-up in Madrid the last two seasons, will next face top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who didn't have to play his quarterfinal after Marin Cilic withdrew because of food poisoning. Thiem has a chance to win his third title of the year after victories in Barcelona and Indian Wells, where he defeated Federer in a three-set final. "Facing him, it always requires my absolute best game and also a little bit luck, which I both had in Indian Wells and also here, and that's why I won these two matches," Thiem said. The other semifinal will be between Stefanos Tsitsipas and five-time Madrid champion Rafael Nadal. Tsitsipas defeated defending champion Alexander Zverev 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, while Nadal cruised past Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-2. Nadal lost only seven points on his service games, conceding no break opportunities against the 34th-ranked Wawrinka. The Swiss lost the 2013 Madrid final to Nadal. "It was one of my best matches in a long time, my best match on clay this year," the second-ranked Spaniard said. "It means a lot to have this feeling in this crucial moment of the clay season." On the women's side, Simona Halep made it back to the Madrid final for the first time since 2017 with a 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-0 win over unseeded Belinda Bencic. The French Open champion can surpass Naomi Osaka for the No. 1 ranking if she wins Saturday's final. "I don't want to think about that. For me, it is more important to win the trophy here than being No. 1," the third-ranked Halep said. "I prefer titles than numbers and rankings. So this is my goal, to play finals and to win trophies." She will face last year's runner-up Kiki Bertens, who defeated Sloane Stephens 6-2, 7-5. The 37-year-old Federer was trying to win his third Madrid title, and first since 2012. He has already won hard-court titles this season in Dubai and Miami. Federer got off to a great start against Thiem at the Magic Box center court, breaking the Austrian's serve early and cruising to a first-set win. He squandered five break points in the second, and then had match points at 8-7 and 10-9 in the tiebreaker before Thiem forced the deciding set by converting his sixth set point. Federer had saved two match points in his difficult three-set win over Gael Monfils on Thursday. Thiem broke Federer for the first time in the third game of the third set, converting his ninth break opportunity of the match. Federer got back on serve at 4-4, but started his next game 0-40 and couldn't recover. Thiem then served out for the victory, converting on his second match point. Thiem has won the last two matches he played against Djokovic, who got the day off because of Cilic's withdrawal. "It was supposed to be definitely a good match," said Djokovic, who has played only four sets this week. "I went back on the court, trained for another hour and got a good sweat in. Happy that I'm going to be fresh for my semifinal." The top-seeded Serb is seeking a third Madrid Open title, and his second of the season after winning the Australian Open. Thiem lost the Madrid final to Nadal in 2017 and to Alexander Zverev in 2018. "I was playing Novak last year and two years ago and he was not at his best I guess, and now he is again," Thiem said. "He's won the last three Slams and he is at the top of the ranking again. So the challenge couldn't be bigger.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 11th, 2019

Nadal holds off Zverev to reach 4th round at Australian Open

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal held back time, for one match at least, when he rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2 win over German teenager Alexander Zverev to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open. The 14-time major winner is on a comeback after an extended injury layoff, yet he finished stronger in the 4-hour, 6-minute match on Rod Laver Arena as Zverev tightened up with cramping and nerves. 'I enjoyed a lot this great battle. I was losing the last couple of times in the fifth set and I said to myself, 'today's the day',' said ninth-seeded Nadal, who had lost eight of the previous nine times he'd trailed 2-1 in a best-of-five set match. His 30-year-old legs, conditioned by 236 Grand Slam matches, carried him all the way. 'Well, fighting — and running a lot,' Nadal said, when asked to explain the difference. 'I think you know, everybody knows how good Alexander is — he's the future of our sport and the present, too.' Serena Williams has done it more easily, reaching the fourth round without dropping a set to stay on course in her bid for a record 23rd Grand slam title. Williams beat fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-3 and didn't face a break point until she was serving for the match. Dropping serve in that game was her only lapse in a match that then extended just beyond the hour — to 63 minutes to be precise. The six-time Australian Open champion next faces No. 16 Barbora Strycova. 'I don't have anything to prove in this tournament here. Just doing the best I can,' Williams said. 'Obviously I'm here for one reason.' Milos Raonic is here pursuing his first major title, aiming to improve on his runs to the semifinals in Australia and the final at Wimbledon last year. He reached the fourth round with a 6-2, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 win over No. 25 Gilles Simon and will next play No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat David Ferrer 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4. Nadal, who had two months off with an injured left wrist at the end of 2016, will get another veteran next after U.S. Open semifinalist Gael Monfils beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-4. In another gripping five-setter, but on an outside court, wild-card entry Denis Istomin followed his upset win over defending champion Novak Djokovic with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta. No. 8 Dominic Thiem beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round match against No. 11 David Goffin, who ended Ivo Karlovic's run 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Zverev's creative shot-making gave the 19-year-old German a confident start. He had won his previous three matches against top-10 players, and has been widely touted as a future Grand Slam champion. But Nadal, the champion here in 2009, didn't let him get too far in front. In an exchange of breaks in the fifth set, Nadal broke to open, then dropped his own serve, before breaking Zverev again. Nadal finished with 43 winners and 34 unforced errors, while Zverev — hitting harder and trying more to find the lines — had 58 winners and 74 unforced errors. In early women's matches, Ekaterina Makarova led by a set and 4-0 but had a mid-match fade, needing three sets and almost three hours to finally beat WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-3. 'An amazing fight,' Makarova said of her first win over sixth-seeded Cibulkova, the 2014 finalist at Melbourne Park. 'I got, to be honest, a bit tight at 4-0 in the second set. But I'm still here.' She'll now take on last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta, who beat former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1, in a rematch of their fourth-round encounter here last year. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni continued her unlikely run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari, and so did American qualifier Jennifer Brady. Before this week, the 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni hadn't won a match at Melbourne Park since her debut here in 1998. The 19-year gap in between match wins at a Grand Slam tournament broke the record set by Kimiko Date-Krumm. The 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist next plays No. 116-ranked Brady, who had never played in the main draw of a major before she qualified for this week. The 21-year-old Brady had a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina on Show Court 2. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Raonic beats Nadal, keeps Brisbane title defense on track

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal was up a set and had a break point against defending champion Milos Raonic when he sent a forehand just wide. It was a mistake the 14-time Grand Slam champion wouldn't recover from. Raonic made the most of the reprieve, holding serve in that fifth game of the second set and then attacking Nadal's serve in the eighth to swing the momentum his way in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal win Friday at the Brisbane International. The top-seeded Raonic broke Nadal's serve again to start the third set, and calmly held on for only his second win in eight matches against the Spaniard. Raonic served 23 aces and hit 50 winners to just 19 for Nadal, who could only convert one of his seven break-point opportunities. As well as the big, deep service returns, Raonic also repeatedly went to the net, trusting his instincts and putting pressure on Nadal. 'Today the mentality behind the match was what sort of kept me around,' Raonic said. 'Some moments things weren't looking great. I wasn't efficient coming forward. I was missing some shots I shouldn't be. I was rushing. 'But at least I kept myself there, and I was able to always recuperate the next point. That's what I have to be most proud of.' Nadal, coming back from a layoff after an injured left wrist curtailed the end of his 2016 season, beat Raonic in an exhibition tournament last week. But Raonic played with more intensity in Brisbane, and Nadal said a couple of lapses were costly. 'Probably if I put that passing shot forehand cross, I had the break in the second set, big chance that we will be here one hour before with a victory,' Nadal said. 'That passing shot was long, and that's it. Then he had the break and match changes.' Nadal said three wins at the exhibition tournament, two wins and a close result in Brisbane gave him confidence his progress was good ahead of the Australian Open, where he is desperate to make amends for a surprising first-round exit last year. Still in contention to start back-to-back seasons with a Brisbane title, Raonic will play seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov — a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 winner over No. 4 Dominic Thiem — in the semifinals. U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka and third-seeded Kei Nishikori will meet in the other semifinal match. The second-seeded Wawrinka beat unseeded Kyle Edmund 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-4 to reach the semifinals in his first trip to the Brisbane tournament. In the previous three years, Wawrinka won the title in Chennai in the first week of the season before heading to Australia for the season's first major. Wawrkina has a 4-3 lead over Nishikori in career head-to-heads, including the semifinals at the U.S. Open last year, but Nishikori won two of the three meetings in 2016. Nishikori has now reached the semifinals four times in seven visits to the Brisbane International, needing just an hour for a 6-1, 6-1 quarterfinal win over Australian wild-card entry Jordan Thompson. 'I think I played one of the best matches so far, really dominating from the baseline and serving good today,' Nishikori said. 'Everything was working well.' U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova will play Alize Cornet in the women's final on Saturday. Cornet was leading 4-1 when French Open champion Garbine Muguruza retired with a right thigh injury. Pliskova beat sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4 in the other semifinal match. 'A little bit of luck never killed anybody,' said Cornet, who finished last year ranked No. 46 but now expects to be seeded at the Australian Open. 'I'm just going to take it. I really enjoy the fact that I'm in the final. It's a big day for me, yeah.' Muguruza didn't think the injury setback would trouble her at the Australian Open. 'It will not stop me,' Muguruza said. 'Cornet was playing good. I couldn't match her level today. I had some pains, and I thought it was smarter to take care of my body.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Top-ranked Kerber loses to Svitolina in quarterfinals

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Angelique Kerber predicted that 2017 was going to have a different feel for her, considering her phenomenal breakout season last year. It certainly started differently, with the top-ranked German losing to sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the Brisbane International quarterfinals on Thursday. Kerber reached the final here last year and fine-tuned to precision for the Australian Open, where she beat Serena Williams to claim her first Grand Slam title. She went on to reach the finals at Wimbledon and the Olympics before collecting a second major title by winning the U.S. Open. She overhauled Williams for the top ranking and finished the year at No. 1. After a first-round bye, Kerber struggled with her serve and had nine double-faults in a three-set win over Australian wild-card entry Ash Barty in the second round. Against the No. 14-ranked Svitolina, the German left-hander cut her double-faults down to five, and had a break in the third set after winning the second. But she quickly surrendered the break and wasn't consistent enough, finishing with 48 unforced errors against 39 winners. 'Of course I'm disappointed that I lost here in the quarters (but) I think I'm happy about my start,' Kerber said. 'I'm not worried about my serve. I know I can improve it, but, I mean, that's the second match of the year, the first tournament. 'It was not a bad match. I think we both play on the really high level tonight ...so, yeah, next.' Svitolina was the only player to beat both No. 1-ranked women last year, beating Kerber in straight sets in Beijing and Williams at the Olympics. The 22-year-old Ukrainian has now closed the gap to 5-4 in career head-to-head meetings with Kerber. In the semifinals, she will meet U.S. Open finalist Karolina Pliskova, who advanced by beating eighth-seeded Roberta Vinci 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. French Open champion Garbine Muguruza rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat fifth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-4 to set up a semifinal match against Alize Cornet, who ousted second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 7-5. Defending men's champion Milos Raonic will face 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. The top-seeded Raonic, who had a first-round bye, had 12 aces in a 6-3, 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman. Nadal, who is coming back from months off the tour with a left wrist injury, needed only 55 minutes to finish off a 6-1, 6-1 win over Mischa Zverev in a late match. 'After injuries and hard times, it's so special to be back on court,' the 30-year-old Nadal told the appreciative crowd at Pat Rafter Arena. 'It means everything to me. When you fight a lot to be back in action, the support of the people means a lot.' Nadal beat Raonic in an exhibition match last week in Abu Dhabi and has a 6-1 lead in career head-to-head meetings, but the Canadian was still looking forward to facing the Spaniard. 'It's a great task,' Raonic said. 'I feel like I'm doing a lot of things well and, hopefully, I can match up and play some good tennis.' Fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem beat Australian wild-card entry Sam Groth 7-6 (5), 6-3 to move into a quarterfinal match against seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Nicolas Mahut. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Defending champion Raonic into Brisbane International QFs

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Defending champion Milos Raonic advanced to the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International with 6-3, 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman on Thursday. The top-seeded Raonic, who had a first-round bye, fired 12 aces in the 70-minute, second-round match and had four service breaks, including three in the second set. He dropped his own serve during an exchange of breaks to start the second set. He will next meet either Rafael Nadal or Mischa Zverev, who were playing a night match. Nadal beat Raonic in an exhibition match last week in Abu Dhabi and has a 6-1 lead in career head-to-head meetings, but the Canadian was still looking forward to facing the Spaniard. 'It's a great task,' Raonic said. 'I feel like I'm doing a lot of things well and, hopefully, I can match up and play some good tennis.' Fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem had a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Australian wild-card entry Sam Groth to move into a quarterfinal against No. 7-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Nicolas Mahut. In women's quarterfinals, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza came back from a 4-1 deficit to beat fifth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-4 to set up a semifinal against Alize Cornet, who ousted second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 7-5. Cibulkova was playing her second match since clinching the season-ending WTA Finals title. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Tennis& rsquo; Big-3 era coming to an end?

London---Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal have been absent from the title match at the ATP Finals for the past two years, replaced by younger rivals seeking to smash their monopoly......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2020

UAAP 82: Finals-bound FEU beats DLSU in High School Boys Football

Far Eastern University-Diliman completed its second straight rout of the UAAP Season 82 High School Boys' Football Tournament, dominating De La Salle-Zobel, 4-1, even as University of Santo Tomas rescued their title aspirations with a win over Ateneo High School, 2-1, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The Baby Tamaraws, who have clinched their 11th consecutive appearance last Wednesday, now carry 17 points. La Salle remains with seven points. Jacob Garciano drilled in the insurance goal just before the halftime break to put the Baby Tamaraws out of reach at 3-0. Pocholo Bugas opened the scoring for the defending champs at the 12th minute, before a mistimed clearance from Miguel De Mesa resulted to an own goal 15 minutes later. Despite the huge lead, FEU still brandished its offense and eventually opened the rout with a fourth goal five minutes into the second period with a screamer from Karl Absalon. Head coach Park Bobae was pleased to see his squad getting at ease with their offensive adjustments. "Actually after we drew with UST, we addressed our problem with scoring," he shared. "So we practiced our scoring detail. We also studied how to play La Salle. So we know how we would also know how to prepare to play against them." The match got testy after a commotion saw Jerome Ang getting sent off, bringing the Baby Tams down to 10 men. La Salle's Yuki Ferrer was cautioned after the incident. The ruckus fueled the Junior Green Archers as they eventually notched a goal courtesy of Rafael Aldeguer in the 80th minute. The goal, however, was too late as the final whistle signaled the end of La Salle's Finals hopes. Park shared that despite their place in the Finals already booked, the Tamaraws might still go full force in their final elimination match as preparation for the championship match. "Josh Abundio is still injured, but his recovery is very fast. So, there's a chance, he'll play. We'll see," the Korean mentor ended. UST, on the other hand, scored twice in the second period to repulse Ateneo for a chance at making it to the Final match. The Junior Golden Booters zoom to third place eight points, while the Blue Eaglets finished the season with seven points. Denzel Celebrado registered a brace with a late winner at the 90th minute to follow up on his 74th-minute strike to level the match. His two goals made amends of a defensive lapse off Diego Luna in the 37th minute to put Ateneo ahead at 1-0. UST will try to push for at least a playoff for the second Finals berth with a win against La Salle on Thursday, February 13 at 1:30 p.m. FEU and Nazareth School of National University will take on each other in a potential preview of the Finals later at 4 p.m......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 10th, 2020

Nadal secures Spain s victory at ATP Cup; Croatia, Japan win

By John Pye, Associated Press BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Weeks after leading Spain to a Davis Cup title, Rafael Nadal is doing his best to do it again at the the ATP Cup, the newest of the men's international team competitions. The top-ranked Nadal beat Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 6-1 in Perth on Monday to secure Spain's win in the best-of-three encounter against Uruguay ahead of the doubles. Spain now has two wins from two starts in Group B and next faces unbeaten Japan to determine first place and automatic qualification for the playoffs in Sydney. Roberto Bautista Agut was equally ruthless in getting Spain started when he beat unranked 19-year-old Franco Roncadelli 6-1, 6-2. Nadal won his fourth title in the Davis Cup, the traditional men's team competition, in November. He said he thrives in the team environment. The six group winners and the two best second-place teams qualify for the quarterfinals. Second-ranked Novak Djokovic gave Serbia a shot at a second victory when he extended his tour-level unbeaten streak against Gael Monfils to 16 wins with a 6-3, 6-2 victory in Brisbane. Benoit Paire had given France the lead with a 6-2, 5-7 (6), 6-4 win in his singles against Dusan Lajovic. The Group A match will now be decided by doubles. In Sydney, Austria clinched victory over Argentina with wins in both singles matches. Fourth-ranked Dominic Thiem beat Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 7-6 (3) after Dennis Novak rallied from a slow start to beat Guido Pella 0-6, 6-4, 6-4. Both countries are 1-1 in the Group E standings, which are led by unbeaten Croatia. Novak, ranked No. 101, said a few pointers from Austria captain Thomas Muster helped calm him down after the first set. "After the first set I went to a break with Thomas, and I came out and changed a little bit my game and fought back," Novak said. “I think at the end I played really good tennis." Former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic had too much experience for No. 448-ranked Kacper Zuk, setting up Croatia's victory over Poland with a 7-6 (8), 6-4 win. Cilic, who has a career-high ranking of No. 3 but slipped to 38 after an injury-shortened 2019 season, was only able to convert one of his 13 break-point chances against Zuk, who was making his tour-level debut. Hubert Hurkacz beat Borna Coric 6-2, 6-2 to split the singles results, but Croatia pair Ivan Dodig and Nikola Mektic clinched the encounter with a 6-2, 6-1 win in the doubles over Hurkacz and Lukasz Kubot. "If I have to pick some things that I need to do better, it's just converting break points. I had a lot of them," Cilic said. “Otherwise, I felt that the level was quite good.” Two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson led South Africa to victory over Chile in Group A in Brisbane, keeping his team in contention for the playoffs despite an opening loss to Serbia, and Japan clinched its second straight win with victory in both singles matches against Georgia in Perth. Anderson, who is coming off a six-month injury layoff and pushed Djokovic in two tight sets over the weekend, outclassed Cristian Garin 6-0, 6-3 after Lloyd Harris beat Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 6-4. The South African doubles combination made it a 3-0 sweep. Anderson said the goal was now to win the last round of the group stage to have a chance of reaching the quarterfinals, which start Thursday in Sydney. “We had to get a win today, so we were able to do that,” Anderson said. "Some of it is out of our hands as well, already having, well, taking the loss against Serbia. “We'll bring back our full intensity for our match against France.” Japan followed up its 3-0 sweep against Uruguay with its win over Georgia. Go Soeda beat Aleksandre Metreveli 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and Yoshihito Nishioka upset No. 26-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 6-3. Georgia won the doubles to make the final result 2-1......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2020

Federer says a star s legacy isn t at risk with late decline

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Roger Federer arrives for his interview at the precise appointed time, steering his white sedan into a parking spot in an industrial area dotted by art galleries about 15 minutes from his luxury apartment in this home-away-from-home. After obliging a selfie request from someone on the street, Federer makes his way up to a second-story loft area and sits. He crosses his legs, kneads his right calf and winces. “Just started training. I'm surprised I could walk the stairs as good as I have,” Federer says with a laugh. “My calves are, like, killing me. Just getting back into it. The shock on the body is, I don't want to say 'immense,' every time, but I've been on vacation for two weeks. The shock just hits you hard.” Ah, the ravages of age. Federer, who won the first of his men's-record 20 Grand Slam titles when he was 21 and now is 38, explains to The Associated Press that he must “go back to the drawing board” after “just missing out on The Big One,” a reference to his fifth-set tiebreaker loss to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July. So all of just two days into Federer's preparation for next season -- he flies to Melbourne on Jan. 9, a week before the Australian Open draw -- he is taking a 48-hour break, sitting out his two-a-day fitness sessions and not lifting a racket. No one this old has won a Grand Slam title in the professional era. As a younger man, Federer says, he didn't allow himself such a respite, working six or eight days in a row to get going. But now? The “waves,” he calls them, making an undulating motion with his famous right arm -- time on, then time off -- offer his body a chance to recover. They also let him “go through the wall” on the day before a rest period, because “otherwise, you maybe would hold back just ever so slightly, because you just don't know how you're going to feel the next day.” Federer recognizes that continuing to play tennis at a high level long past the age when many greats of the past were done (his idol, Pete Sampras, competed for the final time at 31) means he repeatedly faces questions -- from fans, from the media, from those around him -- about how long he will continue on tour. And while he can't provide a definitive answer -- because, quite simply, he says he doesn't have one -- Federer is willing to discuss this aspect of the subject: He does not consider it important to walk away at the top of his game and the top of his sport. When he's told about a newspaper opinion piece from way back in 2013 -- 2013! -- that posited he should quit then to avoid ruining his legacy, Federer just smiles and waves his hand. He knows, of course, that he's managed to reach another seven Grand Slam finals since the start of 2014, winning three. But he also says the notion that an older athlete could harm his or her status by hanging around too long is nonsense, no matter what the decline looks like. “I don't think the exit needs to be that perfect, that you have to win something huge ... and you go, 'OK. I did it all.' It can be completed a different way, as long as you enjoy it and that's what matters to you," Federer says. “People, I don't think, anyway, remember what were the last matches of a John McEnroe, what were the last matches of a Stefan Edberg. Nobody knows. They remember that they won Wimbledon, that they won this and that, they were world No. 1. I don't think the end, per se, is that important.” That doesn't mean, of course, that he isn't as competitive as ever or doesn't want to win a 21st major championship -- above all, No. 9 at Wimbledon, after it slipped away despite two match points in 2019 -- or his first Olympic singles gold at the Tokyo Games next year. Or win any tournaments, for that matter, which would push him closer to Jimmy Connors' professional era record of 109 trophies (Federer has 103). He's still good enough, after all, to be ranked No. 3 — having spent a record 310 weeks at No. 1, he is currently behind No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Djokovic — and to go 53-10 with four titles this season. If it seems as though the rest of the world is insisting it needs to know when and how retirement will arrive, Federer says it's not something on which he expends a lot of energy. Not anymore, anyway. “I mean, I don't think about it much, to be honest,” Federer says. “It's a bit different (now) that I know I'm at the back end of my career. But I feel like I've been toward 'the back end of my career' for a long, long time.” So much so that when he got sick while on a skiing trip in January 2008 with what eventually was diagnosed as mononucleosis, he vowed to stay off the slopes, a decision he stuck to, although not without some regret. His children -- twin daughters, 10, and twin sons, 5 -- all ski, and he and his wife, Mirka, have a home in a resort in his native Switzerland. Yet Federer sticks to his role as “the chief 'getting the kids ski-ready' operator guy.” “I was like, 'OK, you know what? That's a sign. I'm going to stop skiing, because I don't want to get hurt at the back end of my career. Maybe I have another four good years left in me. This was (12) years ago now. So it shows you how long ago I've been thinking: 'Maybe I have another four years. Maybe I have another three years. Maybe I have another two years.' ... I've been on this sort of train for long enough for me not to actually think about it a whole lot,” he says. “But sure, sometimes with family planning, discussions with my wife, we talk a little bit sometimes. But never like, 'What if?' Or, 'What are we going to do?' Because I always think, like, we have time for that and then we'll figure it out when that moment comes." Even his agent, Tony Godsick, who has represented Federer since 2005, raises the topic. “It would help make my job easier,” Godsick says in a telephone interview. “I don't want to know for my own personal travel. Or I don't want to know to have the scoop before anyone else. I want to know so I can plan. ... I mean, he won't go on a retirement tour, but I'd like to have some advance notice, maybe throw some more cameras around when he's out playing, so we can capture some more footage.” Godsick pauses, then spaces out the next five words for emphasis: “But. He. Really. Doesn't. Know.” “I really do think he has the flexibility to actually not decide ... until he feels like it's the time. And that will come when Mirka says, 'I can't do it anymore,' and 'I can't be on the road with the kids,' and 'The kids are not enjoying it.' Or his body might say, ‘Hey, Rog, stop pushing me so hard,'” Godsick says. “Maybe it's a time when he realizes on the practice court he doesn't either have the motivation or the ability to get better. And at that point, then maybe he says, 'I certainly have squeezed all the juice out of this lemon in terms of innovating and getting better.' And I don't think that time is there yet. Which is good news.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 19th, 2019

Tsitsipas, Thiem set up title match at ATP Finals

By Mattias Karen, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — The ATP Finals will have a first-time champion for the fourth year in a row after Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem won their semifinals on Saturday. Thiem beat defending champion Alexander Zverev after Tsitsipas ousted six-time winner Roger Federer, with both players reaching their first final at the season-ending tournament. Tsitsipas had to keep his nerve at the key moments to beat Federer 6-3, 6-4, saving 11 of 12 break points along the way. He also took advantage of an error-filled performance from Federer, who continually put his opponent under pressure only to come up short when it mattered. "I'm proud of myself, how hard I fought today, how concentrated I stayed in the breakpoints," said Tsitsipas, who reached the biggest final of his career. "Didn't crack under pressure. I was very composed and very mature in my decisions." In the evening match, Zverev doubled-faulted on set point to hand Thiem a 1-0 lead and was then broken for the second time to make it 4-2 in the second set. Thiem saved two break points in the next game, Zverev held, and Thiem served out the match, clinching the victory with a forehand winner on his first match point. Federer and Novak Djokovic combined to win the ATP Finals nine times in 10 years between 2006-15 before Andy Murray broke that streak and Gregor Dimitrov won it in 2017. Zverev was trying to repeat last year’s title win but couldn’t convert any of the four break points he forced against Thiem. As he sat down for the changeover after his double-fault to end the first set, he slammed his racket down so hard it bounced along the court and came to rest behind the baseline. Tsitsipas, who is making his first appearance at the event, saved all six break points he faced against Federer in the first set. That included two at 5-3, when he needed seven set points before finally winning a marathon game. He broke again for a 2-1 lead in the second, then saved three break points from 0-40 in the next game before Federer finally converted his fourth to level the set. But the 21-year-old Tsitsipas broke again straight away with a forehand winner and then saved two more break points from 15-40 down when serving for the match at 5-4. He didn’t give the 38-year-old Federer any more chances of a comeback, serving out the match with an ace. "No doubt I had my chances," Federer said. "I'm just frustrated I couldn't play better. And when I did and fought my way back, I threw it away again." The 17-year age gap between the two players was the largest in the history of the tournament. For Federer, it was a surprisingly erratic performance after he played near-flawless tennis to beat Djokovic in straight sets on Thursday to reach the semifinals. He finished that match with five unforced errors - including two double-faults - but had 26 in this match. Federer was especially unhappy with the service break in the first set, when he missed two fairly routine overheads to gift his opponent the early lead. "Getting broken with missing two smashes in one game, that hasn't happened in a long, long time. Or ever," Federer said. "So that was tough." Reaching the final is another milestone in a breakthrough season for Tsitsipas after he also beat Federer on the way to the Australian Open semifinals. He is now 2-2 against Federer after losing to him in the Dubai final and Basel semifinals this year. "I think I learned a lot of things from my Basel match against him," Tsitsipas said. "Once you get the patterns, once you analyze a bit the game better and know what to expect next time, you always feel and you always want to put yourself in the state of mind where you think that you can always do better." Thiem, a two-time runner-up at the French Open, beat both Federer and Djokovic in the group phase to reach the semis......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2019

Nadal claims No. 1 ranking for 5th time

LONDON (AFP) – Rafael Nadal headed home from the ATP Finals on Friday after defending champion Alexander Zverev’s win against Daniil Medvedev confirmed the Spaniard’s exit from the season-ending tournament. The world number one recovered to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5, in the early round-robin match at London’s O2 Arena but knew he […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsNov 16th, 2019

ATP Finals: Zverev win ousts Nadal

Rafael Nadal headed home from the ATP Finals on Friday after defending champion Alexander Zverev’s win against Daniil Medvedev confirmed the Spaniard’s exit from the season-ending tournament. The world No. 1 recovered to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5 in the early round-robin match at London’s O2 Arena but knew he was dependent on […] The post ATP Finals: Zverev win ousts Nadal appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 15th, 2019

ATP Finals: Tsitsipas reaches semis; Nadal stays alive

Stefanos Tsitsipas coasted past defending champion Alexander Zverev in straight sets to advance to the last four of the ATP Finals on Wednesday after Rafael Nadal came back from the dead to keep his title hopes alive. The Greek tyro, 21, broke his big-serving German opponent three times in the Group Andre Agassi match to […] The post ATP Finals: Tsitsipas reaches semis; Nadal stays alive appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 14th, 2019