Tag: Novak Djokovic

Djoker ties for record 20th Grand Slam title after Wimbledon triumph

NOVAK Djokovic has drawn level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on a record 20 Grand Slam titles each following a four-set victory over Matteo Berrettini in the Wimbledon final overnight. The world number one came back from a set down to win 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3 in three hours and 24 minutes, to lift his sixth Wimbledon crown.

“It was more than a battle,” Djokovic said post-match. “Winning Wimbledon was always the biggest dream of mine as a child. I know how special this is and I don’t want to take this for granted. I was a seven year old boy in Serbia, constructing a Wimbledon tennis trophy with improvised materials in my bedroom and now I am standing here with six titles. It’s incredible.”

Not only did he bring up half a dozen Wimbledon titles, but the Serbian top seed also officially tied for top spot for the most Grand Slam singles titles of all-time. Prior to the rise of the “Big Three” Pete Sampras lead the way with a then-impressive 14 majors, but in the past two decades, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have won a combined 60 to all share the top billing. It seems fate accompli that Djokovic will eventually go it alone at the top with the world number one in the best form, and the youngest of the trio.

“It means none of us will stop [playing],” Djokovic said. “I have to pay a great tribute to Rafa and Roger as legends of our sport, the two most important players in my career and why I am the player I am today. “They made me realise what I needed to improve, mentally, physically and tactically.

“When I first broke into the Top 10, for three or four years, I lost most of the big matches against these guys and something shifted at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. “The past 10 years have been an incredible journey and it’s not stopping here.”

Despite the impressive win, Djokovic did not have it all his own way, cruising to a 5-2 lead in the opening set – and earning a set point in the eighth game – before Berrettini hit back win four of the next five games and force a tiebreaker. There, the Italian won 7-4 to claim the first set, and refused to be budged by the Serbian.

Berrettini smashed home 57 winners to 31, but had 48 unforced errors to 21, and the reliability of Djokovic’s serve came to the fore. The world number one only put up the five aces to four double faults – compared to Berrettini’s 16 and three – but Djokovic won 79 and 53 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 61 per cent clip. He also won a higher 71 per cent of his points at the net compared to the seventh seed’s 62 per cent.

Breaking six times in the match including four times in the final three sets, Djokovic held firm and made life difficult for Berrettini to make any inroads upon return. The Italian admitted he was beaten by a better player on the day, and a better player in history, deserving of the all-time Grand Slams record.

“Novak was better than me, as he is a great champion,” Berrettini said post-match. “He is right in the history of the sport and he deserves all the plaudits. “I hope it’s not my last Grand Slam final. “It’s such an honour to be here and it’s been a really great run the past couple of weeks and also at The Queen’s Club.”

WIMBLEDON FINAL RESULT:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated [7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3

 

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour wrap: Berrettini makes maiden Grand Slam final to face Djoker

MATTEO Berrettini will make his debut in a Grand Slam final after defeating 14th seed Pole Hubert Hurkacz in four sets last night to be handed the hardest task on Tour at Wimbledon – finding a way to crack world number one Novak Djokovic. The seventh seeded Italian defeated Hurkacz in a battle of the first-time Wimbledon semi-finalists – though Berrettini had reached a US Open semi-final before – 6-3 6-0 6-7 6-4 – to take on Djokovic, with the Serbian accounting for young Canadian Denis Shapovalov in three tight sets, 7-6 7-5 7-5.

“I have no words, really, just thanks. I need a couple of hours to understand what happened,” Berrettini said post-match. “I played a great match. I enjoyed the crowd, my family and whole team are there. I think I never dreamed about this, because it was too much for a dream.”

Berrettini looked to be cruising early, racing to a 6-3 6-0, winning 10 consecutive games in 58 minutes in a match which looked like a blow out. Hurkacz fought back after that disappointing start, winning the third set in a tiebreaker 7-3, before pushing the Italian in the final set. It would not be enough though as the Italian pounded down 22 aces to five, and won 86 and 61 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 63 per cent clip. He also smashed a whopping 60 winners to only 18 unforced errors, whilst Hurkacz had 27 and 26 respectively. The victory handed Berrettini an eleventh straight win on grass having won the title at Queen’s Club in the lead-up to Wimbledon.

“[My emotions] are all over the place. At the same time, I think I handled the situation pretty well,” Berrettini said. “[When] I stepped in the court, I was feeling confident. I knew that I could win the match. “I think I played my best match so far. “So I’m really happy for my performance.

“Especially after the third set… I felt I could win that set, also win the match, but [that] didn’t happen. I said to myself, ‘You’re playing better than him, so keep going like this and you’re going to win.'”

Now Berrettini will step up to the plate in his maiden Grand Slam final against a man who has no qualms in the final match of a major tournament in world number one, Djokovic. The Serbian took care of Shapovalov in a contrasting game of experience 7-6 7-5 7-5, to book a spot in the Wimbledon final and give himself the chance to tie the Grand Slam title record. Needing two hours and 44 minutes, Djokovic won 7-6 7-5 7-5 over the 10th seeded Canadian to book his spot in the final.

“I don’t think that the scoreline says enough about the performance and about the match. He was serving for the first set and he was probably the better player for most of the second set,” Djokovic said post-match. “He had many chances and I would like to give him a big round of applause for everything that he has done today and these two weeks.”

The world number one served eight aces to five and won 81 and 57 per cent of his first and second serve to Shapovalov’s 79 and 42 per cent. He also dominated at the net with an 85 per cent success rate, and won 33 per cent of his receiving points. Whilst hitting seven less winners than his opponent (33-40), Djokovic had far fewer unforced errors (15-36). Only able to break once, Shapovalov was not able to capitalise any more off 11 opportunities, while Djokovic broke three times from 10 chances.

“In [the] important moments, I think I probably held my nerves better than he did and just made him play an extra shot, made him [make] an unforced error,” Djokovic said. “It’s tough to play Denis, particularly on grass and quicker surfaces with the lefty serve that he’s got. He can hit any spot. I think he’s one of the best servers on the tour, without a doubt. When he’s on, when he’s feeling that serve, it’s a weapon on any surface against anyone.”

WIMBLEDON SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated [10] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 7-6 7-5 7-5
[7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [14] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-3 6-0 6-7 6-4

 

Picture credit: Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Hurkacz stuns Federer to claim semi finals berth

HUBERT Hurkacz has continued his stunning Wimbledon run with another huge scalp this week, defeating his second straight top 10 seed in two days with a straight sets upset over Roger Federer. Meanwhile, it was all systems go for the remaining favourites, as all three claimed the upper hand.

It was Hurkacz’s composure and consistency under pressure which handed him a daring 6-3 7-6(4) 6-0 win over the Swiss Maestro, winning 79 per cent of his first serve points credit to his 10 aces and 36 winners. While Federer hit almost as many winners registering 34 for the game, it was the unforced error count between the two (31-12) that really raised eyebrows, as Hurkacz’s cleanliness paved the way, despite the huge obstacle he was facing.

“Obviously I was a little bit nervous,” Hurkacz said post-match. “I mean, playing against Roger in a Grand Slam quarterfinal, it’s a very big thing for me. But I was trying to stay as calm as I could.

“I was trying always to believe myself during the match and just trust my game and stay as aggressive as I could.”

“Walking off the court realising that I won against Roger, I mean, [it] just kind of dream come true, especially here on grass in Wimbledon,” he said. “It felt so special with the crowd around as well.”

But while the win was a milestone for Hurkacz, it was a disappointing reality for Federer, who was “bagelled” at Wimbledon for the very first time during the 6-0 third set, and was aiming to reach the Wimbledon semi finals for a record-extending 14th time off the back of two knee surgeries last year.

“The last 18 months have been long and hard,” Federer said during his post-match press conference. “I felt very disappointed in the moment [of defeat] itself. I still am. I feel horribly exhausted. I could go for a nap right now. You put everything on the line, and when it’s all over you could just go sleep because you’re so exhausted from mentally pushing yourself forward, and trying everything.”

The champion is also all too aware that time could be running out for him to take out another grand slam title, although made it clear that an immediate retirement is not in the cards.

“No, it’s just about having perspective. You need a goal when you’re going through rehab. You can’t think of the entire mountain to climb at once. You got to go in steps. Wimbledon was the initial first super-step.

“As you can see, it was a struggle for me and putting in extra effort all the time, especially when things got difficult against Hubert. I knew it was going to be really hard. Now I just got to talk to the team, take my time, take the right decision.

“Clearly there’s still a lot of things missing in my game that maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago were very simple and very normal for me to do. Nowadays they don’t happen naturally anymore. I got to always put in the extra effort mentally to remember to do this or do that. I have a lot of ideas on the court, but sometimes I can’t do what I want to do.”

Matteo Berrettini will take on the rising Pole next, following a 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-3 sweep of Canadian Felix Auget-Aliassime. It was the Italian’s 10th consecutive grass court win and another one to add to his current winning tally – now at 23 wins from the past 26 matches – and makes Berrettini the first Italian to reach the Wimbledon semi finals in the Open Era.

“Everything is crazy right now. Thanks to Felix, I think we made a great match and I hope you guys enjoyed it,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview. “He’s probably one of my best friends on tour, so it’s never easy to play against him. But that’s sport and I’m really happy.”

“I think we know each other pretty well. We played just once in a tournament on grass two years ago, but for sure he improved, I improved,” Berrettini said. “Today was really tricky. It’s always special to play on such a nice court, so it was really difficult. Good luck to him, but now I’m happy for myself.”

The second semi final will contest between world number one Novak Djokovic and 10th seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov, with the former recording his 100th grass court win over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in two hours and 17 minutes, 6-3 6-4 6-4, while the latter outlasted Russian Karen Khachanov in a huge three hour and 26-minute clash, going all the way to a 6-4 3-6 5-7 6-1 6-4 five set result.

Competing in his maiden grass court quarter final – and only his second grand slam quarter overall – Shapovalov broke new ground to reach his maiden semi final berth, explaining that he drew on his US Open quarter finals experience to claim the win this time around.

“I think going into the fifth set today was exactly what I took. I was in a similar position against Carreno Busta (Pablo Carreno Busta) at the US Open. I won the fourth set really easily,” Shapovalov said. “It kind of allowed myself to just, like, relax a little bit and think that everything’s under control, that I have momentum. Then things kind of turned quickly.

“So, I knew going into the fifth set I’ve got to leave everything I have on the court for every single point that I play. I really felt like I was really in every single return, every single shot. That’s the difference I made.

“After the fourth set, I told myself, just using that experience from the US Open, this is what I want to change and really start the set off well. I think my game just elevated. It’s something to be super, super proud of myself for.”

“Definitely a super difficult match ahead of me. I believe in my game. I think I’ve been playing really, really good tennis. To beat these players with the way I’ve been playing, it’s not easy to do,” Shapovalov said. “So, I have full belief in myself and in my game that I’m able to win on Friday.

“I think when you’re at the semi-finals of a tournament, there’s not really underdogs. Honestly, it’s been great. Even today when I played the fifth set, I felt super, super fresh. I feel fresh now. Hopefully, that continues.”

Djokovic’s confident form has continued, and why would it not with 32 wins from 35 matches for the year so far, not dropping a set as he reached his 10th Wimbledon semi final. He also leads Shapovalov 6-0 in their head-to-head, proving his confidence is not for naught.

“It was kind of up and down. I thought I played extremely well the first five, six games,” Djokovic said. “Had a couple set points, 5-0, 5-1 also couple set points. And then some long games.

“Overall, I feel like I’ve been playing, hitting the ball well throughout the entire tournament, putting myself exactly where I want to be: semi-finals. Not spending too much energy. Now I really have to be consistent from the first to last point in next match, and hopefully another one on Sunday.”

As for Shapovalov, Djokovic said he expects the lefty to be a huge task to overcome on the grass.

“He has really an all-around game,” Djokovic said. “Huge serve, lefty, which is always tricky to play someone who is left-handed on the quick surfaces. He’s comfortable coming in to net. I think his movement has improved. Due to better movement, he’s probably making less errors, which was probably the part of his game that was always troubling him.

“I’m sure that that’s going to be the biggest test I will have so far in the tournament, which is also expected. It’s semi-finals. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a battle and I need to be at my best.”

WIMBLEDON QUARTER FINALS WRAP:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-3 6-4 6-4
[14] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) defeated [6] Roger Federer (SUI) 6-3 7-6 6-0
[7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [16] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-3
[10] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated [25] Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-4 3-6 5-7 6-1 6-4

 

Picture credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

ATP Tour wrap: Canadians make history as upsets erupt on Manic Monday

A HUGE manic Monday at Wimbledon was always set to be a cracker, and with a couple of intriguing upsets in tow the fourth round of men’s action did not disappoint. Whilst the last matchup of the day between Daniil Medvedev and Hubert Hurkacz was suspended midway through the fourth set due to rainfall, the remaining seven results were remarkably mixed.

Two of the day’s upsets involved five sets, as 20-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hungarian Marton Fucsovics both reigned supreme over higher ranked opposition. Auger-Aliassime created a huge upset with a topsy-turvy 6-4 7-6(6) 3-6 3-6 6-4 victory over fourth seed German Alexander Zverev, coming from 2-4 down in both the first and second sets – as well as battling a brief rain delay – to claim the huge four hour clash.

“It’s a dream come true, I’m just a normal guy from Canada,” Auger-Aliassime said. “It’s the biggest victory of my life, under a closed roof the atmosphere was amazing and I’m living this win with you.”

“It was super difficult, knowing I have never beaten him, let alone won a set against Alex,” he said. “When he started to come back I really needed to dig deep and without the fans it would have been a lot tougher.”

Auger-Aliassime hit a whopping 54 winners – including 17 aces – utilising his impressive forehand on his way to the fifth top 10 win of his career, and ultimately the biggest so far.

Meanwhile, 48th ranked Fucsovics came from behind to topple fifth seed Andrey Rublev, 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-0 6-3, well and truly earning his maiden grand slam quarter final appearance. The unseeded Hungarian is the first from his nation to make the Wimbledon quarter finals since 1948, and the first to make an overall grand slam quarter since the 1981 Roland Garros.

“From the beginning, I had a very good feeling on the court,” Fucsovics said post-match. “I was serving well. I was moving very well. I hit the ball very well. I hit a lot of winners, so I was very confident.”

“In the second and third sets, I had some unlucky service games where Andrey made very good returns, but then I took a toilet break and I calmed down a little bit,” Fucsovics said. “When I stepped on the court again, I was very relaxed. I started to serve unbelievable. Big serves, aces. Then I felt that when I broke him [in the fourth set] that I had a good chance to turn this around.”

Despite a shaky history against Rublev, which included the Russian winning the duo’s past five matches throughout 2020/21, Fucsovics turned the tables this time on the grass and “took [his] chances”.

“I was not thinking about the previous matches. This one was a different match,” Fucsovics said. “We played on grass. I really like the surface. I think my game fits the surface very well. I think Andrey’s game is not the best on grass, so I just was focusing on the next points. I took my chances. I didn’t give up. Then that was the key.”

Also coming away with an upset was 10th seed Denis Shapovalov, who joined compatriot Auger-Aliassime in the quarters following a two hour and seven-minute clash with eighth seed Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-1 6-3 7-5. While not quite as big an upset with just two ranks separating the competitors, it was hugely significant in a different way – the first time multiple Canadian men have reached the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam.

“I played some really high-level tennis today,” Shapovalov said. “I got a little bit nervous in the third set, but that is totally normal, and I dealt with that really well. I played flawlessly and I am super happy with myself.”

“To beat a player like [Roberto] Bautista Agut in straight sets backs up my level from my match against Andy [Andy Murray]. I am happy, I feel like I am improving every single match. I knew it was going to be a process on this surface, to really develop my game on it. I have always loved playing on it [grass], it is just about getting comfortable.”

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both came away victorious in straight sets, as the world number one overcame Cristian Garin 6-2 6-4 6-2 in one hour and 49 minutes, while the Swiss Maestro proved too good for Italian Lorenzo Sonego, coming away with the 7-5 6-4 6-2 victory. Matteo Berrettini claimed the quickest win honours with a 6-4 6-3 6-1 sweep of unseeded Belarusian Ilya Ivashka, requiring two minutes less than Djokovic to cement his spot in the quarter finals, while Karen Khachanov could very well be the last Russian standing if Medvedev cannot retain his marginal lead, as the 25th seed disposed of unseeded American Sebastian Korda in five, 3-6 6-4 6-3 5-7 10-8.

WIMBLEDON ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated [17] Cristian Garin (CHI) 6-2 6-4 6-2
[16] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated [4] Alexander Zverev (GER) 6-4 7-6 3-6 3-6 6-4
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [5] Andrey Rublev (RUS) 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-0 6-3
[6] Roger Federer (SUI) defeated [23] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 7-5 6-4 6-2
[7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated Ilya Ivashka (BLR) 6-4 6-3 6-1
[10] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated [8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 6-1 6-3 7-5
[25] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Sebastian Korda (USA) 3-6 6-4 6-3 5-7 10-8

[2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) leads [14] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-2 6-7 6-3 3-4

 

Picture credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Wimbledon 2021: Who’s into week two?

THE opening week of Wimbledon action for 2021 is done and dusted, and as the only grand slam that has retained the “Middle Sunday” day off for grass court maintenance, we take a look at the athletes from both the women’s and men’s draw who have secured their spot in the fourth round.

In the women’s draw, just four of the top 10 seeds remain following a blockbuster week of action. World number one Ash Barty has maintained control as second seed Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka‘s fine form continues, with Iga Swiatek and Karolina Pliskova rounding out the top 10 seeded seventh and eighth, respectively. With the next five competitors out of the running it is Czech Barbora Krejcikova up next in 14th, followed by a string of four from 18th seed Elena Rybakina, followed by Karolina Muchova, teen Coco Gauff and history-making Tunisian Ons Jabeur. Rounding out the remaining seeds is another American in Madison Keys, former champion Angelique Kerber and Spaniard Paula Badosa, seeded 30th – that makes 12 seeds remaining from 32.

Things are looking very different in the men’s draw, with just two top 10 seeds falling in the opening round – third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who went down in a shock first round upset, and ninth seed Diego Schwartzman. Plenty of big names remain with champions Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, and a couple of Top 5 Russians in Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, all in fine form. Outside the Top 10 just five seeds remain with 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz, 16th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and 17th seed Cristian Garin continuing their winning ways, as Lorenzo Sonego joins seventh seeded compatriot Matteo Berrettini, and Karen Khachanov rounds out the Russian seeds into the second week.

Outside of the seeded competitors just four women remain, with teen wildcard Emma Raducanu stunning her home crowd, as another wildcard in Liudmila Samsonova backed up her Bett1Open title with an excellent first week at The Championships. Australian Ajla Tomljanovic and Swiss talent Viktorija Golubic round out the Round of 16 draw. In the men’s, the only unseeded competitors that remain are Marton FucsovicsIlya Ivashka and Sebastian Korda.

Some intriguing clashes are set for Monday’s Round of 16, as youngster Gauff and former champion Kerber go head-to-head, while the battle between Barty and an in-form Krejcikova is sure to spark plenty of interest, as will Swiatek and Jabeur, with the young Pole more suited to clay than grass despite her recent form, and Jabeur coming in off the back of her Eastbourne win last week. Raducanu and Tomljanovic will also go head-to-head in an enticing match-up. Elsewhere, expect a huge tussle between Federer and Sonego, while Auger-Aliassime will be fresh to take on Alexander Zverev following an early withdrawal from Nick Kyrgios during his Round of 32 encounter. Two clay court specialists in Denis Shapovalov and Roberto Bautista Agut will also be interesting, as the two look to assert themselves on the grass.

WOMEN’S ROUND OF 16 DRAW

[1] Ash Barty (AUS) vs. [14] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)
[WC] Emma Raducanu (GBR) vs. Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)
[30] Paula Badosa (ESP) vs. [19] Karolina Muchova (CZE)
[20] Coco Gauff (USA) vs. [25] Angelique Kerber (GER)
[8] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs. [WC] Liudmila Samsonova (RUS)
[23] Madison Keys (USA) vs. Viktorija Golubic (SUI)
[7] Iga Swiatek (POL) vs. [21] Ons Jabeur (TUN)
[18] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) vs. [2] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)

MEN’S ROUND OF 16 DRAW

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. [17] Cristian Garin (CHI)
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) vs. [5] Andrey Rublev (RUS)
[25] Karen Khachanov (RUS) vs. Sebastian Korda (USA)
[10] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs. [8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
[7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) vs. Ilya Ivashka (BLR)
[16] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs. [4] Alexander Zverev (GER)
[6] Roger Federer (SUI) vs. [23] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA)
[14] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) vs. [2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS)

Picture credit: Wimbledon Twitter

ATP Tour wrap: Korda eliminates Evans, joins illustrious group

UNITED States young gun Sebastian Korda has joined an illustrious group by winning through to the fourth round at both Roland Garros and now Wimbledon prior to his 21st birthday. The 20-year-old defeated Daniel Evans, 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes to advance to the Round of 16 and join a group of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Marin Cilic, Tomas Berdych and Lleyton Hewitt as other players to achieve the feat.

“I just stayed calm in the biggest moments as much as I could,” Korda said post-match. “I tried to stay relaxed and keep playing attacking tennis, that’s what I do. I’m really proud of myself for that today.”

“[It’s] a big achievement. A year ago, I was 220 in the world and I’m here in the fourth round at Wimbledon. It’s incredible. I have my family to thank, my coaches and everybody around me.”

Korda produced 13 aces against Evans, also winning 58 per cent of his second serve points, and breaking five times to three despite one less break point opportunity. He smashed 51 winners tp 21 across the four sets, though also hit 43 unforced errors to 18. In winning, Korda advanced through to the fourth round to take on 25th seed Karen Khachanov.

The Russian defeated giant-killer Frances Tiafoe in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 6-4. Khachanov won in an hour and 46 minutes, hitting 29 winners to 26 and only 22 unforced errors to 24, also serving 13 aces and winning 77 per cent of his net points. He joined compatriot fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the Round of 16, following Rublev’s four-set win over 26th seeded Italian Fabio Fognini.

Rublev won 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-2 in just under three hours to earn a spot in the fourth round. The Russian hit 13 aces to the Italian’s eight, and despite having seven less winners (36-43), had 15 less unforced errors (28-43). Rublev also broke five times to Fognini’s twice, and won 73 and 53 per cent of his first and second serve points compared to the Italian’s 66 and 41 per cent.

Top seed Djokovic had no troubles until the third set, saving a set point against American Denis Kudla to win 9-7 in the third for an overall win of 6-4 6-3 7-6 in two hours and 17 minutes. The tournament favourite hit 34 winners to 30 and had 28 unforced errors to 35, only dropping six points off his first serve in a dominant overall effort. In victory, Djokovic became the first ATP Tour player to win at least 75 matches at each of the Grand Slam events.

“I had to slow down the pace in the game because he was really handling the flat ball well from the back of the court. He has really good balance,” Djokovic said post-match. “I think his backhand and forehand as well are pretty flat. He moves around pretty well on the grass-court surface. He’s a really good player.”

The last remaining British hope in wildcard Andy Murray was eliminated in the third round, with the two-time Grand Slam winner bundled out by an impressive Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian 10th seed won 6-4 6-2 6-2 in two hours and 17 minutes to end Murray’s run at his home Grand Slam and roll into the fourth round. He hit 45 winners to Murray’s 16, and served up 13 aces, winning 71 and 57 per cent of his first and second serve points, breaking six times and looking strong off the return and at the net.

“Honestly, I told him at the net that he’s my hero,” Shapovalov said of Murray in his post-match speech. “Achievements aside, what he’s been able to do in the sport to come back with an injury like this, to be playing the tennis that he’s playing, moving the way he’s moving… I said after his second match it was truly like ‘vintage Andy’ and so much fun to see as a fan.

“The first set we played today was super, super intense, I had to really, really give it my all. After that, I was able to maintain the level as he dropped a little bit. But still, it’s incredible what he’s done to reach the third round like this. Obviously he’s just starting back up, so it’s going to be amazing to see what he can do.”

In other results, Hungarian Marton Fucsovics took out ninth seed Diego Schwartzman in fourth sets to join Korda as the only other unseeded player in the top half of the draw. Fucsovics won 6-3 6-3 6-7 6-4 to advance through to the Round of 16. Meanwhile eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut knocked off German Dominik Koepfer in straight sets 7-5 6-1 7-6, whilst 17th seed Cristian Garin set up a Round of 16 head-to-head with Djokovic after getting past Spaniard Pedro Martinez, 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-4.

WIMBLEDON ROUND OF 32 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Denis Kudla (USA) 6-4 6-3 7-6
[5] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated [26] Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-2
[8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated Dominik Koepfer (GER) 7-5 6-1 7-6
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [9] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-3 6-3 6-7 6-4
[10] Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Andy Murray (GBR) 6-4 6-2 6-2
[17] Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Pedro Martinez (ESP) 6-4 6-3 4-6 6-4
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated [22] Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4
[25] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3 6-4 6-4

Picture credit: ATP Tour

ATP Tour Wrap: Murray continues miracle return

THERE was some more Andy Murray magic at Day 3 of Wimbledon with the Brit showcasing his class and composure. He was not the only one that starred on the day, with Nick Kyrgios and Novak Djokovic winning their respective matches.

The Serbian world number one left nothing to chance in his match against South African Kevin Anderson, winning in three sets 6-3 6-3 6-3. It was a one-sided affair as Djokovic maintained his unbeaten streak against Anderson at Wimbledon, toppling him in convincing style. It has been a good run for Djokovic so far this year, claiming titles at Roland Garros and the Australian Open and he is shaping up as a tough opponent once again as he eyes off more silverware.

“Obviously I’m in a high level of confidence after winning [Roland Garros],” Djokovic said. “But I was nervous coming into this match because I was playing a very good player, experienced player, whom I faced in the final three years ago. “He’s a big server. He’s very dangerous opponent, especially in the early rounds.

“But I’ve done things on and off the court to make myself feel that I’m focused, yet at the same time calm and composed and clear with my game plan and what I want to do. Obviously did my homework, talked with my coach, worked well on the practice court.”

A number of other seeds progressed through to the third round of action with five seed Andrey Rublev impressing in his battle against South African Lloyd Harris to win 6-1 6-2 7-5. It was gruelling encounter for Argentinian ninth seed Diego Schwartzman up against wildcard Liam Broady. The Brit refused to go away with any sort of ease winning the first set and pushing the gave to four sets as he continued to niggle away but used all his firepower in the opening set losing 4-6 6-2 6-1 6-4.

Speaking of Brits, fan favourite Andy Murray came out with a point to prove in his battle with German Oscar Otte. There was plenty of twists and turns with the match pushing out to a mammoth five sets with the former champion showing he still has plenty left in the tank coming from two sets down to reign supreme 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-4 6-2. The win sees Murray’s record remain in place making the third round in all of his 13 Wimbledon appearances but he will have his work cut out for him against Denis Shapovalov.

“The crowd created a great atmosphere, but I think I was also engaging them and we were feeding off each other a lot at the end,” Murray said. “I’m aware in the moment, I know what a great atmosphere is in tennis. I have played in a few of them over the years, and that was definitely one of them.”

Although the Round of 64 was filled with enthralling battles the Round of 128 was just as jam packed as players worked in overdrive to progress to the next stage and keep their dreams alive of winning the coveted title. Kyrgios survived a scare with the Australian taking a tumble but managing to push on and get the job done against Ugo Humbert. It took five sets for the Aussie to record the win 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-1 9-7 as he was well and truly pushed to his limits. Jordan Thompson got the wood over Casper Ruud in an absolute thriller winning 7-6 7-6 2-6 2-6 6-2.In terms of seeds that made it through Matteo Berrettini bypassed Guido Pella as Frenchman Gael Monflis also got the chocolates.

ROUND OF 64 RESULTS:

(1) Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated Kevin Anderson (RSA) 6-3 6-3 6-3
(5) Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Lloyd Harris (RSA) 6-1 6-2 7-5
(9) Diego Schwartzman (ARG) defeated Liam Broady (GBR) 4-6 6-2 6-1 6-4
(10) Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Pablo Andujar (ESP) walkover
(22) Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Dusan Lajovic (SER) 6-3 6-3 6-4
(25) Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-1 7-6 6-3
(26) Fabio Fognini (ITA) defeated Laslo Djere (SRB) 6-3 6-4 0-6 6-4
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated Jiri Vesely (CZE) 6-3 5-4 retired
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 6-3 67 7-6 5-7 6-3
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Antoine Hoang (FRA) 7-5 6-4 6-4
(Q) Denis Kudla (USA) defeated Andreas Seppi (ITA) 6-2 6-4 6-2
(WC) Andy Murray defeated Oscar Otte (GER) 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-4 6-2
Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-4 6-4 6-4

ROUND OF 128 RESULTS

(7) Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated Guido Pella (ARG) 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-0
Jordan Thompson (AUS) defeated (12) Casper Ruud (NOR) 7-6 7-6 2-6 2-6 6-2
(13) Gael Monfils (FRA) defeated (Q) Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 4-6 6-2 7-6 4-6 6-4
(16) Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) defeated Thiago Monteiro (BRA) 6-3 6-3 6-3
(18) Cristian Garin (CHI) defeated Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 6-7 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2
(18) Grigor Dimitrov (HUN) defeated Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) defeated (21) Ugo Humbert (FRA) 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-1 9-7
(23) Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) defeated Pedro Sousa (POR) 6-2 7-5 6-0
(29) Cameron Norrie (GBR) defeated Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-7 7-5 6-2 7-5
(31) Taylor Frtiz (USA) defeated Brandon Nakashima (USA) 7-5 3-6 6-4 7-5
(32) Marin Cilic (CRO) defeated Salvatore Caruso (ITA) 7-6 7-6 6-1

Photo credit: Tennis365

ATP Tour wrap: Tiafoe stuns Tsitsipas in opening round of Wimbledon

THERE were no shortage of upsets in the men’s draw of Wimbledon on day one, but few were more eyebrow raising than powerful American, Frances Tiafoe‘s stunning straight sets upset of third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek star was seen as one of world number one Novak Djokovic‘s biggest threats – if not the biggest threat – but the world number four is now out of the grass court Grand Slam at the first chance.

Winning 6-4 6-4 6-3, Tiafoe took two hours and two minutes to stun the third seed, given just a 19 per cent chance to win by the IBM Power Rankings. The American proved the stats wrong as he hit eight more winners (43-35) whilst not conceding any more unforced errors (22-22), and saved all seven break points. In turn, he broke his opponent four times, weathering the 15 aces Tsitsipas put down. Tiafoe also won 67 per cent of his second serve points.

“These are matches I actually love,” Tiafoe said post-match. “I play great tennis against high-calibre players. “I’ve beaten high-calibre players. “The minimum I want to do is at least give myself a chance to win. “I did.

“I woke up this morning like, ‘Yeah, I’m beating Stefanos.’ “It happened. “I think believing it when nobody else does is so big.”

It was a little simpler for Djokovic, taking the same amount of time – two hours – to defeat teenage Brit Jack Draper. Talking about IBM Power Ranking percentages, Draper was given a one per cent chance of winning, but that did not stop the world 253 stunning the top seed on Centre Court, taking out the first set 6-4. As if spurred into action, Djokovic went to a gear few have, and blew the youngster off the court, 6-1 6-2 6-2 in the final three sets to secure the win. The Serbian served 25 aces for only one double fault, broke six times to one and only dropped 14 points on his serve for the entire match.

“He definitely deserves a round of applause,” Djokovic said post-match. “He’s a youngster, only 19. “[I] hadn’t seen him play too much prior to the Queen’s tournament, [where] he played pretty well and won a couple of matches against higher-ranked players. “Walking onto Wimbledon’s Centre Court for him for the first time, I think he has done extremely well. “He carried himself very maturely on the court. I think he behaved well, he backed himself, he believed that he could come back, and he deserves credit for that. “I wish him all the best for the rest of his career.”

The other big result was local hope Andy Murray returning to the singles action on Centre Court, battling hard to overcome 24th seed Georgian, Nikoloz Basilashvili. The Brit veteran and two-time Wimbledon champion won 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3 to book his spot in the second round. It was his first Wimbledon singles appearance since 2017, and only his sixth ATP Tour match this season. He was one of two Brits to advance to the second round thus far, joining Liam Broady – who ousted Italian Marco Cecchinato – in the Round of 64.

From the other seeded games, fifth seed Andrey Rublev, his compatriot 25th seed Karen Khachanov, and eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut all advanced in four sets, whilst the news was not as promising for young gun Jannik Sinner. The 19th seed bowed out after winning the first set, but losing the next three, to Hungarian Marton Fucsovics. He was one of another two seeds to exit the tournament on opening day, with 27th seed Reilly Opelka losing in straight sets to German Dominik Koepfer, and 30th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina bowing out at the hands of American qualifier Denis Kudla.

In other results, Kevin Anderson, Vasek Pospisil, Andreas Seppi and Jiri Vesely all won their first round matches, in a throwback to a past era for the veterans. Also making it through were Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, and Spaniard Pedro Martinez, both getting up to lock in a second round spot.

WIMBLEDON ROUND OF 128 RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated [WC] Jack Draper (GBR) 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2
Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated [3] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 6-4 6-4 6-3
[5] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Federico Delbonis (ARG) 4-6 6-4 6-1 6-2
[8] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) defeated John Millman (AUS) 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-6
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) defeated [19] Jannik Sinner (ITA) 5-7 6-3 7-5 6-3
[WC] Andy Murray (GBR) defeated [24] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3
[25] Karen Khachanov (RUS) defeated [Q] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 3-6 6-3 5-7 6-3
Dominik Koepfer (GER) defeated [27] Reilly Opelka (USA) 6-4 7-6 6-2
[Q] Denis Kudla (USA) defeated [30] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 5-7 4-6 7-6 6-3 6-3
Kevin Anderson (RSA) defeated [Q] Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera (CHI) 6-7 6-4 6-4 7-6
[WC] Liam Broady (GBR) defeated Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 6-3 6-4 6-0
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) defeated Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 6-3 6-4 6-0
Pedro Martinez (ESP) defeated Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-3 2-6 6-4 6-4
Vasek Pospisil (CAN) defeated Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-3 6-3 6-3
Andreas Seppi (ITA) defeated Joao Sousa (POR) 4-6 6-4 7-5 6-2
Jiri Vesely (CZE) defeated Yannick Hanfmann (GER) 6-1 7-5 7-6

Picture credit: ATP Tour

2021 Wimbledon preview: Will the Fed Express have one last stop? Can Serena equal the Grand Slam record?

THE Wimbledon Championships are finally here. One of the most eloquent events on the planet, the third Grand Slam of the year played on the grass courts of London are set to begin overnight with plenty of sub-plots in both the men’s and women’s draws. For the greatest ever champions at the event, there is a chance it will be the last hurrah, with Roger Federer and Serena Williams both gunning for perhaps their last Wimbledon titles. Standing in their way are the likes of Novak Djokovic – looking to equal Rafael Nadal and Federer on 20 Grand Slams – and Ash Barty who when fully fit has proven she can get it done across any surface.

WOMEN’S:

Looking at the WTA Tour draw, the immediate thought is to those not at the event in a couple of Grand Slam winners. World number two Naomi Osaka and world number three Simona Halep are both not competing at the All England Club, leaving Barty and Aryna Sabalenka as the top two seeds. It will be Sabalenka’s highest ever seeding at a Grand Slam, and for a player who has failed to make it past the fourth round at any major, or the second round at Wimbledon, all eyes will be on the Belarusian at the event.

Sabalenka has been handed a soft draw to begin with, as four qualifiers and a wildcard sit in the first two rounds, with 32nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova set to be her first seeded opponent if Sabalenka can – and should – make the third round. It gets a little tougher from there with the in-form Maria Sakkari and Elena Rybakina a potential third round matchup and then the winner in-line for a Sabalenka Round of 16 clash.

At the other end of the draw, tournament favourite Barty can beat anyone on any surface, and first up will be Carla Suarez Navarro in a battle of two of the Tour’s heartwarming talents. Barty’s exploits and worldwide respect are well known, but Suarez Navarro is returning to the Tour after beating a Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in September, having retired from the professional Tour in order to look after her health. Whilst not the ideal first round match back for the Spaniard, it will be a great sub-plot to see her back out there.

If Barty can survive the talented Suarez Navarro – who has made the fourth round of Wimbledon three times – then her first big test will come against home nation hero Johanna Konta in the third round. Konta is fairly strong on grass, and should test Barty, though a fourth round matchup with Kiki Bertens – the 10th best grass court in the draw – will be a potential blockbuster. Williams is also lurking in Barty’s half if the pair make it all the way to the semi-finals, with Williams every chance to greet the world number one in the final four.

The second ranked grass court player in the draw is Czech Petra Kvitova who has copped American Sloane Stephens up first, then might have four consecutive opponents of home nation hero Heather Watson, American Jessica Pegula, fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova, and 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin. That draw is as rough as they come considering Pegula’s form, and Kenin and Pliskova’s ability on grass.

Garbine Muguruza is another to take note of, ranked third overall on the surface, and matched up with Fiona Ferro in the opening round. All eyes will be on a potential third round clash with Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian recently claimed her first WTA Tour – the first Arab player to ever do so – and she is ranked fourth overall on the surface, which sets up a tantalising clash in only the third round.

If smokies are what you are looking for, then do not sleep on young gun Coco Gauff, who is capable of pulling off big wins on the surface as she has shown since debut at Wimbledon. She will have to do it the hard way with Belinda Bencic and Williams as her likely third and fourth round opponents, though Williams also has Bad Homburg champion Angelique Kerber to deal with in the Round of 16.

Other grass court players who are ranked highly include Daria Kasatkina, Liudmila Samsonova and Madison Keys, with Elise Mertens and Elina Svitolina some other seeds who are more than capable on the surface, making it some high-quality tennis.

First round matches to watch:

[10] Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. Sloane Stephens (USA)
[1] Ash Barty (AUS) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
[24] Anett Kontaveit (EST) vs. Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)
[18] Elena Rybakina (KAZ) vs. Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
[8] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs. Tamara Zidansek (CZE)

MEN’S:

In the ATP Tour draw, the sixth seeded Federer will have a tough road to a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam. The Swiss Maestro is running out time with age and durability catching up to him, and the Wimbledon event organisers have done him no favours. Adrian Mannarino is never a first round matchup you want in a Grand Slam, with another Frenchman in veteran Richard Gasquet, home nation hero Cameron Norrie and the either the red-hot Lorenzo Sonego or reliable Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta waiting in the fourth round. Mallorca winner Daniil Medvedev is the top four seed in his quarter of the draw, with Alexander Zverev the other one in his half. Medvedev has one of the toughest first round matches in German Jan-Lennard Struff, whilst Zverev has a host of Americans lining up in the early rounds.

The match of the first round surely has to be 21st seed Ugo Humbert up against Australian Nick Kyrgios. One of many classics across the draw, it is hard to look past it as one that will be as entertaining as they come. With Australian Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and young gun Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime also in that little group in the first three rounds, there are plenty of great matches. Just above that section is a first round match to die for with the old and the new as Australian Alexei Popyrin takes on US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori in the first round. Nearly every first round match in that section is phenomenal, with another Australian in Jordan Thompson locking horns with 12th seed Casper Ruud, and Russian bolter Aslan Karatsev facing Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Djokovic is favourite for the event and he looks to have a fairly safe draw until the quarter finals. Brit wildcard Jack Draper is up first, with the teenager certainly having a memorable opening round encounter, before the Serbian is set to play former Top 10 player Kevin Anderson. Djokovic’s first seeded encounter could be Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, with the wounded Gael Monfils and clay court oriented Cristian Garin the highest ranked en route to Djokovic’s quarter finals. A mouth-watering last eight clash with either Jannik Sinner or Andrey Rublev would be a must-watch, but both young guns must overcome their own draws in the process. Sinner faces tricky Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in the opening round, and also has the likes of Jiri Vesely and Diego Schwartzman for company, with the diminutive Argentinian facing out-of-sorts Benoit Paire in the opening round. Rublev takes on Federico Delbonis in the first round, with Fabio Fognini a tough third round potential matchup.

With no Nadal in the draw, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas steps up into the placing, with Frances Tiafoe up first, and the likes of Karen Khachanov and Eastbourne champion Alex de Minaur possible third and fourth round opponents. Australia’s top ranked player has to contend with in-form Sebastian Korda in the first round, and also has a potential third round clash with home nation hero and grass court talent Dan Evans. The Brit will take on one of the better grass court players over time in Feliciano Lopez in the opening round though, so there are no easy matches. Another Australian in John Millman has copped Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round, with Andy Murray earning a wildcard and coming up against Georgian 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili. Murray is a really good chance in that contest, though Denis Shapovalov as a third round opponent seems stiff.

Seventh seed Matteo Berrettini is currently the second ranked grass court player, with the 25-year-old Italian taking on Argentinian Guido Pella in the first round. He has a fairly standard draw to begin with, as John Isner appears to be his logical third round opponent. Karatsev is an unknown on grass and is line for a Round of 16 clash with Berrettini, though Ruud as the highest ranked player in the section will be keen to step up to the plate.

Another to keep an eye on in the draw is Marin Cilic – who has a potential third round clash with Medvedev – with the Croatian ranked inside the Top 10 grass court players. As Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Milos Raonic and David Goffin are all missing, the draw is open for some underdog stories to come through, and there are plenty of tantalising first round matches, never mind the third round and beyond clashes.

First round matches to watch:

[21] Ugo Humbert (FRA) vs. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)
[2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) vs. Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)
[6] Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Adrian Mannarino (FRA)
[15] Alex de Minaur (AUS) vs. Sebastian Korda (USA)
Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. Alexei Popyrin (AUS)

 

Picture credit: Michael Regan/Getty Images

ATP Tour wrap: Djokovic clinches second Roland Garros title

NOVAK Djokovic has claimed his 19th Grand Slam title overnight, turning around an early deficit to Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the 2021 Roland Garros trophy. While his 22-year-old Greek opposition got off to a flying start to capture the first two sets, the world number one fired up from then on to win the remaining three comfortably to come away with the 6-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory in four hours and 11 minutes.

In the process, Djokovic became the first man in the Open Era to win all four majors twice – and third man to do so overall – with his maiden Roland Garros title coming in 2016, before Rafael Nadal swept the next four years. Djokovic overcame the champion Spaniard in the semi-finals, dealing him only his third ever loss at the event.

“Of course, I am thrilled and I’m very proud of this achievement. I think part of the history of the sport that I love with all my heart is always something that is very inspiring and very fulfilling for me,” Djokovic said. “I couldn’t be happier and more satisfied with this kind of scenario in the last 48 hours. “Probably ranks at the top three all-time achievements and experiences that I had in my professional tennis career.

“Going through a four-and-a-half battle with Rafa on his court, then bouncing back after not practicing yesterday, just coming in today with as much as recharged batteries and energy regained to fight another battle of four-and-a-half hours against Tsitsipas, who is playing in his first Grand Slam final.”

Tsitsipas’ hot start was led by an 18-winner first set and just two unforced errors in the second, before the world number one picked up the pace. From then on, Djokovic controlled proceedings and despite trailing in winners (56-61), he claimed a 78 per cent win rate off his first serve and won 40 per cent off the receive on his way to victory.

“[I left] the court, as it was the case against Musetti (Lorenzo Musetti) in the fourth round when I was two sets down, and came back as a different player,” Djokovic said. “Just refreshed, [and I] managed to make a break, early break in the third. “After that, I felt like I got into his head. “I feel like I started swinging through the ball better. “The momentum was on my side, it shifted. “There was no looking back from that moment.”

Tsitsipas will reach a career-high number four ranking this week, telling media that he has faith in his game despite losing his maiden Grand Slam appearance.

“I believe, yes, I’m able to play for titles like this. Despite my loss today, I have faith in my game. I very much believe I can get to that point very soon. I was close today,” insisted Tsitsipas. “It’s very sad because it was a good opportunity. “I was playing good. “I was feeling good.” Yeah, I lost an opportunity to do something better today. “But I think with the same attitude and if I don’t downgrade myself, I see no reason for me not to be holding that trophy one day.”

“I don’t know, he left the court after two sets to love down, I don’t know what happened there, but he came back to me like a different player suddenly. I have no idea. He played really well. He gave me no space,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s different. “It’s all about endurance, if you can keep your level there for longer periods of time, then of course that’s what is needed in a Grand Slam. “I played two good sets. “I wouldn’t call them incredible. “I just played really well. “It wasn’t enough. “That’s a Grand Slam for you. “It’s the way it is.”

“It’s a difficult journey, it takes a lot of work every day… I hope to be back next year to put on a good show again.”

“Knowing him and his team, he’s going to come out of this much stronger,” Djokovic said of Tsitsipas.

ROLAND GARROS FINAL RESULTS:

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) defeated [5] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 6-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4

Picture credit: Nicolas Gouhier/FFT