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  • Janik
    replied
    Joe Salisbury just retained his Vienna title. w/ Ram this time of course. 6-4 6-75 [10-5]. Literally just now.
    Rojer/Tecau also won the Doubles in Basel whilst I was typing up the above post.

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  • Janik
    replied
    They could do away with everything outside the top 20 or so by now. But that bit matters rather a lot – it shows clearer than the rolling rankings who will need to do what in Paris next week to book their place in London. There are two spots left open at the moment in the singles, and three in doubles to be claimed.
    A number of those battling for the available spots have had good weeks in Vienna. Matteo Berrettini, who currently holds 8th, added a few more points by making the Semis there. Gael Monfils did the same to climb to 10th. However the biggest mover is Diego Schwartzman, whose run to the final has moved him up to 14th spot. His opponent in the title match will be home favourite Dominic Thiem.
    If Schwartman loses he will be 500+ points adrift of the mark needed next week, which would entail reaching the Paris final to qualify. Beat Thiem and he adds another 200 points in one go before he heads west. As for Thiem, he is looking to become just the second Austrian ever to win this event (Juergen Melzer won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 10).
    The Doubles final in Vienna is already underway. Joe Salisbury is the defending champion, having won it last year with Neal Skupski. And he is back in the final this year with regular partner Rajeev Ram. Indeed they currently lead top seeds Kubot/Melo by a set. That Salisbury/Ram are in the final means Bambridge/McLachlan lost in the QFs of course, as the two half-British pairs were playing each other.

    There was less success in Basel for those looking to bolster their positions. Sascha Zverev, who sits 7th and as such is the closest to claiming a spot alongside Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Medvedev, Thiem and Tsitsipas (the already qualified list at the start of these events), lost in R1 to Taylor Fritz. Roberto Bautista Agut (currently 9th) got to the QFs before losing to another tall American, Reilly Opelka. David Goffin (10th) and Fabio Fognini (11th) both fell in R2 and, disappointingly, Stan Wawrinka (15th) was unable to take the court for a QF against Roger Federer after going nearly the full distance in R2 (7-5 in the third) against Frances Tiafoe in R2.
    The Final of this is Federer, going for his third straight title and 10th overall in his home town, against Alex de Minaur, which is a real old blood vs young gun clash. Federer beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in two in the Semis, de Minaur got past Opelka in three tie-breakers.
    The doubles final here is also currently underway, and features the two aforementioned lanky American serving-bots. Fritz/Opelka are currently a set down to #4 Rojer/Tecau though. Rojer/Tecau beat the British pair of J.Murray/N.Skupski in the QFs.


    Switching over to the WTA, the winners of the groups* at the Elite Trophy in Zhuhai were Kiki Bertens, Karolina Muchova, Zheng Saisai and Aryna Sabalenka respectively. Bertens, Muchova and Sabalenka all won both their Round Robin pool matches, but Zheng sneaked through in stupidly dramatic circumstances. The first two matches in the pool had seen Madison Keys beat Petra Martic 6-3 6-4, but then lose to Zheng 6-4 6-2. That meant Keys was out as there was no result of the Martic-Zheng match that would suit; her games difference was -1 and Tennis is a zero sum game – for every game won by one player, it’s lost by her opponent. In a Football table the overall goal difference must always sum to zero and a Tennis round robin is the same. As Key was on -1, Martic and Zheng had to be on a combined +1 and that meant even if Martic won in two sets for everyone to be 1 win, 1 loss, 2 sets won, 2 conceded that one of the two had to finish on a better games difference than Keys.
    In fact, Zheng’s task was simple – win seven games. Do that, and Martic, who came in effectively 7-12, would be on 19-19 to Zheng’s 19-18. The first set went to the Croat 6-4. So Zheng needed three in set two. And she got… three! It ended 6-3. Which must have made for a weird end, as the game where she got over the hump would have lead to celebration, but it wasn’t the end of the match. Martic then won the rest to close out a hollow(ish) victory. “ish” as it was worth $80,000 and 80 ranking points. Which is some consolation.
    After all that Zheng was then beaten by Bertens in the Semis. Sabalenka edged past Muchova in the other Semi, and the Belorussian then beat Bertens in the Final.

    Edit - oop, forgot to say that L.Kichenok/Klepac beat Duan/Yang Z. in the Elite trophy doubles final.

    * - ah yes, the group names. Azalea, Camellia, Orchid and Rose. Which reminds me...
    Last edited by Janik; 27-10-2019, 11:40.

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    Yes I'm not sure why the ATP maintains that list this late in the year.

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  • Janik
    replied
    A bit late for the second one, I suspect. And of course, it's elsewhere (Milan, IIRC) from next year.

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    Murray ranked 127 in the ATP list and 120 in the Race To London

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  • Janik
    replied
    Phrases I didn’t think I would be writing ever again… Joining Andy Murray in the ATP champions parade last week were Andrey Rublev, who claimed his second career title (and this one on home soil in Moscow) by beating Adrian Mannarino comfortably 4&0, and thereby reducing the unfortunate Frenchman’s finals record to 1-8; and Denis Shapovalov, who will always have a special place in his heart for Stockholm as his first Tour (singles) final produced his first victory as he beat Filip Krajinovic also in straight sets.
    They were the singles winners. The Doubles crowns on the ATP side went to Demoliner/Middelkoop who beat Bolelli/Molteni in Moscow, Kontinen/Roger-Vasselin who topped Pavic/Soares in Stockholm and German pairing Krawietz/Mies who did for Salisbury/Ram in Antwerp, thereby denying a British double.

    The Russian fans were also denied a double, and of the home variety as Belinda Bencic recovered from a slow start to make sure the Moscow final was not an after the Lord Mayor’s show affair and beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three. That was Bencic’s second title of the season, and upped her seeding for the Tour Finals to #7. Pavlyuchenkova is now 0-2 in finals on the year, 1-2 in Kremlin Cup Finals but 12-6 overall. Bencic stands at 4-6 in WTA Finals, but 2-1 in 2019.
    Over in Luxembourg, the lovely symmetry was denied as Jelena Ostapenko blew Julia Goerges away to deny the German a second successful title defence of the season. That was Ostapenko’s first title in over two years (and just her third overall; the 2017 French Open was her first!), just a week after making her first final in 18 months in Linz. Her mojo is back.
    In doubles, I’ve already noted Gauff/McNally’s title in Luxembourg. The winners in Moscow were Aoyama/Shibahara who beat Flipkens/Mattek-Sands. That is back-to-back tour level titles for the Japanese pair. They also reached a final in the US over the summer, and seem to have found a successful combination.


    And what of this week? Well, the end is nigh. In fact we are already post-season on the WTA, which is running it’s Elite Trophy this week. That is like a Division 2 affair behind the Tour Finals… when did that change?!?
    Alternates for the Finals used to decide whether to play the Elite Trophy based on whether they had got a game in the big show or not. This time around Kiki Bertens and Sofia Kenin are playing the Elite Trophy as the no.1 and 2 seeds. Both won their opening pool match, as did #3 and #4 Madison Keys and Aryna Sabalenka. It’s a 12-woman draw, with four pools of three players leading to Semis and a Final. Which is a very sensible structure, if you ask me.
    There are also two pools of three teams in the doubles of this.

    Meanwhile things are ramping up rather than down on the ATP as the penultimate week of the regular season has two ATP500 events in Alps, in Basel and Vienna respectively.
    Starting with the Swiss Indoors, Roger Federer is going for his third title in a row and 10th overall in an event in his home city that really is the Roger show. He has dropped just six games combined in his opening two rounds. Stan Wawrinka is a win away from joining Federer in the QFs, where the two would meet. To set that up Wawrinka needs to beat Frances Tiafoe, who beat Britain’s only representative in the singles, Dan Evans, in R1.
    Two Brits were in the Doubles, though only the qualies for O’Mara/Lindstedt. And they lost their first game. That left just one team with Brits in it in the main draw, but J.Murray/N.Skupski are doing OK as they through to the QFs after beating a local wild-carded pair. A pair of players of light renown, and not Federer/Wawrinka or anything silly like that. Murray/Skupski will likely have a tougher challenge next up against #4 Rojer/Tecau.
    Oh, Vienna! And oh, Kyle. Edmund lost again, his eighth straight singles defeat and seventh straight R1 exit. He did have the excuse of a tough draw this time, he was up against #3 Matteo Berrettini and as with many other of the defeats recently he won a set. But not the second one. Cameron Norrie has also been in poor form recently, and that continued as he went out in the final round of qualifying to Kohlschreiber. He did need to win to get to that stage, but just once and his defeated foe was a local wild card. Norrie was also unlucky as he had a 50/50 chance of the one lucky loser spot going courtesy of his #2 seeding in the qualies, only to see if go to the other bloke.
    The Vienna doubles had three half-British pairs. One, Bambridge/McLachlan, were top seeds in qualifying and justified that by winning twice to make the main draw, where they have now progressed to the QFs after beating a pair of wild cards in R1 (they also beat a pair of qualifying wild cards in q1, and seem to enjoy stopping Austrian talent). Bambridge/McLachlan’s opponents in the last eight are one of the other British-tinged pairs, #4 Salisbury/Ram. They beat powerful Russians Khachanov/Rublev in R1. The third pair, Inglot/Krajicek, lost to an Argentinian combo in R1.

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    Awesome result.

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  • multipleman78
    replied
    Fantastic result. Murray really is one dogged individual.

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  • Jon
    replied
    Bloody hell! He did it!

    3-6 6-4 6-4

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    A Murray run at the Australian would put him right back in the mix. Just needs to avoid the big three in the first week.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Originally posted by Janik View Post
    The organisers would kill for a Wawrinka-Murray final.
    And indeed that is what they have got. And without leaving a trial of bodies as well. Lucky SOBs. Murray recovered from losing the opening set to beat Humbert in three, Wawrinka cruised past Sinner in two. Its Murray’s first final since spring 2017, and will be his first against Stan since they were both young bucks way back in 2008 (Murray won that match in Qatar in three). Murray won that last championship match in Dubai back in 2017. Two months later Wawrinka won the Geneva Open. That was the last title for either of them, as injuries have ravaged both.
    There is also a Brit in the Antwerp Doubles final, as #2 Salisbury/Ram beat #4 Gille/Vliegen. They play #1 Krawietz/Mies tomorrow.

    Over in Stockholm, the singles final will be between a player at the other end of his career from the old stags butting antlers in Antwerp: #4 Denis Shapovalov (20). This is a significant moment for the Canadian, as for all the hype around him it’s a first ever ATP Final. He’s been knocking on the door for the past two years, and is finally through. The match will produce a first-time champion as Filip Krajinovic will be on the other side of the net. The Serb has been in two ATP Tour level finals previously, one in 2017 and one earlier this year, but lost both.
    Shapovalov beat Sugita in two to break through, whilst Krajinovic toppled #5 Carreno Busta. Oh, and something I missed yesterday on Sugita. His QF win came against Janko Tipsarevic. Getting over the line proved very difficult – Sugita finally managed it on his 10th match point, claiming a deciding set breaker 7-4. Why is this notable? Well, Tipsarevic is retiring at the end of this season. His pro career will end with the Davis Cup Final, but this was his last ATP tournament, and a good fighting conclusion it was.
    The Doubles final in Sweden is #3 Pavic/Soares vs Kontinen/Roger-Vasselin.

    Over in Moscow, two straight sets semis provided wins for #6 Andrey Rublev over #3 Marin Cilic and #7 Adrian Mannarino against Andreas Seppi. Rublev has one previous ATP Tour level title from three finals appearances (Umag 2017). Mannarino also has one crown to his name, at Rosmalen this year. That, however, is from eight previous championship matches. And since finally getting over the hump, he has lost in a title decider again (in Zhuhai last month).
    The Men’s Doubles in the Russian capital has been completed #4 Demoliner/Middelkoop beating Bolelli/Molteni.


    Why was the Moscow Men’s Doubles completed? Well, three finals in a day appears to be considered the max for a tournament. And Moscow is a combined Men’s and Women’s event, but at a higher level for the females. So their draws take effective precedence. The big match of the day (biggest for either gender, really) was the bottom half Semi. Belinda Bencic was playing for the eighth and final spot in the WTA Tour Championships. Beat Kiki Mladenovic and it was hers, lose and it went to Serena. A 6-3 set and then a 6-4 one later and Bencic could start mentally preparing for the matches ahead in China. And Serena could start to unpack her bags, as I rate the chances of her flying halfway around the world to be an alternate for an event as diddly-squat.
    Before Bencic heads back to the Far East, she has a final to play in Russia. And against a home player as well, in the person of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat Karolina Muchova in three. Pavlyuchenkova is a few years older than the Swiss, and has won a far amount more than her opponent here. She has 12 WTA titles to her name (including winning this very event once previously) from 19 previous finals. Bencic, by contrast, has 3 crowns from 9 prior goes. However, Pavlyuchenkova is now over a year since her last winners speech, and only made her first final of the season last month in Japan (l to Osaka); Bencic won in Dubai back in February.
    We already knew the line-up for the Kremlin Cup doubles final yesterday (#3 Flipkens/Mattek-Sands vs Aoyama/Shibahara).

    And finally, Luxembourg. The Semis here produced wins for Jelena Ostapenko (WC) over #8 Anna Blinkova and #2 Julia Goerges against #3 Elena Rybakina. Ostapenko also got to the final last week in Linz (l to Gauff), which means she has reached a quarter of her career finals in the last fortnight. She only has two previous final wins as well. But as one of these was the French Open, she won’t be bothered about a poor strike rate. And Goerges? Well, she must be pretty happy with the defence she has made of her title. If she can go the final step, it will complete an unusual set for the German – in 2018 she won two titles, the first coming in Auckland in the opening week of the season and the later in Luxembourg in the final set of events. So far in 2019 Julia has one title to her name… from Auckland in week 1! She appears to have some favoured events here going on…
    The Luxembourg doubles final has happened, and it’s another title for Gauff/McNally to go with their Washington success and Gauff’s singles title bow in Linz last week. As previously, they won 6-2 6-2. Neither of the young Americans has lost a WTA Final (yet).

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  • multipleman78
    replied
    Murray is starting to look pretty good. He played one bad game in the Copil match when serving for it and that allowed Copil to go on a serving burst that made the match close. Even in the tie break, Copil got a massive slice of good fortune with the ball off the net and trickling over to get him back in it. Murray was moving good and striking the ball very clean.

    That followed on from his dominant display versus Cuevas. I don't think it's going to take Murray too long to be back inside the top 100. Perhaps after the event that leads into the Australian Open.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Where were we at, then? Oh, right, that is a fair way behind.

    OK, so the denoument in Tianjin was covered in detail, Heather Watson losing in a final played on an indoor practice court against Rebecca Peterson. That was the Swede’s second ever WTA title and also her second of the Far East swing after also winning the title in Nanchang (bt Rybakina). Peterson actually lost the opening set of her Semi to Ons Jabeur 6-0!
    The Tianjin doubles was won by Aoyama/Shibahara, who beat countrywomen Doi/Hibino in the title match.

    And likewise we have had a mention of events in Linz, which ended with Coco Gauff winning her first ever WTA crown, topping Jelena Ostapenko in three sets in the final. Ostapenko had beaten the player who beat Gauff in qualifying, Tamara Korpatsch, in R1. Gauff won her Semi against Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4 whilst Ostapenko’s hard fought last four win #8 Ekaterina Alexandrova got her to her first WTA Final since Miami 18 months ago. Gauff became the youngest player to win a title on the WTA since Nicole Vaidisova 15 years ago. Whatever happened to her? Well, retired at 21 burned out, returned at 25, retired again due to injuries aged 27, an instructive story for those handling Coco, for sure. They will be very aware, I’m certain.
    Top seeds Krejcikova/Siniakova won the Linz doubles, defeating Haas/Knoll in the final. Haas is an Austrian.

    And on the Men’s side? Well, we left it with a Shanghai semis line up of #6 Stefanos Tsitispas vs #3 Daniil Medvedev and #11 Matteo Berrettini vs #5 Sascha Zverev. For some reason I claimed only Medvedev had won a Masters Series before, which is of course utter arse – Zverev has won three of them! And I bloomin’ know that. However by prediction that Daniil would double his total was on the money, toppling Tsitsipas in two tight sets then Zverev in two more comprehensive ones (Zverev had beaten Berrettini in two in the other semi).
    We left the Doubles with J.Murray/N.Skupski preparing to play a Semi against #8 Pavic/Soares. They lost that, as did #2 Kubot/Melo in the final against the Croat/Brazilian pair.


    And then on to this week, where there are three ATP250 events going on across Europe. The biggest purse is in Moscow, but we will come to that last as it’s a joint one with the WTA. And also because for British fans, the story of the week is in Antwerp. Or stories, for let’s start with a negative one. Which doesn’t begin negatively, as 12 months ago this event provided Kyle Edmund with his first (and so far only) ATP title. He hadn’t intended to defend it, but the run of defeats he had suffered made for a very late entry into the tournament. Too late for the main draw, forcing Edmund, the defending champ, into qualifying. He was the top seed in that, but lost his first match yet again, this time to Gombos. Ouch.
    Also ouch as Edmund has lost his British No.1 spot to Dan Evans, more on whom later. Because there is another former British No.1 in action in Belgium. And a former World No.1. Andy Murray. And no past tense this week either, as Muzza (who used one of his protected rankings to enter), with wins over Kimmer Copejans (WC), #8 Pablo Cuevas and Marius Copil (Q) has taken him to the Semis. There he will play a young Frenchman, Ugo Humbert. You may remember Humbert from Wimbledon this year where he made the fourth round playing nice attacking Tennis and beating rising star Auger-Aliassime in Round 3. The other Semi is Jannik Sinner [a name I love, obviously] vs #4 Stan Wawrinka. Both entered via wild cards. The organisers would kill for a Wawrinka-Murray final.
    Rather lost in the wash is that Cameron Norrie lost in Round 1 of this, to Feliciano Lopez. He also lost in R1 of the doubles w/ Kwon. #2 Salisbury/Ram are through to the Semis, though.

    I mentioned new British No.1 Dan Evans was elsewhere. Stockholm to be precise, where he was the 8th seed for the event. Evo beat Bernard Tomic in R1, but then lost to Filip Krajinovic in R2. Krajinovic has subsequently made the Semis to be fair, alongside #5 Pablo Carreno Busta (his opponent), #4 Denis Shapovalov and Yuichi Sugita, who is getting inspired by a 15 year-old girl and going deep as a Lucky Loser.
    All Brits are out of the Stockholm doubles, which is a pity as three good pairs started. However only Inglot/Krajicek made the QFs though the others draws were tough, O’Mara/K.Skupski losing to the #3 seeds and Bambridge/McLachlan likewise to the #4. The same pair then beat Inglot/Krajicek in the last eight.

    And lastly on the Men’s side to the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. No Brits in the singles on the Men’s side, which is now at the Semi-Final stage with a line up of #6 Andrey Rublev vs #3 Marin Cilic and #7 Adrian Mannarino vs Andreas Seppi. J.Murray/N.Skupski played the doubles as the #2 seeds, but didn’t bring their Shanghai form as they lost in R1.

    As mentioned, the Kremlin Cup is also for the Women, and is a bigger deal for them as, being the sole Premier event in the final week of the season it is the last chance to earn a Tour Finals spot. Six places were already assigned prior to this week, to Ash Barty, Karolina Pliskova, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep (if fit), Bianca Andreescu, Petra Kvitova and Elena Svitolina. Despite being over the hump, Svitolina was the top seed in Moscow. She may have not been sure of the maths that guaranteed her seventh spot and a chance to defend her Tour Champs crown when she travelled, but having got there she knew and promptly lost her opening match Veronika Kudermetova. Handy for hoping straight on a flight back to the Far East (the finals are in Shenzhen).
    That left two players competing to take the final spot from the inactive Serena Williams – Belinda Bencic and Kiki Bertens. Bertens chances disappeared today with a QF defeat against fellow Kiki, Mladenovic of that ilk. Which is a shame as it denies us a winner-takes-all encounter tomorrow between Bertens and Bencic, who is into the Semi. Serena has only played 8 tournaments this year btw to still be nearly make the world’s best 8 and definitely finish in the top ten! The other Semi is all unseeded, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Karolina Muchova.
    And any Brits? Well, Jo Konta was meant to play in this, and the WTA Elite Trophy next week, but her season has been ended by a knee injury. She will finish in the top 20 even so, which is a vast improvement on a year ago. In her absence, it was a blank as no-one else went for it. To be fair, no-one else stood a realistic chance of making the main draw directly, and the qualies are a tough three round school populated by countless highly talented young Russian girls. Not good for the ego.
    The doubles final of this event is sorted. Flipkens/Mattek-Sands will play Tianjin champs Aoyama/Shibahara.

    One Brit did play the qualifiers in the International event in Luxembourg. That was Eden Silva, and she won a round before exiting in three against Niculescu. Decent enough. Silva also played the doubles main draw with Broady, but they lost in the opening round of that.
    As for general stuff, Coco Gauff was upended in R1 by #8 Anna Blinkova. And as this was the main draw this time, she doesn’t get another chance (in singles). Blinkova has since powered on to the SFs, where she will play Jelena Ostapenko, who appears to be refinding herself after a terrible spell. Ostapenko beat top seed Elise Mertens in R2. The other Semi is as seeded, #3 Elena Rybakina vs #2 Julia Goerges.
    The doubles final is also confirmed in Luxembourg, and it contains Coco Gauff! She and McNally will play Christian/Guarachi.

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    Tennis has produced a surprising number of cases, shown in the linked article. Interestingly, the article also suggests that the lucky loser practice used to be open to abuse (see second section):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_..._and_finalists
    Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 14-10-2019, 01:09.

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  • multipleman78
    replied
    I watched some of Watson's final in between while flicking between that and the rugby. As you said, the atmosphere was so flat that it actually put me off watching it. I couldn't help but feel i was watching a practice match, not a final on the main tour.

    Coco Gauff won her first tour title today. It said on the news that she was a lucky loser qualifier into the event. Does anyone know how often that has happened on either tour? Must be rare in sport that you win an event you were eliminated from. Denmark 92 in football springs to mind. I was going to say Rangers in 72 when they won the Cup Winners Cup but they were eliminated for a few minutes due to a misunderstanding of the new rules at the time so i don't think that counts.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Originally posted by multipleman78 View Post
    Watson won in straight sets. According to BBC, she has a 100% record in WTA finals so hopefully that doesn't become 75% tomorrow. Has she changed coach or spoken about anything she has changed? It feels like she has come out of the wilderness with soaring confidence.
    Heather's opponent in the final, Rebecca Peterson, also boasted a 100% record in Finals coming into the match. In the Swede's case that was only one from one previously to Watson's three from three, but Peterson's previously one was just last month. And after a 6-4 6-4 match, Watson is now down to a 75% hit rate.
    It's not a final Heather is going to remember all that fondly. Not because she played badly, in fact she was playing well with significantly more oomph on her groundstrokes than recently, presumably the consequence of the suddenly flowing confidence (which, as far as I know, is simply out of nowhere but that is how Heather rolls - all it takes is two straight wins by hook or crook and she can convince herself again that she can beat anyone), but more the result and the circumstances. The match was delayed by the weather (I assume the same typhoon that has disrupted the Rugby) and then rescheduled for the Indoor practice courts as there was no prospect of playing outside. But, of course, the practice courts have no viewing gallery. It sounded like there were 20 people watching at most, which made for an atmosphere reminiscent of a no-mark ITF match not a Tour Final. Which is a bit sad.

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  • multipleman78
    replied
    Watson won in straight sets. According to BBC, she has a 100% record in WTA finals so hopefully that doesn't become 75% tomorrow. Has she changed coach or spoken about anything she has changed? It feels like she has come out of the wilderness with soaring confidence.

    The youngsters took out the old guard in Shanghai. Is this the big 3 crumbling or just them losing when it doesn't matter so much? Once Australia comes around and the big 3, by then the big 4, will probably still be collecting the silverware.

    Talking of the big 4, the weakest member is going to be a daddy to 3 kids by the turn of the year. No wonder he is desperate to stay on the tour. Apparently the birth could happen anytime from next week. Does that mean Murray was doing the business with that dodgy hip around the Australian Open? Why not of course, if he could go 5 sets with Bautista Agut, I am sure he could manage a few minutes in the bedroom.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Two big shocks in the Men's QFs at Shanghai today. Roger Federer lost to Sascha Zverev in three, but NoVak Djokovic losing in the same to Stefanos Tsitsipas tops it. In the other QFs Daniil Medvedev beat Fabio Fognini and Matteo Berrettini beat Dominic Thiem. Only Medvedev has won a Masters Series event previously of the four Semi-Finalists, and him only once and very recently. The Russian must be the favourite to add to that Cincy crown, though.
    Contrasting fortune for the British pairs on the Doubles court. J.Murray/N.Skupski beat #4 Klaasen/Venus to set up an SF against #8 Pavic/Soares, but Salisbury/Ram lost an epic to #6 Mahut/Roger-Vasselin, the deciding match breaker ending 18-16 in favour of the Frenchmen.

    Coco Gauff is making the most of her luck - a first career top ten win over Kiki Bertens (currently 8) has set up a SF against Andrea Petkovic. Gauff and McNally are also in the Doubles SF in Linz.

    Heather Watson's Semi opponent in Tianjin will be Veronika Kudermetova. None of the four Semi-Finalists here are seeds (the other two are Ons Jabeur and Rebecca Peterson). Then again neither are Gauff or Petkovic seeded in Austria!

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  • Janik
    replied
    It went to 8-6 in a final set breaker, but a win is a win and Heather Watson will play a WTA Semi-Final again on Saturday. She is also due to be back inside the top 100 when the next set of rankings are published on Monday.
    Words probably can't expressed just how damned relieved she is about the last few days.

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    For total weeks at #1, Djokovic has gone past Lendl and Connors in recent weeks and now just trails Federer and Sampras:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...yers#By_player

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  • Janik
    replied
    That is a superb victory. Indeed it's the first time Heather has beaten a player ranked in the top 25 in over two years. She now faces Magda Linette in a QF. Linette beat her in qualifying of an event a couple of weeks ago, but Watson on a roll is a very different beast.

    Other results since the last update include a defeat for Watson in the Tianjin doubles, she and Dart losing in R1. On the Men's Doubles front things are going swimmingly, though - both teams in Shanghai with Brits are through to the QFs, J.Murray/N.Skupski beating N.Djokovic*/Krajinovic (N. as when Nole throws in an occasional doubles appearance he has been sometimes played with his brother Marko and also once the third and youngest sibling Djordje) and Salisbury/Ram topping #3 M.Granollers/Zeballos. Their last eight opponents will be another seeded pair, #6 Mahut/Roger-Vasselin whilst Murray/Skupski play #4 Klaasen/Venus. Both the British/half-British pairs are unseeded in this, btw.


    In other news Fabio Fognini backed up his tetchy win over Andy Murray by getting past Karen Khachanov. Fognini-Murray is such a potentially spiky confrontation that I'm a little surprised there hasn't been ill-feeling before. Or maybe there has, and I'm just not remembering? Stefanos Tsitsipas got a tight as hell win over Felix Auger-Aliassime in R2 (two breakers) and is now into a deciding set breaker against Hubert Hurkacz in R3 (Hurkacz beat Gael Monfils in R2 to make this stage). And nothing much else jumps out at me on the Men's side.
    edit - Tsitsipas won that breaker 7-5, so is into the QFs to play Djokovic.

    On the Women's Cori Gauff will be in the top 100 next week after she made the Linz QFs yesterday. Luck has very much been on her side in doing so. Not just the lucky loser berth after being beaten in final q, but an injury to her opponent Kateryna Kozlova yesterday that occurred just after Kozlova had broken Gauff to lead by a set and 3-2. Coco looked beaten, then Kateryna did something to her thigh on the very next point that caused her to stop mid-service game for treatment, which is unusually. Gauff won six of the next seven games from that point until the Ukranian called it quits.

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  • multipleman78
    replied
    It looks like Heather Watson has found her groove.

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  • Janik
    replied
    How did last week conclude then?

    Well, in the Women’s half of the China Open Ash Barty squeaked past Kiki Bertens in one Semi, 9-7 in a deciding set breaker and Naomi Osaka cruised past Caroline Wozniacki in the other. And then in the final, Barty won the first set and Osaka the next two. Following on from Osaka (who was born in Osaka) winning in Osaka last week as well, which means back-to-back titles for the first time in Naomi’s career. And just the fourth and fifth of her Senior career, i.e. 40% of all the full Tour tournaments she has ever won have come in the last fortnight. That also means she has now won more non-Slams than Slams, rather than the other way up!
    The Women’s Doubles in Beijing was won by American pair Kenin/Mattek-Sands.

    On the Men’s side, Dominic Thiem recovered from a set and 3-5 down to beat Karen Khachanov in one semi (which secured the Austrian’s place at the end-of-season Tour Finals), Stefanos Tsitsipas beating Alexander Zverev in two in the other. That sent Tsitsipas to his first final since the Madrid Masters back in May, but he will have to wait longer for a fourth career title as Thiem won the showpiece again coming from a set down.
    In the Men’s doubles, J.Murray/N.Skupski lost in the semis to Dodig/Polasek, who went on to take the title.

    The other event last week was the Men’s half of the Japan Open. The Semis of this were Novak Djokovic vs David Goffin and Reilly Opelka vs John Millman. Djokovic won the top one in straight sets, whilst whoever won the bottom half would be reaching just a second career final and a first at ATP500 level. The player blinking starry-eyed into the lights to take on the World No.1 was Millman after he won in two; he had had to come through qualifying just to make the main draw. The title match was pretty one-sided, which is no great surprise. In Millm… no, in Djoker’s favour of course. Just a fourth title of the year for Nole, which is a low haul by his standards. Only interested in the Slams from now on, maybe?
    The Japan Open doubles was won by Mahut/Roger-Vasselin.


    Moving on to this week, and the biggest profile event is on the Men’s Tour this time as they play their penultimate Masters Series event of the season in Shanghai. Let’s start with the Brits and start with qualifying, which was where Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie began their campaigns.
    Evans, seeded #3, beat Tomic in a battle of the talented wasters (one seemingly reformed, the other very much not) but then lost to Chardy in final q. Evo was the highest ranked player to miss out so still retains some hope of a Lucky Loser berth, though there are only five players left to begin their campaigns now (the Beijing semi-finalists plus Bautista Agut, to be specific).
    Norrie made it through though, beating Schnur and Fabbiano to secure his berth. He made something of that by topping Gilles Simon in R1 but has since lost to #3 Daniil Medvedev at the next stage. Which is no disgrace, of course. Evans conqueror, Chardy, beat another Brit in R1 as Kyle Edmund lost his sixth in a row. And then there was Andy Murray. He was handed a wild card to play, recovered from a set down to get past Juan Ignacio Londero in R1 but then lost to #10 Fabio Fognini at the next stage, both sets lost being tie-breakers. If the progress is steady, it's also pretty slow. Time is not on Muzza's side here...
    In non-Brit news from this event, Djokovic and Federer play, but no Nadal who withdrew with a left hand injury. And no Kyrgios either, which sounds a wise move. He has had multiple blow-ups in Shanghai and clearly doesn’t get on with the city or venue or something. He is either injured or ‘injured’ and either way it’s better for all that that is the case.
    Only two pairs with British flags flying in the Doubles here, J.Murray/N.Skupski and Salisbury/Ram. Both are into R2, Murray/Skupski beating a local wild card pair in R1, Salisbury/Ram topping Struff/Verdasco.

    Over to the WTA, which is running two International events in its penultimate regular season week. One of these is in Tianjin in China, and stop the clocks, Heather Watson won a match!! She beat Kateryna Bondarenko to register just her second main draw WTA win of 2019. Next up is #2 Wang Qiang, which is a major jump in class. Watson is the only Brit into R2 as Harriet Dart lost to Kurumi Nara (Q) in R1 and Emily Webley-Smith lost to Yang in R1 of qualifying.
    Dart and Watson are also playing the doubles together, as were Webley-Smith and her regular partner Shapatava. Were, as they lost in R1 to Wang/Yang. Dart/Watson are yet to get their campaign underway.

    The other WTA event is in Linz. No Brits here but one famous name – Coco Gauff. She entered qualifying, and actually got knocked out in the second and final round by Korpatsch. However she was the highest ranked player to be eliminated at that stage and has got a second chance as a Lucky Loser, which is going well so far – she is through to R2 after beating Stefanie Vogele (Q). Gauff’s partner in doubles crime Caty McNally is also in mitteleuropa, but for her it’s just the doubles as she lost her first match in qualifying rather than the second (McNally is or was the higher ranked of the girls in singles).

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    Originally posted by multipleman78 View Post
    Murray lost to Thiem but i think that loss is the only negative this week. It was a high quality two set battle that lasted 2 hours. Last week, Murray thought he was playing top 70 tennis, this week he has refined that to top 20. His movement is good, his shots are crisper and his confidence is building. Once he gets that match practice in he will be lighting up the big courts again.
    Nobody has emerged as a clear No. 4 in his absence so that spot is potentially in reach.

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  • Janik
    replied
    I never said who won the Men’s tournaments last week, did I? Well, it was Alex de Minaur (conqueror of Andy Murray) who took the crown in Zhuhai after a two set win over Adrian Mannarino and Pablo Carreno Busta doing the humble speeches in Chengdu after edging past Alexander Bublik in a deciding set tie-break.
    The Zhuhai win was de Minaur’s third title of both 2019 and his career. All of them have been on hard courts, not the clay one might expect. As for Mannarino, it was yet another final loss. He is now 1-7 in title matches in his career.
    Victory in Chengdu meant Carreno Busta was back into the winners circle after a 28 month absence. It was his fourth title overall. Bublik remains still to claim an ATP crown, but at 22 there is still lots of time and giving himself a second chance not so many months after the first (Newport in July) was a positive.


    Over to this week, and first of all the Premier Mandatory event for the Women. Despite a couple of notable early departures, #2 Karolina Pliskova beaten in R1 by Jelena Ostapenko and #6 Simona Halep (who seems to be playing half-fit currently) upset in R2 by Ekaterina Alexandrova, this mornings QF line-up was appropriately stellar: #1 Ash Barty vs #7 Petra Kvitova, #3 Elena Svitolina vs #8 Kiki Bertens, #5 Bianca Andreescu vs #4 Naomi Osaka and Daria Kasatkina vs #16 Caroline Wozniacki.
    Roughly in order, Barty recovered from a set down to beat Kvitova, Bertens pulled away from Svitolina in two and Wozniacki downed Kasatkina via a second set tie-break. However the big news was the third match because, shock!, Andreescu has lost a match. And a three setter to boot. Osaka won 5-7 6-3 6-4. She now plays Wozniacki in one Semi whilst Barty and Bertens go at it in the other.

    On the Men’s side in Beijing, multipleman has been keep up to date with SirAndy’s doings. Beating Matteo Berrettini inR1 felt like a notable moment on the comeback trail, as the Italian is a proper player. The Murray updates cover some of the other Brits by exxtension. But for the record Cameron Norrie got a break when Cristian Garin retired in their R1 match (Norrie was a set up, mind), then split a couple of breakers with Murray before fading away in set three. Dan Evans beat his wild card opponent, Li Zhe, in R1 but then lost in two to John Isner in the second round. And Kyle Edmund fared no better after sacking his coach, going out in R1 for the fifth successive tournament after losing in a deciding set breaker to another local wild card, Zhang Zhizhen.
    On the Doubles front, Edmund/Evans qualified successfully with another win against a strong team (Lindsted/Querrey) but then drew #2 seeds Kubot/Melo in R1 of the main draw, and that was the end of it. Not so for the other all-British pair though as J.Murary/N.Skupski are through to the Semis after beating Pella/Schwartzman and back-to-back Slam champions #1 Cabal/Farah. Obviously the second result is particularly notable. They will face Dodig/Polasek in the Semis.
    Oh yes, and the Men’s singles Semis are the top four seeds - #1 Dominic Thiem vs #4 Karen Khachanov and #3 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs #2 Alexander Zverev.

    The singles in Tokyo, which is the other ATP500 this week, was a Brit-free zone. So let’s skip straight to the Semis. Like Beijing the top half is as seeded, #1 Novak Djokovic vs #3 David Goffin. The bottom half has two more unusual names though, Reilly Opelka vs John Millman (Q). Millman almost certainly had to save match points during the second set of his first qualifying match (he won that set 11-9 on a breaker), and now here he is. Funny how things work out, isn’t it?
    There were Brits in the Toyko doubles, the past-tense being appropriate. Inglot/Krajicek made it the furthest, all the way to the Semis, but were there by #2 Mahut/Roger-Vasselin. Getting that far was a big success, given their scalps in the previous two rounds were Rojer/Tecau and #4 Pavic/Soares. #3 Ram/Salisbury lost in the QFs on a match breaker, having won their R1 match in the same fashion and wild cards Bambridge/McLachlan (wild card awarded because Ben McLachlan is half Japanese and represents that country) went out in R1 to a pair of qualifiers.

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