PARIS, June 13 (Xinhua) — World No. 1 Novak Djokovic lifted his second Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy, also his 19th Grand Slam triumph by taking down Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in the Roland Garros final on Sunday.
The victory set a historic record for Djokovic, who won the Roland Garros title in 2016, making him the first player in the Open Era – and only the third player in history – to achieve the ‘Grand Slam’ twice. In addition, the victory narrowed his gap with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the list for most major men’s singles titles to one.
After overcoming the noticeable biggest test in his journey by conquering 13-time champion Nadal in a four-set classic, Djokovic won a place in the final.
Facing the heavy pressure of having Djokovic, the Greek player controlled the first two sets with his powerful serve. However, The Serbian started his comeback in the third set as he stepped inside the baseline while launching smart drop shots to keep his opponent wondering. Djokovic claimed a crucial service break after an 11-minute game, with Tsitsipas saving four break points but failing to halt the world No. 1.
The turning point encouraged Djokovic. After taking a 4-0 lead with a double break, Djokovic dominated the fourth set by dropping only three points on his own serve, finishing the battle in just 39 minutes.
Djokovic, who never encountered a break point after the second set, continued to triumph in the fifth set even though Tsitsipas did not give up struggling. Cheered by the crowd, Tsitsipas saved three break points across two of his service games, but he ultimately lost hope after dropping serve at 2-1, only to witness the Serbian to grab his 19th Grand Slam crown after four hours and 11 minutes.
“I have played almost nine hours over the last 48 hours against two great champions, it was really tough physically over the last three days, but I trusted in my capabilities and knew I could do it,” said the 34-year-old Djokovic.
Tsitsipas admired Djokovic as a great champion. “I am inspired by the things he has achieved and I hope one day I can maybe do half of what he has done so far,” he said.
PARIS, June 12 (Xinhua) — Czech tennis player Barbora Krejcikova won her maiden Grand Slam singles title at the French Open here on Saturday, beating Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in the final.
Krejcikova, 25, has become the first Czech woman in 40 years to conquer Roland Garros where Hana Mandlikova claimed the trophy in 1981.
Krejcikova, ranked 33 in the world, paid an emotional tribute to her mentor Jana Novotna, who died of cancer at the age of 49 in 2017.
“It’s hard to put into words. I cannot believe I have just won a Grand Slam,” said Krejcikova. “I spent a lot of time with Jana before she died. Her last words to me were ‘enjoy tennis and try and win a Grand Slam’.”
Krejcikova will rise to world No. 15 as a result of her win on Saturday as she became the sixth successive first-time major winner in Paris.
She is also the third unseeded champion at Roland Garros in the last five years after Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 and Iga Swiatek in 2020.
Pavlyuchenkova, 29, was playing in her first Slam final at the 52nd attempt.
“I was preparing a speech for this moment ever since I was a little kid and now I am lost for words,” said Pavlyuchenkova.
“Congratulations to Barbora. I don’t know how you play singles and doubles. I was dead on the last point,” she said.
PARIS, June 9 (Xinhua) — World No.1 Novak Djokovic will face archrival Rafael Nadal for a record 58th time in their careers after the duo both progressed from the quarterfinals at the French Open on Wednesday.
The Serbian defeated ninth-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(3), 7-5 in the night session at Roland Garros to secure his 11th final-four appearance in Paris, while defending champion Nadal overcame Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 to reach the clay-court major semifinals for the 14th time.
The high-profile showdown between the pair, who have faced each other more times than any other players in history, will be staged on Friday as a repeat of last year’s final.
“I’ll probably pick Rafa as the biggest rival I’ve ever had in my career,” top seed Djokovic said of the 13-time French Open champion.
“The anticipation for the match against him, any match, any surface, any occasion, is always different from any other. Let’s have a great battle,” the 34-year-old added.
Although Djokovic holds a narrow lead of 29-28 in their overall rivalry which stretches back 15 years, the Spaniard remains the king on clay, as he dominates their French Open meetings 7-1, and 19-7 overall on clay.
The two greats most recently played each other in the Rome final on May 16, when Nadal won his 10th title in the Italian capital to equal Djokovic’s record of 36 ATP1000 Masters crowns.
The Serb’s last win over Nadal on clay was also in Rome, but that was five years ago.
“The quality and the level of tennis that I’ve been playing in the past three, four weeks on clay – Rome, Belgrade, and here – is giving me good sensations and feelings ahead of that match,” Djokovic said. “I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
The 2016 French Open champion is bidding to win his 19th major title to close the gap to Nadal and Roger Federer, who both have 20 major wins, on the list of men’s Grand Slam winners. Meanwhile, Nadal is striving for a record 21st to break the tie with Federer.
“Of course, the numbers are just amazing. But I can’t think about that now, honestly. Let’s talk about that when I finish my career. Now is a moment to be happy,” said Nadal, who recently celebrated his 35th birthday.
“I am not the one to talk about myself. I can’t avoid that I have great numbers here at Roland Garros. [The way] that commentators think about me is something that I am proud of. It’s an honor for me,” the third seed added.
The other men’s semifinal will see Greece’s 22-year-old Stefano Tsitsipas take on sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany.
In the women’s draw, world No.18 Maria Sakkari stunned defending champion Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-4 to become the first Greek woman to make the last four at a major. She will face 33rd-ranked Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic for a place in the final, as the latter knocked out American teenager Coco Gauff 7-6(6), 6-3 to clinch a place in the semifinals.
Russia’s 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will tackle unseeded Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia in the other semifinal.
PARIS, June 8 (Xinhua) — Fifth seed Stefano Tsitsipas reached the French Open semifinals for the second consecutive year after beating second seed Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5 on Tuesday night.
The Greek will next take on Germany’s sixth seed Alexander Zverev, who overcame Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 in just one hour and 36 minutes to claim a place in the clay-court major semifinals for the first time in his career.
Tsitsipas leads Zverev 5-2 in their previous seven encounters, but the German was the winner of the most recent one, outlasting the other in Acapulco, Mexico, earlier this year.
“I feel privileged that I’m in that position, and I feel obviously I’ve put in a lot of daily hard work (that) has been a key element of me being here,” Tsitsipas said. “But, you know, my ego tells me I want more.”
Medvedev, however, has set his own best in Paris as he started this year’s tournament with an embarrassing 0-4 record in Paris – losing four times in the first round.
Tsitsipas went into the match strong, just like what he did since the beginning of this year. He served flawlessly in the opening set, winning 17 of 20 first-serve points and executing an 83% percent first-serve percentage.
“I was even kind of surprised the first set,” the 25-year-old Medvedev said after the match.
“That’s why it went so easy on his side because I didn’t expect such great level from him, especially I felt like I played good guys like Bublik, Garin, Tommy Paul actually, that played good from baseline, and I felt that I was on top of them in the rallies so I felt I could continue doing this today like on the hardcourt.
“It was not the case so I had to change.”
The Russian restored in the second and tried to play with more variety. The match became toe-to-toe and the second seed earned two set points at 5-4, but only to be saved by Tsitsipas’s big serves. The fifth seed then dominated in the tiebreak to take a two-set lead.
Medvedev didn’t give up and clawed back once again in the deciding set, creating five break opportunities on Tsitsipas’s serves, and converted two of them to take a 4-2 lead. But Tsitsipas responded well by winning eight of the next nine points to break back and overturned the set 5-4.
Down match point at 6-5, Medvedev inexplicably served and volleyed behind an underarm serve that popped up into Tsitsipas’ strike zone, and the Greek player gleefully spanked a down-the-line topspin backhand winner to seal the match.
“I felt like there was something coming up, so at that point, I think I got prepared for it,” Tsitsipas said of Medvedev’s underarm serve. “It’s that less of a second when you realize something is about to change from a regular (serve). It was fine. I mean, I (did) what I had to do.”
The defeat also ended Medvedev’s bid to clinch the world’s No.1 spot from Novak Djokovic.
Top seed Djokovic will play Italy’s ninth seed Matteo Berrettini on Wednesday while defending champion Rafael Nadal faces the challenge from Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.
PARIS, June 6 (Xinhua) — Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached another milestone at Roland Garros on Saturday, as the 13-time French Open champion claimed his 103rd match win in Paris to beat Roger Federer’s record of 102 wins in the Australian Open, setting a new win record in a single Grand Slam tournament.
The 13-time Roland Garros champion defeated Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to set up a round-of-16 match against Italy’s 18th seed Jannik Sinner.
Nadal had already played Norrie twice this season without dropping a set, and his victory in Paris improved his head-to-head record with Norrie to 3-0.
“Today I had in front a player who is having a great season. I went on court knowing that could be a tough match, and for moments it was like this. I’m happy to win in straight sets,” said the 35-year-old, who converted six of his 12 break points to close out the victory.
The Spaniard has now won 32 consecutive sets at the clay-court major, dating back to the second set of his 2019 final victory against Dominic Thiem.
Novak Djokovic was another man who made history on Saturday, as the top seed needed only one hour and 32 minutes to breeze past Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 to reach the last 16 in Paris for a record 12th consecutive year – breaking a tie with archrivals Nadal and Roger Federer.
Next up for the Serbian is 19-year-old Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, who came through a five-setter against compatriot Marco Cecchinato earlier in the day. The pair have never met before on the Tour, but Djokovic spoke highly of the teenager.
“We did practise this season on this surface, a couple of times in Monte Carlo, and other tournaments. I really like how he plays,” the world No.1 said of Musetti. “He’s got a lot of firepower from both forehand and backhand. He can play with a lot of spins. He’s got great feel [and] comes to the net.”
“He is a big challenge to me. So there is no question I have to go out playing at a high level, because he will not have much to lose,” the 34-year-old added.
In contrast to the easy wins for Nadal and Djokovic, Roger Federer had a tough battle late in the night as the eighth seed had to play three tiebreaks to dispatch Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-5 to secure a spot in the last 16.
“I wasn’t sure after the second set how much was left in the tank, so, you know, it was a good battle until then,” said the Swiss, who turns 40 in August. “I thought this win was very important for me. I clearly hadn’t practised three hours 35 (minutes), because that’s obviously always pushing it. I pushed as much as I could, as we thought reasonable. But this today was I think a huge step forward for the team, and for all of us.”
The 20-time Grand Slam champion sealed the victory after three hours and 35 minutes when the clock approached 1am local time.
Federer will play Italian ninth seed Matteo Berrettini in the next round. The Madrid runner-up hit 52 winners in his 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4 victory over South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time.
In the women’s draw, Elina Svitolina became the seventh top-seed to see her campaign end in the opening week, as the Ukrainian fifth seed was outclassed 6-3, 6-2 by Czech player Barbora Krejcikova.
Reigning champion Iga Swiatek overcame a break in the opening set to see off Anett Kontaveit 7-6(4), 6-0 to stay on track to defend her title.
Eighth seed Swiatek, fourth seed Sofia Kenin and seventh seed Serena Williams are the only three survivors of the women’s high-ranked seeds.
“I’m really happy that I’m playing consistently and I’m just trying to approach every match the same way, as I did last year,” said Swiatek, who arrived in Paris with a title-winning victory in Rome.
The 20-year-old, who plays Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the fourth round, has now won 20 successive sets at Roland Garros.
“Many players struggle after coming back, after winning a Grand Slam, so I’m really happy that I’m able to handle it,” added the Pole.
Last year’s runner-up Kenin, the highest remaining seed, rallied from one set down to beat fellow American Jessica Pagula 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
PARIS, April 18 (Xinhua) — Swiss tennis great Roger Federer on Sunday confirmed that he will participate in the French Open at Roland Garros this year and will play in the Geneva Open as the clay-court Grand Slam warm-up.
“Happy to let you know that I will play Geneva and Paris,” Federer tweeted. “Until then, I will use the time to train. Can’t wait to play in Switzerland again.”
The 20-time Grand Slam winner, who will turn 40 in August, underwent two arthroscopic right knee surgeries last year and skipped the season after the Australian Open in January.
He came back to the Tour last month in Doha, Qatar, where he won one match and reached the quarterfinals.
This year’s French Open will start on May 30, one week later than originally scheduled as the organizers wish to allow more fans in attendance under the background of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federer last played at Roland Garros in 2019, when he was defeated by arch-rival Rafael Nadal in the semifinals.
Nadal equaled Federer’s all-time record of 20 major titles after the French Open triumph last year. Current world No.1 Novak Djokovic is chasing the duo with 18 to his name.
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