Djokovic bounces back to advance to semi-finals

Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Andrey Rublev in the third and final group match of the ATP Masters in Turin. Marco Bertorello/AFP

Good play, backed by good news, getting a visa for the next Australian Open, and Novak Djokovic advanced to the last four Masters tournaments in Turin on Wednesday, beating Andrey Rublev (6-4, 6-1).

In another match of the second day of the red group, Stefanos Tsitsipas (3rd in the world) scored a stunning victory over Daniil Medvedev (5th) 6-3, 6-7 (11/13), 7-6 (7/1). The Russian, winner of the Masters 2020 and last year’s finalist, has already lost his first match to his compatriot Rublev, so he’s out.

For his part, Tsitsipas will advance to the semi-finals on Friday against Rublev.

It took Djokovic an hour and seven minutes on Wednesday to overcome the resistance of his opponent, who nevertheless showed exceptional tennis, to get rid of Medvedev on Monday.

“This is one of my best matches of the year, especially the second set which was really perfect” ranked the former No. 1 who plays in this tournament as 8th in the world due to the shortened season due to his vaccine refusal against coronavirus. .

A rejection that particularly cost him the US Open in September and the Australian Open in January, from which he was ejected, in addition to a three-year ban on territory.

But on Wednesday, he confirmed after learning the day before that he would be granted a visa so he could travel to Melbourne and try to win the tenth Australian Open in January 2023, synonymous with a 22nd Grand Slam title, to match Rafael’s record. . Nadal.

The news in the form of “relief” that made him “very happy” and probably kick-started his game: “Why not? “(Winning his 22nd major title),” he admitted, stressing that he still knows what he needs to “do to prepare for each of his matches.”

Looking forward to next season, the Serbian remains focused on this last tournament of the season of ups and downs, which he intends to finish in style. It took him just a few games to beat Rublev, going from 4-4 in the first set to five games to zero and 3-0 in the second set.

“I’m completely burned out”

Only one break point was missed in the entire first set: Rublev, who made an unforced error and gave the set point to Djokovic. The Serb did not have to be begged, and he ended with a victorious answer.

“I started the match very well, serving very well. I had a lot of free points on my first serve, and this helps against such a dynamic and high-quality player as Rublev, ”Joker analyzed.

With “more patience” than his opponent, he managed to win the first set. He again took Rublev’s serve at the start of the second set, taking advantage of the Russian’s nervousness, and spun around without straining too much to the end, again intercepting the opponent’s serve.

“The match lasted only one set, because in the second I completely burned out,” Rublev complained. Since Djokovic welcomed this, the Russian insisted on the quality of service to the Serb.

“He has a very high percentage (of the first serve), he serves in all directions, puts all the balls close to the lines … I had almost no chance to do something, even in the first set,” Rublev admitted.

By beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in the first leg of the red group on Monday, the Serb is guaranteed a place in the bottom four regardless of his Friday result against Medvedev.

Djokovic is looking for a second major title this year after Wimbledon. At 35, he will play his eleventh semi-final in a fifteen-game tournament that will bring together the top eight players of the season. He is aiming for a sixth title to equal Roger Federer’s record.

Nadal saves honor

Already out after two losses this week, the world number two beat Kasper Ruud (4th) 7-5, 7-5 in a no stakes game in the Turin Masters’ green group as the Norwegian had already secured qualification. to the semi-finals.

Defeated in straight sets by Fritz and then by Auger-Aliassime, Nadal had nothing to win in this tournament. But he hates to lose and is already working on the 2023 season. For his part, Ruud had nothing to win after two wins in the first two matches, which is synonymous with qualifying. If you don’t finally beat the Top3 player.

But on the other hand, he suffered the eighth defeat in the same number of matches against one of the world leaders, never taking a single set from them. Faced with Nadal, his idol, he was left with a heavy spring defeat 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the Roland-Garros final.

On the very fast court of Pala Alpitour, Nadal was especially aggressive, not shy about going up on the fly, relying on a particularly high-scoring serve (sixteen aces, double fault).

Saving two break points at 4–4, Nadal won the first set, scoring his first break point of the set.

The scenario almost repeated itself in the second set, except that Nadal was even more imperial in the face-off, leaving the opponent only three points on the serve (he won four of six with white). And it was with a winning cross that he closed the match on Ruud’s serve.

Enough to end the season on a slightly more positive note before starting what could very well be his last lap before retiring, which seems less and less distant.

Igor GEDILAGIN/AFP

Source: L Orient Le Jour

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