Cameron Norrie
Norrie and Dimitrov advance to semifinals at Indian Wells

Cameron Norrie beat 11th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 6-2 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open and extend the best season of his career.

Norrie needed only 73 minutes to dismantle Schwartzman, who ultimately held the serve to open the second set, drawing applause from the small crowd at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, where attendance was capped well below the capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“For my biggest game of my career playing like I did and performing like I did was the most important thing that I’m most satisfied with,” said Norrie.

No.12 seed Ons Jabeur advanced to the semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Anett Kontaveit, which will place the 27-year-old Tunisian in the world top 10 for the first time. times next week. She should be No.8, but could climb to No.5 by winning the tournament.

“It’s amazing,” Jabeur said. “We have been working hard for years. At the end of last season I said I wanted to be in the top 10. It means a lot, but we’re not going to stop there and hopefully take it further.

Jabeur, a recent Chicago finalist, won his 48th game of the year leading the WTA Tour.

“I’m proving more things and now that I’m in the top 10 I have to be more solid,” she said.

Jabeur beat Kontaveit for the third time in four career meetings. Since his three-set loss to Jabeur in Cincinnati in August, Kontaveit had won 16 of 17 matches, including 14 in straight sets, while also winning two titles.

Angelique Kerber, 2019 finalist and highest seed remaining at No.10, lost to 21st seed Paula Badosa, 6-4, 7-5.

Badosa defeated 15th seed Coco Gauff in three sets and No.3 Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets to face Jabeur in the semi-final on Friday. The other half opposes Victoria Azarenka to Jelena Ostapenko.

“Why not get the title here? Said Jabeur.

Schwartzman got his only break of the game to tie it at 2 in the second. Norrie missed the last four games to advance to a semi-final against 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov, who beat No.8 Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2).

Schwartzman’s service abandoned him under a cloudless sky. He won 13 of 27 points on his first serve and just 3 of 19 points on his second serve, with four double faults.

Hurkacz lost a set for the first time in the tournament, losing on a drawstring. Dimitrov raised both hands in apology.

Hurkacz trailed 5-2 in the third before winning three straight games to tie it at 5. He held on at 6 to force the tiebreaker. But he looked exhausted by the time, making direct errors on the last three points to lose.

“I was clearly not at my strongest, but throughout the time I felt I was able to do something with the ball even when I was tired,” said Dimitrov. “It really made a big difference.”

Norrie won his 45th game of the year, his best career record, against 20 losses in reaching his first Masters 1000 semi-final. He will become Britain’s No.1 player in next week’s table.

“It was never really a goal of mine, but it’s definitely a big bonus to be British No.1,” said Norrie. “I want to keep pushing. I have a lot of things to improve.

On Friday, in the quarter-finals, No.2 Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Nikoloz Basilashvili and No.3 Alexander Zverev faces Taylor Fritz. Tsitsipas and Zverev are the highest seeded in the men’s table after Dmitrov defeated Daniil Medvedev, the seed and US Open champion.

Swiatek and Murray advance to third round at Indian Wells

Iga Swiatek beat 25th seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-1, 6-0 on Sunday to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Open. Andy Murray had to work a lot more to get there.

Swiatek lost just five games in two games on his first visit to the combined event of the ATP and WTA tours. She only needed 54 minutes to get rid of Kudermetova on the first anniversary of the Polish player’s victory at Roland Garros.

Second-seeded Swiatek won 28 of his 33 serve points, touched 19 winners and made just seven unforced errors.

“I just felt confident enough,” she said. “But basically I wanted to give my psychologist a present because usually when I lose there’s a drama, so let’s just say she’s off today.”

Two-time major champion Murray defeated 18-year-old Carlos Alcarez, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the third round for the first time since 2016. The 34-year-old Scotsman entered the tournament as a joker. Alcarez hit 36 ​​winners to 18 for Murray.

“I felt like in the second set he might be playing better,” said Murray. “In the first set I felt like I had more opportunities, but I didn’t get it, so yeah, I’m happy with the way I fought. He is a young, high-level player.

US Open finalist Leyla Fernandez played a night game.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich continued her momentum, beating 11th seed and 2015 winner Simona Halep 7-5, 6-4. It was Sasnovich’s second straight surprise against a former major champion. She beat US Open winner Emma Raducanu in her second game at Indian Wells. Sasnovich has won three straight main draw games for the first time since 2019.

4th Elina Svitolina also progressed, who beat 32nd seed Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-4 7-6 (3). Americans Shelby Rogers and Jessica Pegula advanced to the round of 16 with straight set wins.

Also on the men’s side, No. 5 seed Matteo Berrettini defeated Alejandro Tabilbo 6-5, 7-5 in his opener. He will next face 31st seed Taylor Fritz, who beat Brandon Nakashima 6-3, 6-4 in a 100% American game.

Berrettini, who holds two titles this year, won his third appearance at Indian Wells for the first time.

“I like the conditions here, the place, it’s amazing,” he said. “I didn’t know Alejandro very well. He played three games here, so he felt confident. He believed he could win and I felt him so it was even harder to beat him.

No.7 Félix Auger-Aliassime lost to Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-2.

Number 10 Jannik Sinner, who won the title in Sofia last week, beat John Millman 6-2, 6-2. The 14th Gaels Monfils defeated Gianluca Mager 6-4, 6-2.

Kevin Anderson edged 17th seed Lorenzo Sonego, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3).

Emil Ruusuvuori
Flying Finn Ruusuvuori biggest threat to India in Davis Cup

Austria led Finland 2-1 in a 2019 Davis Cup world group playoff game when Dominic Thiem stepped onto the pitch. The world number 5 was the biggest name in the meeting – a two-time Roland Garros finalist at the time – as he prepared to face a little-known player named Emil Ruusuvuori. It was the youngster’s first time against a Top 10 player. But it made little difference to him as he managed a 6-3, 6-2 upset.

On paper, Austria had to run away with equality. They eventually won 3-2, but only after a decisive tie-breaker in Game 5. And it only happened so far because of Ruusuvuori’s heroism.

“It was a long day, and I wasn’t expecting it,” said Austrian captain Stefan Koubek.

Ruusuvuori had already turned heads with his rise in the charts. He started 2019 ranked 402 and finished it at 121. But it was at the Espoo Metro Areena – a facility primarily used for ice hockey – where he scored the biggest victory of his career. On Friday, now ranked 74, he will appear in the same court when he leads the Finnish charge against the Itinerant Indians for a Davis Cup playoff berth.

The 22-year-old was only five when he started playing tennis. He was introduced to the sport when a local coach spotted him playing badminton with his mother near their home in Helsinki. Now he is the highest ranked singles player to feature in the draw this weekend.

The match was originally scheduled for September last year, but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the meantime, the Finnish spearhead has managed to enter the top 100 for the first time in his career and has never fallen back into the triple digits for more than a week. And there are no surprises in its upward trajectory.

Big game hunter

Ruusuvuori reached the semi-finals of the Nur Sultan ATP event last year, and has also made the final four stages of the ATP events in Winston-Salem and Atlanta in recent months. And Thiem wasn’t his only scalp in the top 10.

In March, during his first-ever Masters ATP 1000, he came back from behind to topple world number 7 Alexander Zverev in Miami. It was a match that saw the Finn’s ability to change strategy transparently. In the first set, he attempted to redirect Zverev’s firepower. When that didn’t work, he began to vary his game. His liberal use of topspin, slice and drop shots. He also started hitting the ball early, leaving Zverev less time to react, and came to the net often to complete the points.

Getting a comeback victory – after losing the first set – is something he did against the two Indian players he is likely to face this weekend. He beat world number 187 and Indian number 3 Ramkumar Ramanathan 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 when they met at a Challenger event in Canberra last year. Earlier this year, Ruusuvuori defeated India’s No.1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran (ranked 165) 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the ATP event in Washington DC.

Between the two matches, he was even invited to train with Rafael Nadal during the 2020 offseason.

A change in Davis Cup rules last season ended the zonal segregation in Group 1. This is how India, a team that would play in the former Asia / Oceania group, could attract Finland. European. India have generally been strong in the Group 1 zonal stages – they have reached the World Group playoffs in the past seven years. The Finns, however, will be the strongest team they have faced in the group stage during this period.

And Ruusuvuori is the biggest player they would have faced at this point in the competition.

Daniil Medvedev ends Novak Djokovic offer for US Open calendar slam

One game away from the end of his candidacy for what would have been the first Grand Slam of a calendar year in men’s tennis since 1969, Novak Djokovic covered his face with a towel, hiding his tears during a tip-over .

For 27 Grand Slam matches in 2021, on hard, clay and turf, Djokovic could not be dissuaded, could not be beaten. Needing one more victory in Sunday’s US Open final against Daniil Medvedev to complete the major title season and claim the 21st career record, Djokovic was unable to qualify.

Outclassed by someone using a style similar to his own, Djokovic fell just short of those two historic milestones, losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to first major champion Medvedev at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

No.1 Djokovic had been sublime in all four of the sport’s most important tournaments, enduring the brunt of expectations and pressure over the past seven months and, in New York, the past two weeks.

He beat Medvedev in the Australian Open final in February, then added titles at Roland Garros in June and Wimbledon in July.

But Djokovic, a 34-year-old Serb, couldn’t reach 28-0. He was just nowhere near his best that day.

He made mistakes, 38 unforced errors in all. He wasn’t able to convert a break chance until he was too small, too late, making only 1 for 6. He also showed frustration, destroying his racket by hitting it three. times against the field after a point, drawing boos from the crowd of 25,703 and a breach of the code from chair umpire Damien Dumusois.

A lot of Djokovic’s issues had to do with No.2-ranked Medvedev, who used his 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) frame to chase everything and respond with seemingly effortless groundstrokes – much like Djokovic wears out enemies – and delivers a precise portion. Medvedev won 20 of his first 23 points of service, setting a pattern.

He finished with 16 aces and 38 winners in total, 11 more than Djokovic. After overcoming several double faults on match point, Medvedev finally finished the job, then flipped onto the pitch on his side.

Djokovic reached his record-breaking 31st Grand Slam final with six wins on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows. But he couldn’t quite get the last one he needed.

He remains tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 major titles.

And the last man to complete a true Grand Slam going 4 for 4 in major tournaments in a single season remains Rod Laver, who did it twice – in 1962 and 1969 – and was in the stands on Sunday. The last woman to accomplish the feat was Steffi Graf in 1988.

Instead, Djokovic joined Jack Crawford in 1933 and Lew Hoad in 1956 as the men who won the first year-long trio of Grand Slam tournaments and reached the US Open final before losing.

Djokovic came out a bit cold on Sunday, double faulting in each of his first two service games and mixing up enough groundstroke errors – lowering his head or rolling his eyes after some – that 12 minutes later, Medvedev was one point away from a second break and a 3-0 lead. Djokovic eventually used a few aces at 117 mph and 124 mph to hold it there, but it was Medvedev who stole the show early on.

It was the fifth game in a row in which Djokovic lost the first set – and 11th in the Grand Slam this year – but unlike other cases, he couldn’t come back to win.

Djokovic managed to like-40 in Medvedev’s first serve game of the second set, but failed to achieve any of those break points. In the third, Djokovic put a sliced ​​backhand into the net, then hit his racquet against his left thigh – one, two, three, four times, perhaps as disappointed with his footwork as anything.

Thousands of spectators tried to boost him by chanting his nickname, “No-le! No it! No it! After a few faults from Medvedev, some in the stands would applaud, considered mediocre in tennis and repeatedly reprimanded with a “please” from Dumusois.

US Open: In the continuation of the story of Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev the last obstacle

The paths of Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev will converge again on Sunday with the two continuing their own story in the US Open final – the Serb looking for a calendar slam and the Russian looking for his first major.

The men’s draw of Grand Slam tournaments over the years has mostly passed into the storyline, and it’s probably fitting that the world’s two best players go head-to-head in the summit clash at Flushing Meadows.

Sunday’s victory will make Djokovic the third man after Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) to win all four majors in the same year. Medvedev, meanwhile, is hoping to get lucky for the third time in a Grand Slam final.

World number one Djokovic had to fight his way to the final, losing the opening set in his last three matches before coming back each time to secure the win, the latest against fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the semi. -final.

Zverev’s booming serve and power from both wings caused problems for Djokovic before he began to mix his shots to knock down the German, who ultimately surrendered in the fifth set for the Serbian to qualify for his 31st Grand Slam final.

Djokovic, 34, now has a chance to win a 21st major record to overtake Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.

“I know we want to talk about history. I know it’s at stake, ”Djokovic said. “I will consider this game as my last because it is arguably the most important of my career.”

CONTRASTING ITINERARIES

Medvedev, meanwhile, advanced to the final, losing just one set and setting up a brutal tennis exhibition that saw him emerge as one of the tour’s most exciting prospects.

“The more you lose something, the more you want to win it… I lost two finals. I want to win the third, ”said the Russian, who failed against Nadal in New York in 2019 and was beaten by Djokovic in the Australian Open final this year.

The Serbian didn’t have much trouble defeating Medvedev in straight sets at Melbourne Park in January, but the 25-year-old now appears to be a more seasoned contender, having previously disturbed Djokovic with his intensity.

The two have met six times on hard courts, with Djokovic leading 4-2.

“It’s going to be a battle… he’s had a few Grand Slam finals behind him already. I think from an experience point of view it’s different for him now, ”added Djokovic.

The pressure will be on Djokovic but the three-time US Open champion is used to accepting adversity, especially in crunch matches where his mental toughness allows him to operate at a higher level than his opponents.

Medvedev understands the weight of the moment but said he plans to stick to his own game: “If I can do that, I’ll probably be in the history books for not letting him do that. But I really don’t care… it affects him.

US Open: Medvedev reaches third consecutive semi-final against Auger-Aliassime

World number two Daniil Medvedev lost his first set at this year’s US Open, but ultimately defeated Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 to reach his third half – consecutive final at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday. .

Van de Zandschulp had had a remarkable run, beating 11th seed Diego Schwartzman to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final, where he shot 20 forehand winners and was the first player here to pass Medvedev to- beyond the two hour mark.

The Dutch qualifier outlasted the Russian in a 20-shootout rally, then converted to a break point in Game 5 of the third set before facing him at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the first sign of weakness Medvedev had shown since. his arrival in New York.

But the 2019 runner-up, who downed 13 aces in the game, came back strong in the fourth set, winning all but two of his first serve points and never facing a breaking point.

Van de Zandschulp pushed the match point back in Game 10, holding his serve to applause from a boisterous New York crowd, but Medvedev responded with a quick grip and a break, helped by a double fault from the Dutchman.

The match was the first real challenge of the tournament for Medvedev, who seemed on track to flatten another contender at the start after taking two breaks in the first five games.

The Australian Open finalist never faced a breaking point in the second set, which he completed in a brisk 22 minutes, but struggled in the third set, making 13 unforced errors, and van de Zandschulp jumped up.

“The first two sets were kind of under control. He was missing some balls, some important points, “Medvedev said.” Then the third and fourth sets were really tough. He played at the highest level, served really big.

“It broke the rhythm a bit, so it was a really tough set. I’m really happy that I managed, first of all, to hold my serve very easily in the fourth quarter and to have managed to break it in the end, where I had little opportunity to do it before as well.

Medvedev, who lost in the semifinals a year ago to future winner Dominic Thiem, is one of the main contenders aiming to thwart world number one Novak Djokovic’s candidacy for a Grand Slam schedule – although he don’t think about facing the 20 times. big winner for now.

“I don’t think about him, because as we have seen, anyone can beat anyone. If he’s in the final, and if I’m there, I’m happy, ”said Medvedev. He’s also happy, I guess.