Australian Open 2020 Men’s Singles Preview

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

From 2017-2019, only 3 men won slams- Roger Federer (x3), Rafa Nadal (x 5) and Novak Djokovic (x4). From 2007-2009, only four men won slams- Roger Federer (x6), Rafa Nadal (x4), Novak Djokovic (x1) and Juan Martin del Potro (x1).

It’s been a while since we’ve had a del Potro breaking through at the top of the game the way he did at the USO ’09. Since then, we’ve had Stan Wawrinka winning three slams, Andy Murray winning three, and Marin Cilic winning one, but when those 3 broke through to win their 1st slam, they were 29, 25 and 25 respectively. del Potro was all of 20 years old.

A 20 year old, or a player aged 26 or under (the clock is ticking for Thiem-lucky for him 30 is the new 20 in men’s tennis), winning their first slam at this year’s Australian Open seems far fetched despite the progress some of the younger contenders have made in the past 12 months from Daniil Medvedev reaching the US Open final and taking Nadal to five sets, Dominic Thiem reaching his 2nd Slam final and Stefanos Tsitsipas winning the 2019 WTF.

The principal reason for that is Novak Djokovic. The world No.2 will be looking for a record 8th Australian Open title and a 17th slam. He’s looking very good for it, too. He went unbeaten at the ATP Cup and Australia is where he arguably gets the most support of all the slams, though he hasn’t yet faced Roger Federer there in a final.

Looking past Novak Djokovic winning the 2020 Australian Open final requires some superb lenses. He has so many things going for him from his excellence over five sets, his slam experience which sees him play his best tennis in the latter stages and his form coming in, beating Medvedev and Nadal in the last two rounds of the ATP Cup and with both men playing some great tennis.

If anyone else wants a look in this Open, they will need Djokovic to lose before the final. Or perhaps the better term is get beaten, because it will take one heck of a performance.

That duty could come down to Stefanos Tsitsipas (6) in the last eight. The Greek has said he’s ready to win a slam and has given up his social media apps to focus on the game. They say when a child becomes a man, he gives up childish things, and how good it would be to see Tsitsipas become a man beating Djokovic over five sets on RLA.

The bad news for Tsitsipas, is that if he did that, if he did indeed beat Djokovic in the quarters, he could have to beat Roger Federer in the semis and Rafa Nadal in the final. Beating the Big 3 back to back to win your first slam and break the current lock of all active slam champs being over 30 is the stuff tennis scriptwriters dream of. Tsitsipas is one of the most likely contenders to pull it off.

He might not need to go to such lengths anyway. Roger Federer has not played a warm up event so we can’t gauge his level. He has a tough draw with Hubert Hurcakz in the third round, or recent Adelaide Champ Ugo Humbert.

As for Nadal, he’s had a week’s rest since the ATP Cup and won’t play until Tuesday. He’d be happy to see Djokovic knocked out and to face Tsitsipas in the final instead. He doesn’t have quite the issues Djokovic has with the Next Genners, though they do give him a tough time now and then. His path to the final could see him have to beat Nick Kyrgios or Karen Khachanov in round 4, and both men have tested him, nay beaten him re Kyrgios, at pre slam quarters stages; Dominic Thiem (5), who gave him hell in the 2018 US Open quarters and has improved so much on hard courts, and Daniil Medvedev (4) in the last four, and who doesn’t want to see them replicate that US Open final?

australian open

The dream for me would be a Medvedev versus Tsitsipas final. Those two have a bit of a history which would make things even more interesting than they already would be. I won’t hold my hopes up, though. Majors are still very much Majors even if there have been some shifts in the tennis power spectrum the last 12 months. Confidence and experience is the biggest currency, and with Djokovic’s pockets overfilling with both, this Australian Open 2020 men’s singles title is his to lose.

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Fantasy Australian Open 2020: At least 1,276 GBP/1,500 Euro in prizes!

The tennis players do not have much time to get in shape in the new year. The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam, is starting soon. Novak Djokovic is the men’s record holder with seven titles and the Serbian is again the top favorite for this year.

However, it will not be easy with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and upcoming stars like Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as main rivals.

Also for Serena Williams she is at seven victories. But with the ladies there are many more contenders. In 2019, Naomi Osaka finally won her second Grand Slam after a great final against Petra Kvitova. The home crowd will undoubtedly hope that the world’s number 1, Ashleigh Barty, will take the title in Melbourne.

Click here to register and click here to go to the game when you are already registered at Zweeler.

The Fantasy Australian Open 2020 starts on Monday 20 January 2020 at 1:10 hours CET. As a participant to the Fantasy Australian Open you need to create a team which exists out of 30 tennis players. All tennis players (men and women) are divided into 7 different groups. You can choose per group a restricted total of tennis players of which you think are going to win the most points in the Fantasy Australian Open.

The game will cost €7.00/£5.96 per team and will start with a guaranteed amount of €1,500/£1,276 in prizes. The first prize will be €300.00/£255 (41 GC prizes).

Zweeler Fantasy Sports Games set up a few great games for the Tennis Season 2020 so you can enjoy Tennis with even more passion!

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ATP Cup Day 10 Final Notes

Finals are often the least impressive days of tournaments and so it was on the final day of the ATP Cup.

The highlight, for many singles fans, was a single set played between Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal. There was much hype for this match, but those who knew that Djokovic had won their last 8 hard court matches, and had not dropped a set, had little expectation.

When Djokovic won the first set 6-2, another routine win for the Serbian seemed incoming. Nadal mixed up his routine, though, going for some serve and volley plays. He even got three break points at 3-2, but the Serbian won five points in a row to put that break bid to rest.

While Nadal was successful in taking Djokovic to a tiebreak, saving break points at 5-5, what he did not do successfully enough throughout the match was move inside the court for both returns and rallies, and that is what he will need to change if he is going to have any chance of doing better than a tiebreak set versus Djokovic on hard. Nadal needs his forehand down the line to work versus Djokovic and taking the ball feet beyond the baseline does not allow him to play that shot aggressively.

On hard courts, with Nadal and Djokovic, the ATP have a tough situation. Hard courts are the most played on courts on the tour, but if every time Nadal and Djokovic meet on them, the tour’s big One Vs Two matches on that surface is not really a rivalry but more a mismatch.

The ATP Cup format meant it did not matter too much in deciding the outcome of the tie. Djokovic’s win leveled the tie at 1-1 after Bautista-Agut’s straight sets defeat of Dusan Lajovic. And while the doubles tie did not deliver a thrilling finale, the Serbian win was a crowd pleaser. The Sydney crowd were overwhelmingly in favor of the Serbs, to such degrees Djokovic said he had never played with such support.

Grade: C-. Most tournaments don’t get it right come finals day. So much luck is involved in producing a fitting end to an event. The ATP Cup did get at least a competitive set of hard court tennis out of Nadal and Djokovic and the atmosphere could be felt through the TV screen. Still, the final was underwhelming.

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ATP Cup Day 9 Notes

Novak Djokovic has not had the best of times versus the tour’s Next Gen the last few years with losses to Khachanov in Paris-Bercy ’18, Sascha Zverev at Rome ’17 and WTF ’18, Tsitsipas at Canada ’18, and to Daniil Medvedev at Monte Carlo and Cincy ’19.

Against Medvedev at the ATP Cup, Djokovic looked like he was going to put the pretenders in their place, winning it 6-1. The Russian got an early break in set 2 for 3-1, but Djokovic broke back.

The match then took on the mood of a real contest, the rallies long, both players biding their time, waiting for just the right ball to do something with.

That closely contested nearly 80 minute long second set came to a head when, serving at 5-6, a Djokovic double fault gifted Medvedev with a break point. Medvedev took it, picking up a Djokovic volley and hitting it for a backhand winner.

In the third, a rally to draw admiration from even the most seasoned of tennis watchers earned Djokovic a break for 3-2.

Serving at 5-4, Medvedev had his chance to really make this match one of those all time classics, holding break points, the first at 30-40 after drawing Djokovic in with a drop shot and then passing him. Djokovic saved it, standing inside the baseline and dictating play to force an error on the run.

An error from Djokovic moving inside the court and netting the ball gave Medvedev his second break point. This time Djokovic saved it at the net, the two trading exchanges up there before the world No.2 got the better of his rival. A failed attempt at a drop shot from the Russian and Djokovic had match point. Medvedev saved it with a back hand down the line winner.

Djokovic went on to save another break point with aggressive play and an ace earned him his second match point. Djokovic stayed aggressive and won it with a forehand down the line forcing an error.

Serbia, thanks to Djokovic’s win and Dusan Lajovic’s measured and focused win over Karen Khachanov will face Spain in the final.

Rafa Nadal needed an opening down a set versus Alex de Minaur and involved in a tight second. de Minaur was not giving him anything, hitting the ball flat and making the match all about him.

The Nadal opening came with de Minaur serving to stay in the second set at 5-6, 30-30. de Minaur stayed back in a long rally when he was mid court and in control only to be pushed back by the Nadal forehand which dictated the rally and forced an error. On set point, the Nadal forehand once again came into its own and he had the second set.

Nadal rode this second wind taking the third set 6-1.

With Roberto Bautista Agut dismissing Nick Kyrgios, Spain were through to the final.

The ATP Cup cannot brag too much about bringing us Nadal and Djokovic the week before the AO. Doha did this already back in 2016, not that it was anything special, the Serbian dropping just three games.

The ATP Cup has delivered, however, a final which not only pits the world No.1 and 2, Nadal and Djokovic, against one another, but also serves up, for singles fans, Bautista Agut versus Lajovic, which will be a great match to watch.

Nadal versus Djokovic may not be such a pleasure. Nadal has not won a set off Djokovic in 8 hard court meetings. It’s always worth watching their matches just in case we do get a match, but the chances are this match could be one of the more forgettable of this ATP Cup, which is not as insulting as it sounds considering the great quality contests we’ve had this last 9 days, two of which we saw this semi-final day.

Grade: B+. Had the de Minaur Nadal third set been a contest, this could have gotten an A.

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ATP Cup Day 8 Notes

To keep Belgium in the quarters, after the Spaniards won the first match, David Goffin had to beat world No.1 Rafa Nadal. It was a tall order- Nadal led the head to head 4-1. If there was a glimmer of hope, those four defeats had all come on Clay, and Goffin’s sole win had come on hard court, albeit indoors (WTF RR ’17).

Goffin did not shy away from the challenge. He played an aggressive match to defeat Nadal 6-4, 7-6 (3) in 2 hours 23 minutes.

Goffin broke for 3-2 in set 1 as Nadal double faulted. You never quite know what you will get from Goffin mentality wise, and perhaps having his team around him and the atmosphere of the nearly packed out stadium is what stirred him on to put dropping his serve in the very next game and a loss of 13 straight points to go 0-40 down at 3-4 behind him and win three consecutive games to take the first set 6-4 in one hour. Later, Goffin put his win down to his Dimitrov victory and the confidence it gave him, but the team spirit of this ATP Cup seems to be injecting a lot of players with some real grit, and they need it playing in the Australian Summer.

In brutal conditions, both men drenched in sweat, the two got into an equally severe second set lasting nearly 90 minutes and decided on a final set tiebreak. Goffin got an early lead for 2-0 and had two break points leading 4-2, but Nadal was Nadal, fought back, and then broke back for 4-4 with some powerful forehand hitting.

In the final set tiebreak, Nadal hit two errors for Goffin to go up 3-1. 2-5 down, Nadal double faulted. On his second match point, Goffin served it out with an ace for a confidence boosting win.

The beauty of the team format is that, with Spain winning the deciding doubles, fans will still get to see Nadal in action tomorrow, and up against no less a player than Alex de Minaur. Quite how beautiful that prospect will be for Nadal is questionable. The Spaniard has barely had an off season after his Roland Garros win-Wimbledon Semis-Montreal win-US Open win- Laver Cup participation-Paris-Bercy Semis- WTF three setters vs Medvedev and Tsitsipas-Davis Cup win-Mubudaba exho and now cross country ATP Cup play. He could still have two matches in Sydney with a possible one in the final versus Djokovic.

Denis Shapovalov was in a similar position as Goffin tie wise in Canada’s clash with Serbia, the Canadian tasked with defeating Novak Djokovic to level the tie at 1-1 after Dusan Lajovic defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Shapovalov broke with a drop shot on his third break point at 4-4, coming back from 0-40 down. The Canadian then served out for the set and took it 6-4.

Djokovic came back to take the second set 6-1 and the match into a decider.

Shapovalov took a medical time out on the changeover before the third. But he was not perturbed by the speed the second set slipped by him or his physical niggles and both he and Djokovic got involved in a seriously competitive and high quality third set.

Djokovic broke for 5-4, but the Serbian, who did not have one of his better serving days, could not serve it out. Shapovalov was firing off the backhand and coming to the net to hit volley winners to earn break point and a careless Djokovic forehand down the line error tied the set at 5-5.

A loose forehand gave Djokovic a break point in the next game, but the backhand of Shapovalov saved him, not in the way you would expect it, though. After one sublime backhand after another, the Canadian hit a half volley on the backhand, a short ball which Djokovic, in position and ready to got for it, hit into the net. Shapovalov won the next two points, closing the game with an ace, for 6-5.

Djokovic served out to love to take the match to a deciding set tiebreak. A long forehand from a charging Shapovalov gave Djokovic the minibreak. Djokovic consolidated winning a superb rally and then hitting a service winner for 3-0. A double fault and Djokovic had another mini break as Shapovalov complained about the crowd. The Canadian did not give up, staying aggressive and moving in, but he hit a volley into the net and he was 0-5.

A double fault from Djokovic finally got the Canadian on the score board in that tiebreak, but a backhand long after yet another blistering rally, and Djokovic had five match points.

He needed four of them- on the fourth, Djokovic forcing an error from his rival.

The tournament has been great preparation for Shapovalov. He’s beaten Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sasha Zverev and tussled with de Minaur and Djokovic.

Grade A: An inspiring upset and a high quality match with a third set tiebreak means two As in a row from me for the ATP Cup.

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ATP Cup Day 7 Notes QF GB Vs Aus

Watching Alex de Minaur lose is just as inspiring as watching him win; just as he wins fighting, he goes down so, too.

After coming back from 2-4 in the third set versus Dan Evans, at 5-6, de Minaur saved four match points. The first one was a magnificent passing shot. The second a forehand winner down the line worthy of your most aggressive baseliner. The third, a one two punch, a second serve out wide and then knocking away the short ball for a winner. The fourth, an ace out wide. If he was going down, he would go down swinging. De Minaur always looks like he knows exactly what he is going it and he can do many different things and looks impressive doing them all.

The two played one of those tiebreaks: winner after winner; near winners bettered by actual ones; line painting or misses by the merest of margins. Evans prevailed, one winner after the other from 2-2- a service winner, a backhand down the line winner, a classic lure them in to the net and then pass them winner, a backhand volley winner all topped off with a service winner to take the tiebreak 7-2.

Dan Evans has had an excellent ATP Cup. The talented all courter still has time to fulfill his potential- a top 20 player, at least, even one who could live on the edge of the top 10- and seems to have used this tournament as a statement of intention. With his slice, depth of shot on the forehand and careful placement, lobs, careful approach shots and sound volleys, he has a classic but rare game not many players are equipped to deal with.

Evans’ victory was not enough to get Britain through. Nick Kyrgios soundly beat Cameron Norrie and Kyrgios and de Minaur edged Murray and Salisbury 18-16 in the final set breaker.

In the semis, Australia will face Russia.

In the Russia Vs Argentina tie, Khachanov withstood a second set fightback from Guido Pella while Daniil Medvedev had to deal with the ever ready for a fight Diego Schwartzman.

The Russian won an entertaining and well contested match in three sets, and from a match with these two you would expect nothing less.

Things got fiery, too, with the two men arguing at the end of set 1 and Medvedev being given a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct when he would not stop arguing with Schwartzman and his team despite the umpire getting down off his chair to intervene, and then a point penalty after Medvedev hit the umpire’s chair with his racket after being broken at 3-3 in set 2 and then taking up the early code violation with the umpire.

Medvedev will rise back to world No.4 now, overtaking Dominic Thiem, and be seeded in the top four for the Australian Open.

Grade A: You can’t do much better than the Evans-de Minaur match. That alone warrants an A.

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ATP Cup day 6 notes

Looking at Hubert Hurkacz move around the court and at his all court game, you would not guess he was 6ft 5 tall (196 cm). But his height is easier to gauge once he’s serving or he’s standing next to his opponents at the net come handshake time.

Hurkacz is 4 inches (11 cm) taller than his beaten opponent Dominic Thiem on day 6 of the ATP Cup. There was much less distance between them on the tennis court though, with Hurkacz winning 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Hurkacz has the variety and touch to break up Thiem’s rhythm. The timing Thiem thrives on as he powers away at the ball so relentlessly just is not there versus players like Hurkacz who can keep Thiem guessing and force him into errors, too many of them of his own making.

Hurkacz, aged 22, has been a big sweeping breath of fresh air to the tour. There is nothing about him of the spoiled, racket-breaking, parent-abusing, tanking tennis brat on whom the media spotlight has shone both a flattering and ugly light. Hurckacz goes about his business letting his tennis do the talking and this year it has already had plenty of nice things to say, with wins, over Thiem, Coric and Schwartzman at this year’s ATP Cup. When Hurkacz does talk, he’s low-key and effortlessly charming.

Nikolas Basilashvili might have lived to regret convincing Pablo Cuevas to come back on court after the Argentinian threatened to default after the umpire warned him about distracting the Georgian during his service motion.

At the time of the warning, Bashilashvili was leading 5-4, 40-0, having just broken Cuevas, With Basilashvili serving for the set, Cuevas, on returning to the court, did a war cry to his team. He then did a frog leap before Basilashvili served at 15-0, and then bounced up and down with Basilashvili serving at 30-0. Cuevas received a code violation for not being in the right position on the return. The Uruguayan called on the supervisor who upheld the umpire’s decision resulting in Cuevas making his way to leave the court. He did not get far before Basilashvili intervened and coaxed his opponent back on court.

Cuevas came back out with some real fire inside him, losing the first set 4-6, but taking the second 6-1 and then taking the match deep into the third before losing it 4-6. Both men left the court proving themselves to be nothing less than the best of competitors.

Kevin Anderson defeated Benoit Paire, Gael Monfil’s replacement, saving match points in the process, 2-6, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5). Paire served for the match at 5-2 in the second and led 4-2 in the third. Anderson is coming back from injury and had built good momentum in his career, reaching two slam finals (US Open, Wimbledon) in the space of ten months. These kind of battles are what he needs right now, and after his strong performance versus Novak Djokovic this event, he’s looking good at the start of 2020.

Other notes for the day:

  • Cristian Garin led Djokovic 3-1 in the second set. He did look a little flustered by that ascension after losing the first set 3-6, and he did not win another game.
  • Yoshihito Nishikoka served for the first set versus Rafa Nadal but could not serve it out and lost 6-7, 4-6.
  • Diego Schwartzman beat Borna Coric 6-2, 6-2. Coric was defeated by the same score in his previous match (l. Hurkacz).
  • The last eight starts tomorrow. The draw looks like this

Serbia Vs Canada

Argentina Vs Russia

Great Britain Vs Australia

Belgium Vs Spain

Grade: B+. There were a few really engaging and good quality matches today. Good showing considering it’s the last day and a lot of the final places had been decided. The playing for your country and team element is clearly inspiring the players in general and its paying dividends in terms of passion and atmosphere.

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ATP Cup Day 5 notes

Nick Kyrgios left his mark on the ATP Cup beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6, 6-7, 7-6. The Australian was bought in as a replacement for Alex de Minaur who was being rested for precautionary measures after his efforts versus Sascha Zverev and Denis Shapovalov. I was not aware teams could pick and choose who they wanted to play from their top 3. I thought that was why Reilly Opelka had been so critical of the event- as the US No.3, ranked 39, he would miss out on ranking points and prize money opportunities while world No.2s from countries with less tennis depth would have those chances.

Picking Kyrgios was the smart move. He has beaten Tsistsipas in their only encounter, another tight one back in Washington last season. Meanwhile Tsitsipas led de Minaur 3-0.

Kyrgios, the Australian No.2, had been sitting out his matches with No.3 Milman taking his place. Because de Minaur was injured, Kyrgios was now the No.1, and back healed, he took to the court to go shot-maker to shot-maker with the Greek.

Points were over quickly, both players attacking. It really was a shot makers delight.

It was also a meme-lovers, one, too. Kyrgios did not oblige, though; it was all the Greek. Tsitsipas, on losing the first set, threw his racket, physically injuring his father who was sitting courtside and who did not waste time moving to a seat at the back of the team seating area. Tsitsipas’ mother was not afraid to confront her son, though. She roundly chastised him and then left the court in disgust and a meme was born.

She came back for more, too, as Tsitsipas received treatment from the trainer, the Greek getting it from all sides. He was lucky to just receive a point penalty, too. It could have been a default, but this being the ATP Cup, anything goes, especially if it keeps the crowds entertained.

Kyrgios won the match, much to the man he stood in for de Minaur’s delight. The Australian is as vociferous a supporter as he is a player.

This tournament’s other parent destroyer, Sascha Zverev, suffered another loss, this time to Denis Shapovalov, 2-6, 2-6. This time there were 7 double faults and a 29% second serve percentage. For Zverev, the nightmare of the ATP Cup is likely over with Germany third in their group. Where he goes next is anyone’s guess. A week and a half might not be enough to work out that service game, but it’s better than his previous form of no practice at all (he himself admitted he did not pick up a racket until arriving in Brisbane).

Other notes of the day are:

  • Goffin defeated Dimitrov 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, picking up only his second win in ten matches versus the Bulgarian.
  • Michail Pervolarakis, ranked 486, took John Millman to a final set tiebreaker. Pervolarakis lost 6-4, 1-6, 6-7 (1) and was unable to make anything of the final set tiebreaker, but he won’t forget the ATP Cup for all the right reasons and it will be interesting to see if there is any positive impact on his game and fortunes.
  • 417th ranked Dimitar Kuzmanov defeated Steve Darcis, ranked 200 and who retires after this Australian Open, 6-0, 6-3.
  • Only 3 of the day’s 12 singles matches went the distance. Two of those were in the same tie, Australia Vs Greece.

Grade C+. Kyrgios versus Tsitsipas is always going to be entertaining. Other than that, though, the tournament is starting to wear thin quality and interest wise on day 5 and is starting to drag. The quarter-finals seem a long way off and tomorrow feels a little like the last day of the ATP WTF feels with most of the group qualifiers pretty much decided.

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Fantasy ATP Tennis 2020: At least 4,193 GBP/5,000 Euro in prizes!

Fantasy ATP Tennis 2020: At least 4,193 GBP/5,000 Euro in prizes!

For years, men’s tennis has been dominated by the ‘big three’: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and of course Roger Federer. Every year the question is whether new talent will finally be able to conquer the number 1 position. This is no different for the 2020 season. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev in particular lead the charge in 2019.

Do you still have faith in the established players or do you choose the young upstarts? An important question when putting together a team for the Fantasy ATP Tennis 2020. Choose twenty players who can collect points for you during 66 tournaments. The winner will claim a top prize of at least 838 GBP/1,000 euros!

Click here to register and click here to go to the game when you are already registered at Zweeler.

Why play Fantasy Tennis?

  • Your engagement with Tennis will further increase. It is not about one tennis players, but 20tennis players who need to perform for you!
  • For only £8.39/10 euro you will get many extra hours of entertainment before the start of the tournament but also during the season your tennis players will give you a lot of joy, but also a lot of frustration.
  • If you manage to beat the other players, you can also win nice cash prizes (at least 4,193 GBP/5,000 Euro) 1st prize is at least 838 GBP/1,000 euros!

Zweeler Fantasy Sports Games set up a few great games for the Tennis Season 2020 so you can enjoy Tennis with even more passion!

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ATP Cup Day 4 Notes

The tennis scoring system is one of the best in sport, not limited by time and only limited by a player’s skills and appetite for the fight, and Denis Novak showed us why it pays to stay in a match despite all the mental baggage that must come with losing the first set to love. Guido Pella is one of the most solid players on tour, but he was not able to maintain his initial level in the match- very few players follow up a love set with an equally dominating second set as levels fluctuate so much on both sides of the net. Novak took charge of both the second and third sets at the business ends to win 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Herbert Hurkacz did manage to dominate both sets he won versus Borna Coric, 6-2, 6-2. The Pole was always a contender to beat Coric but to defeat him in such commanding fashion came as a surprise. Coric did spend a lot of emotional and physical energy beating Thiem, so there could have been some element of a let down, and he was never able to reproduce those heightened emotions versus the ever methodical and focused Hurkacz. The Pole had a terrific serving day- 9 aces, 84% of first serves won and 73 of  2nd, and did not face a break point. He had a fine returning day, too, breaking 4 times.

Benoit Paire got into a tussle with Dusan Lajovic, winning in three sets. The Frenchman blew a set and a break lead then a couple of mini breaks and match points in the tiebreak and did not hide his self disgust as he spat on the court and smashed his rackets. I don’t usually care for racket breakers, or Paire, but there is no denying such emotional outbursts create atmosphere and can give a match an edge.

Other points of interest of the day:

Thiem and Schwartzman got into it in their match, one of those straight setters with the tone and urgency of a match going the distance. Great rallies. You would be happy with this match in the second week of a Major.

Of the 12 singles matches today, only 3 went the distance. Of those 18 sets from 9 straight setters, only two sets went past 6-4. There will always be some predictable and bad match ups- Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils an example with Djokovic winning 6-3, 6-2 and getting his 16th win of 16 matches- but this tournament also throws up some big mismatches- Marin Cilic Vs 448th Kacper Zuk (Zuk did really well considering, losing 6-7, 4-6) and Roberto Bautista Agut versus unranked Franco Roncadelli. I am not sure how I would feel if I, someone who is not interested in doubles, paid to watch Spain vs Uruguay and got delivered Bautista Agut rout an unranked player in 57 minutes and then Nadal routine Pablo Cuevas in 73 minutes, losing three games and facing a single break point the whole match.

Gaston Gaudio looks incredible.

Grade: B-. For me, personally, while some of the tennis was entertaining, none of the matches really gripped me. There was enough for this to be a satisfactory day at the tennis with some interesting examples of what makes tennis such a great sport, but this was balanced out by the inherent flaws of this format with some very unbalanced match ups.

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