The Overule: Borna digs deep, Halep wins her 20th title, Thiem and Medvedev struggle, Federer out, Kim’s back and much more!

Bublik admits to disliking tennis and is only in it for the money

Alexander Bublik brings variety, fun and drama to the tennis court. The young Kazakhstani has continued to impress over the last year or so but this week he has admitted to not liking tennis and only being in it for the money. Speaking L’Equipe he said:

“To be honest, I don’t see a positive point in being a tennis player. I play only for money. If there was no money at stake, I would stop everything right away.”

Not really what we want to hear from a tennis player…

Borna Coric digs deep in Rio following tough run of results

Probably out of everyone in Rio de Janeiro this week I think it is fair to say it was Borna Coric who performed incredibly well.

When I saw the draw last week I worried for Borna. His first round opponent was Juan Ignacio Londero who ran out of steam in Buenos Aires the week before. The first time I watched the Argentine was in Shanghai last year against Andy Murray and he gives you the run around. His defence is relentless and his inside-out forehand tears you apart.

He favours clay and that’s why I worried for Borna. Since the Croat defeated Dominic Thiem at the ATP Cup it has been tough. I said in performances against Hubert, Schwartzman and Querrey early on the tennis was too nice but he has found some serious grit this week.

7-6 7-5 was the scoreline as he fought past Londero in round one. Next up was the teenager Thiago Seyboth Wild. The second set was a collapse in intensity from the fifth seed but against the home crowd for Seyboth Wild he held it together well. 

At 5-5 in the third set he fell 0-40 down on serve but reeled off 5 important points in a row on serve to win before going onto win the tie-break. Not just a big moment in the match but maybe in his year as Coric then went on to progress to the semi-finals.

Svitolina still searching for her best following a 1-6 2-6 defeat in Dubai. 

Elina Svitolina’s year is struggling for form and confidence right now. The world number six looked lost and the performance against Jennifer Brady was pretty wild, her shot making was off and her footwork didn’t help her be competitive on the baseline. 

I am slightly surprised Elina is heading to Doha next week, she didn’t play last year so there is that incentive to pick up points you don’t have to defend but ahead of Indian Wells and Miami is it ideal for Elina?

The former WTA Finals champion has struggled against inform players for around twelve months despite making back to back major semi-finals and is title-less since she won the WTA Finals at the end of 2018.

Elina will be up against either Amanda Anisimova or Ekaterina Alexandrova in round two of Doha as she receives a walk-over. Elina is also being joined by Dayana Yastremska as the two have paired up for doubles. The Ukrainian double will be up against Kirsten Flipkens and Bethanie Matteo Sands in round one. 

Another early exit will take Elina Svitolina back to the drawing board ahead of a big month of tennis!

Tsitsipas receives praise from Ymer!

21 year old Mikael Ymer has reached out on social media and has praised Stefanos Tsitsipas for his help last year.

The Swede has picked up some big wins and played at the NextGen Finals last November but he has posted on social media he reached out for some advice and support and Tsitsipas was very helpful to him.

You can read his post below:

Melbourne hangover?

Dubai was for some the first chance we got to see them in action since the Australian Open, some will begin their post Australian Open run in Doha but in Dubai some were still struggling with a bit of a hangover.

Sofia Kenin lost on her return to the WTA tour. The American who of course won the Australian Open lost to the impressive Elena Rybakina in round one. Sofia a couple of weeks before was involved in Fed Cup winning one and losing one of her singles matches.

Another round one casualty in Dubai was Belinda Bencic, it has been a in-different year so far for Belinda who lost 6-1 1-6 1-6 against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who had a good run in Melbourne too.

Bencic and Kenin are both teaming up for doubles in Doha next week, they will play the eighth seeds Demi Schuurs and Ash Barty who is making her first return since the first major of the year.

Karolina Pliskova was also an early exit, it wasn’t too much of a surprise against Elena Rybakina but it was a bit hit and miss from the second seed. Garbine Muguruza started her week well and looked pretty strong but reigning in the errors proved too much against another inform player in Jennifer Brady.

Kim makes her comeback!

Kim Clijsters made a big return to tennis and what a performance she put on.

Kim was down 2-6 0-3 and we wondered how long we’d continue to be out there for but she showed why she has returned to tennis and gave Garbine Muguruza a scare.

Kim fought back to force a tie-break against the Australian Open runner-up, Garbine was full of praise for Kim following the match which was Kim’s first on the tour for over seven years! She really showed that fight just doesn’t leave you and for her first match in so long the way she moved around the back of the court and that strike on the forehand was like rolling back the clock! It was so good and I look forward to the next chapter.

Garbine Muguruza 6-2 7-6 Kim Clijsters: Belgian impresses on return to tour after 7 years off!

There is no news yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if Kim plays at Indian Wells and Miami having won the sunshine double in 2005.

ATP youngsters shine in Rio de Janeiro and Florida!

It has been quite the week in Rio and Florida for these young wildcards! At a time where wildcards are being dished about like confetti to those who don’t really deserve it is good to see players take these opportunities.

Thiago Seyboth Wild

Thiago is quite a character. We saw the 19 year old isn’t afraid to get stuck in and enjoyed his spat with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina regarding an underarm serve…

I like the way he tried to impose his game off his forehand got the crowd going every time he stepped onto the court. He will debut in the top 200 on Monday and you can read more about him below.

Thiago Seyboth Wild; Brazilian teenager from Marcehal Cândido Rondon has kicked off his 2020 season in style in Rio de Janeiro!

Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves

Felipe was dealt a rough card on his debut. The Brazilian came up against Dominic and did for around half an hour give him the run around taking him to three sets.

The Austrian in the third set pretty much bulldozed past the Brazilian who showed a lot of promise in a match that finished hours before his 22nd birthday.

Brandon Nakashima

American wildcard Brandon had a good week at Delray Beach.

The 18 year old will debut in the top 260 in the world following a run to the quarter finals in Florida. He was so close to upsetting Nishioka for a place in the semi-finals but can come away from the week with positives including a big win over Cam Norrie. 

Carlos Alcaraz

Biggest impact of the week.

The 16 year old from Spain who idolises Nadal but says he plays like Federer. His game plan and his composure was incredible for someone so young.

He has a strong team behind him which is led by former world number one and Roland Garros champion Juan Carlos Ferrero.

You can read more about the teenager and his impressive performance below. 

Carlos Alcaraz, the Spanish teenager with a mature game stars on ATP debut in Rio de Janeiro!

Federer out until Halle

Roger Federer took to social media to announce he will be out for some time following small knee surgery.

Federer is set to miss Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Bogota and Roland Garros. This means he will not defend during this time 3180 points and is planning his return in June at Halle and then Wimbledon where he will return to defend 1700 points.

Roger Federer sets his sights on Halle in June following knee surgery in Switzerland!

Kevin Anderson undergoes surgery

Kevin Anderson is set to miss another chunk of the season with injury, having spent a lot of it out last year he returned to ATP and was impressive in matches.

He had a knee problem in December but tried to work through it but has a damaged meniscus. Kevin has posted from his hospital bed to update fans but there has been no set comeback. I would be surprised if we see him before Madrid.

Delray Beach wildcards…

Between the two of them Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison have picked up over 80 main draw ATP wildcards but have shown very little fight for their chances, just look at their rankings.

I wasn’t too keen on ATP media accounts celebrating Jack Socks first win in over 12 months as some big achievement, he hasn’t been bothered before. He has climbed an incredible 9234 places with a win in Delray Beach and now has a ranking which is 765…

Same with Ryan Harrison, one win… what is the point? Back inside the top 400 now.. 

I’d rather they dropped down and actually worked hard for ranking points and wins. 

Like for example Brandon Nakashima who deserved his wildcard and was very close to a debut semi-final on the ATP tour.

Daniil Medvedev was the man with all the answers but has lost sets 1-6, 0-6 & 2-6 recently so what isn’t happening for the Russian?

The man everyone had trouble against is giving up sets of tennis quite easily.

1-6, 0-6 & 2-6 have gone against the Russian lately in performances which have ended up with a bit of capitulation from the player who made the headlines last year for not going away.

Medvedev had an incredible 2019 and to repeat that was going to be virtually impossible but a big part of his run and what made him tough to play against was his ability to dig in.

For me part of the issue is that have players figured him out a little?

Last year was kind of his breakthrough and players will take notice and study and something that has proved problematic and I’ve written about before is his backhand.

You can read above he told doesn’t release down the line so why would a player cover it? If anything the tables have turned and players are now happy at hitting that backhand and defending compared that fear that was there before. 

Medvedev for me has to look at being a bit more pro-active with his backhand down the line and also shortening rallies as he’s getting involved in baseline battles he should have sealed. 

Daniil Medvedev’s backhand cross court is frightening but down the line he admits he purposely plays a slower ball, so is holding back on it holding him back against the best?

Thiem tumbles in Rio!

Following rain delays on Friday in Rio the prospect of playing twice on Saturday was real for Dominic Thiem.

The Austrian hadn’t been convincing in any of his matches but his defeat to 128 ranked Gianluca Mager was a surprise but at the same time I have to ask why was he there?

Dominic Thiem tumbles in Rio, but why was he actually there?

I don’t see the point in one week on clay following two weeks off after Melbourne, clay in Rio for one week and now won’t be on the clay until Monte-Carlo.

Simona Halep wins Dubai in a record breaking week for the Romanian!

Simona Halep won her 20th title this week in Dubai which celebrated 20 years of WTA tennis on site!

It was a special milestone for Simona Halep in more ways than one, she has since become a record breaker in women’s tennis. 

As of Monday Simona Halep will have spent 318 consecutive weeks (over 10 years) in the top 10 on the WTA tour which is the 10th longest streak in WTA history and only active player on the WTA tour to do this. Halep is one more week away from 9th space currently held by Conchita Martinez. 

Simona Halep wins her 20th WTA title in Dubai!

Overule 

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