Djokovic and Nadal on course to meet in Paris Masters final

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Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas returns the ball to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their men's singles quarter-final tennis match at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Rolex Paris Masters - indoor tennis tournament at The AccorHotels Arena in Paris on November 1, 2019. (AFP / MARTIN BUREAU)
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Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to France's Jo Wilfried Tsonga in a quarterfinal match of the Paris Masters tennis tournament on Nov. 1, 2019 in Paris. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
Updated 02 November 2019

Djokovic and Nadal on course to meet in Paris Masters final

  • Djokovic demolished seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-2
  • Nadal dispatched 2008 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6, 6-1

PARIS: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal remain on course to face off in the Paris Masters final, a 55th match in their intense rivalry, after winning their quarterfinals in straight sets on Friday.
Djokovic demolished seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-2 after losing to the Greek three weeks ago in the Shanghai quarterfinals. It could have been even quicker since he led the first set 5-0, 40-0, but Tsitsipas saved three set points and held serve.
Nadal had a more demanding contest against 2008 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, with the first set tiebreak reaching 3-3 after Nadal double faulted. But when the veteran Spaniard broke the unseeded Frenchman at the start of the second he took control in a 7-6 (4), 6-1 win.
“It was a tough first set where I had to play at a very high level,” Nadal said after beating Tsonga for the 10th time in 14 meetings.
Nadal and Djokovic are vying for the year-end No. 1 ranking. Nadal will guarantee it for the fifth time if he wins the Paris Masters for the first time, while Djokovic is chasing a fifth title at Bercy Arena and a sixth year-end finish as No. 1.
Iin Saturday’s semifinals, he takes on Grigor Dimitrov while Nadal plays Denis Shapovalov.
Nadal is 1-1 in career meetings with the Canadian, while Djokovic has an 8-1 lead over the US Open semifinalist Dimitrov.
Djokovic, chasing a 77th career title, even impressed himself with the level of his performance.
“I played one of the best matches of the season. I prepared myself very well for this match. I lost to Stefanos in Shanghai and obviously I went through the videos, understanding what I did well, what I didn’t do so well,” Djokovic said. “I served well. I read his serve very well, as well. Put him under pressure constantly.”
He broke Tsitsipas in the third game of the second set, then held and broke to love for 4-1. Tsitsipas, who dropped his serve four times, appeared to hurt his left ankle when retrieving a shot near the baseline in the second set.
Serving for the match, Djokovic clinched it on his first match point when Tsitsipas whipped a forehand long following a short rally.
Djokovic, last year’s runner-up, is wary of Dimitrov, who beat Roger Federer in the US Open quarterfinals. Although Dimitrov has won only eight career titles — and none since the ATP Finals in 2017 for his biggest prize — Djokovic talked him up.
“He has been one of the best talents we had in the sport in the last decade for sure. There’s been a lot of comparison with his game and Federer’s game,” Djokovic said. “Since the US Open he’s playing at a different level, a high level. He always had the game; it’s just sometimes it’s a matter of things coming together, really, mentally and at the right time.”
Djokovic also noted that Dimitrov, who is set to break back into the top 20 rankings next week after plummeting to No. 78 in August, has found a way to overcome a weakness on backhand.
“The backhand was always his kind of weaker shot ... so most of the players (tried) to attack that vulnerable side of his game,” Djokovic said. “But he mixes it up really well with the slice. He blocks a lot of returns and gets back into play and he moves extremely well. He’s one of the fittest guys on the tour. So that helps him, always being in the right position.”
Dimitrov reached his second semifinal this season by beating Cristian Garin 6-2, 7-5.
Shapovalov crushed Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-2, ending the Frenchman’s hopes of reaching the season-ending ATP Finals in London and sending US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini there instead.


‘Liverpool spirits are high’ despite virus lockdown

Jurgen Klopp
Updated 28 March 2020

‘Liverpool spirits are high’ despite virus lockdown

  • Klopp praised the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis

Jurgen Klopp says the mood at Liverpool is upbeat despite the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, even admitting he has tried to copy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dance moves to keep himself occupied.
The Premier League leaders were on the verge of their first top-flight title for 30 years when English football was suspended earlier this month.
Klopp said his players’ spirits remained high despite the frustrations of having no football to play and praised the efforts of his backroom staff who are looking after the players’ fitness.
“We spoke a couple of times, we have a really intense, big, big group chat — the whole of Melwood (training ground) are in that,” he said, speaking to the club’s website by videolink from his home.
“The boys are really lively in that, the boys are just interested in what everybody is doing, comments on what everybody is doing — if Ox is on Instagram or whatever.”
Midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain and his girlfriend, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, performed a dance routine, which she posted on social media.
Teammate James Milner played up to his “boring James Milner” tag by posting a video of himself cutting his grass with a ruler and scissors.
“I didn’t cut the grass but I tried the dance of Ox,” said Klopp. “Not as bad as you probably think. It’s very important in these times that we all show we take this situation seriously, but we are human beings.”

HIGHLIGHT

Jurgen Klopp praises the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis. He urges people to abide by the lockdown.

“If the boys do anything on Instagram, as long as it’s in a legal frame I’m overly happy about it — it just shows they are still cheeky and all that stuff,” he added.
Klopp praised the efforts of Liverpool and other clubs in helping support more vulnerable members of the community during the current crisis.
And he urged people to abide by the lockdown.
“The only way to get football back as soon as possible, if that’s what the people want, the more disciplined we are now the earlier we will get, piece by piece by piece, our life back,” Klopp said. “That’s how it is.”
“At one point we will play football again as well, 100 percent,” he added. “I couldn’t wish more for it because of a few really good reasons, how you can imagine. I can’t wait actually, but even I have to be disciplined and I try to be as much as I can.”