Tsitsipas shocks six-time champion Federer to reach final

Tsitsipas celebrates after winning his semifinal match against Switzerland's Roger Federer. (Reuters)
Updated 17 November 2019

Tsitsipas shocks six-time champion Federer to reach final

LONDON: Stefanos Tsitsipas shocked six-time champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 to reach the final of the ATP Finals in his tournament debut on Saturday.

The Greek sixth seed, 17 years younger than his 38-year-old opponent, beat the Swiss at the Australian Open but had fallen to him twice since then.

Federer was unrecognizable from the player who dominated Novak Djokovic in his final round-robin match, struggling on serve and hitting a total of 26 unforced errors compared with just five against the Serbian.

But Tsitsipas belied his years with a performance full of confidence and grit, saving 11 out of 12 break points during the match.

Coming into the match, the 21-year-old Greek led the tournament in service games won, with 35 out of 37.

HIGHLIGHT

Roger Federer was unrecognizable from the player who dominated Novak Djokovic in his final round-robin match, struggling on serve and hitting a total of 26 unforced errors compared with just five against the Serbian.

But Stefanos Tsitsipas belied his years with a performance full of confidence and grit, saving 11 out of 12 break points during the match.

Tsitsipas conceded a break point in his first game as cries of “Let’s go Roger, let’s go” rang around the O2 Arena but he survived the scare and broke Federer in the next game.

Thereafter it was a case of what might have been for Federer, who dropped just six points on his serve in the first set and saw a whopping six break points come and go.

Tsitsipas was forced to dig deep to see out the set, needing seven set points before he finally closed it out 6-3.

Federer was in deep trouble when Tsitsipas broke him to love in the third game of the second set but he finally made a break point count — his 10th, to level at 2-2.

Tsitsipas, dominating rallies from the back of the court, broke back straight away with a forehand cross-court winner for a 3-2 lead.

At 5-4 down Federer knew he had to break Tsitsipas for only the second time in the match.

The Greek slipped to 15-40 down but Federer again could not take advantage, spraying a forehand out to give his opponent a match point and he won with an ace.

Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem plays defending champion Alexander Zverev of Germany in the second semifinal later on Saturday.


Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

Updated 7 min 53 sec ago

Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

  • Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation

MOSCOW: Russian high jump world champion Maria Lasitskene on Tuesday accused her country’s own sports authorities of failing to protect athletes from the deepening doping crisis, in a rare public broadside at top officials.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday handed Russia a new, this time four-year, ban from top global sporting events, including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup, for tampering with laboratory data.

The ruling means Russian athletes cleared to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will do so under a neutral flag. But Lasitskene and some other Russian track and field athletes face additional obstacles to being cleared for competition.

“I’ve already missed one Olympics and one-and-a-half years of international competition,” Lasitskene wrote in an open letter addressed to Russia’s sports authorities.

“And it seems that’s not the end of it. So who ultimately is to blame? Who’s going to give me back what I’ve lost?” she wrote in the letter published on Russian sports media outlet Championat.Com.

Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation, which has been suspended for doping since 2015, and has been one of the few Russian athletes to voice her anger publicly.

World Athletics, the global body governing athletics, last month halted the reinstatement procedures for Russia’s athletics federation after its president and six others were provisionally suspended for serious breaches of anti-doping rules.

As a result of these fresh sanctions, World Athletics also said it was reviewing the process it has used in the past to clear some Russians, including Lasitskene, to compete internationally as neutrals.

“Why have we arrived at a situation when an athlete is supposed to be delighted about getting neutral status?” Lasitskene wrote.

“Was the Sports Ministry and Russian Olympic Committee really happy with the Russian athletics federation’s work?”

The president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, on Monday dismissed the sanctions against Russia as inappropriate and excessive.