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.


Joshua-Pulev heavyweight title fight postponed: Promoters

Anthony Joshua
Updated 04 April 2020

Joshua-Pulev heavyweight title fight postponed: Promoters

LONDON: The world heavyweight title fight between Briton Anthony Joshua and the IBF’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria originally scheduled for June 20 has been postponed, promoters Matchroom Boxing said on Friday.
Joshua’s defense of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles was set to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but the coronavirus outbreak has brought global sport to a standstill, with no competition taking place in the United Kingdom.
“A new date for the event ... is currently being worked on,” Matchroom Boxing said in a statement. “We will announce any updates in due course and continue to explore the possibility of hosting this fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.”
Pulev said last month the fight would take place “toward the end of the year” due to the outbreak and that he would have no problem fighting without spectators in attendance.
It marks the second time their bout has not gone ahead as planned. Joshua was initially due to fight Pulev at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017 but the Bulgarian withdrew after suffering a shoulder injury in sparring.

BACKGROUND

• Joshua’s defense of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles was set to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but the coronavirus outbreak has brought global sport to a standstill, with no competition taking place in the UK.

• It marks the second time their bout has not gone ahead as planned. Joshua was initially due to fight Pulev at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in October 2017 but the Bulgarian withdrew after suffering a shoulder injury in sparring.

Pulev had previously challenged for the IBF world heavyweight title in 2014 but lost to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg when he was knocked out in the fifth round.
The 30-year-old Joshua reclaimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts with a unanimous points win over Andy Ruiz Jr. in December.
Separately, former world champion Amir Khan said Friday that he is eager to end his boxing career with a lucrative bout against ring great Manny Pacquiao or in an all-British contest with Kell Brook.
The 33-year-old Khan, who won his last bout with a fourth-round victory over Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia in July, had reportedly been considering retirement, but he is determined to go out with a flourish against high-class opposition.
“I have a couple of fights left in me — one or two at least,” said Khan, speaking to promoter Eddie Hearn via Instagram on Friday.