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Goerges, Kerber aim for all-German Wimbledon final

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LONDON — It’s been 87 years since two German women played in a Wimbledon final. Julia Goerges likes the sound of a repeat, though.

“It sounds crazy to maybe have the chance to share a German final in Wimbledon,” Goerges said after she and Angelique Kerber advanced to separate semifinals at the All England Club. “Well, it’s still one more match to go for both of us. It will be both very tough matches. But it’s great to see there is a chance.”

For Goerges, it couldn’t get much tougher. She’ll be facing Serena Williams, the seven-time champion who hasn’t lost a match at the All England Club since 2014 — though she missed last year’s tournament while pregnant. Kerber, a two-time Grand Slam champion who was runner-up at Wimbledon in 2016, will be playing former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday.

Goerges and Kerber have already accomplished something not seen at Wimbledon since 1931 by putting two Germans in the women’s semifinals. That year, Cilly Aussem and Hilde Krahwinkel went on to set up the only all-German women’s final in Grand Slam history. Just having two in the last four again is a boost to the country’s tennis, Goerges said.

“To really share this feeling with her (Kerber), with a nation, I think that’s something which is pretty special,” she said.

Of the last four women remaining, the 29-year-old Goerges is the only one who hasn’t won a major yet. In fact, this is her first career Grand Slam semifinal — even though many expected her to reach this stage much sooner. She won her first WTA title in 2010 and followed that up by winning the prestigious Stuttgart tournament the next year. But instead of establishing herself as a regular contender, her form and ranking plummeted over the next few years. That led to a radical overhaul of her coaching team and even a re-location from north to south Germany in an attempt to get back to her best.

It seems to have worked.

“I took the risk of changing everything,” she said. “But, yeah, it’s worth it. … I think now, the moment I’m living, it just shows me that I was right, I actually took a good decision.”

Goerges will be facing Williams in a Grand Slam for the second time in little over five weeks, having lost to the American in the third round of the French Open. Williams, though, insists that result isn’t an indicator of what will happen on Thursday.

“That was four or five weeks ago. That doesn’t matter,” Williams said. “This is a whole new match, it’s a new surface, it’s everything. We’re starting from zero.”

Williams, for one, isn’t surprised to see the German players doing well. And she wouldn’t mind renewing her rivalry with Kerber, whom she faced in two Grand Slam finals in 2016 — losing at the Australian Open before avenging that result at Wimbledon.

“We’ve had a lot of tough matches together,” Williams said. “Yeah, I have missed (our rivalry).”

Bryan, Sock win ATP Finals doubles title

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LONDON — American pair Mike Bryan and Jack Sock saved a match point in the deciding tiebreaker to beat Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 5-7, 6-1, 13-11 for their first ATP Finals doubles title together on Sunday.

Having failed to take advantage of five championship points during the first-to-10 match tiebreaker, Bryan and Sock then had to save one against their French opponents before finally closing out victory at the O2 Arena.

“It was a hell of a match,” Bryan said.

The 40-year-old Bryan has now won the season-ending tournament five times. He won four times with his usual partner – and brother – Bob, who has been out with an injured hip since May.

Sock and Bryan have dominated since teaming up, winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open before finishing their season in style in London.

“It’s been a hell of a ride,” Bryan said. “This could be our last hoorah because Bob’s training back in Florida.”

After reaching the singles semifinals last year, Sock has endured a torrid season in that format, falling outside the top-100 ranked players. However, he became the first American since John McEnroe to add a doubles final appearance at the tournament to his last-four singles showing.

“This is special because it was a pretty bad year in singles,” Sock said. “This makes up for some of the low moments I’ve had.”

The French duo’s season is not over yet. Herbert and Mahut are part of their nation’s squad for the Davis Cup final against Croatia, which starts in Lille on Friday.

Ball boy flub taints Zverev’s ATP Finals win vs. Federer

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LONDON — After pulling off one of the biggest wins of his career, Alexander Zverev was left apologizing for an unforced error he didn’t make.

Zverev denied Roger Federer a shot at a 100th career title by beating the Swiss great 7-5, 7-6 (5) on Saturday to advance to the championship match at the ATP Finals.

Federer was leading the second-set tiebreaker 4-3 and in the ascendancy of a rally on a Zverev service point when a ball boy at the back of the court dropped a ball. Zverev immediately signaled for the point to be stopped and the umpire ordered the point to be replayed.

Zverev served an ace before going on to close out the match moments later.

“I want to apologize for the situation in the tiebreak,” said Zverev, who was booed by some members of the crowd during his on-court interview. “The ball boy dropped the ball so it’s in the rules that we have to replay the point.

“I’m a little bit upset about the whole situation because this is not how I wanted it to end.”

Zverev is the youngest player at 21 to reach the final since 2009 and the first from Germany since 1996. He will next face Novak Djokovic or Kevin Anderson, who are in the other semifinal later Saturday.

Federer, 37, was seeking a record-extending seventh title, but was unable to cope with the pressure created by Zverev’s power and precision at the O2 Arena.

“He (Zverev) apologized to me at the net,” Federer said. “I was like, `Buddy, shut up. You don’t need to apologize to me here. Congratulations on a great match and a great tournament so far. All the best for the finals.’ And you move on.”

An inspired series of shots earned Zverev the first break points of the match in the 12th game and Federer sent a forehand wide to fall behind.

Federer willed himself to a break for 2-1 in the second set, but Zverev quickly composed himself to hit straight back in the following game.

Zverev overcame the freak interruption to establish a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker, and Federer netted the simplest of forehand volleys to bring up match point.

He saved the first, but Zverev confidently put away a backhand drive volley to set up a shot at the biggest title of his career and leave Federer waiting until next season for his 100th title.

“Overall, I’m happy how the season went,” said Federer, who picked up his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. “There’s many positives. So I’m excited for next season.”

Despite having reached only one Grand Slam quarterfinal, Zverev is the only active player outside the Big Four of Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to have won three Masters titles. But victory at the tour’s flagship event would exceed those achievements.

“Novak right now is the best player in the world,” said Zverev, who lost to Djokovic in the round robin. “No matter who it’s going to be, I’ll be ready.”