Berrettini facing Krajinovic in Queen’s Club final

cinch Championships - Day Six
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LONDON – Matteo Berrettini was unfazed by a rain delay in beating Botic van de Zandschulp on Saturday to reach the Queen’s Club final for a second straight year and deftly handled a marriage proposal.

The defending champion beat Van de Zandschulp 6-4, 6-3 to extend his winning streak to eight games.

During his on-court interview, the second-seeded Italian was propositioned from someone in the crowd.

” Let me think about it,” a smiling Berrettini responded.

Berrettini has won 19 of his last 20 grass-court matches with the only loss coming to Novak Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final.

In Sunday’s final he will play Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, who knocked out two-time champion Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3. Krajinovic hadn’t won a tour match on grass until this week.

“It is an unbelievable feeling,” Krajinovic said on court. “I can’t believe I am in the final. Before this tournament I had never won a match on grass. (I thought) I would come here and win just one or maybe two matches.”

The Italian hasn’t lost since his return to competitive play after three months out with a hand injury. He beat Andy Murray in Stuttgart last week to claim his third grass-court title.

Berrettini dropped only four points on his first serve Saturday and hit 24 winners to nine unforced errors. He called the win his best of the week.

“Today was really tough match, we stopped for the rain,” he said of the delay in the second set.

Berrettini broke the Dutchman on the first point back after play resumed to take a 4-2 lead.

“We have to adjust to everything,” he said. “We have to be ready to stop and then to come back. I was ready when I had to be ready.”

Krajinovic moved Cilic back and forth with deep returns in windy conditions, and saved all six break points he faced.

The Serb will try to earn his first ATP singles title with his first win over Berrettini in his first Queen’s Club final.

He said, “I will enjoy.”

Novak Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.