US Open: Tsitsipas appears to take aim at Zverev amid accusations after shock exit

By Sports Desk September 03, 2021

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  • Atlanta United v Los Angeles FC: Pineda insists Five Stripes 'on the right path' Atlanta United v Los Angeles FC: Pineda insists Five Stripes 'on the right path'

    Gonzalo Pineda insists Atlanta United "are on the right path" as they look to get back to winning ways in MLS.

    The Five Stripes are 12th in the Eastern Conference following a run of eight matches without victory.

    Although, they enjoyed a reprieve in the U.S. Open Cup last time out, defeating Charleston Battery on penalties to reach the quarter-finals.

    And Pineda hopes his side can build on that momentum when they welcome Los Angeles to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

    "I think we are on the right path," he said. "I think it is really encouraging for the team, for the mentality of the team, to win. 

    "There are many positives out of that. We have to hold onto that positivity, and the mentality of the players that fought and put that together on Saturday."

    "I think that, especially being at home, we need to make sure we are on the front foot right away," midfielder Dax McCarty added.

    "Obviously, our stadium is such a fortress. When you score an early goal, you get everyone excited and the other team feels that pressure, which is such a benefit."

    By contrast, LAFC are fifth in the West and on a four-match winning streak across all competitions – during which they have scored 11 goals and conceded just once.

    "The team is in a good way – winning games, scoring goals and not conceding – and we'd like to continue that," head coach Steve Cherundolo said.

    "We feel good about the moment we're in, and our players are confident. 

    "The players have shown an amazing response [to their defeat by San Jose Earthquakes at the start of the month]. We were shooting ourselves in the foot by making some mistakes in portions of the field where we don't usually do that.

    "The message was that we are really in control of our own destiny, which is a great place to be."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Atlanta United – Thiago Almada

    Atlanta will be hoping for inspiration from the likes of Almada as they look to end their winless streak.

    The Argentina international has scored in two of their last three league games on home soil.

    Los Angeles FC – Denis Bouanga

    Bouanga scored both goals in LAFC’s 2-0 win over St. Louis City last time out in MLS.

    He has now found the net 33 times since the start of last season (including play-offs), seven more than any other player during that time.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LOS ANGELES FC

    Only once in their MLS history have Atlanta endured a longer winless streak, going 12 straight games without victory between May and August 2021.

    Meanwhile, LAFC have won successive games to nil for the first time during the regular season since August 2022.

    That came after they recorded just one victory while keeping a clean sheet in their previous 21 such matches.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Atlanta United: 38.2%
    Los Angeles FC: 32.8%
    Draw: 29.0%

  • Djokovic overcomes Griekspoor to reach Geneva Open semi-finals Djokovic overcomes Griekspoor to reach Geneva Open semi-finals

    Novak Djokovic beat Tallon Griekspoor in straight sets in the Geneva Open quarter-finals on Thursday, teeing up a last-four meeting with Tomas Machac.

    Djokovic was pushed all the way in an intriguing opener, Griekspoor generating three set points only to fail to convert any of them.   

    The world number one immediately punished Griekspoor's wastefulness by breaking at the end of a back-and-forth service game, then proceeded to serve the first set out in comfort.

    Griekspoor would not get a second chance to make a contest of it as Djokovic took full advantage of an early break in the second set, serving at 81 per cent and winning 92 per cent of points behind his first serve from there as he cruised to a 7-5 6-1 win.

    Data Debrief: Age just a number for Djokovic

    Having turned 37 on Wednesday, Djokovic is the oldest semi-finalist in Geneva Open history.

    Now 14-5 for the year, he is the strong favourite to claim his first title of 2024. Flavio Cobolli will face Sebastian Baez or Casper Ruud in the other semi-final.

  • Nadal to begin French Open campaign against Zverev Nadal to begin French Open campaign against Zverev

    Rafael Nadal will begin his French Open campaign against fourth seed Alexander Zverev, as the 14-time champion approaches what will likely be his final tournament at Roland-Garros.

    Nadal has repeatedly said he plans to call time on his glittering career at the end of 2024, having struggled with hip and abdominal injuries in recent years.

    His 14 titles in the French capital are four more than any other man has won at a specific major, with Novak Djokovic triumphing 10 times at the Australian Open.

    The Spaniard, who has missed the last four majors, arrived at Roland-Garros on Monday and faces a tough opening assignment.

    He will face world number four Zverev – who won the Italian Open last week – for a place in the second round, where David Goffin or Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard awaits.

    Nadal faced Zverev en route to his last grand slam triumph at the 2022 French Open, the German being forced to retire due to an ankle injury over three hours into a gruelling semi-final matchup.

    Novak Djokovic starts his title defence against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, as he looks to fend off competition from Jannik Sinner for top spot in the ATP Rankings.

    Australian Open winner Sinner will face Christopher Eubanks first up, while third seed Carlos Alcaraz begins against a qualifier.

    Like Nadal, Andy Murray is likely featuring at the French Open for the final time, and he has been drawn to face 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in a huge first-round encounter. 

    In the women's draw, Iga Swiatek starts her bid for a third straight French Open crown against either a qualifier or a lucky loser, with Naomi Osaka a potential second-round opponent if the former world number one can overcome Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti.

    Coco Gauff is on the same side of the draw as Swiatek, while second seed Arnya Sabalenka begins against Erika Andreeva in the other half, with Elena Rybakina her forecasted semi-final opponent. 

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